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Encyclopedia > Stardust (novel)

First UK edition cover
Author Neil Gaiman
Illustrator Charles Vess
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Genre(s) Fantasy fiction
Publisher Avon Books
Publication date February 1, 1999
Media type Hardback, Paperback, Audiobook (Read by the author)
Pages 256 pp
ISBN ISBN 978-0-380-97728-4

Stardust (1998) is the second solo prose novel by Neil Gaiman. It is usually published as a novel with illustrations by Charles Vess. Stardust has a different tone and style from most of Gaiman's prose fiction, being consciously written in the tradition of pre-Tolkien English fantasy, following in the footsteps of authors such as Lord Dunsany. It is concerned with the adventures of a young man from the village of Wall, which borders the magical land of Faerie. For the book, see Stardust (novel). ... Image File history File linksMetadata No higher resolution available. ... Neil Richard Gaiman (IPA: ) (born November 10, 1960[2]) is an English author of science fiction and fantasy short stories and novels, graphic novels, comics, and films. ... Charles Vess (born 1951) is an American illustrator. ... For other uses, see Country (disambiguation). ... The English language is a West Germanic language that originates in England. ... For other definitions of fantasy see fantasy (psychology). ... A publisher is a person or entity which engages in the act of publishing. ... An early Avon Books edition from the 1940s of the Simon Templar mystery short story collection, The Saint Intervenes. ... is the 32nd day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ... This article is about the year. ... A hardcover (or hardback or hardbound) book is bound with rigid protective covers (typically of cardboard covered with cloth or heavy paper) and a stitched spine. ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article may require cleanup. ... An audio book is a recording of the contents of a book read aloud. ... ISBN redirects here. ... Neil Richard Gaiman (IPA: ) (born November 10, 1960[2]) is an English author of science fiction and fantasy short stories and novels, graphic novels, comics, and films. ... Charles Vess (born 1951) is an American illustrator. ... Tolkien redirects here. ... Edward John Moreton Drax Plunkett, 18th Baron Dunsany (24 July 1878 – 25 October 1957) was an Anglo-Irish writer and dramatist, notable for his work in fantasy published under the name Lord Dunsany. ... In mythology and in fiction, Faerie (see also fairy) is an otherworldly realm, home to the Fae or fairies, though many believe this place to be neither mythical nor fictional, but quite real. ...

In 2007, a film based on the book was released to generally positive reviews.[1] Gaiman has also occasionally made references to writing a sequel, or at least another book concerning the village of Wall.[2] For the book, see Stardust (novel). ...



Stardust begins in a small English town named Wall, located a night's drive away from London. Wall is named for an old rock wall to its east, in which is a small opening leading to a forest. This opening is a portal to the magical world of Faerie. It is carefully guarded by two watchmen at all times, except once every nine years on May Day, when a market comes to the meadow just past the wall. This article is about the holidays celebrated on May 1. ...

Faerie, a world also featured in many of Gaiman's other works, such as The Sandman and The Books of Magic, is composed of "each land that has been forced off the map by explorers and the brave going out and proving it wasn't there", and thus features many mythic creatures and objects. Most of Stardust takes place in Stormhold, a kingdom within Faerie named for the Stormhold, a fortress carved from Mount Huon. The Sandman is a comic book series written by Neil Gaiman. ... The Books of Magic is the title of a four-issue English-language comic book limited series written by Neil Gaiman, and later an ongoing series, published by the DC Comics imprint Vertigo. ...

The story begins in late April 1839, as Henry Draper had just photographed the Moon and Charles Dickens was serializing Oliver Twist. The majority of the book takes place seventeen years later, around October 1856. 1839 (MDCCCXXXIX) was a common year starting on Tuesday (see link for calendar). ... Henry Draper (March 7, 1837 – November 20, 1882) was an American doctor and astronomer. ... Dickens redirects here. ... Oliver Twist (1838) is Charles Dickens second novel. ...

