Study Guide

Stardust Chapter 3

By Neil Gaiman

Chapter 3

In Which We Encounter Several Other Persons, Many of Them Still Alive, With an Interest in the Fate of the Fallen Star

  • There's this place called the Stormhold. The first lord of Stormhold carved it out of the peak of Mount Huon, where it perches high in the sky among storm clouds.
  • By now we're onto the 81st lord of Stormhold, and he's on his deathbed, so he summons all his kids, and they come to him, both the dead (the ghosts of Secundus, Quintus, Quartus, and Sextus) and the living (Primus, Tertius, and Septimus).
  • The dying lord removes his topaz necklace (you know, the one whose wearer, if of Stormhold blood, becomes the ruler of Stormhold) and tosses it out into the night sky. He tells his sons that whoever retrieves it will become the next lord of Stormhold. It glimmers and falls, like a falling star.
  • The brothers take care of their father's body before setting out to find it, or trying to kill each other. Less competition is better, right?
  • In another part of Faerie, three old witches, the Lilim, live in a hovel. It's pretty dirty.
  • The only clean thing in the hovel is a gigantic black mirror… inside of which, three women live, though they aren't old like the witch sisters. Their movements mirror those of the witches, though. Mysterious, right?
  • One of the sisters cuts open a dead animal to use its entrails to divine. She gets all excited, saying there's a fallen star, and it's about time; they decide to send out the eldest sister to fetch it.
  • She reaches inside a box for a small golden something that tries to evade her grasp, eats it, and then becomes young and beautiful again (and simultaneously, one of the three women vanishes from the black mirror).
  • So the witch-queen sets off to reclaim the fallen star. Bad news, we're guessing.
  • In still another part of Faerie (because it's, like, huge), in a glade, a bright light shines brighter and brighter.
  • Suddenly it's extinguished, and a female voice says ow and a choice curse word or two.