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#dream of the endless


I know I’m a bit late with this.   Issue eight of The Dreaming: Waking Hours was… okay.   That’s pretty much all I can say about it.  It’s fine.  It’s fine.  

The art is gorgeous.  I’ll give it that.  Daniel is just beautiful.  

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Sometimes I can almost forget he randomly murdered an entire bachelor party just for drunkenly cat calling Ivy.  (I am NOT getting over that!)

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It is a little annoying that Matthew somehow drastically misinterpreted Heather and her intentions.   Also when did Matthew know about Sykes, the protection amulet, and even when the helm was taken?  When did these off-camera conversations with Dream about his Preludes and Nocturnes misadventures happen?

I’m not a fan of miscommunication / lack of communication driven plots.  I, frankly, think they’re lazy.  The CW lives off them.  It’s part of why I stopped watching CW DC themed shows.  Every show was dependent on characters not talking to each other.  Even right now if you watch Batwoman a major plot is hinged on her keeping a kryptonite bullet wound a secret.  …Why?   The reasoning is flimsy at best.

I seem to recall, during the Simon Spurrier run of The Dreaming that it was mentioned that Nuala gave Dream her love and or sympathy.  I forget the exact wording right now but I had a feeling back then that she meant literally, which entails her capacity to feel these emotions.  What could possibly go wrong with that?! (Sarcasm intended).  And this is probably the reason she is now ruling Faerie with an iron fist.

The joke about Faerie smelling a lot like weed was completely unnecessary and a bit of a mood killer for me. I’m tired of fantasy and surrealism being associated with being high.  

That’s petty, I know.

I’m still convinced Heather is actually trans.  It’s just not a major plot point, which is a good thing because I’ve come to like her and if her being trans is treated like an after thought, well, I think that’s wonderful.  So many writers treat being trans like that is a personality but no, she has a fully fleshed out personality and I even like her, a Hell of a lot more than Simon Spurrier’s OC (original character), Dora.  

The clues are there.  She’s on a permanent medication. (Probably hormones), Puck seemed to think her medical history was important.  (Either she’s trans or she has a very serious illness that hasn’t been brought up yet). Also her name.  Heather After. It feels like a chosen name to replace an unwanted deadname.  And the flashback of her parents being supportive, and encouraging, telling her she could wear what she wants, etc, but they draw the line at magick. 

 Anyway, yeah, that’s about it.  It’s good to see Mervyn NOT being used as a Trump supporter allegory.   We missed you, proper depiction of Mervyn Pumpkinhead.

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 Is it wrong that I’ve started to care more about Heather than Ruin’s quest for Twu Lub? 

Also I still don’t like the idea that “Nightmares aren’t supposed to be able to feel love.”   Cain, Abel, and even The Corinthian 2.0 beg to differ. Remember, The Corinthian wept in The Sandman: The Kindly Ones. 

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in your opinion, did Dream commit suicide? discuss in the reblogs/replies - i’ve heard a few different theories about this and i’m curious what everyone on here thinks!!

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Dream in The Dreaming: Waking Hours #8

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The pre-existing good traits of the character Morpheus

(Tumblr is glitching and not letting me make that an actual heading for some reason.)

I noticed that a lot of Sandman fans here on Tumblr tend to focus on Morpheus’ assholary before his character growth and development after his long captivity.

I have decided to write a post actually acknowledging the good about the character that existed before his character evolution.

1. He was always good with animals. As we see fairly early on in The Sandman Morpheus has a fondness for both ravens and cats. Even his hippogriff acknowledges that Morpheus used to feed them apple slices.

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2. He was very good with children. I’ve seen some jokes about what an awful and aloof parent he must have been to Orpheus but this is an odd headcanon that never really made much sense to me. It is not confirmed by in-story content at all. In fact Calliope tells us that he used to be close with Orpheus when he was a child. He made him musical instruments. They didn’t grow apart until Orpheus was an adult.

