Our list of the best quotes from Netflix’s dark fantasy TV series created by Allan Heinberg, based on DC comic book series written by Neil Gaiman. The Sandman centers on Dream (Tom Sturridge), the king of stories and one of the seven Endless, who is accidentally summoned and captured by mortal wizard, Roderick Burgess (Charles Dance), instead of Death (Kirby Howell-Baptiste). Upon escaping after decades of imprisonment, Dream sets out to find his lost objects of power and restore order to his kingdom of the Dreaming.
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1. Sleep of the Just'When the waking world leaves you wanting and weary, sleep brings you here to find freedom and adventure. To face your fears and fantasies.' - Dream (The Sandman) Click To Tweet
Dream: We begin, in the waking world, which humanity insists on calling the real world. As if your dreams have no effect upon the choices you make. You mortals go about your work, your loves, your wars, as if your waking lives are all that matter. But there is another life which awaits you when you close your eyes, and enter my realm. For I am the King of Dreams and Nightmares.
Dream: When the waking world leaves you wanting and weary, sleep brings you here to find freedom and adventure. To face your fears and fantasies in Dreams and Nightmares that I create. And which I must control, lest they consume and destroy you. That is my purpose and my function. Or it was, until I left my kingdom to pursue a rogue Nightmare.
'You mortals go about your work, your loves, your wars, as if your waking lives are all that matter. But there is another life which awaits you when you close your eyes, and enter my realm. For I am the King of Dreams.' Click To Tweet
Lucienne: My Lord, you are coming back, aren’t you?
Dream: Why would I not return, Lucienne?
Lucienne: I don’t know, a presentiment. As powerful as you are here in your realm, Dreams rarely survive in the waking world. Nightmares, on the other hand, seem to thrive there.
Roderick Burgess: Tonight, we will achieve what no one before us has even attempted. We will summon and imprison Death. Here in the darkness.
'As powerful as you are here in your realm, Dreams rarely survive in the waking world. Nightmares, on the other hand, seem to thrive there.' - Lucienne (The Sandman) Click To Tweet
Dream: Corinthian. My creations stay in The Dreaming. They do not walk amongst the living, killing mortals for pleasure.
The Corinthian: Isn’t this why you created me? Why should we confine ourselves to their sleeping minds? Here, in the waking world, we’re unstoppable. There is nothing preventing us from taking whoever, whatever we want.
Dream: There is though.
2. Imperfect Hosts
Dream: And yet you remained while others fled, the royal librarian of an abandoned kingdom.
Lucienne: I never felt abandoned. I knew you would return.
The Corinthian: You’ve done a very good job of convincing people Ethel Cripps doesn’t exist.
Ethel Cripps: Apparently not good enough.
The Corinthian: Well, I’m not exactly “people”.
'You don't listen, do you? Attractive men seldom do. I suppose they don't have to.' - Ethel Cripps (The Sandman) Click To Tweet
Dream: There is only one sure way for me to find my tools. I must summon the Three In One.
Lucienne: Surely it hasn’t come to that.
Dream: The Fates see past, present and future, and they know all.
Lucienne: Yes, but they speak in riddles. They never tell you what you want to know, only things you should never know.
Dream: My siblings have their own realms to attend to, I have mine. We do not interfere in each other’s affairs.
'Supernatural and sexist. You really are a Nightmare, aren't you?' - Ethel Cripps (The Sandman) Click To Tweet
Lucienne: The Fates aren’t cheap, you know. They cost a bloody fortune.
Dream: And at present, I cannot muster power enough to summon them, let alone pay that cost.
3. Dream a Little Dream of Me'I say this as someone who was recently human. Human beings cannot be trusted.' - Matthew the Raven (The Sandman) Click To Tweet
Johanna Constantine: What the f*** did you do?
Alex Logue: We was just having a bit of fun.
Johanna Constantine: Bit of fun? Summoning demons for fun?
Mad Hettie: Morpheus. The Oneiromancer. You know, the Sandman. He’s back.
Johanna Constantine: The Sandman? The one who puts the kids to sleep? He’s a fairy story, Hettie.
Mad Hettie: He’s no fairy story, missy. He’s back, and he wants his sand.
