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The Hero and the Crown

(Damar #2)

4.21  ·  Rating details ·  51,718 ratings  ·  2,504 reviews
Aerin could not remember a time when she had not known the story; she had grown up knowing it.

It was the story of her mother, the witchwoman who enspelled the king into marrying her, to get an heir that would rule Damar; and it was told that she turned her face to the wall and died of despair when she found she had borne a daughter instead of a son.
Aerin was that daughter.
Mass Market Paperback, 240 pages
Published April 15th 1987 by Ace (first published October 15th 1984)
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Melissa I read this as required reading in middle school for 7th grade English but I think adults would like it if it is a genre they enjoy. This was one of t…moreI read this as required reading in middle school for 7th grade English but I think adults would like it if it is a genre they enjoy. This was one of the first fantasy novels I had read and I absolutely hated it though.(less)
Mekiah Johnson You can order it on amazon, get it from your local bookstore, get it on a device, if that answers your question. You can also get it at a thrift store…moreYou can order it on amazon, get it from your local bookstore, get it on a device, if that answers your question. You can also get it at a thrift store, which is where I got my copy. (less)

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mark monday
Jun 09, 2014 rated it liked it
First wave feminist novel The Hero and the Crown recognizes the intrinsic right for protagonist Aerin to have a say in the destiny of her country, regardless of her gender.

Second wave feminist novel The Hero and the Crown illustrates how Aerin is the equal of any man in the patriarchal land of Damar - indeed, she is the equal of any man, anywhere.

Third wave feminist novel The Hero and the Crown celebrates Aerin's sexuality, her ability to move beyond prescribed, essentialist notions of gender ro
Jun 19, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone
Shelves: feminist, fantasy
When I was a kid, I frequented two areas of the library: the children's section and the adult fiction section. The young adult shelves and the nonfiction shelves might as well have been made of glass for all I noticed them.

One year when I was in my early teens, the family was getting ready to go on the dreaded yearly camping trip. "Dreaded" because it meant a week in the outdoors, with no books. Well, almost no books: Mom's rule was that we each could take two—only two??—so we spent hours dawdli
Mar 21, 2008 added it
Shelves: fantasy
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
$1.99 Kindle sale, March 7, 2021. All the stars! The Hero and the Crown is one of those YA fantasies I have loved so deeply and for so long that I'm totally unable to view or rate it objectively. So you'll have to put up with some fangirling here. It won the Newbery Award in 1985.

Aerin is a king's daughter, the heir and only child of the king of Damar. But her mother, who died in childbirth, was reputed to be a witch, and when Aerin grows up not looking or acting like anyone else in the kingdom
Like most of Robin McKinley’s work, The Hero and the Crown is very hard to classify. Its surface is high fantasy—cliché high fantasy, even—but it’s written like psychologically-driven realistic fiction.

Our setting is the rather desolate kingdom of Damar, about which we know little except:

1). The heirs to the throne are called sola (male) or sol (female). It should really be the other way around, or at least that would make it easier to follow for those of us who speak Latin.

2). The Damarians ha
Emily Michelle
Nov 08, 2010 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 29, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy
I read this when I was young and disgruntled, reading two or three books a day to avoid talking to my classmates. It was basically the perfect time to read this story, which tells the tale of a young woman who is not understood by her people and is deeply unhappy about it. And when I read this, it was one of very few books that spoke to me in a voice I could actually empathize with. All the other fantasy I was reading featured boys tramping across pseudo-English countryside before being crowned ...more
Feb 25, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of fantasy with strong heroines
Recommended to Tatiana by: Heather
Shelves: 2010, ya, newbery, fantasy
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Althea Ann
Feb 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I got this book when it was first published, in hardcover.

At the time, 'The Blue Sword' (to which this is a prequel) was one of my most-beloved books - and, I have to admit, that at the time, I didn't feel the 'The Hero and the Crown' quite measured up. I liked it - but just not quite as much. (It's not like I didn't read it several times, though.)

Re-reading, years later, I understand why I felt the way I did - but I also kind of disagree with my youthful opinion. This is a wonderful book.

Jacob Proffitt
Jul 15, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, owned
This is the first time I've read this book as an adult—mostly because I love, love, love The Blue Sword and this book kind of goes out of its way to undermine expectations set by that book for Damar's past. I didn't remember much of this book—mostly just a vague sense of this not being my expected Damar, really (because my memory really sucks, not because the book isn't memorable).

