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The King of Elfland's Daughter

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The poetic style and sweeping grandeur of The King of Elfland's Daughter has made it one of the most beloved fantasy novels of our time, a masterpiece that influenced some of the greatest contemporary fantasists. The heartbreaking story of a marriage between a mortal man and an elf princess is a masterful tapestry of the fairy tale following the "happily ever after."

240 pages, Paperback

First published January 1, 1924

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About the author

Lord Dunsany

684 books695 followers
Edward John Moreton Drax Plunkett, eighteenth baron of Dunsany, was an Anglo-Irish writer and dramatist, notable for his work in fantasy published under the name Lord Dunsany. More than eighty books of his work were published, and his oeuvre includes hundreds of short stories, as well as successful plays, novels and essays. Born to one of the oldest titles in the Irish peerage, he lived much of his life at perhaps Ireland's longest-inhabited home, Dunsany Castle near Tara, received an honourary doctorate from Trinity College, and died in Dublin.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 805 reviews
Profile Image for J.G. Keely.
546 reviews10.2k followers
July 16, 2012
In fantasy, I've seen magic used in many ways: as plot device, curio, religious allegory, and the personification of morals, but rarely do I find a book where magic is truly magical. Too often, it's a convenience, a cliche, but for Dunsany, magic is pervasive, mysterious, unknowable, and lovely. He captures a sense of the 'sublime': something so unbelievably beautiful that it becomes overwhelming, even frightening.

Dunsany wrote his stories with a handmade quill in a single draft. His language is a precise and delicate thing: a crystal skein from which he suspends his story. The descriptions are constantly turning and surprising, glinting with unexpected revelations, so that the whole of his world, from the most mundane to the fantastical teems with sorcerous possibility.

His magic does not delineate between the knowledge of farmers and that of wizards. Beneath the surface, it is known in varying ways to all, and each has the sense that at any unlooked-for moment, it might bubble up into their own lives, should they look too long at its mysteries. These things we cannot control and cannot understand might snatch us up in a wayward minute, and cast us adrift within a terrible beauty.

It is here we see the inspiration Lovecraft drew from Dunsany: the unfathomable world lurking just beneath our own, kept at bay only by intense mediocrity. For Lovecraft and Dunsany, it is the artist and musician who catch the true notes of the beyond and give mankind the gift of a more palatable version, like blue-eyed blues.

However, the danger of Dunsany's mysteries is not the deadliness of Lovecraft's, instead the great fear is that we should love something too much--that we should see something which from that moment, we can never shake free, but remain ever after haunted and seduced. Like Milton's Satan, the danger is not that evil should destroy us, but that we should come to understand its mind: to sympathize with a devil.

Dunsany's dances freely with heathenry--his magic is not Tolkien's Christian allegory, but mocks austerity and fears any death that would bring on the overwhelming awe of Heaven. There are some downright sacrilegious sentiments for those who fall in love with magic, gladly forsaking their humanity and their souls.

Yet magic is not opposed to religion, it is simply unconcerned with the small, somber moments of mankind. These are remote, incompatible worlds, not sides of a coin. The town priest says as much, warning the villagers that all things of Elfland are cursed in the eyes of God, they have never even had a possibility of salvation, for they were not made by God, and are unrelated to Him and his aims.

Yet religion is not the central theme here, nor does the book take it much more seriously than the galloping trolls. What is interesting because is how much it differs from most fantasy, where magic is the personification of one or another chivalric ideal, heathen ideals long since taken in by monotheism.

This isn't to say that the Dunsany doesn't in some ways praise chivalry. It is a Fairy Story, and though it gestures to some complexities of philosophy, its gender roles and class distinctions are often played straight. They are not harped on, but neither are they subverted.

There is also a ponderous quality to the language and actions which might make it difficult for some readers. This gentle lulling is central to the book's tone (and the magical themes in particular). The story is told neither from the perspective of mankind nor of Elfland, but some shifting point between.

This book is markedly different in its central concerns from either the Christian Epics that proceeded it or the Genre Fantasy that followed. The conflict between madness and tradition appears also in Peake's Titus books, the shifting pale is reminiscent of 'The Mists of Avalon', and the suffusing mist of magic across the world can be seen in 'Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell', but other than Lovecraft few have picked up the thread of this intricately cracking brocade.

This book is otherworldly, existential, and thoughtful without a hint of pretension. It is whimsical and beautiful without being either condescending or a farce. More than this it brings a strange, new world to your door, a world that bears a grand, forgotten question. It recalls a remote place in childhood, before we had decided whether sanity or madness was likely to bear us finer fruits.

I begin to wonder if I chose wrongly.

My Fantasy Book Suggestions
Profile Image for Traveller.
228 reviews719 followers
April 13, 2017
Recommended for: Those who have patience and are comfortable with Victorian and poetic styles in prose, who have romantic souls, and people who enjoy reading poetry and who enjoy introspective, speculative, and exploratory literature and fanciful fantasy.

Not recommended for : Those who prefer fast-paced action and down-to-earth and gritty prose styles and label some styles "too flowery"

The name:" Edward John Moreton Drax Plunkett" has a rather strange ring to it, doesn't it? I think "Lord Dunsany" sounds rather better, so I find it no wonder that such a poetic man as the 18th Baron of Dunsany chose simply to be known as Lord Dunsany.

According to WP, "The title Baron of Dunsany or, more commonly, Lord Dunsany, is one of the oldest dignities in the Peerage of Ireland, one of just a handful of 13th to 15th century titles still extant, having had 21 holders to date."

And Edward Plunkett:
"Born to the second-oldest title (created 1439) in the Irish peerage, Dunsany lived much of his life at perhaps Ireland's longest-inhabited home, Dunsany Castle near Tara, worked with W.B. Yeats and Lady Gregory, received an honorary doctorate from Trinity College, was chess and pistol-shooting champion of Ireland, and travelled and hunted extensively. He died in Dublin after an attack of appendicitis."

Chess and pistol-shooting, eh? That part sounds good to me, but not the hunting part, which brings me to one aspect of TKOED that I liked decidedly less than the rest of it: -in the story, unicorns are hunted simply because they are haughty creatures. Somehow, that didn't quite fit into the idyllic nature of the rest of the story for me. Besides, like it behooves any maiden worth her salt, I always used to love unicorns and I still do.

This is not an easy piece of literature to review. Written in 1924, smack-bang around the time that the Bloomsbury group and people like James Joyce were churning out modernist prose, it is as if this novel was written in a magical bubble in time and space.
Transcending the vagaries of being grounded in time and space with its themes that touch on the eternal, it yet, in a wistful way, seems to be longing for the days of the rural idyll; for the days before the modern world drove the wild magic of nature from our midst.

In my personal experience, although Dunsany's shorter works are as poetic and lyrical as far as use of language is concerned, I have not noticed in them quite the same metaphysical implications that this work has. After reading this though, I might start searching more deeply under the surface of his other works for deeper themes and implications as well.

At this point, I would like to pay homage to Keeley's wonderful review of this story : http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/...
Keely writes: Dunsany wrote his stories with a handmade quill in a single draft. His language is a precise and delicate thing: a crystal skein from which he suspends his story. The descriptions are constantly turning and surprising, glinting with unexpected revelations, so that the whole of his world, from the most mundane to the fantastical teems with sorcerous possibility.

Isn't the bolded sentence pure poetry? That is exactly the way in which Dunsany writes; his writing weaves a magic of its own; a crystal web of such beauty, that it is almost too much to bear. Some would accuse him of purpleness, but his imagery and choice of word and phrase is so fine, so delicately poignant, that I'd posit that Dunsany's art is in a class of its own.
Purple as the prose might be, it fits so very well with the subject matter, that in context of the story, such prose is definitely appropriate here.

Quite a few themes are weaved through the story. I imagine each reader will spot themes that draws their own attention. For me it was mainly, I think, the theme of "otherness" that drew my attention the most.

"Otherness" is a theme that we find both in philosophy and in anthropology, and both senses of otherness or alterity apply here.

Elfland is the symbol for 'otherness', and Dunsany makes it even more so by subverting the essence of what one would have expected Elfland to be. True, I may have expected time to stand still in Elfland, so that its denizens could live eternal life, but I would not have expected it to be the symbol for stasis, whereas "the world we know" is seen by the Elfin princess as a wonderful, strange, mutable and magical place.

So, our world is just as magical to her, as her world is to us.

I found it interesting that Dunsany managed to subvert traditional ideas of the mundaneness of our world and the wondrousness of the place you would expect Elfland to be. He made Elfland a cold, static place, as opposed to our world ( "the world we know" - though that exclusively refers to rural landscapes--he pointedly ignores the modern urban landscape as if it does not exist).
Our own world is drawn as a warm, enticing place, alive with activity, flux and wonder.

Alveric, the hero from our world, and Lirazel, the king of Elfland's daughter, are then, the representation of the "other" for each other, and each of their worlds represent otherness for the other. When reading the book, I also thought of the common theme of how, romantically speaking, "Opposites attract".

Another theme that is dealt with, is our tendency to feel that the grass must always be greener on the other side. The strange, the new, the unconquered, always winks and beckons, but once we have attained it, we have to deal with the reality of it, with aspects that we might not have foreseen when it looked all bright and inviting with the dewdrops still sparkling on it.

Eventually, both Alveric and Lirazel have to struggle with and deal with the problems springing forth from the acquisition of the strange otherness that they had managed to capture and make their own.

I think I should stop here though, lest I inadvertently drop a spoiler.

