The High King By Lloyd Alexander
The fifth and final book in The Chronicles Prydain.
(Originally it was a PowerPoint presentation, but I had to get rid of all the text boxes and adjust the text to make it like this.)
I think that The High King is an excellent book to read. This book is a very thrilling finale of The Chronicles of Prydain and I think it is worth its Newbery Medal. It has many different aspects of narrative which I find quite interesting. There are many feelings involved in the book. It makes you feel as if you were there because the plot is so detailed. However, there is a recurring pattern in this book; there is a climatic event that happens in one chapter, then there are a few chapters that add more to the storyline. I think this is a good technique, but it is repetitive and could have been mixed up. In addition to this, the ending of the book is a bit brief and quite a lot of ideas are compacted into just a few chapters. Overall, The High King is a great book to read because it has many climatic parts, and an interesting storyline. I give this book a 8/10 rather that a 9/10 or 10/10, only because of its recurring pattern and its brief ending. This is just my opinion, you might think it is better or worse than the rating I have given it.
“What bliss to rediscover the sly humour, subtle wisdom and bold gnashings and thrashings of these wonderful Chronicles… Alexander’s fierce intelligence imbues each adventure with a rare and distinctive moral power.”
Meg Rosoff, author of How I Live Now
Lloyd Alexander is a grand master in the secret guild of fantasy writers.”
Garth Nix, author of the Old Kingdom Trilogy
“Lloyd Alexander’s triumph is that while his plots follow a slashing heroic pattern, his quest is into the subtleties of manhood itself. It is rare that high excitement yields such quiet wisdom.”
New York Times
“The strongest high fantasy written for children in our times.”
School Library Journal
A basic summary:
The High king is set around Taran Wanderer, an assistant pig-keeper in Caer Dallben, a small hamlet in the land of Prydain. It is set in a time of which no one knows, when the land is in great turmoil. The black sword Dyrnwyn, the most powerful weapon in Prydain, has been stolen by the elusive Death-Lord, Arawn. This is a terrible event, for if Arawn wields Dyrnwyn against Prydain, the land is surely doomed. Taran, who is yearning for adventure, goes on a quest with his companions to rally an army to match Arawn’s own army, retrieve the stolen sword and defeat the Death-Lord. Can Taran and his companions stop Arawn before it is too late?
A plot summary of the beginning of the book: (The plot is so detailed, I could only summarize the start of the book)
Taran rides back to Caer Dallben, his home hamlet, with his friend, Gurgi. He waits for two of his companions, Fflewddur Fflam and Prince Gwydion, to arrive. But when the two arrive, Taran is shocked to learn that Dyrnwyn has been stolen by Arawn’s minions, The Huntsmen of Annuvin and that Prince Gwydion has been grievously wounded. Taran and all his companions are all told of an eerie prophecy by the oracular pig, Hen Wen. When Gwydion heals sufficiently, he sets out with Taran and most of his companions to meet with King Smoit. When they reach Caer Cadarn, they find Magg, a traitor, instead of King Smoit. Taran and the companions that followed him are then imprisoned.
An summary of an exciting part of The High King: (Yes, I know Taran, the main character is not featured here.)
Dallben, an enchanter, waits at a cottage in Caer Dallben. He is waiting for the time when Pryderi, a traitor king, and nineteen of his men come to try and assassinate him. When he hears the war band from a distance far away, Dallben springs into action and comes out of his cottage. First, Dallben unleashes a severe, biting gale across the forest. The gale only manages to slow Pryderi and his men down, not scaring any of them. Next, Dallben makes the ground shudder and heave like a restless sea. This manages to scare a few of Pryderi's men off, but the rest of them still press on. Finally, Dallben uses his power to create a fire controlled by him. The fire scares all of Pryderi's men away, however Pryderi still moves towards the cottage. Alarmed, Dallben grabs his staff and hobbles into the cottage. In the cottage, a battle between Dallben and Pryderi ensues. Pryderi uses his sword to strike down the enchanter, but the blade shatters when it meets the staff. Pryderi then pulls out a dagger bearing the symbol of Arawn. After a long talk Dallben tells Pryderi some truthful words that point out the evil that he has become. After Pryderi hears these words, he throws the dagger aside and grabs the Book of Three, attempting to destroy it. Instantly, a bolt of lightning comes from the book and kills him.
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