The Castle of Llyr (Pyrdain Chronicles)

by Lloyd Alexander

Paperback, 1969



Call number

PB Ale

Call number

PB Ale

Local notes

PB Ale




Yearling (1969), Paperback, 208 pages


When Princess Eilonwy is sent to the Isle of Mona for training, she is bewitched by the evil enchantress Achren, so Taran and other friends must try to rescue her.

Original publication date


Physical description

208 p.; 7.63 inches

User reviews

LibraryThing member HippieLunatic
This was the most enjoyable of the Prydain novels that I have read to date. Yes, I am a romantic, and yes, I am a girl. Perhaps the lack of journeying for journey's sake and the introduction of some emotion beyond bravery and lack thereof was what made this so much better for me. I felt as though
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the characters became more real and rounded. Taran is no longer just an assistant pig-keeper who hates to be known as such. Eilonwy is no longer just a snotty-nosed little girl.

But there is still adventure and journeying in this novel as well. However, with rounded characters that I am able to connect with beyond irritation, the adventure and traveling seems to mean more to me. Instead of feeling as though they should just 'be there already" I was able to enjoy the growth and development of the characters.
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LibraryThing member StormRaven
The third book in the Chronicles of Prydain, and in my opinion, the weakest of the five books. However, the weakest of these five books is still a great book. In the book, Dallben decides that Eilonwy (who has been living at Caer Dallben sicne the end of The Book of Three) should go to the island
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of Mona and learn to become a lady. Taran and Gurgi escort her through the journey, and meet Prince Rhun, who captains the ship they take to the island. Once there, Taran finds that both Fflewddur and Gwydion are there too, and Gwydion tells Taran that Eilonwy may be in danger.

Of course, Eilonwy is kidnapped, and the intrepid companions with Prince Rhun and several soldiers set out to find her. Taran, Fflewdur, and Gurgi find an bandoned house, a mysterious blank book, and are trapped by a giant housecat. They escape but are later trapped by a giant dwarf named Glew, and have to escape again. Finally they track Eilonwy to Caer Colur, an abandoned tower by the sea where Aachren has ensorcelled Eilonwy. Secrets are revealed concerning the blank book and Eilonwy's bauble and Aachren's power over Eilonwy is broken.

After the far-reaching adventure of The Book of Three and the intensity of The Black Cauldron, the plot of The Castle of Llyr seems like something of a let down. While the pursuit and recovery of Eilonwy turns out to be a signifcant affair, the side quests involving the cat Llyan and the dwarf Glew are silly enough to detract from the resut of the story, which gives this tale a light-hearted quality that seems out of place in between The Black Cauldron and Taran Wanderer. On the other hand, if all five books were dark and brooding, then the story would probably be dragged down under its own weight, so the tone of the book is probably necessary.
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LibraryThing member saeriellyn
As a closet romantic, I have to admit that this is my favorite book in the series, although it is not as deep or inspiring, perhaps, as the subsequent two sequels.

The third in the Prydain installment, this one centers on Taran's budding realization of his love for Eilonwy, who must now
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inconveniently be parted from him for training befitting her royal heritage. He escorts her to some distant royal kin on the aisle of Mona, but when danger befalls her, he is plunged into yet another adventure.

In keeping with the coming-of-age theme that runs throughout the series, Taran is faced again with his own pride and selfishness, this time in the form of an unwelcome obligation to protect a hapless prince who is, unbeknownst to her, Eilonwy's intended. Tormented by his by-now-familiar idealism, he wrestles with the unfairness of fate that makes royalty out of the "unworthy" while passing him by, and ultimately is faced with sacrificing his own desires for the good of those he loves.

The romantic elements are low-key and understated - Alexander never forgets the youth of his target audience. The majority of the book is filled with the usual action, tripping from one dilemma to another, and introducing new and colorful characters that will, in a growing pattern, become crucial later on. In Alexander's world, there are no throw-away roles.

Some readers find this particular book to be an inconsistent sidetrack in the thread of the main plot, in that there is no mention of the key antagonist, Arawn, and the stakes seem a little lower - i.e. it's the life of one character rather than the whole kingdom hanging in the balance. To those of us who love Eilonwy, however, no stakes could be higher. Just ask Taran.
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LibraryThing member bookwitch24
This book is slightly more romantic in nature than the first two as Taran realizes his feelings for Eilonwy. The gang still has a great adventure, meeting new friends as always. A good read, though not my favorite of the series.
LibraryThing member Jiraiya
Reading this third installment of The Chronicles of Prydain brings back memories. It is at the same time masterful, clumsy, ageless, dated, epic, childish, you get the idea, or you don't. There is a duality of nostalgia. Nostalgia for books printed in the sixties that were treading fresh and
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uncharted ground.

