February 15, 2011

Like everyone else, Neil Gaiman depicts witches as extremely vainglorious beings obsessed with youthful beauty. His 1998 novel Stardust tells of three sisters known as the Lilim, witches with ineffable powers. When their kingdom sank under the sea, the witch-queens, heretofore unfamiliar with aging, started withering away. 

Gaiman never named them. But in the 2007 film version, the three witches adopt names. Michelle Pfeiffer plays the eldest and most nefarious among them, Lamia, push-up corsets and all. As in the novel, the sisters search for fallen stars, whose hearts can supply them hundreds of years of youth. They found a fallen star before, but its heart is now running out, the effects of age fast catching up. They need a new fallen star to murder and eat.

Yet another witch, Ditchwater Sal, who defected from the group, wants to get any new fallen star for herself. But Lamia hexed her such that she would not recognize the star when it is in front of her.

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