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Never-ending Story by Michael Ende

Never-ending Story (original 1985; edition 1984)

by Michael Ende

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7,487156461 (4.16)280
Title:Never-ending Story
Authors:Michael Ende
Info:G. K. Hall & Company (1984), Edition: Large type edition, Hardcover, 592 pages
Collections:Your library

Work details

The Neverending Story by Michael Ende (1985)

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» See also 280 mentions

English (143)  German (4)  Spanish (4)  Italian (1)  Portuguese (1)  Dutch (1)  French (1)  Finnish (1)  Catalan (1)  Portuguese (Portugal) (1)  Hebrew (1)  All languages (159)
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The book centers on a boy, Bastian Balthazar Bux, who meets a man who owns an antique book store. Bastian steals a book from the store called The Neverending Story, which he reads and soon becomes a part of.

The book begins in Fantastica (Phantásien in the German novels; Fantasia in the films), when a "will-o'-the-wisp" goes to ask the Childlike Empress for help against the Nothing, which is spreading over the land. The Empress is ill, which is believed to be the cause of the Nothing (or viceversa); she sends the only person that can stop the Nothing, a boy warrior named Atreyu, to find a cure for her. Atreyu is a brave person, being considered a man even though he is a young boy of Bastian's age.

While on his quest, Atreyu meets characters such as Benjamin, Uyulala, and the gnomes Urgl and Engywook. Atreyu also meets Falkor, the luckdragon, who helped him along the way. After Falkor accidentally drops Atreyu in Spook City, Atreyu meets G'mork the werewolf, who has been following Atreyu since the early days of his quest, intending to kill him. G'mork soon dies; Falkor and Atreyu leave Spook City to find the Ivory Tower, where the Childlike Empress lives. The Childlike Empress reveals that the only thing that can save Fantastica is a human child, who must give her a new name to start again the cycle of life in Fantastica.

Bastian comes to Fantastica by naming the Empress 'Moon Child'; she asks him to help re-build Fantastica with his imagination, and he subsequently has many adventures of his own in his new world. With the help of the Auryn, a Gem that links him to the Empress, that gives him power over all the inhabitants of Fantastica and grants all of the boy's wishes, Bastian explores the Desert of Colors, battles the evil Xayide, and meets the three Deep Thinkers. Bastian becomes friends with Atreyu, although their rivalry leads to a fight in which Atreyu is wounded. Bastian thereafter is corrupted by Xayide, who drives him to a lust for power. He is defeated in his attempt to start a coup d'état against the Childlike Empress. Bastian is unaware that every wish he makes takes away one of his memories, until it is very late and he no longer remembers anything of his past.

Eventually, Atreyu helps him, and Bastian then learns the true meaning of his mission with the Auryn. After he returns home, he decides to return the book to its owner, Carl Conrad Coreander, but the book disappears after Bastian returns from Fantastica. He explains this to Carl Conrad Coreander, who is interested in Bastian's adventures and wants to keep in touch to talk about them.

[edit] Characters
Main article: Characters of The Neverending Story
Atreyu (German Atréju)
Bastian Balthazar Bux (German Bastian Balthasar Bux)
The Childlike Empress/Moonchild (German Die Kindliche Kaiserin/Mondenkind)
Falkor, the luckdragon (German Fuchur, der Glücksdrache)
Carl Conrad Coreander (German Karl Konrad Koriander)

[edit] AURYN

The AURYN amulet as depicted in the 1984 film of The Neverending Story.AURYN is a mystical talisman in The Neverending Story. In the novel, AURYN is always spelled in capital letters and is revered by all Fantasticans, referred to as "The Gem" and "The Glory." It is a symbol of its mistress, the Childlike Empress, who is also called "The Golden-Eyed Commander of Wishes" in reference to her relationship with AURYN. While the book makes noteworthy the point that the image of AURYN is on its "cover(s)", it doesn't actually refer to it as AURYN.

A common misconception is that AURYN is a simple magical object that grants wishes. The truth is that AURYN's power flows from the Childlike Empress and that it can only be used with her permission. The powerful amulet cannot be used against her and if she does not grant the use of it to someone they are unable to influence AURYN.

Two mythological serpents, symmetrical, bite at the other's tails. In the book, they are not specifically, nor always, intertwined. One serpent is gold and one is silver. Each has an eye to correspond to the color of the book's print, red and green. The symbol is reminiscent of ouroboros or the mythological Jörmungandr and the Zodiac Pisces. It also may be noted that the film version has the two snakes in an "Infinity Knot", a more intricate variation of the figure "8" infinity symbol and another sign of ouroboros. The two snakes represent the dual nature of the two worlds, Fantastica (German: Phantásien) and Reality, but also the twin nature of their mutual creation and destruction. There may also be a relation to the Gates of Horn and Ivory of Virgil's Aeneid. On the back of the AURYN are these words:

"Do what you Wish" (German: "Tu, was du willst").

