April 17, 2013

Stardust Group Read, Part 2

I was so sad when the book came to an end that even the fact that the end was a good one didn't help. So I immediately re-watched the movie, and I hope I will not mix up story lines from the book and from the movie while answering Carl's questions for the second part of Stardust read-along.

1. In the first part we saw a naive, wool-headed and self-involved Tristran. What are your thoughts about Tristran and his personal journey now that the book has ended?
Well, he has become considerate of other people's feelings, he has realized what he really wants in his life and he has made his mother accept his plans, which was the most challenging of all :) Is it called growing up? I think so. He has become a man, and a rather good one, I must say.

2. The star, who we now know as Yvaine, also experienced a transformation of her own. So I ask the same question, what are your thoughts about Yvaine and the journey she took?
Yvaine is a bit tragic and desperate in this half of the book. She has no other option than to follow Tristan, and he doesn't want her. That first love failure makes her calmer and kinder, I think. Remember how she treated the witch? Do you know anyone who could kiss a person who wants to cut his heart out? I don't. But it makes her less human too, so I connected with her much less in the second half of the book than in the first one.

3. The villains of the story came to interesting ends, but not necessarily expected ones. How do you feel about Neil Gaiman's handling of the Stormhold brothers (who had remained at the end of Part 1) and the two witches, the one Lilim and Ditchwater Sal?
I think it is only fair that all the brothers die. It kind of cleans their line of all the bad traits of character accumulated through centuries and gives place for Tristan, who is very different. I even pitied the Lilim witch, as old age is not very pleasant for anybody, and to be confined to an old body forever must be a hell of a punishment itself. 

4. Were there any descriptions, characters, settings, plot threads that stood out to you personally during this second half of the book?
I adored the scene where Tristan finally meets his mother and they immediately start arguing. It doesn't matter if your mother hasn't seen you for 17 years, she is still your mother and she wants you to settle down and behave reasonably. It was so realistic and recognizable that it made me laugh :) I also enjoyed the pun with two Mondays and how it freed Una.

5. At the very end of the book we see that Tristran and Yvaine's relationship and fate echoes that of Aragorn and Arwen from The Lord of the Rings. If this question makes any sense to you (lol), what comparisons and/or contrasts do you see, especially in the fates of Yvaine and Arwen?
Although there is an apparent similarity, there is one major difference here: Arwen chose her fate herself, and Yvaine didn't have much choice, as there was no way for her to go back to the sky. So I think she was very happy indeed on Earth as I can't imagine a better fate for her given that she HAS fallen, and she was spared Arwen's doubts if she had made the right decision.

6. What are your overall impressions of the story now that it is done?
I loved the story! Although the ending was not so Hollywood-perfect as I remembered from the movie, I liked it even better this way. There is some sadness left in you when you close the book, but it is a good sadness, a sign of a really great story.

7. If Gaiman were to return to Wall/Faerie, would you take another journey there? If so, are there any adventures hinted at in Stardust that you would like to see Neil expand on?
I think I would not like to return to the same characters or the same places. They were so fully exploited and the story is so well-rounded, that a sequel would spoil it all. I'd like something completely different, probably in different time or in a different place of the Faerie (there must be other entrances there, right?), but in the same style and with the same mood!


  1. Interesting insight on Yvaine--I want to admire her for her ultimate treatement of the Lilim, but you make a good point that it makes her almost unhuman (which of course, she is!)

    Interesting insight on Tristran too--making his mother accept his plans may be the best sign of his increased confidence and maturity!

  2. I too find it a bit tragic that Yvaine did not choose her fate - first from being knocked from the sky, to then being chained, and finally being bound to Tritran via obligation and later love. At least Arwen got to choose.

    I think it would be interesting for Gaiman to retunr to faerie and mention Wall and Tristran and Yvaine in passing - focusing on other characters engrossed in their own lives.


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