There is also a feeling for bygone if imaginary eras. The fact that the stories don't figure much bombastic magic, fire and brimstone, the whole 9 yards, reinforce that feeling. Prydain as we see it through the lens of the author, is about powerful spells slowly being erased from the minds of witches and wizards, phoenixes that forget how to get back to the living, Griffins and pixies that die eggless and childless. The book doesn't feature all of this, but the unshakable decline clings to the dna of Book Three.

Now for the clumsy stuff. I really thought Prince Rhun was really acting retard. He went full retard so I thought, hey, who is he kidding. But no, he was playing it straight. When Princess Eilowny went with Magg, I thought they were just ambling about. I was adamant that this could hardly be a setup for a quest. Taran doesn't seem to grow in maturity. He is mature only in the last two chapters of each book. Gurgi is the one who changed somewhat, albeit with little gradient. The Bard tells only two lies here so he too has changed. I don't want to analyze the hindrances of Taran's quest because they exude the same flimsy framework of a saga condensed in a child's story. So I give the book 3 stars, because it's so clean, naive, simple, and unapologetic.
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LibraryThing member kraaivrouw
This is the third book in The Chronicles of Prydain by Lloyd Alexander. In a way, this is Princess Eilonwy's tale, where she is sent off to the King and Queen of Mona to learn to be a young lady. Naturally, that involves lots of needlework and hairwashing and dancing about and listening to other
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young ladies prattle and Eilonwy hates it. Can you blame her? So it's not surprising that she runs off with Magg, the evil chief steward and gets herself into a bad spot with the dreaded Queen Achren.

Luckily for Eilonwy she has her intrepid band of friends to save her! All the fellowship makes an appearance here along with Prince Rhun of Mona who is bumbling and endearing and exasperating. Here we meet Llyan, too! Best of all, while her friends help to save her in the end Eilonwy saves herself. Now that's an inspiring message for little girls!

I still love these books even after all these years. It's been nice reading them again!
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LibraryThing member MeditationesMartini
Alexander loses a bit of the steam built up by The Black Cauldron here (if that's even a thing that can happen, and not a nonsensical metaphor betraying a kind of goony conception of the way narrative or reading or even the publishing industry works?) in switching to what he calls a quiet, interior
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story compared to the echt heroics of the series at large. It has its moments--the "sea islands" milieu, which is always bracing; the giant housecat Llyan; the kid-shudderfying climax where Taran finally finds Eilonwy and she doesn't know him, because what every kid fears is the day when the world will turn upside-down and your family won't recognize you; but it's hampered by a sense that the smaller and more intimate nature of the story leaves Taran, who is still ostensibly our hero, exposed and ridiculous--where in the prior books he is blustering because unseasoned, trying his best to grow into a hero of legend by "being more than he is" and not recognizing that it's the muddling through more than his indifferent swordplay and propensity to speak "firmly" to everyone about everything, here he's pitched too high and it makes him seem like a c*ck. And the worst kind of c*ck--the kind where the author doesn't recognize his character's a c*ck and colludes as a result. Like, we are meant to execrate "Magg" if you didn't guess, and treat the sorrows of the little giant Glew as comical because he is intemperate enough to effuse them, and find Prince Rhun ridiculous and scornworthy because he's a nice dreamy guy but then ultimately come around because he shows his "mettle", and see e.g. Fflewddur Fflam as a good, wholesome, manly friend for Taran because he expresses the right sentiments, but also recognize that he's a beta hero not an alpha hero because, again, he's intemperate, and expression of feelings, except in a clenched, single-tear way, is somehow foolish (permitted for the women and the supporting cast, natch). and I dunno, when you're into "mettle" vs. "feelings", you're dangerously close to all kinds of traditional masculine symbolic complexes that Alexander probably didn't even recognize his problematic relation toward, and when it shows its not infrequent flashes of charm I want to like this book more than I do but then there are moments when you feel like it might as well have been called (the Beastie Boys' original, rejected title for the Licensed to Ill album) Don't be a F*gg*t.
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LibraryThing member atimco
Third in the Chronicles of Prydain, The Castle of Llyr takes a step back from the dark, heady events of the previous book for a more lighthearted and humorous scene on the Isle of Mona. There Princess Eilonwy must go to receive proper training as a lady and also, incidentally, remove herself from
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the sorceress Achren's reach. Achren, who wishes to exploit the girl's latent magical abilities, will stop at nothing to regain the power she once exercised over the land of Prydain. And even on Mona it seems Eilonwy is not safe, as Taran and his friends soon learn.

