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Stardust is a novel written by Neil Gaiman in 1998, which was adapted into a film by Matthew Vaughn in 2007. It tells the story of a young man, Tristran Thorn, who lives in Victorian England and who crosses the ancient, mysterious wall near his village (aptly named 'Wall') in search of a fallen star with which he hopes to convince a beautiful girl named Victoria to marry him. Across the wall is a magical land, and Tristran discovers that the fallen star is in fact a woman, named Yvaine. The story follows their journey back to Wall, during which time they are chased by witches and murderous princes/lords, encounter a pirate captain, and eventually fall in love.


Tristran Thorn
Renamed Tristan in the movie, Tristran is a good-hearted and rather naïve young man who is completely in love with the beautiful Victoria. His initial meeting with Yvaine does not go well, and the two bicker for quite a while before he realises his feelings for Victoria have faded. Brave only when necessary, he does not like to fight and feels quite out of his depth in the strange magical world. In the film he is played by Charlie Cox.
A fallen star, Yvaine is a pale, very beautiful woman with a bad temper and copious amounts of sarcasm. All she wants to do is go home, and she has little tolerance for Tristran's obsession with Victoria. As a star, Yvaine is immortal, but not invulnerable; anyone who can cut out her heart and eat it will gain immortality and (unless they regularly use magic) eternal youth. In the film she is played by Claire Danes.
A silly, pretty girl, Victoria has no real interest in marrying Trist(r)an; in the film she is a very shallow character who simply prefers the richer, handsome suitor (Humphrey), but in the book she eventually shows real maturity, and marries a much older man with whom she is truly in love. In the film she is played by Sienna Miller.
Dunstan Thorn
Tristran's father, a quiet English villager, Dunstan had a brief affair with a slave girl from the magical world which resulted in his son being delivered in a basket nine months later. He is a good, supportive father and a relatively minor character. In the film he is played by Nathaniel Parker (as an adult) and Ben Barnes (as a young man).
Una / Slave Girl
Born to the ruling family of Stormhold, Una was captured and spent much of her adult life as a slave to a merchant witch (Sal, or 'Semele'). She had an affair with Dunstan and gave birth to a son, Tristran, whom she (reluctantly) sent to be raised by his father. By the end of the story she is freed from servitude and reclaims her birthright as a noblewoman. In the film she is played by Kate Magowan.
The seventh son of the Lord (King, in the movie) of Stormhold, Septimus and his brothers (Primus, Secundus, Tertius, Quartus, Quintus, and Sextus) were raised to kill each other off in competition for their father's crown. Septimus is a particularly cold-blooded and skilled murderer, and throughout the story he tracks Yvaine and Tristran in search of the royal stone (a ruby in the film, a topaz called 'The Power of Stormhold' in the book) that will secure his claim to power. Though he manages to kill the last of his brothers, he is eventually killed by the witch-queen (Lamia). In the film he is played by Mark Strong.
The Lord/King of Stormhold
A very old man who dies in his only scene, this man murdered all his brothers (twelve in the movie and seventeen in the book) for his crown and raised his children to do the same. He is not named, and therefore one cannot be sure if it was his idea to name his sons and daughters by number (ordinals for the boys, and a cardinal for his only daughter), or whether this is a long-standing tradition. In the film he is played by Peter O'Toole.
The Witch-Queen / Lamia
Unnamed in the book, Lamia is the eldest of three magically powerful sisters who are incredibly old, and look it. Throughout the story they seek the fallen star (Yvaine) and their sole purpose is to eat her heart to regain their youth and beauty. In the book, the witch simply fails and retreats to her rotting home with her sisters, but in the movie, all three are killed. In the film, Lamia is played by Michelle Pfeiffer.
Captain Shakespeare
Captain of the flying pirate ship Caspartine, Shakespeare has a drastically different characterisation in the book and movie. In the book he is simply a well-mannered sailor who generously helps Yvaine and Tristran on their quest, while in the movie he is a hilarious closet cross-dresser. In both cases, his crew illegally collect lightning, which they sell on the magical black market. In the film he is played by Robert DeNiro.

Major Book/Movie Differences[]

  • In the book, the magical world is called 'Faerie', and 'Stormhold' is either the name of the ruling city or the Lord's palace. In the movie, the entire country is named 'Stormhold'.
  • The book takes place over at least a year, reinforcing the vast size of the magical world, while in the film it only takes a week for Yvaine and Tristan to reach Wall.
  • Faerie in the book is ruled by the Lord of Stormhold, while in the movie this family has been promoted to royal status, with each son being referred to as a prince.
More about Stardust (the novel) at Wikipedia
More about Stardust (the 2007 film) at Wikipedia

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