Headscratchers / Stardust

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    Lamia's voodoo doll 

  • How was Lamia able to make a voodoo doll of Septimus? She didn't have any pieces of his hair or skin or anything—just a random doll made of clay. It wasn't linked to Septimus in any particular way, so it shouldn't have worked! It might be internally consistent, but that still raises the question of why she didn't bust it out before her sister got gutted.
    • Perhaps she didn't think she needed to until he actually killed one of them.
    • Or maybe she wanted at least one of her sisters dead. Two way split is better than three.
    • On watching the movie again, her expression shifts when her sister dies - it does not look like a happy face. Most likely, they were trying to conserve what little of their age they had left, and Septimus' competence spurred her to kick it up a notch.
    • As for the doll itself, I figured that Lamia is just that good- after all, she and her sisters are the three most powerful witches in the world, and she generally comes off as the most formidable of the three. A rough likeness and line-of-sight was probably all she needed.

    Just take them out already 

  • Why didn't Lamia just kill both of them when she had the chance? She deliberately missed Tristan, let both of them get far away from her, then suddenly started trying to kill them again when they both had the advantage over her and she got her butt whipped. I loved the movie, but that scene almost killed it for me for being apparently pointless.
    • Possibly she needed a breather.
    • "What use is a heart when it's broken?"
      • Indeed, she needed the star to be at least moderately happy. Also, she might not have have known that Yvaine could glow and annihilate her.
      • It did seem to catch her by surprise. Plus, Tristan (rather dumbly) left his sword up there with her, so he didn't even have anything to defend himself with.
    • Her sisters who she lived with for hundreds, possibly thousands, of years just died. Even if she didn't particularly love them, it's expected she would be a little crazy after everything that's happened.
    • This Troper agrees with the above statement; she was clearly just trying to prompt a little more happiness out of Yvaine, and clearly cared very little for her sisters. What does a moment's psyche-out hurt her?
      • The thing is, it's timed atrociously. She has them in her power, she lets them go, they become happy, then she spends power to freak them out and stop being happy again. Immediately after she lets them go, when they're still in arms reach and happy about the change was the time to stab them. As it is, she freaks them out, makes them happy and freaks them out again but a little further away and less in her power
      • At the point where she had Yvaine completely in her power, Yvaine had effectively lost all hope. Lamia needed to give her a Hope Spot to actually make her think "Maybe we'll live through this, maybe we'll survive." Yes, she scares her again right after, but at that point Yvaine is scared, not heartbroken. She was clearly going to kill them both almost immediately after that, and probably figured the lingering hope and happiness of thinking she was going to get away would have lingered in Yvaine's heart.

    The witches' animals 
  • Given Lamia's transforming of Bernard into a goat early in the movie, I have to ask, were the animals the witches used for divination that were let loose at the end transformed humans, or was it left to the viewer's interpretation?
    • They were animals. There's absolutely nothing in the movie that implies that they were transformed humans.
    • Though that would've made Empusa's Karmic Death by wolves more awesome.
      • The animals acted a lot more intelligently and less like animals though. They attacked the person further away from them who'd caused them suffering and then left peacefully and orderly without attacking any of the other humans
    • Another interpretation: The wall is a magical place. Animals born in them could be quite intelligent (like how a star could be people in the wall and rocks and metal outside).
      • Wolves and so on are perfectly capable of recognizing people.