This story introduces Prince Rhun, the lovably clumsy heir of Mona's throne who seems to have a soft spot for the spunky Eilonwy. Taran, dimly aware of his own feelings for her, naturally doesn't take an instant liking to his rival, who nevertheless becomes very hard to dislike as the story goes on. Though his accidents and dull wits cause the company more than one mishap in their quest to rescue the princess, under his irrepressibly cheerful disposition Rhun knows it. And it's hard to hold it against him. Lloyd Alexander again presents his readers with a subtle moral example of learning unselfishness and making the right decision even when it doesn't mirror how we feel. And Taran's never a goody-two-shoes about it, either; he acts very much as we might and when he does make a selfless choice, it's never easy for him.

Though I enjoy this story, it was always my least favorite of the Chronicles (one of them had to be). Eilonwy's absence for much of the tale is a minus. However, I found I appreciated it more on this reread as Alexander continues to develop Taran's character and set up the romantic angle for the next books. Young adult fantasy readers can do much worse than visit Mona with Taran and Eilonwy!
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LibraryThing member t1bclasslibrary
Taran and Fflewdder are joined by a giant cat in a mission to save Eilonwy from Achren. They face their own set of perils including a giant on the way, but in the end it is Eilonwy who must save them from herself. She must escape Achren's spell and remember who she is.
LibraryThing member mariacle
In the third book in the Chronicles of Prydain series, the Princess Eilonwy is sent off to the Isle of Mona to learn how a young lady and a princess should behave. Taran travels with Eilonwy to the Isle of Mona where he meets up with Gwydion and Fflwedur Fflam, and an old enemy resurfaces and
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threatens Eilonwy.
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LibraryThing member porch_reader
This is the third book in the Chronicles of Prydain, and it is my favorite one so far. The characters of Taran and Eilonwy continue to develop. Once again, they are accompanied by Gurgi and Fflewddur Fflam on an adventure to defeat the forces of evil. The story moves along quickly, and after a few
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plot twists, a resolution is achieved. It's a satisfying story, but the best part is the new supporting characters. Prince Rhun and Llyan especially add new dimensions to the story.
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LibraryThing member tloeffler
Part of the Chronicles of Prydain series. Eilonwy is sent away from Caer Dallben to learn the ways of women. She is kidnapped and bewitched by Achren. Taran and the others go on a search for her.
This series improves as it goes along. I like that the characters are maturing and learning from their
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mistakes. The pacing in this book was much better than in the first two books. I'm anxious to continue the series!
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LibraryThing member jasmyn9
Prinecess Eilonwy has been sent off to train to become a lady. Taran and faithful Gurgi accompany her and what is expected to be a peaceful voyage and farewell. Of course, things never work out the way they seem. Achren, the enchantress, is back and up to no good. Then one day the Princess goes
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The companions find themselves together once again on a hunt to find the Princess Eilonwy before Achren can cause her harm. Along the way we meet my favorite minor character in the book....a very large feline. She's wonderful, and reminded me of my own cats.

The book overall is a great story. I'll be holding onto it so that I can read it with my daughter in a couple years.

4/5 stars
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LibraryThing member The_Hibernator
The Castle of Llyr is the third book in the Chronicles of Prydain. Princess Eilonwy is sent off to the care of the King and Queen of Mona to become a lady. When Taran accompanies her, he finds a romantic rival as well as a sinister plot. This book was just as cute as the earlier books—maybe a
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little cuter because of Taran’s frustrating realization that he is romantically interested in Eilonwy.
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LibraryThing member humouress
This is book 3 of the Chronicles of Prydain, and continues the tale of Taran, the Assistant Pig-Keeper and his friends. Princess Eilonwy is to leave Caer Dallben for the Isle of Mona, to learn how to be a proper young lady. Taran knows he is going to miss her, and is allowed to escort her to her
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new home. But new adventures, old friends and old enemies await, as well as new companions.

I must admit that I read this book in two parts, and the reading went more smoothly after my (inadvertent) break, but initially Gurgi (who seems to be a clone of Gollum from LoTR), constantly moaning about his 'poor, tender head' annoyed me. Later on, I appreciated the way Alexander always finds a couple of appropriate rhyming words for Gurgi to describe every action. Overall, it's a well written book, given that it's written for children. It concentrates on the characters (primarily Taran) and their feelings, but sketches in details of events and surroundings. If you take the time and imagination to fill them in, you catch a glimpse of the world of Prydain.
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LibraryThing member TnTexas
The kids and I enjoyed this book as much as the other two in the series. With Eilonwy missing, the stakes are the highest they've ever been; but I'd still give it an overall description of Serious and adventurous with a touch of comedy - a perfect combination.
LibraryThing member SunnySD
When Princess Eilonwy is ordered to the Isle of Mona to learn to be a lady, it's only natural that Taran and Gurgi go along as escorts. But not all is as it seems at court, and when Eilonwy is kidnapped and old friends and old enemies reappear... it's good fun for the reader, but not so easy on the
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LibraryThing member hobbitprincess
This third book in the Prydain Chronicles is just as good as the others. Eilonwy is sent away to become a young lady, only to run into much larger troubles. Romance continues to blossom between her and Taran, and an evil person is taken down a peg or two. Like the other books, this one can stand
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alone, but I like having read the other two first. Now, two more to go in the series.
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LibraryThing member Diwanna
Part three of the excellent Prydain series. I must read for all fantasy buffs.
LibraryThing member JechtShot
In third novel of the The Chronicles of Prydain, The Castle of Llyr, Princess Eilonwy is escorted to the Isle of Mona to begin training as a 'lady'. However, upon reaching Mona, the Princess is kidnapped by one of Achren's minions and Taran (assistant pig-keeper to the stars) is dispatched to
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assist with the rescue.