We see Morpheus’ consideration for children in Brief lives with the little girl in the plane and the children who turned up in the castle in The Kindly Ones, in the middle of their own story. But another big clue is Morpheus’ consideration for and protectiveness of Hope in The Sandman: Overture.

He also always crouches down to eye level with the child with having a conversation with them, which is noticeable and sweet.

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3. Morpheus was very anti-slavery and apparently this was a known and established fact.

in The Sandman Season of Mists the faerie court attempts to entrap Morpheus by giving him Nuala as a gift. Not only is he reluctant to accept because Faerie gifts usually ultimately have a price or backfire in some way, but also because he is against slavery. Being given a faerie woman as a gift does not appeal to him. And there is some entrapment here. If he refuses the gift the faeries can feign insult and use that as an excuse to go to war with The Dreaming because of the “insult” and so they would have an excuse to do battle and likely claim the key to Hell as their prize (which is what they were after).

Morpheus reluctantly allows her to stay but never actually commands her to do anything except during one particular incident in which he tells her to “Stop that.” while she’s dancing and umming on a staircase in the castle. And when her brother comes to collect her in The Sandman: The Kindly Ones he does not try to make her stay (as Nuala had actually hoped he would) and he also pays her with a boon. He does not let her service go unpaid.

This is post-captivity so the Nuala story might be a poor example but the fae were counting on Morpheus’ dislike of slavery to be a factor in his refusing to accept their gift, so that means it must have been established, and a known fact to his character, for a long time.

Another earlier example of Morpheus being anti-slavery is when he finds out about his immortal friend, Hob’s involvement in the slave trade. Morpheus very clearly does not approve. And he makes his stance on the matter very clear.

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4. He was very steadfast in his responsibilities. This is something no one questions or doubts. He was s stickler for the rules. In fact he even gets scolded for being too firm on his stance of rules and keeping to his word, even in situations where he probably shouldn’t.


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He has a strong sense of obligation and honor even if he screws up once in a while and accidentally acts in a way that is actually arguably dishonorable (i.e. leaving Nada in Hell for rejrecting him. But at least he tried to set that right.

Even during The Sandman: Season of Mists he announces his plan to return to Hell via Cain as a courier even though he likely should NOT have announced himself first. Morpheus considered it proper.

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5. Morpheus does not believe in killing. He might have some cruel punishments in mind for his enemies but he does not believe in killing the innocent and does not like to take life.

It is his reluctance to kill the innocent who had become the Dream Vortex, and then not wanting to put out her world’s sun because he felt so terrible about all the loss of life as a direct result of his not killing the Vortex, that ultimately resulted in the misadventure covered in The Sandman Overture and thankfully his stalling in killing Rose Walker later was ultimately rewarded when Unity (her grandmother) came up with a solution to the Dream Vortex situation without Morpheus having to kill Rose.

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Note: I would add some more but the new format on Tumblr posts is really glitchy. I saved this draft twice and both times it deleted the first entry, leaving Bast’s illustration at the top. Rather than risk that happening again I am posting this now.

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From September of 2015: Dream and Death of the Endless in “Delirium-Vision” (i.e., as seen through the eyes of Delirium). India ink, watercolor, and gouache on watercolor board.

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Hot take:  If you think a Sandman character’s personality needs to drastically change because a woman is playing the role now… I have some shocking news for you… That’s actually kind of sexist…

A woman in my small Sandman Facebook group suggested that Lucien’s personality needs to be changed because a woman is playing the character now.  She went as far as to say Lucienne needs to call Morpheus out when he’s being a shmuck and stand up to him.  

So as a woman fan with a very different opinion on the matter I write this to gather my thoughts and vent a bit.

What is wrong with the idea of a woman being a proud librarian of the universe’s greatest and most expansive library of everything written and never-written?!    So she works for a king.  Not everything needs to be a “subversive” or about standing up to authority figures.  Morpheus isn’t some evil dictator.  

