In Calliope, Ric Madoc buys the eponymous muse from Erasmus Fry for the price of a bezoar, a magical...thingie that is generated in something's digestive system. It's most famous property is the ability to remedy poison effects. Erasmus says he'll put this new one with the rest of them, implying that he has several. Years later, Ric finds out that Erasmus died last summer by poisoning himself. That could mean a lot of things.
In A Doll's House, we are introduced to a serial killer called The Connoisseur, whose body count is lower than many of the other killers because he kills only a very specific group of people: pre-operative transsexuals. Much later, in ''A Game of You," Wanda has a conversation with Maisie Hill (the 'I don't like dogs' lady), who tells Wanda about her grandson note Maisie misgenders her as "grandson" in the text, but she's an old lady who seems otherwise supportive, a pre-operative transwoman who was murdered. The Connoisseur isn't mentioned by name but it's all too likely that he was responsible.
In A Game of You, Thessaly apparently drinks soy milk. She's thousands of years old. She was probably born before the people in her part of the world developed the ability to digest lactose as adults.
In Dream of a Thousand Cats, Dream tells a cat that the universe can be changed when many beings fall asleep and have the same dream. The cat wants vengeance for it's kittens that were killed by humans and attempts to convince others to dream of a world where cats are larger than humans, rule the world, and hunt them for sport. Just more crazy rules of the dream world? No. Why the hell would many people dreaming the same thing make it true? Morpheus can force them to dream whatever he wants, and a world in which cats eat those that serve them couldn't be sustainable. He lied. He gave the cat just like Joshua Norton a goal that wouldn't really be achieved, but their dreams gave them both power, a reason to live, and perhaps joy.
The second play that Morpheus requests from Shakespeare? The Tempest. The plot? A sorceror, through convoluted schemes and plots, conspires to end his life of isolation and entrapment, in the process destroying his magical gifts and ensuring himself an heir..... Does this sound... familiar? Which means that Morpheus is really playing the long game when it comes to his suicide.
Hob Gadling seems to suffer centuries of prosperity and failure designed deliberately to teach him valuable lessons about the nature of immortality. It seems awfully coincidental until you realize it's entirely possible Morpheus is arranging these streaks of bad and good luck.
I dunno, that doesn't actually seem all that likely.
It makes perfect sense to me in the context of Dream giving Hob a context for just how much of an impertinent request immortality was. Also, let's not forget, Hob realizes that Dream has motives even he's not aware of. Centuries of prosperity or suffering alone would make Hob a poor friend.
I always kinda wondered why Wesley Dodds would fight crime if he's an avatar of Dream, since he never seemed to care much about human morality. Then The Corinthian makes a brief cameo in the Phantom Of The Fair arc & it all begins to make sense. The Corinthian tends to turn the people he doesn't simply kill into Serial Killers, which is the main sort of crime Wes fights. His true purpose is cleaning up the mess The Corinthian's been making since he escaped — biznizz
I'm a little ashamed for not realizing this sooner, but as John Dee's final fight with Morpheus goes on, he slowly decomposes, eventually revealing an entirely skeletal face. See also his original costume◊
One of the the running gags in the Brief Lives story arc was Destruction being a terrible artist. Well of course! he's Destruction. One thing he would be bad at is creating.
This extends beyond his art. Note that just about everything he tries to create is either unappreciated or is terrible, like the meal he cooked that no one eats.
In Endless Nights, Despair convinces Rao to create the planet Krypton inherently unstable, and to manipulate events so that there will be only one survivor who will carry the despair of the entire world's death. Instead, that survivor turns out to be Superman, who is practically the anthropomorphic personification of hope in the DC Universe. Why? Because despair, by its very nature, always fails.
Also, it is stated that the Endless, by their nature, also define and embody their opposite, like how Death is also the one who bestows life upon newborns, or how Desire can inspire love or hatred.
Further than this, there is another way to interpret Despair. In Dream's funeral, she notes that she will always despair for him, and that she will never forget him, even when everybody (as in, all beings) forget him. This points that a big part of Despair's nature is remembering past pains, in a way like a witness. So in a way she won because Superman remembers the tragedy and acts as a witness for the destruction of Krypton. Despair may not necessarily be about actual desesperation, but also about memory and survivor's guilt.
