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The Weirdstone of Brisingamen by Alan Garner
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The Weirdstone of Brisingamen (1960)

by Alan Garner

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Tales of Alderley (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,536427,534 (4.02)120
A young girl and her brother are catapulted into a battle between good and evil for possession of a magical stone of great power that is contained in her bracelet.
  1. 90
    The Dark Is Rising by Susan Cooper (LongDogMom)
    LongDogMom: Another British fantasy about the Light versus the Dark and a boy who becomes involved in the battle
  2. 20
    Power of Three by Diana Wynne Jones (Polenth)
  3. 10
    The Hounds of the Morrigan by Pat O'Shea (Heather39)
  4. 10
    The Book of Three by Lloyd Alexander (Cecrow)
    Cecrow: Another classic British fantasy, good for young readers and adults.
  5. 00
    Advent: A Novel by James Treadwell (LongDogMom)
    LongDogMom: A child unexpectedly caught up in old magic and good vs evil in a small village in Britain
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» See also 120 mentions

English (41)  French (1)  All languages (42)
Showing 1-5 of 41 (next | show all)
"bog-standard" is apt. But I find it difficult not to enjoy 1960s English children's fantasy. It is period now, the children in this book, as in so many others, do farm chores after school.

Although there is a great evil(!), the style is not as portentous as that of Susan Cooper. The whole purpose seems to have been to use cool words and ideas from Norse and Celtic mythology, and to describe in great detail the area around where the author grew up. There is a map, and a rendezvous on a hilltop, and the book is over in a flash.

"The Book of Three" is so much more coherent and interesting, but Lloyd Alexander was a mature author when he wrote that, while Alan Garner was just 22. ( )
  themulhern | Aug 28, 2019 |
I found a boxed set of 4 children's stories written by Alan Garner. These are bog standard classic British fantasies derived from folklore of the British Isles. What I find most interesting is that these stories each end quite abruptly at the climax showing that the initial problem that spurred the story has been addressed. No resolution, no wrap up, just mission accomplished, drop curtain.

The Weirdstone of Brisingamen was published in 1960 and features siblings Colin and Susan who have just arrived at the village of Alderley Edge in Cheshire, due south of Manchester, for an extended stay while their parents are out of the country. They immediately explore the woods of The Edge, a hilly area that includes abandoned mines and quarries just outside the village, and fall headlong into adventure involving the morthbrood (witches) headed by the Morrigan, svarts or svart-alfar (goblins) headed by Arthog and Slinkveal, the dwarves Fenodytree and Durathror and their fearsome swords Widowmaker and Dyrnwyn, the wizard Cadellin Silverbrow, Angharad Goldenhand (the Lady of the Lake) and various others. Everyone is seeking Firefrost, the weirdstone that powers the enchantment that keeps a king of yore with 149 of his valorous knights, all accompanied by pure white steeds all asleep until the final battle when they are needed. Cadellin is their eternal guardian and rescues the children from evil creatures, thus introducing High Magic into their existence as they seek to understand why the children are in danger. It's a blend of high fantasy, Celtic gods, and Arthurian legend by other names. ( )
  justchris | Jul 27, 2019 |
I found this book odd. I think it would have been better to have read it as a child, when I would have given it my full attention. Because I didn't give it my full attention and read it quite quickly, I forgot some of the minor characters and/or objects, which meant I didn't remember them if they reappeared or didn't remember why they were important. I would have loved an index. If I'd been reading an ebook, I probably would have searched for some of the things I'd forgotten when they turned up again. I found it a bit annoying that the maps gave spoilers about how the story would turn out (for example, a label saying "Fall of the [no spoiler here!]").

I definitely felt that it was part of a series - it ended rather abruptly.

It did feel very Tolkienish, except that the setting was contemporary (England in the 1960s, I think, judging from publication date?). I liked that Susan and Colin got equal time and were equally in charge of their own decisions and their part in the story. Not bad for a story written in the 60s! I also felt that [a:Alan Garner|47991|Alan Garner|https://images.gr-assets.com/authors/1363273417p2/47991.jpg] wrote about caves very well indeed. I got the impression that he is either a keen caver or someone who once went caving and found it too claustrophobic so never went again! I am not familiar with old English/Celtic mythology, but I suspect there were references that others might pick up on. I did recognize Ragnarok! There were quite a lot of mythical creatures/objects mentioned that were not explained (or maybe I missed them because I read too quickly).

All in all, I would like to read more of the series but I am not in a huge hurry, so they might just end up on my "to read" list for years. ( )
  KWharton | Nov 29, 2018 |
I have mixed feelings, partly because I am an adult reading a book that I would have loved when I was twelve. Garner does a great job in depicting an everyday setting that has become terrifying and strange, and some of the scenes are truly disturbing. The depiction of the children crawling through ever narrowing tunnels deep underground is nightmare territory.

As an adult, I am more aware of the book's flaws. I was bothered by the undeveloped characters, the awkward faux medieval speech, and the confusing multitude of bad guys, none of which I could keep straight. I also noticed a few sections that seemed as if Garner had just finished reading Lord of the Rings and liked it so much that he started accidentally rewriting bits of it.

And, as seems to always be the case when I read British children's fantasy: what are those adults thinking? You encourage a couple of city kids to go play on a giant forested hill, late in the evening, alone, while casually mentioning, oh yes, try not to fall into any mine shafts or dangerous caves, which are all over the place.

But despite these caveats, Garner did capture my attention, kept me reading, and got me to care about the outcome. Even as a cynical grown up person.
( )
  JanetNoRules | Sep 17, 2018 |
I was prompted to read this children's classic fantasy novel, first published in 1960, by seeing a post on Alan Garner in a blog by someone I know professionally involved in teaching children to read and enjoy literature. It's also to an extent a re-read as I read at least some of it as a teenager in the late 70s/early 80s, though I recalled nothing of it. It's wonderfully written and imaginative, the story of two children, Susan and Colin, who get involved with a variety of good and evil fantasy creatures, seeking the significant eponymous stone, chasing through caves and across hills, forests and plains in Cheshire, the author's native area. While it's definitely high quality, and gripping in places, I found it didn't really stir me emotionally quite as much as I thought it might. I will read the famous sequel, The Moon of Gomrath, and probably the third and very much later volume in the trilogy, Boneland. ( )
1 vote john257hopper | Aug 20, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 41 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (9 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Alan Garnerprimary authorall editionscalculated
Adamson, GeorgeCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Call, GregCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gaughan, JackCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Green, CharlesMapssecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Schleinkofer, DavidCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Schwinger, LaurenceCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wyatt, DavidCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
In every prayer I offer up, Alderley, and all belonging to it, will be ever a living thought in my heart.
Rev. Edward Stanley: 1837
Dedication
First words
At dawn one still October day in the long ago of the world, across the hill of Alderley, a farmer from Mobberley was riding to Macclesfield fair.
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Relentlessly pursued by outlandish figures on Alderley Edge, Colin and Susan are saved by the Wizard, who takes them deep into the hill. There, a band of knights lie sleeping until the time shall come for them to be woken and sent forth to fight Nastrond, the spirit of evil. But the stone - the Weirdstone - which is the heart of the magic binding the sleepers, is lost. How it is found, stolen and recovered again involves Colin and Susan in frantic chases through woods and streams and underground mines. Their search leaves us almost as breathless and exhausted as Colin and Susan themselves.
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