Honestly I’m tired of fantasy shows and movies telling us how bad kingdoms and kings are.  Descendants, Once Upon a Time, and even Game of Thrones ended in democracies or semi-democracies even where it doesn’t fit the universe.  So many people auto-hate the idea of a king that I saw someone explain how they would “Improve” Nightmare before Christmas by having The Mayor strip Jack of his title of Pumpkin King as punishment for what he did to Christmas.  Uhh… The Mayor in Nightmare before Christmas doesn’t have that kind of power…   And as far as how Jack treats his subjects, Jack’s a pretty good king.  

Now back to Sandman:  Morpheus is very respectful to Lucien.  He’s taken advice from Lucien.  He’s confided in him.  Lucien is very likely is friend but Morpheus being Morpheus is too thick to realize it.  Morpheus has never mistreated Lucien.  And the one time we ever see Lucien kneel to Morpheus, Morpheus hastily tells him to please get up. 

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Morpheus has never mistreated Lucien and likely never would.   And in the hierarchy of The Dreaming it’s pretty clear Lucien is the second in command.  That’s a damn good rank.  

So why on Earth do we need a “more assertive” / “More feminist” take on her?  Can’t we have a nerdy character be nerdy?   So she works for a king.  She obviously likes working for Morpheus or she wouldn’t have chosen to stay there after no longer being his raven.

As I said before, if you feel the need to change the best damn librarian in the world now just because she’s got boobies, that’s on you.  That’s YOUR sexism shining through.  If you can’t fathom a Lucien-esque personality in a woman, that’s your problem.   I like Lucien / Lucienne!   Protect The Dreaming Librarian and let them remain the f–king Dreaming Librarian!

We don’t need some secret rebel leader planning to over throw The Dreaming and instate a democracy where dreams and nightmares vote for President Brute and Vice President Glob.

End of rant…

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I know that Dream of The Endless collects names and titles the way other people might collect Pokemon and that Dream of The Endless is more of a function than a name but it occurred to me that for the aspect of Dream of The Endless that answers to the name Morpheus, the name had essentially become like a “True name” for him.

The first big clue of this is when Rose Walker calls out to him.  He hears her.  He comes to her aid.  Gilbert had known that if she said the name Morpheus out loud that he would come.  Yes, Matthew had been nearby, watching Rose for him, and both Fiddler’s Green (Gilbert) and The Corinthian, the wayward dream entities, were there at the hotel, but Morpheus did not move to help until Rose called out to him specifically.

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It is traditional in magical practices, all over the world, that names, especially true names, have power.  

In the fairy tale Rumpelstiltskin (Rumpelstilzchen in the original German) it was by learning the imp’s true name that The Queen was able to best him and banish him rather than allow him to claim her baby.

In pop culture we see it in films like Beetlejuice (and its animated series spin-off) where if you call his name three times you can invoke or banish the mischievous ghost.  The same goes for The Candyman or the old party game, Bloody Mary, that if you call out their names a certain repeated number of times, it will invoke them.

In the Japanese anime “Tactics” it is the naming of the tengu that binds him to serve a human master.  It is the loss of his name that enslaves the river God / dragon, Haku in the anime classic “Spirited Away.” 

Names have power, especially true names.

This is why you should never give a faery your full true name.  They can use it to ensnare you.  This is especially true if you practice magick. It is why sorcerers don’t usually give their true name but instead give a name they prefer to answer to.  This even comes up in Neil Gaiman’s Books of Magic as one of the things taught to young Timothy Hunter. 

It is also why Harry Dresden is careful never to give his full true name (Harry Blackstone Copperfield Dresden) when dealing with fae or other supernatural entities in The Dresden Files novels by Jim Butcher. 

The Endless are mostly immune to this since they are anthropomorphic personifications and their “names” are actually their functions.  But the aspect of Dream known as Morpheus seems to have adopted the name AS his true name.

A true name doesn’t necessarily have to be a name given to you at birth.  It can be a name you gain or give yourself later.  It is, however, the name you most heavily associate with yourself and self-identity.

