Study Guide

Stardust Chapter 7

By Neil Gaiman

Chapter 7

"At the Sign of the Chariot"

  • As the star and the unicorn approach the inn, a friendly-looking middle-aged lady comes out to beckon them in. The unicorn seems a little wary around her, but whatever.
  • The lady leads the unicorn to a stall in the stable, and the innkeeper, a silent old man called Billy, carries the star inside the inn.
  • The innkeeper's wife gives the star a nice, hot bath and inquires about how her heart is doing. It's all nice and warm and stuff, and the star is totally amazed by how kind humans can be.
  • Right as the innkeeper's wife helps the star to a table where some knives lay, they hear noise from outdoors—a voice is shouting for the stable boy, saying they want to stay the night. The innkeeper's wife is like, sigh, this can wait.
  • Tristran stays in the stable to look after their soaked horses. There's a white horse already in one stall, but Tristran doesn't look too closely at it because he's exhausted and drenched from the storm.
  • A blank-looking maid comes in with a steaming mug of wine for Tristran. She puts it down and leaves. The white horse begins to freak out, and it finally kicks free of its stall.
  • Tristran realizes that it's the unicorn. It touches its horn to the mug of wine, and Tristran remembers that unicorns are supposed to be able to sense poison. Remembering the leaf the tree had given him, Tristran lifts it to his ear, listening to it.
  • Inside the inn, the innkeeper's wife offers Primus wine, which he declines because, as we know by now, he's super paranoid.
  • Primus notices the star sitting at the table, and realizes that she has his father's stone, so he asks for it; the star says she'll gladly give it to him.
  • The innkeeper's wife comes between them, and this is when Primus recognizes the knives on the table. He's seen them before in some very old scrolls.
  • Tristran barges in, saying that they tried to poison him. Primus reaches for his sword, but the witch-queen is faster, and she grabs a knife and slits his throat. She orders the goat-people to attack Tristran. Then the unicorn barges in, too, spearing one of the goat-people and kicking the other.
  • Next, the unicorn spears the witch-queen with its horn, but she's close enough to stab one of her knives through its skull, killing it.
  • Meanwhile, Tristran has taken cover and is shaping the last remaining bit of candle wax around a strip of leather from his clothes. The star is huddled up near him, and they're both confused as heck.
  • The witch frees herself from the unicorn's horn and advances on them. Tristran tells the star to stand, or else they'll die. He thrusts his hand holding the candle into the fire, and together, they begin to walk. They walk right out of the death trap, into a cave, and then into the moonlight.
  • They're up in the sky, way above the ground, when the candle flame burns out.