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Chronicles of Prydain Books In Order

Publication Order of Chronicles Of Prydain Books

The Book of Three (1964) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Black Cauldron (1965) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Castle of Llyr (1966) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Taran Wanderer (1967) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The High King (1968) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Publication Order of Picture Books

Coll and His White Pig (1965) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Truthful Harp (1967) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Publication Order of Short Story Collections

The Foundling and Other Tales of Prydain (1973) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

The Chronicles of Prydain is a series of fantasy novels that were written by Lloyd Alexander. The books follow the exploits of a young man who gets his chance to be a glorious hero when an evil Lord and his army of the undead threaten to overrun the land.

+The Story

The Chronicles of Prydain series began publication in 1964 and ended in 1968, with Alexander publishing one book every year. The series has been described as Lord of the Rings for children.

Many a child of the 60s and 70s and even the 80s who found the Lord of the Rings too complex and couldn’t get into the Chronicles of Narnia found solace in these books which follow the popular trope of a young relatively innocent protagonist that must face off against an evil lord, save the Kingdom, and win the heart of a princess.

Lloyd Alexander got his combat training in Wales during the Second World War. The author had already nurtured a love for mythology. Not only did he fall in love with Wales with its landscapes and castles and culture but he felt drawn to Welsh myths and legends.

So it came as no surprise when the author embarked on a journey to write the Chronicles of Prydain, a series of books that are heavily inspired by Welsh Mythology. Though, Alexander has disputed claims that his work is a retelling of Welsh myths.

The books take place in Prydain, a magical land that has been in a state of conflict against their neighbor, Annuvin for a long time. Annuvin is the land of death.

According to Alexander’s lore, Prydain was once ruled by an evil queen called Achren. She was eventually defeated and a new kingdom rose in the ruins of her regime, a kingdom ruled by a single High King who, along with his war leader, provided guidance to the numerous smaller kings that controlled Prydain’s many territories.

The Book of Three, the first book in the Chronicles of Prydain series, introduces readers to Taran. The hero of the story, Taran is a young boy working on a farm. Taran’s prospects for the future do not look especially attractive.

Others would be happy to simply have work. But Taran wants more. Taran wants to be a hero. He wants to take up the sword like the knights he admires and do his part to protect Prydain.

Taran’s dreams begin to manifest when he is assigned the task of looking after Hen Wen. Hen Wen is a pig and he is supposed to have special prophetic powers. Taran initially scoffs at these claims.

And he is far from amused by his title of assistant pig-keeper. But Taran has always been a responsible young man, so much so that when Hen Wen runs away, Taran immediately gives chase.

The decision sets Taran on a collision course with destiny.

It is revealed that Arawn, the Death Lord, is in Prydain and he wants to locate Hen Wen because of his prophetic powers. It turns out that Annuvin’s forces have begun to march against Prydain, and Prydain is more than ready to meet Arawn’s attack.

However, both sides seem determined to acquire Hen Wen because of the insight his prophetic powers can offer. Taran agrees to participate in the search for Hen Wen. As the series progresses, the young man is thrust into the very center of the battle to defeat the Death Lord.

Taran quickly finds that being a hero is no easy task. And Arawn is no ordinary foe. For one thing, the death lord has a terrifying champion and war leader in the form of the Horned King.

Even more fearsome is the army of the undead that Arawn has summoned with the black cauldron. Fortunately for Taran, he isn’t without allies. Along the way, the protagonist meets Princess Eilowny, a girl who comes from a long line of powerful enchantresses whose abilities prove especially useful to Taran’s cause.
Then there’s Fflewddur Fflam, the minor king of an insignificant kingdom who frequently leaves his territory to play the role of an unofficial wandering bard.
Gurgi is a blend between a man and a beast and his loyalty proves invaluable to the team. There’s also Doli, a member of the Fair Folk, Dallben and a whole host of uniquely talented individuals.

+Adaptations

The Chronicles of Prydain series was adapted into an animated film by Walt Disney in 1985. The animated movie, titled ‘The Black Cauldron’, cobbled together elements from the first two movies.

It did not perform well, with reviewers criticizing it for being too dark, too somber and too disjointed.

Lloyd Alexander was always quick to point out that Disney made so many alterations with their adaptation that the final film barely resembled his books. Though, he admitted that he enjoyed the film.

+The Author

Lloyd Alexander was an American author born in 1924. He was 83-years-old when he died. Alexander spent more than a decade writing fiction and nonfiction for adults. And all his novels were rejected until 1955 when his first published work garnered some attention.

Even then, the author struggled to gain traction in the publishing arena until 1963 when he wrote his first fantasy book for children and was rewarded with success and a surprising sense of satisfaction.

Alexander finally realized where he belonged, that first book (Time Cat) paving the way for the Prydain novels.

+The Book of Three

Taran has always wanted to be a hero. But working on a farm never really gave him the opportunities to take up the sword, master his craft and fight evil. When he is assigned the task of looking after a pig with prophetic powers, Taran does not yet realize just how drastically his life will change.

Then the pig runs away and Taran goes after it, unaware that the animal knows a very important secret and some truly dangerous people are hunting it as a result.

+The Black Cauldron

Taran, his pig Hen Wen and the rest of their friends are in the thick of a battle to save Prydain. Arawn has an army of zombie soldiers at his beck and call. And if the armies of Prydain want to stand a chance of defeating him, then Taran must steal Arawn’s Black Cauldron and rob him of his ability to create more undead soldiers.

Book Series In Order » Characters » Chronicles of Prydain