In the original 1985 film “Fright Night” the character of Peter Vincent is just a has-been actor who hosts a weekly horror TV series, where he plays his old movies. His stage name is also his character name.  When he discovers vampires are real and he is frightened he declares how Peter Vincent isn’t even his real name.  We, the viewer, never actually learn Peter’s  “real name” (it is later given in the spin-off comics).  But it really doesn’t matter.  By the end of the film he has gained courage and embraced his persona.  He declares “I AM Peter Vincent, The Great Vampire killer!” with actual conviction and meaning.  By the time you get to the sequel and even the spin-off comics, whoever he was before no longer matters.  Now he is the hero he had always pretended to be.  Peter Vincent has become his true name.

A true name is the name you most associate with your sense of self-identity.       

For this reason I am willing to argue that the aspect of Dream known as Morpheus DOES in fact have a true name and it is Morpheus.   Whether he meant to or not, he gave himself a true name.

That is why Daniel cannot abide being called Lord Morpheus.  Because though he is Dream of The Endless he is not the aspect of Dream that answered to Morpheus.  If it was not a name so tightly associated with his previous-self, the aspect known as Morpheus, he would not have objected.  But it is tightly associated with him.  It became that aspect’s true name.

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I’d like to believe that if posthumous Morpheus now exists as a dream entity, free of having to be Dream of The Endless, he now only answers to Morpheus, and no other name or title will do.

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There.  I think I have successfully argued why I think it is important that Dream still answer to Morpheus in the Netflix Sandman series.  May I have a cookie now?  

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Red Flowers For Orpheus

Dream l Morpheus (Sandman)

I’m not explaining the title because spoilers, if you know, you know (,: 

I was feeling duddle-y cause I’ve been at the comics again. It just makes me very sad )): but it’s so good at the same time ((:

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About seven-years-ago someone told me their perception of what exactly a headcanon is and that definition always stuck with me.

Canon, of course, is what is true within the lore of the story.  Fanwank is where you make up whatever you want involving those characters or lore without rhyme or reason.  Headcanon is partly critical analysis and deduction with a little guess work.  It mostly comes from deduction derived from established canon.  For example: If we see a scene of Wonder Woman enjoying strawberries and another scene of her declaring ice cream to be the most wonderful substance in the world and most scenes of her eating ice cream show her eating pink colored ice cream, than it would be a logical deduction that her favorite ice cream is probably strawberry ice cream.  It’s not out right side but the clues suggest this.  Sicne it’s out out-right established with certainty this might fall under headcanon.

I don’t often post headcanons.  I sometimes make deductions and hope and wait to see if canon proves me right.  One example of this is a few years ago, in my early days in The Sandman fandom (I only read it for the first time in 2017) I came to the idea that Alexander Burgess and Doctor Destiny might be brothers.  I thought of this but then doubted myself.  I doubted myself because I thought  the math made it unlikely for Doctor Destiny to be Roderick’s but my initial hypothesis (that I later dismissed) was proven correct with both The Sandman audio drama and The Dreaming: Waking Hours canonizing the fact that Roderick is actually Doctor Destiny’s father and not Ruthven Sykes.  (Someone really needs to update the DC wikia…)

But I think the following are headcanons.   

1.  I think years of captivity with time moving no faster than it does for a human (which was probably Hellish for someone who doesn’t even get the escape of sleep) in a small, crystalline cage in a windowless dungeon, might have induced some form of PTS related claustrophobia in Morpheus.  I have no proof of this.  

I remember, as a teen, coming up with a similar headcanon for Jareth in Jim Henson’s Labyrinth because it accounts for his expansive and ever-changing world (besides being a metaphor for Sarah’s own mind) and why he seems most agitated when in confined spaces like the underground part of the Labyrinth. 

With Morpheus I notice similar behavior in that he seems to prefer open spaces.  Even when he’s alone to grieve Orpheus it’s a fairly spacious, large, room.   His ceilings are always high.   This is true in his grief and even when he’s in his throne room. 

