On the Nature of Love

“So, having found a lady, could you not have come to her aid, or left her alone? Why drag her into your foolishness?’

‘Love,’ he explained.

She looked at him with eyes the blue of the sky. ‘I hope you choke on it,’ she said, flatly.”
Neil Gaiman, Stardust

Audiobooks are a beautiful thing, when done properly. I recently finished listening to Stardust, read by the author (who refuses to do that stupid thing that male readers do to female voices where they make them all identical, high pitched, and petulant.) I highly recommend it both as fiction in and of itself and as an audiobook, to spice up those dull commutes that seem to be an unavoidable aspect of adulthood.

Some spoilers under the cut.

While reading Stardust, you pass through several stages. At first, you understand the book as a romance; then as a coming-of-age story, then as a quest saga, and finally again as a romance. This, I believe, is what makes it good: because the true nature of love is not a destination, but a journey.

The protagonist of Stardust begins the story believing he can earn love, and declares that he is on a quest for true love proudly to literally every person he meets.

Literally. Every. Person. (Do not facepalm while driving.)

The wisdom that is offered him at every turn, and the criticism directed towards his true love, fall on deaf ears. This is not love; it is pride.

Only when he is humbled, and recognizes what wrongs he has done in the name of “true love,” does he begin to love truly. When he finally fulfills his quest, it is as a wiser and humbler man, who has grown beyond the “true love” he once would hear no wrong of.

I highly recommend Stardust, both the book and the movie, and would love to hear your thoughts on it.


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