So I was gratified that the book holds up so well. Better, really, because I came away from it not only renewing my
Oct 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
Found this random gem in my used bookstore.

The Hero and the Crown is a fantasy story from 1984. It won the Newbery Medal. It is supposed to be the prequel to "The Blue Sword" and tells the "origin" story for the legendary "Aerin Fire-Hair" or "Aerin Dragon-Killer".

There is much to like about Aerin. Though she is the King's daughter, her mother was assumed to be a witch. She grows up humble and kind, without a touch of the arrogance that is native to the nobles of her land. But she is intelligen
Mayim de Vries
Dec 06, 2018 rated it it was ok
“Her destiny, like her love, like her heritage, was double.”

Damar is a precarious duology in that the second book in the series is actually a prequel to the events described in the Blue Sword. Like its predecessor, The Hero and the Crown is a novel about a girl with a special horse and a magic sword. After the horrors I already endured, I expected the worst. As it is, the book is not that bad. Which unfortunately doesn’t to mean that it is worth reading.

Once again, we have a typical YA setting:
Dec 27, 2009 rated it it was ok
A reader might well leave this Damar prequel feeling dazed and uncertain of what to make of the jumble of rises and falls and meandering sidestories and climaxes, but a vigorous shake of the head will allow the book to be seen as two distinct halves: Part 1) The fantastic set-up. Part 2) The frustratingly sloppy, nonsensical, disappointing end/end? Until the story's first climax, McKinley gives us everything: a relatable, charismatic, admirable heroine who's so scrappy and determined we can't he ...more
I loved this book as a kid and I love it still as an adult. It's one of those books that's so much a part of my life that it's hard for me to believe that not everyone has read it. Maur still creeps me out, Talat still makes me teary, and Aerin's surka rash as she climbs the tower remains the best thing ever. ...more
I got a copy of this in 6th or 7th grade. I've read it so many times that it is being held together by a rubber band. I enjoyed it because it was the first real fantasy book I read where the hero is a young woman. She's not just the sidekick, but the hero. She's also flawed and not supergirl or ravishing beautiful. It's a wonderful book because of that. In many ways, it is the perfect book for any quiet girl simply because a loner, an outcast proves herself needed. Perhaps the success of the boo ...more
Aug 26, 2008 rated it it was amazing
young princess who feels like a misfit, teaches herself to fight dragons, befriends animals left&right, finds love twice, overcomes a villain from her family's past, follows her known duty rather than pursue unknown emotion...it's really not as dry as I'm summarizing.

beautifully and dreamily written. I remember reading this and wanting to fight dragons. a big surprise when I re-read years later and still enjoyed it, still found the heroine a sympathetic character. good messages about not taking
Oct 25, 2014 rated it it was amazing
The book that made me say, I want to do that, I want to be her (both Aerin, the Hero, and Robin, the Author). This is the book that made me love fantasy, dragons, everything.
Nov 22, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
Wow, I don't know why I didn't really like The Hero and the Crown very much on the first go round. It's full of all the kinds of things I love: love stories that aren't just simple love-at-first-sight or we-grew-up-together-and-now-we're-in-love, but something more complicated that that; a world with a history and a future, outside of what we've got; a heroine who works through flaws and barriers to become a hero. And the last sentences -- ach! Lovely.

It's not some straightforward children's sto
Mar 28, 2013 rated it it was ok
I LOVED the first 2/3 of this book. Then, it started to drag and I had a hard time finishing it.

Aerin is a princess in the city of Damar. Her father is a good, righteous king and her mother died shortly after giving birth to Aerin. The people love her father, but they believe her mother was a witch and they don't trust her daughter. As a result, Aerin becomes a bit of a loner, her only real friend is Tor, the boy who will inherit the throne. All members of the royal family should develop magical
I cannot be impartial.