The bottom line : This is a novella imbued with a strange beauty, a beauty that goes deeper than skin-deep; that turns our known world upside-down and looks at the concepts of time, otherness, reality and desire with a new, poetic but astute pair of spectacles.

For some additional points of view on this little gem, here are links to two other reviews that I enjoyed greatly:


Profile Image for Lena.
199 reviews90 followers
June 10, 2023
Strong ancient myths vibe. Author copies that style so good that you get lost in his legent-like story compeeletly. A lot of architypes and easy reconizable symbols, but the story still has some uniqness. Reminds a lot of Tolkien.
Profile Image for mark monday.
1,676 reviews5,249 followers
October 7, 2012
a tale out of time: an old myth reinvented; a new myth born. a wayward bride, a forlorn husband, their son - a pitiless hunter. a defiant old woman; a melancholy old man. trolls delight in delight; unicorns are for slaughter. question: what is Time in Elfland? answer: a fantasy! twelve men want magic. madmen shall take captive a king. borders shall be crossed and boundaries may be as fleeting as dreams. be wary of what you wish for! love shall conquer all and death shall be no more.

prose like poetry, like music. the novel: a silvery lake stretching to shores unknown. i gazed at this lake by day and its surface shone with sunlight: the world and all its colors flamed bright and fierce. i took a lonely boat ride by night and its surface glistened with moonlight, reflecting the beyond... i stared into those starry depths and saw the infinite: an entrancing sight!

☼ ☾ ☀


☼ ☾ ☀

message 5: by mark

i read the first 50 pages last night. love it so far. especially enjoyed all the animals' (and the child's) reactions to the troll.

i thought i had read this novel many years ago, but none of it feels familiar. so maybe not.

some really lovely writing overall.

message 6: by mark

read another 50 pages in the park today. a perfect place to read this novel.

still impressed by the charm of Dunsany's flowing prose. and the subtlety, the pointed comments here and there. like the bit around the king taking the 'witless lad' from a mother who knows that her son will accomplish more staying at home then going on some foolish quest with a foolish king. but kings will take what they want.

also really enjoyed the equally subtle, equally barbed depiction of the depressing, unnecessary finiteness of organized religion that will automatically call 'heathen' any activity that is directed towards nature and the cosmos rather than towards rituals and memorization.

message 7: by mark

i fear i may be propping up this thread as if it were my own personal journal!

anyway, two bits of Dunsany's commentary that i thought were particularly well-done:
"He was an incongruous figure with his stave and his sack and his sword; but he followed one idea, one inspiration, one hope; and so shared something of the strangeness that all men have who do this."

"And now the four that were left were all of one mind, and under the wet coarse cloth that they hung on poles there was deep content in the evenings. For Alveric clung to his hope with all the strength of his race, that had once won Erl in old battles and held it for centuries long, and in the vacant minds of Niv and Zend this idea grew strong and big, like some rare flower that a gardener may plant by chance in a wild untended place. And Thyl sung of the hope; and all his wild fancies that roamed after song decked Alveric's quest with more and more of glamour. So all were of one mind. And greater quests whether mad or sane have prospered when this was so, and greater quests have failed when it was otherwise."

message 8: by mark

also, Orion hunts and kills a unicorn. disgusting! i am no longer on your team, Orion.

although that was a rather amazing chapter. the final lines were startling.

message 12: by mark

more unicorn hunting, argh! this is such a turn-off to me. i'm not even automatically against hunting, as long as the meat is used. but unicorns are basically magic horses - and who hunts horses for chrissakes.

still, the novel remains a pleasure. loved the chapter with Orion almost stepping into Elfland, but getting pulled back by his faithful hounds.

loved the part with the Freer (Friar? not familiar with the word "Freer") condemning magic and then while walking home, utters a spell against magic. ha! delicious bit of irony. Dunsany's stance on this fake binary set up by the Freer is clear.

and man that whole chapter on Lurulu the troll acquainting himself with earthly ways, and earthly time, was just marvelous. it was wonderful to see how Dunsany describes the passing of earthly time in such a way that it felt as strange and magical as elfland itself.

message 13: by mark

finished it tonight. wonderful! the chapter with the Elfland King trying to soothe his daughter had some of the most beautiful writing i've ever read. the ending, the slowly moving line as Elfland takes over Erl... entrancing. the whole novel is magically written. prose like poetry, like music.

for two far superior reviews of this splendid classic, read the ones by Mark and Keely:

Profile Image for Mark.
393 reviews306 followers
August 24, 2014
What can i say ? Absolutely wondrous. I adored this and it is the perfect book to read when you live by yourself because its another of those that demand to be read out loud. The cat was very entertained.

It is the story of a mortal going in search of a means to bring magic to his valley at the request of his father, the Lord of Erl because the Lord's parliament of 12 men asked for magic. The boy, Alveric, seeks Elfland and, in finding it, encounters the love of his life, Lirazel the Elf Princess. The story is not so much of their returning to 'the world we know' but is much more a wonderful reflection in depth on those inane six words that end every fairy story ' and they lived happily ever after'. Well do they?

Here is the study of that cliche and Dunsany makes us think not only in fantasy terms of what that phrase might really entail but opens out all sorts of other questions. The prejudice and inability to understand or try to see another's struggles, the ease with which we step out into strange new lands so long as others take the strain and make the sacrifices, the unpreparedness of people to take responsibility for their actions and decisions, the instinctive reaction of so many to stamp on the unknown, the strange, the different and perhaps the most sad of all the way in which age and experience can serve to close off enchantment, barricade against beauty and wonder and circumscribe the world with common sense and platitude.

This book was fabulous in every sense of that word. The poetry was beautiful and the imagery intense and ethereal at the same time.
'The wandering lights of wonderful moments that sometimes astonish our fields'.

The grappling with the rushed movement of time for mortals which marks no time for Elfland was brilliantly communicated where chapters covering years in the rushing on of earth alternated with the turning of the head of the Elf King as he moved down his staircase in his palace 'that may be only told of in song'. The effects of the passing of time, normal and accepted by us, feared by the immortals.

'and though she stayed but a day when she came to the fields we know, and was back in the palace beyond the twilight before our sun had set, yet Time found her whenever she came; and so she wore away'

becomes a theme of movement and change between the two consistencies. The struggle of mortal and immortal, of those things holy and of those accursed (and who is to say which is which) and the seemingly unbridgeable chasm.

'between the spirit of Lirazel and Alveric lay all the distance that is between Earth and Elfland; and love bridged the distance which can bridge further than that; yet when for a moment on the golden bridge he would pause and let his thoughts look down at the gulf, all his mind would grow giddy and Alveric trembled. What of the end, he thought? And feared lest it should be stranger than the beginning.'

On the back of my copy writers remark how all fantasy writing is indebted to this man's imagination. As I read I couldn't but agree. There were echoes resounding from Tolkien, Lewis, Pullman and Rowling to mention just a few. The transference of time and character and imagination was wonderful. His creation of the trolls and the people of the marsh, the will-o-the-wisp, were totally believeable and real. The majesty of the Unicorn and its arrogant downfall was poignant and bleak. The valleyfolk of Erl, with their vacillating to and fro were frustratingly recognizable and the overriding poetic image of the tide of Elfland of the way in which it 'lapped' and 'flowed' and 'broke like a tide' and 'ebbed from the land we know' and then 'flowed past on either side' or again how 'the houses held back that wonderful tide before it broke over them with a burst of unearthly foam' and then magnificently
'Then Elfland poured over Erl'.

This fluidity, this wonderful liquid beauty of magic was ingenious. Its inevitability, the whole Canute-like message that enchantment, beauty, wonder is in the end unstoppable had a wonderful, glorious loveliness about it.

'And little he knew of the things that ink may do, how it can mark a dead man's thoughts for the wonder of later years, and tell of happenings that are gone clean away, and be a voice for us out of the dark of time, and save many a fragile thing from the pounding of heavy ages'

Wow, bloody wow. Read it, this is spectacular. Loved it, loved it, loved it.

Profile Image for Cecily.
1,137 reviews4,169 followers
December 4, 2015
A beautifully-written, Edwardian faerie story for adults - not that there's any "adult" content, and were it published today, it would probably be classed as YA (despite some rather unpleasant hunting). However, it only gets 3*, as a reflection of my enjoyment of it; I prefer things a little darker, even though the moral is perhaps "Be careful what you wish for".

It is essentially a tale of young love across a cultural chasm (human Alveric and elfin Lirazel), the quest of Orion (not the Greek god), and features a witch, a faerie, elves, trolls, a magical sword, runes, unicorns and many other staples of the genre.

It is written in a florid style, lauding the beauty and harmony of the natural world ("the autumn-smitten garden"), and suggesting the ephemeral, not-quite-there nature of Elfland (the other side of "the rampart of twilight").

The poetic feel is emphasised by some recurring phrases, in particular the contrast between "the fields that we know" (the normal, non-magical world) and places "that may not be told of but in song" (Elfland).

Furthermore, the word "glamour" is often used in its archaic sense, to mean casting enchantment over something. I'm less sure what to make of the two references to the King of Elfland's tower having "brazen steps"!

Then, about half way through, the magic is suddenly broken when the author addresses the reader directly with comments about real history. It jarred.

I liked the ideas of how Elfland is occasionally but unconsciously perceivable by mortals:
"now lost to them but for dreams, a song of such memories as lurk and hide along the edges of oblivion, now flashing from beautiful years of glimpse of some golden moment, now passing swiftly out of remembrance again, to go back to the shades of oblivion, and leaving on the mind those faintest traces of little shining feet which when dimly perceived by us are called regrets."

