History Literature / TheChroniclesOfPrydain

22nd Mar '17 4:15:32 AM Aerro
Is there an issue? Send a Message

* OnlyTheChosenMayWield: Taran and [[spoiler:Dyrnwyn]] which is a sword ''under'' the stone. The sword is capable of killing anyone unworthy of touching it just by draw it from its scabbard. After it nearly kills Taran when he tries to draw it, Gwydion takes possession of it for the remainder of the series until [[spoiler:Taran uses it to kill Arawn. This time Taran manages to unleash the blade without being injured by it, having proved himself worthy of its power]].


* OnlyTheChosenMayWield: Taran and [[spoiler:Dyrnwyn]] which is a sword ''under'' the stone. The sword is capable of killing anyone unworthy of touching it just by draw drawing it from its scabbard. After it nearly kills Taran when he tries to draw it, Gwydion takes possession of it for the remainder of the series until [[spoiler:Taran uses it to kill Arawn. This time Taran manages to unleash the blade without being injured by it, having proved himself worthy of its power]].
22nd Mar '17 4:10:05 AM Aerro
Is there an issue? Send a Message

* HolyIsNotSafe: Dyrnwyn is clearly a holy blade, being the only weapon capable of killing the undead Cauldron Born or the DarkLord Arawn, but it's also extremely dangerous to anyone [[OnlyTheChosenMayWield insufficiently worthy]] who tries to draw it.


* HolyIsNotSafe: Dyrnwyn is clearly a holy blade, being the only weapon capable of killing the undead Cauldron Born or the DarkLord Arawn, but it's also extremely dangerous to anyone [[OnlyTheChosenMayWield insufficiently worthy]] who tries to draw it. Taran badly hurts himself trying to draw it at the climax of the first book, with Gwdyion later telling him the fact that he even ''survived'' unsheathing it suggests he may one day, someday be worthy of actually wielding it.

* OnlyTheChosenMayWield: Taran and [[spoiler:Dyrnwyn]] which is a sword ''under'' the stone.)


* OnlyTheChosenMayWield: Taran and [[spoiler:Dyrnwyn]] which is a sword ''under'' the stone.) The sword is capable of killing anyone unworthy of touching it just by draw it from its scabbard. After it nearly kills Taran when he tries to draw it, Gwydion takes possession of it for the remainder of the series until [[spoiler:Taran uses it to kill Arawn. This time Taran manages to unleash the blade without being injured by it, having proved himself worthy of its power]].
22nd Mar '17 4:00:13 AM Aerro
Is there an issue? Send a Message

* TheMagicGoesAway: Following [[spoiler:Arawn's death]] at the end of ''The High King'' the [[spoiler:Fair Folk, the Sons of Don, and other magically-adept humans like Dallben]] use this as an excuse to leave Prydain, claiming they're no longer needed. [[spoiler:Eilonwy gives up her powers rather than leave Prydain out of love for Taran.]] Even magical animals and items like Hen Wen and Dyrnwyn lose their powers after Taran [[spoiler:slays Arawn]].


* TheMagicGoesAway: Following [[spoiler:Arawn's death]] at the end of ''The High King'' the [[spoiler:Fair Folk, the Sons of Don, and other magically-adept humans like Dallben]] use this as an excuse to leave Prydain, claiming they're no longer needed.needed now that evil magic has been banished from the land. [[spoiler:Eilonwy gives up her powers rather than leave Prydain out of love for Taran.]] Even magical animals and items like Hen Wen and Dyrnwyn lose their powers after Taran [[spoiler:slays Arawn]].
22nd Mar '17 3:49:53 AM Aerro
Is there an issue? Send a Message

* TheMagicGoesAway
** Following [[spoiler:Arawn's death]] at the end of ''The High King'' the [[spoiler:Fair Folk, the Sons of Don, and other magically-adept humans like Dallben]] use this as an excuse to leave Prydain, claiming they're no longer needed. [[spoiler:Eilonwy gives up her powers rather than leave Prydain out of love for Taran.]]
** Now, now, only "the enchantments of evil" have been vanquished.
** Dallben gives the breaking and complete loss of [[spoiler:Hen Wen's oracular powers]] as further evidence that the good magic also has to leave the mortal world.
** Even Dyrnwyn loses its powers after Taran [[spoiler:slays Arawn]] with it.


* TheMagicGoesAway
TheMagicGoesAway: Following [[spoiler:Arawn's death]] at the end of ''The High King'' the [[spoiler:Fair Folk, the Sons of Don, and other magically-adept humans like Dallben]] use this as an excuse to leave Prydain, claiming they're no longer needed. [[spoiler:Eilonwy gives up her powers rather than leave Prydain out of love for Taran.]]
** Now, now, only "the enchantments of evil" have been vanquished.
** Dallben gives the breaking and complete loss of [[spoiler:Hen Wen's oracular powers]] as further evidence that the good magic also has to leave the mortal world.
]] Even magical animals and items like Hen Wen and Dyrnwyn loses its lose their powers after Taran [[spoiler:slays Arawn]] with it.Arawn]].
6th Mar '17 4:24:30 AM NTC3
Is there an issue? Send a Message

Disney produced a movie version of ''Disney/TheBlackCauldron'' in 1985, which notably blended elements from the first two books. In 2016 it was revealed Disney plans on taking another whack at the series with a live-action film being put into development. Also, ''The Book of Three'' has a [[https://rpgmaker.net/games/91/ freeware game adaptation]] by [=Lysander86=], the developer of famed freeware [[RolePlayingGames RPGs]] ''VideoGame/ABlurredLine'' and [[VideoGame/PhantasyStarIII Phantasy Star III remake]].


Disney produced a movie version of ''Disney/TheBlackCauldron'' in 1985, which notably blended elements from the first two books. In 2016 it was revealed Disney plans on taking another whack at the series with a live-action film being put into development.

Also, ''The Book of Three'' has a [[https://rpgmaker.net/games/91/ freeware game adaptation]] by [=Lysander86=], the developer of famed freeware [[RolePlayingGames RPGs]] ''VideoGame/ABlurredLine'' and [[VideoGame/PhantasyStarIII Phantasy Star III remake]].
6th Mar '17 4:22:01 AM NTC3
Is there an issue? Send a Message

Disney produced a movie version of ''Disney/TheBlackCauldron'' in 1985, which notably blended elements from the first two books. In 2016 it was revealed Disney plans on taking another whack at the series with a live-action film being put into development.


Disney produced a movie version of ''Disney/TheBlackCauldron'' in 1985, which notably blended elements from the first two books. In 2016 it was revealed Disney plans on taking another whack at the series with a live-action film being put into development.
development. Also, ''The Book of Three'' has a [[https://rpgmaker.net/games/91/ freeware game adaptation]] by [=Lysander86=], the developer of famed freeware [[RolePlayingGames RPGs]] ''VideoGame/ABlurredLine'' and [[VideoGame/PhantasyStarIII Phantasy Star III remake]].
20th Dec '16 8:30:29 PM Xtifr
Is there an issue? Send a Message



[[caption-width-right:300:“Every living thing deserves respect, be it humble or proud, ugly or beautiful.”]]

Generations of youngsters have struggled in vain to pronounce the names in ''The Chronicles of Prydain'', a five-book series of fantasy novels by the late American author Creator/LloydAlexander. Based (very) loosely on the Literature/{{Mabinogion}} and taking place in the fantasy world of Prydain, which bears no small resemblance to UsefulNotes/{{Wales}}. The novels feature a series of epic adventures in a land of HighFantasy, but place more emphasis on [[ComingOfAgeStory the protagonist's growing maturity and his journey into manhood.]]

Long ago, the land of Prydain [[AndManGrewProud was a rich, and prosperous land, renowned for its craftsmen who knew many great secrets about shaping metal and firing clay.]] Arawn, the local EvilOverlord, would have none of that, and using his cunning and trickery he stole away those wonderous treasures and secrets and locked them away in his fortress, Annuvin, [[JerkAss where they would serve no one]]. The once fair land fell into decay and surely would have fallen under Arawn's power had not the mighty and heroic Sons of Don arrived in Prydain and united its people in an alliance against Arawn's forces. Years have passed and the Sons of Don have maintained peace, but there are those who fear that the people have grown too reliant on their new rulers, the lesser lords constantly feud with each other for foolish and petty reasons, and Arawn is still lurking in the shadows, waiting for the perfect moment to strike.