Johanna Constantine: Good to know. I’m off to work.
Mad Hettie: You’ll see. I know. I’m two hundred and eighty years-old, and I know.
'Just because a Goldsmiths-educated princess wants to marry some naff winger, does not mean that she needs an exorcist.' - Johanna Constantine (The Sandman) Click To Tweet
Johanna Constantine: Just because a Goldsmiths-educated princess wants to marry some naff winger, does not mean that she needs an exorcist.
Johanna Constantine: It’s too risky with the royals. Look, if our chat goes wrong, I’ve a dead princess on my hand, a demon on the loose, and no one to pay my fee.
'Love f***s you up.' - Johanna Constantine (The Sandman) Click To Tweet
Johanna Constantine: I can’t just barge in there spouting Latin at her. Has she even been restrained, or is that why she sounds like that?
Erica: She sounds like that because she’s possessed by a f***ing demon.
Johanna Constantine: Can we at least drug her first? Get her drunk, tie her up a little bit?
Erica: She’s British royalty.
Johanna Constantine: They love that s**t.
Matthew the Raven: So, Hell does exist?
Dream: It does. For some.
Matthew the Raven: Does that mean it doesn’t exist if you don’t believe in it?
Dream: Did you believe in it? When you were a man?
Matthew the Raven: Yeah. I just didn’t expect Hell to be cold.
Matthew the Raven: They make you bring your own fire to Hell?
'Lying is maybe the worst thing you can do to another person.' - Rosemary (The Sandman) Click To Tweet
Dream: A king may not enter another monarch’s realm uninvited. There are rules,
protocols which must be followed.
Squatterbloat: There’s one at the door. At the gate of damnation. Is it thief, thug or whore? There’s one at the door. And there’s room for one more. Till the end of creation.
'Tools are the subtlest of traps. We become reliant upon them, and in their absence we are vulnerable, weak, defenseless.' - Lucifer (The Sandman) Click To Tweet
Dream: I am the King of Dreams. Ruler of the Nightmare Realms.
Squatterbloat: Yes, my clown. So, where’s your crown?
Dream: Guard your tongue, demon. The Ruler of Hell will not be kind to one who insults an honored guest. And I am a guest in this realm as I am monarch of my own.
Rosemary: I think lying is maybe the worst thing you can do to another person.
'The secret to having compassion for people is knowing that they are fundamentally selfish. It's how human beings are built. It's how we're made.' John Dee (The Sandman) Click To Tweet
John Dee: You see, the problem with having this ruby was that everyone was always trying to take it from me. And so, I just did what I had to do.
Rosemary: You murdered people?
John Dee: They weren’t good people. Not like you and Susie.
5. 24/7'The truth is a cleansing fire, which burns away the lies we've told each other, and the lies we've told ourselves. So that love and hate, pleasure and pain, can all be expressed without shame.' - John Dee (The Sandman) Click To Tweet
Bette Munroe: Well, honesty is the best policy.
John Dee: That’s what they say, isn’t it? Well, I hope it’s true.
John Dee: [referring to the ruby] This is my secret.
Bette Munroe: It’s gorgeous.
John Dee: It makes dreams come true.
Bette Munroe: I bet it does. And what are you dreaming about? New house? New job?
John Dee: A new world. A more honest one.
Bette Munroe: That is the dream, isn’t it?
'Their dreams inspired them. Their dreams kept them alive. But if you rob them of their dreams, if you take away their hope, then, yes, this is the truth of mankind.' - Dream (The Sandman) Click To Tweet
Bette Munroe: I think some people are just afraid to be happy, you know?
John Dee: The trouble with stories is, if you keep them going long enough, they all end in death, don’t they?
'Some people are just afraid to be happy.' - Bette Munroe (The Sandman) Click To Tweet
John Dee: Isn’t it a relief to tell the truth for once? Don’t you wish we could live in a world where we could say what we actually think?
Bette Munroe: I do.
John Dee: Well, it starts with us, Bette, you and I. We’re going to change the world. Make a more honest one.
6. The Sound of Her Wings'At the end, each of us stands alone. The Sunless Lands are far away and the journey is hard. Most of us will be glad for the company of a friend.' - Death (The Sandman) Click To Tweet
Dream: I’m now more powerful than I have been in eons. And yet…
Death: Here you are, feeding the pigeons.