    Unhappy ending 
  • At the end of The Movie, isn't it a bit of an unhappy ending that Tristan and Yvain eend up hundreds, or thousands of light-years apart, or at least with other stars between them?
    • The movie seemed to give the implication that stars were still together and capable of communicating. Besides, since they lit the same Babylon candle, they would have gone to the heavens together. Since this movie is pure fantasy, actual distance of heavenly bodies isn't an issue in this universe.
    • Even with that in mind, that part always bugged me too. Why couldn't they have just made it one star?
    • Because they're two different people.
    • If real life must intrude on this romantic celestial metaphor, just consider them to be binary stars that are close enough to "Earth" that they look close together.
      • That's doesn't work. To be close enough to earth to look like two separate stars as far apart as shown in the movie, both stars would have to be within the solar system, at a distance measured not in LYs but in AUs (otherwise the binary pair will still look like one star from earth, or at best, just barely resolvable by the naked eye as two stars VERY close together in the sky). At such distances, the two stars would not look like stars in the sky, but like SUNS. Perhaps dimmer than the actual sun, depending on precisely how far away and what intrinsic brightness they were (but also possibly BRIGHTER than the sun), but each at least several times brighter than the full moon, and both visible as discs, not points of light.
    • I figure, stars are lightyears away from each other in the 'real' world, but Tristran and Yvain were on the 'fantasy' side of the wall. It's like how stars aren't sentient humanoids with magic powers on both sides of the wall.
      • And perhaps stars have a different view of distance and than humans? For entities that can live for billions of years, light years, decades and centuries won't necessarily feel the same as to short-lived humans. And besides, this is fantasy.
    • Technically, wasn't Yvaine a meteorite, or would be if she crossed the wall?
      • Yep. A Fallen Star.
      • Look at it this way: it's still far, far happier then the ending of the book, where Tristran just dies as all mortals do and Yvain stays in the castle to mourn him for all eternity...
    • Remember that they're on the Land of Faerie side of the wall. They're not giant balls of plasma thousands of light years from earth, they're human(oid) people walking around on the inside of the outermost Celestial Sphere. They're maybe a few miles apart at most. Recall that, when they first used the Babylon Candle together, it was explicitly stated that they wound up halfway between their homes... and this was a cloud in Earth's atmosphere, not somewhere deep in interstellar space.

    Empusa's death 
  • Did anyone else find it kind of anticlimactic how the second witch died? They're apparently the three best witches and all we see her do is... getting killed by rodents.
    • Hey, it worked on Dr. Doom :P.
    • The ferrets (not rodents) didn't kill her. They distracted her. The wolves Tristan set free right after killed her.
      • Still, an uber powerful witch got killed by a bunch of mindless animals.
    • Even Ditchwater Sal put up a better fight and managed to pull one over on two main characters. Plus, her black magic smoke was way cooler than Pfeiffer's green magic smoke.
      • Hey, you ever try casting spells when you've got a couple dozen pissed off ferrets running up your dress? Ferrets are fast. Add in the hungry, pissed off wolves, and it's going to be just a wee bit difficult concentrating on magic.
    • wolves are highly dangerous predators, especially when there's a lot of them and especially when they're single-mindedly engraged at you.

    The magic necklace 
  • The part I don't understand is why the necklace knocked Yvaine out of the sky. I mean, I know the necklace had to travel a good distance for the sons to go look for it, but why would it bring down a star?
    • In the comic book it's implied the necklace literally knocked her out of the sky. Maybe it hit her in the head or feet, tripping her? I mean, what's the magical physics like for living stars... Wait, I can't believe we're discussing the implausibility of a magical pendant being thrown out of orbit by a dying king, managing to hit an orbiting immortal glowing woman out of all that emptiness of space, knocking her out of orbit and crashing her into Earth without having the fall the kill her, and the implausible part is that it made her trip??? Sorry, sorry, Bellisario's Maxim and such.
      • That's what I mean, why did the necklace go into space at all? It's not as though the sons could look for it up there.
      • He didn't mean for it to stay up there. He was just tossing it in the air to make it difficult for him. When you play fetch with the dog, you throw the stick up in the air. Same thing here.

    Exploding mirrors 
  • So when the witch was exploding the mirrors, why did they keep moving back in front of the unexploded mirrors instead of heading for the door where the already exploded mirrors could not explode on them?
    • Because shards where still flying throw the air and there was no time to wait for them to fall onto the ground before the next mirror exploded.
    • And because it looks a lot cooler to have the hero and heroine running along a corridor of exploding glass...

