The Sandman: Season of Mists Summary & Study Guide

This Study Guide consists of approximately 31 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of The Sandman.
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The Sandman: Season of Mists Summary & Study Guide Description

The Sandman: Season of Mists Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

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After a visit from the Fates, Destiny of the Endless calls the family together for a rare meeting. Present are Destiny, Dream, Death, the twins Desire and Despair, and Delirium, the youngest of the Endless. Having given up his duties for a life of wandering, Destruction does not attend the meeting. Destiny tells them what the Fates said, that certain events will be set in motion, and that a king will forsake his kingdom and the oldest battle will begin once more. Destiny does not know what this means, but, after consulting his book, knows that it all begins with the family meeting.

Desire begins to argue with Dream about one of Dream's past romances, a young tribal woman named Nada. After seducing her and revealing his true nature as the Shaper of Dreams, he had asked her to become his queen. When she spurned him, he condemned her to Hell, where she has spent the last 10,000 years in torment. After conversing with his closest sister, Death, Dream acknowledges his mistake and says that he will go to Hell to free Nada.

Dream returns to the Dreaming, his realm, to prepare for his trip to Hell. Dream had been to Hell recently, to retrieve his helmet, a powerful magical item, from a demon named Choronzon, and, while there, he had public humiliated Hell's ruler, Lucifer. Knowing well of Lucifer's power, which Dream admits is greater than his own, and of his vindictiveness, Dream tells his servants that if he is destroyed in the attempt, a new aspect of Dream will take over his duties.

Dream enters through the main gates of Hell to find the vast kingdom deserted. After failing to find Nada, he calls out to Lucifer, who appears before him and invites him to travel alongside as he closes the remaining gates of Hell. Lucifer then tells Dream he is quitting, and that he has kicked all of the demons and all of the souls of the damned out of Hell. After they close the last gate, Lucifer, with a bit of malicious humor, hands Dream the key to Hell and turns the entire kingdom over to him.

Shortly after Dream arrives back in the Dreaming, guests begin arriving to petition for the key to Hell. There are gods like Odin and Anubis, there are representatives of Order and Chaos, and there is a delegation of demons, led by Azazel, who wish to return to Hell, this time as its rulers. Two angels, Remiel, and Duma the Angel of Silence, arrive from the Silver City as observes for the Name.

Meanwhile on earth, Charles Rowland, a young schoolboy, is forced to remain at his prep school over the holidays. Though he shares the grounds with only two people, the headmaster, and the school nurse, Charles begins to notice other people walking the halls, sleeping in the dormitory, and eating in the dining hall. They are the souls of the dead, returned out of Hell to earth. Charles befriends a young boy named Paine, who was murdered 75 years ago by three older students. The school is quickly filled up with deceased students, and one particularly dedicated headmaster, who forces them all to attend classes even though they are dead. Eventually, Charles runs afoul of the same bullies who killed Paine. They torture him, burning his back severely and leaving him for dead. Paine rescues Charles and drags him up to the attic, where his own bones lie in a chest. After four days in the attic, Charles dies, but when Death arrives to collect him, he refuses to go without Paine. Death, exasperated by the closing of Hell and the return of all the dead soul, tells the boys she'll collect them later. Charles and Paine then leave the school and set off across the country together to see the world.

The petitioners each meet with Dream, offering him various things in return for the key. Azazel, the demon, has brought the soul of Nada captive inside his body, and tells Dream that if he is not given the key of Hell, that he will consume her. Dream considers all of their requests, but as he is preparing to announce his decision, Remiel and Duma bring him a message from the Name. The angels tell him that the Creator requires the existence of Hell, and that Remiel and Duma are to take over its stewardship and reopen its gates to all of the souls and demons who have been exiled. Dream, relieved, complies, handing Duma the key.

After Dream announces that he no longer has the key, and that he must reluctantly turn down the petitions of all his guests, Azazel tells Dream that he will enjoy consuming Nada's soul. Dream enters Azazel by force and rescues Nada, and Azazel, who was hoping to trap Dream, is captured inside a glass jar, which Dream places in a chest in his throne room.

After the guests have left, Dream apologizes to Nada for his actions, asking her again if she will become his queen. She refuses and, after considering her options, decides to have her soul reborn into a new body. Dream watches the rebirth and then visits the new infant, telling her she will always be welcome in the Dreaming.

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