Artists of all kinds are most receptive and "have had many a glimpse of that country, so that sometimes in pictures we see a glamour too wonderful for our fields; it is a memory of theirs that intruded from some old glimpse." Similarly, Elfland's "flowers and lawns, seen only by the furthest travelling fancies of poets in deepest sleep".

As well as being geographically abstract, Elfland exists, to some extent, outside time: time there passes V E R Y slowly in comparison with here. This is understandably disconcerting for the few who travel between the two realms. Coming to the fields that we know, "even the shadows of houses moved" as part of a "vortex of restlessness"


* "So strong lay the enchantment... that not only did beasts and men guess each other's meaning well, but there seemed to be an understanding even, that reached from men to trees and from trees to men."

* "a hare, who was lying in a comfortable arrangement of grass, in which he had intended to pass the time till he should have things to see to."

* "The glamour that brightens much of our lives, especially in the early years, comes from rumours that reach us from Elfland" and "all manner of little memories".

* "In a forest wherein it quieted the trembling of myriads of petals of roses, it stilled the pools where the great lilies towered, till they and their reflections slept on in one gorgeous dream. And there below motionless fronds of dream-gripped trees, on the still water dreaming of the still air, where the huge lily-leaves floated green in the calm, was the troll Lurulu, sitting on a leaf."

* "Little he knew of the things that ink may do, how it can mark a dead man's thought for the wonder of later years, and tell of happenings that are gone clean away, and be a voice for us out of the dark time, and save many a fragile thing from the pounding of heavy ages; or carry to us, over the rolling centuries, even a song from lips long dead on forgotten hills."

* Spring is "a mild benediction that blessed the very air and sought out all living things."

* "The hall that was built of moonlight, dreams, music and mirage."

And a dash of humour when a troll tells others about the world of men, "They listened spell-bound... and then, when he told of hats, there ran through the forest a wave of little yelps of laughter".
Profile Image for Kyle.
121 reviews205 followers
February 24, 2013
Forget that leathery old man on the beer commercials with two giant "X's," he's a nobody. The real most interesting man in the world is Edward John Moreton Drax Plunkett, or at least he would have been in his time. And by the way, that's Lord Dunsany to you! As the 18th Baron of Dunsany, he had the opportunity to simply relax, attend parties, and generally take life easy. But that would have been a waste, would it not? I mean, we only live once; so dammit, live like you want to live! Instead of living life as a prolonged period of dotage, Lord Dunsany instead decided to create an impressive resumè: He was a lion hunter in Africa, dog trainer, was a pistol shooting champion of Ireland, and reigned as chess champion of Ireland, Scotland and Wales for a time (even bothering to create his own variant of chess, which is now named after him). He served in a number of wars, including WW1 and 2. He was also an animal rights activist becoming president of the RSPCA, he knew Latin and Ancient Greek, and suffered countless battle and hunting wounds.

But was all of this enough for the Lord of Dunsany? Of course not, he had to go ahead and become one of the most talented writers in human history. He wrote everything: books, stories, plays (he even had 5 plays simultaneously running on Broadway at one point). But, as Neil Gaiman said, if he had only ever written Elfland's Daughter, it would have been enough.

Regardless of the impression his personal life may give, this is not a "macho man" book. This isn't a grunting, cheering display of nonsense meant to put hair on your chest. This is a thoughtful, methodical work of mastery. It is poetic and beautiful, slow and meticulous, and it is a wonder to behold.

Apparently, Lord Dunsany composed his works with a quill pen, in a single draft. One can easily imagine him scratching away at the parchment, then pausing for moment to look up and gaze upon things invisible to the rest of us. Perhaps he looked out the window, while he communed with whatever force he was connected to, or perhaps all the mystery and poetry in his novel was already constructed in his mind, merely waiting for him to unleash it upon the page. However it formed, The King of Elfland's Daughter is possibly the single most beautiful work of fantasy I've ever experienced.

The book could almost start with a 'Once Upon a time...', as it is given an almost fairy tale style. The novel is dreamy in feel, and moves at a slower pace than most fantasy books; yet, this is to the readers benefit, as it allows a savoring of its passages and words, which only help to maximize enjoyment. The novel is written in a poetic style, or perhaps the style of some ancient religious text. Many of the sentences begin with a conjunction, which makes the reader feel like they are reading from the gospel of Dunsany. Reciting this book aloud, even to yourself, is not discouraged.

This book contains the buzzwords you might expect in any fantasy novel: it contains magic, princesses, elves, trolls, wisps, and knights. Yet none of them manifest like the shallow caricatures we are forced to swallow in our modern-day fantasy genre. Every character, and every action has depth, and they all represent some larger concept, some overarching idea or conflict, that, though brought to conclusion, never resolves into mundane answers.

A lot of the book revolves around the concept of magic. What magic is, what it can do, and whether or not it is even desirable to have in our world. Should we have magic in our lives? Is magic some outside force, or is it within us? I'll attempt to let Dunsany's voice speak for itself, and leave you with one of my favorite passages:

A witch responds to the pleas of the whose who want magic gone from the world:

"... I would sooner give you a spell against water, that all the world should thirst, than give you a spell against the song of streams that evening hears faintly over the ridge of a hill, too dim for wakeful ears, a song threading through dreams, whereby we learn of old wars and lost loves of the Spirits of rivers. I would sooner give you a spell against bread, that all the world should starve, than give you a spell against the magic of wheat that haunts the golden hollows in moonlight in July, through which in the warm short nights wander how many of whom man knows nothing. I would make you spells against comfort and clothing, food, shelter, and warmth, aye and will do it, sooner than tear from these poor fields of Earth that magic that is to them an ample cloak against the chill of Space, and a gay raiment against the sneers of nothingness. "

The beauty of Dunsany's book is not merely on the surface, and the depth does not simply stop at the words. The story itself cuts to the most crucial parts of what it is to be human: what it means to yearn for something you cannot have, to lose something you never realized you cherished, and how to draw contentment out of every drop of the world.

This book is largely forgotten, and is tragically in danger of being lost to time. Hopefully it sees a resurgence, for it is truly a novel to be held as an example, and be treasured for future generations.
Profile Image for Jonathan O'Neill.
173 reviews353 followers
June 4, 2022
3.5 ⭐

"The day with its cares and perplexities is ended and the night is now upon us. The night should be a time of peace and tranquillity, a time to relax and be calm. We have need of a soothing story to banish the disturbing thoughts of the day, to set at rest our troubled minds, and put at ease our ruffled spirits
And what sort of story shall we hear? Ah, it will be a familiar story, a story that is so very, very old, and yet it is so new. It is the old, old story of love[... love and magic]"

- P.Glass/R.Wilson (Knee 5)

Lord Dunsany actually sums up his own work quite succinctly when, speaking of the nature of time in Elfland, he says:
”Nothing seeks its happiness in movement or change or a new thing, but has its ecstasy in the perpetual contemplation of all the beauty that has ever been.”

A fairy tale imbued with future Fantasy staples,
Disarmingly charming prose, too infrequently bound to the profound,
Perpetual contemplation; of time and beauty,
A false and conditional love born of perceived necessity,
Magic, the art of the heathen; feared—desired—celebrated—feared.

That should do it.

“Let us keep to-day,” said that weighty troll, “while we have it, and not be lured where to-day is too easily lost. For every time men lose it their hair grows whiter, their limbs grow weaker and their faces sadder, and they are nearer still to to-morrow.”
Profile Image for Mir.
4,867 reviews5,032 followers
October 22, 2009
I am a little hesitant to give this a 3, for Dunsany writes wonderfully. His prose is by turns lyrical, clever, humorous, insightful, and moving. However, I don't so much enjoy reading long descriptive passages with very little action or even plot. Although the plot elements were solidly put into place, they then don't do much for the bulk of the book, and by halfway through I mostly stopped caring. Dunsany seemed far more interested in landscape and atmosphere than characters.
Profile Image for Rod.
102 reviews58 followers
September 21, 2018
If this book were written today, it wouldn't be a book, it would be a seven-part series with each volume consisting of 800 to 1,000 pages. Every character would have a first and last name and an elaborate backstory. There would be extensive genealogical charts and detailed maps of every nook of its gigantic world, because, you know, "world building." And it would be incredibly tiresome.

What the good Lord Dunsany gave us was something much more wonderful, a poetic, elegiac fairy tale of 240 pages that dwells not on obsessive detail, character motivation, and micro-managing "world building," but nevertheless feels like a grand epic. Dunsany uses description where it is needed, but, for instance, rather than describing every rampart, barbican and portcullis of a castle, he may just write "a castle that can only be told of in song." However, the reader can conjure an image of the castle as clear as day; he allows the reader's imagination to take over and do the heavy lifting. A clever legerdemain, but what else would someone expect from a magician of words?

There are so many great reviews out there that I don't even know what I can add to the conversation. Read Keely's, Traveller's, mark monday's, and Jonathan's.
Profile Image for Algernon (Darth Anyan).
1,525 reviews979 followers
August 21, 2013

Brought to my attention by this note on the cover : "Introduction by Neil Gaiman." I've been on a good roll where Gaiman is concerned with Neverwhere and The Sandman read this year, so his glowing praise for Lord Dunsany made me put this classic fantasy forward in my queue:

"His words sing, like those of a poet who got drunk on the prose of the King James Bible, and who has still not yet become sober."

