Rose Walker and her powers, explained

Editor’s Note: The following contains spoilers for the Netflix series, The Sandman.

The second half of Netflix The sand man adapts The dolls housethe second volume of the comic book epic written by Neil Gaiman. In this story, Dream of the Endless (Tom Sturridge) must track down escaped Nightmares and Dreams while dealing with Rose Walker (Vanesu Samunyai), a dream vortex that threatens to wipe out the waking world. But what exactly is a dream vortex? And why has Rose become such a powerful creature? Now that the first season of the series is available on Netflix, let’s discuss why a dream vortex is so dangerous to both the dream and the waking world.

What is a dream vortex?

When we close our eyes to sleep, we visit the Dream, the realm that Morpheus controls. However, we are not wandering all over the kingdom; instead, we only have access to an individual, fragmented version of the Dream. If the barriers between dreams are broken, all sleepers end up in the same place. Unable to apprehend the whole collective unconscious at once, their minds risk collapsing. Additionally, the Dream Joining process also destroys the Dream itself, as its many inhabitants and places crumble on top of each other, becoming ruins. Thus, breaking down the barrier between dreams has a destructive effect in both the dreaming and waking world, and if enough walls fall simultaneously, all life on the planet can be destroyed in the blink of an eye.

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A dream vortex is a living creature that develops a special connection to the Dream and is able to navigate the dreams of others. What makes the dream vortex so dangerous is that this creature can also break down barriers between dimensions. To make matters worse, the Dream Vortex cannot control its own powers and will eventually destroy the world even if it doesn’t want to. This is why Morpheus is tasked with destroying any Dream Vortex, the only occasion the Dream King has the right to kill a mortal.

RELATED: ‘The Sandman’s Dream Explained: What is the kingdom ruled by Morpheus?

Nobody knows why the dream vortex appears and where it came from. Fortunately, they are extremely rare, only appearing once in each age. Morpheus once failed in his duty and failed to clear a Dream Vortex quickly enough, causing an entire universe to be destroyed. So now Dream of the Endless is ready to do whatever it takes to kill the dream vortexes, even when they’re lovely people like Rose. But why has Rose become a dream vortex? Well, it turns out those powers are hereditary.


The Family Story of Rose Walker

Rose was not meant to become the dream vortex of this age; this role belonged to Unity Kincaid (Sandra James Young), his great-grandmother. However, once Dream was captured by Roderick Burgess (Charles Dance), Unity fell into a deep sleep. Unity slept until Dream escaped from his prison, losing his entire life in the process. The powers of the dream vortex also passed on until they reached Rose, over a century later.

The sand man also reveals that Unity had a child while still in a coma. While Unity sleeps, she encounters a handsome man with golden eyes in her dreams. The man is actually Desire, Dream’s brother, who had a child with Unity, knowing that the woman’s descendants would sooner or later become a dream vortex. And it was all part of a long game to get Dream out of the picture.


While the Endless are nearly all-powerful, they cannot harm humans who are not threats to their kingdoms. The Endless are also forbidden to shed the blood of their family. If they break these rules, they risk their own destruction. Thus, by imbuing Unity, Desire ensured that the next dream vortex to appear would have endless blood. So when Dream killed the Dream Vortex, he would shed his family’s blood and doom himself.

In the Season 1 finale, Unity sacrifices her own life to save Rose, taking her great-granddaughter’s place as the Dream Vortex. The side effect of this selfless action was that Desire’s plan failed and Dream did not kill anyone of his own family. As for Rose, she has lost all powers related to the dream vortex and can now lead a normal life with her brother Jed (Eddie Karanja).


That doesn’t mean it’s the last we see of Rose. She’s been a part of other comic book stories as well, so if Netflix wants to keep adapting Gaiman’s work, they’ll have to bring Rose back one day. And since Rose is Desire’s descendant, a possible season 2 should use the character to explore the conflicts between members of the Endless family.

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