Major characters

  • Tristran Thorn: The book's main character (renamed "Tristan" in the movie adaptation). Tristran is an awkward, "painfully shy" boy with one pointed (fairylike) ear and one rounded (human) ear. Tristran's father is Dunstan Thorn, a businesslike man who married his boyhood sweetheart, Daisy Hempstock. Daisy rarely speaks to Tristran, and she and Dunstan's daughter, Louisa, frequently tease him.
  • Yvaine: A fallen star, which Tristran vows to find and bring to Victoria Forester. In Faerie, stars are living creatures. Yvaine appears to be immortal, but not invulnerable. She is also pursued by the Lilim and the surviving sons of Stormhold, who want her for their own reasons.
  • Dunstan Thorn: Tristran's father. Main character in the beginning of the book. He visited the Wall Market to find a gift for his girlfriend Daisy, and ended up fathering Tristan by Madame Semele's abused Slave Girl. The Slave Girl gives him a glass snowdrop which will protect him from evil and black magic. Dunstan later gives this to Tristan.
  • Victoria Forester: A resident of Wall described as "the most beautiful girl for a hundred miles around". She is the daughter of Bridget Comfrey and Tommy Forester. Although she is beautiful, she is shallow and likes to take advantage of the power she has over men, especially Tristan.
  • The Lord of Stormhold: The eighty-first Lord of Stormhold is an old man who rules Stormhold until his death. At the beginning of Stardust, he has four dead sons (Secundus, Quintus, Quartus, and Sextus) and three living ones (Primus, Tertius, and Septimus), in addition to his long-lost daughter Una. The dead sons appear as ghostly observers, while the living sons plot constantly to kill each other in order to succeed their father as Lord of Stormhold.
  • Lord Septimus: The youngest and most ruthless of the Lords of Stormhold. He is, by nature, a skilled assassin and has succeeded in murdering the majority of his family.
  • Lady Una: A cat-eared faerie girl of great beauty who works as a slave for Madame Semele. Lady Una suffers constant abuse at the hands of Madame Semele, being beaten and called a "wretched slattern". When not toiling for the witch-woman, she is kept in the form of a multicoloured bird. She is later revealed to be the Lady Una, the daughter of the Lord of Stormhold and Tristan's blood mother.
  • Madame Semele (AKA Ditchwater Sal): A witch, and a member of the sisterhood to which the Lilim belong. The witch-queen knew Semele as Ditchwater Sal when she was "a young chit of a thing". On their first encounter, Semele drugs the witch-queen's food with a magical substance that causes her to speak only the truth, thus forcing her to blurt out the truth of the fallen star. Semele plots to find the star first and restore her own youth, but the witch-queen curses her so that she will never perceive the star in any way.
  • The Lilim: Three old women of great power. The eldest of the three is called "the witch-queen", though they are also called by this title collectively. They are never named, as they lost their names long ago, but the eldest adopts the alias "Morwanneg" at one point. The Lilim were once the beautiful queens of a long-lost magical kingdom of witches, but when it was lost beneath the sea centuries of age caught up with them. They seek the fallen star because by consuming her heart, they will be granted centuries of youth and beauty. Yet using magic counteracts the effect and with each spell cast by the witch-queen, she grows older and uglier.

Tristran Thorn is the hero of Neil Gaimans novel Stardust. ... For the book, see Stardust (novel). ... Yvaine Lady Yvane is a Lotus Zen Master (hero) from Battle Realms. ... This article is about living for infinite period of time. ... For other uses of the word Vulnerability, please refer to vulnerability (computer science). ... According to Jewish folklore, the lilin (or lilim) are the daughters of Lilith and Adam, engendered while she was his wife. ... According to Jewish folklore, the lilin (or lilim) are the daughters of Lilith and Adam, engendered while she was his wife. ...


The eighteen-year-old Dunstan Thorn attends the Faery market on the other side of the wall, where he endeavours to purchase a magical gift for his sweetheart, Daisy Hepstock. He eventually settles on a crystal flower, but becomes unexpectedly infatuated with the faery girl who manages the stall. The girl reveals that she is in fact a captive princess, bound by a magical chain to serve the witch who owns the stall, and that she will only be free "on the day the moon loses her daughter, if that occurs in a week when two Mondays come together." After the Moon sets, Dunstan meets the girl in a secluded part of the meadow. They talk for a while, and the girl weeps at the misery of her imprisonment. Dunstan comforts her, and the two make love. After the market ends, Dunstan and Daisy become a couple, and are married the following June. However, several months after their wedding, a basket containing an infant boy is left at the wall, along with a scrap of parchment, on which is written "Tristran Thorn." The infant is clearly Dunstan's illegitimate son by the faery girl.

