Editor’s Note: The article below contains spoilers for Netflix’s The Sandman.Netflix’s decision to adapt The sand man comedy series into a television series was forged with a series of possible pitfalls. For more than 30 years, the entertainment world has done its best to make Neil GaimanCreation comes to life. However, with the help of the creators David S. Goyer and Allan HeinbergGaiman was able to bring Dream (Tom Sturridge), The Corinthian (Boyd Holbrook), and others to life.
For comic book fans, there was one character in particular whose adaptation might have been one of the hardest to figure out, Fiddler’s Green. The reason for this is that Fiddler’s Green is both an important character and a setting. The complexity of this duality is a concept that may not be easy to grasp, but its role in the series is essential.
Fiddler’s Green is a place set in the Dreaming, the world in which Dream is king. It is described as a beautiful garden or landscape that is sentient, in that it is able to feel and react to things. After Dream is magically imprisoned by Roderick Burgess (Charles Dance) and departed from the Dreaming, Fiddler’s Green decides to take human form and travel to the waking world to live as an ordinary person. In human form, Fiddler’s Green becomes known as Gilbert (Stephen Fry), a portly Brit who lives in a bed and breakfast in Florida and becomes enchanted with the waking world.
Like Gilbert, Fiddler’s Green becomes an integral part of The doll house story arc that helped bring The sand man in the spotlight as a comic book and is depicted in episodes 7-10 of the Netflix series. Viewers only hear about Gilbert early in his story on the show as Rose Walker’s neighbor (Vanesu Samunyai) who is not often seen by others and likes to stay in his room and read. He makes a sudden first appearance helping Rose fight off muggers outside a pub and quickly forms a strong bond with the young woman, eventually helping her find her long-lost younger brother, Jed (Eddie Karanja).
Before viewers realize that Fiddler’s Green and Gilbert are one, we learn that Fiddler’s Green is one of the Dreaming’s missing entities that Dream is trying to bring back and possibly punish. However, he returns to the Dreaming alone when he discovers that his new friend Rose is the Dreaming Vortex and that her life is in danger. Portrayed as a caring and understanding figure, Gilbert offers his life to Dream in order to protect Rose, but is told the deal is impossible and reverts to his original form and resumes his place as Fiddler’s Green once more. .
In later comics, Fiddler’s Green plays a prominent role in Dream’s battle against the Furies, attempting to protect the Dreaming, the very place he left. Whether Fiddler’s Green is described as a beautiful oasis, a dreamer’s dream, or as Gilbert, the knowledge-hungry British traveler, the entity is always an honorable entity that will do what is best for its creator, Dream, and the world of Dreams.
The first season of The sand man is currently available to stream on Netflix.