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Encyclopedia > The High King
The High King
Recent US paperback cover
Author Lloyd Alexander
Cover Artist Jody Lee
Country United States
Language English
Series The Chronicles of Prydain
Genre(s) Fantasy novel
Publisher Henry Holth
Released June 1968
Media Type Print (Hardcover & Paperback)
ISBN ISBN 0-8050-1114-5 (first edition, hardback)
Preceded by Taran Wanderer

The High King is the last in the Chronicles of Prydain series of books by Lloyd Alexander. Much darker than the previous installations in the series, it is sometimes held as one of the most influential fantasy books written. It was awarded the Newbery Medal for excellence in American children's literature in 1969. Image File history File links Download high-resolution version (511x761, 206 KB)Cover of The High King by Lloyd Alexander. ... Book cover of The High King Lloyd Chudley Alexander (born January 30, 1924) is the author of a number of fantasy books for children and adolescents, as well as several adult novels. ... The English language is a West Germanic language that originates in England. ... The Chronicles of Prydain is a five-volume series of childrens fantasy novels by Lloyd Alexander. ... Look up Fantasy in Wiktionary, the free dictionary For other definitions of fantasy, see fantasy (psychology). ... A hardcover (or hardback or hardbound) book is bound with rigid protective covers (typically of cardboard covered with cloth or heavy paper) and a stitched spine. ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article may require cleanup. ... Taran Wanderer is the fourth book in the Chronicles of Prydain series by Lloyd Alexander. ... The Chronicles of Prydain is a five volume series of childrens fantasy novels by Lloyd Alexander. ... Book cover of The High King Lloyd Chudley Alexander (born January 30, 1924) is the author of a number of fantasy books for children and adolescents, as well as several adult novels. ... The John Newbery Medal is a literary award given by the Association for Library Service to Children of the American Library Association (ALA) to the author of the most outstanding American book for children. ... The examples and perspective in this article or section may not represent a worldwide view. ... 1969 (MCMLXIX) was a common year starting on Wednesday (the link is to a full 1969 calendar). ...


Plot summary

The story begins as the Assistant Pig-Keeper Taran, his companion Gurgi, and the raven Kaw return to Caer Dallben in time to find that Princess Eilonwy, the love of his life, has returned to him. After Taran's adventure of self-discovery in Taran Wanderer, he realized that all he wants to do now is be with Eilonwy, even if he isn't of noble blood. Eilonwy escaping the dungeons Princess Eilonwy is a fictional character in Lloyd Alexanders The Chronicles of Prydain. ... Taran Wanderer is the fourth book in the Chronicles of Prydain series by Lloyd Alexander. ...


Before he confesses his feelings to her, however, he is interrupted by his old comrades in arms, the bard-king Fflewddur Fflam and Gwydion, Prince of Don. Gwydion is badly injured and seeks refuge in Caer Dallben. It is later determined that Arawn, using Taran's form as a guise, lured Fflewddur and Gwydion into an ambush and seized from Gwydion the black sword Dyrnwyn. Due to the nature of this event, as the magical black sword is pivotal to the downfall of Arawn, Dallben uses Hen Wen to divine what to do. However, Hen Wen's prophecies are vague at best, and the last reading causes the letter sticks themselves to burst and break.


As the companions are once again gathered, it is revealed that war now looms on the horizon. Taran and his companions, under the Banner of the White Pig (made of an embroidery Eilonwy presented to Taran on their reunion), begin to go through the lands Taran had recently wandered through in his past adventures in an effort to gather supporters for the coming battles ahead. However, the betrayal of a former ally to Caer Dathyl, castle of the Prydain High King Math, leads to the downfall of the High King and a major victory for the forces of Annuvin.


Under the leadership of the new High King, Gwydion, the remaining loyal forces march on Annuvin in a last effort to stop Arawn. Eventually, the prophecies of Hen Wen come true, leading up to Taran finding Dyrnwyn in a hidden cache on Mount Dragon. The sword comes free from its sheath in his hand for the first time, (the words on it, previously unintelligible, come into full view stating that the weapon could only be handled by one of noble worth rather than noble birth) and he uses it to deal the killing blow to the once-invincible Cauldron-Born undead solders. Taran confronts the dark lord Arawn in his castle and slays him. Dyrnwyn, also known as the flaming sword and the black sword, is the sword of Prince Gwydion in Lloyd Alexanders Chronicles of Prydain. ...


The final prophecies of Hen Wen then come true, as Dyrnwyn's power and all magic begin to fade away from Prydain. Taran and his friends all celebrate the end of Arawn, but this ending also means that those who still have the dwindling gift of magic, including those of the royal lineages of old, would leave for the Summer Country as was prophesised by their ancestors. All of them are invited to go, and at first Taran is eager to join them, now planning to marry Eilonwy.


However, after a final visit with the Three Sisters, he realizes that so much still needed to be done in Prydain, so many promises he made to departed friends and companions during this journey that he finally has the chance to fulfill. Therefore, he announces that he will stay in Prydain and finish what was left unfinished, feeling it is his responsibility to do so. Eilonwy, desperate to stay with him, gives up all her magical power to be able to remain with Taran in Prydain and, through a simple marriage ceremony peformed by Dallben, becomes his wife.


Dallben then gives Taran the Book of Three and reveals that this decision of Taran's was the last link in a path where Taran would thus become High King of Prydain. Thus, as all of his close friends finally depart for the Summer Country, High King Taran and High Queen Eilonwy step out of Dallben's cottage to greet the many people assembled there.


The Chronicles of Prydain
Books
The Book of Three (1964) | The Black Cauldron (1965) | The Castle of Llyr (1966) | Taran Wanderer (1967) | The High King (1968) | The Foundling and Other Tales from Prydain (1970)
Characters
Achren | Angharad | Arawn | Coll | Dallben | Doli | Eiddileg | Princess Eilonwy | Fflewddur Fflam | The Horned King | Glew | Gurgi | Gwydion | Magg | Maibon | High King Math | Medwyn | Orddu, Orwen and Orgoch | Prince Rhun | Pryderi | Rhitta | Taran
Other media
The Black Cauldron (film) | The Black Cauldron (video game)
Animals
Gwythaints | Hen Wen | Kaw | Llyan | Lluagor | Melyngar | Melynlas
Places
Annuvin | Caer Cadarn | Caer Colur | Caer Dallben | Caer Dathyl | Cantrevs | Free Commots | Isle of Mona | Marshes of Morva | Spiral Castle | Summer Country
Other
The Book of Three | The Black Cauldron | Cauldron-Born | Dyrnwyn | Fair Folk | Golden Pelydryn | Huntsmen | Mirror of Llunet
Preceded by:
From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler
Newbery Medal recipient
1969
Succeeded by:
Sounder

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