Dream: I’d had a true quest. A purpose beyond my function, and then suddenly, it was over, and I felt disappointed. Let down. Empty. Does that make sense? I was so sure that once I got everything back, I’d feel good. But in some ways I feel worse than when I started. I feel like nothing.
'It's good to touch the Earth with your bare feet. It's grounding.' - Death (The Sandman) Click To Tweet
Death: Let me tell you something, Dream. And I’m only going to say this once, so you better pay attention. You are utterly the stupidest, most self-centered, pathetic excuse for an anthropomorphic personification on this, or any other plane. Feeling sorry for yourself because your little game is over, and you haven’t got the balls to go out and find a new one. You’re as bad as Desire. No, worse.
Harry: [as Death has come for him] Hear, O Israel. The Lord is our God. The Lord is One. I’m glad I said the Shema. My old man always said it would guarantee you a place in Heaven. If you believe in Heaven.
'People feel as pleased to have been born as if they did it themselves. But they get upset and hurt and shaken when they die. But eventually, I learned that all they really need is a kind word and a friendly face.' - Death Click To Tweet
Harry: [as he looks at his head body] I look so old. So empty. So, I’m dead. Now what?
Death: Now is when you find out, Harry.
Death: It’s good to touch the Earth with your bare feet. It’s grounding.
'The great stories will always return to their original forms.' - Dream (The Sandman) Click To Tweet
Dream: How do you do it?
Death: Do what?
Dream: This. Be there, for all of them?
Death: I have a job to do. And I do it.
Death: When the first living thing existed, I was there. When the last living thing dies, I’ll put the chairs on the table, turn out the lights, and lock the universe behind me when I leave.
'People are almost always better than you think they are.' - Hob Gadling (The Sandman) Click To Tweet
Death: They fear the Sunless Lands, yet they enter your realm every night without fear.
Dream: And yet I am far more terrible than you.
Death: People feel as pleased to have been born as if they did it themselves. But they get upset and hurt and shaken when they die. But eventually, I learned that all they really need is a kind word and a friendly face. Like they had in the beginning.'It isn't about quests, or finding purpose outside our function. Our purpose is our function.' - Death (The Sandman) Click To Tweet
7. The Doll’s House'Maybe that's what life is. Just a series of interruptions.' - Rose Walker (The Sandman) Click To Tweet
Abel: Have you heard about the vortex? Everyone’s talking about it.
Lucienne: Everyone? Who’s everyone, exactly?
Abel: Well, Cain mostly. But…
Lucienne: Abel, if I wanted to hear silly hedge-gossip about swirling entities, I would’ve asked you for it.
Lyta Hall: When you lose your parents, you suddenly realize it wasn’t gravity keeping you on the ground all this time. It was knowing you were someone’s daughter. Or sister. Or wife, in my case.
'When you lose your parents, you suddenly realize it wasn't gravity keeping you on the ground all this time. It was knowing you were someone's daughter. Or sister.' - Lyta Hall (The Sandman) Click To Tweet
Hector Hall: How are you? Are you okay?
Lyta Hall: Probably not, no.
Hector Hall: Why do you say that?
Lyta Hall: Because instead of being back at work, I’m on a plane to London, talking to my dead husband.
Rose Walker: I’m not that young. I’m actually twenty-one. No one ever believes me. And they always ask to see my ID, it’s annoying.
Lyta Hall: What’s annoying is when they stop asking. Trust me.
Rose Walker: What’s a dream vortex?
Dream: You are. You see, once every few thousand years, a mortal is born with a dreaming ability so powerful, she can travel through the dreams of others. Apparently, all the way to my throne room.
Gault: [in Jed’s dream] This looks like a job for The Sandman.
Jed Walker: Time I put the Piper to bed.
'That is what most people seek when they dream.' - Dream 'Home?' - Rose Walker (The Sandman) Click To Tweet
Lyta Hall: I just want to stay like this forever.
Hector Hall: I do too, but…
Lyta Hall: What?
Hector Hall: You should be out, living your actual life, not having ghost-sex with your dead husband.
