- They are the same person, with the Living Dream being a kind of Alternate Self. The dreamer may be fully aware of this, believe it to be All Just a Dream, or be totally unaware that she has this other identity running around in the real world.
- They are not the same person, but the Living Dream is acting under the dreamer's orders or in the dreamer's best interests.
- The Living Dream is out of control in a destructive way. This Internal Subtrope of this trope is also a subtrope of Reality Warping Is Not a Toy.
open/close all folders
Anime And Manga
- Entei in Pokémon 3, by way of the Unowns' ability to warp reality. For that matter the entire plot of the movie is a result of this trope.
- Paprika in Paprika is the alternate self of the main character, who only exists when the main character enters other people's dreams.
- In Paranoia Agent both Shonen Bat and Maromi are Living Dreams of the main character. The former eventually gains an existence independent from her.
- Marvel Universe has a superhero known as Sleepwalker. When bad things are happening, this hero's mundane alter ego doesn't run into a phone booth to change clothes. Instead, he simply takes a nap, freeing his mind to manifest his superhero self.
- Sleepwalker and his "alter ego" are not the same being nor was he created by him. Sleepwalker is a alien from a different dimension that is trapped in the human host's mind. He is able to exit the mind into Earth's reality when the human is asleep or unconscious but gets instantly pulled back against his will when the host wakes up.
- In one Judge Dredd album, the villain seemed to be Judge Death, but at the end turned out to not be him after all: "He" was actually the living dream of a female psionic who (probably subconsciously) used him as an assassin to get rid of her enemies.
- In City of Dreams, not only can humans enter the dreamworld physically as well as in their dreams - but this works both ways. People they created in their sleep have a life of their own and may walk through the portal into the waking world.
- Two examples from (pre-Crisis) Superman comics:
- In one, a group of aliens, stranded on Earth, and convinced they will never be able to leave, transform into normal humans complete with no memories of being aliens. But their subconscious denial is so strong, it causes them to a) refuse to believe aliens are real, not even Superman and b) to subconsciously create a creature with their mental powers to destroy anything that might contradict this belief (eg. spaceships or Superman.) They eventually learn the truth and Superman helps then return home.
- In a similar but more tragic story, an alien courier bearing an important message to prevent a space war crash-lands on Earth and is buried underground; it manifests a "ghost self" that tries to steal what it needs to fix the ship, which of course draws Superman's attention. He frees the alien from underground but it's too late; turns out the alien had only just woke up from a sleep that lasted centuries, and the war had already happened.
- In The Sandman the main character is the Anthropomorphic Personification of dreaming who rules the Dreamlands populated primarily by dreams that have taken on lives of their own. The gods themselves are born from dreams, usually leave the Dreamlands to build their own realms, then return to the Dreamlands to die when they run out of worshipers.
- In the fifth book of The Chronicles of Narnia, there's an island where dreams come to life. This is not a good thing, because all people sometimes have nightmares.
- Hogfather is all about weird examples of those suddenly appearing.
- Ursula K. Le Guin's The Lathe of Heaven. George Orr has effective dreams that can change reality.
- Type 3. When asked to dream of world peace, he dreams up space aliens who invade the Moon and later attack the Earth.
- Type 2. George later dreams that the aliens become peaceful. After they do so he has a conversation with an alien that ends up helping him.
- Jorge Luis Borges's short story "The Circular Ruins" is all about this, and one of his best. Read it here.
- It's implied by H.P. Lovecraft all of reality is nothing but the Daemon Sultan Azathoth's dream.
- Andre Norton did a bunch of books about dreams-within-dreams that had an effect on the higher reality.
Live Action TV
- Star Trek: Deep Space Nine has an episode where Sisko falls in love with a mysterious woman who just keep disappearing. Turns out she's a energy lifeform without a mind of her own: She's a telepath's mental projection, existing only as a living dream while the real woman is in a kind of coma-like dream.
- There were a couple of episodes with similar plots on Buffy the Vampire Slayer. In one the monster was a child's nightmare version of his Little League baseball coach.
- And yet another episode with a similar plot on Stargate Atlantis. In this case the woman was a telepathic projection by an alien time capsule recovered from the ocean floor.
- La Novia De Jason was described as a living nightmare in LLF
- The final boss of Kirby's Adventure is a living Nightmare who attempts to use Popstar's Fountain of Dreams to spread malevolent nightmares to all of the planet's inhabitants at once. Naturally, he is sealed away temporarily when King Dedede removes the Star Rod from the fountain, preventing anyone on the planet from dreaming him up.
- Everyone from Zanarkand including Tidus from Final Fantasy X.
- In Dreamfall: The Longest Journey, Type 1 is used for interdimensional travel. This is the power of Dreamers (of whom Zoe is the only one known so far): if they sleep particularly soundly, they can not only dream of the Parallel Universe of Arcadia (which all humans can) but also manifest a physical presence there that can interact with objects and people while the Dreamer's actual body sleeps in our world. Zoe can also create such projection into her own world, Stark,—in fact, for the first four Books of Dreamfall Chapters, she is actually still in a coma, and you, in fact, control her Living Dream, which she believes to be her real body.
- In League of Legends, the playable character Nocturne is a nightmare taken physical form. An omnicidal nightmare at that. They keep him imprisoned in a nexus shard when not fighting on the rift.
- Later Rayman games have established that many of the beings in the Glade of Dreams were created through the dreams of the Bubble Dreamer. The eponymous hero is special in that he is one of the few beings who isn't a living dream.
- In Goblins, this is the explanation for the Lesser Finger Horror: a demon kept a promise to cure a little boy's recurring nightmares, but did so by bringing them into the physical world.
- Homestuck: The dream selves of Sburb players are a type 1. They exist as physical entities which actually coexist alongside the players in the Incipisphere (though owing to the scale of the game they're generally restricted to operating on Prospit and Derse), can serve as an "extra life" should the player's real self be killed, and become the player's real self in the process of God Tier ascension. To "awaken" one's dream self and thus be able to be it in one's sleep isn't particularly easy and usually involves some sort of trauma. By default they're the same person as their real self, sharing a mind and consciousness, but rare circumstances can cause a dream self to become a autonomous entity, as Jadesprite did.
- 18th-century Beatrice in The Dreamer (or is she?).
- Almost the entire cast of Roommates is this. To describe: they are self-aware fictional characters in a world where their original stories exist as fiction (they also know that they are still in a story). So yes. They were literally created by author creativity, are kept alive by the hand clapping of fandom and know this. This comes with some interesting side-effects like The Nth Doctor... which can also be invoked for a limited Voluntary Shapeshifting.
- The Crackler, a Kaiju from Godzilla: The Series.
- In Adventure Time, Prismo is an old man's dream made manifest. He'll stop existing if the man stops dreaming, but come back once he goes back to sleep. The Lich kills the old man, but even someone else dreaming in the old man's place brings Prismo back.