AURYN helps guide Atreyu through Fantastica in his quest to find a cure for the ailing Childlike Empress, and in turn defeat the Nothing. It serves him clandestinely, but does return him to the Ivory Tower. Although Atreyu believes himself to have failed in finding the human child past the borders of Fantastica, the Childlike Empress informs him to the contrary and that indeed the boy had been with him all along.

In the hands of the Childlike Empress, the AURYN displays greater powers even in the face of the Nothing. She releases seven spirits to serve her as she ventures across her tattered realm to find the Old Man of Wandering Mountain. They carry her chariot and provide a haven for Atreyu and Falkor within.

Bastian christens the Childlike Empress with her new name. She presents him with AURYN with her only request being that he follows the instructions written on the back. While it grants him the power to make wishes and imagine more of Fantastica, it drains him of his memories which are his only way back to his world. Bastian searches for the same obscure boundaries of Fantastica only to realize it was within AURYN itself.

In the mystical interior of AURYN, two gargantuan serpent statues stand sentry, one shining brighter than white, the other darker than black. They guard the Waters of Life, a waterfall and pool that serve as the exit from Fantastica. The statues refuse Bastian's passage, for he had left many stories unfinished in Fantastica. Atreyu however agrees to undertake the quest, which allows Bastian to return to his world. When Bastian touches the waters, their truthful properties dissolve the illusion of his glamor wishes, and he returns to being a fat little boy, instead of a Fantastican Prince. But this time he has learned to love himself as he truly is.

  bostonwendym | Mar 3, 2016 |
Fun book...originally written in Germany and I think there's a little lost in the translation but it's pretty good nonetheless. I really didn't want it to end. ( )
1 vote Oodles | Feb 16, 2016 |
I remember reading Momo, also by Michael Ende, when I was a kid and enjoying it. I'd never read the Neverending Story (though, of course, I'd seen the movie – which was so inaccurate that it inspired Ende to sue Hollywood, apparently).
The Neverending Story is a kind of "Pilgrims Progress" of children's fantasy. (I have a feeling that if I were more familiar with the details of "A Pilgrim's Progress," I'd notice that Ende is actually commenting on the theology of that book – the basic similarities are obvious.)With the aid of a magical book (which he stole), the unattractive and cowardly boy Bastian travels to a realm of fantasy, and goes on a quest. In this land, through his travels, he becomes unrecognizable – now brave, handsome and powerful. However, the cost is the loss of his memory and identity.
The book is very philosophical and allegorical, and has that old-fashioned (lack of) structure where it jumps from one fantastic episode to the next as the hero (?) travels through the land....
I have to admit, although the book was interesting, I was not overly enthralled by it. I think ‘Momo' was much better. ( )
  AltheaAnn | Feb 9, 2016 |
I have always loved watching the movie so I finally decided to read the book. Wow! The movie is really good and the book is even better. ( )
1 vote Erika.D | Jan 28, 2016 |
Liked this, but it just wasn't compelling enough for me to make time for it. Read 200 pages, moving on.


"You don't feel a thing. There's just something missing. And once it gets hold of you, something more is missing every day. Soon there won't be anything left of us." (48)

"When it comes to controlling human beings there is no better instrument than lies." (133)

He never stopped believing in mysteries and miracles. (134)

"Oh, the world is full of things you don't see." (The Childlike Empress to Atreyu, 156)

You wish for something, you've wanted it for years, and you're sure you want it, as long as you know you can't have it. But if all at once it looks as though your wish might come true, you suddenly find yourself wishing you had never wished for any such thing. (Bastian, 176)
1 vote JennyArch | Nov 30, 2015 |
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» Add other authors (36 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Ende, Michaelprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Basoli, AntonioIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kyrö, MarjaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Manheim, RalphTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Nieuwenhuizen, Johan vanTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pandolfi, AminaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Quadflieg, RoswithaIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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This inscription could be seen on the glass door of a small shop, but naturally this was only the way it looked if you were inside the dimly lit shop, looking out at the street through the plateglass door.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Book description
Small and insignificant Bastian Balthazar Bux is nobody's idea of a hero, least of all his own. Then, through the pages of an ancient, mysterious book, he discovers the enchanted world of Fantastica, and only Bastian himself can save the fairy people who live there.

AR Level 5.9, 18 pts
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Shy, awkward Bastian is amazed to discover that he has become a character in the mysterious book he is reading and that he has an important mission to fulfill.

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An edition of this book was published by Audible.com.

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Penguin Australia

2 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0140074317, 0140317937

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An edition of this book was published by Tantor Media.

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