Enter the protagonist, '''Taran''', Assistant Pig-Keeper to the oracular pig Hen Wen. A [[KidHero boy seemingly in his early teens]] who was [[ParentalAbandonment orphaned as an infant,]] Taran is thrust into the conflicts between the Sons of Don and Arawn as they struggle for the rulership of Prydain. Taran is an ambitious, headstrong youth who initially [[JumpedAtTheCall leaps at any call to adventure]] and believes himself [[HeroicWannabe capable of great things,]] but in truth he often finds that leading a heroic life of adventure is not all as romantic and exciting as he would have thought. Over the course of the novels, Taran grows from a callow, stubborn youth into a genuinely wise and noble young man, and in the end, learns the hard way what it truly means to be a hero.

Joining Taran on his adventures are his loyal group of lovable companions, whose interactions are one of the most enjoyable parts of the series:

'''Eilonwy''': An enchantress and [[EverythingsBetterWithPrincesses princess]] who [[MotorMouth talks constantly]] [[TalksLikeASimile in similes]] and serves as a [[HeroesWantRedheads romantic interest]] for Taran. She's also a {{Tsundere}} and a bit of an ActionGirl. One of the earliest modern examples of a RebelliousPrincess.

'''Fflewddur Fflam''': A [[BoisterousBruiser loud-mouthed]] bard and king who has a tendency to [[SmallNameBigEgo theatrically exaggerate accounts of his own adventure]]s. He carries a magical harp whose strings break whenever he "colors the facts". (They break often. Even moments of modesty count against him) His catchphrases are "A Fflam is (insert appropriate adjective here)!," and "Great Belin!"

'''Gurgi''': [[NonHumanSidekick A shaggy creature]] who speaks in rhyme. At first he has a tendency to be a DirtyCoward but he grows to become brave and loyal, and comes to admire Taran for his wisdom and call him "Master."

'''Doli''': A member of TheFairFolk, a [[GrumpyOldMan grumpy dwarf]] and JerkWithAHeartOfGold. Complains a lot. He has the ability to turn invisible (by holding his breath), but [[BlessedWithSuck hates to do so as it causes a horrible ringing in his ears.]]

'''Gwydion''': TheWisePrince and mentor to Taran, a great warrior and war leader whom Taran looks up to and idolizes immensely. He leads the Sons of Don in their battles against the forces of evil, taking the role of a SupportingLeader.

And normally a book-specific GuestStarPartyMember or two, such as '''Adaon''' the WarriorPoet and '''Ellidyr''' PrinceCharmless in ''The Black Cauldron'', LordErrorProne '''Prince Rhun''' in ''The Castle of Llyr'' and '''Glew''' in ''The High King'', who takes over the DirtyCoward role from Gurgi.

The series contains five books as well as one anthology which also serves as a prequel:
#''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 (1973)''

Disney produced a movie version of ''Disney/TheBlackCauldron'' in 1985, which notably blended elements from the first two books. In 2016 it was revealed Disney plans on taking another whack at the series with a live-action film being put into development.

!!This series includes examples of, or the sources for:

