Study Guide

Stardust Chapter 2

By Neil Gaiman

Chapter 2

In Which Tristran Thorn Grows to Manhood and Makes a Rash Promise

  • The next Faerie Market happens when Tristran is eight years old, but he's sent off to visit distant relatives. His younger sister Louisa gets to go, though, which is annoying.
  • After the market, their cat has kittens, including one that's strangely blue, and it's Tristran's favorite pet until one day it runs away over the wall. Dunstan consoles his son that it'll be happier there, among its own kind. Huh? Whatever you say, Pops.
  • Basically, Tristran doesn't really fit in. His sister's teasing only reinforces this, and his crush on Victoria Forester makes it worse, since she's such a proper young lady that she's totally unattainable for someone like Tristran.
  • Tristran's not alone in admiring Victoria; pretty much all the men of the village think she's beautiful. Her friends tease her about Mr. Monday, a forty-five-year-old rich widower who also, apparently, has a thing for her.
  • By the time Tristran turns seventeen, he's in that tricky phase of being a teenager: shy, ungainly, and, well, awkward. He works in the town shop, and has an awkward conversation with Victoria when she comes in with her family's grocery list.
  • Tristran boldly asks Victoria if he can walk her home, and then he asks if he can kiss her. She says no. He says he'd go to the ends of the earth for her, bring back treasures, and so on, but her answer's still no.
  • A star flashes and falls, and he says he'd bring back the fallen star for her, in exchange for a kiss and her hand in marriage. To this, she says yes, though we get the feeling that she's not taking this promise half as seriously as he is.
  • Tristran runs home. His mom is not happy with him, as usual. His dad takes him aside, and when Tristran says he's going "East" (with a capital "E" which means beyond the wall), his dad says he understands.
  • In fact, good old dad walks him to the wall, and tells the men on duty that Tristran is going back where he came from. His dad shakes his hand, and they let him walk on through, no fuss at all.
  • Tristran walks for a bit, and looks at the thing his dad pressed into his hand before he left: It's a white snowdrop made of glass.
  • He tucks the snowdrop into his buttonhole, thinks of how beautiful Victoria is, and walks into Faerie.