    The rules of The Wall 
  • So, is The Wall a portal between worlds, or is the magic land that one area? I mean, in the magic world, is supposed to be a whole other Earth, or do they just have a couple hundred square miles?
    • If I remember the book correctly, the Wall only has that universe merging effect during the other Wall's big carnival-like affair...
    • It's on all the time in the graphic novel, it's just more widely used during market meets. Anyhoo, think of the Wall this way: If you jump over it, you're still in England, but if you walk through the gap, you're crossing into another world entirely.
      • Ah, okay. I was wondering why those strapping men never tried to just jump over the five foot wall further down away from the guard.
      • So, how does a scene in the movie where the star managed to walk right up to the wall and even had been stopped by the old man gaurding the wall?
      • Interesting question. What if Yvaine had simply jumped/climbed over the wall? Or would there be some magic that prevents her from doing so at any point other than the gap?
    • To be more clear, it's a portal and the world on the other side is as big as Earth, if not bigger - countries removed from the map by cartographers move over there.

    Septimus's afterlife trip to Hell 
  • Why does only Septimus go to Hell? His is the only spirit that turns red and zips downward. I'm not arguing that he didn't deserve it (though he does seem to have been pushed to it by the way his father raised him), but it sounds like some of his other brothers were equally as ruthless and murderous... they just weren't as good at it as he was. Seems like at least one or two of them should have rated damnation.
    • We don't see the brother's behavior except to each other. Perhaps the rest where quite noble to ordinary people.And they may have only killed each other because daddy gave them no choice. Sept may have been the only one who was evil generally and who relished killing his brothers.
    • Maybe because he was the only one to kill a clergyman.
    • Because Septimus was the most like his father. He killed the most people and killed them in cold blood, without a shred of remorse. Like the above stated, his brothers might have behaved better when they weren't following in their father's footsteps and might even have repented after death. The only other confirmed killer was Secundus, and he seemed to regret it by the time we see him die. ("It was 10 years ago!") With Septimus, he was every bit The Sociopath his father was. His single redeeming moment was not killing his sister, but that wasn't enough to bring him salvation in the end.

    The letter 
  • Is it addressed in any of the adaptations who wrote the question to the astronomical society, or what the question was exactly?
    • No, because that's only in the movie.
      • It was written by Tristan's father and it was asking whether or not another, magical universe could exist on the other side of the wall.

    Yvaine's accent 
  • Why did Yvaine have an English accent? Wasn't she a star? Why would a star have an English accent?
    • Do you mean "why does a fallen star speak English?" That would go under Aliens Speaking English. As for the accent: speaking English without a foreign accent fits perfectly with a film set in (a mystical part of) England.
    • By that logic, why wouldn't a star have an English accent? Maybe she likes that sort of accent best.
    • Because everyone has an accent? there is no such thing as a non-accent, y'know...
    • "Lots of planets have a north, you know."
    • What accent would she have, then? She has to have some kind of accent.
      • Of course, being a star she has no accent at all - not even a real English one.

    Tristain's blood color 
  • Royals have blue blood, right? Fair enough. But Tristan himself is a royal, even though he doesn't know it. So how come he never noticed he bleeds blue?
    • He's only half royal thanks to his non-elvish, mortal, and non-royal dad. Presumably that plus not having been raised a royal in the mundane world made his blue blood turn into a normal, if perhaps dark, red.
      • One presumes things like 'actually blue blood' are magic and don't work in England.
    • Tristan's literally a bastard, as his mother sired him with someone from the other side of the Wall. So until he was acknowledged, he wouldn't have counted as a royal. Once everyone else in the royal line that could have preceded him to kingship was dead, and once the stone acknowledged him, it's entirely possible his blood turned blue, by magic-logic. Or maybe his blood did turn blue as long as he was in Stormhold.
    • Alternatively, since blood doesn't actually turn red in the real world until it's exposed to oxygen, royal blood doesn't turn blue until exposed to the air of Stormhold.

    Una's kidnapping 
  • Was there every any sort of explanation as to why Una was kidnapped by the witch? This troper knows it's a part of the fairy tale aspects, but it seems a little odd that a princess could be imprisoned and never found by her family again.
    • The King asks his sons where Una is, and Septimus points out that he wouldn't bother killing her when he still had two brothers alive. That sort of implies they don't even know she's missing, let alone bound to a witch. She probably left home a long time ago, knowing it would be unlikely that she'd ever get the throne, then got kidnapped. Everyone has just been too busy trying to do each other in to notice.
    • Kidnapped by a witch. Ditchwater Sal may have been low on the totem pole of witchcraft, but that doesnít mean she didnít have the magic that could keep Una hidden, even from those handy Runestones her brothers used. Whatever magic she used to bind Una with that chain probably included such an effect.
    • In the book, the witch mentions that she's had Una since she was an infant. I'm not sure if that is also true for the movie.
    • It's probably not the case in the movie. Una appears to have barely aged at all in the present, which is probably due to Ditchwater Sal keeping her mostly as a bird. If she'd had Una since she was a child, she'd be even younger in appearance.
    • Almost definitely not the case — when she shows up at the end, all the brothers, living and dead, recognize her instantly, and she recognizes Septimus. If she was taken as an infant, they wouldn't recognize each other.

