“The Sandman” series slowly branched out into the story, showing Morpheus’ release, Death’s debut, and Hob Gadling’s accidental immortality, but eventually, we learn that a larger part of the story revolves around Rose Walker. Rose Walker becomes one of the main protagonists of the story when Morpheus learns her true identity from Lucien’s records, which is about to bring a great disaster to Rose’s life. But in the conversation of two very important Endless siblings, ‘Desire’ and ‘Despair,’ we come to know of Rose Walker’s being a dream vortex, which is going to be a horrifying reality in her life. But what is this dream vortex? And what is its importance in Rose’s life? Let’s do a small analysis to find out the answers.
The Origin Of Rose Walker And The Dream Vortex
Neil Gaiman’s literary masterpiece “The Sandman” comic novel “The Dolls House” is the origin of Rose Walker’s story. Rose Walker was born to Miranda Walker and her husband, Brute Paulsen. She has a younger brother named Jed Walker. But when their parents get divorced, she has to separate from Jed. However, when their father dies, Jed is sent to live with his grandfather, and when his grandfather dies, he begins living with an abusive uncle and aunt, whom Rose Walker cannot trace. So Rose’s sole purpose becomes to find her brother Jed. But the problem grows when Rose is unknowingly involved with Dreaming due to her becoming a Dream Vortex. But what does it even mean?
The Dream vortex is a living creature with a serious involvement with Dreaming. The Dream vortex can reach into others’ subconsciousness through their own dreams and can navigate them. However, its harmful side is that it can break the dimensional boundaries, causing disaster in the real world that leads to destruction. This Vortex is very rare and most likely occurs every thousand years. But Morpheus’ responsibility is to destroy the dream vortex and maintain harmony between the Dream and the waking world. But due to Morpheus’ delay, the Vortex has already been damaged a lot. Whether this Vortex is a sweet and kind girl like Rose Walker, Morpheus is still bound to destroy her. This is the only time Morpheus is forced to take the life of a mortal.
Rose Walker, As Unity’s Great Granddaughter
The second volume of “The Sandman” series begins with a flashback to Rose Walker’s past. We see that Miranda and her husband separated in 2015, so Rose has to leave her brother Jed with her father. But in 2021, when neither Miranda nor her husband survives, Jed is sent to a foster home. Meanwhile, not having any trace of Jed, Rose tries to contact the foster agency to be Jed’s legal guardian, but due to privacy issues, the agency doesn’t help her.
But some foundation wants to help Rose and calls her to make an appointment for a family history interview, so Rose gets paid by the foundation to be there in London. Rose has a big deal to find her brother, but she is also afraid to face the big city without having a proper job and money. But she has her friend Lyta by her side, who knows how to encourage her. When Rose and Lyta reach London, she comes to know the absolute truth about her life. At this meeting, Rose meets Unity Kincaid, in whose room she finds a doll house, but Unity grieves that she has never had the chance to play with it. She confesses that many years ago, in her childhood, she contracted encephalitis lethargica, and in her life-long Dream, she met a golden-eyed man and gave birth to a child. But after she wakes up from the illness, her Dream is shattered, but the child born in her Dream remains in reality. The child is subsequently sent to a foster home, and the child grows up to give birth to Miranda, whose child is Rose Walker. Hence, Unity turns out to be the great-grandmother of Rose. Rose, who is alone and without her parents, is given hope to muster the courage to find her brother by having Unity in her life. But unknowingly, Rose sees some dreams which are weird and sometimes make sense after she wakes up, like when she gets her grandmother’s annulet, she can remember that she has dreamt about it. Apart from this, Rose also meets the Three Witches, called Fate, without even summoning them. Therefore, Rose Walker always gives off the vibe that proves she has some real connection with Dreaming.
Rose receives some money from her great grandmother and reaches Cape Kennedy in search of Jed. Rose and Lyta take shelter in the apartment of a young man named Hall Carter, where they interact with some weird housemates, like a couple named Ken and Barbie and two veiled women named Zelda and Canthal, who love to feed spiders. But in the evening, at Hall’s function, Rose meets another housemate named Gilbert, when she gets attacked by some thugs and is rescued by him. Although she is a very brave girl who doesn’t really need the help of Gilbert.
