A very detailed and thorough treatment of Daniel Boone's life. This book seemed very objective, and was meticulously researched. The events of Boone's...moreA very detailed and thorough treatment of Daniel Boone's life. This book seemed very objective, and was meticulously researched. The events of Boone's life were discussed to separate fact from fiction as well as it could have been done. (less)
The Foundling and Other Tales of Prydain was not essential to the understanding of the Prydain Chronicles. However, it was enjoyable and told a little...moreThe Foundling and Other Tales of Prydain was not essential to the understanding of the Prydain Chronicles. However, it was enjoyable and told a little extra that I hungered for after ending the final book of the series. It gives little snapshots of some of the characters that I spent two weeks growing to love (and some that I hated), to satisfy the little craving for more after finishing a good series. (less)
The High King was the conclusion to the Prydain Chronicles that it had to be. It did not end in perfection and happily ever after, but it ended the wa...moreThe High King was the conclusion to the Prydain Chronicles that it had to be. It did not end in perfection and happily ever after, but it ended the way it had to. The characters that were strong and true stood up and made the choices they had to make, and the series ended the only way it truly could have.
We need more books and characters like this in children's literature.(less)
Taran Wanderer is the best book in the Prydain Chronicles. What it lacks in combat and heroism, it makes up for in character building. Taran's questio...moreTaran Wanderer is the best book in the Prydain Chronicles. What it lacks in combat and heroism, it makes up for in character building. Taran's questions are typical of a young man, but, as most men, he does not find the answers he seeks. His guardian, Dallben, tells him as he sets off, "Though you may not find what you seek, you will surely return a little wiser." As he seeks, Orddu strikes on a human coping mechanism when she tells Taran, "Believe what you like. You'll be surprised how comforting it is." Of course, Taran's strength of character will not allow himself to do such a thing.
As his seeking continues, and his troubled heart wonders, he asks his friend, Fflewddur, "Indeed, is a man truly what he sees himself to be?" Fflewddur philosophically responds, "Only if what he sees is true. If there's too great a difference between his opinion and the facts-ah-then, my friend, I should say that such a man has no...substance to him..."
At this point in his life, Taran is not so eager to go into battle or to lay his life on the line. He begins to learn what true courage is, and how foolish he was as a younger man. Fflewddur says of courage, "It's been my experience, from all my wanderings, that the further from the deed, the greater it grows, and the most glorious battle is the one long past. So it's hardly surprising how many heroes you run into."
Speaking to King Smoit, Taran learns something of being a leader. The king said, "A king's strength lies in the will of those he rules." Taran realized, "Indeed, true allegiance is only given willingly."
It's interesting that Taran is constantly surrounded by enchanters and enchantresses, princes and princesses, kings and queens, and tried and proven warriors. He learns the most wisdom and character from hard working people:
Llonio: "If I fret over tomorrow, I'll have little joy today."
Llonio: "Why my luck's no greater than yours or any other man's. You need only sharpen your eyes to see your luck when it comes, and sharpen your wits to use what falls into your hands."
Hevvyd the Smith: "Life's like a forge, say I! Face the pounding; don't fear the proving; and you'll stand well against any hammer and anvil."
Dwyvach the Weaver Woman: "Life's a forge? A loom rather where lives and days intertwine; and he is wise who can learn to see a pattern."
Dwyvach: "Mind you, if life is a loom the pattern you weave is not so easily unraveled."
Annlaw Clay-Shaper: "Stale water is a poor drink. Stale skill is worse. And the man who walks in his own footsteps only ends where he began."
Toward the end of the book, he realizes he has found some answers, even though they weren't the answers he sought. He describes himself: "I saw strength and frailty. Pride and vanity, courage and fear. Of wisdom, a little. Of folly, much. Of intentions, many good ones, but many more left undone. In this, alas, I saw myself a man like any other."
"And the birthright I once sought, I seek it no longer. The folk of the Free Commots taught me well, that manhood is not given, but earned."
During his journey he came to the realization that he wanted a royal birthright, because in his heart he judged those without as inferior. It took hard work and living side to side with those people to see for himself that true character is not a birthright.(less)
The Castle of Llyr is the third chapter in Prydain Chronicles. Our old favorite characters are developed, as much is learned about Eilonwy. It is enjo...moreThe Castle of Llyr is the third chapter in Prydain Chronicles. Our old favorite characters are developed, as much is learned about Eilonwy. It is enjoyable to learn the background of the main characters even as the story moves forward. In this book we learn a little more of Gwydion, the Prince of Don, who is idolized by our hero, Taran. We learn more of Achren, who was introduced in book #1 as an evil enchantress. In addition, some new and fascinating characters are introduced. It builds the anticipation of seeing these characters again as the series continues, and questions of what we will learn about the characters we know and love. And when will we see Doli again?
At this point in Taran's coming of age, he realizes that his bond with Eilonwy is more than neighborly and friendly. He struggles as he tries to protect and serve the man to whom she is to be betrothed. He shows great character in all this, while also showing us occasional glimpses of the old, hotheaded Taran.
Lloyd Alexander gives us great characters. They are flawed characters, but every one of the companions on the quest are courageous beyond measure, and utterly selfless. Taran learns to appreciate the good character in his rival whom he swore to protect. Gwydion continues to be the bigger than life idol of Taran. Gurgi and Fflewddur continue to be loyal to Taran and Eilonwy to the point of death if necessary.
Coll: "It may be we know least what we treasure most."
Coll: "There is nothing like work to put the heart at rest."
Gwydion: "The destinies of men are woven one with the other, and you can turn aside from them no more than you can turn aside from your own."
And so Taran grows and learns more of his place and responsibility, leaving you wanting to see where he goes next.(less)