Neil Gaiman’s Sandman

3 Apr

“-His madness… His madness keeps him sane.”
– And do you think he is the only one, my sister?”
Delirium and Dream, in Fables and Reflections.

Do you know what Freud said about dreams of flying? It means you’re really dreaming about having sex.”
“Indeed? Tell me, then, what does it mean when you dream about having sex?”

Rose Walker and Dream, in SANDMAN #15: “Into The Night”

“-I am anti-life, the beast of judgement. I am the dark at the end of everything. The end of universes, gods, worlds… of everything.
And what will you be then, Dreamlord?
– I am hope.”
Choronzon and Dream, playing the oldest game, in Preludes and Nocturnes.
“What power would Hell have if those imprisoned were not able to dream of Heaven?” Dream

Once in a while you read a book, which fascinates you, thrills you, fulfills you as a reader yet confounds you. You know the story, you know exactly what happened, how it happened and why it happened but the story doesn’t belong to you. It somehow slips from your grasp, what you remember are the fragments, traces floating on a superfluous surface, the hint of the meaning, the sense waiting to be held yet slipping away.
Neil Gaiman’s epic Graphic novel Sandman is one such book. To give a gist it is 10 volume story of the Lord Shaper, Morpheus, the endless – king of the dreams from his unfortunate capture by a mortal till his death – death not of a body but of a concept- that brings alive a new concept.
In the book we are introduced to the seven endless siblings – Destiny, Death, Dream, Destruction, Desire, Despair and Delirium (the erstwhile delight) – the endless who were born with the first life, existed before Gods, would be there after Gods and will exist till there is life in Universe. The story is pivoted around the lord of endless stories with others playing pivotal role in his journey. We get to know that Destruction has abdicated his duties, we get to know delirium was once delight and we meet the beautiful, compassionate, the rock star sister of Dream – Death. And you realize it is so logical that Death has to be a beautiful woman not some scythe holding horror character.
It is long linear story interlined with short non-linear episodes, you are introduced to multitude of characters and each has a role of play in the endgame. The short episodes are the most delightful part of the saga, Neil Gaiman picks up many real stories, myths, tales and with consummate ease retells the story, redefines it, molds it in shapes that refurbish the tales and where we saw a veneer, he gives us a glimpse of the story behind the story.
You learn how mythology is created. Every myth in the end is as real as the myth itself. We believe in them and this book is as real as any story we have heard before.
Under all its layers and layers beneath layers the story is about Change. Every change means the end of something, when anything changes either you adopt it or you die. But every time you change, the old you ceases to exist. You are no longer the reflection of what you were and you are not even a mirror of what you would be, you are what you are at that moment.
Sandman is a journey in and of dreams. Dreams are fickle, sometimes you wake up in the morning you have an uneasy feeling or a sense of delirium, you remember dreaming but you don’t remember the dream, Sandman is one such dream – a nightmare and a delight – both at the same time.

“People think dreams aren’t real because they aren’t made of matter, of particles. Dreams are real. But they’re made of viewpoints, of images, of memories and puns and lost hopes…” ~ John Dee

Happy reading


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