The Castle of Llyr by Lloyd Alexander

Have you ever liked someone, but you were afraid to tell them? For whatever the reason, you are scared of what they would say, or do? That is exactly how Taran feels in the story, The Castle of Llyr.

Taran, Assistant Pig-Keeper, is in love with Princess Eilonwy, but she is not aware. He knows they can never be together, for she is way out of his league. Eilonwy is a spirited, young, Princess of Caer Dallban and is being forced to come to the Island of Mona, to start her proper education on how to be a princess.

Upon arriving to Mona, they meet the Prince, Prince Ruhn. Taran despises Prince Ruhn for many reasons. He was a very annoying and spoiled person, however the thing that drove him crazy was in reality, not even Prince Ruhn’s fault. He hated Prince Ruhn, for he could do the very thing that he could never do, be with Princess Eilonwy. The thought alone drove him mad and anytime that Prince Ruhn was near he became very bitter and cross with anyone. He was the jealous type.

While in Mona, Taran receives hints that the evil enchantress, Achren, is near and advises Eilonwy to be more careful and not leave the castle for any “adventures.” She believes that Taran is trying to keep her cooped up in the castle just to make her mad, in which she is very mistaken. While only out of Taran’s protective eye for a while, Eilonwy gets captured by Magg, the war chief. Taran presumes that he has captured her and is taking her to Achren, which could be very dangerous. The thought alone of Eilonwy being harmed is what keeps him searching longer and harder than anyone else.

Taran has the king gather many warriors to save Eilonwy, this group including Prince Ruhn. Prince Ruhn only caused more problems for them. He ran off to find her leaving them all behind, causing them to search for him. This leads to them spending less time searching for Princess Eilonwy, which only makes Taran despise Prince Ruhn even more.

Now they find Eilonwy and must save her, but Taran must make sure that Prince Ruhn sees no harm either, for he has promised the king that he would do so. But will he watch after the one who will tear him apart from his true love? Or will her save the girl he loves, only to end up losing her to Prince Ruhn, whom he already loathes, in the end? Or is there a possibility that Achren will destroy any hopes of saving Eilonwy at all?

I personally find this book very interesting, it is definitely not the most fascinating story ever written, in my opinion, but it’s not a terrible story. Yes, some parts are a little bit cliché; I mean there is always a damsel in distress in any folktales/fairytales. No offense to any authors out there, but why can’t the man ever be the one in trouble?

Although the book is a little bit predictable for my taste, the characters are very intriguing. Taran hides his broken heart, to make Eilonwy happy. Eilonwy is oblivious to this of course, for she is too occupied in having adventures with plenty of sword fights and more. That is until she must be “properly educated in being a princess.” Prince Ruhn only wishes to please his family and live up to his title, but comes off as a want to be prince, who thinks he knows everything already. The tall tale has many more characters with their own individual personalities, including an unusually large cat. Don’t fret, it will all become clear when you read the book!

I do recommend this book; it’s actually a really good story. I hate to admit it, but when I saw the book, I thought it would be a boring story, and a complete waste of my time. It just didn’t seem like my style of reading. Then as I got further into the tale, I found myself jumping into the character’s perspective and thinking about what I would do in a situation similar to the likes of those. Then I finally understood the theme of the book. Everything isn’t always what is seems to be, sometimes you just have to take a deeper look.

Will Princess Eilonwy see that there is more to Taran than just an Assistant Pig-Keeper? Or will it be too late? What do you think will happen? Read the book and you will soon find out!





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