Thursday, April 15, 2010

Influential Book: The Chronicles of Prydain and Taran Wanderer

Reading thuRsday

One of the series I read after The Chronicles of Narnia and Lord of the Rings was Lloyd Alexander's The Chronicles of Prydain.

I owe my sense of Wales as a magical place almost entirely to Mr. Alexander's books.

When I read the entire series to my son several years ago, I saw with my adult eyes that they are perhaps not the pinnacle of literary expression but they still spoke to me. They spoke to me in a powerful way when I read them for the first time as a young person. I was captivated by Taran's journey from assistant pig-keeper to King of Prydain. I think the theme of growing and becoming resonated strongly with me as I undertook my own journey through the great between we call the teenage years.

Perhaps that's why the fourth volume, Taran' Wanderer is my favorite. The story of Taran's attempts to find his place in the world through a series of apprenticeships directly addressed my own hopes and fears. As I followed along with Taran, it was almost as if I were reading a guide to maturation and an introduction to manly virtues.

I think this is more a commentary on me and what I brought to the books than on the books themselves. But isn't that what makes a work influential: what you bring to and take away from the experience of the work?

Image: Michelle Meiklejohn / FreeDigitalPhotos.net