Rose Walker As The Dream Vortex
On the contrary, in the Dreaming, Lucien informs Morpheus about the missing entities, which are, respectively, a shape-changing nightmare named Gault, another nightmare named Corinthian, and a reliable entity that is actually a place named Fiddler Green. Lucien asks Morpheus to investigate the Vortex. But Morpheus kind of procrastinates as this little girl, Rose Walker, hasn’t affected anything, but still, to be precautious, he only sends Matthew to keep an eye on Rose. But being a dream vortex, Rose can roam freely in the Dream and waking worlds, so she arrives at the kingdom of Morpheus, where she learns about her being a dream vortex and how she can find her brother Jed through dreams. Meanwhile, in Rose’s dreams, she roams freely in others’ dreams as well. She even sees Lyta being with her dead husband Hector, and the next morning, when they wake up, Lyta shows Rose her baby bump, which Rose believes is happening because she is a dream vortex. And she is right because she is the reason for loosening the barriers between the Dream and the waking world, which leads Lyta to get pregnant in her Dream.
On the other hand, we see Jed not really being treated well in his foster parent’s house and living in a basement, struggling to survive in any way possible. Sometimes, if he even runs away, his foster father, Uncle Barnaby, catches him eventually. We come to know that Jed’s foster parent, Barnaby, only keeps Jed to get monthly money from the agency.
Therefore, worried Rose and Lyta only want to know about Jed’s wellbeing, so she asks the agency employee to visit Jed’s foster house to check on him, which the employee finds easy to do. But, Corinthian is a game-changer. Before even Morpheus, he reaches everywhere prematurely to find out about Rose, so on the way back from Barnaby’s home, the agency woman gets killed by Corinthian after she gives him Barnaby’s address.
When Rose goes to sleep the next night, she finally finds Jed in a sandman suit. This time, Rose is accompanied by Morpheus himself. Morpheus knew that the nightmare Gault was using Jed’s subconscious, which was against the rules of Nightmare and Dreaming. So, while Rose is busy inquiring about her brother’s whereabouts, Morpheus transports Gault back to Dreaming and destroys her as punishment. After waking up, Rose finally finds out Barnaby’s address and runs off to get Jed.
Corinthian’s Real Motive
However, Corinthian, being a mastermind, arrives at Barnaby’s place and kills the couple. It is indeed very questionable why Corinthian is after the siblings, but there’s nothing to shake your head about it. As we know, Corinthian is a creation of Lord Morpheus. He is always bound to follow the rules of Dreaming, which he never liked. Rather, he wanted to kill people like it was his passion. So, using Rose Walker as a weapon against Morpheus, he might try to take charge of Dreaming, and finally, after Morpheus, he might kill Rose to establish his monopoly and roam freely in both worlds.
While he was on his way to attend the serial killer convention at the Imperial Hotel, he took Jed with him and made him believe that he was a good guy who wanted to help them. Even on the street, Corinthian calls Rose and gives her the hotel address where he is staying with her brother. As Rose leaves for the hotel with Gilbert, she constantly worries about her brother and overthinks in every way possible, but to keep her calm, Gilbert talks to her, and we see Rose peacefully fall asleep on the way, and in her Dream, she arrives at Lyta’s dream place, where in front of the pregnant Lyta and Rose, Morpheus puts an end to Lyta’s Dream by destroying her dead husband Hector’s spirit. But Morpheus claims Lyta’s unborn child to be part of the Dreaming and tells her that one day he will take the child back. But in hindsight, Rose protests to Morpheus, saying that she won’t let that happen because from now on, being a vortex is her universe as well. Rose wakes up when she and Gilbert arrive at the hotel.
For not being serial killers, Rose and Gilbert can’t enter the convention, but she finds her brother Jed in a hotel room. And again, on their way back, they get interrupted by the Corinthian. Corinthian warns Rose about Morpheus’ plan to kill her, which is true, but Corinthian says that to Rose in his own version. He wants to brainwash Rose by falsely telling her that Morpheus is doing this to rule in the Dreaming, which obviously confuses Rose, and for a moment, she even trusts Corinthian’s wicked words. In fact, when Corinthian leaves for the convention, asking Rose to wait in the room, Rose again bumps into Morpheus in her Dream. But this time, Rose wakes up puzzled by the contradictory conversation of Morpheus and Corinthian in her subconscious. Rose discreetly avoids both of them and stands up for herself to save her brother Jed, which was her foremost priority. However, Morpheus discovers Corinthian’s whereabouts through Rose’s Dream, which was basically his plan, and finally, in a room full of serial killers, Morpheus destroys their guest of honor, The Corinthian.