At first, A Doll's House seems to rely too much on Attemped Rape as Drama as a method of putting Rose in danger. The muggers threatening to rape her is one thing, but Funland's attempt to rape her when she's clearly much too old to interest him (and when she could have been attacked by any one of the "collectors" who wasn't a rapist as well as a killer) bordered on Gratuitous Rape. But of course everyone who sees her wants to have sex with her, consensual or no—she's Desire's granddaughter.
Desire's kindness toward Tiffany in Brief Lives seemed sort of odd to me at first, since it usually comes off as uncaring. What reason would there be for Desire to have any interest in some random stripper? Then I got it; it's because she was a stripper. She makes people want her for a living but they don't get her. As seen in Endless Nights Desire isn't interested in people getting what they want, because then they won't want it any more. Essentially, Tiffany is an agent of Desire and through her we get to see the kindest it ever is in the series.
In 'Tales in the Sand', the narrator says, about Morpheus's and Nada's lovemaking: "All that night they stayed together, and every living thing that dreamed, dreamed that night of her face, and of her body, and of the warm salt taste of her sweat and her skin." It sounds romantic before you realize just what it means. And you thought naked pictures of yourself on the internet was bad...
Meh. It assumes that her culture had the same nudity taboo and sexual attitudes as ours, which is... unlikely.
I would be more concerned about how confusing and scary this might have been for those living things, who aren't attracted to women (heterosexual women, asexuals, gay men etc), or humans (the almost the whole animal kingdom, and even some humans), or don't even have a concept of lovemaking for one reason or another (children because they are too young, plants, non-sexually reproducing animals). Heck even for a perfectly heterosexual guy this (bordering on erotic) dream about a stranger could be utterly confusing. Morpheus mentally scarred generations of the living.
After Lucifer turfs everyone out of hell in Season of Mists, a lot of the dead end up walking around on Earth as, well, zombies, basically. Among the dead shown to return are two babies- one just a few months old at most, the other a severely premature miscarriage. Yep. In this universe, babies too young to understand the concepts of right and wrong, let alone make any moral choices, can get condemned to eternal torture.
To be fair, it seems that there's some level of self-perception involved.
Even better: Remember that Luci turfs everyone out? Who's to say that those two "babies" aren't shapeshifting demons, tormenting the mother?
The never-born are stated to be inhabitants of Hell earlier in the book. At one point we even see ground covered in dead babies in Hell's landscape. This is a part of the long-standing Christian belief that unbaptized children can't enter Heaven. Ofcourse just because it's this way doesn't mean that it can't simultaneously be other ways too, The Sandmanbeing what it is.
Remember how Delirium cursed the innocent policeman to experience imaginary bugs crawling on his skin FOREVER? Since she's an Endless, this may mean that the curse will linger even through his death into every reincarnation and afterlife that he'll ever have, unless Delirium some day changes her mind.
Or, once he belongs to Death, the other Endless (including Delirium) will have no power over him. They seem to have some power in each other's realms, maybe they just don't use it on each other out of politeness. Except Desire, who is a bitch like that.
There is one in perhaps one of the most harmless of books. In Delirium's Party every one of the Endless gives a present to Despair, everything is good and dandy until Desire gives her twin a locket that would make her the object of all hearts' longing, all they crave for. Imagine an entire universe craving for hopelessness!
Thankfully she never wore it.
In The Doll's House, when Funland attempted to rape Rose (which led to her summoning Dream), Dream only put him to sleep. Then Dream went to the Corinthian's speech and took away the self-heroic fantasies of the "collectors" that were in the room. But since Funland was elsewhere, having just been given a dream about all his "little friends" BY Dream, he missed it. And then can go right back to his "secret, special place" which is implied to be Disneyland (or Disney World), where his kills are covered up for him.
At least this one isn't a given. I don't see Morpheus letting him go so easily, especially once he realises that Funland's would-be victim is his grandniece.
Apparently it is a given, as well as Ascended Fanon — Funland shows up in Batman: The Widening Gyre, back to his old tricks.
Maybe not. Funland's dream is based on the final scene in Oscar Wilde's "The Selfish Giant," in which the children lead the Giant away to play in the gardens "which are Paradise," a.k.a. Heaven, i.e. the Giant is now dead. The later appearance in The Widening Gyre may be a retcon, or it may be that the Batman writers also interpreted the scene to mean that Funland was only sleeping.