The style is the first thing that struck me about the novel, archaic yet elegant, the language of royal courts and ancient sagas, a promise that what follows is more than a simple adventure with elves, dwarves and knights riding on white chargers, aiming instead at a mythical structure that transcends time and place restrictions in order to address the fundamental issues of our identity. Who we are and what we can become is defined by the dreams we chase, and what we bring to the quest is a sensibility, an open mind ready to be filled with the wonders that surround us. With the exception of the King of Elfland and of Ziroonderel the Witch (who it can be argued have already reached illumination), all the characters in the book have a hole in the soul that they try to fill in. Magic is used in the book as the embodiment of these unfulfilled wishes, as the catchword for all that is mysterious, unknown, wild and unpredictable in life. Farmers who live close to the border to Elfland turn their backs on the magic realm lest they fall under its spell:

For there was a beauty in it such as is not in all our fields; and it is told those farmers in youth how, if they gaze upon those wandering lights, there will remain no joy for them in the goodly fields, the fine, brown furrows or the waves of wheat, or in any things of ours; but their hearts will be far from here with elfin things, yearning always for the unknown mountains and for folks not blessed by the Freer.

The first Dreamchasers to enter the stage are the members of the Parliament of Erl, villagers who petition their king for a 'little' magic in their lives, something to relieve the dreariness of everyday life and hopefully something that will make their county famous the world over and give them a sense of civic pride. They want a life less ordinary, but are they prepared to pay the price of inviting magic into their lives?

Next quester is Alveric, the prince sent by his father the King to bring back magic from Elfland. His journey starts traditionally enough, fairytale style, with the forging of a magic sword, the traverse of a dangerous forest, defeat of the Elf guards and finally rescuing the princess locked in the tower. His plot line really takes off in the later part of the novel, as he loses the girl when he fails to understand her magical / alien nature and tries to force her to conform to the rules of civilized Earth, as they are laid down in the Freer books. His is the love story angle covered in the book, a cautionary tale about taking your wife for granted and about lack of empathy. Alveric gets expelled from the Garden of Eden ( "He awoke in the birdless dawn very cold, hearing old voices crying faintly far off, as they slowly drifted away, like dreams going back to dreamland." ) and then spends long years wandering in the desolation of the lands from which magic has fled. Reinforcing the central theme of the novel, Alveric gathers around him a fellowship of kindred spirits, dreamchasers one and all : a 'moontouched' youth who hears voices in the night, an autistic shepherd who may be soft in the head or may be the most level headed of the whole bunch, a spurned lover, a poet, a bored villager looking for adventure, and so on. What they search for becomes less important than the search itself, their refusal to accept a life without surprises or mystery.

Lirazel is the Elfland princess that hears the call of the unknown from the other direction: she wants to explore the wonders of Earth after being confined all her life in her father's palace, in a land that is eternal but that in its timelessness it is also stagnant. She wants to discover the vistas, the sounds, the smells, the plants, the animals and the people that are as strange and as fascinating for her as the miracles of Elfland appear to the eyes of Alveric. I believe this is my favorite aspect of the novel - the way Dunsany paints the 'fields we know' as seen with alien eyes, the way he sings the praise of sunsets and golden leaves flying with the autumn winds, the song of a trush or the waving fields of grain. Elfland and Earth are the two sides of the same coin and magic is right here by our side, waiting only for us to open our eyes and our hearts to its glory.

The wonders of Earth exert an even stronger pull on the troll Lurulu. More alien than even Lirazel, the troll is a messenger of chaos, a disrupting force that thrives on mischievous pranks and finds joy in breaking routine and custom. Lord Dunsany's trolls are unlike any other trolls I've come across in my fantasy forays. Instead of ugly, heavy limbed, mean and brutal minions of the Lord of Darkness, they are gay and sprightly, quick to run and jump and laugh at the smallest provocation: For among the trolls none goes in higher repute than one that is able to astound the others, or even to show them any whimsical thing, or to trick or perplex them humorously. Lurulu had Earth to show, whose ways are considered, amongst those able to judge, to be fully as quaint and whimsical as the curious observer could wish.

Lurulu Watches the Restlessness of Earth where the troll witnesses a day in the village of Erl while hidden in a pigeon loft is the one chapter in the book that I would like to quote in full, where Dunsany formal prose style soars to unprecedented heights, singing the quiet songs of country life, the magic that can be found in our own backyard:

Perpetual movement and perpetual change! He contrasted it, in wonder, with the deep calm of his home, where the moment moved more slowly than the shadows of houses here, and did not pass until all the content with which a moment is stored had been drawn from it by every creature in Elfland. [...] To the pigeons on the roof that would not come home he listened long, not trying to interpret what they were saying, yet satisfied with the case as the pigeons put it; feeling that they told the story of life, and that all was well. And he felt as he listened to the low talk of the pigeons that Earth must have been going on for a long time.

This chapter, more than any others justify a comment I have seen recently, that the best way to read Lord Dunsany is not inside, hemmed in by four walls and a ceiling, but outside, in a forest glade or by a quiet river, far from the concrete jungle of modern life.

Since I'm counting the dreamchasers in the book, I couldn't leave out Orion the hunter who is the answer to the Parliament of Erl request for a magical ruler, the heir to both worlds - Earth and Elfland. Named after the brightest star of the firmament, left to find his own way in life by his absent parents, Orion will turn for wisdom and comfort to the temple of green :

"And when the uplands opened their distances to his eyes he felt that he was now upon no mere walk, but a journey. And then he saw the solemn gloom of the wintry woods far off, and that filled him at once with a delighted awe. To their darkness, their mystery and their shelter Oth brought him."

Inspired by the stories told by the realm's gamekeepers and wardens, Orion learns the language of trees and birds and lives only for the thrill of the hunt, the freedom of the chase, the pride of the well aimed arrow and the power of death over the denizens of the foerst. With his pack of hounds running by his side, Orion questing after the most elusive trophy of all : the unicorns who sometimes cross over from Elfland to Earth, symbols themselves of the elusive, ephemeral wonder we are all seeking from life. Orion chapters may prove to a modern reader the hardest to reconcile with the general theme of wonder and whimsy that drives Lord Dunsany narrative, as they are quite graphic and insensitive to the plight of the hunted and in general come down in favour of the hunter.In the context of the period when the book was written, and given the known passion of the author for the sport, their importance to the story becomes less surprising or anachronic. Even today, I'm not sure a character like Lord Dunsany would side with the tree-huggers or the fox hunting protesters. Blood sports were an essential part of his heritage and upbringing.

My review so far has been mostly about the characters and their urges. I've been vague about the plot not only in order to avoid spoilers, but because I believe the novel is not action driven. The jumps in point of view and in the timeline concur in the overall feeling that the book is more an extended metaphor on the search for wonder, for life to be something more than the day to day domestic chores or the strictures of a 9 to 5 job, for something unexpected and extraordinary to bring a sparkle and shine to reality. I don't think the author set out deliberately to confront the naturalists like Zola or the strict Victorian moralists like Thomas Hardy, but here with his Elfland tales he presents himself as a forerunner of the magical realism currents and of the current increased interest in the supernatural and the fanciful.

The two sides of the debate are set down by the Freer and the witch. I'll close my remarks with their two speeches and let the next readers to decide where they stand in relation to magic:

The Freer :
"And curst be trolls, elves, goblins and fairies upon Earth, and hypogriffs and Pegasus in the air, and all the tribes of the mer-folk under the sea. Our holy rites forbid them. And curst be all doubts, all singular dreams, all fancies. And from magic may all true folk be turned away. Amen."

Ziroonderel :
"Overmuch? she said. "Overmuch magic! As though magic were not the spice and essence of life, its ornament and its splendor. By my broom, I give you no spell against magic.[...] I would sooner give you a spell against water, that all the world should thirst, than give you a spell against the song of streams that evening hears faintly over the ridge of a hill, too dim for wakeful ears, a song threading through dreams, whereby we learn of old wars and lost loves of the Spirits of rivers. I would sooner give you a spell against bread, that all the world should starve, than give you a spell against the magic of wheat that haunts the golden hollows in moonlight in July, through which in the warm short nights wander how many of whom man knows nothing. I would make you spells against comfort and clothing, food, shelter and warmth, aye and will do it, sooner than tear from these poor fields of Earth that magic that is to them an ample cloak against the chill of Space, and a gay rayment against the sneers of nothingness.

How does the book end, you ask? Expect the unexpected, and enjoy a moment of peace after one of the wildest flight of fancy ever put to paper:

"And Niv and Zend had ease at last from their wild fancies, for their wild thoughts sank to rest in the calm of Elfland and slept as hawks sleep in their trees when evening has lulled the world."


After finishing the review:
I realized I said nothing about the place Lord Dunsany occupies in the speculative fiction genre. New writers don't jump out fully formed and ready to run like Athena from the cracked head of Zeus. They drink form the fountain of dreams of those who came before and feed the imagination of those who come after. In his own words : "Bricks without straw are more easily made than imagination without memories." Lord Dunsany inherited more than a huge estate in Ireland from his ancestors - he had one of the best libraries in the country and mentioned as his sources the legends of ancient Greece, the brothers Grimm, Perrault and Andersen, Edgar Alan Poe and King James Bible. The
list of writers who acknowledge his influence and pay him homage is like a roll call of the Fantasy Hall of Fame : Jack Vance, H P Lovecraft, J R R Tolkien, Gene Wolfe, Robert E Howard, Clark Ashton Smith, Neil Gaiman, Benicio del Toro, Arthur C Clarke, Michael Moorcock, Ursula K le Guin, Peter S Beagle, and many more. Without him our imaginary landscapes would be a lot poorer, and that's reason enough for me to give him the full honours of a five star rating.
Profile Image for nastya .
447 reviews285 followers
August 4, 2021
Wikipedia says this book is a classic of fantasy(pre-Tolkien) and is very influential on a genre.
Should you read it? Well, it depends.
So the warning is needed, because if you have wrong expectations, this book can drive you crazy.

