Study Guide

Stardust The Supernatural

By Neil Gaiman

The Supernatural

"So, it would be miracles and wonders that you would be after, is it?" (1.69)

The tall gentleman in the top hat who rents a room from Dunstan Thorn is apparently a miracle-and-wonder-dealer. Dunstan figures this out, and asks for one of those in addition to the monetary rent that the tall gentleman pays him. After all, how often do you have a chance to ask for a miracle or wonder for yourself?

Mr. Bromios had sent up a wine-tent and was selling wines and pasties to the village folk, who were often tempted by the foods being sold by the folk from Beyond the Wall but had been told by their grandparents, who had got it from <em>their</em> grandparents, that it was deeply, utterly wrong to eat fairy food, to eat fairy fruit, to drink fairy water and sip fairy wine. (1.114)

Okay, kids, you don't have to be a genius to know that eating fairy food is generally a bad idea for humans. The folks from Wall seem to have this figured out. It also, conveniently, is a great business strategy for Mr. Bromios to provide human-friendly food at the Faerie Market. Just sayin'.

There were wonders for sale, and marvels, and miracles; there were things undreamed-of and objects unimagined (<em>what need</em>, Dunstan wondered, <em>could someone have of the storm-filled eggshells?</em>). (1.116)

People are selling all kinds of magical stuff at the Faerie Market, like swords and wands and rings and glass flowers… and, apparently, eggshells stuffed with weather phenomena. We're with Dunstan on this one. What are they for, conversation starters?

"Look at his eyes. Can't you see the poor boy's dazed in his wits, dazed and confused? He's bespelled, I'll wager you." (1.157)

When Dunstan shows up with the glass snowdrop for Daisy, he's acting a little funny. Mr. Hempstock's interpretation is that it's the fault of someone/something magical; clearly the boy's under a spell. 

The three women in the mirror were also the Lilim: but whether they were the successors to the old women, or their shadow-selves, or whether only the peasant cottage in the woods was real, or if, somewhere, the Lilim lived in a black hall, with a fountain in the shape of a mermaid playing in the courtyard of stars, none knew for certain, and none but the Lilim could say. (3.59)

This description of the Lilim kind of breaks our brains. Do they actually live in an alternate universe? Do they have shadow-selves? Come to think of it, what <em>is</em> a shadow-self? Is it a witch thing? Or are the Lilim the proto-witches, the witches who came before witches? Almost goddesses? Whatever they are, they're full of magic, and they're kind of scary.

"Say," said a small and hairy voice in his ear, "but would you mind dreamin' a bit quieter?" (4.5)

Last we checked, it wasn't possible for one person to dream loudly enough for another person to hear them. Or for people to share dreams. It seems the hairy little man is gifted (or cursed?) with especially strong dream senses. Or maybe Tristran is. This whole thing is a little odd.

Once he had eaten, he wiped his hands upon his robe and then he cast the runes to find the topaz stone which conferred the lordship of the crag towns and the vast estates of the Stormhold. (5.158)

Primus has runes that he consults in order to divine the location of the topaz, a.k.a. the Power of Stormhold. What are runes? They're carved stones or tiles that can be used like Tarot cards to tell the future—or in this case, the present (since he's after the current location of the topaz, not necessarily where it <em>will</em> be). We'll take runes over animal guts any day when it comes to divination.

They left the inn behind them, the howls of the witch-queen ringing in their ears. They were underground, and the candlelight flickered from the wet cave walls; and with their next halting step they were in a desert of white sand, in the moonlight; and with their third step they were high above the earth, looking down on the hills and trees and rivers far below them. (7.86)

We'll say this about travel by candlelight: It sure is efficient. It'll take you farther and faster than just about anything else we've seen in <em>Stardust</em>. But then, it's also not the most reliable means of travel. If the flame goes out, you're screwed, and this happens not just once, but twice to Tristran. So much for his good luck.

She took the unicorn's head by the horn and placed it beside the body, on the rock; thereupon she looked with her hard, grey eyes into the red pool she had made. Two faces peered out at her from the puddle: two women, older by far in appearance than she was now. (8.50)

"Hello, operator? Yes, we'd like to place a call through this puddle of unicorn blood sitting under a decapitated unicorn head. Yes, we can hold. No trouble at all. Toodle-loo!"

Something hit him, then, stunning him; although he had been still, he felt as if he had just run at full tilt into in invisible wall. (8.130)

And here's yet another kind of magic that exists in Faerie: You can feel like you've slammed into a wall even when you're not moving. Madame Semele unleashes this on Tristran when she thinks he's stealing her brightly colored bird (which turns out to be his mom in bird-form). Of course, in a way, Tristran does help steal Lady Una away from Madame Semele's enslavement. Ha.