The fantastical narrative of Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman gives us several beautifully written characters. The titular Dream of The Endless, Lucifer Morningstar, the Devil themselves, and even the living nightmare, The Corinthian. However, one of the most fascinating characters is Rose Walker, a kind-hearted young girl who just wants to reunite with her long-lost brother. But that’s not all. Unbeknownst to her, she has powers she cannot control or comprehend. As a dream vortex, is Rose Walker from The Sandman really a threat to both The Dreaming and the waking world? Let’s break down her character and get a deeper insight into this convoluted world.
Rose Walker from The Sandman
Rose Walker is a good-natured and benevolent girl, desperately trying to reconnect with her long-lost kid brother, Jed Walker. They were separated in their childhood because of their parent’s divorce. After the death of both her parents, she longs for a family and will stop at nothing to find Jed. In her quest to reunite with her family, she happens to meet Unity Kincaid, her great-grandmother.
At the time of Morpheus’s century-long imprisonment, Unity was one of the people who suffered from encephalitis lethargica, the sleepiness disease. In her coma, Unity claims to have met a golden-eyed man whom she fell in love and even conceived a child with. When she woke up, she realized the child was in fact delivered and grew up in the foster home. Her daughter gave birth to Miranda, who, in turn, had Rose. With Unity’s support, Rose is even more determined to find Jed. In her journey, both Rose and Morpheus discover that she is born as a Dream Vortex.
What is a Dream Vortex? How does it connect to Dream?
Initially, the rules of The Sandman universe are crystal clear. There are two realms, The Dreaming and the waking world, that have a clearly defined line. Humans only enter the Dreaming when they fall asleep. Morpheus, the ruler of the Dreaming, is the anthropomorphic personification of dreams and hence has full control of every human’s dreams and nightmares. In fact, they are his creations. But every once in thousand years, there comes an entity that has the potential to shatter and wipe out the harmony of the universe. That is a Dream Vortex. They can enter the subconscious of others through dreams, blurring the boundaries between the two realms.
They can even navigate freely between the two dimensions without even knowing how they did it. It’s in the same vein as a Stranger Things episode back from season 1 called The Flea and the Acrobat. The vortex can essentially open gates between the worlds that can cause destruction to both dimensions. If enough “walls come tumbling down,” The Dreaming will subsume The Waking and might even self-destruct. This can even mean the potential end of Morpheus. This is why the Dream of The Endless is forced to terminate a Dream Vortex whenever it shows up.
How does Morpheus deal with the Dream Vortex?
Initially reluctant to destroy Rose Walker, Morpheus actually helps her to find her brother through the dreaming world. However, the king of dreams has his own ulterior motive. He believes that Rose’s powers can help him find the runaway nightmares Gault and Corinthian and a moving location called Fiddler’s Green. But, realizing the extent of the vortex’s ability and a threat to his own existence, he finally has to kill Rose.
The pure-hearted Rose even willingly agrees to sacrifice herself for the greater good. Her gesture even melts the cold-hearted Morpheus, who invites her to live in The Dreaming realm. Ultimately, it is revealed that Unity Kincaid was the original vortex of the era. But her endless sleep resulted in Rose receiving the powers as an heirloom. In the end, Rose gives the power back to Unity, who is then destroyed by Morpheus in the final episode of The Sandman.
What do you think of the connection between Dream and the Dream Vortex? Is there any way the two can coexist? Let us know your theories in the comments. Also, re-watch The Sandman on Netflix. Perhaps that will help you speculate better.