Explaining Kai’ckul & Nada’s Story: How She Betrayed “The Sandman”

In “The Sandman,” Tom Sturridge’s character Dream of the Endless had a sad love affair with Nada (Deborah Oyelade), but did she betray the dream lord she knows as Kai’ckul? Preludes and Nocturnes and The Doll’s House, the first two collected volumes of Neil Gaiman’s cherished DC Comics series, are adapted for Netflix’s “The Sandman” season 1. Only a small portion of Dream’s relationship with his former love was hinted at in The Sandman episode 4, “A Hope in Hell,” which features Nada for the first time. The second season of The Sandman,” which will include the upcoming books Dream Country and The Season of Mists, will include the entire story between Kai’ckul and Nada.

In “The Sandman” episode 4, Nada’s appearance comes as a real shock and provides a glimpse into a dreadful dark secret from Dream of the Endless’ past. Morpheus and Matthew the Raven (Patton Oswalt) is taken (perhaps on purpose) up a mountain prison where Dream discovers Nada in a cell as they journey through Hell in search of an appointment with Lucifer Morningstar (Gwendoline Christie). Nada is startled to see Kai’ckul and hopes the dream lord has arrived to rescue her from Hell after 10,000 years of imprisonment. Though he claims to still love Nada, Dream sternly informs her that he still holds grudges against her before abandoning her to her misery in hell. The complete story between Dream and Nada is detailed in the first chapter of The Doll’s House, “Tales in the Sand,” which will probably be adapted in “The Sandman” season 2. As long-time readers of “The Sandman” comics know, that isn’t the last time Nada is seen.

Dream and Nada were briefly in love ten thousand years ago. The First People, an African tribe, had Nada as their queen. Nada once caught a glimpse of a man in the shadows traversing her city and halting in front of her tower. Nada discovered through magic that the mystery stranger was Dream of the Endless and fell in love at first sight. With her magic, Nada could enter the Dreaming and declare her love for the dream lord known to her people as Kai’ckul. Dream fell in love with Nada, but she spurned him because she knew it was against the rules for a mortal to romance an Endless. Even so, Kai’ckul pursued her until they were in bed, but as predicted, Nada’s city was obliterated immediately. Nada committed a sin and committed suicide. Dream sought her out in the afterlife and requested that she become his Queen. Kai’ckul was enraged and sent Nada to Hell, where she stayed for 10,000 years after rejecting him more than once. Dream believes Nada betrayed him and their love, and he cannot forgive her. But because their love was not meant to be, Nada turned down Kai’ckul, and her people suffered as a result.

When Nada sees Dream, why does he appear different?

Dream of the Endless is Kai’ckul to Nada, who sees him as an African man similar to the character Ernest Kingsley, Jr. portrayed in The Sandman. Dream is an anthropomorphic personification with no real form because he is one of the Endless. Dream is typically depicted as a tall, skinny, pale man with white skin and a shock of black hair in human society. However, this look might vary depending on the culture. To aliens like Martians or to prehistoric Earth cultures like the First People, who refer to Dream by other names like Kai’ckul, Morpheus appears as different aspects of himself depending on who sees him.

The Season of Mists narrative in Season 2 of The Sandman will address Dream’s transgression against Nada. But The Sandman season one finale revealed that Desire (Mason Alexander Park) claimed responsibility for Dream’s fatal romance with Nada. The irony is that Dream, Nada’s older brother, was also affected by Desire. If this is confirmed in upcoming episodes of The Sandman, Desire—not Nada—was the one who betrayed Dream.