The Princess and the Goblin
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The Princess and the Goblin (Princess Irene and Curdie #1)

3.99 of 5 stars 3.99  ·  rating details  ·  15,973 ratings  ·  815 reviews

Young Princess Irene's belief in her great-grandmother's powers becomes essential as she and the miner Curdie work to foil the sinister Goblin plot against the king and his palace.

As always with George MacDonald, everything here is more than meets the eye: this in fact is MacDonald's grace-filled vision of the world. Said to be one of J.R.R. Tolkien's childhood favorites,

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Kindle Edition
Published (first published 1872)
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Cheryl in CC NV
Anything in me that is brave, honest, kind, and honourable is due in great part to the many times I read this book when I was young. I loved the characters and the adventures, and the settings of both mountain and palace (especially the mysterious dove tower).

I had forgotten other appealing aspects: the humor, and the excitingly challenging vocabulary words. And, perhaps most appealing, is a part of the story seldom mentioned in the descriptions here - Princess Irene's amazing courage. At age e...more
Chloe
Feb 24, 2008 Chloe rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Children and fairytale lovers.
Recommended to Chloe by: A booklist (maybe by Michael D. O'Brien).
When I think of the magic of childhood, certain images come into my head. There’s a sort of sparkle, warmth, and yet there is always danger. However, childhood magic has an incomparable sweetness to it. There are few books that manage to touch on this nigh-indescribable feeling of childhood magic. The Princess and the Goblin is such a book.
The story is a fairytale, in the same order as Jack and the Beanstalk and The Goose Girl. There is a princess, a peasant boy, a castle and, of course, goblins...more
Vanessa
May 12, 2008 Vanessa rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone!
Recommended to Vanessa by: Stefanie
Shelves: book-club-books
This was a really charming children's novel. Once I started reading, I couldn't put it down. This would be a great book to read aloud as a family. I am excited to read more of George MacDonald's books and learn more about him. Apparently, many writers have been influenced by MacDonald, including C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, Madeleine L'Engle, and Lewis Carroll. Thank you, Stefanie, for introducing me to such a great author!
Nico
I read this as a child and loved it! I still think about the book, and look at my sensitive feet in dismay!
Breanne
I was immediately drawn to this story when I read the first page to this edition which reads:

"THERE was once a little princess who—
"But Mr. Author, why do you always write about princesses?"
"Because every little girl is a princess."
"You will make them vain if you tell them that."
"Not if they understand what I mean."
"Then what do you mean?"
"What do you mean by a princess?"
"The daughter of a king."
"Very well, then every little girl is a princess, and there would be no need to say anything about it...more
Cindi
Just finished reading this with my nine year old daughter. It took us a while to get into the Christian imagery. The imagery itself is just beautiful; there are images of God, prayer and answers to prayer to name a few.

All of the greatest fantasy novels depict the great trials that humans must go through in life. Though there may be magic in the tale, it does not make the going easy. My fairy tale mindedness sometimes wonders why with the zap of a wand all cannot be made well, but deep inside me...more
Adam
"'People must believe what they can, and those who believe more must not be hard upon those who believe less.'"

"The Princess and the Goblin" is a charmingly simple fairy tale--which is to say, it is superficially uncomplicated but full of imagery and themes ripe for symbolic or metaphorical interpretation. (Some of the language and themes may sound a bit trite to modern ears, but that might say more about modern ears than it does about the language and themes.) George MacDonald's work influenced...more
Kathryn
This is a children's book, and is a little didactic in the vein of Lewis' Chronicles of Narnia. What I love about this book is its feeling of wonder. The first time I read about Irene's grandmother, I was scared and inspired at the same time. Both this and the Princess and Curdie are extended allegories about faith and hope. The Princess and Curdie is, for me, stranger and more apocalyptic, and I enjoy it less than The Princess and the Goblin. Check out MacDonald's shorter fairy tales, too (The...more
Literary Ames {Against GR Censorship}
29% read - 9 chapters. DNF. Long-winded and dull. Great-great-grandmother, Princess Irene's namesake, was the only vaguely interesting thing about this one.

