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The Castle of Llyr by Lloyd Alexander
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The Castle of Llyr (1966)

by Lloyd Alexander

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: The Chronicles of Prydain (3)

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3,928501,941 (3.99)1 / 107

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Showing 1-5 of 49 (next | show all)
In which Eilonwy is given a new opportunity, but all is built on sand...

The third book of The Chronicles of Prydain is my favourite thus far. Yet it's a far different beast from the previous two.

I was worried after The Black Cauldron that each book would just be a straightforward quest story reuniting all the same characters. Instead, I longed for a Narnia-esque series in which different aspects of Prydain could be explored. For this novel, we do get a reunion of the main characters, but most of the supporting cast take some time off, which creates a sense of difference here. Eilonwy is one of the series' strongest characters, and it's wonderful to discover her backstory - even if most of it was unknown even to the princess herself. Unfortunately, she's sidelined for most of the novel, but thankfully the young lady has so impressed us in previous books that we genuinely fear for her safety. (Sadly, the 'Big Bad' of the series is also sidelined for the most part, which is a shame since she has a great presence.)

Alexander uses the quest for Eilonwy to explore new parts of Prydain, and to add a lot of history and mysticism. It really works, and creates a sense that things are going to build nicely in the final two books. As always, he mixes a moral quest with haunting reality, and creates genuine obstacles for his characters to overcome.

Still, The Castle of Llyr bears a couple of the same flaws as its predecessors. I listen to a lot of audio plays, and the dialogue here is sometimes similar. Even when they're being chased by a giant mountain lion, the characters speak in lengthy, descriptive passages. Alexander could surely accomplish the same things with passages of prose instead! This is more annoying in this book than previous, because there are some interesting character developments that could have been more subtly handled. Taran is discovering his feelings for Eilonwy, and the new character of Prince Rhun turns out to have a lovely arc. I can see how it would work on television or film, whereas here the arc seems a bit deflated. He develops from fool to fool aware of his status to reluctant hero. Late in the book, it becomes clear that he's realising something exists between Eilonwy and Taran, even as he hopes to be her betrothed. Still, this all comes across in expository conversations, rather than anything more.

Ultimately, The Castle of Llyr is strong enough in its set pieces and quest narrative that it overcomes these weaknesses. The final setting - a half-sunken castle - is gorgeous, and I'll be very interested to see where Alexander takes these characters (both heroes and villains) as we head into the final two novels. There is a slowly growing tension here, but as yet nothing that suggests the series is coming to its end. I can easily see Prydain being further explored for many books to come. Still, I can't wait to experience the next one. ( )
  therebelprince | Oct 30, 2018 |
A favorite series from my childhood, but this book doesn’t hold up. The main character spends the novel being led around by smarter, wiser and stronger people. If this were a tv series, they’d throw the script out and re-write it from someone else’s perspective. ( )
  jscape2000 | Dec 28, 2017 |
Book 3 of the Chronicles of Prydain. Not quite as strong as the others in the series. I never really cared for the Glew episode, or the bumbling prince. But still awesome, obviously. ( )
  jalbacutler | Jan 10, 2017 |
The third book in the Chronicles of Prydain takes Taran, Gurgi and Eilonwy to the Isle of Mona, where Eilonwy is to stay and learn how to be a proper lady. They meet up with Fflewddur Fflam and discover that everything is not as it seems. Eilonwy soon goes missing and Taran and his companions must find her.

This book is the turning point in the series- Taran and Eilonwy are growing up and leaving behind their childhood wishes. The series starts addressing more adult issues and I think it's better for it. I really love how the characters interact in this book. I especially like how jealous Taran is of Prince Rhun and how Rhun acts like Taran did in the Book of Three. I really wish, though, that Eilonwy was more present in the book. However, it’s still awesome! ( )
  aharey | Nov 30, 2016 |
The third book in the Chronicles of Prydain takes Taran, Gurgi and Eilonwy to the Isle of Mona, where Eilonwy is to stay and learn how to be a proper lady. They meet up with Fflewddur Fflam and discover that everything is not as it seems. Eilonwy soon goes missing and Taran and his companions must find her.

This book is the turning point in the series- Taran and Eilonwy are growing up and leaving behind their childhood wishes. The series starts addressing more adult issues and I think it's better for it. I really love how the characters interact in this book. I especially like how jealous Taran is of Prince Rhun and how Rhun acts like Taran did in the Book of Three. I really wish, though, that Eilonwy was more present in the book. However, it’s still awesome! ( )
  aharey | Apr 1, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 49 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (12 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Lloyd Alexanderprimary authorall editionscalculated
Langton, JamesNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lee, Jody A.Cover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ness, EvalineCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pilhjerta, Ritva-LiisaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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For the Friends of the Companions, fondly
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In this chronicle of Prydain, following The Book of Three and The Black Cauldron, what befalls the heroine is as important, and perilous, as the hero's own quest. Princess Eilonwy of the red-gold hair does much more than face the unavoidable (and, in her view, absolutely necessary) ordeal of becoming a young lady. As Dallben, the old enchanter, warns: "For each of us comes a time when we must be more than what we are." And this holds true for princesses as well as for assistant pig-keepers. [from the "Author's Note"]
Eilonwy of the red-gold hair, the Princess Eilonwy Daughter of Angharad Daughter of Regat of the Royal House of Llyr, was leaving Caer Dallben. Dallben himself had so ordered it; and though Taran's heart was suddenly and strangely heavy, he knew there was no gainsaying the old enchanter's words. [from chapter 1, "Prince Rhun"]
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Book description
Princess Eilonwy of the red-gold hair is sad when she must leave her friends to go to the Isle of Mona for training as a proper princess. But Eilonwy will face much more than the ordeal of becoming a lady, for she possesses magical powers sought by Achren, the most evil enchantress in all of Prydain. When something sinister and secret befalls the princess, her loyal friends set out to rescue her.

Along the way they have terrifying encounters with the forces of evil, private and sometimes painful revelations — and always, the promise of excitement and magic.

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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0805080503, 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 18:10:02 -0400)

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When Princess Eilonwy is sent to the Isle of Mona for training, she is bewitched by the evil enchantress Achren, so Taran and other friends must try to rescue her.

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