Firstly, the prose is very flowery. Turned up to eleven. Very verbose. Eerie I would say. Here's an example:
It was then that the elfin King moved his hand again, where he held it high by the crystal spires of his crown, and waved a way through the walls of his magical palace, and showed to Lirazel the unmeasured leagues of his kingdom. And she saw by magic, for so long as his fingers made that spell; the dark green forests and all the fells of Elfland, and the solemn pale-blue mountains and the valleys that weird folk guarded, and all the creatures of fable that crept in the dark of huge leaves, and the riotous trolls as they scampered away towards Earth: she saw the watchers lift their horns to their lips, while there flashed a light on the horns that was the proudest triumph of the hidden art of her father, the light of a dawn lured over unthinkable spaces to appease his daughter and comfort her whims and recall her fancies from Earth. She saw the lawns whereon Time had idled for centuries, withering not one bloom of all the boundary of flowers; and the new light coming upon the lawns she loved, through the heavy colour of Elfland, gave them a beauty that they had never known until dawn made this boundless journey to meet the enchanted twilight; and all the while there glowed and flashed and glittered those palace spires of which only song may tell. From that bewildering beauty he turned his eyes away, and looked in his daughter's face to see the wonder with which she would welcome her glorious home as her fancies came back from the fields of age and death, whitherâalasâthey had wandered. And though her eyes were turned to the Elfin Mountains, whose mystery and whose blue they strangely matched, yet as the Elf King looked in those eyes for which alone he had lured the dawn so far from its natural courses, he saw in their magical deeps a thought of Earth! A thought of Earth, though he had lifted his arm and made a mystical sign with all his might to bring a wonder to Elfland that should content her with home. And all his dominions had exulted in this, and the watchers on awful crags had blown strange calls, and monster and insect and bird and flower had rejoiced with a new joy, and there in the centre of Elfland his daughter thought of Earth.

Like it? Good, cause there's 200+ pages of it.

Secondly, there’s no interesting characters or a plot. This book is all about the otherworldly ambiance. And it has magic, prince, princesses, trolls and unicorns.

It reminded me of The Last Unicorn and Patricia McKillip but with less story and much more purple prose. So if this sounds like your cup of tea, good luck, it’s an interesting example of early fantasy. Otherwise stay away.

Here is an article by Jo Walton, where she says:
Lord Dunsany wasn’t writing fantasy, because what he was writing was defining the space in which fantasy could later happen. He was influential on Lovecraft and Tolkien. There’s a whole strand of fantasy—the Leiber/Moorcock/Gaiman strand—that’s a direct descendant of his. But though he has always had a small enthusiastic fanbase, it was possible for me to miss him entirely until the early nineties, and for lots of other people to miss him for even longer. I think this may be because he didn’t write many novels, and the novels he did write aren’t his best work. His acknowledged masterpiece novel, The King of Elfland’s Daughter, is probably best described as good but odd. He isn’t at his best writing characters, which gets peculiar at novel length. What he could do, what he did better than anyone, was to take poetic images and airy tissues of imagination and weight them down at the corners with perfect details to craft a net to catch dreams in. It’s not surprising he couldn’t make this work for whole novels, when as far as I know, nobody else has ever quite made it work in prose. If it is prose. It’s some of the most poetic prose ever written, quite enough to get anyone drunk on words.

I agree. And even though I adore fairytale fantasy, sadly I was not enchanted. But maybe you will be?
Profile Image for Kristen.
302 reviews12 followers
February 21, 2014
WARNING: This review contains SPOILERS. Lots of spoilers.

I should begin this review by saying that I wanted to like this book. On paper, I should have. And I tried to have some degree of historical relativism while reading it, but honestly the whole book was so maddening I could hardly stand it. There is NO character development whatsoever -- none. Aside from this, I'll try to detail out just some of the things that I think go wrong with it:

1) The very premise of the book is flimsy and unengaging. 12 men go to the king and say "We want magic so that people will remember our boring and unremarkable country for something. Send your son to a magic land so we can have some magic (no one, by the way, brings up the fact that someone magical already lives in their mist -- the female witch Zoorenderel, who enchants the sword and then basically raises the child (Orion) that Alveric and Lirazel have. Which is good, because these two suck at being parents. But she's a woman, so she couldn't possibly have value beyond this.)

2) King of Erl's son Alveric goes to Elfland and takes the daughter, who has no redeeming value other than that she is pretty. In fact, this is a theme throughout the novel. She has no depth, no character, and all she cares about is staying young and pretty. And I guess she bore him an heir, but the child, for her, is an afterthought at best.

3) Let's be honest: Alveric and Lirazel aren't exactly meant for each other. They have nothing to connect on (not even their child), and when the King of Elfland steals his daughter back, don't you just think, "Good. They weren't really working out so maybe this is for the best." But no, I'm supposed to believe that there is some great love there, when LITERALLY all they have talked about is how they don't do anything together and she won't pray to Alveric's gods and it makes him so angry. So naturally he's going to go on this long quest to find her.

4) AND THEN THEY START KILLING UNICORNS. It's a truth universally acknowledged that someone who kills unicorns is a bad person, right? At least, that's what Legend taught me as a kid. But here Orion, the 14-year old kid who has been raised by a witch because his parents have been MIA for 10 years hunts unicorns for sport. No other reason, just to kill them and mount their heads on walls. How is this my hero? And what is the point of this in the story??

5) Alveric knowingly puts two legitimately insane people in charge of his quest to find Elfland (which, by the way is perhaps the most boring quest in the history of fantasy novels). This says a lot about the novel. It also gives the author a reason to drag out this flimsy story line ever further. He deserves to wander around for 12 years without finding anything.

6) Does anyone else find it weird that a grown woman (who has in fact had a child of her own) sits on her father's lap in Elfland all day long???

7) The 12 men who asked for magic in Erl get it and then realize that they don't want it after all. They go to the person in the kingdom who had magic THE WHOLE TIME and she at least tells them that they are stupid and this happening. Deal with it.

7) The tedious, boring story is finally ended by Lirazel asking her father to give up all his magic so she can go back to earth. He does and brings the magic to earth, so that her son can go on happily killing unicorns until the end of his days.

Did I also mention how over-the-top flowery the language is? Not a bad thing in the right hands, but in this case it just felt ever more tedious. If I read the phrase "the fields we know" one more time I was going to throw the book against the wall.

Finally (and this is not a criticism of the actual book), even my physical edition of the book was ridiculous. My copy was published in 1977, clearly try to ride on the coattails of the increase in Tolkien's popularity, and the cover shows a pretty elf with perky, hard-nippled breasts walking around a field -- because again, the only thing a female character can do is be pretty or raise children. And I'll spare you the copy on the back of the book (it's a doozy), but it's starts with, in bold, "Happily NEVER After."

I had to buy the book because it's been out of print for years and not even the SF Public Library carried it. I think the fact that it's no longer is print is probably a good thing.
Profile Image for Spencer Orey.
557 reviews140 followers
December 17, 2021
I really didn't expect to love this, but I absolutely did. I read it pretty slow, about one or two chapters at a time, and I think that helped me focus on the language.
Profile Image for Jonathan Terrington.
595 reviews572 followers
September 27, 2013

The King of Elfland's Daughter is one of the most perfectly beautiful fantasy novels ever written. Yet, in the sea of J.R.R. Tolkien and G.R.R Martin clones it appears to be a forgotten relic. This is a shame - not only because of the sheer aesthetic delight of Lord Dunsany's writing - because many fantasy authors could learn from this novel, the value of subtlety and artful storytelling. In a sea of blatant plots and unmagical magic structures, Lord Dunsany's work is a wondrous and magical delight - worth being labelled a true classic of fantasy and literature.

The story begins as many do - with an act of legislative parliament.
"'What would you,' said the Lord.
'We would be ruled by a magic lord,' they said."

The reader is never made truly aware of why the parliament of Erl wishes to have a magic lord in command. There is the suggestion that this is desired simply so that humanity can possess something new, as all humanity is want to do. There is also the suggestion that this is Lord Dunsany's way of reflecting on how humanity will always want to enslave that which it cannot grasp easily, or understand. To possess a magic lord, in the world of Lord Dunsany's story, is to possess the wonders of life itself.

The plot then follows the Lord of Erl's son as he proceeds to enter Elfland, the world of Faery, and romance the King of Elfland's Daughter. The story becomes a symbolic struggle between two men fighting over the one beautiful women to a degree - the King and Alveric, the Lord's son. The daughter of the King of Elfland is therefore, within the rest of the narrative tragically divided between the mundane world of men and the magical, eternal and ethereal world of the Fae. This novel is, therefore, to a great extent, a tragic romance of epic proportions, situated around the concept of a world divided between the unknowable other and the mundane.

Lord Dunsany makes great reference to the world of Erl and humanity as "the fields we know." His story is fixated greatly around this concept, and beyond being merely a beautiful work of fairytale art, is a story of borders. It is a story about the borders, more than anything, between the spiritual and the normal, but it is also centred around the borders between that which the reader understands and that which is incomprehensible.