* ActionGirl: Eilonwy frequently proves more capable than Taran, especially in the early books.
* AdiposeRex: Averted by King Smoit of Cantrev Cadiffor, who is notably overweight but is also very muscular, just plain huge, and has StoutStrength in spades.
* AnAesop: Taran frequently learns important life lessons, although this is done more subtly and gracefully than many instances of this trope.
* AllNaturalGemPolish: In ''The High King'', while going through a Fair Folk mine tunnel, Glew finds a large number of uncut gems that are sparkling, glinting and glittering. (Homage is paid to the trope though: Doli comments that those stones are really worthless, and even the work of a jeweler wouldn't improve them much.)
* AlwaysChaoticEvil
** The Huntsmen of Annuvin, Arawn's EliteMooks, who have sworn a blood oath of bondage to his will.
** Averted with the gwythaints, Arawn's spies, who serve Arawn out of fear.
* AmbitionIsEvil: Played straight and subverted. Ultimately it all comes down to intent.
* AndroclesLion: Taran nurses a fledgling gwythaint back to health in the first book. She returns the favor, twice.
* AnguishedDeclarationOfLove: Taran makes a subtle one of these in ''The Castle of Llyr'', trying to help Eilonwy break free of her magically-induced amnesia.
* AnyoneCanDie: [[spoiler: Rhun]]'s death was completely unexpected. It only gets worse with [[spoiler: Achren, King Math, and especially ''Coll'']].
* TheApprentice: During his travels in ''Taran Wanderer'', Taran briefly becomes the apprentice of three different crafters.
* ArtifactOfDoom: The titular Black Cauldron of the second book.
** Inverted with the Book of Three. It will only serve good people with honorable and honest intent.
** Similarly, Gwydion's sword, Dyrnwyn, can only be drawn (safely) by those of "noble worth." Taran (and others) initially think this means only one of the Sons of Don (due to the fact that they originally mistranslated that part of the inscription as "RoyalBlood"), but in a critical moment [[spoiler:Taran himself is able to draw the sword when his intention is pure (to defend someone else, not to attack in anger) and after undergoing CharacterDevelopment in the fourth book, where he developed the personal nobility to wield the sword without falling to evil]].
* AuthorityEqualsAsskicking: Played straight, especially with Prince Gwydion and King Smoit. In a land like Prydain, you ''only'' become royalty by being able to kick everyone else's ass.
** Averted, ironically enough, with [[spoiler:Arawn. His greatest strengths were always trickery & deception.]]
** Subverted every so often, depending on the situation. One notable instance is when Taran finds out about how two noblemen living in King Smoit's domain constantly are at each other's throats, causing damage to innocent civilians in the process. Smoit's usual solution is to try to knock sense into them and shove them in his dungeons. Taran suggests he try something different, since it clearly isn't working. His proposed solution centers around humbling them and showing them the severity of the damage they've caused (making them serve as laborers for the farmer whose land they destroyed) as well as finding a third option for what to do with the prize cow they were fighting over (give it to the same farmer, and have the cow's next, equally-valuable, twin calves be split between the two). Since the two noblemen are seen standing peacefully together at the end of ''The High King'', it presumably left an impression on them.
* AscendedFanboy: Taran.
* AsLongAsItSoundsForeign: A mild example. Nearly all of the character and place names are derived from Welsh mythology, but WordOfGod admitted to having completely made up the very Welsh-sounding Eilonwy.
* AwesomeMomentOfCrowning: [[spoiler: Taran at the end of the series.]]
* AwLookTheyReallyDoLoveEachOther: Taran and Eilonwy, ''constantly.''
** Also, Fflewddur and his harp.
* BackupBluff: King Rhun, during a fight where the air is full of smoke and confusion, races his horse from one side of the battlefield to the other, shouting orders to regiments of cavalry that don't exist.
* BadassBeard: King Smoit is known for his long fiery red beard.
* BadassTeacher: Do '''not''' screw with Dallben.
* BaldOfAwesome: Coll - much to Taran's shock, as he apparently thought heroes should have impressive hair. During ''The High King'', Coll even goes without a helmet.
* BalefulPolymorph: One of Morda's more frightening powers. It's also repeatedly implied to be within the powers of the three enchantresses of Morva.
* BarefootSage: Medwyn.
* BattleCouple: Taran and Eilonwy again.
* BeautyEqualsGoodness: Flip-flopped.
** Inverted with Achren, who is as wicked as she is beautiful. And for further inversion, [[spoiler:her beauty fades after her sort-of HeelFaceTurn in books four and five, possibly implying that a lot of it was magical glamour and she lost the power (or maybe just the inclination) to maintain it]].
** In fact, Lloyd Alexander uses this trope against us: both [[spoiler:Morgant and Pryderi]] are presented as attractive, when in fact they both turn out to be bad guys.
** Eilonwy, however, is the trope played perfectly straight.
** We have no idea whether Taran plays it straight or not, because not a single aspect of his appearance is ever described in the whole series.
* BerserkButton:
** Do ''not'' judge Eilonwy based on her gender. Don't call her a "little girl" or suggest she [[StayInTheKitchen stick to "women's work."]]
** Do not insult her in front of Taran. [[HypocriticalHeartwarming Not even if he was just criticizing her himself.]]
* BigBad: The EvilOverlord Arawn.
* BigBadEnsemble: Achren is actively opposed to Arawn. [[spoiler:Morgant]] tries to steal the Black Cauldron out from under both Arawn and Gwydion in order to go FromNobodyToNightmare. Morda is an EvilSorcerer who plans to outmatch Arawn some day. Dorath, meanwhile, was just a PsychoForHire bandit with an "everything burns" worldview; the companions often encounter him out of pure bad luck, yet he's always willing to make their lives miserable just for the hell of it. [[spoiler:Pryderi]]...[[BigBadWannabe thinks he's playing Arawn for his own benefit,]] [[OutGambitted but isn't]].
* BigDamnHeroes: This is Taran's tale, so Gwydion tends to appear as TheCavalry (or, more rarely, to be rescued by Taran's band).
* BigEater: King Smoit, who doesn't seem to eat multiple meals so much as eat a single meal all day long.
** Gurgi sort of counts. He loves to eat, and is implied to eat a lot; but his small size means that he can't eat much in one sitting.
* BigFun: King Smoit again.
* BigGood: High King Math, son of Mathonwy, and Dallben the Enchanter. [[spoiler:The ending implies that Taran and Eilonwy become this for Prydain.]]
* BilingualBonus: Several of the names of people and places. For example, "Hen Wen" means "old white [one] (feminine)" in Welsh. Gwydion means "born of trees." Averted with Eilonwy, which (as noted above) Lloyd Alexander invented for the books.
* {{Bishounen}}: Adaon.
* BittersweetEnding: [[spoiler:Arawn is defeated, but Prydain has been ravaged by war, many heroes have fallen, the power of magic has been lost forever, and Taran and Eilonwy give up eternal life and are separated from nearly all of their friends in order to stay in Prydain to help rebuild. On the other hand, Taran becomes High King of Prydain and marries Eilonwy, and they lead happy and fulfilling lives and are such prosperous rulers that the bards write songs about them.]]
* TheBlacksmith: Hevydd. Also, Coll. Hevydd teaches Taran to forge blades, but while Taran proves to be a talented smith, his heart isn't in it.
* BlessedWithSuck
** Doli and his invisibility powers, which make his ears ring and hurt.
** Also Fflewddur's harp, which is of excellent quality (and enchanted), but it's almost always in need of repair, since the strings keep breaking every time Fflewddur stretches the truth.
** The powers Eilonwy and her mother inherited provide the wielder with a lot of power, but they also did neither of the women any good. As an enchantress, Queen Angharad was expected to marry a man born with magical powers of his own, and ended up banished when she decided to elope with a man who she loved, but who gained his magical powers from his own efforts and not birth. Eilonwy, meanwhile, only uses a magic spell ''once'' in the series, which doesn't even really work. She was kidnapped from her mother as a baby because Achren wanted to steal her powers, and ends up abducted and {{brainwashed}} in the third book, because of this plan. After that, she can't even use her powers, though she still has them. The last straw is in ''The High King'', when she learns that [[spoiler:her latent magic is still enough to mean she has no choice but to leave Taran and travel to the Summer Country, which she declares as being "worse than unfair" because she never ''asked'' for said powers. When Dalben informs her of a way to be rid of them, she does it without a second's hesitation.]]
* BlindIdiotTranslation: When Eilonwy first finds Dyrnwyn, she translates the inscription as "Draw Dyrnwyn, only thou of royal blood", which the party takes as explanation as to why Prince Gwydion can draw it and Taran can't. Later on it is revealed that she mistranslated the last bit - it actually read "noble worth", and Gwydion's strength of character (and Taran's lack of it) was the reason behind who could draw the sword. [[spoiler:After four books of CharacterDevelopment, Taran becomes able to draw the sword.]]
* BoisterousBruiser: Fflewddur. King Smoit even more so.
