Two wonderfully written graphic novels are Stardust and Rumplestiltskin, in which I have recently read. Both stories being considered a graphic novel suggests that both books contain a number of beautiful illustrations. These illustrations add a visual element which illuminates each author’s vision. The graphic novels Stardust and Rumplestiltskin have many similarities even though they interestingly contain several differences that I would like to explore within this writing. Both novels can also be labeled fairy tales because both stories incorporate mystical characters.
Rumplestiltskin, from which the book gets its name, is the mystical character who spins straw into gold. In Stardust, several characters possessed magical powers. As well, the witches could put spells on the other characters and Yvaine never grows old. It is the interaction between mortals, mystical characters, and their peers which provides the reason for the label fairy tale. Another component often found in a fairy tale novel is a presence of a beautiful girl, princess, or maiden.
In both books a beautiful girl is one of the most important characters in the story. In Rumplestiltskin a little man came to visit a beautiful girl for three nights in a row. He would spin straw into gold at night and leave early in the morning. In the book Stardust there was not one but several beautiful girls who were very prominent characters. Bridget Comfrey, the mother of Victoria Forester, was considered the most beautiful pot-girl in memory. Her daughter Victoria Forester was considered by Tristran Thorn to be the most the beautiful girl in the entire world.
It is because of his desire to have Victoria that Tristran promised to find and retrieve a fallen star and return it to her. Una, with elegant curves, deep violet eyes, and long curly black hair, was another elegant female character found within the book. The most important star in the book was Yvaine. She had sky-blue eyes and hair so fair it was almost white. She later becomes Tristran’s wife and sole heir to Stormhold. Rhyming lyrics is another similarity found in both books. Identifying Rumplestiltskin’s name is what allowed the Queen to keep her son.
Rumplestiltskin is overheard by a messenger crying a rhyming tune. There are rhyming lyrics observed several times in Stardust. One time the little fairies sang cruel things to Tristran as he waited for the little hairy man to return from the village of Revelry. The second time rhyming lyrics occurred when Tristran recited the nursery rhyme “How Many Miles to Babylon. ” On another occasion, Tristran remembers the nursery rhyme about the lion and the unicorn fighting for the crown. The birth of a child was another similarity found in both books.
In Rumplestiltskin, the Queen gave birth to a beautiful son. In Stardust, Una also gave birth to a son. One would have to wonder if both babies being born male were a coincidence or not. Did the pressure of some cultures to produce male children over female children have an influence on the author? Being ruled by a monarch is another similarity found in the two books. Queen Victoria was on the throne at the time Tristran pursues his heart’s desire. In Rumplestiltskin the ruler at the time was a greedy king. The final similarity noted between the two books concerns greed.
Greed, being one of the seven deadly sins, is defined by the Catholic Church as a very excessive and voracious desire and pursuit of material possessions. Greed for more gold was the motivation behind the King in the book Rumplestiltskin. In the book Stardust, the witches had an intense desire to obtain the star’s heart to retain their youth. The living brothers of Stormhold wanted a topaz stone to obtain the power of Stormhold. Although this intense desire for youth and desire may be considered more an act of lust than greed, the witches and lords committed murder in their pursuit of their desires.
One other act within Stardust that could spur possible societal disfavor was when seventeen year old Victoria married forty-five year old successful wealthy business man, Robert Monday. The question is did she marry for love or for greed? Although not as controversial today as it was several years ago, many people frown on certain marriages when there is a large discrepancy in ages. Even though Stardust and Rumplestiltskin have some similarities, they are drastically different in other ways. Some of these differences may even bring up societal or ethical issues.
Stardust contains language that is not for children’s ears. Although questionable language only occurs a few times, it does occur. Additionally, there are explicit sexual encounters that occur within the book. These encounters are both visually and verbally graphic in nature and probably not suitable for young children. Stardust also contains several violent, disturbing verbal descriptions and illustrations. One gruesome encounter occurs when the lion attacks the white unicorn, leaving the unicorn frightened and bloody.
The unicorn is then stabbed far into his skull with the point of a long dagger. Later, the witch-woman decapitates the unicorn and places its head on a seat beside her as she drives away in her coach. Another quite violent and gruesome act occurs when the same witch-queen slits the throat of Lord Primus. There are several other violent and murderous acts that occur within the book. Age appropriateness is another difference between the two books. Since, Stardust contains murder, graphic violence, and sexual content that most people would feel is more appropriate for a mature audience.
On the other hand, Rumplestiltskin contains no adult language, no sexually explicit text, or intensely violent illustrations. Therefore, it is more appropriate for children. In conclusion, there are many similarities and differences found within Stardust and Rumplestiltskin. The similarities and differences also spur some societal and ethical concerns. The actions of the characters, such as, violence, murder, adult language, sex, and greed all provide fuel for debate and displeasure. The extent of one’s displeasure will depend on each person’s morals.