Recently read Stardust by Neil Gaiman for the first time (if you haven’t already seen it you can see my review here) , the film is one of my favourites as such I couldn’t help but do a film vs book for the film. There are a lot of differences between the film and book, but as Neil Gaiman was involved in the film some of the differences are only small but there are also some very large differences which I will discuss below.
This comparison does have spoilers so if you haven’t watched and read the book and are planning to you may want to come back.
The motivation of most of the characters are the same the main motivation change was Tristen’s promise to try andreturn Yvaine back into the sky to convince her to travel with him. Everyone else’s motivation continues to be the same, Primus and Septemus want to become king, Tristen wants to impress Victoria and Una is waiting to be freed.
Becoming the King of Stormhold
The succession of the Kingship of Stormhold is sorted in the same way. Retrieving the stone of Stormhold, and the tradition of killing off the other male heirs. There is additional information in the book regarding this tradition but while unusual it is the same as the book.
In both the film and the book Una is a slave who was captured by a witch. The conditions of her captivity are different but she is still being held against her will with Ditchwater Sal.
Victoria in the film and book are very different. Some of this is due to the ending (which I will be covering below), but in the book Victoria is much more relatable and while she does want the star she does not really expect it. In the book Victoria also had a better ending, in the film she certainly got her comeuppance, but in the book Tristen and Victoria were clearly friendly. The pair had grown up in the small and unusual place of Wall together and she was close to Tristen’s younger sister (which I will be covering below). This means that rather than her getting a comeuppance Tristen shows himself to be wise and benevolent.
While the story arc that Dunstan has in the film is simply to raise his son for eighteen years as a single parent and wait for a reunion with Una. In the book of Stardust Dunstan Thorn has a different story, after meeting Tristan’s mother he was quickly arranged to marry another woman. This led to him having a daughter and the family being a source of gossip due to Tristen’s unconventional beginnings. In addition Dunstan is important to enable Tristen to cross the wall, as he reminds those that are guarding the gap where Tristen comes from and supports his son to cross the wall enabling him to return home. I personally feel that the Dustan Thorn character in the book may not have had the extraordinary life of his son but it was a life that suited him and was full of happiness.
Obviously major spoilers here but I personally felt that this is something I cannot ignore. The ending of the book and film vary distinctly. The film shows the traditional happy ending that we often see in Hollywood. Tristan and Yviane watch their children and grandchildren grow old before Yvaine returns to the skies with Tristen and they all live happily ever after. The book however is a little more poignant. Tristen and Yvaine rule together for a number of years, Yvaine however stays in Stormhold once Tristen passes away and she continues to rule in his stead, climbing the tallest tower in the castle home to look up at the stars as those who were her sisters look back at her. The book ending while not a traditional happy ending feels more realistic for the characters’ situation to me.
There are lots of other differences but I have highlighted the ones that I thought were most apparent. The film Stardust, is still one of my favourites, the book has in ways enhanced my understanding of the world the film is set in, and allowed me to fall more in love with the story and characters than I already had.
Have you read the book and watched the film? If so let me know what you thought were the biggest differences in the comments below.