Companions: the Chronicles of Prydain fanlisting

About the Chronicles

"Bards are supposed to understand these things," Taran said.

The Chronicles of Prydain series, alternatively known as the Prydain Chronicles, takes place in a fantasy universe based on Welsh legend. (Prydain is the Welsh form of 'Britain'.) The series' main source is the Mabinogion. It was originally intended to be a more straightforward adaptation of certain Welsh myths, but Lloyd Alexander's editor helped him shape it into a quest-oriented story featuring a hero and heroine with whom young adult readers could identify.

The series follows an unlikely hero, Taran the Assistant Pig-Keeper, and his band of faithful companions: Eilonwy, a princess with no throne but a latent magical heritage; Fflewddur, an unofficial bard of the harp; Gurgi, a creature of uncertain species but unwavering loyalty; and Doli, a dwarf who wants to be valued for more than his ability to become invisible. Together they become involved a struggle against the evil sorcerers who seek to conquer Prydain and to turn it into a land of slavery and misery.

Although primarily a quest epic, the Chronicles are also a coming-of-age story. Character is as important as plot, and the third and fourth volumes of the series take a side view of the main plot in order to concentrate on the coming to adulthood of the hero and heroine. The series is also distinguished by its humane wisdom, its witty, catchphrase-heavy dialogue, and its more than usual darkness and moral complexity for its genre. It has long been a favourite with children, adult readers and critics alike. The final volume, The High King, won the prestigious Newbery Medal.