* BornLucky: Llonio gives this impression, in ''Taran Wanderer'', but the lesson he teaches Taran is how to make his own luck.
* {{Brainwashed}}: [[spoiler: Eilonwy in the third book.]]
* BreakTheHaughty: Taran is horrified to find out that his father is [[spoiler:Craddoc the shepherd]] and views his new life as a prison sentence. [[spoiler:His time working for Craddoc is what is truly responsible for convincing him that nobility comes from work and honor rather than royal blood and wealth. By the time Craddoc dies and confesses that Taran isn't really his son, Taran has acquired humility and is not ashamed to be a shepherd's son.]]
* CassandraTruth: Seriously, Fflewddur really is a king. Granted, his kingdom is so small that he can leave his palace in the morning and be out of his kingdom by the end of the day, but he's a king nonetheless. Unlike most things, he doesn't feel the need to exaggerate this and freely admits he doesn't like being in his kingdom, which is why he became a bard.
* CatchPhrase: Almost every important character besides Taran has at least one.
** "Taran of Caer Dallben, I'm not speaking to you!"
** "Great Belin!"
** "A Fflam is -"
** "Crunchings and munchings."
** "Deliver us from fools and assistant pig-keepers."
** "When I was a giant..."
** "My beard and bones!"
* CharacterDevelopment: '''The''' reason these books are so good.
** Taran, who grows from a stubborn, witless child to a wise and noble leader.
** Also Eilonwy, who starts out rather bratty and temperamental, growing into a mature and compassionate person by the end of the series. Some of her development is off-page, as she does not appear in the fourth book.
** In fact, almost every major character gets some important development, but Taran and Eilonwy are the most noticeable since the books span their adolescence.
* ChangedMyMindKid: Doli walks out on the companions at least once a book, only to come back in short order, to the point where it becomes something of a running gag.
* ChangelingFantasy: [[ZigZaggingTrope Zigzagged]]. Taran knows he's adopted from the start, and hopes he'll turn out to be a prince ... but when he sets off to find out who he his (by learning who his parents were), he gets more than one answer. In fact, though at least two men (a poor shepherd and a king) both try to claim him as a son, his real parents are [[spoiler:unknown, even to Dallben]].
* ChekhovsBoomerang: Admit it, you never saw the [[spoiler:gwythaint]] coming in ''The High King'' - you thought that boomerang had returned four books ago!
* ChekhovsGun: The ring Eilonwy receives at the end of the first book ends up coming [[DeusExMachina in quite handy]] in the finale.
* ChekhovsGunman: Nearly everyone Taran befriends on his journey in ''Taran Wanderer'' comes back to help out in the campaign against Arawn in ''The High King'', or gets [[spoiler: killed tragically]] to provide more personal drama for the final conflict.
* TheChessmaster: Arawn. (Also Morgant and Pryderi).
* AChildShallLeadThem: Taran still seems to be a teenager when he is made a war leader, and eventually [[spoiler: High King.]]
* CivilWar: Like historical Wales, the various kings and lords of Prydain are always fighting somewhere in the kingdom. In addition, several of these kings side with Arawn against Math for their own benefit, up to and including Pryderi, the most powerful ruler in Prydain except for King Math.
* CleverCrows: The heroic Kaw the crow, who turns out to be an important ally to the heroes.
* CloudCuckooLander: Eilonwy has many shades of this, and yet still manages to be the only person in the group with any common sense.
* ClippedWingAngel: Arawn [[spoiler: turns into a snake and is beheaded in one blow by Taran]].
--> [[spoiler:[[EvilOverlordList 34. I will not turn into a snake. It never helps.]]]]
* ComingOfAgeStory: Well, the whole series, but especially the fourth book, which is pretty obviously the turning point where Taran [[TookALevelInBadass finally takes his long-overdue levels in badass.]]
* ConservationOfNinjutsu: In a rare justification of the trope, every Huntsman of Annuvin is mystically bound to his fellow Huntsmen, and on his death they each receive part of his strength.
* ConsummateLiar: Fflewddur. Ironically, his most outrageous claim (that he's actually a king) is true: he's the king of a tiny, drab, miserable little land that even neighboring rulers don't covet.
* CoolHorse: Gwydion's horse, Melyngar, in the first book; her son Melynlas for the rest of the series; also Lluagor, Adaon's mare who eventually becomes Melynlas' mate.
* CoolOldGuy: Coll
* CoolOldLady: Dwyvach, the weaver woman.
* CoolSword
** [[FlamingSword Dyrnwyn]], of course.
** The blade Taran forges in ''Taran Wanderer'' is an example. It's a pretty ugly weapon, but it's actually better than his finely-shaped old weapon.
* CowardlyLion: Gurgi means well, but whines and cowers when he feels threatened and runs at the first sign of danger with no regard for his companions. Fortunately, he [[CharacterDevelopment grows much more brave and loyal as the series goes on.]]
* CrouchingMoronHiddenBadass:
** Gwystyl deliberately hides his competence and badassery, and does it so well that he can come across like a wiener while helping Taran and his crew ''break into a castle''.
** Fflewddur Fflam is the less than popular king of a tiny kingdom and a minstrel who tells grandiose lies. By the end of the first book we find out that he is also a deadly swordsman and a tried warrior. Amusingly, a prequel short story implies that most of the time, Fflewddur himself is unaware of his own badassery.
* CrownOfHorns: In ''The Book of Three'' the chief villain is the Horned King, who wears a mask made out of a human skull with great antlers rising in cruel curves. He is a warlord who is Arawn's champion and the War Leader of Annuvin.
* CurbStompBattle: The second half of the Battle of Caer Dathyl. Pryderi's regular forces are marginally defeated, but the armies of Prydain can't stand against the Cauldron-Born.
* CursedWithAwesome: Glew turns himself into a giant and gets trapped in a cave he's too big to maneuver through.
* DeadpanSnarker: Dallben, usually when Taran is acting childish. Also Eilonwy, who combines it with a mixture of PolitenessJudo and PassiveAggressiveKombat.
* DealWithTheDevil: NEVER make a deal with Arawn. Unlike most "devils", Arawn never keeps his end of the bargain.
* DeathByNewberyMedal: ''The High King'' won a Newbery Medal and is a veritable named-character bloodbath. [[spoiler: Even if none of the characters on the cover die. No, not even the ReallyBigCat]]. ''The Black Cauldron'', by comparison, won a Newbery Honor and only has a body count of two.
* {{Dedication}}: ''The High King'', the last book of the series, is dedicated "To the boys who have always been Taran and the girls who will always be Eilonwy."
* DesperatelyLookingForAPurposeInLife: ''Taran Wanderer''
* DistressedDamsel: Eilonwy occasionally, especially in ''The Castle of Llyr''. Half the time she ends up either saving ''herself'' or saving her intended rescuers.
* DisproportionateRetribution: King Smoit is likely to cave a few skulls in over petty arguments [[SurroundedByidiots with his minions.]]
* DontTouchItYouIdiot: Dallben to Taran, over the Book of Three. Eilonwy to Taran, over Dyrnwyn. There are more (Taran's not the only one who meddles with things he shouldn't).
* DoomedHometown: Averted. Caer Dallben goes untouched by evil for all five books. Not only that, when a villain finally does show up to torch the place, ''he'' gets his ass kicked.
* TheDragon: The Horned King
* DragonAscendant: Magg tries it when the heroes invade Annuvain and Arawn flees. [[spoiler:Arawn's crown burns him to death.]]
* DreamingOfThingsToCome: Happens to Adaon and Taran in ''The Black Cauldron''.
* EarnYourHappyEnding: In the land of Prydain, everything comes at a high price.
* EliteMooks: The Huntsmen and the Cauldron-Born.
* EverythingsBetterWithPrincesses: Eilonwy. Somewhat subverted, in that Taran (and therefore the reader) does not learn that she ''is'' a princess until literally the last page of the first book -- when Dallben mentions it casually. Eilonwy herself never drops so much as a hint, except when noting that "mine are the people of Llyr Half-Speech, the Sea King." Her royal heritage is a plot point in the third book, but otherwise, she never concerns herself with princessdom very much. Her informed princessdom is justified, in that she is [[LastOfHisKind Last of Her Kind]], so in political terms her heritage is largely moot.
* EveryoneCanSeeIt: The entire group seems to be aware of Taran's feelings for Eilonwy except Taran himself. Eilonwy ''herself'' lampshades this twice in the last book. Taran's crush on Eilonwy is fully developed by the middle of book 3; in fact, Achren uses it to torture him. What he has trouble figuring out is that, yes, the princess likes him back, pig-keeping and all.
* EvilChancellor: In ''The Castle of Llyr'', Magg is chancellor to the kindly King of Mona. Unfortunately for King Rhuddlum, Magg's real loyalty lies with the wicked Queen Achren, who has promised him a kingdom if he helps her kidnap Princess Eilonwy.
* EvilOverlord: Arawn is a classic example.
* EvilSorcerer: Arawn Death-Lord and Queen Achren
* ExactWords: Arawn loves to do this to his own men.