Downloaded from Project Gutenberg.
Saba
This book has been on my shelf since I was, I think, eleven. My father bought it for me even though I didn't seem to think I wanted to read it. Fast forward eight years and I can say this truly was a well written book that children will enjoy for it's fantasy and themes of bravery, and will be able to relate to the characters themselves. Removing this from dusty corners of my bookshelf, I will be honest, my interest in reading this only perked up when I learnt that it had served as inspiration f...more
Prudence Chan
George MacDonald's stories are always so full of symbolic meanings. If you read between the lines, you'll the story full of creative allegories of faith and hope. There're always questions to ponder and choices to make within the stories, which make his work a good place for self reflection. This story about the princess who has a childlike faith reminded me of believing without seeing. There is a gradual process of the maturing of the princess's faith from the moment she met the great great gra...more
Che
If you like Tolkien you will quiver with delight and dread over the beauty and darkness of this book. MacDonald was an influence on Tolkien and Lewis, etc. In here you will find some of the seeds of the LOTR, such as hideous goblins and their dark, corrupt origins, cavernous journeys in subterranean mines of misty mountains, heroic innocence and magic. But the magic in MacDonald is perhaps more exotic and strange and beautiful than that of Tolkien. Invisible threads spun of spider's webs, flamin...more
John
A peculiar book by modern standards. I found it readable, but not very interesting.

There's no real plot until about three-quarters of the way through. There are unrelated events. Some are interesting, some are mysterious and develop mild suspense for that reason, but there's no force driving any character, no goals in sight, and no serious threat to any character. Characters are dull. Good characters are treacly, evil or foolish characters are evil or foolish without being interesting.

The end is...more
Fordlikethecar
My introduction to George MacDonald. Upon finishing The Princess and the Goblin with my daughter, we went on to read The Princess and Curdie, The Light Princess and The Wise Woman in quick succession. His style is more conversational than Lewis (and often more preachy), more focused and intimate than Tolkien in The Hobbit and LOTR. MacDonald is not bringing us into a world of epic fantasy, but using fantasy as a vehicle to convey his ideas about reality, which are, to me, some of the most refres...more
Katie
George MacDonald's children's fantasy book was written in the 1800s, so it definitely has an antiquated feel that sets it apart from the children's books of today. I don't know whether many kids in 2010 could get through the old-fashioned vocabulary and rambling descriptions. I enjoyed the view into another era moreso than the story itself. Had it been written today, I don't know whether I would have cared as much for it.
Elizabeth
This was one of the seminal books of my childhood. George MacDonald's work inspired a legion of fantasy writers who came after him, including Tolkien. This book, though simply plotted, resonates with beautiful, evocative writing and a simple call for greater morality in everyday life.
Lyn
A dream of a book! Reading this as an adult rekindled not only my childhood sense of wonder and imagination, but also the part of me who "got very tired" and "lost herself long ago." Like the princess, I have wandered through long hallways with empty rooms, feeling both the excitement and fear of the unknown. Yet too often have I remained in such existential corridors without venturing beyond, as this tale does, to discover faith, hope, and newness of life. Despite his moral overtones, MacDonald...more
Truehobbit
This would've been four stars, if the resolution of most plot elements hadn't been postponed to the sequel (whose existence wasn't indicated anywhere before the last sentence of the book).
Apart from that I found it quite enjoyable.

It's the first George MacDonald I've read. It was also one of the first books in English I bought ever so many years ago - not surprisingly, I found it too hard to read at the time. And I'm still surprised at the level of English that Victorian children could apparent...more
Kimberly
When I was a wee little thing I happened to come across the 1994 animated film adaptation of this believed children's classic and fell in love with it. It wasn't until recently (this year) that I realized that it was based on a classic piece of children's literature so when I found out I did some investigating and downloaded the kobo e-book version onto my BlackBerry and before I knew it I was reading it every chance I got.

Right away though I noticed that there were of course some key differenc...more
Jemima Pett
I was reminded of The Princess and the Goblin, and its sequel, The Princess and Curdie, in the Children’s Book Week Giveaway earlier this year when I asked for people’s favourite children’s books. These were part of my childhood, or maybe tweens, and I have memories of going to the library, which was in a large converted tithe barn, with oak beams and shingled sides, in order to take them out. You never saw them in book shops, so I never owned a copy. Now I have them both on Kindle, and I’m very...more
D.M. Dutcher (Sword Cross Rocket)
Classic for kids, but not his best work. Pales in comparison to At the Back of the North Wind and Lilith. Irene is a princess, and Curdie is the son of the miner. Together they foil the plot of a bunch of goblins to attack the surface world.

