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mygif

I always thought that Morpheus was responsible. That was pretty much outright stated, with the reasoning being that he knows he can’t change. (Or, change enough.)

But I had always seen it as a more passive course of self-destruction. He allowed Puck and Loki into the world. He gave away a tool that would allow him to be summoned, which would be his undoing. He willingly answered the summons which he did not necessarily have to do.

The idea that he took a more active role is interesting, though.

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JoeHelfrich said on January 11th, 2011 at 9:58 pm

Honestly…I thought all that stuff was (reasonably) obvious on a careful reading. I’m not sure if Loki was directly *told* to do these things, but he certainly could have been manipulated into it.

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mygif

I don’t remember this specifically being mentioned, but it was assumed on the Neil Gaiman forums and other places that Dream committed suicide.

i honestly didn’t pick it up on a first reading but now it seems to be common knowledge

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Will "scifantasy" Frank said on January 11th, 2011 at 10:09 pm

Adding my voice to the chorus of “I thought that was the canonical explanation.”

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mygif

Um, duh. I mean, I guess you could read it another way, but the convoluted-suicide explanation is the one best-supported by even a casual reading of the text.

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malakim2099 said on January 11th, 2011 at 10:43 pm

Yeah, I thought this was pretty obvious.

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Allegretto said on January 11th, 2011 at 10:48 pm

I don’t think it was in such an active capacity as you propose, but i agree. He framed himself for kidnapping, and set everything in motion for his own demise to happen.

It is interesting to see it as a conspiration on his part rather than a turn of events he allowed to happen, however.

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mygif

One more for the chorus of “it was pretty much text”, particularly given that the series ends with The Tempest, all about giving up your power and kingdom once you’ve realized it’s never going to get you what you want therefore lampshading the whole thing.

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mygif

I have always thought this was entirely obvious. I mean, I never even thought it was an open question, never even considered any option other than “Dream realized he could not change, and subconsciously orchestrated the events of his own death.” It was so obvious to me that, in fact, I was surprised that you would write this post.

HOWEVER. Upon talking with my roommate – I was so surprised about this that I actually went out and had a conversation about this with my roommate – I’m forced to reconsider my position – because my roommate is of the opinion that in fact it’s not obvious at all (although certainly possible) & in fact is of the opinion that Morpheus isn’t suicidal at all. & although I think Morpheus is the most likely agent I don’t think that it’s a sure thing. It’s interesting to talk about.

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mygif

Frankly, is there anyone who doesn’t think Morpheous committed suicide?

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mygif

Well, of course he commits suicide–that’s not in debate. I mean, that is literally what happens at the end of The Kindly Ones. It’s not a metaphorical suicide, it’s an ACTUAL suicide. He gets to the point where the only way to cut the Kindly Ones loose is to kill himself, and then he does so. It’s represented by him going off with his sister rather than him slashing his wrists or whatever, but it’s still suicide.

The big hole in this theory–not saying you’re wrong, mind you–is that there’s no specific explanation for why Morpheus would want Daniel’s mortality to be burned away, other than to ready him to act as his replacement. Which is only necessary because his death was supposedly imminent, and his death was only imminent because he’d antagonized Lyta by kidnapping Daniel. So it’s an endless loop of motivation.

I think the reason I’m having a bit of trouble with this is that Morpheus is explicitly a very “reactive” character. I completely buy that Morpheus would manipulate things to a point where he’d be forced to kill himself, but I think he’d be subtler than literally hiring Loki and Puck to move the plot along, as it were. I think the whole series is Morpheus moving things around to the point where that’ll happen, so that antagonizing various foes who might then hire Loki and Puck could still be traced back to him. He “commits suicide” by antagonizing Lucifer and Desire, among others. Though I’ll grant you that those two have even less reason to want Daniel immortal.

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mygif

I always saw that as the textual interpretation. Morpheus set the whole thing up, knowing that Loki would betray him by tipping Lyta off and setting her on his trail. That whole thing was him playing chess against himself while pretending that he was just moving pieces around for no purpose.

Seriously, how could somebody miss that?

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mygif

This was pretty much the standard explanation back in the day on Usenet. It may even be in the rec.arts.comics.dc.vertigo FAQ or in the Sandman annotations.

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mygif

I got that from the vague insinuations in Gaiman’s afterward in the trade.

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mygif

I think this explanation is pretty much text.

I do think, though, that Nuala was an X factor; he seemed genuinely surprised when she summoned him and poured her heart out. Although I suppose it’s possible he expected Titania to claim Nuala’s boon and summon him. Since the summons was what sealed his fate, I’ve never been entirely sure what his Plan A was without it.

On a related note, I always got the feeling that Dream was the “one that got away” for Titania, the one person she couldn’t seduce, use, and discard as she likes. Your thoughts?

