The High King (The Chronicles of Prydain #5)
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The High King (The Chronicles of Prydain #5)

4.25 of 5 stars 4.25  ·  rating details  ·  29,966 ratings  ·  592 reviews
When the sword of Dyrnwyn, the most powerful weapon inthe kingdom of Prydain, falls into the hands of Arawn-Death-Lord, Taran, Assistant Pig-Keeper, and Prince Gwydion raise an army to march against Arawn's terrible cohorts. After a winter expedition filled with danger, Taran's army arrives at Mount Dragon, Arawn's stronghold. There, in a thrilling confrontation with Arawn...more
Paperback, 253 pages
Published May 16th 2006 by Square Fish (first published June 1968)
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The Most Deserving Newbery
32nd out of 93 books — 2,072 voters
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Read Them Twice...At Least
200th out of 3,910 books — 3,957 voters


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Community Reviews

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Jessica
There are times in life where everything seems to go right, and then there are the times where everything seems to go wrong. The High King is both of these. There were times I wanted to throw the book down and times I couldn't even bear to close it at night. The book, while a fairy tale, is life.

Nothing in life is free and all things come with a price, even the price of gifts that we wish we could keep. And the gift that requires the greatest price is that of love. People change, move, and die....more
Camille
This is to date one of the best children's novels I've read in one of the best children's series out there. Alexander draws on a wealth of Welsh mythology to put together a rags to riches story of a pig-keeper, his growth from child to youth to man, and the decisions we are all forced to make in adulthood. There were many different types of closure in the final book -- the first time I read it I cried, which is really rare for me. I found the portrayals of key characters moving as well as the st...more
Nessima Tavariel


This was intensely traumatic and magnificent.

4.5 stars
Courtney H.
This was my favorite of the five novels, though obviously one reason it was brilliant was because it could rest on, and grow out of, the foundational first four books. Still, I thought this book, better than the others, balanced the fun of YA writing (clear, solid writing, interesting characters, well paced plot) with more challenging plot points and characters.

This books is about war, though, and Alexander does not pull punches: many characters die, characters you did not think he would kill of...more
Autumn
Lloyd Alexander was a kind, simple man with a passion for mythology, especially Welsh lore. These books began with an exploration of ancient stories, and grew into what I believe to be the best children's literature out there. I still read them now and again, just because they move me so. Alexander manages a rather brilliant balance of humour and sorrow--something rarely found in books written for young people. His characters are lovable, entertaining, and real, despite their fantastical setting...more
Ashley
Because I listen to my audiobooks in the car, I went for a drive Saturday evening just to finish this book. Time and gas well spent. Really enjoyed making my way through this series over the last month and a half. Some of the best children's fantasy I've read. Wish I would've read it as an actual child.

Aside from a couple of minor complaints, The High King was a really good ending to this series.

Arawn and his minions have stolen the magical sword Dyrnwyn from Prince Gwydion, tipping the balance...more
X
Jun 22, 2009 X rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to X by: Q
I thought this was the best of the series. It has a decidedly different - darker, but not really *dark* - feel than the previous books, but the characters remain the same. A nice world and a good adventure, though the end was disturbingly reminiscent of other fantasies; I shan't say more to avoid spoilers.
Jen
Medal Winner 1969
Wonderful ending to an excellent series. This ties up all the loose ends and storyboard, without feeling contrived or letting that drag the story at all. Love these characters, and am very satisfied. I think the closing paragraph is one of the best ever.
Jessica
This is the fifth and last book of the Chronicles of Prydain. The story begins as the Assistant Pig-Keeper Taran, his companion Gurgi, and the crow Kaw return to Caer Dallben to find that the Princess Eilonwy has returned from the island kingdom of Dinas Rhydant. Taran realizes that all he wants is to be with Eilonwy even if he isn't of noble blood. However, before he is able to confess these feelings their friends Fflewddur and Gwydion send word that Arawn, the Death Lord, has stolen Taran's ma...more
Andy
Single review for the Chronicles of Prydain, as they are similar in style and quality and could have been produced as a single large volume of five sub-books.

