Study Guide

Stardust Courage

By Neil Gaiman


Bravery will get you pretty far in the world of Stardust. Knowing when to stand up and fight—and alternately, when to back down—is an important life skill. It's one that Tristran lacks at first, since he's a total newbie to magic and quests and stuff, but slowly he gets the hang of it.

He courageously survives his early encounter with the serewood, and he goes on to get himself and Yvaine out of that death-trap of an inn where the witch-queen does her best to kill them both. And Tristran just keeps refining his sense of courage throughout his life, going on to become a valiant ruler and leaving a legacy behind when he dies. Not bad for someone who starts out as a lovesick seventeen-year-old, eh?

Questions About Courage

  1. What do you think is the bravest thing Tristran does in the book?
  2. Would you characterize the witch-queen's actions as courageous? Why or why not?
  3. Does Yvaine do anything that you consider brave?
  4. Do you think Tristran's courage is fueled by ignorance? As in, would he be acting so bravely if he knew what he was truly up against?

Chew on This

Tristran's courage shines most brightly in desperate situations.

Tristran is the bravest character in the book because he has the least guarantee of coming out ahead when he goes up against various dangers.