The Castle of Llyr is the third book in the Chronicles of Prydain by Lloyd Alexander.
Princess Eilonwy travels to the Isle of Mona, where she will be fostered by the kind king and queen of Mona, with Taran and Gurgi to see her off. She must learn what it means to be a lady, even though she doesn’t want to. But when they get to Mona, it is revealed to Taran that Eilonwy is in danger. For the evil enchantress Achren is after her, and her talents.
When I read the blurb where it said Eilonwy was leaving to learn how to be a real lady, my first thought was ‘Ah hell naw!’ There was no way Eilonwy was going to fit in at court, and she wouldn’t even want to. I looked forward to seeing whatever mishaps would happen and what kind of adventures she would be a part of. I don’t know why, but I assumed I’d be seeing things from Eilonwy’s point of view. But I was wrong.
Taran is the only POV character in this series, and I should’ve expected nothing to change. It did feel like a bit of a let down though, in the very beginning. Yet it was an easy adjustment, and when Gwydion appeared to let Taran know that Achren was back and after Eilonwy, the book really got going and didn’t really let up. Eilonwy is kidnapped the next morning, and the companions – Taran, Flewddur the bard, Gurgi and Prince Rhun – go to find her.
Let’s talk about Prince Rhun: he’s adorably annoying in a way, but I grew to like him pretty quickly. He’s a clutz, but he’s got a good heart and he can be brave. The fact that he wants to learn how to be a better Prince shows he cares about his Isle and his people, and that he is aware of his shortcomings, yet that doesn’t deter him from trying his hardest. I hope we see/hear about him in later books, at least to know whether he’s become dependable.
Taran’s growing up, and his feelings for Eilonwy are as confusing to him as her behaviour/babbling at times. His horror when he hears that the king of Mona plans for Eilonwy and Rhun to marry at some point is well written, and his quick acceptance of that fact despite his sorrow shows that he cares more for Eilonwy’s well-being than his own. Of course, Eilonwy is having none of that.
Fflewddur and Gurgi as always make great companions, and I enjoy how Fflewdur always seems up for anything, and tries to look at the bright side of things, even when he’s sure they’re going to die. I remember thinking Gurgi’s whole shtick was going to become tiresome when reading The Book of Three, but it hasn’t.
I’m looking forward to the next book!