With The Sandman available to stream on Netflix and more episodes coming soon, many viewers are no doubt wondering just what the powers and abilities of the principal character and his siblings are. Are they gods? Demons? Actually, Neil Gaiman’s Endless, as Sandman’s family is known, is neither. But also more. The Endless are extremely powerful anthropomorphic embodiments of the universe’s natural forces. And they’ve existed for billions of years.
The Endless are each the seven children of even older entities, known as Mother Night and Father Time. Destiny was born first, followed by Death, then Dream, Destruction, the twins known as Desire and Despair, and finally, Delirium, the youngest. But what individual powers do The Sandman‘s Endless possess? They share many of the same abilities, but they do differ in a few key ways. Let’s take a look at all the powers we can expect to see come to life in The Sandman series on Netflix.
The Endless’ Powers on The Sandman
The Powers of Dream (Morpheus)
Dream is the true name of the titular Sandman, who is also known as Morpheus. He is the anthropomorphic embodiment of dreams, hence the name. He is one of the most powerful beings in the universe and, like his other siblings in the Endless, is immortal. If Dream is killed in any way, his essence will simply fuse with another being and continue on.
Aside from controlling and influencing the dream life of all living creatures, Dream or Morpheus has other incredible powers in The Sandman‘s world. He is capable of wielding great magic and is also capable of altering reality itself. Dream’s powers also include the ability to teleport anywhere he wishes to go, and he can shapeshift as well. He is almost impossible to injure, but he can be captured. As one of the Endless, he can literally be in all places at once. Morpheus feeds on the dreams of humanity but in turn, can give ordinary humans any dream or nightmare he thinks of.
Although innately powerful, Dream is made even more so with the help of several powerful talismans. The first of Dream’s tools is the Sand of Sleep, which can instantly render a mortal into unconsciousness and can release dreams into the real world. Additionally, his ruby Dreamstone focuses his powers and is exceedingly dangerous in the hands of a mortal. And finally, Dream possesses the Helm of Dreams, a helmet made from the bones of a dead god, which protects Dream from almost any harm.
Death’s Powers and Abilities
Sandman’s big sister is Death, and although a happy, cheerful sort, she is the anthropomorphic embodiment of the end of life, just as her name suggests. She is Dream’s closest sibling and often gives him advice. Presenting as a young woman, Death is there at the end of every living being’s life to guide them to whatever afterlife lies beyond this one.
Having said that, Death does not personally take any souls to the next realm, she merely prepares them to accept they are no longer alive. Since people are dying constantly everywhere, she is nearly omnipresent on Earth at all times. Death’s powers allow her to see spirits on Earth, and in fact, she can leave certain souls in the plane to wander as ghosts. She loves her job and does it very well and is perhaps the most well-adjusted of the Endless family.
The Omniscient Powers of The Sandman’s Destiny
Destiny is the personification of fate itself. In The Sandman universe, his true powers lie in his vast and infinite knowledge. Although technically blind, he can “see” the fate (or possible fate) of every living being in existence. He knows everything there is to know about everyone’s past, present, and future. In fact, he can see even the smallest details that make up the universe. To paraphrase a movie title, he knows all about “everything, everywhere, all at once.”
Destiny has a giant book literally chained to his person, which contains the story of every person known to exist. A book he’s been carrying around for literally 10 billion years. (It must be getting heavy by now.) Like the rest of his Endless family, he is immortal. Destiny is the one member of the Endless Sandman writer Neil Gaiman didn’t create. New Teen Titans and Crisis on Infinite Earths creator Marv Wolfman originally created him back in 1972.
Delirium, who was previously known as Delight, is one of the hardest to describe members of the Endless. She is Dream’s youngest sister and the absolute ruler of her realm, a world that controls both sanity and madness. Her realm is abstract, filled with constantly morphing colors and shapes. Delirium’s powers in The Sandman include shapeshifting, and she is constantly changing forms to suit her changing mood.
Delirium also has telepathic abilities, as well as those of precognition. She can teleport and has almost total mastery of all forms of magic. Most importantly, she has omnipresence. This means she is everywhere on Earth at every moment, although most can’t perceive her presence. This is a trait she shares with most of her siblings in the Endless.
The Powers of The Sandman‘s Desire
The entity known as Desire is the literal personification of want and of humanity’s propensity to crave what it cannot have. Desire lords over all human feelings of physical and emotional need, as well as the feeling of satisfaction when one has attained what they wished for. They are known as the most malicious of the Endless. And they particularly like to mess with Dream. Desire is androgynous and genderless and appears in whatever way they please, thanks to their shapeshifting powers in The Sandman. Like their sibling in the Endless, Desire also has control over all magics, and is an omnipresent force in the world, appearing everywhere and anywhere they choose.
Despair is the twin sister of Desire. But she couldn’t be more different, certainly in appearance. While Desire is physically beautiful, Despair is the opposite. She lords over all human feelings of hopelessness, sadness, and general anxiety. Like the rest of her siblings, Despair can be anywhere and everywhere in the world at any given moment. She also has total mastery over sorcery in The Sandman and the power to shapeshift too. Although vastly different from her twin Desire, the two of them have a special animosity towards Dream and have schemed against him repeatedly over the centuries.
The Powers of Destruction in The Sandman
Destruction is one of the most interesting of the Endless, as he is the only one to totally abandon his kingdom and his duties. As his name suggests, Destruction was the ruler over all ruination. Despite the name, Destruction was not a negative being. Only with the destruction of the old can new things and new ideas come to fruition after all. But with the advent of man’s discovery of science, he knew humanity would wield ultimate weapons like the atom bomb. Despondent, he abandoned his kingdom and became known as the prodigal sibling. Like the rest of his family in The Sandman, he has powers over magic and shapeshifting and is omnipresent in all places on Earth.
The Restrictions of the Endless’ Powers in The Sandman
Despite their awesome power, each member of the Endless is bound by a very specific set of rules. None of them can harm one of their siblings or risk losing their powers. They also can’t fall in love with a mortal. The only member of the Endless not bound by any rules is Death, who exists beyond the need for rules. Although not all appear in season one of The Sandman, we expect each member of the Endless to appear when more episodes arrive. We can’t wait to see their powers and abilities come to life.
Originally published on July 22, 2022.