Friday, July 24, 2015

Friday Favorites: The Chronicles of Prydain

The Chronicles of Prydain by Lloyd Alexander

Recommended for: Ages 8 to Adult

Rating: PG (violence and magic)

Taran wanted to be a hero, and looking after a pig wasn't exactly heroic, even though Hen Wen was an oracular pig. But the day that Hen Wen vanished, Taran was led into an enchanting and perilous world. With his band of followers, he confronted the Horned King and his terrible Cauldron-Born. These were the forces of evil, and only Hen Wen knew the secret of keeping the kingdom of Prydain safe from them. But who would find her first?

 A few summers ago, my sisters and I read the entire Chronicles of Prydain series and couldn't talk about anything else for quite some time. It's a fantastic fantasy series claiming one Newbery Award and one Newbery Honor, with delightful nods to The Chronicles of Narnia and The Lord of the Rings all over the place.

The series follows the adventures of Taran, Assistant Pig-Keeper of Caer Dallben as he fights against Arawn-Death-Lord and his servants the Horned King and Queen Achren, goes on quests to discover his mysterious parentage, to find the powerful sword Dyrnwyn, a mission to rescue his friend Princess Eilonwy, or to destroy the horrible Black Cauldron that creates an army from the body of the slain. Taran's adventures in his fight against evil will thrill all fantasy lovers as he grows from an irresponsible Assistant Pig-Keeper into a true hero.

These characters are so fantastically developed. Taran, with his well intentioned irresponsibility. Stubborn Eilonwy, with her witty, sarcastic retorts. Faithful Gurgi with his love of munchings and crunchings. Calm, Aragorn-like leader Gwydion. The bard Fflewddur Fflam and his lie detecting harp. Good old Doli, the dwarf who could not turn himself invisible.

Looking at these books, going through the characters, I am reminded of the time I spent reading and rereading my favorite parts, recording bits read aloud as if it was an audio drama, chattering incessantly about these stories...They are fantastic. I loved them to pieces that summer of Prydain, and I continue to love them still.

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