The Castle of Llyr was an enjoyable read, but the storyline was not quite as engaging as the previous two. Taran continues to mature and realizes that he has "more than friends" feeling for Eilonwyn. Could an assistant pig-keeper manage to court a princess? Time will tell.
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LibraryThing member Hamburgerclan
Okay, this sequel to "The Book of Three" isn't as uninspired as "The Black Cauldron". While it gathers all of the same old characters again it does offer a bit of character development. (romantic character development, true, but character development nonetheless) It might even be worth your while
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to check this out.
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LibraryThing member JenJ.
In the introduction, Lloyd Alexander mentions that what Eilonwy does in this book is just as important as what the male heroes do, so I was disappointed to discover that she remains offstage for almost the entire story and her big moment seemed a bit of a letdown to me. Prince Rhun was an excellent
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addition though and I hope he returns in the later books.

Listened to Listening Library edition narrated by James Langton. Previously read for Children's Literature in Spring 2007.
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LibraryThing member tapestry100
Of the Prydain Chronicles, I feel that this is the weakest of the lot. It falls back on too many clichés, the most obvious being the "damsel in distress who needs rescuing" theme as laid out in Eilonwy's capture and subsequent need of rescuing. This book serves it's purpose to move the story along
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and develop the characters more, but it doesn't do much else.
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LibraryThing member therebelprince
In which Eilonwy is given a new opportunity, but all is built on sand...

The third book of The Chronicles of Prydain is my favourite thus far. Yet it's a far different beast from the previous two.

I was worried after The Black Cauldron that each book would just be a straightforward quest story
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reuniting all the same characters. Instead, I longed for a Narnia-esque series in which different aspects of Prydain could be explored. For this novel, we do get a reunion of the main characters, but most of the supporting cast take some time off, which creates a sense of difference here. Eilonwy is one of the series' strongest characters, and it's wonderful to discover her backstory - even if most of it was unknown even to the princess herself. Unfortunately, she's sidelined for most of the novel, but thankfully the young lady has so impressed us in previous books that we genuinely fear for her safety. (Sadly, the 'Big Bad' of the series is also sidelined for the most part, which is a shame since she has a great presence.)

Alexander uses the quest for Eilonwy to explore new parts of Prydain, and to add a lot of history and mysticism. It really works, and creates a sense that things are going to build nicely in the final two books. As always, he mixes a moral quest with haunting reality, and creates genuine obstacles for his characters to overcome.

Still, The Castle of Llyr bears a couple of the same flaws as its predecessors. I listen to a lot of audio plays, and the dialogue here is sometimes similar. Even when they're being chased by a giant mountain lion, the characters speak in lengthy, descriptive passages. Alexander could surely accomplish the same things with passages of prose instead! This is more annoying in this book than previous, because there are some interesting character developments that could have been more subtly handled. Taran is discovering his feelings for Eilonwy, and the new character of Prince Rhun turns out to have a lovely arc. I can see how it would work on television or film, whereas here the arc seems a bit deflated. He develops from fool to fool aware of his status to reluctant hero. Late in the book, it becomes clear that he's realising something exists between Eilonwy and Taran, even as he hopes to be her betrothed. Still, this all comes across in expository conversations, rather than anything more.

Ultimately, The Castle of Llyr is strong enough in its set pieces and quest narrative that it overcomes these weaknesses. The final setting - a half-sunken castle - is gorgeous, and I'll be very interested to see where Alexander takes these characters (both heroes and villains) as we head into the final two novels. There is a slowly growing tension here, but as yet nothing that suggests the series is coming to its end. I can easily see Prydain being further explored for many books to come. Still, I can't wait to experience the next one.
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LibraryThing member themulhern
Lloyd Alexander was on a roll with these books. I think that this is one of the lightest in the series, barely more than a single rescue operation. Of course, there is an encounter with a solipsistic giant and his cat to liven things up.

Eilonwy's similes don't always work for me, but the narrator
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delivers them so nicely that they are never tedious.
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