Lyta Hall: You’re not a ghost. You’re a dream.
Hector Hall: If I were a dream, wouldn’t I disappear when you wake up?
Lyta Hall: Don’t you?
Hector Hall: No.
Lyta Hall: Then what do you do?
Hector Hall: I go to work. I cook. I work out.
Lyta Hall: You go to work?
'This is a dream. Anything is possible.' - Hector Hall (The Sandman) Click To Tweet
Hector Hall: Because it was our dream. And now that we’re both here, maybe it can come true. You have to stay with me. Here. In our house, the way we planned.
Lyta Hall: Sweetie, you know eventually I have to wake up.
Dream: Vortexes are naturally occurring phenomena. No one knows why they happen. Not even I know. But I do know they are not caused, or created. They simply happen.
'We do not choose to be created. Nor do we choose how we are made.' - Dream 'That is true. But we can change.' - Gault (The Sandman) Click To Tweet
Hal Carter: I mean, I tried to escape. I went directly to New York after college, to have a huge Broadway career, before moving on to film and television, of course.
Rose Walker: Of course.
Hal Carter: But, you know, these days, if you’re not already a film or television star, you can’t even get a job on Broadway.
9. Collectors'The object of travel is not to set foot in a foreign land, but at last to set foot in your own country as a foreign land.' - Gilbert (The Sandman) Click To Tweet
Matthew the Raven: I don’t know how she did it, but Rose just got Lyta pregnant.
Matthew the Raven: Apparently it happened in her dream, and when Lyta woke up…
Lucienne: She was still pregnant.
Matthew the Raven: [referring to Dream] But you should make up with him.
Lucienne: I should make up with him?
Matthew the Raven: Yes. Now is not the time to be fighting, not when there’s a vortex getting people pregnant, and runaway Nightmares doing God knows what.
'What fascinates me about humanity is that so many people are looking for reasons to be unhappy. It's only when they're mired in their self-made misery that they are truly content.' - Gilbert (The Sandman) Click To Tweet
Jed Walker: What’s your name?
The Corinthian: Have you ever noticed how people only ever use your name when you’re in trouble, Jed?
The Corinthian: What you looking for?
Jed Walker: It’s a cereal convention. I thought there’d be cereal.
'No children at a cereal convention? That seems a bit of a missed opportunity. Or is it maybe sort of more of a porridge and muesli affair?' - Gilbert (The Sandman) Click To Tweet
Gilbert: You must allow me to accompany you. I believe America is a very large and excitable place, and a young person traveling alone can get into all kind of scrapes. As witnessed the other night.
Rose Walker: That’s very generous of you, but…
Gilbert: If you’ll indulge me, I should rather enjoy the role of amateur knight errant. I have my swordstick, and an ancient but serviceable revolver.
Rose Walker: Alright. But where we’re going, we won’t need to defend ourselves.
The Corinthian: [at the cereal convention] We are the American dreamers driving down the holy road of true knowledge that’s paved with blood and gold. And across the length and breadth of this fair country, we are killing people. We don’t do it to make a living, we don’t do it for revenge. We do not murder for profit. We kill to kill. We are entrepreneurs in an expanding field. But no one sees us, except for one weekend a year. Well, I see you. I see you for who you truly are.
The Corinthian: We are gladiators. Conquerors. We are explorers. Truth seekers. We are swashbucklers. We are hunters. Soldiers of fortune. And kings of the night.
Dream: You disappoint me, Corinthian. You and these humans, you’ve inspired and created, disappoint me.
'When a human is at the center of the Dreaming, is it not to remind us that we exist because humans dream, not the other way around? The miracle of humanity itself should always be more vivid to us than any marvels of power.' Click To Tweet
The Corinthian: I’ve done my best to be what you made me.
Dream: No, you’ve done your worst, which was in so many ways what I had hoped. You were my masterpiece. A dark mirror made to reflect everything humanity will not confront.
The Corinthian: That’s what I am. That’s what I’ve done.
Dream: [to Corinthian] Look at you, walking this Earth for over a century infecting others with your joy of death. But what have you given them? What have you wrought? Nothing. Just something else for people to be afraid of. That is all.
