The Sandman is an incredibly powerful being but he relies on his ruby, helmet, and pouch of dream sand. We explain Dream’s three symbols of office.
In The Sandman, Dream of the Endless (Tom Sturridge) is one of the most powerful beings in existence so why does he need his helmet, his ruby, and his pouch of dream sand? Created by Neil Gaiman, who also an executive producer along with Allan Heinberg (Wonder Woman) and David S. Goyer (Man of Steel), Netflix’s The Sandman is the long-awaited adaptation of Gaiman’s beloved graphic novels. A dark supernatural fantasy, The Sandman season 1 adapts Gaiman’s first two volumes, Preludes and Nocturnes and The Doll’s House.
When The Sandman begins, Dream AKA Morpheus is captured by a British warlock named Roderick Burgess (Charles Dance). The self-styled Magus intended to imprison Dream’s older sister, Death (Kirby Howell-Baptiste) but he accidentally caught the lord of the dream realm instead. The Sandman is stripped of his symbols of office, his dreamstone, his helmet, and his bag of dream sand as Morpheus is held captive for over a century. When Dream finally escapes, he embarks on a quest to repair his broken realm, the Dreaming, but to do so, the Sandman must recover his three powerful tools. Morpheus’ mission to regain his possessions earns him the ire of old enemies and new, but the cold and aloof Dream also begins to undergo a remarkable transformation thanks to walking among mortals like Johanna Constantine (Jenna Coleman).
As a member of the Endless and the absolute master of dreams, Morpheus is a being of staggering power, but the century of being held captive left him a shell of himself. Dream realized that he poured too much of his power and essence into his tools of office, which were stolen and scattered across the Earth and Hell. As such, Dream’s power is greatly reduced when he confronts the people and supernatural beings who stole his magical items, which were never meant to be possessed by mortals. The Sandman originally created his ruby, helmet, and pouch of dream sand as both tools to help him perform his duties as lord of the Dreaming and as symbols of his authority as the king of dreams. Morpheus gradually learns the folly of placing so much of himself in trinkets as he tries to regain his stolen symbols of office in The Sandman season 1.
The Sandman’s Helmet Explained
Dream’s helmet is the ultimate symbol of his authority as master of the Dreaming. The helm is a mask of pure dream stuff that he wears both in battle and when making diplomatic visits to other realms and planes of existence, such as Hell. Dream crafted the helmet eons ago from the bones of a dead god, which explains its eerie appearance. As the ruler of both dreams and nightmares, the Sandman can be frightening if he chooses to be, and Dream’s helmet enhances his fearsomeness when necessary.
The design of Dream’s helmet also resembles a gas mask. This is a reflection of how Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman is a retcon and reboot of a Golden Age DC Comics character also called the Sandman. Wesley Dodds was a wealthy playboy turned costumed crimefighter who wore a gas mask and put criminals to sleep with sleep gas. Dream of the Endless’ helmet is a visual nod to the Golden Age Sandman’s gas mask.
The Sandman’s Pouch Of Dream Sand Explained
Dream’s pouch of endless sand is an incredibly powerful magical item. Morpheus used the sand as an easy shorthand to grant dreams or create nightmares. The sand can put anyone to sleep and is capable of releasing dreams into the real world. Dream also uses the sand to transport himself and others between realms. Dream’s sand is incredibly dangerous in the wrong hands and is not meant to be owned and used by mortals. The sand can grant mortals immortality but at a terrible price as they simply wither away in a state of near death as they perpetually dream, thanks to the sand.
The Sandman’s Dreamstone Ruby Explained
The most powerful and dangerous of Dream’s tools of office, the ruby or dreamstone contains the most of Morpheus’ essence. The ruby allows Morpheus or whoever wields it to manifest dreams, bring dreams into reality, and even reshape reality itself. The dreamstone, if used incorrectly or if corrupted, can also alter the fabric of spacetime and cause the destruction of all of reality and existence. Once he was separated from his ruby, Dream realized how much of himself and his power he infused into it and what a mistake that ultimately was.
In DC Comics, the dreamstone was also called the Materioptikon and it was a reality-altering weapon used by the Justice League supervillain John Dee AKA Doctor Destiny. In Netflix’s The Sandman, John Dee (David Thewlis) inherited the dreamstone and altered it so that only he can use it, which threatens Dream’s control over the Dreaming and reality itself. Interestingly, a different version of The Sandman’s dreamstone appears in Wonder Woman 1984, and it’s the ancient, wish-granting artifact Maxwell Lord (Pedro Pascal) and Barbara Minerva (Kristen Wigg) use to bend reality to their liking.
The Sandman premieres August 5th on Netflix.
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