Seventeen years later, the boy Tristran is infatuated with Victoria Forester, the most beautiful girl in the village. He walks her home from the shop in which he works and in which she was purchasing several items, and the two sit and talk at the top of a nearby hill. Tristran makes several unsuccessful attempts to woo her, and ultimately, on a wild impulse, begins to promise ridiculously extravagant gifts in exchange for a kiss. While he is speaking, he sees a star fall from the sky, and promises her that specific star as a gift in exchange for "the pledge of (her) hand". She agrees to this, much to his dismay (he had only made the promise on the spur of the moment, and had no genuine intention of carrying out the task). With his father's approval, he crosses the Wall into Faery in search of the star.

On the other side of the wall, the Lord of Stormhold lies on his deathbed, surrounded by his three living sons. He sends each of these sons in turn to gaze out of the window and tell him what they see. The elder two see nothing of interest, but the youngest sees the first star of the evening in the sky. The Lord of Stormhold goes to the window and hurls the Power of Stormhold (a pendant which grants the wearer dominion over the land) out into the air, casting a spell which causes it to rise into the sky. He declares that whichever of his sons retrieves the stone shall be the new ruler of Stormhold. The three brothers and their father then see one star fall from the heavens and land somewhere to the south-west of them. The Lord of Stormhold dies, and the brothers set out on their quest.

In a deep forest, three ancient witch-queens known as the Lilim divine (by means of a stoat's entrails) knowledge of the fallen star. The three draw lots from the stoat's organs to decide which of them shall go to retrieve the star, and the eldest wins. She then transforms herself into a young and beautiful woman by consuming the last of their reserves of "years" (later revealed to be the heart of another fallen star) and sets out on her own quest. Tristran encounters a small, hairy man on his travels into Faery, and the two consider how best to send Tristran quickly over the many leagues to the fallen star. Along the way, the two inadvertently enter a "serewood" (a wood whose trees skin alive anyone who enters its borders), but by means of his apparent magical power to locate any place he wishes, Tristran finds the true path through the wood. Once on the path, they are protected from the trees, and continue their journey in safety until they leave the wood behind.

The three sons of the Lord of Stormhold arrive at an inn, where Terius, the second oldest of the three, seduces a beautiful chamber-maid. The maid gives him a bottle of wine which she believes to be an aphrodisiac, but which actually proves to be a concoction of poisonous berrie. Before Tertius dies, the panic-stricken chamber-maid tells him that his younger brother Septimus gave her the wine, promising that it would give them "a night (they) should never forget."

While his companion is making purchases in a nearby village, Tristran is taunted by several "little folk", who steal his bowler hat. The little man returns and provides Tristran with new and beautiful clothing. The man then gives Tristran a magical chain with which to ring back the star, as well as a small candle-stub. This he lights by magic, and bads Tristan walk toward the fallen star. Tristan obeys, and by means of the candle's magic, finds that he crosses many leagues with each step. His eighth step brings him to a small glade in which he finds a young woman with a broken leg, who tells him that she is in fact the fallen star. He binds her with the chain, which infuriates her, but the candle burns out before he can use it to return to the wall, leaving them six months' journey from his village with no means of magical transport. After a night's sleep, Tristan makes the star a splint and the two set off on their journey. Before they have gone far, they encounter a lion and a unicorn engaged in a battle in a clearing. Tristan saves the unicorn, which begins to travel with them.

Several miles away, the oldest of the Lilim shares a meal with a fellow witch named Madame Semele. Semele feeds the witch-queen a herb which induces anyone who eats it to speak the truth, and then inquires as to the nature of the queen's quest. The witch-queen is forced to tell her of the star, and is furious at the deception. She places a curse upon Madame Semele, rendering the star utterly invisible to the lesser witch, after which she departs.

The unicorn allows Tristran and the star for a little way, and Tristran then removes the chain and leaves the two alone while he goes to purchase food. When he returns, the star has fled on the unicorn.

