Neil Gaiman’s Stardust – A Hero’s Journey

I’ve just come back from watching Stardust for the second time. I should have posted about it the first time in an effort to get more people to the cinema – even one or two, but time got away from me. Unfortunately a poor marketing job has cursed the film to a poor first run, but I am sure it will become a DVD favourite as people start sharing it with each other. You can see an alternate trailer for it at the end of the post that I found courtesy of Neil Gaiman’s blog.

Tristan’s journey has a few key lessons for heroes everywhere.  The first is to identify yourself as whatever you want to be, not what you seem to be.  He told Victoria that he wasn’t a shopboy, he had big dreams of travel.  Later when he was feeling sorry for himself on the pirate ship, Yvaine told him, “There are shopboys and there are boys who work in shops for the time being.”  Wherever you are on your journey, being able to see yourself at the end is a great skill.  Practice it.

Another lesson is to identify the real friends on your journey.  Our stories, in which we’re the central character, are filled with other characters.  We often have choice in the level of involvement these characters have – especially our friends.  Tristan’s obsession with Victoria holds him back from truly experiencing his journey.  She is a negative person in his life and it is not until he leaves her that he begins to change.  Have a look around you and make sure the people close to you are helping your story bloom, not keeping it stale.

The final lesson is the heroic behaviour of sacrifice.  As Tristan confronts Lamia at the end of the film to save Yvaine he doesn’t believe he’s going to succeed.  It is not the typical action hero sequence.  Tristan knows he has to save Yvaine and that’s all he thinks of – not his own safety.  The focus on his hand shaking and his reaction to the magic burst were great moments for me.  Sacrifice for others is one of the really rare heroic attributes and Tristan showed it in spades.  When was the last time you did something for others at the expense of yourself?  Try it.

One Response to Neil Gaiman’s Stardust – A Hero’s Journey

  1. Erik September 7, 2007 at 11:50 pm #

    This movie was amazing! I agree that it’s a shame that it will not get the audience that it should in the theater. I haven’t got the chance to see it a second time but I would in a heartbeat.