Study Guide

The 81st Lord of Stormhold in Stardust

By Neil Gaiman

The 81st Lord of Stormhold

We first see the Lord of Stormhold on his deathbed. He has to decide the matter of succession, since he has three surviving sons. Back in his day, he killed all of his siblings before this could've been a problem in his generation. Kids these days, right? He reminisces:

But the youth of today were a pasty lot, with none of the get-up-and-go, none of the vigor and vim that he remembered from the days when he was young. (3.7)

Because, you know, nothing says "vigor and vim" quite like murdering all of your siblings.

Speaking of vitality, the lord has one last glorious moment before he kicks the bucket for good:

The old man pulled free of his sons, and stood straight and tall, then. He was, for a heartbeat, the Lord of Stormhold who had defeated the Northern Goblins at the battle of Cragland's Head; who had fathered eight children—seven of them boys—on three wives; who had killed each of his four brothers in combat, before he was twenty years old. (3.29)

He then takes the topaz stone from his neck—a.k.a. the Power of Stormhold—says a spell over it, and flings it into the sky, where it knocks down a star. Whichever of his sons (or any other male in his bloodline) brings it back will become the next Lord of Stormhold.

And then he dies. Gee, Dad, thanks for setting us this ridiculously tough task before kicking the bucket.