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 The only time he ever has a meeting in what appears to be a closed in space is the tower-like room where he condemns Alexander Burgess to eternal waking.  And for Morpheus this could have been a subconscious reminder of his castle, and his imprisonment, all at once.  But even then he had an open (though skull shaped) hole or window behind himself and in easy reach at all times.

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We also see Morpheus decide that trapped in a glass bottle is the perfect punishment for Azazel in The Sandman: Season of Mists, which indicates to me he considers such confinement to be one of the most terrible of fates.   

Not only did Morpheus’ captivity effect him but I think it left him, at least mildly, claustrophobic.  

2.    It is made apparent in The Dreaming: Waking Hours that Daniel has some fear of his own Nightmares.  He keeps them locked away in a box and will not venture into said box without an escort. He comes up with a fairly flimsy excuse as to why Lucien should go with him.  

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Besides this apparent fear of his own creations I would not be surprised if Daniel had some lingering fear of fire.  Fire cannot hurt him now but fire did bring about one of the most traumatic moments of his pre-current-form existence. 

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Rules, rules, rules…

The Endless are powerful beings but there are laws that govern the universe that they are slaves to obey.  These rules include old magicks.  

Now, the summoning spell, itself, could have easily been brushed off if Morpheus had not been weakened, but once summoned it was certain “Petty hedge-magicks” that held him for over seventy-two-years.  

Morpheus has (at least twice) referred to some of these old spells as “Petty hedge-magicking.”   Hedge-magick usually means low level, weak, or amateurish, spell casting.  Or as I like to say “Something he woefully under-estimates.”

Here are some of the petty hedge-magicks that have worked against Dream of The Endless.

1.   A summoning / binding circle.  In many occult practices a summoning circle can double as a binding circle and whatever you summon within it cannot leave the circle until banished or if the circle is breached.   

Often these sort of circles are based on figures from the key of Solomon.  They can be drawn with things as simple as white chalk. It’s the symbols and the beliefs behind them that matter.  

The pentacle design in the summoning spell in Sandman is very elaborate and full of actual arcane symbols from alchemical sigils and Futhark runes and I think I see Hebrew in there.  It’s a magical hodgepodge.   I won’t go into too much detail about these because some of them are hard for me to see in the illustration even when I enlarge it.

However…

Notice the use of the pentacle at the four points of the circle.  In the Sleep of the Just splash page (issue 1 of The Sandman) I can only see two points but I believe there is a pentacle at the North, South, East, and Western points of the circle.    

The pentacle is NOT Satanic in nature, despite popular misconception.   It is an ancient symbol of elemental magicks.   Each point is an element.  Water, Fire, Earth, air, and spirit at the top.  Water, Fire, Earth, and Air are each associated with a direction.  For example, water is associated with the west.  (Ironic that The Wicked Witch of the West was destroyed with water, isn’t it?) 

The pentacle is a fairly ancient Pagan symbol however it also has had popular use in Christian lore.  

In one folk belief a ring with a pentacle on it was given to King Solomon by the Archangel Michael and this helped enable him to bind djinn or demons.

in Goethe’s Faust Part 1 we find out that a pentacle used as a protection ward over the entrance of Faust’s home can successfully ward against demons.  In German lore the pentacle was once known as the Drudenfuss (The Druid’s foot.)  The demon, Mephistopheles AKA Mephisto, is only able to get in the home because one of the points didn’t quite meet the edge of the circle.  However the pentacle was correct enough that he could not leave until the pentacle was destroyed.  

In the 1941 film The Wolfman the pentacle could be used to ward off the werewolf, prevent the werewolf transformation (when worn by the werewolf), and would appear in a vision to the werewolf on the next victim as a warning.

This carried over into the TV series Dark Shadows, which used the same rules for its own werewolves.   However Dark Shadows preferred to use the unbound pentacle (without the circle around the star).  This carried over to the 1981 film An American werewolf in London where the tavern “The Slaughtered Lamb” was warded against the werewolf with a similar unbound pentacle.   And was possibly drawn in lamb’s blood (More on that later).  