There are many reasons why I love this book, not least among them being the fact that it was actually the first Robin McKinley book I ever read, back in the days when I browsed library shelves at random and begged my parents into buying books for me, before I knew much about what I was really doing, and I count myself eternally lucky to have stumbled upon this book because it is, it really is, writing as art. It is not writing for money, as some books targeted at my age gro
Jul 30, 2012 rated it liked it
I really enjoyed the first half. Someone had recommended it in part because the heroine gets the prince and the wizard as lovers. Though the wizard isn't in the first half, the world created in this coming-of-age tale and the characters who people it are interesting and likeable. There's a bit much girl-and-her-pony stuff for my interest, but I wanted to know what would become of these characters. The growing love that Tor feels for Aerin is infused with the right amounts of sweetness and forbid ...more
Aug 05, 2016 rated it it was ok
Mmm. This is a confusing story, many times I didn't know what was going on. There were other occasions when it was unclear whose POV (Point of View) I was hearing, it chopped and changed suddenly.

There could have been more character development and also more relationship development between characters.

For me this story had no sparkle, and it could have been really great. Mind you this is only my opinion and from other reviews I see I am not in the majority about this story.
Nenia ✨ I yeet my books back and forth ✨ Campbell
Hi all! This book is on sale for $1.99 today and so is the sequel, THE BLUE SWORD! #NOSTALGIA
Pooja Peravali
Apr 24, 2022 rated it really liked it
In Damar once there was a princess called Aerin who was pitifully out of place, for she was the daughter of a woman who had long been branded a witch. With a vague sense that her destiny lay elsewhere compared to where a princess’s destiny generally lies, she set out to become the best dragon slayer the realm had seen, no matter that killing dragons was a thankless and ignoble task. But it turns out her destiny was far greater than that.

I remember I got a free copy of this book from Barnes and N
Apr 07, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Basic Plot: Aerin is the mostly-left-to-her-own-devices, unconventional daughter of the king. After discovering a secret formula that can make her fireproof, she begins hunting dragons, which takes her on a journey to save the kingdom.

I bought a paperback of this book when I was in elementary school through one of those school book order programs (I was ADDICTED to them), and it was the first Robin McKinley book I ever read. It is now so battered and worn that I have actually been thinking about
Jun 25, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Jon by: Science Fiction/Fantasy Book Club
Aerin may be the king's daughter, but you wouldn't know it from the looks, the stares, the snickers, the pranks, or the court gossip. Her father loved and married Aerin's mother after his first wife died childless. But being from the North, of unknown heritage and lineage, suspicions of witchcraft at worst and being a commoner at best, followed Aerin like a fog of misery. Her royal Gift failed to manifest as she entered and traversed adolescence, which further fueled the rumors of her inadequate ...more
Oct 26, 2008 rated it really liked it
I never doubted for a moment where this book was going, but McKinley's hand at the wheel was so sure I didn't mind going along for the ride. Her characters were multi-faceted and enjoyable to read about. I especially liked the realistic portrait of love and the choices that sometimes come with it towards the end. The derring-do was great fun, and the plotting brisk. It felt like a fairy tale, an old tale many times told, with a certain underlying gravitas. Well-written doesn't exactly cover it. ...more
Mar 13, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Before she went crazy, Robin McKinley wrote some of the most awesome young adult fantasy out there. Her heroines were smart and plucky, with a bit of tasty pathos to keep things interesting. Aerin, the main character of HATC, is a dragon-slayer in training, while remaining decidedly introverted and bookish and not quite the most coordinated chick in town. She also has a love triangle (with SEX!)involving her second cousin and an immortal wizard dude. Needless to say, she was quite the hero for m ...more
Carol (StarAngel's Reviews) Allen
3.5 Dragon Killer Stars

Ehhh...I have such a hard time reviewing fantasy books ---- saying what I really mean, but I'll give it a try.

This book didn't knock my socks off but I didn't not dislike it. It was good ---- a few times I had a hard time understanding what was going on because it seemed like the author skipped around without explaining in detail.

Other than that - this was a good YA Fantasy book that read quickly.
Love. So much love. Reread my fancy new copy. Just love so much. The book that changed my life, essentially, and made me want to be an author!

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Born in her mother's hometown of Warren, Ohio, Robin McKinley grew up an only child with a father in the United States Navy. She moved around frequently as a child and read copiously; she credits this background with the inspiration for her stories.

Her passion for reading was one of the most constant things in her childhood, so she began to remember events, places, and time periods by what books

Other books in the series

Damar (2 books)
  • The Blue Sword (Damar, #1)

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