Tristran is informed by a talking tree that the star is in grave danger, and that he must find her quickly and protect her. It also provides him with a leaf containing information which he must only listen to in dire need. At the tree's advice, he stops a coach (actually belonging to Primus, the dead Lord's eldest son) and the two pursue the star.

The witch transforms her chariot into an inn and her two goats into human servants, and then waits for the star to arrive. When she does, the witch pretends to be a kind innkeeper's wife, preparing a warm bath and a good dinner for the star, but she is actually trying to cause the star's heart to glow with happiness, so that it will be of most use to her (the witch) when she cuts it out. Before she can kill the star however, she is interrupted by Tristran and Primus. She tries to poison Tristran with tainted wine while he stables the horses, but the unicorn saves him. After he bursts in to warn Primus, the witch realises that she has been exposed, so she slits Primus's throat and prepare to kill Tristran and the star. The unicorn stops her and kills the two transformed goat's, but she stabs it to death and resumes her work. Upon listening to the information given to him by the tree, Tristan uses his sleeve as a makeshift wick for the candle-stub, and he and the star use its magic to escape the inn. Unfortunately, it burns out permanently in the middle of the journey, and they become stranded in the clouds.

The star reveals that since Tristran has saved her life, she is now responsible for him, and must remain with him from now on. This infuriates her, but following his apology for his cruel behaviour toward her, she relents a little, and tells him that her name is Yvaine. They are rescued by a "sky-ship", which takes them closer to the wall and then sets them down on the back to Tristran's village. The two have many adventures together as they cross the remaining leagues, ultimately encountering Madame Semele. Tristran trades the glass flower which his father had given him for luck (and which Dunstan had in fact bought from Semele's stall seventeen years previously) for safe passage to the wall. Semele transforms him into a dormouse out of spite, but is prevented from seeing Yvaine by the witch-queen's curse, allowing Yvaine to hide inside the witch's caravan unnoticed. On the road, Semele encounters the oldest of the Lilim (now much-aged by use of magic), who forces her to reveal what passengers she carries. Semele's ignorance of Yvaine's presence prevents the witch-queen from discovering Yvaine, and they continue toward Wall.

Publication history

Stardust was originally conceived by Gaiman and Vess as a "story book with pictures", created by both, and to be published by DC Comics. During an interview to be included in the audio book Neil Gaiman explained how, one day while driving he had seen a wall on the side of the road and had conceived the idea of Farie being behind the wall, this sparked an idea in his head about an American novelist who moved to England where he would find out about this wall, this book was to be called, very simply, Wall. Soon after he was nominated for a literary award which he won, at a celebratory party he saw a shooting star and immediately came up with the idea of Stardust. He dragged Vess out of a party that he was at and outlined the plot to him, Vess agreed to do the illustrations. Initially it was released in 1997 in what is known in the medium of comics as a "prestige" format four-issue mini-series. This means it came out once a month in a square-bound high-gloss comic, with high grade paper, high quality color and no advertisements. DC Comics is an American comic book and related media company. ... For the band, see 1997 (band). ...

Gaiman and Vess originally intended the story to be released complete, as a single book, which would better reproduce the painted illustrations of Vess and be a "story book" for all ages, and a release in this format was made in 1998. There was both a hardback (ISBN 1-56389-431-9) and a trade paperback edition (ISBN 1-56389-470-X). It is more accurately titled Neil Gaiman and Charles Vess' Stardust (Being A Romance Within The Realm of Faerie). The hardback edition is quarter-bound in faux leather with the author's names, title and several stars inlaid in foil. It also has reproductions of the comic book covers and many sketches by Vess. The trade paperback has a very different cover design and illustrations by Vess, and has subsequently been reprinted with another different cover design. Year 1998 (MCMXCVIII) was a common year starting on Thursday (link will display full 1998 Gregorian calendar). ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article may require cleanup. ...

Gaiman retains the copyright to the text and in 1999 decided, encouraged by publisher Avon, to publish Stardust as a conventional novel in hardback without illustrations. There was also a subsequent UK hardcover edition, from Headline. The book also proved popular with readers of the "romance" genre, although it is generally considered part of the fantasy genre. Thus the paperback publication was originally given three different covers which when placed side by side had one background image and a different primary image including a handsome man holding a woman in a passionate embrace, although this cover concept was never used. Not to be confused with copywriting. ... This article is about the year. ...