** Pryderi was sent to kill Dallben and retrieve The Book of Three, and Arawn told him that "no man had ever died by [Dallben's] hands." He did ''not'' tell Pryderi that [[spoiler:Caer Dallben was enchanted with a defensive spell that would immolate the farm and everyone in it if Dallben dies]], or that [[spoiler:the Book of Three itself would kill him if he tried to mishandle it.]]
** Arawn promised Magg that "someday, he would wear the Iron Crown of Annuvin." Magg did. [[spoiler:It turned white-hot and burned through Magg's head in the most gruesome death in the series - not that Magg didn't deserve to die, but it's hard to say that ''anyone'' deserves that kind of torture.]]
* ExitPursuedByABear
** [[spoiler:Dorath and his bandits]] are torn apart by wolves right before he [[IHaveYouNowMyPretty "removes Eilonwy's charms."]]
** Something similar happens to [[spoiler:the Huntsmen]], not long after. The heroes see them camping on the banks of a dried-up river and melt a frozen waterfall to flood them out. As soon as they climb to dry ground, a group of bears and wolves maul them to death.
* ExtremeOmnivore: It's never explicitly stated, but it's heavily implied that Orgoch (of the Three Sisters) eats pretty nearly anything, including people.
* FaceHeelTurn:[[spoiler: King Morgant]]
* TheFaceless: Arawn Death-Lord, partially because of his ShapeShifting talents. Menwy the Bard is the only mortal on record to have seen Arawn's true face. Considering that she trained him, Achren has probably seen his true face as well. She even states that she will know it's him no matter what form he shapeshifts into.
* FaintingSeer: Hen Wen in ''The High King'', including a combination of terrified refusal to pass on her visions, and bizarre, nonsensical prophecies before she goes into HeroicBSOD.
* TheFairFolk: A bit of a subversion, as they have no particular liking for men but are willing to work with them against Arawn. The king is grudgingly fond of Taran, and even fonder of Eilonwy, and Doli has more affection for the entire group than he likes to admit.
* FantasyCounterpartCulture: Lloyd Alexander loves to take readers on cultural visits. Prydain is heavily based on Welsh mythology, especially evident in the character names. Of course, this is [[BilingualBonus no surprise to those who know]] that "Prydain" is the Welsh spelling of "Britain".
* FarmBoy: Taran is a young boy, profession '''assistant''' pig-keeper, who ran headlong into adventures (and a thornbush) when Hen Wen, his oracular charge, ran away from the Horned King. [[spoiler:If his true parentage was noble, it's never revealed. He was found as a baby nearby a violent battle where nobody survived, so he was without rank or heritage, something which his foster-father took as a sign that he was the chosen child]].
* AFatherToHisMen: King Smoit (who, we learn, is a childless widower). He even offers to adopt Taran when he hears he's looking for his birth parents.
* FearlessFool: Taran, at first. He learns a more suitable reaction to danger as time goes by.
* FieryRedhead: Eilonwy
* FlamingSword: Dyrnwyn
* FlowersForAlgernonSyndrome: Adaon's brooch has this effect on people, particularly Taran. [[spoiler:He [[BroughtDownToNormal gives it up]] in order to get the Black Cauldron.]]
* FriendToAllLivingThings: Medwyn, who apparently is Prydain's version of [[Literature/TheBible Noah]].
* FromNobodyToNightmare: Arawn. He was just some hapless dipshit until he became Achren's [[TheStarscream Starscream]], swindled all her secrets from her, then usurped her and became [[NamesToRunAwayFromReallyFast the Lord of Death]].
* GeneHunting: ''Taran Wanderer'' is a mix of this and WalkingTheEarth.
* TheGhost: During ''The Black Cauldron'', Adaon speaks often and fondly of Arianllyn, the girl to whom he is betrothed. She's never seen; in fact, the only thing the reader ever learns about her is that she was the one who gave Adaon his brooch.
* GiantFlyer: The gwythaints. It turns out that they aren't AlwaysChaoticEvil.
* GodSaveUsFromTheQueen: Achren
* GondorCallsForAid: The premise of much of the final book.
* GreatBigBookOfEverything: The titular Book of Three.
* GreaterScopeVillain: The mysterious master who directs Gwyn the Hunter may fit the bill.
* TheGrimReaper: Although Gwyn the Hunter isn't anything like the hooded and cloaked skeleton we're all familiar with, he seems to have the same role as the Reaper in the setting. (He isn't evil, though; Arawn, the "Lord of Death," fills that role.)
* GuestStarPartyMember: Adaon, Ellidyr, Glew, Coll, and Llassar.
* HeelFaceTurn: [[spoiler: Achren]], possibly. Other interpretations suggest more of an EnemyMine against Arawn.
* HeelRealization: Ellidyr comes to a version of this at at the end of ''The Black Cauldron'' and [[spoiler: atones with a HeroicSacrifice.]]
-->"The black beast you saw is a harsh master; its claws are sharp. Yet I did not feel them until now."
* {{Hellhound}}: The dogs of Gwyn the Hunter.
* HeroesWantRedheads: Eilonwy, whom the narrative notes has red-gold hair. A lot of artwork inaccurately depicts her as blonde, however, probably because of TheFilmOfTheBook. And when she ''is'' shown with red hair (see some editions of ''The Black Cauldron''), it's pure red, not the more subtle shade that "red-gold" is probably supposed to describe.
* HeroicBSOD: Taran, following the death of [[spoiler:Craddoc the shepherd.]] Not just because [[spoiler:Craddoc]] died, but that his first thought on seeing him was that he was finally free from his life as [[spoiler:a shepherd]]. He was so ashamed and disgusted with himself for having ever had the thought that he never gets over it or forgives himself for it.
* HeroicSacrifice: [[spoiler:Ellidyr]] in ''The Black Cauldron;'' [[spoiler:Rhun and Coll]] in ''The High King.'' Maybe [[spoiler:Achren]], depending on your point of view.
* HeroicWannabe: Taran, in the first two books.
* HijackedByJesus: Arawn, the king of the Otherworld in the ''Literature/{{Mabinogion}}'', is re-envisioned as an evil force similar to Tolkien's [[Literature/TheLordOfTheRings Sauron]]. You could also make a pretty good parallel between Gwydion and Jesus in ''The Book of Three''. Alexander, at least, acknowledges in the author's note that Arawn is "considerably more villainous" in his version, so at least he's aware of the situation.
* HolyIsNotSafe: Dyrnwyn is clearly a holy blade, being the only weapon capable of killing the undead Cauldron Born or the DarkLord Arawn, but it's also extremely dangerous to anyone [[OnlyTheChosenMayWield insufficiently worthy]] who tries to draw it.
* HonorBeforeReason: A recurring theme. A major part of Taran's growth is learning what real honor means, and when other things must come before it.
* HornsOfVillainy: The Horned King. Somewhat subverted, as the horns are part of a helmet he wears, not a part of the Horned King himself.
* HorseOfADifferentColor: Llyan, a small wildcat who grew to the size of a horse through the use of potions. She eventually adopts Fflewddur and allows him to ride on her back.
* HumiliationConga: Queen Achren. Starts off as a powerful sorceress and queen, and rules Prydain as an absolute tyrant. Later, she is overthrown by her more powerful protege and consort [[spoiler: Arawn]], and is moved to Spiral Castle. The castle is (unwittingly) destroyed by the heroes, robbing Achren of her powers, which she attempts to replace by draining Eilonwy. She is also repeatedly spurned by the object of her affections, Gwydion. By the fourth book, she's a powerless refugee who works as a maid in Caer Dallben. Quite a long way to fall.
* HypnotizeThePrincess: Heavily influences the plot of ''The Castle of Llyr''.
* IHaveYouNowMyPretty: The outlaw Dorath threatens to rape Princess Eilonwy and have her raped by his fellows "until [she is] a match for a swineherd." Subverted slightly in that Dorath never states precisely what it is he intends to do to her; he says he intends to "remove her charms." The dialogue is written just vaguely enough that the book's younger readers only know that Eilonwy is in danger, without knowing the specifics that might traumatize them. [[LateToThePunchline Older readers can ferret out Dorath's meaning for themselves, as Eilonwy did.]] It ''is'' possible that [[AlternateCharacterInterpretation he had something else in mind]], however.
* IJustWantToBeNormal: Eilonwy in ''The Castle of Llyr''.
* IKnowYourTrueName: Used by Gwydion to defeat Horned King, but only in the background. It provides a bit of FridgeBrilliance, when this somewhat out of place logic is applied to the rest of the series. Gwydion claims that naming something is to imply mastery over it. No one knows Taran's true name, thus making him master of his own destiny.
* ImplacableMan: Arawn employs entire implacable ''armies.'' The Cauldron-Born cannot be slain by any mortal craft and carry out their tasks without tiring and without question or remorse. The Huntsmen of Annuvin are feared and renowned for pursuing their prey relentlessly, and fatigue means little to them. They can be killed, but that just makes them mad.
** The major disadvantage of the Cauldron-Born is that they become weaker the further they are from Annuvin.
** The strength of the Huntsmen is that when one is killed, the rest of them become stronger.
* InformedAbility: Many characters are said to be enchanters, but they rarely if ever use these abilities. Possibly [[JustifiedTrope justified]] with Eilonwy as she never finished her training, and she [[spoiler: destroys any hope of mastering her magic in the third book.]]
* IngestingKnowledge: How Dallben got to be so wise. It was an accident.
* InsistentTerminology: The narrative always refers to Taran as an "assistant pig-keeper."
* IntimateHealing: Not quite, but for a kids' story, the way Achren touches Taran's wound in the first book is rather...at least, suggestive.
