Follow TV Tropes


Sentient Sands

Go To

Fictional creatures will often reflect the biome they live in, sometimes even be composed of the main element of said biome. Frozen Slippy Slidey Ice Worlds will often have Snowlems or more rarely sentient Sizable Snowflakes, forests will have Planimals, and so on. How would it translate to Shifting Sand Lands? Sand creatures!

Most often, the sand golem will have a definite form that just happens to be made out of and living into sand. But in very rare cases, most notably in the Stephen King novel Beachworld, the vast Shifting Sand Land itself will be sentient.

Compare Rock Monster and Sand Blaster. See also Elemental Embodiment.



    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 
  • In Bleach, Las Noches, the palace where Aizen and his cohorts of Arrancar reside, is guarded by a massive Hollow made of sand called Lunuganga. Another similar giant Hollow is encountered much later. In both cases, they live in a world which looks like an infinite barren desert of sand and petrified trees.
  • In Naruto, Gaara can turn himself into sand.
  • Crocodile of One Piece became living, moving sand in human form after eating the Sand-Sand Fruit.
  • Soul Hunter: When Yozen is stuck in a battle against Domain Holder Chotenkun and his unescapable desert dimension he manages to win by transforming himself in the very red sands of the Paopei and threaten to slowly expands until he ruptures the limits of the closed space. It works, killing Chotenkun, but then Yozen's so tired he can't keep human form for long and tries to hide from his friends.

    Comic Books 
  • Firestorm (DC Comics): The villain Eddie Slick/Sand Demon was a metahuman who gained sand powers after being buried in the Nevada desert and mutated by the sand exposure. He could turn his entire body into sand. Firestorm defeated him by solidifying his sand body into glass and then shattering him.
  • Spider-Man: One of Spider-Man's usual foes, William Baker/Flint Marko (a.k.a. the Sandman), is made out of sand. He became this way when he hid out on a beach to evade the law, but said beach was the test site of a nuclear bomb, and the radiation bonded his molecules to the sand around him.

    Fan Works 
  • Ben 10: Reincario: Sandbox is essentially a single-celled organism made of sand, allowing him to morph his body as he must, such as forming an Arm Cannon or even making armor by compressing his sand into sandstone.

    Film — Animation 
  • Rise of the Guardians: The Sandman, or Sandy for short, is made entirely of sand. He does not speak, but communicates through sand images that he conjures above his head.

    Film — Live Action 
  • In Spider-Man 3, Thomas Haden Church plays Flint Marko. After breaking out of prison, he visits his family, but his upset ex-wife Emma forces him to leave. While on the run from police, he stumbles upon a particle physics test that transforms him into the Sandman. Church reprises the role in Spider-Man: No Way Home.

  • Beachworld from Skeleton Crew takes place on a planet entirely covered by malevolent sand with the power of Mind Control and the ability to wreck human electrical systems. It can also assemble into various shapes like a hand to try grabbing any visiting spacecraft in order to prevent them from leaving the Beachworld.
  • Deltora Quest has the Shifting Sands which serve as both the location and guardian of one of the gems of the Belt of Deltora and is made from the dead members of Hive creatures. As their name implies, the Sands are constantly shifting and changing which results in people getting lost as they travel the desert.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The Blake's 7 episode "Sand" features a planet covered with living, carnivorous sand, which tries to trap visitors and force them to breed so that it can have a farmed population to feed on.
  • In Doctor Who, the episode "Sleep No More" featured Sandmen as the Monster of the Week, which were literally humans made from sand. It's later revealed they were made from "sleep dust" (the crusty substance in your eye) and that Sandmen could be created from any human after being exposed to an electronic signal.
  • In The Flash, Sand Demon is featured as a Villain of the Week, being one of the Earth-2 metas sent by Zoom. Much like his comics counterpart, Barry defeats him by solidifying his sand body into glass before it shatters, by throwing lightning at him.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • The Fiend Folio supplement (1981) introduces the sandmen. A sandman is a humanoid monster made up of sand held together by magic. Any creature that comes within 20 feet of it must save vs. spell or be put to sleep for at least 30 minutes.
    • The Monster Manual II (1983) introduces the Sandling: it is a form of Silicon-Based Life that is made up of a flowing mass of sand. Sandlings hate water because it causes them to move and attack at half normal speed.
  • Pathfinder: Sand golems are a type of construct originally invented by the Jistka Imperium as low-cost frontline troops — as the Jistkas lived in a primary desert country, sand was literally as common as dirt for them. They have the added bonus of being able to seize enemy weapons by clutching them with their own sandy bodies when struck in melee, and their ability to hid unnoticed among and within dunes further made them ideal desert troops.

