The Endless: Who Are DC’s All-Powerful Personifications?

And You Thought The Olympians Were Dysfunctional…

Dream:Desire, listen to me carefully. Remember this. We of The Endless are the servants of the living, not their masters. We exist because they know, deep in their hearts, that we exist.

The Sandman: The Dolls House

Two odd beings approach a round table. A tall man in hooded robes closes a tome and sits as the book instructed. A woman sits next to him. She wears a silver ankh around her neck and an easy grin on her face. A dour-faced man arrives and takes his place next to an empty seat whose owner long since abandoned his role.

An androgynous being arrives next. Were anyone but their family present, they would fall instantly in love with this vain creature. Not far behind them is a morose, naked woman. She constantly cuts herself with a hooked ring as she sits. The final participant runs in. She is dressed in a mishmash of punk and ballerina clothes and her hair is full of fish. Her appearance changes a dozen times before she sits. With everyone present, Destiny begins the meeting of The Endless. 

The Endless are some of DC’s strongest beings. Each of them is an anthropomorphic personification of their domain, with powers surpassed only by God and their parents. So who are they? What can they do? Why are so many of them at each other’s throats? Let’s find out.

Destiny of The Endless: Que Sera, Sera

Played by: Jeffery Wright

Narrator: The paths fork and divide. With each step you take through Destiny’s garden, you make a choice; and every choice determines future paths. However, at the end of a lifetime of walking you might look back, and see only one path stretching out behind you; or look ahead, and see only darkness.

The Sandman: Season of Mists

The oldest of The Endless is a study in opposites. He is potentially the strongest family member, but so bound by his domain that he is the weakest. Unlike his siblings, he first appeared as the host of Weird Mystery Tales instead of being created for The Sandman. Introducing Destiny of The Endless.

Destiny takes the form of a blind man who is constantly reading a book chained to his wrist. He rarely interacts with others, preferring to observe unless his destiny forces him to become involved. In many ways, he is DC’s version of Marvel’s Watcher. They even share a voice actor.

Destiny is utterly bound by his position as the embodiment of predestination. He never does anything unless his book says that he will, even warning of unintentional outbursts in advance and reacting as if they were unplanned. Despite that, he is incredibly powerful when foreordained.

Death of The Endless: Don’t Fear the Reaper

Played by: Kirby Howell-Baptiste, Jamie Chung, Kat Dennings

Element Girl:You’ve come for me? Blessed, merciful Death, you’ve come to make it stop?
Death:No, I haven’t come for you, Rainie. There was a woman upstairs, changing the lightbulb in her kid’s room. The stepladder slipped. …Like I said, I was passing by and I heard you crying, and well, the door was open…

The Sandman: Dream Country

Everyone has their own idea of death. You might think of the classic Grim Reaper, scythe and all. Perhaps you view death as an angel coming to end suffering or an abomination to flee from at any cost. I doubt you picture her as the world’s perkiest goth, but that’s how Death of The Endless appears.

Death has existed since the beginning of the DC Universe and is one of the few beings who will survive its end. She can be identified by her penchant for dark clothing and signature silver ankh. Everyone who lives meets her twice, once when she gives them life and again when she comes to claim it.

Unlike most incarnations of death, Death of the Endless is cheerful. She’ll chat amicably with people about to die, ease others into the afterlife, and often acts like a big sister. Once a century, Death assumes mortal form so she can empathize with humans. Don’t tick her off though. No one wants to mess with an angry Death.

Death of The Endless is far and away the most popular Sandman character. She’s crossed over to meet Lex Luthor while he was dying and starred in an HIV PSA with John Constantine. Death was also featured in the animated short film DC Showcase: Death.

Dream of The Endless: Boulevard of Broken Dreams

Played By: Tom Sturridge, James McAvoy

[Shakespeare has asked why Dream commissioned The Tempest]
Dream:I wanted a tale of graceful ends. I wanted a play about a king who… who leaves his kingdom. About a man who turns his back on magic. I am Prince of Stories, Will, but I have no story of my own. Nor shall I ever. …I thank you.”

The Sandman: The Wake

Stories are capricious little bastards. You could strain all day and never write a sentence. But that night, right on the border of sleep, it’ll all slide right into place. That strange place is where Dream of The Endless does his best work.

Dream, sometimes called The Sandman, is the series’ focal character. He was captured by a cult who planned to imprison Death to become immortal. He escaped decades later, only to find his vassals gone and his realm in ruins. His attempts to reform his kingdom begin the series.

If you want to know more about Dream, then go check out our Sandman Backstory.

