Tell me, what is it that you want most in the world? What is your heart’s desire? And, most importantly, what would you do in order to get it?
Neil Gaiman’s sort-of fairy tale deals with exactly this question: the young Tristran Thorn is determined to win his true love’s heart by getting her the falling star which fell in the magical kingdom of Faerie, next to the dull town of Wall. What follows is a riveting, colourful story filled with witches, with a couple of truly terrifying brothers, courage, and of course, true love. But true love can be found in the strangest places, where you might never have expected it…
What I love so much about this book is that it keeps going in exactly the opposite direction of what you expect. What starts as a simple fairy tale about a boy setting out to obtain his heart’s desire, changes into a rich coming-of-age story filled with big ideas: prejudice, heritage, and identity. Gaiman plays with the idea of fairy tales, and the conceptions we have of them; while it has all the ingredients a fairy tale needs, he serves them up in such an exciting and original way that it becomes something much more than that.
While reading this book, I kept thinking about what my heart’s desire is. To be honest, I have no idea. Over the years, I must have had so many things I wanted above all else, but either I never got them, or I wanted something else by the time they were within my reach. At the start of the book I was so jealous of Tristran, because he was so clear of what he wanted, but by the end it is his ability to let go of this that made me really love him – he had become like me, and like probably everyone else in the entire world. This book, above all else, teaches us to keep our minds and hearts open, because if you don’t, you will never find out what you really want.
So this is what I urge you to do: think about what your heart’s desire is, write it down, and find out how to obtain it. Next, set out on an adventure, and make sure you acquire it. But please, whatever you do, make sure you enjoy every single step of the way towards it.
Have you ever had a real heart’s desire? And what did you do to get it? Let me know in the comments!