Who are The Endless? Neil Gaiman’s seminal comic book series The Sandman has finally been adapted for TV by Netflix. A bold yet faithful adaptation, the TV series tells the story of Dream, a powerful being who’s probably easiest described as the living personification of imagination and dreams.
When we meet Dream, he’s imprisoned by a greedy and powerful mage known as Roderick Burgess. Burgess steals Dream’s tools and uses them to make his fortune, unaware of the chaos he causes. Yet Burgess didn’t want to trap Dream. He wanted to capture Dream’s sister, Death.
You see, Dream has several siblings, collectively known as The Endless. In the first season of Sandman, we meet four of Dream’s siblings (including Dream himself), but there are others to come. Need to know more? Be warned, if you want to learn the forbidden lore of The Endless, there will be spoilers ahead. Still with us? Good, we can begin.
What are The Endless?
The Endless are immortal, powerful beings, beyond most gods, who embody the fundamental forces of the universe and work to ensure that those forces run in an orderly manner.
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There are seven Endless: Destiny, Death, Dream, Destruction, Desire, Despair, and Delight. While the seven are beyond the comprehension of most mortal beings, they’re still family. As such, they squabble like all siblings. Most notably, Dream and Desire, who had a falling out aeon ago.
Who created the Endless?
Neil Gaiman created The Endless, well, all of them but Destiny. Oh, you mean in the show? Well, The Endless were created in the same way you and I were. They have a mother and a father.
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Specifically, their mum is Night, and their dad is Time. How these two got together, we don’t know but let’s just say when a Night loves Time very much; you get an Endless.
Who are the Endless?
Destiny is the eldest of The Endless and supposedly the most powerful. He takes the form of an old blind man in robes carrying a book.
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As his name suggests, Destiny embodies the notion of destiny and, as such, knows everything that ever has or will happen.
Death is the second oldest of The Eldest and the nicest, which may come as a surprise considering her function.
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Death meets everyone twice in their life, on the day they’re born and the day they die. She exists to shepherd souls from this life into the next.
Dream, also known as Morpheus, was the third of the Endless to be born. As the Lord of Dreams, he embodies imagination and creativity, not just literal dreams you have when you sleep.
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Fun fact, Gaiman based his appearance on his own, which is why Morpheus looks like a scruffy-haired white guy. In the TV series Dream is played by Tom Sturridge.
Destruction, also known as The Prodigal, is Dream’s younger brother and takes the form of a red-headed man. He is the only known Endless to have abandoned his duties and responsibilities, choosing to live hidden from his siblings.
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Interestingly Destruction believes the Endless embody more than just their namesake; he believes they’re also the embodiment of their opposites as well. As such, he spends his time trying to create things with limited success.
Nobody’s favourite Endless, Desire is responsible for love, want, greed, and more. The only Endless to not have a fixed Gender, they choose their form based on a whim. In the show Desire is played by the non-binary actor Mason Alexander Park.
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Desire is the most antagonistic of The Endless towards Dream and actively plots his downfall throughout the series. Fun fact, they’re actually the twin of Despair speaking of which…
Desire’s twin Despair is the living embodiment of depression and hopelessness. She lives in a void of mirrors, appearing to those feeling true despair.
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In the series, she’s played by Donna Preston and appears as a normal, if slightly depressed, looking woman in a cardigan. In the comics, though, she’s an obese creature who practises self-mutilation.
Delirium is the youngest of the Endless and possibly the most tragic. She used to be known as Delight, but something happened to her that drove her mad.
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She became Delirium and possesses strange powers beyond the other Endless, even Desire. Delirium appears as a young woman with multicoloured hair, but her appearance constantly shifts depending on her mercurial moods.