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mygif

I actually think he wasn’t consciously committing suicide; the being Morpheus was unaware of what was going on, but the actual fundamental force of dreams – that which endured even while he was imprisoned – began to structurally destroy him from the instant that he was imprisoned. He was a tool in his own death; it was like a dream-image that implies a darker, disturbing subconscious meaning.

You’ll notice also that he actually hires Loki at the end of “Season of Mists”; and that Puck’s being on Earth was entirely due to Morpheus’ meddling in the life of Will Shakespeare…

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mygif

For my money, the real mystery of the series is “who killed the first Despair?”

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mygif

Add my voice to the growing chorus of “obviously”s.

One of the lines that really tipped me off came when the Corinthian finally gets Daniel back, snaps Loki’s neck, and then confronts Puck. He asks who hired them for this, and Puck responds (to the best of my memory) with: “I could answer you endlessly…”

I could answer you Endless-ly. Geddit?

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mygif

Something else just came to mind: a fan once asked Gaiman to sum up the series’ plot in twenty-five words or less. He came up with (again, to the best of my memory), “The Lord of Dreams learns he must change or die, and makes his choice.”

Not exactly a smoking gun, no, but it lends support to the idea that Dream was at least aware of the plot against his life.

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mygif

Man, this really is the Essence of Blogging. You come up with what you think is a bold theory that no one has thought of, and then find out everyone knew it and is wondering why you think you’re special for coming up with it.

Sorry, John.

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mygif

I tend to agree that this was pretty much my interpretation all along. I think I may have been helped along by the Gaiman quote mentioned above.

The real mysteries of the series are the ones that I’m pretty sure Neil has all but said he won’t be answering…what happened to the first Despair (who killed her, and how, and why), how Delight became Delirium…how Death turned from the cheerless cynic we saw in the Dream story in Endless Nights into the Death we saw in the original series, though that’s a lesser mystery, I suppose. (Perhaps she just hadn’t adopted her policy of walking among mortals as a mortal for a day each century. That practice does seem to ground her.)

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mygif

I always assumed it was Desire. H/She promised vengeance and especially the way Death acted toward him/her after Morpheus’ death.

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mygif

I think that Dream was indeed responsible for Daniel’s kidnapping, but it was more complicated than that. I wondered why, if he did it, that it caused so much chaos in the Dreaming and the deaths of so many of his servants. The thing is, I don’t think Dream was trying to kill himself. I think he wanted to step down and retire, but unlike Destruction, who just up and left, Dream wouldn’t shirk his responsibilities. Hence, he was going to replace himself with Daniel and go on his not-so-merry way and be free. Unfortunately for him, Things Went Wrong, as they do in tragedies. Dream wasn’t expecting Lyta Hall to have the connection to the Furies, or that they’d want his head for having killed Orpheus. He didn’t know of Nada’s love for him and the boon she would ask at the worst possible time, or that Thessaly sold him out for petty revenge and a few extra years of life. Then the Furies started killing and destroying, and Dream knew the only way he could stop them was to let himself die. He still got what he wanted, in a perverse way. The Dreaming would be cared for, and he would no longer be its master. Another point that bugged me was why he sent Matthew and the Corinthian to catch Loki if he knew all this, but that can be explained too. Odin came to Dream, and called him out on setting Loki free, and Dream felt bad about having disappointed Odin. He sent his agents out to find them without telling them everything because he wanted to repay the wrong he did Odin without admitting what he’d actually done. Typical Dream, really.

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mygif

Whoops, Nuala, not Nada. Seriously though, you can see how I’d make that mistake when I haven’t read the series in years.

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mygif

I personally don’t hold Darkseid directly responsible, but I did think it was reckless and in poor taste for him to have that online map with crosshairs over Dream’s picture.

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mygif

There was a one-off story that talked about why Death started doing the whole “one day as a mortal” thing in one of the Vertigo anthologies. It pretty much summed up the how and why of Death becoming less morose.

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mygif

I think we’ve reached the point in the yeah everyone knows it was morpheus get a clue thread where we must turn around and suppose a hidden motivation in blogging the obvious.

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Aussiesmurf said on January 12th, 2011 at 5:20 pm

http://www.woxberg.net/gaiman/literature/suspects.html

Had a detailed essay on ‘Who killed Dream?’

And no, I’m not plugging myself, I googled this point.

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mygif

So you’re saying that John is going to post a comment to the effect of “Ha-ha! This was my plan all along! My REAL theory is so much stranger!”

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mygif

No, I’m going to post a comment saying, “Yes, it’s obvious that Dream committed an elaborate suicide-by-cop in order to escape his responsibilities the only way it could, but I don’t think it’s specifically obvious that he was guilty of the crime Lyta accused him of.” Because the story really does play it like Loki and Puck are perpetrating the crime in order to frame Morpheus, and Lyta jumps to the conclusion that he did it because he’s the only suspect. I think that the idea that it was never a frame at all, and that he actually was every bit as guilty as Lyta believes, is not necessarily obvious from the text.

