Rose Walker’s tale makes up the second half of The Sandman series, culminating with the high-stakes finale. She is introduced as someone who is looking for her estranged younger brother, only to find out that she is the Dream Vortex with volatile powers.
While she isn’t an antagonist, her very nature makes her Dream’s adversary. So, does Dream end up killing her?
As the Dream Vortex, Rose Walker is a threat to all of existence, because of which Dream has to kill her. However, in The Sandman finale, Rose’s grandmother Unity, is able to transfer the vortex to herself and dies in place of Rose.
Let’s have a detailed look at how it all went down:
What is a Dream Vortex?
In order to understand the Dream Vortex, we have to understand the Dreaming—the realm that Dream governs. When we dream, we get access to only our own space within the Dreaming, and cannot enter spaces.
Among all his responsibilities, it is Dream’s duty to maintain those walls, along with being able to discern all of the living beings’ unconscious thoughts once they’re in his realm.
Now a Dream Vortex is a powerful but volatile being who can break down the Dreaming’s walls. As we see, Rose is able to mesh together all the individual dreams her friends were having—but it causes the dreamers immense pain and confusion.
Most Dream Vortexes cannot control their powers and Rose is no different. Using her powers has already caused undue repercussions, like Lyta getting pregnant in real life and the vortex that tries to eat up her friends.
Dream Vortexes are rare and only occur once in a century or so. No one really knows how or why Dream Vortexes are created. But what Dream does know is that they have to be stopped at all costs. He once failed to kill a Dream Vortex, and it ended up destroying a universe. He won’t make that mistake again.
Does Rose Walker die?
The short answer is: No, Rose Walker doesn’t die, as she is able to transfer the vortex to her great grandmother Unity, who sacrifices herself instead.
What worked to Rose’s (and even Dream’s) advantage is that she was never meant to be the Dream Vortex. It was always supposed to be great grandmother, Unity Kincaid—the sole survivor of the Sleepy Illness.
After Unity learns of her great-grandchildren and reunites with them, she begins to get even more curious about her unlived life. Somehow, she is able to enter the Dreaming and meet Lucienne, where the two look for the book that has all the records of the life that Unity would’ve lived if she were awake.
Here’s where they find out that Unity was the Dream Vortex of the current era. But since she was unconscious, the vortex got passed down her family line and then manifested within Rose.
Now I don’t think just anyone would’ve been able to transfer a vortex as such. For example, Rose’s mother or Jed wouldn’t be able to take it from her. It had to be another individual who was destined to be the vortex as well. Had Unity been dead, Rose wouldn’t have had anyone else to transfer the vortex to.
Out of love for her kin (and because it was her literal fate to die as the Dream Vortex) Unity gladly takes the vortex back from Rose. The vortex’s sigil turns out to be a ruby-colored geometric heart.
Dream then puts Unity into an eternal sleep, which is his form of killing someone. In the real world, Unity passes away in her sleep.
Although bittersweet, Rose gets a second shot and moves on with her life—following her dream of writing and living with Jed, Lyta, and Hal.
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.