Taran Wanderer is the fourth book in the Chronicles of Prydain series by Lloyd Alexander.
Taran, Assistant Pig-Keeper of Caer Dallben want to be a pig-keeper no longer, as he nears his manhood. He sets out on a quest with his faithful friend and companion Gurgi. And not just some quest, the most important quest anyone could ever go on. A quest to find out who he really is.
This is the book where Taran really comes into his own, and truly grows. In the previous books, he still had his childish moments at times, but here the things he faces, and learns, are much more grown-up. Taran struggles with not knowing who he is and where he came from, who his parents are and whether or not they were high-born. He secretly hopes to be high-born, so he can be worthy of Eilonwy (who is still on the Isle of Mona, by the way), and because he associates being high-born with being noble in a way.
But he learns along the way what it means to be truly noble, to care for friends and strangers alike. To learn real skills, that have meaning and purpose. To own up to his mistakes, and to understand his assumptions are just that…assumptions. Sometimes you need to do, to act, to learn something worthwhile.
I like that Taran isn’t infallible, that he sometimes is in the wrong, and that he thinks ugly thoughts. That he isn’t quite sure of himself, and who he wants to be. He stops being a child and is well on his way to become a man.