The idea that he’s suicidal, though, yes. That’s glaringly obvious. :)

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mygif

I had always assumed it was Desire who was acting behind the scenes. Wasn’t s/he ultimately responsible for Dream killing Orpheus, and therefore setting the Furies on him? I just assumed that it was her/his hand behind the Loki and Puck stuff as well. Then again, maybe that’s what I was meant to think.

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mygif

Desire wasn’t responsible for Dream killing Orpheus; IIRC, s/he gets a line to that effect at the end of ‘Brief Lives’, admitting that a) s/he didn’t do it, but b) it was exactly what s/he wanted to happen, but c) now that it has happened, s/he’s terrified of what will happen next.

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mygif

However Desire is a creature of the moment, and in the chapter Three Septembers and a January (collected in Fables & Reflections) after Despair and Desire lose thier challenge to Dream because of the vision he woke in Norton’s soul s/he does say something to the effect of “”‘ll make him spill family blood in the end. I’ll have the Kindly Ones on his ass.”

I think it’s entirely possible and in character for Desire to have started those actions, and then found something shiny, or seen how Dream is trying to change, or any number of things, and decided to stop what s/he put in motion, but then again, that thing was very very shiny.

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Follow the red string said on January 13th, 2011 at 1:01 pm

Does anyone else recall a red string tied around Daniel’s ankle? Or the symbolic ball of red yarn held by the Furies, as the Fates, at the end? I always thought one lead to the other with all that implies.

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mygif

“As I say, Gaiman’s never explained it.”

Uhm, in one of the collections Gaiman states that the serie was about Morpheus realizing it is change or die and making his decision, so apart from it being pretty obvious in the first place, I’d call that a pretty definite explanation.

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mygif

I always interpreted Desire’s moment of terror at what would come next as a realization that Dream had actually reached a point where he was willing to kill family. He had crossed a certain line, and while he wasn’t allowed to kill mortals, there sat Desire, not-mortal and needling him since time immemorial. It’s like realizing the guy in the next cubicle over, the one you’ve been using as a paper plane landing strip, really does have a gun and really does bring it to work after he ices the secretary. Because really, who’s the natural next choice?

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mygif

I was going to post that it isn’t a theory if its outright stated that Dream – when forced to pick between changing or dying – decided to die but everyone else one the internet beat me to the punch.

The whole series is a god’s* elaborate suicide attempt.

*Okay, Endless. Still, if it walks like a duck…

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mygif

A couple of people asked who killed the first despair, but I always thought it was implied that the second despair killed the first despair and their punishment was to become the second despair.

A punishment worthy of killing one the Endless. I mean we never found out how or why, but I though we knew who. Then again, it’s been years since I read the beginning of the series.

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mygif

If this is true, there are two events that I feel need explaining. Why did Morpheus send the Corinthian to track down the kidnappers and not tell him that they would be Loki and Puck, if indeed he knew that it was them? There is no reason to make the Corinthian’s job harder and Morpheus, presumably, could offer a reason as to why he knows it was them without giving away that he hired them.

Also, why was it that Morpheus went to kill Lyta Hall (when she was being protected by Thessaly) if she was an essential part of his plot for suicide? Perhaps you could state that he planned to kill himself and then hesitated and tried to back out of it, but that is not a satisfying answer, especially given that he made other decisions, such as accepting Nuala’s summon of him, that more directly brought about his death.

And for a last point, implying that Gaiman saying
“Dream had to choose to change or die and that he made his choice” (paraphrased) means that Morpheus chose suicide is not accurate. He could choose not to change, which brings about death, but which does not equal suicide. I take that statement to mean that Morpheus was unwilling to change from who he was, a slave to obligation and protocol, which brought about his death. You are viewing the choice as “either or,” but choices are always more complex than that.

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mygif

Man, am I late or what?
anyway, I really believe that Dream committed suicide (just like many others have mentioned), but what I think no one mentioned is: Dream has been planning this for a really really long time, since he asked William to write him a play, after all when Will finishes it, Dream tells him that he already knows the ending but needed someone else to forge it into a comprehensive text, but the unfortunate thing that happened at the beginning of out story (he got kidnapped) made him sure that he no longer wanted to continue his routine of living, so from the first issues he starts planting the seeds of his eventually realized plan.
First he lets the boy Daniel live and tells Lyta he will come back for him one day. Then he lets Loki stay in his castle (and tells him he owes him) and doesn’t tell Odin (although we know for a fact that Dream is very straight-forwarded and doesn’t play around other people).
and lastly the thing that makes me sure (i’m 99.9999% sure) that he planned his death from the beginning is this: When Loki is sent back to his punishment this is exactly what is said: “the master manipulator realizes how, ultimately -how strangely, how elegantly- he too had been manipulated.” (issue #69 p=9).
so he did do Dream a favor, just without knowing it :)
ofcourse I realize it’s more complicated than I make it seem, but this is what I personally got at at the end

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