    Victoria's character 
  • What is up with Victoria's characterization in the movie? In the book, she was cold, yes, but really a Spoiled Sweet Jerk with a Heart of Gold who was willing to take responsibility for her actions. In the movie she was just a Satellite Love Interest.
    • Admittedly, it's been awhile since I read the book, but in the movie, isn't that the point of Victoria's character that she's a shallow person who really needs to grow up, and Tristan only crushes on her because she's pretty and he's got some maturing to do himself?
      • I didn't find her shallow. She clearly already had something going on with the guy she married but Tristan didn't notice. Tristan was the young idiotic one, she was interested in the older guy with a steady job who presumably spent some time with her, not 'fell in love' with her without knowing anything other than thats she's pretty.
      • Well, she's pretty clearly manipulating Tristan's attraction to her in order to get him to help her in the shop scene, and the reason she gives for why she can't say no to Humphrey is because he "went all the way to Ipswitch" to get her a ring, not that she actually loves him.
      • In the movie yes, but in the book she marries a steady, reliable gentleman, not a smug bully. She doesn't manipulate Tristan at any point; at most she makes a mildly cruel joke in asking him to fetch a fallen star. At no point does she assume that he'd actually try to do such thing. But when he does, she's actually shown to be willing to follow the agreement, even though she's in love with someone else.
      • To be fair to movie Victoria, she's not a Satellite Love Interest if she's deliberately shallow and not really the love interest. She's The Obstructive Love Interest, if anything. She also is shown to be something of a Lovable Alpha Bitch and (out of pity for him) she does try to be as nice to Tristan as she can, but is still a shallow, manipulative, insensitive, immature young lady who thinks the world should revolve around her wants and needs, as shown in the shop scene. Unlike in the book, she sincerely gives the challenge to Tristan whilst drunk and will gladly hold up her end ONLY if Tristan gives her something, and when she's expecting that certain something in return, she acts like a total Jerk Ass. Her more negative portrayal in the film is most likely due to cutting the "Two Mondays" Prophecy Twist as a plot point, instead making Victoria and Humphrey merely two-dimensional characters. That said, Tristan still is nice enough to invite them to his and Yvaine's coronation/wedding and they do attend, even though they don't like it. So there could still be hope for them to get better.
    • Because the movie is different from the book.
    • I think maybe it was to help the viewers get behind Tristan and Yvaine as a couple. The movie makes it clear that Tristan and Victoria won't work out - and that she's more interested in Humphrey. They probably just made her a bitch to avoid making Tristan look like a dick for falling in love with Yvaine instead.

