Movies & TV Shows

10 Folklores & Myths That Inspired The Sandman

Warning: This article contains spoilers for The Sandman TV Show and the Comic Books.Based on the DC comic books of the same name, The Sandman has blessed the audience’s screens with a magnificent version of the world which is filled with dreams, nightmares, and a ton full of lore from every religion and mythology out there. It stars Far From The Maddening Crowd actor Tom Sturridge and Doctor Who alum Jenna Coleman.

Part of its charisma comes from Neil Gaiman’s enviable skills when it comes to storytelling and the intricate ways he brings together themes and characters from folkloric origins so distinct as the Catholic Bible or Greek mythology.


10 Abel & CainCain And Abel - The Sandman TV Show and the Bible

The Dreaming has its share of lore-inspired occupants, including the brothers Abel, a shepherd, and Cain, a farmer. In the Biblical Book of Genesis, they are the firstborn children of the first man, Adam, and the first woman, Eve, who had been expelled from the Garden. Jealous of God’s favoritism towards his brother, Cain murders Abel, which results in God punishing him by cursing him to a life of wandering.

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In The Sandman, they are part of the Dreaming, but they keep their ways in Neil Gaiman’s comic style. Every time Cain gets upset, he kills Abel and then buries him, who then has to dig himself out of his grave. This situation is regarded as a minor inconvenience by both, and they still care deeply for each other.

9 GargoylesGargoyles - The Sandman and Lore

The first Gargoyle to appear in the show is Abel and Cain’s Gregory and then their little Goldie. Gargoyles are monstrous creatures carved in stone, and they serve as darker architectural details in lots of buildings, especially in European cathedrals and castles.

They are also believed to be demoniac vessels who come to life to protect the buildings they are carved on. This happens in Disney’s The Hunchback Of Notre Dame, which depicts a nicer version of these urban legends. In The Sandman, after Gregory sacrifices himself to return to Morpheus some of his lost power, the Lord of Dreams recompenses the brothers by giving them a gargoyle egg from which Goldie hatches.

8 The CorinthianThe Corinthian from The Sandman and St. Paul to the Corinthians

The Corinthian is a rogue Nightmare created by Morpheus and one of the meanest main characters in The Sandman.

The character takes its inspiration from the New Testament, specifically from Apostle Paul’s First Epistle to the inhabitants of the Greek city of Corinth. Through it, Paul explains and criticizes the ideological divisions at play among the believers of Christianism. These divisions help explain the Nightmare’s intentions in the series, which are rooted in his desire for power. The Corinthian’s ultimate goal is to overthrow Morpheus and create and control his own Dreaming.

7 LuciferLucifer Morgenstern - The Sandman, Bible

Lucifer Morningstar governs Hell, where most demons delve. She is depicted as a calm and intuitive being who, just like her Christian counterpart, has fallen out of grace and out of Heaven due to their ambition.

Related: 10 Differences Between The Sandman Comics And The Show

Its name originally comes from Roman folklore, meaning “light-bringer” in Latin, and it was one of the many words referring to the planet Venus – also known as “the morning star” as it is the first star to appear in the sky at night. It shares some similarities with the ancient Canaanite religion, whose believers worshipped the god Attar, who tried to seize the throne of the storm god Ba’al, which also resulted in his demise.

6 DeathDeath - The Sandman

Death is one of the Endless as well as one of the characters with the most thought-provoking quotes from the series. She is an anthropomorphic representation of the concept of the same name, and it is inspired by its cultural representations across the centuries.

Human beings have always looked for ways to explain the end of life and have developed rituals and beliefs such as the notion of an afterlife. Many societies have worshipped gods and deities associated with death. From the Igbo’s Ala to the Egyptian Osiris, every mythology has its death divinity.

5 Constantine

Johanna Constatine has been one of Sandman‘s best hidden gems, and this has a lot to do with Jenna Coleman’s performance.

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Necromancers ar commonly thought as beings that bring the dead back to “life,” but they can be anyone that attempts to communicate or study the dead.Several cultures going back centuries have stories about those who study and deal with the occult world of spirits, in particular with death and dark magic. The DC/ Vertigo world has used the concept as a source for creating the comic books’ antihero and occult detective John Constantine, a descendent of Lady Johanna Constantine. It has been a famous motif in fiction for centuries, appearing in TV shows like Supernatural or The Dresden Files.

4 The Fates

The Kindly Ones appear when summoned by Morpheus and later to Rose Walker. In Greek mythology, they are a trio of goddesses called the Maiden, the Mother, and the Crone.

Deities of revenge, they are also known as the Fates because they weave the thread of the destiny of everything and everyone. Answering only in riddles when consulted, the Erinyes are also said to be daughters of the Goddess of the Night, Nyx, and the Ruler of Hell, Hades. Their function in the comics shows how much pop culture is still influenced by Ancient Mythology.

3 Dreams & Nightmares

As every comic book fan knows, in The Sandman, part of Morpheus’s role is to create the Dreams and Nightmares that populate the Dreaming.

These are concepts that Ancient Greeks have explored through and through. According to the poet and historian Hesiod, Dreams are Death and Sleep’s siblings, as well as the children of Night, and thus associated to Nyx. They are also depicted in Homer’s Odyssey as entities living in the far West, near Oceanus, in the Neighborhood of the Sunset, and the Kingdom of the Dead.

2 MorpheusMorpheus in The Sandman; Morpheus the Greek God of Dreams

The titular character of the show is a fascinating blend of various myths and cosmic concepts across the globe. His dim and dubious manner has surely led many viewers to consider Morpheus a villain, but this take actually comes from the source material behind the character.

As the Primordial Greek God of Dreams, he created the dreams through which he could appear to mortals in any form, a skill that allowed him to work as a messenger between the other gods and mortals. He was also the son of the God of Sleep, Hypnos, and Goddess of Relaxation and Rest, Pasithea.

1 The Sandman

Another version of the Sandman that inspired both comics and the show is the European folklore figure. In Scandinavian folklore, he is described as a man of small stature who walks at night sprinkling sand or magical dust into the eyes of children so that they fall asleep and have cheerful dreams.

He has inspired many children’s stories. A more sinister version of him is depicted in E. T. A. Hoffmann’s 1816 short story “Der Sandmann,” where the Sandman threw sand in the eyes of children who wouldn’t sleep. The eyes would then fall out, and he would take them to his nest on the Moon where they served as food to his own children.

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