March 28, 2004

The Castle of Llyr, by Lloyd Alexander

This is the midpoint of the Chronicles of Prydain, and it's of a piece with the others. Our hero, Taran of Caer Dallben, escorts "the golden-haired Princess Eilonwy" to the Isle of Mona, where she is going to live with the King and Queen of Mona and learn all about being a princess. Nothing goes quite as planned, of course, and no sooner do they arrive than Eilonwy is kidnapped by Achren, the wicked enchantress who stole her from her mother when she was a baby. Naturally, Taran must rescue her.

As in the previous volumes, the other characters seem to be chosen for the lessons they can teach young Taran. In this case, the major learning experiences are provided by the feckless Prince Rhun and a giant named Glew. From Glew he learns that physical size has nothing to do with moral stature; from Rhun he learns that fecklessness can go with a good heart, that it is not a permanent condition, and that he really doesn't want anyone else to marry "the golden-haired Princess Eilonwy." And there are all the usual things about loyalty, courage, and the importance of good friends.

David's immediate response when we finished it was, "Tomorrow, we can start the next one!"

Posted by Will Duquette at March 28, 2004 07:45 PM