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The High King (The Chronicles of Prydain #5)

4.25  ·  Rating details ·  44,248 Ratings  ·  945 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
Mass Market Paperback, 286 pages
Published June 15th 1980 by Laurel Leaf Books (first published October 27th 1968)
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Devyn Duffy The High King probably works well enough if read on its own, but you'd lose so much of its emotional power. So many events in the story have resonance…moreThe High King probably works well enough if read on its own, but you'd lose so much of its emotional power. So many events in the story have resonance because of the experiences readers have shared in the first four books. I would strongly recommend reading the entire series in sequence, especially because they are great books.(less)
Chelsea I recommend reading the full series. They are short reads, you could finish the whole series in a few days if you're a fast reader. They build and get…moreI recommend reading the full series. They are short reads, you could finish the whole series in a few days if you're a fast reader. They build and get better and better as they go.(less)

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Ahmad Sharabiani
The High King (The Chronicles of Prydain #5), Lloyd Alexander
The High King (1968) is a high fantasy novel by Lloyd Alexander, the fifth and last of The Chronicles of Prydain. It was awarded the Newbery Medal for excellence in American children's literature in 1969. The series follows the adventures of Taran, the Assistant Pig-Keeper, as he nears manhood while helping to resist the forces of Arawn Death-Lord. In the concluding volume Taran and companions join the rest of Prydain in a great effort
Aug 29, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own-it
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.
May 11, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned-books
Vrlo lep zavrsetak za jedan jako lep serijal. Imamo svega ovde, i srece i tuge, delova da stane srce delova da se opustimo. Manje vise sve je razjasnjeno, svi likovi su dotaknuti i nagradjeni prema zasluzi. Sta drugo reci, citajte.

Jedino sto mi smeta sto je ceo serijal nekako prekratak. Mozda je to do moje profesionalne deformacije da skoro svi fantazi romani imaju knjige od 500+ strana, ali kolko sam uzivao citajuci prosto mi je zao sto je gotovo.
jillian n.

This was intensely traumatic and magnificent.

4.5 stars
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
Jun 18, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kids
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
Aj the Ravenous Reader
A great finale to the series. It was a hundred percent worth reading. :)
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
May 13, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, it-sucked
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
Quite an action-packed ending to the series. It always takes me a while to get into each of these books, but by the end I'm not usually disappointed. This one was probably one of my favorite of the five.

So many, many parallels with Lord of the Rings. Seeing so many similar details got distracting toward the end. But somehow, on another level, this universe still contains its own unique story.

Some thoughts on the characters with spoilers -- It was great to see Taran absorb so much from his surrou
Feb 11, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed, 2016-rev
3.5 stars - Metaphorosis Reviews

Arawn Death-Lord has Gwydion's magic sword, and he has sent out his dread armies to conquer Prydain. With only the slimmest of hopes, Taran and Gwydion must raise an army and strike at Arawn's stronghold to try to end his evil once and for all.

The High King is not the strongest of Lloyd Alexander's Prydain quintet. He's building here on an established foundation, and much of the outcome in a YA adventure is foreordained. Still, for all that there's little suspense
Ghost Ryter
Can...can I give this 100 stars?
Courtney H.
Apr 29, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jan 16, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
So, I've finished the Chronicles of Prydain, after a year and a half of reading them off and on, and am still as unsure what I think of them as when I read the first of five. The only way I can sort this out is if I do this review in bulletin form :P

Things I Love or Like about this Book

1. Eilonwy. Same as all others in this series. My goodness, the Princess of Lyr is one of my favourite literary maidens of noble birth out there. I love Eilonwy not caring about her dirty hair and loving to have i
Okay, I am going to do a review for the entire series here, because it’s the last book in the series. I own these books, and they were some of my favorites growing up so I thought it was time for a reread. Did they stand up to my nostalgia, as some other books (notably Sabriel by Garth Nix and the His Dark Materials trilogy) have? The answer is partially, but not entirely. Here’s why:

The characterization of Eilonwy bothered me a bit. In the first few books she is quite independent and free-minde
Dec 18, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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,
Aleksandar Janjic
Иако, као и у осталим књигама серијала, има доста моралисања и поповања (што је ваљда и неопходно у књизи намијењеној млађим узрастима), очигледно је да све то долази од неког коме је срце на правом мјесту. Таран дефинитивно није најспектакуларнији главни лик у историји књижевности, увијек је озбиљан, често патетичан и дефинитивно потпуно лишен хумора, али избор који је направио на крају ове књиге не може а да га не начини симпатичним.

Ово што сам горе споменуо око тога да је књига (наравно, као
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
Sam Wescott
Sep 19, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Bill Tillman
One of the very best series I have read. It is an interpretation of the Mabinogin welsh myths. Ah once again I come to the end of this tale having listened to the excellent work of the Audible crew.
May 15, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This began a bit slow, but it got good as it went on. It was more serious, more "heavy" than the first books. The characters were all there, but somehow they seemed "older". The ending was just superb, and really satisfactory.

Apparently, the author was inspired by Welsh mythology. I myself know zero about Welsh myths, but anything with a basis on old legends and lores I admire. That's one thing about this series.

"Was it your concern to serve Prydain? You chose an evil means to do it. Good cannot
Nov 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Well jeez. I was not expecting just how much book withdrawl I would be going through after finishing this series. The ending is just so sentimental and emotional that I started tearing up, and I absolutely love this series with my entire heart.

This book... it's a good finish to the series. It's got tons of action, it ties up a ton of loose threads, the bad guys lose and the good guys win... You can't go wrong with it.

I'm extremely glad I can enjoy this series as an adu
Anne Marie Gazzolo
Jul 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who loves an epic tale
Wow, wow, and wow! I thought the 4th book was the best, but that was before I read this one! What a wonderful book and series, strewn with true heroes and wisdom for them and readers to absorb and live out. Loved it.

“For the deeds of a man, not the words of a prophecy, are what shape his destiny.”

Returning home from his wanderings, Taran finds that he cannot continue his former peaceful life; The Death Lord Arawn has finally made a move to conquer all of Prydain. Taran is summoned to be a war leader alongside his friend, Prince Gwydion of Don.

The Chronicles of Prydain kept getting better with each volume - that is until I read this final instalment. I did like it, but not as much as the middle instalment
May 23, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: newbery
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
May 05, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A truly fitting ending to the Chronicles of Prydain -- which is saying quite a lot.

This book may have been the most uneven -- the most uncomfortable -- when it came to the mixing of lighthearted fairy-tale and serious-minded romance -- the mixing of cheerfully humorous companions and agonizing deathblows -- but it still succeeded far more than it failed.

I am most impressed by the way the Chronicles form, not a series (in the way we've come to understand that term), but a single narrative creat
A good ending to the series, if, again, it did lean heavily on LOTR (like, bordering on plagiarism at times, in my opinion). I still feel like I don't quite have a handle on how old the characters are, and how much time has passed over the course of the series. I guess my best guess is that when they started, Taran and Eilonwy were like 13 and 12, and at the end they're like 18 and 17? He keeps referencing things that happened in the earlier books as event from his "boyhood," cause apparently he ...more
Jan 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Let me begin by saying that I very seldom give 5s. To me, a book that gets a 5 is a book that changed my life and a book I have to reread over and over again. This book is a true 5 for me. I can't even count how many times I have read it and I have loved it each and every time I have read it.

I just love the way Lloyd Alexander writes. He doesn't get bogged down in flowery language and instead uses a minimum of words to somehow convey a perfect description.

I love the character development of Ta
Jun 20, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
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.
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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...

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)
“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.”
“Is there worse evil than that which goes in the mask of good?” 84 likes
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