In 1999, Charles Vess' Green Man Press produced a portfolio as a benefit for Charles Vess' wife Karen, injured in a car accident, titled A Fall of Stardust, which contained two chapbooks and a series of art plates. The first chapbook, written by Gaiman, comprised of "Wall: A Prologue" short story, "Septimus' Triolet" poem, "Song Of The Little Hairy Man", and "The Old Warlock's Reverie: A Pantoum" poem. The second chapbook was a short story entitled The Duke of Wellington Misplaces His Horse by Susanna Clarke. Art plates were illustrated by William Stout, Mike Mignola, Terri Windling, Bryan Talbot, Jill Thompson, Paul Chadwick, P. Craig Russell, Mark Crilley, Elizabeth Johns, Michael Zulli, Robin Mullins, Lisa Snellings, Terry Moore, Tony DiTerlizzi, Linda Medley, Lorenzo Mattotti, Zander Cannon, Dave McKean, Jeff Smith, Trina Robins & Steve Leialoha, Gary Gianni, Janine Johnston, Stan Sakai, Michael Kaluta, Moebius, Rebecca Guay, Geoff Darrow, Brian Froud and Charles Vess. Those who order this collection directly from Green Man Press received an additional art plate by Sergio Aragones. [3] A modern day chapbook. ... Susanna [Mary] Clarke (born November 1, 1959) is a British author best known for her debut novel Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell (2004), a Hugo Award-winning alternate history fantasy. ... Mike Mignola (born in Berkeley, California on September 16, 1960) is a American comic book artist and writer. ... Terri Windling is an influential fantasy editor, artist, essayist, and author of the novel The Wood Wife (1996), winner of the Mythopoeic Fantasy Award for best novel. ... Bryan Talbot (born February 24, 1952) is a British comic book artist and writer. ... Jill Thompson (1966 - ) is a comic book writer and illustrator. ... Cover of Concrete: Strange Armor, a trade paperback collection of the miniseries by the same name. ... Philip Craig Russell, a. ... Michael Zulli is an American comics artist best known for his work on The Sandman with writer Neil Gaiman. ... Terry Moore is a comic book author and illustrator. ... Tony DiTerlizzi is a fantasy artist best known for his work in the collectible card game Magic: The Gathering and on the Planescape product line for the Dungeons & Dragons role-playing game. ... Lorenzo Mattotti (born 24 January 1954, Brescia) is an Italian comics and graphical artist as well as an illustrator. ... Born November 1, 1972, in Boston, Massachusetts, Zander Cannon is an American comic book writer and artist. ... David Tench McKean (born 29 December 1963 in Maidenhead, England) is an illustrator, photographer, comic book artist, graphic designer, filmmaker and musician. ... Jeff Smith can refer to: Jeff Smith, TV chef. ... Trina Robbins (born 1938) is an American comics artist and writer. ... Cover for Spider-Woman #8 (November 1978). ... Stan Sakai (born 1953) is a third-generation American of Japanese descent. ... Michael William Kaluta, or Mike Kaluta, (born August 25, 1947) is an American comic book artist. ... Jean Henri Gaston Giraud (born May 8, 1938) is a French comics artist. ... Rebecca Guay is an artist specializing in watercolor painting and illustration. ... Cover art by Geof Darrow Geof (Geoffrey) Darrow (October 21, 1955) is a comic artist and designer born in Iowa, USA. He was a student at Hanna-Barbera cartoon studios after studying at the American Academy of Fine Arts in Chicago. ... Brian Froud (born 1947 in Winchester) is an English fantasy illustrator. ... Charles Vess (born 1951) is an American illustrator. ... Sergio Aragonés (born 1937) is a cartoonist and writer. ...

In July of 2007, a new hardcover edition was published by Vertigo containing approximately fifty pages of new material, including new artwork and information on the production of the book.