Beautiful, profound, eternally and sweetly blissful - this is the tone of Lord Dunsany's masterwork. A work equal to that of J.R.R Tolkien with his mythical history of elves, dwarves and men. It is a work also equal to Mervyn Peake with his gloomy, haunting and gothic castle of oddity. And it is a work that stands on its own at the same time. As Elfland is connected to Earth and yet separate, with this story being about the process of Earth connecting to elfenkind, so too is Lord Dunsany's novel connected to and outside of traditional fantasy. The King of Elfland's Daughter is essentially a novel with greatness and with a lovely wistfulness found in the finer touches of detail which mark all true creation. It may be a novel of trolls, elves and unicorns, but it is not the novel of trolls, elves and unicorns that you have read before.
Profile Image for Steve.
820 reviews237 followers
June 21, 2015
Not going to happen. The first 70 pages are as beautiful as it gets. And then things began to drift. An endless hunt for a unicorn (which was kind of boring), and a troll meditating on the nature of time. At this point I threw it across the room. Seriously, I felt somewhat duty bound to read this, since Lovecraft loved LD (and I like Lovecraft). Like Lovecraft, Dunsany works, IMHO, best in the shorter bites. If you like (archaic) poetic language and high fantasy, I highly recommend Eddison's The Worm Ouroboros.
Profile Image for S.E. Lindberg.
Author 17 books159 followers
December 23, 2018
Donald Rumsfeld, and fantasy aficionados will enjoy the 1924 classic The King of Elfland's Daughter

Lyrical Narrative: I don’t recommend this particular book for everyone, but Lord Dunsany wrote adult fantasy fiction with lyrical prose which are must-read, enjoyable short stories too: The Sword of Welleran and Other Stories or the Time and the Gods collection for instance. Read those. But The King of Elfland's Daughter (TKoED) is a novel, and the style works less well. Unending paragraphs literally span pages. Run on sentences eventually stop, only to be followed with new sentences beginning with conjunctions.

Occasionally, he’ll break the fourth wall to answer critics requiring a link to actual history (so he calls out a unnecessary connection to 1530 Europe and the Pope in his chapter called “A Historical Fact) and an equally unnecessary apology to stereotyping the alluring willow the wisps. So thick was the main narrative style, these asides blended in smoothly as if he we talking to the reader over a camp fire.

For Adult Fantasy Aficionados: TKoED is really only recommended for fantasy fans learning great works written before or in-parallel with Tolkien’s release of his Lord of the Rings; in fact, I read this inspired by such aficionados with a groupread on Goodreads. There are clear influences that resonate with Tolkien’s Music of the Ainur (The Silmarillion) and milieus that echo that of Eddison’s Ouroboros and Anderson’s Broken Sword. You’ll enjoy this more if consider its broader place in literature:
E.R. Eddison’s The Worm Ouroboros (1922)
Lord Dunsany’s The King of Elfland's Daughter (1924)
J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit (1937)
Poul Anderson’s The Broken Sword (1954)
J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Fellowship of the Ring (1954)

Fields We Know, and Fields We Do Not Know: Separating the land of magicless men and the field-they-knew is a wondrous twilight which many ignore, but the timeless and geographical shifting land of elves is beyond—and over there lies fields-we-humans-do-not-know. Across this barrier, Dunsany sends the reader with a heroic human. He is heir to the city of Erl, Alveric, questing for some magic in a tale that “only songs can tell.” Alveric gains magic by luring the daughter of the Elfland King back to the city of Erl. The repetition of places-we-know, and places we-do-not-know, evokes a famous quote spoken ~80yrs after the book’s publication:
“There are known knowns; there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns — the ones we don't know we don't know.” Donald Rumsfeld, United States Secretary of Defense, 12 February 2002

Dunsany wants to share the unknown with us. However, he admits he cannot capture things that can only be sung, or experienced outside the pages of a book. Yet he succeeds in creating entrancing prose.

All in all, if you appreciate older literature you’ll find this one worth the extra effort. Even if you want to tackle this to experience Dunsany, try out his short fiction first.

Excerpts: p68: Weird, poignant, philosophizing example #1: Sad toys in Elfland
“For it is true, and Alveric knew, that just as the glamour that brightens much of our lives, especially in early years, comes from rumours that reach us from Elfland by various messengers (on whom be blessings and peace), so there returns from our fields to Elfland again, to become a part of its mystery, all manner of little memories that we have lost and little devoted toys that were treasured once. And this is part of the law of ebb and flow that science may trace in all things; thus light grew the forest of coal, and the coal gives back light; thus rivers fill the sea, and the sea sends back to the rivers; thus all things give that receive; even Death.

Next Alveric saw lying there on the flat dry ground a toy that he yet remembered, which years and years ago (how could he say how many?) had been a childish joy to him, crudely carved out of wood; and one unlucky day it had been broken, and one unhappy day it had been thrown away. And now he saw it lying there not merely new and unbroken, but with a wonder about it, a splendour and a romance, the radiant transfigured thing that his young fancy had known. It lay there forsaken of Elfland as wonderful things of the sea lie sometimes desolate on wastes of sand, when the sea is a far blue bulk with a border of foam.”

p105: Weird, poignant, philosophizing example #2: The power of ink
And little [Orion] knew of the things that ink may do, how it can mark a dead man's thought for the wonder of later years, and tell of happenings that are gone clean away, and be a voice for us out of the dark of time, and save many a fragile thing from the pounding of heavy ages; or carry to us, over the rolling centuries, even a song from lips long dead on forgotten hills. Little knew he of ink…

p7: Enchanting Magic example #1: The making of a magical sword. And. And. And …
The witch approached it and pared its edges with a sword that she drew from her thigh. Then she sat down beside it on the earth and sang to it while it cooled. Not like the runes that enraged the flames was the song she sang to the sword: she whose curses had blasted the fire till it shrivelled big logs of oak crooned now a melody like a wind in summer blowing from wild wood gardens that no man tended, down valleys loved once by children, now lost to them but for dreams, a song of such memories as lurk and hide along the edges of oblivion, now flashing from beautiful years of glimpse of some golden moment, now passing swiftly out of remembrance again, to go back to the shades of oblivion, and leaving on the mind those faintest traces of little shining feet which when dimly perceived by us are called regrets. She sang of old Summer noons in the time of harebells: she sang on that high dark heath a song that seemed so full of mornings and evenings preserved with all their dews by her magical craft from days that had else been lost, that Alveric wondered of each small wandering wing, that her fire had lured from the dusk, if this were the ghost of some day lost to man, called up by the force of her song from times that were fairer. And all the while the unearthly metal grew harder. The white liquid stiffened and turned red. The glow of the red dwindled. And as it cooled it narrowed: little particles came together, little crevices closed: and as they closed they seized the air about them, and with the air they caught the witch's rune, and gripped it and held it forever. And so it was it became a magical sword. And little magic there is in English woods, from the time of anemones to the falling of leaves, that was not in the sword. And little magic there is in southern downs, that only sheep roam over and quiet shepherds, that the sword had not too. And there was scent of thyme in it and sight of lilac, and the chorus of birds that sings before dawn in April, and the deep proud splendour of rhododendrons, and the litheness and laughter of streams, and miles and miles of may. And by the time the sword was black it was all enchanted with magic.

Nobody can tell you about that sword all that there is to be told of it; for those that know of those paths of Space on which its metals once floated, till Earth caught them one by one as she sailed past on her orbit, have little time to waste on such things as magic, and so cannot tell you how the sword was made, and those who know whence poetry is, and the need that man has for song, or know any one of the fifty branches of magic, have little time to waste on such things as science, and so cannot tell you whence its ingredients came. Enough that it was once beyond our Earth and was now here amongst our mundane stones; that it was once but as those stones, and now had something in it such as soft music has; let those that can define it.

p102: Enchanting Magical Music example #2:
Then the Elf King rose, and put his left arm about his daughter, and raised his right to make a mighty enchantment, standing up before his shining throne which is the very centre of Elfland. And with clear resonance deep down in his throat he chaunted a rhythmic spell, all made of words that Lirazel never had heard before, some age-old incantation, calling Elfland away, drawing it further from Earth. And the marvellous flowers heard as their petals drank in the music, and the deep notes flooded the lawns; and all the palace thrilled, and quivered with brighter colours; and a charm went over the plain as far as the frontier of twilight, and a trembling went through the enchanted wood. Still the Elf King chaunted on. The ringing ominous notes came now to the Elfin Mountains, and all their line of peaks quivered as hills in haze, when the heat of summer beats up from the moors and visibly dances in air. All Elfland heard, all Elfland obeyed that spell. And now the King and his daughter drifted away, as the smoke of the nomads drifts over Sahara away from their camel's-hair tents, as dreams drift away at dawn, as clouds over the sunset; and like the wind with the smoke, night with the dreams, warmth with the sunset, all Elfland drifted with them. All Elfland drifted with them and left the desolate plain, the dreary deserted region, the unenchanted land. So swiftly that spell was uttered, so suddenly Elfland obeyed, that many a little song, old memory, garden or may tree of remembered years, was swept but a little way by the drift and heave of Elfland, swaying too slowly eastwards till the elfin lawns were gone, and the barrier of twilight heaved over them and left them among the rocks.

p15: Dreamy style example #1: Fields we know; And. And. And…
“To those who may have wisely kept their fancies within the boundary of the fields we know it is difficult for me to tell of the land to which Alveric had come, so that in their minds they can see that plain with its scattered trees and far off the dark wood out of which the palace of Elfland lifted those glittering spires, and above them and beyond them that serene range of mountains whose pinnacles took no colour from any light we see. Yet it is for this very purpose that our fancies travel far, and if my reader through fault of mine fail to picture the peaks of Elfland my fancy had better have stayed in the fields we know. Know then that in Elfland are colours more deep than are in our fields, and the very air there glows with so deep a lucency that all things seen there have something of the look of our trees and flowers in June reflected in water. And the colour of Elfland, of which I despaired to tell, may yet be told, for we have hints of it here; the deep blue of the night in Summer just as the gloaming has gone, the pale blue of Venus flooding the evening with light, the deeps of lakes in the twilight, all these are hints of that colour. And while our sunflowers carefully turned to the sun, some forefather of the rhododendrons must have turned a little towards Elfland, so that some of that glory dwells with them to this day. And, above all, our painters have had many a glimpse of that country, so that sometimes in pictures we see a glamour too wonderful for our fields; it is a memory of theirs that intruded from some old glimpse of the pale-blue mountains while they sat at easels painting the fields we know.”

p40: Dreamy style example #2: trembling weeds and personified energy
“Cast anything into a deep pool from a land strange to it, where some great fish dreams, and green weeds dream, and heavy colours dream, and light sleeps; the great fish stirs, the colours shift and change, the green weeds tremble, the light wakes, a myriad things know slow movement and change; and soon the whole pool is still again. It was the same when Alveric passed through the border of twilight and right through the enchanted wood, and the King was troubled and moved, and all Elfland trembled.”
Profile Image for Simon.
566 reviews232 followers
January 14, 2016
I think this is the first Dunsany book I ever read and it was high time that I went back for a re-read. Doing so is always risky, especially when it is one you had such fond memories from because invariably they fail to live up to your expectations. I am happy to say that this was not the case this time. I loved it all over again.

