Monday, July 5, 2021

The Castle of Llyr

The Castle of Llyr (The Chronicles of Prydain, #3)The Castle of Llyr by Lloyd Alexander
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The third entry of the late Lloyd Alexander’s Chronicles of Prydain series opens with Princess Eilonwy, Daughter of Angharad and Regat of the Royal House of Llyr, leaving Caer Dallben for the Isle of Mona for instruction on how to become proper royalty. The monarchs of the island, King Rhuddlum and Queen Teleria, have their son Prince Rhun be her escort, with Taran and her other companions ultimately joining in the voyage. The main inciting incident of the story comes when the royal palace’s Chief Steward Magg, who doubles as a war-leader, and Princess Eilonwy, vanishing without a trace.

On their quest for the missing princess, Taran and his companions encounter the solitary hut of a potion-maker named Glew, eventually finding what became of him, and have a hostile experience with the feline creature Llyan. As they seek Eilonwy, the companions find her bauble, ultimately termed the Golden Pelydryn, and spend a few chapters trapped in a cavern with a giant they eventually escape. A book that appears to be empty serves as an important artifact, and the third installment ends with several chapters occurring at the fortress Caer Colur with a prior adversary.

All in all, this was another good, quick, enjoyable Prydain story, even if it hinges upon the damsel-in-distress trope prevalent in medieval-set fantasy, although there are plenty of good twists, and in the final chapter the holes that were present before the disappearance of Magg and Eilonwy receive due explanation. Alexander followed the main text with an anecdote about how he loved cats and thus introduced a fantastical feline into the world of Prydain, and one could consider him an American children’s Tolkien, predating many more notable fantasy works ahead of his age.

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