I totally forgot that I was supposed to come here and talk about the rest of this story today, and when I picked up the book last night to start finishing it, I figured I’d be posting this a day late. But then I couldn’t put the dang book down, even well past my bedtime, and so here I am, prepared to have thoughts!
Spoiler: My thoughts are that this is a pretty cool book.
If you missed last week’s discussion, check it out here, unless you haven’t actually read this book yet, in which case go do that and then come back!
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? I still think he’s a dolt, but of course now he realizes that he’s a dolt so that’s okay, I guess. I found it interesting that he stayed pretty focused on getting this star back to Victoria basically right up until he saw Victoria again. Then he was like, wait, brain wave, I was doing perfectly fine without this particular beautiful woman. It was a little sudden, but then so was his return to Wall, so I’m fine with this. I also appreciated how he took on his new mantle by lending it to someone who actually wanted it for a while and going off and doing probably awesome things instead. He’s a good kid.
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? I didn’t get a lot out of Yvaine’s story, unfortunately. I suppose her ability to overcome Tristran’s doltishness was useful, but I feel like most of her life really took place off the page when she was being a star at the very beginning or being a queen at the very end. I wish she had had a little more to do than be a vessel for a heart and a topaz stone the rest of the time!
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 thought the Stormhold brothers came to appropriate ends, especially that awful Septimus. It was certainly interesting to see the power of Stormhold up in the air for a little bit, and to see how this fairy tale was going to come together in the end. As to the witches, I was highly amused that the Lilim was foiled by her own spell, and that Sal also deserved her loss in the end, however anticlimactic it was.
4. Were there any descriptions, characters, settings, plot threads that stood out to you personally during this second half of the book? I was hoping for a bit more out of the flying boat and the whole Fellowship of the Castle that kept coming up, and I was quite disappointed that so many awesome things kept happening to Tristran and Yvaine off the page. I would have preferred maybe a little more swashbuckling in this book, but I suppose that’s what the movie is for!
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? I am gonna go ahead and skip this question, because I do not have the knowledge to answer it. If you want to drop me some knowledge in the comments, I’m totally up for it.
6. What are your overall impressions of the story now that it is done? I feel happier about it than I did last time I read it, when I was not expecting this slow fairy tale story. I really love the way Gaiman plays with fairy conceits and even how he doesn’t always give me what I’m expecting, no matter how frustrating that is. I just wish we could have spent maybe twice as many pages with these characters!
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? Um, yes! I would love to learn more about the Fellowship of the Castle and whatever Tristran might or might not have done with them, and definitely more about his adventures on the ship.
Have you read Stardust? What do you think about these questions? Let me know in the comments!