My memory of the plot points was quite sketchy it had to be said but really this story isn't about the plot. Nor is it about the characters that one might be tempted to class as poorly drawn and paper thin were one to hold it up to today's standards. Of course, it would be pointless folly to do so and I don't mean that our standards for drawing characters are higher these days; just that the modern reader expects believable and relate-able characters in the books they read. You won't find that here. So what will you find?

This is a kind of post fairy tale story. The conventional fairy tale elements are crammed into the first few chapters; in which the people decide they want a magical kingdom so that that they will become famous and so the king tasks his son Alveric with venturing into Elfland to bring back and marry the king of Elfland's daughter. This he does with relative ease and swiftness. The trouble (and the story) really starts when they attempt to live happily ever after. It's not as easy as one might at first think.

The book is written in a stylised antiquated prose but what really makes this book (and Lord Dunsany generally) stand out is his turn of phrase. Quite simply, no one does it like Dunsany. I'm not one for littering my reviews with quotes but if one wants to read a few to get a sampling of his style, there are numerous here on GoodReads.

This is no "Lord of the Rings"; You won't get detailed world building and epic battles here but you will find a work that was just as (if not more) influential on the fantasy genre and any one who considers themselves a fantasy reader should read this book at some point, preferably sooner rather than later.
Profile Image for Mike (the Paladin).
3,144 reviews1,846 followers
October 1, 2012
At times during the reading of this book, like Alveric I felt that I must have "lost Elfland". Reading Dunsany's prose is often much like reading poetry and it took me a while to get back into the rhythm. While in many ways this is a book not to be missed, read it when nothing presses..not time, not life, not circumstances. The outside pressing in will take away from this volume as it's more an experince than a story.

For those who haven't read Edward John Moreton Drax Plunkett the eighteenth Baron Dunsany (Lord Dunsany) (and I hadn't since the 1970s) The writing will, both verbiage and style, date the book somewhat. If I were to try and come up with a modern reading experience close to The King of Elfland's Daughter it might be Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell. You (as I said above) read the book for the experience more than the actual story. Said story is thick with folklore that you may possibly find familiar (remembering that this is in many ways a work that inspired much modern fantasy). The trip to Elfland (Faerie?) the time distortion, the lack of understanding between the worlds, and the conclusion...if you are familiar with folklore (and fairy tale) will be somewhat familiar.

While I didn't rate this as high as I have other books it has to do with my lack of enjoyment in the book. In many ways this was due to my inability to relax into this volume. I could return to it later, but as life tends to increase in speed and intricacy. Of course, I'm closing on 60 so that may change later. Still, while it takes the ability to relax into the story, you might want to try it.
Profile Image for John Dishwasher John Dishwasher.
Author 2 books47 followers
May 24, 2021
Dunsany has created a rather benign, non-religious way to portray how humans are temporal creatures who are severely aware of eternity. The Elfland he creates is peaceful and timeless (or, eternal). The Earth he creates is restless and time-bound -- even belaboredly so for his many descriptions of it as such. Though Dunsany spends a lot of time describing the charms of Elfland/Eternity, generally that side of his story is static. Mostly the reader spends the book watching earthlings ambivalently reacting to or interacting with Elfland/Eternity. Sometimes they approach it bravely; sometimes they just nip at its borders; other times they spend a lifetime searching for it and getting nowhere. Notably, often they flatly refuse to acknowledge the twilit border between the two worlds (which I interpret to symbolize death). Ultimately Dunsany shows us simultaneously fearing and craving the eternal, while enjoying our temporality. And if there is a message here, it seems to be how contented we humans could be by turning our back on the transient things of the world and accepting the timeless.

This is a meditative and poetic read. More a portrait than a story, with very little momentum. But Dunsany’s world is fully-developed and dreamy and atmospheric, so much so that it becomes mesmerizing in places.
Profile Image for Nickolas the Kid.
313 reviews70 followers
December 4, 2021
Ένα πολύ όμορφο μαγικό ταξίδι, γεμάτο εικόνες και φαντασία.
Εξαιρετική πλοκή από τον Λόρδο Ντάνσανυ και πολύ έξυπνη η χρήση του φανταστικού στοιχείου!
Το βιβλίο αποτελεί πηγή έμπνευσης για όλους του μεταγενέστερους συγγραφείς φαντασία, τρόμου κι όχι μόνο κι αυτό φαίνεται ξεκάθαρα σε κάθε σελίδα του.
Profile Image for Nicky.
4,138 reviews1,016 followers
July 28, 2014
I can't really understand people disliking this book. Well, no, I can: the language is olde worlde, the phrase 'the fields we know' is used far too many times, it's more of a fairytale like story than modern fantasy, though it's sold as being one of the defining moments for the genre, and if you're looking at it from a modern point of view, the characters and their motivations are hopelessly unsatisfying.

I thought the language was beautiful, though: Dunsany struck just the right note for me, and for the most part I liked his turns of phrase. Even the repeated 'the fields we know' phrase and others like it hark back to 'rosy-fingered Dawn' and other such epithets in Greek epics. I love fairytales, and I think Dunsany's mimesis here is pretty darn good. I can see how it influenced modern fantasy, and if you expect satisfying characters and development in a fairytale-esque story then... I'm not sure what you're after. Modern updates of the stories often inject that kind of thing, but it's not there originally.

Seriously, this book is just gorgeous, in my opinion. I wanted to wrap myself up in it, read some passages again and again, and I did actually genuinely feel the tension of how it would all be resolved. I loved the ending, the descriptions of Lirazel coming back to meet her son and husband. I loved the little asides, like the mischievous trolls.

So, so glad I finally read this.
Profile Image for Mahdi Lotfi.
447 reviews104 followers
April 12, 2018
ماجرا آغازي فرخنده داشت اما ليزابل پري بود نه ميرا هيچ بدخواهي نداشت اما ... لرد دانسنی در این داستان خیالی از آلوریك جوان ـ شاهزاده دره ارل سخن می‌گوید كه چگونه دشت‌ها را پشت سر می‌گذارد و از مرز شفق سرزمین پریان می‌گذرد و عروس خود لیرازل شاهدخت پریان را به همراه می‌آورد . آلوریك و لیزارل صاحب پسری می‌شوند، اما اندكی بعدلیزارل به سرزمین پریان باز می‌گردد وآلوریك به جست و جوی او می‌پردازد .او در این جست و جو، تنها شمشیری به همراه دارد كه جادوگرزپروندرل با فولاد غیر زمینی برایش ساخته است .در همین اوان پسر آلوریك نیز بالنده می‌گردد و شكارچی قدرتمندی می‌شود ....
Profile Image for J. Aleksandr Wootton.
Author 8 books147 followers
November 14, 2017
Absolutely beautiful storytelling. Dunsany helped bridge us from fairytales to modern fantasy; stylistically, Tolkien owes to Dunsany the haunting lilt of his best English phrasing. This story delights and surprises, and turns upon rather a different theme than readers are led to expect. Highly recommended.
Profile Image for James Kibirige.
82 reviews17 followers
November 27, 2019
A fairy tale that embodies the fabulous mysteries that lurk adjacent to the fields we know. Lord Dunsany’s The King of Elfland’s Daughter is a tour de force of fantasy fiction that kindles the depths of the imagination whilst resonating with magic that is at once pure, honest and unpredictable. Enter the tale set in the quaint village of Erl featuring a magic sword, a witch, runes, an elfin princess, trolls, unicorns and other magical creatures of myth against the backdrop of the fabled realm of Elfland itself.

I had high anticipation before reading the King of Elfland’s daughter; numerous reviews and recommendations firmly advocate the credentials of Lord Dunsany. Lord Dunsany is an exemplary writer and founding father of the genre that we call Fantasy today. I am certainly a Dunsany fanboy and I cannot wait to be dazzled and enchanted again visiting his many hallucinogenic fictional worlds. The King of Elfland’s Daughter is a classic and a must-read for anybody interested in fantastic fiction. Here is a beautiful story juxtaposing the quaint and mundane with the awe and wonder of hidden magic and enduring unknowable realms that threaten to bewitch us all.

Magic in this modern fable is incompatible with the Fields we know (mundane world). Unmistakably alien, magic is the enigma in the King of Elfland's Daughter: unknowable and unpredictable. Seekers of magic will be transfixed, leading to unexpected and profound consequences. Magic belongs to the esoteric realm of Elfland; the lands of myth, fable and legend. Elfland is unchanging and eternal; existing outside of time by the whim of its demiurge the King of Elfland.