Destruction of The Endless: (And I Feel Fine)

Played By: N/A

Destruction: [painting] “Well? What do you think of it so far?
Barnabas:I’m not much of an art critic.
Destruction:I’m not looking for art criticism, Barnabas, just a few honest words of appreciation.
Barnabas:Honestly? Well, the perspective’s shot to Hell, the colors could be better chosen, and the olive tree on the left looks like an overgrown stinging nettle.”
Destruction:Hmph. What the hell would you know? You’re a dog.
Barnabas:Did I ever say I wasn’t?

The Sandman: Brief Lives

Many people hate their jobs. Maybe it isn’t what they want to do or it hurts other people. You could keep going and let it crush your soul or just walk away. Leave whatever’s hurting you and find your own path. Perhaps down that road you’ll find a kindred spirit in Destruction of The Endless.

Destruction ruled over every act of violence and destruction before learning that humans would invent the atomic bomb. He refused to accept the guilt, abdicated his position and left the family to find another way. He wandered for ages and was involved with several mortal affairs, including fighting in wars and helping build the Panama Canal. But Destruction always left a trail of devastation behind him.

Destruction and his talking dog Barnabas eventually settled in Greece. He tried several artistic pursuits to explore creation, the opposite of his domain. All of his attempts failed because they went against his nature. Destruction is wise, world-weary, and acts as the family’s big brother. Unfortunately, The Endless don’t follow his advice because it is antithetical to their nature.

Desire of The Endless: Desert Rose

Played By: Mason Alexander Park, Justin Vivian Bond

Rose:Are you going to hurt me? Kill me? Mess me up?
Desire:No more than usually, no, and perhaps a little, but only with love.

The Sandman: The Doll’s House

Desire is in the eye of the beholder. To some they’re Miss Fortune, to others, Sir Prize, but one thing can be said for sure about Desire of The Endless: they’re a jerk.

Desire is the most manipulative member of The Endless. They’ll tempt people with whatever they want the most, then snatch it away at the last second. You wouldn’t desire something you already had, right? Despite being cruel and selfish, Desire can occasionally help others and show that they have a heart.

Desire and Dream take sibling rivalry to the next level. They once used their abilities to make Dream’s lover fall for someone else as a prank. The Sandman took that hard and ordered Desire to stay out of his life. Insulted by his lack of humor, Desire schemed to make Dream lose his power by spilling familial blood.

Despair of The Endless: Hurt

Played By: Donna Preston, Miriam Margolyes

Despair:I cared for him, very much. He was so wise; he seemed so certain of the rightness of his actions. And I, who do nothing but doubt, admired that in him. He was a creature of hope, for dreams are hopes, and echoes of hopes, and I am a creature of despair.

The Sandman: The Wake

It’s sometimes easy to feel like everything has gone wrong. That the world is a harsh and unforgiving place where everything sucks. That there is no hope. But before doing anything rash, look around and make sure that Despair of the Endless isn’t peering over your shoulder.

Despair is the second being to hold that title. She killed the first Despair long ago and was cursed to take her place. Both incarnations are miserable beings who relish people falling under their sway. The first focused on grandiose plans to create the most despair possible while the second seeks sublime suffering for individuals. Both worked well with Desire since people they trick often fall into her power.

Despair’s attempts to cause suffering often backfire and inspire hope. The second incarnation tried to drive a man to suicide. Dream helped him resist and inspire others as Norton I, first and only Emperor of America. The first Despair convinced the god Rao to create life on a doomed planet to make its only survivor despair. Instead, that survivor became the greatest beacon of hope in the DC universe: Superman.

Delirium of The Endless: Shine On, You Crazy Diamond

Played By: Kristen Schaal

Delirium:[Barnabas] was a very clever doggy. He often said things like… like… “I would feel infinitely more comfortable in your presence if you agreed to treat gravity as a law, rather than one of a selection of options.

The Sandman: The Kindly Ones

Reality can be a bit much sometimes, right? When things are pushing just a little too hard and your sanity is being stretched too tight, why not try another viewpoint? You’ll see things you couldn’t comprehend as you are, that I guarantee. Just make sure to say hi to Delirium of The Endless on your way to La La Land. Or don’t, it’s your call.

Delirium is the youngest member of the family and often gets on the others’ nerves. She goes on tangents, spontaneously creates things, and constantly shapeshifts. For some reason, all her forms resemble Tori Amos as much as possible without lawyers getting involved. Delirium’s madness means someone has to be her caretaker, with Destruction and Barnabas usually accepting the responsibility.

Long ago, Delirium was Delight of The Endless, a personification of joy. Something unknown caused her to become Delirium to cope with it. Unlike her older siblings, she has “paid her price” and can easily access the opposite side of her domain: sanity. Doing that hurts, but allows her to act as Delight for brief periods. She has also claimed to know things that Destiny doesn’t and he is unable to perceive what happened to cause her change.

Didya Get All That?

DC’s most powerful beings in desperate need of family counseling.

Image courtesy of Netflix

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