11A. Dream of a Thousand Cats'Cats walk their own paths.' - The Prophet (The Sandman) Click To Tweet
The Tabby Kitten: [referring to The Prophet] What will she be like?
The Grey Cat: Who knows? Not this cat.
The Black Cat: Well met, fellow night-threaders.
The Tabby Kitten: [referring to The Prophet] Hello. We’re going to see her.
The Black Cat: Me too. Although, I can’t see much point to it.
The Grey Cat: Then why are you here?
The Black Cat: Curiosity, perhaps.
'Justice is a delusion. And wisdom has no place here either. But revelation, that is the province of Dream, if your heart is strong, and you are not afraid.' - Crow (The Sandman) Click To Tweet
The Prophet: Some of you have traveled far to hear my message today. Left your warm, comfortable places, and I hope when I have finished, you will all share my dream. I was not always as you see me today. Once, like many of you, I lived in their world. And, like you, I fooled myself. Oh, they fed me and gave me comfort. They served me. All they asked in return was my affection. No price at all, really.
'If enough of us dream it, it will happen. Dreams shape the world.' - Golden Haired Man (The Sandman) Click To Tweet
The Prophet: He was strong, and fast. His claws and teeth were sharp as winter. He was my choice of lover. I never saw him again. But I did not forget him. I didn’t remember my own mother, but I vowed I would be different. I would teach them how to wash, how to stalk silently, how to hunt.
The Prophet: [as we see Paul drowning her kittens] I felt them, from afar, in the dark, as the cold water took them. Felt them thrash and claw sightlessly. Felt them call to me in their fear. And then, they were gone.
'I'd like to see anyone, prophet, God or king, persuade a thousand cats to do anything at the same time.' - The Grey Cat (The Sandman) Click To Tweet
The Prophet: I knew then that I had lied to myself. That we were subordinate. While we lived with humanity, we could not call ourselves free. And so, I prayed. I prayed to the darkness, to the night. I prayed to the King of Cats, he who walks amongst us, and we do not know him. And I dreamed.
Richard Madoc: You can’t force a character to do something just because it’s easier for you as a writer. The character has to come first. Everything else follows. Every plot twist, every line of dialogue. Every fraught, meaningful silence.
Richard Madoc: I haven’t written a single word in a year. Nothing I haven’t thrown away.
Erasmus Fry: Then I suggest you sit down, have a drink, and show me my present. Not necessarily in that order.
'An old writer with no one to talk to grows fond of the sound of his own voice.' - Erasmus Fry (The Sandman) Click To Tweet
Calliope: What would you with me now, Erasmus? Am I to perform for your amusement? Is this man to be our audience?
Erasmus Fry: This is Richard Madoc. He’s a novelist. Or at least, he’s written one extremely successful first novel. But now he finds himself quite unable to write anything else. Richard, this is Calliope, the youngest of the nine sisters. She was Homer’s muse. So she ought to be good enough for you.
'Writers are liars.' - Erasmus Fry (The Sandman) Click To Tweet
Erasmus Fry: Calliope, I’m giving you to Richard. You are his now.
Calliope: But you said that you would free me before you died.
Erasmus Fry: “Put not your trust in princes,” my dear. Nor in an aging author who has never been what you might call a shining example when it came to keeping his word.
Calliope: But you promised.
Erasmus Fry: Writers are liars, my dear. Surely you’ve realized that by now.
Erasmus Fry: [to Richard, referring to Calliope] They say one ought to woo her kind. But I must say, I found force most efficacious. Oh, don’t be fooled. She’s not human. She’s thousands of years old. She was created for this. This is her purpose, to inspire men like us. After all, she gave me fame, glory, novels, poems, plays. You’ll see.
'Ideas don't come from anywhere. They're all around us, all the time.' - Richard Madoc (The Sandman) Click To Tweet
Richard Madoc: I just need time to think about what to do.
Calliope: What is there to think about? I’m a goddess. A daughter of Zeus. I am not a possession to be kept, and used, and traded. You must set me free. You have only to say the words.
Richard Madoc: Do you think you could help me first? Inspire me? Just for one book, and then I will let you go. I swear I will.
Calliope: “Writers are liars.”
Richard Madoc: Not all of us.