Study Guide

Stardust Rules and Order

By Neil Gaiman

Rules and Order

Does anyone else find it ironic that Faerie—which is all wild and crazy and full of magic—is governed by all kinds of rules? There are rules about how magic works, and rules of etiquette, and laws binding different species to act in certain ways.

When Tristran saves Yvaine's life at the inn-of-doom, for instance, she is now honor-bound to accompany him always, because that's how things work with her people, the stars. And Lady Una is bound to be a slave until impossible-sounding conditions are fulfilled, but once those come true, she's free. What's more, according to the rules, she has to be paid for all her work. Them's the breaks. Keep an eye out for rules and other ordering devices in Stardust, since there are more than you'd suspect.

Questions About Rules and Order

  1. Why do you think no one is allowed to pass through the wall except on market days?
  2. What do you think Septimus would have done if he weren't honor-bound to kill the witch-queen (since she murdered his brother)?
  3. How does Tristran help fulfill the conditions for his mother's release (knowingly or not)?
  4. If you had to describe the rules by which magic works in three words, which would you choose?

Chew on This

The rule of hospitality (be nice to your guests) is the most important rule in <em>Stardust</em>.

Magic is governed by rules in <em>Stardust</em> in order to maintain some order in an otherwise chaotic world.