* IsItSomethingYouEat?: Even TheHecateSisters seem a bit fuzzy (sorry) about what Gurgi is, exactly.
--> '''Orwen:''' So that's a gurgi. It seems to me I've heard of them, but I never knew what they were...
--> '''Orgoch:''' What do you do with the gurgi? Do you eat it or sit on it?
--> '''Orddu:''' I should think whatever you did, you would have to clean it first.
* ItIsPronouncedTroPAY: Not actually an example of this, but if you're not familiar with Welsh and its charmingly quirky spelling, you'd be fooled.
** What doesn't help is that Welsh has ''seven'' vowels, each with two or more pronunciations - A, E, I & O sound roughly like you'd expect, but U sounds like I in all aspects and W is pronounced 'oo', in various ways. And Y has ''four'' pronunciations - it normally sounds like an I or a U in the last syllable of a word, or 'uh' elsewhere. [[SincerityMode This is actually quite hard to forget]]. [[MyGodYouAreSerious No, really]].
*** Some editions do have a pronunciation guide in the back, which indicates that the names aren't all pronounced the same as Welsh (for example, Gwydion is pronounced "gwih-deeon", rather than the "gooyd-eeon" pronunciation given in Literature/TheMabinogion.)
* ItsTheJourneyThatCounts: In ''Taran Wanderer'', TheHecateSisters send Taran off to find the Mirror of Llunet, which, if he looks into it, will reveal who he really is (something that Taran, who has no idea who his family is, desperately wants to know). It turns out that the magic mirror is just a particularly pretty puddle; it was the trials of looking for it that gave Taran a sense of who he really was, not looking into some magic mirror.
* ItWasAGift:
** At the end of ''The Book of Three'', the main characters are given gifts that they will carry throughout the series.
** In the middle of the fourth book, ''Taran Wanderer'', Dorath demands Taran's sword as "payment" for "protection". Taran refuses because it was given to him by his guardian Dallben and first put on him by the girl he loves. [[spoiler:After a fight in which Dorath's sword is broken, Dorath treacherously pulls a dagger and steals it.]] At the end of the book this proves to be symbolic, because [[spoiler:Taran faces Dorath again, this time fighting with a sword Taran had forged himself, and when the two swords meet, it is the sword of his childhood that shatters]].
* JerkWithAHeartOfGold: Good old Doli
* JourneyToFindOneself: The whole point of ''Taran Wanderer.''
* JumpedAtTheCall: Taran in the first two books. Also Ellidyr, who is essentially Taran's more hotheaded foil.
* JustEatGilligan
** Suggested numerous times by Fflewddur of [[TheMillstone Glew.]]
** In the first book, Gwydion finds Taran to be [[TheLoad so troublesome]] that he gives serious consideration to just dumping him back at Caer Dalben. Unfortunately, he must hurry to find Hen Wen (also, there'd be no story if that happened).
* KeystoneArmy: The Cauldron-Born
* KidHero: Taran in the first book, though he grows older as the series progresses.
* KillEmAll: Many, many characters died in the last book, ''The High King''. Perhaps for this reason it's left off many a school reading list that contains the other four books in the series. This is despite the fact that it won a [[DeathByNewberyMedal Newbery Medal]]...
** The closing body count at the end of the book is: [[spoiler:Coll, Achren, Magg, High King Math, Annlaw Clay-Shaper, Llonio, King Rhun, King Pryderi, Arawn, Achren, and Taran's gwythaint]]. If you count returning to the "Summer Country" as a metaphor for death (which it is in some belief systems), then the book also claims [[spoiler:Gwydion, Fflewddur, Llyan, Doli, Taliesin, Gurgi, Glew, the Fair Folk, and the Sons and Daughters of Don]] ''writ large'', since following Arawn's death TheMagicGoesAway, so to speak.
* KindheartedCatLover: Taran and Fflewddur Fflam, but most notably Fflewddur. When facing the giant wild cat, Llyan, Taran can't help but appreciate the magnificent creature and when Fflewddur had the opportunity to slay her, he didn't. Whether it was out of animal appreciation or cowardice or a mixture of both is never clear[[spoiler:, but the end result is that Llyan becomes Fflewddur's mount and pet by the end of her debut book and he dotes on her every bit as much as she dotes on him]].
* KingIncognito: Prince Gwydion and Fflewddur. Gwydion travels around the countryside in common garb because he doesn't buy into the "[[SharpDressedMan clothes make the man]]" cliche; in ''The Castle of Llyr'', he is deliberately disguised to avoid detection. Fflewddur does much the same, only he goes out of his way to remind everyone that he's a king. Eilonwy is a Princess Incognito in the first book, never once mentioning her RoyalBlood.
* LargeHam: Fflewddur, and King Smoit
* LastMinuteHookUp: After five books of arguments and misunderstandings, Taran and Eilonwy get married at the very end of the last chapter of the last book.
* LastOfHerKind: Eilonwy, the last descendant of the royal House of Llyr. As the last Princess of Llyr, she alone is heir to a sizable number of enchantments and magic powers, which reside in her by birth; but because her father was a non-magical commoner, she tends to refer to herself as being only "half an enchantress". This only really becomes relevant starting from the third book in the series, when she is returned to her ancient family castle, Caer Colur; having been kidnapped as an infant, she never realized the scope of her magical heritage.
* LeftForDead: Happens to Gwydion with surprising regularity, usually allowing him to go off and do something even more badass than Taran's group is doing elsewhere.
* LieDetector: Fflewddur's harp, but it only detects Fflewddur's lies.
* LittlePeople: Doli, Gwystyl, and the rest of TheFairFolk are smaller than humans in size.
* TheLoad: Taran himself in book one. Rhun in book three. Glew in book five.
* LoadBearingBoss: Half the architecture in Prydain appears to be held up by villains.
** Spiral Castle collapses after Achren is defeated in ''The Book of Three'', but it was more of a happy accident. Taran pulling Dyrnwyn (a load-bearing ''sword'') from the tombs in Spiral Castle is what actually leads to its collapse; it just happened to perfectly coincide with Gwydion warding off Archen.
** Caer Colur collapses after Achren is defeated in ''The Castle of Llyr'', though this has nothing to do with Achren herself - it's a direct result of [[spoiler:Eilonwy giving up her ancestral spellbook]].
** In a non-villainous example, Dallben claims that his home will be consumed with magical fire if he is killed, along with anyone foolish enough to kill him. [[spoiler: He may have been bluffing about this; we never actually find out either way.]]
** In ''The High King'', [[spoiler:Annuvin]] is destroyed when [[spoiler:Arawn]] is slain.
* LordErrorProne: Prince Rhun is not overly proud, but certainly foolish and bumbling enough for two, and a WideEyedIdealist to boot. He [[TookALevelInBadass levels up]] in the final book.
* LukeIAmYourFather: [[spoiler:Craddoc]] to Taran, [[spoiler:but it turns out not to be true]].
* MadeOfShiny: The Golden Pelydryn, better known as Eilonwy's bauble.
* MagicCauldron: The Black Cauldron, an important part of the early books, is an ArtifactOfDoom which generates EliteMooks for the villains. It's inspired by the Pair Dadeni from Myth/CelticMythology, and is destroyed the same way.
* TheMagicGoesAway
** Following [[spoiler:Arawn's death]] at the end of ''The High King'' the [[spoiler:Fair Folk, the Sons of Don, and other magically-adept humans like Dallben]] use this as an excuse to leave Prydain, claiming they're no longer needed. [[spoiler:Eilonwy gives up her powers rather than leave Prydain out of love for Taran.]]
** Now, now, only "the enchantments of evil" have been vanquished.
** Dallben gives the breaking and complete loss of [[spoiler:Hen Wen's oracular powers]] as further evidence that the good magic also has to leave the mortal world.
** Even Dyrnwyn loses its powers after Taran [[spoiler:slays Arawn]] with it.
* MagicMirror: The Mirror of Llunet is the object of Taran's quest in ''Taran Wanderer''. Taran wishes to know of his parentage and so seeks this mirror which will show him who he really is.
* MegaNeko: Llyan, the horse-sized cat who joins the companions in ''The Castle of Llyr''.
* MetafictionalTitle: ''The Book of Three''.
* {{Metaphorgotten}}: Eilonwy's similes fall somewhere between this and {{Malaproper}}. It's worse than being crawled on by hedgehogs!
* ModestRoyalty: Most royals are up front about who they are, but very few of them actually ''look'' royal. Taran thinks Gwydion is lying about his identity when they first meet, because he looks nothing like he thinks a prince should. Eilonwy is so modest about her royal status that she only mentions it herself when hypnotized in the third book. And Fflewddur would much rather be a bard than a king; the only kingly thing he seems to particularly enjoy is granting boons.
* MonsterShapedMountain: Seen in ''The High King''. Mount Dragon was so named because its peak was in the rough shape of a monstrous, crested dragon's head with gaping jaws, and on either side the lower slopes spread like unfurled wings.
* {{Mordor}}: Annuvin
* MotorMouth: In the first three books, Eilonwy talks so much that it actually annoys the villains. It gets to the point that, on an occasion when everyone else is merely tied up, Eilonwy is BoundAndGagged. When she returns in the fifth book, she's a bit more subdued.
* MyGirlBackHome: Arianllyn, Adaon's betrothed. [[spoiler: He never makes it back to her, and [[FatalFamilyPhoto the poor guy didn't even show a photo of her.]]]]