Cultural references

One of the characters in Stardust is a large tree with red leaves that talks. The character was based on singer/songwriter (and friend of Gaiman) Tori Amos. She references this in the song "Horses" on her 1996 album Boys For Pele. She sings "And if there is a way to find you I will find you/but will you find me if Neil makes me a tree?" Tori Amos (born Myra Ellen Amos on August 22, 1963) is an American pianist and singer-songwriter. ... Boys For Pele, the Grammy-nominated third album by singer and songwriter Tori Amos, is perhaps her least well-known and yet best-selling album to date. ...

The novel also makes a number of references to folklore and mythology. For example, the small, hairy creature that helps Tristran references the nursery rhyme How Many Miles to Babylon? when explaining to Tristran how to use the candle to travel long distances quickly. Another nursery rhyme, The Lion and the Unicorn, which is itself a reference to the heraldic beasts which appear on the Royal coat of arms of the United Kingdom, is directly referenced when Tristran rescues a unicorn which is fighting with a lion over a golden crown. This article needs to be cleaned up to conform to a higher standard of quality. ... The Lion and the Unicorn are time-honoured symbols of the United Kingdom. ... The Royal Arms as used in England, Wales and Northern Ireland The Royal Coat of Arms of the United Kingdom is the official coat of arms of the British monarch, currently Queen Elizabeth II. These arms are used by the Queen in her official capacity as monarch, and are officially...

The Lilim, the three witches who seek Yvaine's heart, may be a reference to the creatures of the same name in Jewish mythology.[citation needed] According to Jewish folklore, the lilin (or lilim) are the daughters of Lilith and Adam, engendered while she was his wife. ...

Towards the end of the novel, it is mentioned that Tristran was rumoured to have been instrumental in breaking the power of the Unseelie Court.[4] In Scottish folklore, faeries are often divided into the Seele and Unseelie Courts, the Seelie being the faeries benevolently inclined towards humans and the Unseelie being the malevolent or mischievous faeries.[5] Various folklore classifications of the fairy folk have been made. ...

At the very end of the novel, death is referred to as "she". This could be a reference to Death, a character in Neil Gaiman's The Sandman. Death is a fictional character from the DC comic book series, The Sandman (1988 - 1996). ... The Sandman is a comic book series written by Neil Gaiman. ...


The original DC comic series was a top vote-getter for the Comics Buyer's Guide Fan Awards for Favorite Limited Series for 1998 and 1999. The collected edition of the series was a top vote-getter for the Comics Buyer's Guide Fan Award for Favorite Reprint Graphic Album for 1999. Comics Buyers Guide (CBG) is the longest-running periodical reporting on the comic book industry. ...

In 1999, the Mythopoeic Society awarded Neil Gaiman and Charles Vess the Mythopoeic Fantasy Award for Adult Literature for Stardust.

In 2000, it received the Alex Award from the American Library Association, which called it one of the "top ten books written for adults that have special appeal to young adults". ALA Logo The American Library Association (ALA) is a group based in the United States that promotes libraries and library education internationally. ...

See also


  1. ^ http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/stardust/
  2. ^ January 5th 2007, chat with Barnes and Noble, http://search.barnesandnoble.com/booksearch/isbninquiry.asp?ean=9780060934712&displayonly=ITV&z=y
  3. ^ Neil Gaiman Bibliography: A Fall Of Stardust. Retrieved on 2007-04-22.
  4. ^ Gaiman, Neil (1999) Stardust. London, Headline/Review. p.194 ISBN 978-0-7553-3755-2
  5. ^ Briggs, Katharine Mary(1976) An Encyclopedia of Fairies, Hobgoblins, Brownies, Boogies, and Other Supernatural Creatures. New York, Pantheon Books. "Seelie Court", p.353. ISBN 0-394-73467-X

Year 2007 (MMVII) is the current year, a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar and the AD/CE era in the 21st century. ... is the 112th day of the year (113th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Neil Richard Gaiman (IPA: ) (born November 10, 1960[2]) is an English author of science fiction and fantasy short stories and novels, graphic novels, comics, and films. ... Katharine Mary Briggs (November 8, 1898 – 1980) is the author of The Anatomy of Puck, the definitive 4-volume Dictionary of British Folk-Tales, and various other books on fairies and folklore. ...

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