Do I look like I’m your mother?- Yvaine
The process of transforming a written novel into a dynamic screenplay is a challenging task. Screenplays are restricted by time, format, and visualization. Drastic changes are most likely made to simplify plot lines, externalize conflicts, and fit within a specific time frame. As Stardust by Neil Gaiman transformed into a screenplay, large components of the novel were left out. In fact, not only were particular scenes deleted from the film but a major relationship strengthened and an additional quest was featured within the film. Unlike the film, Tristan was unaware of his biological mother until the later end of the novel’s story line. Within the film, Dunstan exposes a secret that he had been hiding for years. Before Tristan left the village of Wall in search for the fallen star, Dunstan informed Tristan of his connection to Faerie through his biological mother. Even though this may seem like a simple alteration, it changed Tristan’s original journey in search for the star into two distinct journeys. Not only was Tristan looking for the fallen star but for his true self, which would be discovered when meeting his biological mother for the very first time.
The line that informs viewers that an additional journey is underway is Yvaine’s line, “Do I look like I’m your mother?” Although Yvaine may think of Tristan as a clueless mortal, it is important to take notice that Tristan is in his most innocent state. Not long ago Tristan was able to envision his life for years to come with Victoria by his side. Now, he is conflicted by the two journeys. Yes, Tristan is determined to search for the star to satisfy his mortal desires but yet wonders what his non-mortal powers/connections could bring him.
As the film version of Stardust highlights the absence of Tristan’s mother at the very beginning of the plot, the strength of the mother-son relationship between Tristan and his mother grows. Before, Tristan was not aware of the absence of a female figure within his life. All that was known was that Tristan had become a victim of love. It was his love for Victoria that drove him to venture past the wall separating Wall and Faerie in search for a fallen star. Now, there lies an internal instinct within Tristan to search for his mother residing in Faerie. Through his mother’s letter, Tristan got a sense of the true love that his biological mother has for him. According to Mothers in Fairy Tales, mother figures who are initially absent typically return home. This impacts viewers’ understanding of Stardust because it makes individuals aware that someone who is originally absent will return to where they are destined to be. However, the film version of Stardust may slightly alter this characteristic of absent female figures within fairy tales if it stays true to the novel. Instead of Tristan’s mother returning home to Wall, can it be concluded that Tristan is the character returning home to Faerie? If so, is this return made clearer within the film compared to the novel?