E.F.B.'s Reviews > The Princess and the Goblin

The Princess and the Goblin by George MacDonald
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really liked it
bookshelves: fantasy, audiobooked-it, childrens, classics

If I had heard of George MacDonald's stories before becoming a writer (circa 2014) I don't remember it. The first time I remember hearing about them was when I was talking to a nice older lady at my church who asked me what I like to do. When I told her I like writing, especially fantasy and fairytale retellings, she immediately said I should check out MacDonald. I was happily surprised because, while I've told many people that I'm a writer and what I like to write, and they've acted supportive of my interests, few, if any of those same people, have recommended books to me. It's been a solid year, if not two since that lady recommended George MacDonald to me, but I promised myself I would check it out, and I finally got around to it.

While I feel I probably would have enjoyed The Princess and the Goblin more when I was a child, I still found it highly charming as an adult. I remember reading once that MacDonald's writing inspired/influenced C. S. Lewis and Tolkien (among other writers) and I felt while I was reading that the writing style of this story reminded me a lot of the style of "The Hobbit" and "Roverrandom" insofar as the flow of it and the way the narrator comments on things. I generally enjoy that style, so it was a nice thing to be reminded of. The characters were silly and fun, and I also like the way little morals were slipped in, especially the views on believe vs. unbelief. While this is not a new favorite of mine, I did find it likable enough that I am interested in reading more of MacDonald's works, and will try not to take two more years to do so. XD

Content Advisory:

No language.

There's a brief kiss between a young boy and young girl that is not described.

There's a mention of bleeding and feeling faint due to blood loss when a human who was mistaken for a goblin gets shot in the leg with a crossbow. This person's wound gets treated and they are ultimately okay. There's mention of goblins being known to do bad things to humans like kidnapping and eating them. (The eating never actually happens.) There's a fight between armed guards and goblins during which there is some peril for both humans and goblins. It's mentioned that goblins get slashed and stabbed and have their feet stomped on. There is also some peril for the humans involved. Blood is briefly mentioned during this fight, but all of this violence is only very lightly described.
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Reading Progress

October 15, 2017 – Shelved
October 15, 2017 – Shelved as: to-read
May 20, 2019 – Started Reading
May 20, 2019 –
1.0% "7 minutes in and I'm already charmed. <3"
May 25, 2019 –
May 25, 2019 –
100.0% "RTC"
May 25, 2019 – Finished Reading
May 26, 2019 – Shelved as: fantasy
May 26, 2019 – Shelved as: audiobooked-it
May 26, 2019 – Shelved as: childrens
May 26, 2019 – Shelved as: classics

Comments Showing 1-10 of 10 (10 new)

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message 1: by Katie (new)

Katie  Hanna I read this one as a kid! I had a mixed reaction to it, if I remember rightly; parts of it I enjoyed and parts I found distressing . . . But I definitely loved MacDonald as a narrator, with all his wry commentary ;-)

message 2: by Hannah (new)

Hannah You should try his novels now! ❤️

E.F.B. Katie wrote: "I read this one as a kid! I had a mixed reaction to it, if I remember rightly; parts of it I enjoyed and parts I found distressing . . . But I definitely loved MacDonald as a narrator, with all his..."

I could definitely imagine kids being distressed about things related to the goblins.

The narration was great. :D

E.F.B. Hannah wrote: "You should try his novels now! ❤️"

I will! :D Do you recommend any one of them in particular?

message 5: by Katie (new)

Katie  Hanna E.F.B. wrote: "Katie wrote: "I read this one as a kid! I had a mixed reaction to it, if I remember rightly; parts of it I enjoyed and parts I found distressing . . . But I definitely loved MacDonald as a narrator..."

For sure! I also remember being under the impression of Princess Irene going through a lot of Emotional Turmoil (I'm not sure if she WAS actually that upset or if I just PERCEIVED her being upset); and as a kid I tended not to like those kinds of books.

message 6: by Hannah (new)

Hannah Sir Gibbie
David Elginbrod
Mary Marston

E.F.B. Hannah wrote: "Sir Gibbie
David Elginbrod
Mary Marston

Thanks! :D

Micah Morris Kent Matichuk This one is actually one of my least favorite MacDonald books so far; it feels like he was trying to tailor his writing rather than just let himself be free as with many of his other books. Just my opinion. My favorite is probably The Wise Woman: A Parable, simply because its imagery has proven so true to me. Phanstastes is so deep and yet so plain, it must be one of the most interesting books ever written. I also immensely love Sir Gibble, but that one is a far longer book and requires some dedication at first, to learn the dialect. I definitely recommend doing so, though now it isn’t so necessary as David Jack is creating editions with parallel English translations of the Scottish dialogue. Anyway, when you find MacDonald, you find a treasure trove.

Jenelle I love MacDonald!

I highly recommend his "The Light Princess" which is possibly my favorite of his so far, (though I haven't read nearly all of his works yet). I also love The Day Boy and the Night Girl. And Lilith is another favorite of mine!

Of his non-fantasy books, I loved The Fisherman's Lady/The Marquis' Secret.

Jenelle Ack, hit "comment" before I was ready. "The Fisherman's Lady" is the erm... "translated" version of "Malcolm" which is the original. I have tried to read "Malcolm" which my college had a first edition of, and found it practically illegible as the whole book is written in an ancient Scottish dialect that I had a very hard time deciphering and this was having already read The Fisherman's Lady version. Just a head's up... maybe it wouldn't be difficult for you. :)

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