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delirium the sandman

Delirium the sandman

First incarnated as Delight, she eventually transformed into Delirium for reasons even Destiny does not know. She can be seen as a very young Delight in Endless Nights; and in Overture she is seen at the beginning of her change from Delight to Delirium. A statue of her as Delight can be seen in Destiny’s garden in Brief Lives, and her official portrait in Destiny’s gallery depicts her as Delight, not Delirium, in Season of Mists. She is scatterbrained and easily distracted; she often forgets the thread of her conversations, and comes out with offbeat and seemingly inconsequential observations.

The other Endless, particularly Death and Destruction, seem to be fond of Delirium, to varying degrees, and protective of her. She in turn is affectionate towards them, particularly Destruction. She originally was somewhat frightened by Dream and avoided being around him (to the point that his guardians did not know who she was), however, the events of Brief Lives change their relationship. Delirium desperately tries to help save Dream from his impending doom in The Kindly Ones by trying to persuade him to go with him on another quest with her to find Barnabas, but Dream refuses.
Todd Klein, the series’ letterer, draws her speech as a scrawl, against a multi-colored background, sometimes the background color will match the mood she is in (red for anger, blue and green for calm, etc.). Very occasionally she is able, with an effort, to become more controlled in thought and speech, at which point her speech is drawn more neatly and the background fades to near-white. This effort, as she says later, causes her pain. Her speech as Delight in Endless Nights takes the same form, with somewhat orderly lettering and a faint rainbow background.

Have you ever spent days and days making up flavors of ice cream that no one’s ever eaten before? Like chicken and telephone ice cream. Green mouse ice cream was the worst. I didn’t like that at all.
Both Aspects of Delight/Delirium
Delirium, known to ancient Greeks as Mania, is the youngest of The Endless. She is usually quite short and thin, and looks no older than a teen-age human girl. One of her eyes is blue, and the other is green, though she can adjust them to the same color but says that hurts her. Her hair changes style and color constantly, as do her clothes. Her shadow never reflects her shape, and is tangible, like velvet. She is said to smell of sweat, late nights, sour wine, and old leather. Her sigil in the galleries of the other Endless is a multicolored, abstract swirl. Her realm is a chaotic, constantly changing mass of colors,strange objects and shapes, and contains a sundial with the inscription “Tempus Frangit” (“time breaks,” a Latin pun on the phrase “Tempus Fugit”, “time flies”). After the events of Brief Lives, Delirium travels with a companion, a dog named Barnabas, on permanent loan from her brother Destruction.
Delirium never has a consistent appearance. Often both her hair and clothes shift from minute to minute with the only things being relatively consistent is her multi-colored hair and eyes.
It has been implied throughout the series that Delirium is the wisest of all the Endless knowing more than even Destiny. Delirium implies what Death describes that anyone knows everything but chooses not to, which leads to madness as she “explains”. Delirium also grasps what Destruction stated during his abdication, that the Endless define two sides, when she becomes sane and ordered before Destiny. Delirium has brief outbursts of insight and prophecy that often surprise those around her, and more often than not are ignored.

Delirium often has a playful attitude, regarding some events with ecstatic joy, such as being held above the ground by the Wyvern, to Destiny splitting into multiple incarnations before her. Delirium is also is quick to respond angrily to rudeness, leading her to occasionally punish people without mercy usually with madness.

Have you ever spent days and days making up flavors of ice cream that no one’s ever eaten before? Like chicken and telephone ice cream?…Green mouse ice cream was the worst. I didn’t like that at all. ~Delirium Delirium, known to ancient Greeks as Mania, is the youngest of The Endless. She is…

For example, not knowing what the hell three big seniors from another school’s wrestling team were talking about, when they accosted my friend Pat and me at Hardee’s in ninth grade, saved us from a terrific beating, and I don’t think it would have worked if the blank looks on our faces hadn’t been genuine. (It was only after they left and our friend Harleigh returned from getting ketchup that he revealed he’d murmured something pejorative about their sexuality as we’d walked past their table earlier. Jackass.)

And some of you can probably attest to ignorance’s beneficent effect on getting laid. Yes, I’ve missed a couple of chances to sleep with someone because I never caught on, but I bet I’ve closed the deal as many or more times because I just didn’t catch on right away, which kept me from saying too many, uh, “witty” things to demonstrate how “awesome” I was at an early, fragile stage of the game.
Which is not to say I think we should turn back the clock on scientific progress—first, that would be a futile case to make, and more important, I would miss microwavable burritos too much. Nor do I think that the most earnest plea to the world’s thinkers that they stop and consider what they’re doing before they clone anthrax or build golem-lady toast-butterers would be heeded. But in the personal sphere, too, there can surely be great benefit to not knowing things.

(It may also surprise you, especially if you are Neil Gaiman, when I say that the absolutely true story—told here for the first time ever—of how Delight of the Endless became Delirium ties in to this rallying cry, because you may not remember telling anyone that story, least of all me. Relax. All will be revealed.)
Many of us, especially those in the science-fiction community, take it as a given that knowledge is a good thing, and that the more of it we have, the better off we will be. But too much of anything—except for love in the truest sense of the word, and pet cheerleaders—can be dangerous. (And frankly, though it pains me to admit it, even the cheerleaders can be trouble, once you get beyond a single squad.) And of course, this is actually a common theme in SF: the scientist with the God complex, the poor sap marked for death because he knows too much, the experiment gone horribly awry—or gone all too perfectly, with unforeseen consequences. As Delirium’s older brother Destruction, from Neil Gaiman’s Sandman comics, puts it: “‘Are not light and gross bodies intraconvertible?’ Alas, they are. And from that follows the flames. the big bang. The loud explosions.”
This newsletter comes from the future.
And while that kind of authentic ignorance is certainly more pure, I would argue there is good to be had as well from the straight-up willful brand: How many bad internet fights start because even though you’re pretty sure you know the answer, you can’t help but wonder what numbskull thing someone will say if you push them a little bit (and I say this as someone who has started a few of these in his time)? How many hurt feelings—and maybe more important, hours that could be devoted to more productive pursuits—might be saved by simply quashing that desire to know exactly what kind of idiot you’re dealing with?
So this isn’t a call to arms for stupidity—I just want to give ignorance its due. I mean, it can even be fun! As a literary device, ambiguity is to be prized, after all. And even if you don’t want to get as highfalutin as all that, plain old not-knowingness can be pretty great on its own. Speaking for instance, as we were, of Neil Gaiman, there’s the case of the “forgotten god” in American Gods , whose identity I for one hope he never reveals; it’s annoying not to have that resolution, but annoying in the best way possible, not unlike when the cat jumps in your lap while you’re trying to work. Same goes for the aforementioned absolutely true story of how Delight became Delirium.

Of all the powers given us, none has done more for humanity than science. Because knowledge is the ichor that flows in science’s veins, it may surprise when I say: Let’s hear it for ignorance!

Of all the powers given us, none has done more for humanity than science. Because knowledge is the ichor that flows in science’s veins, it may surprise when I say: Let’s hear it for ignorance!