If The Sandman has blown your mind, stay put because you’ve watched only a smidge of this universe come to life. One of the many elements that make this show interesting is the Endless — A family of anthropomorphic personifications who are quite literally one of the most powerful beings in the universe.
So far, we’ve only seen four of the Endless, and while I’m sure you’re curious if the rest will appear in the upcoming seasons, you also must be wondering who’s the most mighty of them all.
In most circumstances, the older the Endless, the more powerful they are. The only exception is Destiny. Death is the most powerful Endless, followed by Dream, Destruction, Desire, Despair, Delirium, and Destiny.
Since we haven’t seen all of the Endless on screen, let me describe each of them to you and why they’ve been placed in their respective ranks.
If you liked Death in the show, you’re going to love her in the comics! Neil Gaiman, himself, spoke about how he wanted to personify death as a sensible but comforting figure you meet during this very difficult phase of moving on to the afterlife.
The reason why Death is the most powerful is simple: she is the embodiment of the primary universal fact that all that lives, must die. Death won’t just be the last of the Endless to die, she’ll also be the last to die amongst all in the universe as well.
But death is not the only time we see her, as she’s also present when we’re born. Think of her as an endearing older sister!
After watching Ep 4, you may have realized that sometimes “dream” can also be synonymous with “hope.” As such, Dream/Morpheus is a personification of very complex emotions, aspirations and intentions.
Dreams can make us happy and keep us motivated, while nightmares can remind us of the follies we shouldn’t commit or reveal what we fear the most. Although these appear to us as opposing sides of the spectrum, Dream tries to use these tools to create a better life for humans.
Because he is older, the kind of powers he wields and the emotions he invokes, Dream is considered to be the second most powerful Endless.
Now there have been a few contentions about whether Destruction should be placed above Desire or not. Stripped down, Destruction is definitely more powerful than Desire. It’s in his name to bring about utter devastation.
(To look at the bright side of things, only when there’s destruction, can you create something new).
However, Destruction resigned from his position when he saw how man was advancing in science and technology. He feared that if he continued his duties, man would destroy everything beyond repair. Hence, he abandoned his realm and continues to spend a peaceful time enjoying art and other joys of life.
Destruction can be perfectly described with the “Looks like he could kill you, but is actually a cinnamon roll” meme.
Desire is a cunning one, watch out! While desire generally can have a neutral connotation, The Sandman’s Desire takes more to the negative side of things. Desire has a knack for bringing out the worst of humankind’s wants, things that usually stem out of jealousy.
Chaos absolutely tickles Desire and they will do anything to get out of boredom with their schemes and “games.” They also have no regard for the consequences of their actions.
Desire has always shown animosity toward Dream, because they don’t think Dream would be nearly as powerful if people didn’t feel desire or despair, thus finding comforts in Dream’s works. They are usually seen toying with Dream and trying to get him into trouble.
Despair is Desire’s twin and it is implied that she helps them with their games sometimes. However, it still largely unknown if Despair actively manipulates people’s feelings to make them feel sorrow, or simply revels in the emotion herself.
Despair is quite an irony herself. Technically she does get more powerful if people are in despair. However, this also causes her to feel sad and miserable. In such a state, she is unable to do anything. (She is only motivated to any action on the behest of her twin.)
In short, the more powerful she gets, the weaker she is.
When Delirium was born, she was known as Delight. No explanation has been given about why she eventually turned into Delirium, but the openness to interpretation is also part of her character’s charm.
She has a very surreal, dream-like vibe to her, and often gets distracted or diverts into offbeat conversations. Because of this, all of her siblings treat her like a child. But where Death and Destruction look upon her fondly, Desire teases and makes fun of her.
Although Delirium may seem nonsensical, she’s shown to be inertly wise. But on her bad days, she can infect those who cross her with the curse of madness.
Now Destiny is a real tricky one. As the oldest and the firstborn, he should technically be the strongest of them all. He is known to be the wisest, but it’s his attitude that holds him back; he’s always stoic and does not express any emotions.
Physically he is blind, but he has the power to discern all that has happened, is happening and will happen. You’d think that all that knowledge would make him all-powerful.
But perhaps to keep him in check, he either chooses not or is restrained from using any of that knowledge to alter the course of events. Because of this, his power is virtually useless.
About The Sandman
The Sandman is an American fantasy drama TV series based on the 1989–1996 comic book written by Neil Gaiman and published by DC Comics. The series was developed for Netflix and is being produced by DC Entertainment and Warner Bros. Television.
The first season adapted the first two comics in the series, Preludes & Nocturnes and The Doll’s House. In 1916, Dream, the king of Dreams and Nightmares and one of the seven Endless, is captured and imprisoned after an occult ritual. After being held captive for 106 years, he escapes and sets out to restore order to his kingdom of The Dreaming.
The Sandman stars Tom Sturridge as Dream, with Gwendoline Christie, Vivienne Acheampong, Boyd Holbrook, Charles Dance, Asim Chaudhry, and Sanjeev Bhaskar in supporting roles.