The Chronicles of Prydain are children's books. Some children's books hold up well when read by an adult, but these are definitely for kids and do not carry any added depth. The adventures are amusing but flat. You might smile at Eilonwy's sass and moxie and Fflewdur Fflam's tall tales. But you're probably also going to cringe at Taran's e...more
Jessica
"Greater, more disastrous, and demanding more courage are the battles into which Taran leads his followers against Arawn Death-Lord.... The book has the philosophical depth and overtones of great fantasy." --The Horn Book

Book Description
The Newbery-winning fantasy series now available in gorgeous new paperback editions! Since The Book of Three was first published in 1964, young readers have been enthralled by the adventures of Taran the Assistant Pig-Keeper and his quest to become a hero. Taran...more
Marci Christensen
I thought this was a great ending to a great series. All the excitement, traveling, character development, story line, and good versus evil in an easy to read, less convoluted format than any other book series I've read. I loved all the characters, even the ones that were maybe supposed to be comic relief type of characters were endearing. It left me feeling satisfied and entertained. I really despise books that end in a very abrupt way. If there is any place in a book that I like to the story d...more
Amy
This was a five star ending to a terrific series for the intended age group. Personally, I felt everything was tied up a little to neatly at the end. Prophecy ordained everything..but there is always an if...a sorrowful choice alleviated by the convenient timing of a ring...it was a good ending for children and for the fantasy series. Personally wished for some more unanswered questions.
Taran Wanderer is still my favorite of the series.
Recommended!
Barb Middleton
Sometimes it can be hard pinpointing what didn't quite work in a novel. This doesn't read like a Newbery winner for me. Perhaps it is a nod toward the entire series, although books one and five imitate Tolkien's work and do not fill the Newbery criteria of being original. Hmmm... whatever. I do enjoy making my own Newbery guesses for the upcoming year and reading past winners. I don't always agree with choices, but awards never satisfy everyone. Perhaps it won because it satisfied the feelings o...more
Charity (CJ)
I nearly never cry at books (with the exception of Anne of Green Gables and A Tale of Two Cities), but I cried twice while listening to this book. I thought that it was just because of how invested I'd become in the characters, but now I'm wondering if it was also in response to the knowledge that once this book was over, so was the series.

I loved how Taran came into his own in this book, even more than he did in Taran Wanderer. I felt a little weird about how every little thing and character fr...more
Claire
This final book in the Prydain Chronicles was kind of like a high school graduation ceremony. You're totally pumped that your high school career is only minutes away from being over forever, but then you think about all the good times you had with your friends, the fact that you're all going separate ways, and then that one super-nostalgic song by Green Day starts playing, and THEN that heart-stabbingly sad graduation song by Vitamin C starts playing, and by the time it's all over, you feel like...more
Holly
The Chronicles of Prydain is one of my all time favorite book series. I've lost count of how many times I've read it and it never gets old. The series starts with young and inexperienced characters and over the course of the books we see how their experiences shape them. Great books, especially for younger readers. It doesn't hurt either that two books from the series are a Newbery Honor and Newbery winner.
Courtney
I love this story because it is based on old folktales. We follow Alexander's characters as they gain depth and personal growth during this series. Taran goes from desiring the "excitement" of war and battle to knowing the value of peace. Alexander is suprisingly progressive in the 60's for his portrayal of Eilonwy, who is entertaining and eager to assert her independence.
Jim Erekson
My parents bought me a box set for Christmas when I was in 5th grade. It was the best thing I had ever read. I felt the characters were difficult and troubling, but that they resolved by the end. It was very satisfying then. I haven't re-read them in a long time, although I know Nancy and I both read them in the 90s and enjoyed them then.
Tzu-mainn Chen
In the conclusion of the Prydain series, Arawn, the Lord of Death, arises to attempt to conquer the land once and for all.

+ everything comes full circle. heroes and villains from all of the previous books return, and the denouement for all is extremely satisfying

+ the writing is more lyrical than i remember

+ for the first time in the series, the book (occasionally) jumps away from Taran's point-of-view, allowing the reader to see that which would otherwise be missed

+ the costs of victory, and th...more
Daniel Millard
Wow. I always forget just how wonderful an ending the Chronicles Of Prydain have.

The bildungsroman (great word, and I feel completely appropriate for the Chronicles) of Taran Wanderer winds up with a story that could probably stand quite sufficiently on its own. I believe this book won the Newbery medal, and it certainly deserves it.