* NamesToRunAwayFromReallyFast: Arawn Death-Lord; Achren; The Horned King; Gwyn the Hunter
* NighInvulnerable: The Cauldron-Born, and [[spoiler: Morda,]] at least until their respective weaknesses are discovered...
* NoManOfWomanBorn:
** A prophecy states that the BigBad will be vanquished only when such things as "rivers burn with frozen fire" and "night turn to noon" occur. [[spoiler: Some characters set a fire to melt a frozen waterfall and the burning logs are carried on top of the ensuing deluge, while another uses magic to light up an entire valley in the middle of the night.]]
** While not revealed until the very end of the series, there is a prophecy in the Book of Three that Arawn would be defeated by one "from no station in life". [[spoiler:This is Taran, who's known heritage is limited to being the son of ''somebody'' on a massive battlefield in which everyone other than the infant Taran was killed, without any evidence as to who among the dead were his kin.]]
* NonHumanSidekick: Several.
** Gurgi. We're not exactly sure ''what'' he is, but he's definitely not human.
** Hen Wen, upon occasion. [[spoiler:The ending indicates that she'll remain with Taran rather than leave Prydain, so she becomes this to him permanently.]]
** Kaw as well.
** Melyngar, in the first book, and Melynlas in the rest.
** Llyan, the big cat, becomes this for Fflewddur. She's big enough that he can ride her like a horse.
** In the second book there's also Islimach, Ellidyr's horse, who has been reared for this since birth. [[spoiler:She's so devoted to him that when he performs a HeroicSacrifice, she throws herself off the nearby cliff in despair.]]
* NoOntologicalInertia: Played with. Destroying [[spoiler:the Black Cauldron]] does not kill the existing Cauldron-born, but using [[spoiler:Dyrnwyn]] on just one of them slays them all.
* NotQuiteDead: [[spoiler: Gwydion, in the first book.]]
* NotSoDifferent: Taran and Ellidyr. They both learn better.
* TheOathBreaker: Breaking oaths is one of [[BigBad Arawn's]] most infamous habits. If this guy makes a deal, he WILL break it. [[ChaoticEvil No matter how little it might cost him to keep it]]. [[StupidEvil Or how much more dangerous NOT keeping it could be]]. And ''somehow'', there are always more idiots willing to make [[DealWithTheDevil deals]] with him.
* ObfuscatingStupidity: Gwystyl, but more like Obfuscating Chickenshittery.
* OffstageVillainy: Sure, his subordinates and armies are out in full force, but Arawn himself just can't be asked to actually do anything until ''The High King''. However, he does his own dirty work in one of the prequel short stories.
* OlderSidekick: Fflewddur, to Taran & Eilonwy. Gwydion is this too, but much less frequently.
* TheOnlyOneAllowedToDefeatYou: Gwydion to the Horned King, although he accepts that he himself might die in the attempt.
* OnlyTheChosenMayWield: Taran and [[spoiler:Dyrnwyn]] which is a sword ''under'' the stone.)
* OracularUrchin: Hen Wen is a non-human variant.
* OrcusOnHisThrone: Arawn, despite being the nigh-omnipotent "Death Lord", works primarily through proxies like The Horned King, Morgant, Magg, Achren and Pryderi and leaves Annuvin just once to steal [[spoiler:Dyrnwyn]]. It's [[JustifiedTrope Justified]] in that Arawn can be killed when he leaves Annuvin and takes a mortal shape, and would rather not risk his own life when he has a horde of Huntsmen, gwythaints, deathless Cauldron Born etc. Arawn is also portrayed as more of a trickster or Old Scratch figure who prefers to get what he wants through manipulation and guile rather than overt shows of force.
* OurElvesAreBetter: Averted. The Fair Folk are powerful and magical, sure, but they're not portrayed as much better than the humans, being prone to (often unjustified) FantasticRacism, [[{{Jerkass}} pettiness]] and [[{{Wangst}} whining about every little thing]].
* OutGambitted: [[spoiler:Pryderi]] thinks he is tricking Arawn into serving him. [[spoiler:He isn't.]]
* PapaWolf: Gwydion can get this way when his companions are threatened. (He gets ''really'' mad when Achren torments Taran in ''The Castle of Llyr.'')
* ParentalMarriageVeto: Eilonwy's parents. Gwydion mentions it briefly in the third book; the extra volume ''The Foundling and Other Tales of Prydain'' gives the story of their romance in much greater detail. In summary: Angharad, Eilonwy's mother, was a highborn enchantress who rejected her snooty wizard suitors and instead fell for a humble storyteller. [[MostWritersAreWriters (Lloyd Alexander does love his bards.)]] The pair of them were exiled.
* {{Patronymic}}: In Prydain, men use patronymic naming, and women use matronymic naming. Taran's lack of such a name troubles him greatly and is a driving force for much of his story, particularly in ''[[MeaningfulName Taran Wanderer]]''.
* PerpetualMotionMonster: The cauldron-born are deathless zombies animated by the Black Cauldron. They do not eat, sleep, breathe, or get tired, and they feel no pain.
* PositiveDiscrimination: Eilonwy at Taran's expense in the first three books, although she herself is pretty shrewish at the beginning.
* PreAsskickingOneLiner: Taran gives a memorable one to Morda, [[spoiler:only for it to backfire since Morda is NighInvulnerable.]]
* PrinceCharmless: Ellidyr. Slightly subverted in that there's absolutely no potential for romance between him and Eilonwy. In fact, he actually goes out of his way to insult her quite a few times in ''The Black Cauldron'', introducing the reader to Taran's BerserkButton in the process.
* PrincessClassic: Eilonwy appears to have become this briefly in the last book, only for she herself to lampshade how [[RebelliousPrincess unnatural it is for her.]] She spends most of the rest of the book as a SweetPollyOliver.
* RagtagBunchOfMisfits: Taran and his friends. Amusing since several of them are royals.
* RagsToRoyalty: The story of High King [[spoiler:Taran]].
* RealityWritingBook: The Book of Three.
* RebelliousPrincess: Eilonwy, who started this trend nearly thirty years before Disney, making this OlderThanTheyThink. Not only that, she was also ''Disney's'' first rebellious princess!
* RedemptionDemotion: Justified in the case of Achren, as by the time of her HeelFaceTurn her powers have run out.
* RedemptionEqualsDeath:
** In ''The Black Cauldron'', [[spoiler:Prince Ellidyr, the resident {{Jerkass}}, spends most of the book putting Taran down for being lowly born and eventually betrays the party to satisfy his own lust for glory. At the end, he realizes the error of his ways and makes a HeroicSacrifice to destroy the Black Cauldron before it can be used on the heroes]].
** In ''The High King'', [[spoiler:Achren is a less clear-cut case; it's unclear whether she was genuinely redeemed or just involved in an EnemyMine.]]
* RedEyesTakeWarning: The gwythaints, servants of Arawn, have blood-red eyes.
* RefusingParadise: [[spoiler: In the end, Taran is offered the chance to sail to the Summer Country. He stays to help rebuild after the war, and becomes the new High King. Eilonwy also decides to stay with him. ]]
* RetiredBadass: Coll, who once single-handedly fought his way into Annuvin to save Hen Wen.
** According to ''The Foundling and Other Tales'', he did have [[SpeaksFluentAnimal some]] [[FriendToAllLivingThings help]] along the way.
* {{Retirony}}: In ''The Black Cauldron'' Adaon speaks several times of Arianllyn, the woman to whom he is betrothed. Guess what happens to him not too much later?
* RhymesOnADime: Gurgi likes to speak with rhyming pairs of words ("smashings and gnashings", "crunchings and munchings", etc.)
* TheRival: Ellidyr.
* RoyalsWhoActuallyDoSomething: Roughly half of the important characters are royalty. They also tend to be [[AuthorityEqualsAsskicking totally badass.]]
* RunningGag: A string on Fflewddur's harp breaks whenever he lies (which is often). The bigger the lie, the more strings break.
* SandInMyEyes: In ''The High King'', when Fflewddur sacrifices his harp for firewood, he complains of how it smokes, though it burns with very little smoke. He then comments that he's glad to be rid of it, and two strings break.
* ScaledUp: Arawn does this just before [[spoiler:his death]]. {{Justified}} as he was trying to get out unseen, and almost succeeded.
* SchmuckBait: The Book of Three. Taran, what is your fascination with this mysterious and forbidden tome?! Fortunately, the book seems to be sentient, and it punishes Taran's innocent curiosity with the equivalent pain of a few mere bee stings. [[spoiler: King Pryderi, on the other hand, wants to steal the book and use its secrets to gain power, and he [[ShockAndAwe is not so lucky.]]]]
** Reading into the backstory a bit, it turns out the Book of Three was a bit of SchmuckBait for ''Dallben'', too. Evidently in Prydain, wisdom comes with a high price. [[spoiler:It turned Dallben from a youth to an old man overnight.]]
* SelfDisposingVillain: [[spoiler:King Pryderi]]. To elaborate, [[spoiler:he attempts to steal the Book of Three from Dallben. The enchanter warns him that betraying his former allies and working with Arawn have marked him for death if he touches the Book. He does it anyway and the Book burns him to a crisp with a lightning bolt]].
* SenseLossSadness: After giving away Adaon's brooch to the three witches, Taran notices he lacks the clarity and wisdom he had while he wore it.
* SentOffToWorkForRelatives:
** Taran works Craddoc's farm thinking [[spoiler: mistakenly that Craddoc is his real father]].
** Eilonwy is sent to the Isle of Mona to learn to be a lady, "working" at being a princess for several years.
* ShapeShifter: Arawn.