It's a good moral tale, but everyone is too perfect in it. You root a little for the goblins, and mostly for Curdie as he is the most human, but there's too much obedience to authority and chiding people for not. In one scene, Curdie is taken to the room of I...more
Kate
Many years ago, I found a videotape with a strange title, "The Princess and the Goblin," and took it home for my children. It soon became one of my son's favorite movies, and he watched it over and over. I got to see it numerous times myself, and while I got some of the gist of the story, without captions, I was clueless. So when I found a copy of the original story in a used bookstore, I immediately purchased it.

Originally published in 1871, my copy has a copyright date of 1907, and the spine i...more
Eden
Princess Irene was never allowed out after dark because of the goblins. But of course, she did not know this. One day she is out with her nurse and they stay out a bit too late and begin to hear things. Then, they meet Curdie, who helps them home.
But soon enough, Princess Irene finds out about the goblins and must stop them.

When I was a kid, I watched The Princess and The Goblin cartoon movie. I remember loving it and watching it quite often. I haven't seen it in many years, but I remember the m...more
Sophia Ramos
This was absolutely adorable! One of the most charming stories I have ever read, this is exactly the kind of fairytale I would love to read to my son or daughter every night before bed. Both Princess Irene and Curdie Peterson are admirable characters with such endearing qualities that just make me want to stuff them in my pockets and keep them with me forever. MacDonald was a genius when it came to the fantastical, and The Princess and the Goblin is probably among my favorite fantasy stories eve...more
Sue
A delightful classic fantasy for children, published in 1872 and continually in print; I read it on my Kindle.

Irene is a much-loved, over-protected and decidedly independent eight-year-old princess who is surprised to find that she has a great-grandmother who spins in an attic. She does't know, however, that she's in constant danger from the goblins who live underground.

Curdie is an intelligent and motivated miner's son who meets and looks after Irene when she gets lost, and uncovers some dast...more
Julius
This was a fairytale in its truest form. I like fairytales but I did not like this book. Do not misunderstand me. The writing was exelent, richly flowing and so forth, but the story was not for me. I guess that's because it was written for children. Some nice tale of love and a little princess and a handsome yet low regarded boy, and of course evil goblins. The plot did not play out as the title of the book implies, and I rather think a change of title would have served it better. It is simple,...more
Phillipa B
I found this book very intresting to read. This book is sutibul for most ages.

The storys about a princess who find a boy call curdy and he works in the mines. He finds out about a plot that the goblens have made to make the princess marry their prince.
John Miller
I really enjoyed this fairy tale. I look forward to reading the next installment! A little quirky and silly...but then again, I like quirky and silly! A quick read and highly recommended!
Callie
Wow. I'm so glad I read this to Kiana. I never would have started had I known how OLD it is (c.1870). The afterward mentions how Lewis Carroll (of Alice fame) got inspiration from this book. The language is really dated. It was like reading Jane Austen to my 8 year old. Good thing I do amazing voices or she might not have been able to follow ;) I definitely see this as a gateway book. If we could do this, we could read other "hard: books: The Secret Garden, A Little Princess, or, why not? Jane A...more
Allison
I finally, finally read this book! What was I thinking waiting so long? I finished it in a couple of days and was reminded why people like Lewis and Keller and others have used images from this beautiful story in their writings. "Follow the thread."

Favorite quotes:
"People must believe what they can, and those who believe more must not be hard upon those who believe less. I doubt if you would have believed it all yourself if you hadn't seen some of it.”

" 'I never had such fun!' said the princess...more
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2413
George MacDonald was a Scottish author, poet, and Christian minister.

Known particularly for his poignant fairy tales and fantasy novels, George MacDonald inspired many authors, such as W. H. Auden, J. R. R. Tolkien, C. S. Lewis, and Madeleine L'Engle. It was C.S. Lewis that wrote that he regarded MacDonald as his "master": "Picking up a copy of Phantastes one day at a train-station bookstall, I be...more
More about George MacDonald...
The Princess and Curdie Phantastes At the Back of the North Wind The Light Princess Lilith

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“Seeing is not believing - it is only seeing.” 124 likes
“We are all very anxious to be understood, and it is very hard not to be. But there is one thing much more necessary.'
What is that, grandmother?'
To understand other people.'
Yes, grandmother. I must be fair - for if I'm not fair to other people, I'm not worth being understood myself. I see.”
60 likes
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