Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Princess and the Goblin” as Want to Read:
The Princess and the Goblin
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Read Book* *Different edition

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

really liked it 4.0  ·  Rating Details ·  23,141 Ratings  ·  1,242 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 JRR Tolkien's childhood favorites, it
...more
Kindle Edition
Published (first published 1872)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Princess and the Goblin, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Princess and the Goblin

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Markus
Published in 1872, The Princess and the Goblin is one of the first books in the modern fantasy genre. This book had tremendous and very visible influence on all the (now much more famous) authors that came after it.

It is of course very dated. It does not match the standards that fantasy have created since; in neither scope, story, characterisation or complexity. On the other hand, it is a rather enjoyable little fairytale, and it does have its positive sides.

Mostly, though, this book is not real
...more
Sanjay Gautam
Oct 19, 2015 Sanjay Gautam rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
No wonder why Tolkien and CS Lewis admired this tale. A very fine and enchanting story.
Jason Koivu
Oct 14, 2014 Jason Koivu rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A princess, a miner and a goblin walk into a story...

Feel like you've heard this one before? Maybe the characters are unusual, but the form and general content of The Princess and the Goblin written by George MacDonald in 1872 would go on to become one of the foundation cornerstones for fantasy literature in the following century. Tolkien and Lewis owe MacDonald a good deal. Without those Inklings fantasy just wouldn't be the same today.

As with many progenitors, MacDonald's book feels dated. Aft
...more
Zoë
Feb 01, 2015 Zoë rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Book 15/100 for 2015!
Also, a book I read for my Children's Literature class!
I thought this book was good, but definitely not my favorite. I didn't really like MacDonald's writing style, especially when he broke the 4th wall and kept refusing to describe things while also describing them (like "I COULD tell you what this looked like, but I really can't."?????). He sorta got on my nerves. Another thing that I didn't really like was that MacDonald didn't explain everything! Like, for instance, what
...more
Breanne
Sep 06, 2012 Breanne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Chloe
Feb 24, 2008 Chloe rated it it was amazing  ·  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
Cindy Rollins
Feb 16, 2016 Cindy Rollins rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: morningtime, 2016
The Lord in his mercy has given me another chance to teach Charlotte Mason style and I am getting to visit so many old friends.

I tried to start with a couple excellent books to whet my student's appetite and delightfully he has responded with joy.

I will always give George MacDonald 4 or 5 stars. I love him- his voice and his goodness.

Barnabas Piper
Sep 18, 2011 Barnabas Piper rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the best children's stories ever, and of course by that I mean one of the best stories for anyone.
Vanessa
May 04, 2008 Vanessa rated it really liked it  ·  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!
Suvi
The mentor of Lewis Carroll, and revered by C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien among others, the severe-looking Scottish author clearly had a knack for creating magical things. Very few authors have said that they don't write for children, "but for the child-like, whether they be of five, or fifty, or seventy-five". The Princess and the Goblin is a fully-fledged children's fantasy novel, however, but also much more than a story of rescuing the princess and the kingdom.

Eight-year-old princess Irene
...more
Erin the Avid Reader ⚜BFF's with the Cheshire Cat⚜
This book served as both inspirations for both C.S Lewis and J.R.R Tolkien, the latter whose epic trilogy I am currently rollicking through and wanted to take a short break from it to read a quick, enjoyable fantasy book before continuing on the merry journey after a brief visit with Tom Bombadil.

The funny thing is though, this book also took me on a fantastic adventure. I was expecting this to be short, simple kiddie story but it is not like that at all. Personally if I was a kid reading this t
...more
Kirsten
I'm not sure how I never read this as a kid; I think I might have even owned a copy for a while, but for some reason I never read it. Anyway, it's a sweet children's book. It's a bit moralistic but in a sort of wry way that keeps it from being saccarine, and parts of it are very funny. It's easy to see that George MacDonald was a definite influence on C.S. Lewis.
Julie Davis
Oct 09, 2014 Julie Davis rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a book my mother has long tried to get me to read since it was a childhood favorite of hers. Over the years I have heard it was also a favorite of C.S. Lewis, Madeleine L'Engle, G.K. Chesterton and (possibly) J.R.R. Tolkien. With all that going for it, you'd think I'd have jumped on the bandwagon long ago.