* ShipperOnDeck: Fflewddur is apparently this for Taran and Eilonwy, to judge by some comments he makes in ''The Castle of Llyr''; he says he's basically been assuming they'll get together eventually. Taran doesn't take this revelation very well, angrily pointing out that he's of no station to marry a princess.
* SmallNameBigEgo: Ellidyr treats the main characters with much contempt and responds violently if anyone so much as thinks about impugning his honor. It's [[JustifiedTrope explained]] that he is like this because he is from an old yet impoverished noble family, and his father and elder brothers squandered their house's money and good name. Poor Ellidyr hasn't got much left except his pride and his horse.
* SolarAndLunar: The emblem of the House of Don is the sun, on account of the fact that the Sons and Daughters of Don are descended from the Lady Don and her consort, Belin the sun king. Meanwhile, the emblem of the House of Llyr (Eilonwy's all-but-extinct lineage) is the crescent moon; this is because they are descended from Llyr Half-Speech the Sea King, and the tides of the sea are governed by the phases of the moon.
* SolitarySorceress: Taran and his friends journey multiple times into the treacherous Marshes of Morva to seek the counsel of the Three Sisters, Orwen, Orgoch, and Orddu, inscrutable witches of unspeakable power who like to play with people's lives.
* SoulJar: [[spoiler: Morda]] has one of these.
* SpeaksFluentAnimal: Eilonwy doesn't literally ''speak'' it, but her latent magical powers allow her to communicate with some friendly wolves who come to her aid in the fifth book.
* TheStarscream
** In a bit of a twist, current BigBad Arawn was in fact TheStarscream to former BigBad, Achren. [[spoiler: [[DoubleSubversion Twisted back]] in that Achren [[KarmicDeath turned right around and Starscreamed back at him.]]]]
** Pretty much everyone who works for Arawn becomes TheStarscream at one point. It never ends well.
* StayInTheKitchen
** Like most of his notions when we first meet him, Taran's notions of women come from Prydain's equivalent of ChivalricRomance. Some time spent as the apprentice of the spry Dwyvach Weaver-Woman tempers this dramatically.
** Many characters wish Eilonwy would stick to women's tasks, out of concern for her safety. Naturally, [[ActionGirl she will not hear of it.]]
* StoneSoup: How cooking works in Llonio's household in ''Taran Wanderer''. He sends all his children to find ingredients, and whatever they bring back ends up in what can only be described as a sort of pancake-omelet.
* StoutStrength: King Smoit.
* SupportingLeader: Gwydion, except in Book 3 where he's part of the acting team.
* SweetPollyOliver: Eilonwy is forbidden to follow the men into battle in ''The Black Cauldron'' because she's a girl, so she dresses as a boy in order to fight alongside Taran. By the time ''The High King'' rolls around, nobody really cares anymore because she's proven that she's a very competent fighter (and because they have learned that they just can't make her stay home). The fact that she has latent magical powers doesn't hurt anything either.
* TagAlongKid: Taran starts out as this to Gwydion but quickly proves his worth. Later, Llassar becomes this to Taran but he too proves himself quickly.
* TalkingAnimal: Kaw.
* TalksLikeASimile: Eilonwy.
* ThouShaltNotKill: [[spoiler:Dallben]], according to Pryderi, though [[spoiler:Dallben]] doesn't confirm it (he only says that no man has ever died ''by his hand'', and that [[spoiler:Arawn]] has misled Pryderi with "half-truths").
* TokenEvilTeammate: [[spoiler: Achren]], who goes from [[spoiler: an evil queen]] to a refugee cleaning up Caer Dallben to helping the heroes take down Arawn.
* TomboyPrincess: Eilonwy. TropeMaker, anyone?
* TomeOfProphecy: The Book Of Three.
* TooDumbToLive: Glew.
* TortureAlwaysWorks: Inverted. Achren took Gwydion to Oeth Anoeth to torture him into obedience, but when he was able to endure, the entire building melted and imbued him with power.
* TreacherousAdvisor: Magg, chancellor to King Rhuddlum of Mona. Fflewddur, in one of his more clever moments, is suspicious of him immediately.
* TricksterMentor
** Dallben, although not antagonistic in the slightest, does otherwise fit the description.
** Orddu. In ''Taran Wanderer'' she asks Taran if he's ever "scratched for his own worms." Months later he realizes what she meant.
* TrueCompanions: Taran, Eilonwy, Gurgi, Fflewddur, and Doli are the central members.
* {{Tsundere}}: Eilonwy
* TheUnchosenOne: Taran literally stumbles into the middle of the war and becomes a MessianicArchetype and later [[spoiler:High King of Prydain]] through sheer determination.
* TheUnreveal: There are two characters whose origins and true nature are deliberately left unclear: Taran and Arawn. We never learn who [[spoiler: Taran's biological parents]] are. And we never learn who/what [[spoiler:Arawn]] really is. After he's killed, he reverts to his true form which ends up lying face down on the floor, but before anyone can go near him, [[LoadBearingBoss his fortress starts to crumble]] and everyone has to split.
** Though with Taran, the fact that it's not revealed, and in fact probably ''can't'' be revealed, is part of the point. He's not just the son of any two people, but all of Prydain, noble and common alike.
* UnusualEuphemism: Dorath threatens Eilonwy by claiming he will "remove her charms". Hey, it's a kids' book after all.
* UnwittingPawn: [[spoiler: Pryderi]]
* VagueAge: Everybody, really, but it's most notable with Taran and Eilonwy. It's generally understood that the series begins when they're prepubescent and ends around the time they reach adulthood; the only other clue to their ages is that Eilonwy is one or two years younger than Taran. In the last book, Dallben even keeps it deliberately vague by mentioning an event that happened around Taran's birth as having happened "as many years ago as you yourself have years."
* VainSorceress: Achren, who according to Eilonwy, "loves jewelry, but it doesn't become her one bit."
* WalkingTheEarth: Taran in ''[[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin Taran Wanderer]]''.
* WanderingMinstrel: Fflewddur's (largely unsuccessful) career as a bard before meeting the heroes. However, it was his own choice, since he finds being a failed bard much more enjoyable and fulfilling than staying in his dismal little kingdom.
* WarIsGlorious: Opinions vary. King Smoit and Fflewddur Fflam would agree, but most of the other warriors regard it as a necessary evil.
** Adaon will tell you this is not the case. [[CallToAgriculture "There is more honor in a field well plowed than in a field steeped in blood."]]
** Coll would agree, preferring to be known as a 'planter of turnips', despite the fact that he'd marched single-handedly into Annuvin to rescue Hen Wen.
** At the start of ''The Book of Three'', Taran believes this. It's one of the first ideas knocked out of his head by his adventures.
* WarriorPoet: Adaon and Taliesin.
* WarriorPrince: Gwydion is the most obvious example.
* WeCanRuleTogether:
** Achren makes no secret of the fact that she wishes to make Gwydion her consort, and offers him several chances to join her. Unfortunately for her, Gwydion is a CelibateHero.
** Much to Taran's shock and disbelief, [[spoiler: Gwydion]] makes this offer to him near the end of the series. The rule together part, that is, not the consort part. [[spoiler: It's Arawn in disguise.]]
* TheWeirdSisters: Orwen, Orddu, and Orgoch, three sisters who live in the Marshes of Morva, are hundreds of years old and masters of black magic. All of them appear as young beauties at night and old crones in daylight. Each of them has their distinct personality, but oddly they also seem to take turns at being each sister and are able to swap their identities between them. When Taran visits them in ''The Black Cauldron'', they are just weaving a magical tapestry.
* WellExcuseMePrincess: Eilonwy rarely stops criticizing Taran, but it doesn't disguise her obvious affection for him.
* WellIntentionedExtremist: [[spoiler:Pryderi]]
* WhatsUpKingDude: Back in Fflewddur Fflam's kingdom, children would often play games and sports in his throne room because of ease of access, and they knew that he was far more likely to join in their games than to shoo them out of the castle.
* WildHair:
** Fflewddur.
** In ''The Book of Three'', Prince Gwydion is described as having "the shaggy, gray-streaked hair of a wolf".
* WillTheyOrWontThey: Dragged out until the ''very last page'' of the final book with Taran and Eilonwy. [[spoiler: TheyDo, of course.]]
** Eilonwy [[LampshadeHanging lampshades]] the whole situation with her response to Taran's [[spoiler:marriage proposal: "Well, indeed. I wondered if you'd ever get round to asking. Of course I will, and if you'd given half a thought to the question you'd have already known my answer."]]
* WiseBeyondTheirYears: Taran has a brief period of this in ''The Black Cauldron,'' through magical aid. Gwydion predicts that if Taran manages to live long enough, he'll earn the real deal; sure enough, numerous painful sacrifices eventually lead to him fulfilling the trope by the end of ''Taran Wanderer.''
* TheWisePrince:
** Prince Gwydion is very knowledgeable and intelligent.
** Adaon in book two is not exactly a prince, but the son of the Chief Bard, and otherwise fulfills the archetype perfectly.
27th Mar '13 1:28:47 PM LordGro
Is there an issue? Send a Message

Added DiffLines:

This list shows the last 8 events of 8. Show all.