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The Sandman | Quotes


What power would Hell have if those here imprisoned were not able to dream of Heaven?

Morpheus, Preludes and Nocturnes

Morpheus believes dreams offer hope. The true punishment of Hell lies not in its torments, but in the denizens' ability to dream of something better, of something beyond their current or foreseeable situation.


We of the Endless are the servants of the living—we are not their masters.

Morpheus, The Doll's House

Morpheus tells Desire what the Endless are and are not. Specifically, the Endless are bound up with how humanity perceives them and it is a symbiotic relationship.


Dream the world. Not this pallid shadow of reality. Dream the world the way it truly is.

Cat, Dream Country

The Cat is encouraging other cats to dream the world they want it to be. She is extolling the power of dreams to shape the world and the power of stories to change the way things are for the better.


Things need not have happened to be true.

Morpheus, Dream Country

Throughout Sandman dreams often have repercussions on the waking world and vice versa. The power of dreams to influence reality is a theme in the series. Just because something isn't real doesn't make it less true.


Sometimes we can choose the path we follow. Sometimes our choices are made for us. And sometimes we have no choice at all.

Morpheus, Season of Mists

Morpheus is a character whose choices define him and lead to his eventual end in The Kindly Ones. Almost everything that occurs in the penultimate volume occurs because of some previous choice Morpheus made. Though he sees himself as having no choices, he consciously puts himself in the position where he is hemmed in by only one choice (in itself a choice).


It's like, that people ... well, that everybody has a secret world inside of them. I mean everybody.

Barbie, A Game of You

Identity is a major theme in A Game of You. Barbie has just realized the face everyone wears hides something far richer and deeper beneath the surface. Everyone's dreams and inner life are amazing creations and part of their identity.


You can stop being anything.

Morpheus, Brief Lives

This is a foreshadowing of what will happen to Morpheus in The Kindly Ones. He chooses death rather than continuing the way he is at present. Again, it is his choice to stop being the aspect of Dream he represents.


You got a lifetime. No more. No less.

Death, Brief Lives

Everyone gets a lifetime, whether it be 15,000 years or an hour. You always get a lifetime and it will always feel too short.


You cannot seek Destruction and return unscathed.

Desire, Brief Lives

Destruction represents change, both literally and figuratively in the anthropomorphic form of the Endless. When Morpheus and Delirium try to find Destruction, it leads to Morpheus's death.


When a world ends, there's always something left over. A story, perhaps, or a vision, or a hope.

Hostess of the inn at the End of Worlds, Worlds' End

The inn is a place of transitions, a place where the leftovers gather. The idea of the death of something, be it a person or a world, is the final end that is rebutted—there is always something left behind.


I didn't say it was my fault. I said it was my responsibility. I know the difference.

Rose Walker, The Kindly Ones

The Kindly Ones hinges on responsibility, both personal and professional (and those who had it and those who renounced it). Rose understands the difference between being at fault (personal) and being responsible (obligated).


Whatever it is you originally undertake ... keep it going long enough and, in the end ..., it's always a winding sheet.

Lachesis, The Kindly Ones

Endings are deaths of a sort. At some point, no matter how long the story or the scarf or the life, everything dies. Every beginning has an ending, a boundary that defines them both.


Flowers gathered in the morning / Afternoon they blossom on / Still are withered by the evening / You can be me when I'm gone.

Lachesis, The Kindly Ones

Lachesis reads this fortune aloud in the aftermath of the Kindly Ones' attack on the Dreaming. This is the answer to what Morpheus has been planning for all along. Daniel will step in as the new Dream. It speaks of life and death and rebirth, with Daniel taking Morpheus's place and becoming him when he dies.


Sometimes I suspect that we build our traps ourselves, then we back into them, pretending amazement the while.

Daniel, The Wake

Daniel has access to Morpheus's memories (he is another aspect of the same concept) and he's drawing from Morpheus's time as a prisoner of Burgess. He's also referencing the way in which Morpheus ended his reign, how he set in motion events while pretending ignorance of them.


Only the phoenix arises and does not descend. And everything changes. And nothing is truly lost.

Master Li, The Wake

The phoenix is a creature of death and rebirth, much like the Endless. They cannot truly die, they simply become another aspect of themselves. Morpheus is not lost because a part of him lives in Daniel.

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