It took me finding this LibriVox recording from one of my favorite narrators who has lamentably few books recorded, Andy Minter. He is simply superb. I get that delicious feeling of bei
...more
Nico
Apr 22, 2008 Nico rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this as a child and loved it! I still think about the book, and look at my sensitive feet in dismay!
Suzannah
Apr 04, 2014 Suzannah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, classics
First time reading this for years. Just as much fun as I remembered
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
Fantasy Literature
George MacDonald found out his talent for telling fairy tales due to the fact that he had eleven children, and after the success of At the Back of the North Wind, which was published serially in a magazine, MacDonald wrote his two most popular books: The Princess and the Goblin and its sequel The Princess and Curdie. These books inspired the two most famous fantasy authors of all time: J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis, both of whom are much indebted to MacDonald's innovative fairytales. It can be s ...more
Cindi
Jul 10, 2008 Cindi rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Ana Rînceanu
This was a cozy, adorable read. You can tell the author has daughters since he created a lovable, if a little spoiled princess Irene, whom he does scold from time to time. My heart melted a little when Curdie, the miner boy who spies on the goblins, used rhymes to scare the enemy.

The only thing I did not like was how the goblins are treated. The goblins are clearly depicted as an oppressed people so it's no wonder they're upset with the people digging into their kingdom. I get that their royal
...more
Sara
Jan 13, 2014 Sara rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014-school-year
Second Reading: October 2016

First Reading: July 2014

MacDonald is a master storyteller who uses a pen like a paintbrush. The imagery is vivid and inviting. Like many of his stories, I felt as though I stepped into the quintessential faerie tale. This sweet and curious story is one that I will revisit many times in the same way that a perfectly made cup of tea is always a little bit magical and a whole lot comforting.
Sarah
Jul 19, 2014 Sarah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wow what an adorable tale.

4.5/5

I watched the movie version of this book obsessively as a child and was totally ignorant that this was originally a book. When I saw this at my local book shop I was elated and instantly bought it. Going into it I was comparing it to the movie and it does differ a bit but the book is super charming. The antiquated language, magic, and evil creatures paints a child's fantasy world come to life. Will definatly recommend to anyone young or old.
Selene
Aug 05, 2016 Selene rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Book Two for the 7in7 ReadAThon
Daniel Ionson
Mar 12, 2016 Daniel Ionson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
Supreme children's book, and a deep inspiration for JRRT's The Hobbit.
Joy C.
What a beautiful, charming story. I loved it! <3
Vishy
Mar 09, 2017 Vishy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Loved the book. Loved Ursula Le Guin's introduction. Loved Princess Irene and her grandmother and Curdie. Love George MacDonald. Can't wait to read the next part.
Bob
Oct 04, 2014 Bob rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
This is the book that G. K. Chesterton said "made a difference to my whole existence." I am not sure that I can say the same but I did find myself impressed once again with George MacDonald's writing and asking why I hadn't read this sooner.

Princess Irene lives on the side of a beautiful mountain that harbors a dark secret in terms of a goblin kingdom, whose rulers are pursuing a nefarious purpose--nothing less than kidnapping the princess. She and her nurse are rescued from one nearly tragic ve
...more
Rob
Feb 21, 2017 Rob rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
C. S. Lewis called George MacDonald his master. J. R. R. Tolkien did not care for him. Yet if you are a fan of either of Lewis or Tolkien, you must read at least one of MacDonald'a fantasy novels. To call them fairy tales is an injustice. The Princess and the Goblin reads like a modern fantasy novel despite being published in 1872.
Dan
The Princess and the Goblin is a fun and fantastical read for children of all ages. Introducing many tropes of modern fantasy while moving along at a quick pace.

It has some violence and battles, though it is minimal and confrontations are often resolved with alternative methods, and is hardly explicit even when their is fighting. The story is exciting and fast paced enough to keep a young reader's attention and it has some positive morals for younger readers too. It also has a bit of Christian s
...more
Mary Catelli
A tale of a little princess growing up in a country house/castle -- kept carefully inside for the danger of the goblins who live in the mountains.

On one rainy day, Princess Irene wanders in the house, gets lost, finds a woman spinning in the tower, unbeknownst to anyone inside -- her great-great-grandmother Irene. On the first clear day after that storm, she goes walking with her nurse-- too far -- and can not return before nightfall, when the goblins start to menace them. Fortunately, they meet
...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
  • The Enchanted Castle
  • The King of the Golden River
  • The Red Fairy Book
  • The Ordinary Princess
  • The Little Duke
  • The Little Lame Prince
  • The Reluctant Dragon
  • Crown and Jewel
  • Tales of the Kingdom (Tales of the Kingdom, #1)
  • The Wood Beyond the World
  • The Yellow Fairy Book
  • The Marvellous Land of Snergs
  • Undine
  • Seven-Day Magic (Tales of Magic, #7)
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 G.K. Chesterton, W. H. Auden, J.R.R. Tolkien, C. S. Lewis, and Madeleine L'Engle. Lewis that wrote that he regarded MacDonald as his "master": "Picking up a copy of Phantastes one day at a train-station bookstall, I
...more
More about George MacDonald...

Other Books in the Series

Princess Irene and Curdie (2 books)
  • The Princess and Curdie

Share This Book



“Seeing is not believing - it is only seeing.” 156 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.”
93 likes
More quotes…