Every story and every character comes to a pinnacle here, in a way that is almost suspiciously good for a children's literary saga. There's plenty of glory and dram...more
John Rasmussen
This is the end of the series, although followup could be written. Evil is defeated (bad guy/black hat), and good wins (white hat) the girl and rides off into the sunset (cowboy movie). How good wins makes this a great story. I enjoyed the development of the story through the entire series.
Sage T.
I am reviewing The High King by Lloyd Alexander. it is a fantasy adventure book.
Assistant pig keeper Taran has been given another quest! Now Taran, Gwydion, Gurgi, Fflewddur, Eilonwy, and Doli must work together to slay The High King.
The various problems the characters encounter are that Achren is unable to help, the high king has transforming minions, and that if Doli uses invisibility for too long, it feels like he has bees and hornets in his ear.
My favorite character is Lord Gwydion because h...more
Jane G Meyer
When I got to the end of this series, despite the fact that I am over 40, and have a family and many responsibilities, I really wanted to set off on an adventure and become a heroine... A perfect set of books for those times in life when you need a little bump of get-up-and-go...
Nico
This one felt more rushed than the others. some of the big reveals were really disappointing. like other books in the series, more time is spent on their daily trivialities than the big picture. the death of the main antagonist of the entire series was addressed in a fight lasting no more than a page. it felt anticlimactic. arawn was killed too easily. lesser villains were given better fights and deaths. I hated glew, better characters than him died whilst we had to endure his whining for an ent...more
Peter Jones
A true classic, the powerful finale to one of the greatest bildungsroman series of novels ever. Worthy of all the praise I could heap upon it, Lloyd Alexander creates one of the most endearing group of main characters in literature.
Ruth E.
1969 Newbery winner - author/illustrator Alexander,Lloyd/no illustrations- A sword, which is a powerful weapon in the kingdom of Prydain has ended up in the hands of Arawn-Death-Lord. An assistant pig keeper named Taran and a prince named Gwydion lead an army of common folk against the powerful lord. This is the story of their adventures. The sword is finally found at Mount Dragon by Tatan and he must make choice to go to the enchanted country of Summer Couuntry or give up everything and become...more
Rad
I'm glad Taran and Eilonwy hooked up. I was ready to heave the book against the wall if that didn't happen. Yes, I can be pretty shallow about these things.
Debbie
Dec 30, 2013 Debbie added it
38 1969: The High King by Lloyd Alexander (Holt)

286 pages 6/6/13

High King was a fantasy and #5 of a series. As such it was not something that I really wanted to read. I was also turned off by the large number of made-up names. Although this book did stand alone, I am sure it would have been better to read the series in order so that I would know the history of the characters.

The primary character is Taran. He engages characters from his past to lead him in a siege against the dark powers. Things...more
Erik
As I have said regarding earlier books in this series, this is a good Fantasy series for children. Although it has some valuable themes, the plot was too simple and too many things relied on unbelievable coincidence to really pull me into the story.

It was interesting to note some of the striking similarities between this and the Lord of the Rings. For instance, the sons of Don came across the sea to Prydain to fight against Arawn, Death Lord. Once Arawn was defeated, they returned across the sea...more
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Lloyd Chudley Alexander (January 30, 1924 - May 17, 2007) was an influential American author of more than forty books, mostly fantasy novels for children and adolescents, as well as several adult books. His most famous contribution to the field of children's literature is the fantasy series The Chronicles of Prydain. The concluding book of the series, The High King, was awarded the Newbery Medal i...more
More about Lloyd Alexander...
The Black Cauldron (The Chronicles of Prydain #2) The Book of Three (The Chronicles of Prydain #1) Taran Wanderer (The Chronicles of Prydain #4) The Castle of Llyr (The Chronicles of Prydain #3) Time Cat

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“Long ago I yearned to be a hero without knowing, in truth, what a hero was. Now, perhaps, I understand it a little better. A grower of turnips or a shaper of clay, a Commot farmer or a king--every man is a hero if he strives more for others than for himself alone.
Once you told me that the seeking counts more than the finding. So, too, must the striving count more than the gain.”
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“Is there worse evil than that which goes in the mask of good?” 59 likes
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