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2.   The crystalline cage.

While the circle holds Morpheus incorporeally, the crystalline cage holds his material aspect (his physical form).  This cage isn’t merely glass though there is an irony to it being glass as glass is made from sand.  Sand that has been transformed into something else.  The Sandman trapped by sand…  Ha!  That must have pissed him off…

Anyway, it’s not purely glass.  It’s leaden quartz crystal.   In folk belief from many parts of the world quartz crystal can absorb and contain magick.  In some lore it can even trap a ghost.   Modern day Wiccans and other Neo Pagans often use quartz crystal in spellcasting.  It’s a common tool in scrying practices.   

That and it is an aspect of sand…   

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3.   True name.   Though Dream of The Endless is more of a function than a name, the aspect known as Morpheus is so much a part of his identity that on some level he must perceive it as his true name.  Hence why he hears and answers to it when Rose Walker calls out to him.In folklore if you know a supernatural creature’s true name that’s how you can invoke or banish them.  It’s also why you should never give a fae your full true name.  They can use it to cast magick against you. 

The story of Rumpelstiltskin uses this rule as once the queen knew the imp’s true name she was able to banish him.  

You see it all the time in pop culture such as summoning The Candyman by calling his name five times, or Beetlejuice- you can invoke or banish him by calling his name three times.  Or the old party game of Bloody Mary.   A true name isn’t necessarily the name you were given at birth.  A true name is the name you most heavily associate with yourself.   The Endless supposedly don’t have true names but the aspect of Dream of The Endless that answers to the name Morpheus certainly treats it as his true name.

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4.  A circle drawn in the blood of a black lamb.  This one has it’s origins in Exodus.  The passover story.  It was the blood of the lamb that kept the angel of death from entering the Jewish homes so that the angel could claim the first born of every Egyptian family and passover the slave homes.   Because of this there was established lore that the blood could protect against demons and angels.  Lamb’s blood was used in early exorcisms and sometimes as a sacrament in place of sacramental wine.  In the TV show Forever Knight it could even ward against vampires if blessed or with faith behind its power by the person trying to use it as a ward.        

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5.   A geas tattoo in the form of the tree of life merged with a dreamcatcher.  As Dream is not of any particular race and represents the dreams of all sentient life, symbols of faith in regard to dreams will work on him (on some level) from all beliefs.      

This one from the 2018 The Dreaming by Simon Spurrier is a combination of the Tree of Life from Kabbalah mysticism combined with a dreamcatcher sacred among Native American / First Nations / Great Plains cultures.   According to popular belief if you hang a dream catcher over the bed it will protect against nightmares.  The nightmares will be caught in the net while good dreams can pass through.  The nightmares burn up in the early morning sunlight.   As Dream of The Endless is the anthropomorphic personification of both dreams and nightmares this ward can successfully bind him.

A geas, by its very nature, is a spell to prevent someone from revealing something, or to force them to say or do something, or in most cases prevent them from saying or doing something in particular.   

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In light of how often he has been thwarted with petty hedge-magick, this ultimately leads to the realization that Dream’s true greatest enemy is the master of all hedge-magick, the Arch Hedge-Wizard!

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I know that’s a long way to go for a cheesy pun but I couldn’t resist…

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i desperately appreciate how dream is simultaneously emo boy i have no friends and im alone forever my chemical romance fan and sentient incarnation of a concept at the same time. creative character building at its finest.

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Saying “I prefer Dream to Death” seems incredibly profound until you remember you’re in The Sandman fandom and are just talking about the characters. 

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But then five minutes later you re-evaluate it as near metaphor and the emotional, intellectual, and philosophical implications in regard to the other people in the fandom generally preferring “Death” over “Dream” hits you without character portrayals as a consideration and suddenly you want to make sure everyone’s okay.

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Which do you like best? (Plus lineart for reference)

Dream of the Endless. 

MY ART. PLEASE DO NOT REPOST. (Reblogs appreciated, though.) 

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