Thursday, January 25, 2007

What it Means to be a Hero

I recently (as in this morning)finished reading The Chronicles of Prydain by Lloyd Alexander. This series of five books, written in the mid-1960s, encompasses all that is good about fantasy novels. Like The Lord of the Rings, we have a funky looking character who turns out to be of a decent sort (that would be Gurgi in the Prydain novels), an unlikely hero in Taran, Assistant Pig-Keeper and a few wise mentors in the form of Prince Gwydain and Dallben.

And what hero novel would be complete without someone like Eilonwey, a princess and enchantress who refuses to be left at home to embroider while all of the men go off to battle?

I have enjoyed reading the five books, and I can understand why my boyfriend (the person who recommended them to me in the first place) searched far and wide for more in the series when he read them as a kid. I don't want to stop knowing Prydain. I want to know what happens to Taran and Eilonwy in the future.

I also want to know if being heroic really means choosing "a kingdom of sorrow over a kingdom of happiness"?

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