Time is the crux when contrasting the fields we know with those we don’t. Time in Elfland flows like treacle sluggishly it oozes, lingering on an everlasting moment that all in Elfland partake of before passing. We are told that Elfland is not the place to look for a new thing:

‘… it is thus with time in Elfland: in the eternal beauty that dreams in that honied air nothing stirs or fades or dies, nothing seeks its happiness in movement or change or a new thing, but has its ecstasy in the perpetual contemplation of all the beauty that has ever been…’

In contrast, time gushes in the ever-changing lands that are the fields we know. Change is the way, ever-present and inevitable being the principle that we in the mundane world understand and accept.

The quest for magic that starts this tale leads to the conflict that is central to this story. The conflict that permeates all interactions between the fields we know and those we don’t; in the liaison between our prince and the princess of Elfland, in the prodigal son Orion a child of two worlds and in all encroachment of that fabled land on the mundane world. The conflict ends in an unexpected development for the people of Erl; we are left remembering the age-old adage ‘Be careful what you wish for’.

Amazingly Lord Dunsany’s prose embodies the eternal calm described in Elfland. Sentences run on lilting and lingering, extracting all they can from the moment before ending. What is at first a challenging read becomes a thing of beauty saturated with wit, charm and ravishing whimsy. I suggest that readers take their time with this story; it really needs to be savoured to be appreciated.

The King of Elfland's Daughter is a magnum opus with a literary depth that can only be appreciated with subsequent revisits. If you haven’t read this book yet you need to do so ASAP.
Profile Image for Kaśyap.
271 reviews123 followers
August 13, 2016
A wonderful poetic fairytale that is very rich and detailed. WIth his descriptive and lyrical prose and the leisurely pace of the story, Dunsany can transport you to a world of wonder.

The story starts in Erl, a medieval England like setting with the parliament of Erl petitioning their lord about their wish for a magic lord to rule them. The lord of Erl then bids his son Alveric to go to Elfland, a mythical and magical world filled with elves, unicorns, trolls and other magical creatures, and marry the king of Elfland's daughter.

This book is not so much about Alveric's quest but about the contrast between the mundane world of the fields we know and the fantastical world of colour and dreams. Between practicality of everyday life and the beauty of the world of dreams. The world of Elfland is not so much a different world but a state of being where everything is beautiful and you can be content in the immediacy of the moment.

I loved the witch ziroonderel, who has magic and lives in the "fields we know" and understands and appreciates both the worlds. And the troll lurulu who lives in the Elfland and is very curious about the ways of men.

This is not a book with a fast paced plot and action but a leisurely, rich and pleasurable experience.
Profile Image for Emily M.
293 reviews
November 16, 2022
A slow-moving, atmospheric piece of fantasy-Medievalism, written in 1924 by Anglo-Irish peer Lord Dunsany, a friend of Yeats and Lady Gregory. I began reading in November, was frustrated by its languid pace and laid it aside. But Christmas, with its ornateness, its colour, its slow mornings spent watching the cardinals at the bird feeder, was the perfect time to finish.

My copy, a modern edition with an introduction by Neil Gaiman, features Waterhouse’s La Belle Dame Sans Merci on the cover, a fitting choice for a work clearly rooted in the Romantics, in Tennyson, and in the Pre-Raphaelites. Tolkien this is not. Or rather, there are no orcs, no epic battles, no good and evil, and indeed, no character development. But it is reminiscent in feel: it is like the elvish sections of Tolkien, and sometimes like the shire.

There are many sentences beginning with “And,” “and so,” “thus,” and it would be easy to write in a pastiche of this style, but it would not be easy to mimic the beauty of Lord Dunsany’s descriptions, particularly his descriptions of the natural world of the fields and village, the “autumn-smitten” gardens, the “red remnants of the sunset,” the “deep blue of the night in Summer just as the gloaming has gone.” And there are labourers along the border with Elfland who refuse to look East or acknowledge its existence, and children who foreswear fairyland for a fresh jam roll. Unicorns graze on the borderlands, and so, despite their birth in Elfland

Their existence is nevertheless known among men. The fox, which is born in our fields, also crosses the frontier, going into the border of twilight at certain seasons; it is thence that he gets the romance with which he comes back to our fields. He also is fabulous, but only in Elfland, as the unicorns are fabulous here.

The plot is not so much ridiculous as irrelevant. After all is told, the central conflict could have been resolved with one honest conversation instead of years of sorrow, wanderings and magical runes, but there you have it.

Two things that will likely stay with me: the fact that this is a book about culture shock, for Lirazel cannot adapt to life on Earth, and in part she cannot adapt because her husband refuses to meet her halfway. In order to understand her husband’s religion she attempts to relate it to what for her is holy – the stars, the rocks in the riverbed – and for this she is chastised and eventually is lost to her husband. What is interesting here is that Dunsany does not come down on one side or the other with any force. The book constantly walks a fine line between delight in Elfland and loyalty to the joys of “the fields we know.” And this makes the reading experience itself interesting, for the book is in many ways a relic of a past literary style and of past values – there are hunting scenes that are off-putting to a modern reader, brave stags and unicorns slaughtered for pleasure, and yet should we condemn when the book is itself a kind of warning to failing to understand another perspective?

Perhaps the best scene in the book is an unexpected chapter in which a troll sits in a pigeon coop and watches a morning pass, marvelling at the earth’s constant state of change, for in Elfland time is eternal and near-unmoving.

So he sat and listened to the pigeons talking, till it seemed to him they were trying to lull the restlessness of Earth, and thought that they might by drowsy incantation be putting some spell against time, through which it could not come to harm their nests; for the power of time was not made clear to him yet and he knew not yet that nothing in our fields has the strength to hold out against time.

It's a book that lacks depth in most of the usual places we look for it -- plot, characters, themes, purpose -- but the depth is there nonetheless, in a sparrow in the hedgerow, in the moving of shadows across a village.
Profile Image for Mosy.
62 reviews24 followers
December 19, 2017
به عنوان یک طرفدار فانتزی، خوشحالم که این کتاب رو خوندم، چون من رو با یک وجه جدیدی از فانتزی آشنا کرد و باعث شد از این به بعد توجه بیشتری به آثار فانتزی قدیمی بکنم.

دختر شاه پریان اثری است با یک داستان نسبتا ساده و مملواز توصیفات شاعرانه. حجم این توصیفات عمیق آنقدر زیاده که عملا بیشتر صفحات کتاب رو در برگرفته. بعد از مطالعه بیشتر درمورد نویسنده این کتاب، لرد دانسنی، فهمیدم که وجود این مدل توصیفات از ویژگی های اکثر آثار این نویسنده است.

برای آشنا شدن با کلیت این کتاب بخشی از نوشته لین کارتر درباره لرد دانسنی و این اثر رو مینویسم:

” … او سبک و شرایط افسانه های پریان کلاسیک را می‌گیرد و دیدگاهی منطقی و بزرگسالانه به آن می‌افزاید و با نثر شعرگونه و آهنگین خود، این دو عنصر واگرا را در هم می‌آمیزد …”

ولی مشکل کتاب از اونجا شروع می‌شه که بعد از مدتی از این مدل توصیفات خسته می‌شید و دنبال این هستید که ببینید داستان قراره چی بشه، ولی خب هر چقدر جلوتر می‌رید، بیشتر متوجه می‌شید که انگار خیلی قرار نیست به این سوال که “قصه چیه؟ و قراره چی بشه؟” پرداخته بشه. می‌تونم بگم که پیرنگ اصلی داستان هیچ گونه نقطه اوج خاصی نداره و خیلی آروم و ملو همه چی جلو می‌ره.

وجه فانتزی داستان (سرزمین پریان و نحوه گذر زمان در این سرزمین) ، در اوایل تا حدی توضیح داده می‌شه ولی خب خیلی قانع کننده نیست و باعث تعلیق آگاهانه ناباوری تو من نشد. یه جایی از کتاب هست که ۵۰ تا جن از سرزمین پریان میان تا به شخصیت پسر داستان کمک کنن که تک شاخ رو شکار کنن، و هر کدوم از این جن ها از یه سگ مراقبت می‌کنه، واقعا برام سواله که با این تعداد موجود می‌شه رفت شکار؟ روی هم ۱۰۱ی میشن!

این کتاب بیشتر من رو یاد اوایل جلد ۱ ارباب حلقه ها انداخت، توی اون کتاب هم، حدود ۳۰۰ صفحه از اول کتاب خیلی اتفاق خاصی نمیوفته و نویسنده صرفا داره تواناییش رو تو توصیفات شاعرانه نشون میده، که خب برای مخاطب امروز خیلی خسته کننده است.

خوندن این کتاب رو فقط به اونایی که طرفدار سرسخت فانتزی هستن توصیه می‌کنم، ولی خب بدونین که خوانش بسیار سختی داره. من خودم به صورت میانگین هر فصل یه لغت فارسی توی متن رو نمی‌دونستم معنیش چی می‌شه و باید نگاه می‌کردم.

تو این صفحه هم میتونید یه نظر دیگه در مورد این کتاب رو ببینید:
Profile Image for Marquise.
1,746 reviews590 followers
November 20, 2016
3.5 stars. This was a charming little tale of magic and love between a human prince & an Elf princess, and the quest the former embarks on when she disappears as a result of difficulties adapting to human ways. It can be a tad too sugary at times, but the prose is lovely and the plot well developed.
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