Unity’s Sacrifice And The Lost Heart
When Rose returns home with Jed, she begins to wonder about the consequences of her becoming a vortex and musters up the courage to go to sleep this time without fear of her impending Death. But now, her Dream has become fatal. In her sleep, she finds Hall dancing with his female version, Ken and Barbie fighting, and Zelda and Canthal repeating their speech, which is usually what dreams look like, though. But this time, we finally see the actual Vortex appear like a cyclone and begin to consume all of them along with Jed, except Rose. When Rose becomes confused and scared, she finally finds Morpheus by her side. He consoles Rose that none of them are dead but that they are still in danger until the Vortex herself is dead.
Morpheus clears her doubts about her impending doom, but that’s when Gilbert arrives, offering his own life in Rose’s place. But Morpheus reveals that there is no way he can keep the dream vortex alive. And we get to know Gilbert’s true identity, which is actually one of the missing entities of Dreaming, Fiddler Green. Gilbert apprises Rose that after Dream Lord’s imprisonment, he ran away from the Dreaming to taste human life, but he should get back to her appointed position to maintain the Dreaming. Gilbert turns himself into beautiful greenery with flowers, plants, and birds. When Morpheus sets out to take Rose’s life, she is also willing to sacrifice her life to save her friend and brother, or else she has no choice.
But finally, Unity and Luciene are seen coming forward. Beforehand, the series shows us Unity falling asleep and entering Lucien’s library of the Dream realm. Here she finds a book about her unlived life, which informs Unity about her being the Dream Vortex of this age. We get to know that through genes, the attributes of Vortex have entered the last way into Rose. When Morpheus was captured, Unity was suffering from sleepy sickness during his captivity, and in her dreams, she met a golden-eyed man with whom she gave birth to Rose’s grandmother. She could have died a long time ago in her 106 years of almost unlived life, but she feels that her life has been completed after meeting her great-granddaughter. So she asks Rose to take out a red glittering heart sigil from her body and give it to Unity, which gets destroyed in Unity’s hands. She dies and saves Rose Walker’s life on this journey. Thus, Morpheus is able to re-equalize the Dreaming and waking worlds. But as you know, this is not the very end. Unity’s sacrifice leaves us with many questions which are yet to be answered.
Is Desire The Villain?
In order to have answers to all the questions, Morpheus realizes in a moment who is the real villain. And when we see that golden-eyed man, we understand that Unity’s dream man was actually none other than Dream’s brother Desire, who is an important member of Endless. Desire’s grudge against his brother Dream leads him to take revenge in every way possible. So when Unity went into a sleepy coma, Desire was the one who impregnated her so that she could later create the dream vortex. That’s why Morpheus stated that Rose and her brother Jed are part of Endless, which means Desire is their great grandfather.
In earlier scenes, we see Desire discussing Nada and Roderick Burgess with her twin Despair, which suggests that Desire had a hand in Nada’s encounter with Dream or Dream’s imprisonment in Burgess’ house. So it is very clear that to put Morpheus in danger, the trump card Desire played was Unity and the Dream Vortex Rose Walker.
Improvisations From The Origin
“The Dolls House” is an incomparable creation of Gaiman from which “The Sandman” show has borrowed the basic structure of the story, but some improvisations made the series a masterpiece undoubtedly. However, the notable change is Unity Kinkaid becoming Rose Walker’s great grandmother, which is different from the story. In fact, “Dolls House” was written in the early 90s. But as we know that the series follows the context of 2021. To fill this gap, instead of Miranda’s mother, Unity is shown as her grandmother and Rose’s great grandmother in the show.
In addition, we find Miranda alive in the comic book, but in the series, her closest friend Lyta Hall takes the place of the dead Miranda, whose origin story is also revealed in a completely different way in the series. Corinthian’s involvement is also exaggerated here, which can turn the dramatic tone of the story into a perfect thriller. Instead of Brute and Glob from the comics, we see a fused character in Gault here. And to avoid any direct link to DC’s other superhero verse, in the series, we see Lyta and Hector as ordinary people who, in fact, originated as the superhero offspring. Because of Lyta and Hector’s separate storylines, here we see Rose’s brother Jed’s dreams where he is dressed as an old comic book superhero, “The Sandman.”
Some of the improvisations from the comic are beautifully plated in the series, and some moments give a dull feeling. As much as Unity’s appearance in the comic book made the climax of the story eye-catching, the series does not create that atmosphere, and that may remain a regret for the comic book readers. But one question remains about Rose Walker’s survival. If Unity gives up her own life to save Rose, is the dream vortex completely destroyed? To answer this question, it can be said that we see Rose Walker survives until the end, which suggests that her fear of Death has subsided, but just like Unity, Lyta has also brought her child to Earth through dreaming, so what does her future hold? Will Rose be able to keep her promise to hide Lyta’s child from Morpheus? There is only one way to find out everything: wait for the next season.