Study Guide

Stardust Chapter 8

By Neil Gaiman

Chapter 8

Which Treats of Castles in the Air, and Other Matters

  • Septimus finds his brother's body. Primus, meanwhile, has joined the cohort of ghosts following the sole remaining Stormhold lord who's alive.
  • On the one hand, Septimus is thrilled that he's going to get to be the next lord of Stormhold, since there are no other contenders for the throne. On the other hand, though, now he's required to take revenge on his brother's killer. Bummer.
  • Back to Tristran and the star. They're stuck on a cloud. It's substantial for the time being, but who knows how long that'll last?
  • Tristran apologizes to the star for chaining her up, and asks if they can start over. She's annoyed at him, however, because now that he's saved her life, she's bound to him, and has to go where he goes. Ugh.
  • Eventually, though, the star warms up to him, and accepts Tristran's offer to start over; she introduces herself as Yvaine.
  • Let's see how the witch-queen is doing, shall we? She's way older looking now that she's had to use up a bunch of magic.
  • She uses blood from the dead unicorn to conjure a vision of her two sisters. They're irritated with her for wasting the youth she was given, but she says she'll bring back the star and it'll be fine. They tell her to look for the star at Diggory's Dyke, since it's on the way to the Market at Wall, which is where they think the star is heading.
  • It's important for the witch-queen to get the star before it crosses into Wall, because then she will become a hunk of metallic rock. Apparently this is what happens to fallen stars is in our world instead of magical ones.
  • Back to Tristran. His burned hand really hurts, and Yvaine's broken leg is still pretty bad, so Tristran starts to call out for help, in case anyone is around them.
  • And someone actually calls back. An airship is above them, and sends a ladder down in order to pull them up.
  • They're welcomed aboard the Free Ship Perdita, captained by Johannes Alberic. He calls over a woman named Meggot to tend to Yvaine's leg and Tristran's hand.
  • They take care of Tristran and Yvaine during the rest of the voyage. Tristran has a great time, learning to help around the ship and stuff like that.
  • Before they touch down at port, the captain says they're going to let Tristran and Yvaine off soon. The captain hints that he's part of a fellowship involving castles—which includes the little hairy man—and this fellowship is looking out for Tristran and Yvaine.
  • Oh, and pro tip: If Yvaine is going to pretend to be human, she might want to eat something once in a while.
  • So Tristran and Yvaine set off west, toward Wall, adventuring as they go. At one point, Yvaine says she is lucky to have met Tristran.
  • One morning, Tristran spots a bird on a chain. The chain is tangled around a tree, trapping the bird. He helps it get free, but then the bird's owner, an old woman, accuses him of trying to steal the bird. The woman eventually backs off, but the whole thing was still weird.
  • Later on they catch up with the wagon, and the old woman introduces herself as Madame Semele and asks if Tristran wants to work for her at her booth. Tristran goes to consult with Yvaine, but Madame Semele completely ignores Yvaine—it's like she's not even there.
  • Tristran says he has business of his own at the market, but he'd like transportation there for himself and his companion, which he'll pay for.
  • Madame Semele is scornful until Tristran pulls the glass snowdrop from his buttonhole. Then Madame Semele is all about it. She agrees to give Tristran safe passage and food on the way to the market.
  • Then she turns him into a tiny mouse and gives him some seeds. Technically, he'll be safe as a mouse, so this isn't necessarily as bad as it might seem. Yvaine hops into the caravan, too, and deduces that Madame Semele, for whatever reason, is incapable of seeing or interacting with her. The bird keeps her company, though.