Navigate/Search

“Woe and sadness!” the creature wailed…

Lloyd Alexander, creator of The Chronicles of Prydain, died yesterday at 83. Ironically, in this so-called age of Internet time, as of this hour, ‘his’ site doesn’t reflect this.

I discovered Alexander’s books when I was just past the upper bound of his intended audience’s age. Still, they were a great read, and a wonderful, if indirect, introduction to Welsh mythology. They’re on the list of Things We Intend To Read To The Boy – provided he can wait that long (he’s starting to request time to read by himself in bed instead of bedtime stories).

If you’re a fan of fantasy fiction and all you know of Alexander is Disney’s abominable adaptation of The Black Cauldron, do yourself a favor and try to purge whatever memories you have of that atrocity and give the Chronicles a whirl… It’s definitely written with a lighter touch than any of Tolkien’s work, and more explicitly intended for a ‘young adult’ audience – but it’s really well written and (IMO) still worth a go.

(And yes, the title of this piece quotes Gurgi (who else?) from The Black Cauldron…)

4 Responses to ““Woe and sadness!” the creature wailed…”

  1. karen m Says:

    Damn. I loved the Prydain books too. They’re definitely lighter than Tolkien – as I recall, the books were on the “young” side of Young Adult stuff. But still great.

    A sad day indeed. Sad that The Boy is moving away from bedtime stories, too – but he might still ask for ’em.

  2. karen m Says:

    Damn. I loved the Prydain books too. They're definitely lighter than Tolkien – as I recall, the books were on the "young" side of Young Adult stuff. But still great.

    A sad day indeed. Sad that The Boy is moving away from bedtime stories, too – but he might still ask for 'em.

  3. protected static Says:

    I’d be hard-pressed to state what exactly makes them so ‘young’ – but you’re right, they are. And compared to books today written for the same approximate age groups, forget about it: they’re downright juvenile…

    I’ve read the first two books of Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy (The Golden Compass, The Subtle Knife, and The Amber Spyglass). The main characters are about 10 to 12 years old, and the books touch upon some very adult stuff. As an example, the books are all about parallel worlds, and one brief passage mentions cultures on other worlds so uptight about sexuality that they engage in (male and female) genital mutilation. None of it directly involves the protagonists, but still… you certainly won’t find female circumcision even alluded to in any of the Prydain books. Wholesale slaughter of villages, yes. Cutting naughty bits, no.

    As for bedtime stories, he can’t quit now. We won’t let him. We still have half of Return of the King to get through ;-)

  4. protected static Says:

    I'd be hard-pressed to state what exactly makes them so 'young' – but you're right, they are. And compared to books today written for the same approximate age groups, forget about it: they're downright juvenile…

    I've read the first two books of Pullman's <i>His Dark Materials</i> trilogy (<i>The Golden Compass</i>, <i>The Subtle Knife</i>, and <i>The Amber Spyglass</i>). The main characters are about 10 to 12 years old, and the books touch upon some <em>very</em> adult stuff. As an example, the books are all about parallel worlds, and one brief passage mentions cultures on other worlds so uptight about sexuality that they engage in (male and female) genital mutilation. None of it directly involves the protagonists, but still… you certainly won't find female circumcision even <em>alluded</em> to in any of the <i>Prydain</i> books. Wholesale slaughter of villages, yes. Cutting naughty bits, no.

    As for bedtime stories, he can't quit now. We won't let him. We still have half of <i>Return of the King</i> to get through ;-)

Leave a Reply