    Video Games 
  • EXTRAPOWER: Giant Fist: The golem summoned by Blackberry in her first encounter, which appears again as a guardian of the upper levels of her pyramid before fighting Ogonmushi, is a large construct of sand and crumbles away upon defeat. Sadly, you can't summon it while playing as Blackberry. Thankfully, she can't summon it during her actual boss fight.
  • The Legend of Zelda has two sand monsters.
    • In The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, Link encounters a literal sand-men called the Geldman, in various desert environments. These became recurring enemies in the series.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks has an enemy made out of sand called Gerune that appears in the Sand Temple. It looks like a sand Bedsheet Ghost and in its regular form is invulnerable to almost anything except for the Sand Wand. This item, which is used to create elevated platforms out of sand, paralyses them and makes them solid for a solid beating.
  • Mega Man Battle Network 3 has DesertMan, a Navi made of sand that takes the form of a head and two hands sticking out of the ground. The only way to damage him is attacking his head, which will cause it to collapse and force you to wait for it to appear again, unless you hit it with an Aqua attack which makes it briefly harden. His hands are separate entities that attack by either turning into a lion head and charging at you, or turning into a brick block and falling from above.
  • Pokémon Sun and Moon introduced Sandygast and Palossand, Ghost and Ground type Pokemons which are basically a sentient sand heap and a sentient sandcastle respectively, and very dangerous ones, at that, being able to exerce Mind Control on people and actively hunting their preys to siphon out their life energy. Ultra Sun also reveals that each and every grain of sand from Palossand's body has its own free will.
  • Techically almost all the enemies in the Sands of Time Trilogy of Prince of Persia are either people infected by the Sands of Time or seemingly humanoid/bestial monsters made of sand. The Army of Solomon in Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands is not only made of sand-created undeads, but can also increase its numbers by absorbing already-existing sand.
  • The second boss in Smart Ball is a sand robot. It arises from the dunes as a cloud of sand that takes humanoid shape and sprouts a robot head, hands, and feet.
  • Super Mario Bros.:
    • The Sand Bird from Super Mario Sunshine is a gigantic bird made out of sand blocks which flies over Delfino Island. It hatched from an egg that was kept in the Shine Tower in Gelato Beach.
    • Sandmaarghs are a variant of Blarggs, a type of vaguely dinosaur-like monsters made out of lava and found in fire-themed levels, that are instead made out of sand and found in desert-themed levels. They first appeared in Super Mario 3D Land, where they usually lurk in the sand and rise out to attack Mario when he gets close, and reappear in Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam.
    • The Sandoon enemies from Mario & Luigi: Dream Team are little more than, well, sand dunes with eyes and three pink antennae. They only appear in the Dozing Sands.
  • Yo-Kai Watch has Danke Sand and No Sandkyu, living sand dunes with eyes, a mouth and arms. While Danke Sand is an Extreme Omnivore, No Sandkyu is a very Picky Eater in contrast.

    Web Comics 
  • In The Order of the Stick, the goblin cleric Redcloak has the habit of summoning elementals based on the elements of the real-life periodic table, rather than the classical four elements. One of them is a Silicon elemental, which he summons in a desert and which takes the form of a colossal, vaguely humanoid pile of animated desert sand. The titular Order has a difficult time fighting it, since their swords and arrows just pass right through the loose sand.

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • Quest features a sand golem on a desperate hunt for the water that he needs to stick together (dry sand, of course, will not clump).
  • The Sand Castle features a sand golem that somehow rises up out of the sand spontaneously, then starts crafting a bunch of sand buddies to hang out with and a castle for them to live in.
  • The SpongeBob SquarePants episode Sand Castles in the Sand has Spongebob and Patrick building increasingly militarized Palatial Sandcastles to war against each other. SpongeBob manages to build an entire human-like crew (and a bull) made out of sand which are fully sentient and able to move at will. Unfortunately, they are as easily destroyed as regular sand structures. Also, the sand gargoyles from SpongeBob's last sandcastle fly away at the imminence of said sandcastle's bombing.
  • W.I.T.C.H. has Sandpit also known as the Sands of Torus Filney, a sand monster which served both the Big Bad of seasons 1 and 2.