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The High King (The Chronicles of Prydain #5)

4.26 of 5 stars 4.26  ·  rating details  ·  33,284 ratings  ·  674 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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Kyle Lloyd Alexander says himself that you can read any book in the series as its own book without reading the others but it is nice to have background…moreLloyd Alexander says himself that you can read any book in the series as its own book without reading the others but it is nice to have background knowledge on the story beforehand.(less)
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The Most Deserving Newbery
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Read Them Twice...At Least
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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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
jillian nessie


This was intensely traumatic and magnificent.

4.5 stars
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
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
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
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
Ghost Ryter
Can...can I give this 100 stars?
Aelvana
Taran is done wandering, but he returns to news of a horrible loss: Arawn has stolen Gwydion's sword Dyrnwyn. Confident he has removed the only real threat to his rule, the death lord is preparing for invasion. But Taran and his friends are not going to surrender without a fight. From the island of Mona to the Free Commots, all friends of good gather for the last great battle for the fate of Prydain.

The war wages fiercely in this book as Gwydion's ever-dwindling army opposes traitors, Huntsman,
...more
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
Sam Wescott
Holy character development, batman. I actually liked Taran in this book. The adventures had higher stakes and the characters seemed rounder than usual, with depths not previously seen.

I got weepy at several points in the book (view spoiler), which makes me respect the character development even more. Well done, Lloyd Alexander. I ha
...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
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!
Kathi
A couple of months ago while reading Newberys, I wrote about not really liking high fantasy, but believing that The Hero and the Crown was the best I had read. Not anymore.

Although I only read the last in Lloyd Alexander’s Chronicles of Prydain, The High King has improved the genre for me.

Listening to the audio CD, I did need to start over twice to understand who—and what—the characters were and the events that were happening. Even then, I went to Wikipedia’s plot summary of the first few chapt
...more
Jeremy Preacher
The High King is a marvelous end to the series, and my second-favorite of the individual books. It's larger in scope than all the others - I think it's the only one to offer viewpoints other than Taran's, however brief - and the action and the consequences are epic. It is most directly a sequel to Taran Wanderer - the earlier books are necessary for his development as a character, and they provide the backdrop for the action, but nearly every single episode of Taran Wanderer has an explicit impa ...more
Katelyn (Esse Quam Videri)
Okay...so this is more a review of the entire series rather than this single book. However, I will take this moment to say that I preferred this book over all of the others in the series.

I felt that, all together, this was half Lord of the Rings minus all the dry prose and half a story of becoming a man. In the first book of the series, I found Taran to be an annoying, prattling boy who needed a good smack upon the head. As the tales unfolded from story to story, Taran admittedly grew on me as
...more
Valentin Mihov
Jan 24, 2015 Valentin Mihov marked it as just-have-it
Review

"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_
-- Review

Product 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

...more
Magali
Sep 21, 2014 Magali rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: literally everyone
Recommended to Magali by: Rebecca Ferare
A while back I made a rule for myself that I can't write reviews of books that affected me very profoundly until after I've had a chance to reflect and calm down. The High King is the exception to that rule, mostly because I never really got over this book when I was younger, and my feelings about it have only grown more intense over the years.

The Prydain Chronicles are about growing up, as I've stated numerous times in my reviews and as Lloyd Alexander himself wrote often in his author's notes
...more
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
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
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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
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Other Books in the Series

The Chronicles of Prydain (5 books)
  • The Book of Three (The Chronicles of Prydain #1)
  • The Black Cauldron (The Chronicles of Prydain #2)
  • The Castle of Llyr (The Chronicles of Prydain #3)
  • Taran Wanderer (The Chronicles of Prydain #4)
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?” 66 likes
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