    Lamia's mourning 
  • Why didn't they just let the witch-queen give up and genuinely mourn the loss of her sisters? One of the film's themes is that eternal life is only worth living if you have someone to share it with; the only people who'd be willing to share Lamia's immortality are shish-kebabbed and mauled to death, respectively. It would have been a poignant ending that made Lamia a touch more sympathetic and given the film a lot more emotional impact. It just felt like she got hit with the Villain Ball.
    • Maybe she did. Perhaps her "change of heart" was actually genuine, but then she realized that she can't take her own life, and needed the heroes to do it for her.
    • This is where the heart of the star Tristan ending makes it genuinely clever. They sought a good thing an evil way and it was a trap that refused to let them enjoy it or even have it. They just sought it and became more twisted and aged and faded and hateful. Eternity? They never had eternity because they never had the heart of a star, they just found a way to avoid death whereas Tristan was able to find eternity. None of them would be able to mourn anymore because they gave too much of their humanity (which was physically shown everytime they used dark magic!)
      • Still a kind of messed up Aesop. Let's assume many people would enjoy a little more time alive with their loved onesnote . By this logic seeking out that natural goal is EVIL while being lucky enough to fall in love with a star means you're TOTALLY DESERVING OF IMMORTALITY. If you're a great person whose soulmate is a regular human being, well, go fuck yourself, die at 50. But then, fairy tales in medieval settings have never been particularly known for thinking through these Unfortunate Implications.
      • Yes, this troper would say it's evil to seek immortality via kidnapping a sentient being (yes Yvaine's a star, but she looks, thinks, acts, and feels like a human) and murdering her via carving out her still-beating heart. For all we're told, there could be ways in that world to achieve immortality that don't involve doing those things. Also, there are plenty of people who live with loved ones past the age of fifty, and ways even for regular, non-magic folk to prolong their lives.
    • She's evil. I really didn't need much more reason than that, personally.
      • Exactly. I was never fooled by Lamia's act. After all, the times she'd interacted with her sisters consisted of them nagging her and her not wanting them to share in anything with her, it would be massively out-of-character for her to genuinely mourn the loss of her sisters. While the character Lamia was based on was a Tragic Villain, Lamia's a monster. She NEVER wanted to share eternal life with anyone, so she'd never learn that theme of the film. She was evil and had to be brought down.
    • Besides which, they did try to leave her to mourn her sisters. She told them to go, and they left. It was only when Lamia sealed up the castle and attacked them with mirror shards that Yvaine was forced to kill her.

    Lamia's aging magic 
  • Lamia, as the movie proceeds, slowly but surely ages further and further back to her initial state in the movie whenever she casts magic...the issue is that this happens or more specifically, the viewer is shown this happens, when she does what are otherwise small feats of magic. At one point she polymorphs two goats into humans, one into a woman and then she creates an entire inn at a crossroads. After creating the inn, at least, one would think she would be decrepit but its not even highlighted, she doesn't seem to age in that moment.
    • In the Book, this caused a significant leap of aging because of the power she had to exude to polymorph a non living thing.
    • We might conclude the opposite in the movie: That it takes much more power to change, attack, or enchant a living thing, and that inanimate objects (even big ones) are comparatively trivial.
    • It could have caused liver spots or wrinkles to appear on parts of the body we can't see. Lamia could have gotten a load of cellulite from creating the inn.

    Transforming upon crossing the Wall 
  • Is it ony Stars that turn into stone upon crossing the wall or would this happen to any resident of Stormhold?
    • It has to do with what you are on one side of the Wall as opposed to the other—in Stormhold, a star is a sapient being who can be knocked out of the sky. In the "real" world, a shooting star is a lump of space rock. Given Tristan was born in Stormhold and was fine on this side of the Wall, it's clear that only stars would turn to rock.

    Star and Human relationships 
  • OK, Stars & Humans can't have children together, so who NOW, after Yvaine and Tristan are gone, is the new Lord of Stormhold?
    • In the movie's epilogue, it clearly states they have children and grandchildren. So yes, Stars and humans can interbreed.
    • And re: the book where that doesn't happen, any monarch that doesn't have offspring can name whoever they like as their successor. Queens Mary I and Elizabeth I died without any children, so they named distant relatives as their successors.

    Tristan's chain 
  • How does the chain Tristan has start out short and suddenly get very long just when he needs to tie Yvaine?
    • It's a magical chain. Tristan's father tried to cut the chain off of Una's ankle by looping it and cutting away, but though the chain was cut, the two edges recombined ... leaving him with a handful of disconnected (magical) chain. It's this magic chain that he then gives to Tristan. If you look at the scenes with Una in them, the chain can be extended and compressed depending on where she needs to go to do her duties.

    Leaving the bath behind 
  • Why, after her first failed attempt to kill Yvaine, does Lamia demolish the inn she'd built for the trap but leave the bathtub with Primus's dead body behind?
    • She didn't go out of her way to demolish the inn so much as she just let it burn down from the fire she'd already started trying to get Yvaine. And bathtubs aren't flammable.
    • Yeah, but she could've used her magic to get rid of the tub.
    • Why would she bother or care?

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