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Taran Wanderer (The Chronicles of Prydain) (original 1967; edition 2006)

by Lloyd Alexander

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3,274501,678 (4.09)1 / 158
Member:froggie
Title:Taran Wanderer (The Chronicles of Prydain)
Authors:Lloyd Alexander
Info:Henry Holt and Co. BYR Paperbacks (2006), Edition: First Edition, Paperback, 256 pages
Collections:Read but unowned
Rating:****
Tags:None

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Taran Wanderer by Lloyd Alexander (1967)

Recently added byRichard_Moore, private library, HancockPoint, shadana, acf151
  1. 00
    Constellation Games by Leonard Richardson (bertilak)
    bertilak: This is a stretch, but both books are about a young man repeatedly failing, yet learning and making friends while doing so.
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The fourth book in the Chronicles of Prydain, Taran Wanderer is a departure from the previous books. Eilonwy doesn't appear in this book and there is no set adventure. Instead, we follow Taran as he tries to discover who his parents were. He has many adventures along the way, some good and some bad.

Although different from the other books in the series, Taran Wanderer actually sets the stage for the fifth book. I really enjoyed this book. This book is quieter than the rest of the series. Taran is the only constant as he searches the entire breadth of Prydain for his parents. Eilonwy is only present in Taran’s thoughts and Ffleweddur only appears in different scenes. Gurgi is never far from his master, but this is truly Taran’s story. ( )
  aharey | Apr 1, 2016 |
I'm not a great fan of this book in the series. It kind of dragged in places and jumped from one thing to another without any connection to previous happenings in the story. ( )
  Arkrayder | Mar 12, 2016 |
Taran Wanderer is the fourth Chronicle of Prydain and one of the most philosophical. Here Lloyd Alexander pits his Assistant Pig-Keeper Taran against his own worst enemy: himself. As he grows older, Taran begins to think of seriously aspiring to the Princess Eilonwy's hand — but how can he, when he knows nothing of his parentage or birth? Hoping to find a noble lineage that would make him an eligible suitor, Taran sets out with his friends to discover what he can of the world and his place in it.

It's a quest story, really, but the object of the quest is self-knowledge rather than a magical item. Of course, there is a magical item that comes in very handy in one of his adventures along the way (Morda's finger — to which Rowling's Horcruxes bear a very direct resemblance). But what Taran is really looking for is within. This sounds like a very 21st-century, self-esteemist, humanist perspective (no thanks!), but it isn't because ultimately Taran doesn't find his fulfillment within himself. He actually faces failure after failure in his own abilities as he travels the Free Commots and seeks to master the various trades and callings of its people.

When he does find Craddoc, a humble shepherd-farmer who claims to be his father, Taran must make the hardest choice of all. Throughout the story there's a clear-cut villain in Dorath the outlaw, but on reflection I think he is really just a personification of Taran's own worst side: what he could become.

After The Castle of Llyr, this was one of my less-loved of the Prydain stories, probably due to the lack of battles and enchantments and traditionally heroic deeds. But rereading as an adult has made me appreciate its depth a little more. The direction Alexander takes his story is so much more genuine and wholesome than the usual Disney tripe of "look within to find your destiny." Character is critical but it's outside ourselves we must look for lasting fulfillment. What a fantastic setup for the final and most moving Prydain Chronicle... recommended! ( )
1 vote wisewoman | Nov 29, 2015 |
I could really identify with Taran's struggles. ( )
  TrgLlyLibrarian | Feb 1, 2015 |
This one is so different from the other Prydain books. It focuses very closely on Taran's development--almost all other characters are missing or seen only in passing--and reads almost like a fable. The last two books have definitely been "set-up" books, deepening the characters and the stakes form what started as a light-hearted series. I don't remember enough about The High King to know if the payoff is worth it, but I'm eager to see. ( )
  CherieDooryard | Jan 20, 2015 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Lloyd Alexanderprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Langton, JamesNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lee, Jody A.Cover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pilhjerta, Ritva-LiisaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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For Wayfarers still journeying, for Wanderers at rest
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This fourth chronicle of Prydain begins as a gallant, high-hearted quest, which soon becomes more intense and perhaps more essentially heroic than the preceding adventures. For here, Taran comes to grips with a merciless opponent: the truth about himself. No longer as Taran Assistant Pig-Keeper but as Taran Wanderer, he learns to reshape his life out of his own inner resources; for there must not only be an end to childhood but also a beginning of manhood. This is meant to be a serious tale—in the way that all humor is serious and all fantasy true—and if there is no conventionally happy ending in fairy-tale terms, there is still a most hopeful ending in human terms. [from the "Author's Note"]
It was full springtime, with promise of the richest summer the farm had ever seen. The orchard was white with fragrant blossoms; the newly planted fields lay light as green mist. Yet the sights and scents gave Taran little joy. To him, Cael Dallben was empty. Though he helped Coll with the weeding and cultivating, and tended the white pig, Hen Wen, with as much care as ever, he went about his tasks distractedly. One thought alone was in his mind. [from chapter 1, "Who Am I?"]
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Book description
Taran, the assistant pig-keeper who wants to be a hero, goes questing for knowledge of his parentage, hoping that his journey will ennoble him in the eyes of Eilonwy, the princess with the red-gold hair. Accompanied by several loyal friends, Taran begins his search when three wily enchantresses of the Marshes of Morva send him to consult the Mirror of Llunet for the answers he is seeking, cryptically promising that "the finding takes no more than the looking."

During his adventures he meets Craddoc, the shepherd, and the common people of Prydain, whom he comes to respect and admire. With their help, he continues his mission to learn the secret of the Mirror and the truth about himself.

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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0805080511, Paperback)

The Newbery-winning fantasy series now available in gorgeous new paperback editions!

Since The Book of Three was first published in 1964, young readers have been enthralled by the adventures of Taran the Assistant Pig-Keeper and his quest to become a hero. Taran is joined by an engaging cast of characters that includes Eilonwy, the strong-willed and sharp-tongued princess; Fflewddur Fflam, the hyperbole-prone bard; the ever-faithful Gurgi; and the curmudgeonly Doli--all of whom have become involved in an epic struggle between good and evil that shapes the fate of the legendary land of Prydain. Released over a period of five years, Lloyd Alexander's beautifully written tales not only captured children's imaginations but also garnered the highest critical praise.

The Black Cauldron was a Newbery Honor Book, and the final volume in the chronicles, The High King, crowned the series by winning the Newbery Medal for "the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children."

Henry Holt is proud to present this classic series in a new, redesigned paperback format. The jackets feature stunning art by acclaimed fantasy artist David Wyatt, giving the books a fresh look for today's generation of young fantasy lovers. The companion book of short stories, The Foundling is also available in paperback at this time.

In their more than thirty years in print, the Chronicles of Prydain have become the standard of excellence in fantasy literature for children.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:12:36 -0400)

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The fourth book of the Prydain cycle tells of the adventures that befell Taran when he went in search of his birthright and the truth about himself.

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