-->''All who are true creatures will help where they can. As to the hounds, when they hunt--do not run.''

''The Hounds of the Morrigan'' is a fantasy novel from 1985, written by Pat O'Shea. It's [[DoorStopper big]], it's [[SlidingScaleOfIdealismVersusCynicism whimsical,]] and it contains more references to [[CelticMythology Irish Mythology]] than you can shake a stick at. The very plot itself revolves around the Celtic Goddess of War trying to absorb an ancient demon into her soul so that she becomes unstoppable.

Pidge--Patrick, in full, but everyone calls him Pidge--is an ordinary-if-bookish ten-year-old boy living in the Irish countryside with his little sister, father, and aunt. One day, while biking through the city, he stumbles upon an old book shop and finds an ancient tome. On one page is a drawing of a horrible serpent, the very image of which itself fills him with dread. Meanwhile, one of his neighbors rents out his spare greenhouse to a pair of beautiful but sinister women who ride around on motorcycles, who claim to be artists. The two are indeed related: That night, Dagda, the God of all that is good, tells him that the book contains the serpent Olc-Glas, a horrible beast [[SealedEvilInACan imprisoned there long ago.]] The two old women are Macha and Bodbh, and are part of the Morrigan--the Goddess of War and Discord and Death herself. They are out looking for the serpent themselves, because, if they add his poison to theirs... [[TheEndOfTheWorldAsWeKnowIt Well.]]

Olc-Glas is too powerful to be dissolved by anything but the Morrigan herself. But there is a way: Long ago, the great hero Cuchulain spilled a drop of her blood onto a pebble. If they can find that pebble, with its single drop of blood, they can use it to destroy Olc-Glas. But if The Morrigan finds it first, not only will she stop them from destroying the serpent, she'll get him for herself.

The Dagda chooses Pidge and his little sister Brigit to find it, on the grounds that they are brave enough, and clever enough, and alone true enough to do what is right instead of trying to use the serpent's power for themselves. But the Morrigan and her sisters have sent their dastardly hunting hounds after the two siblings, as they brave the world of Celtic myth in search of the stone. Luckily, all creatures good and light are looking out for Pidge and Brigit. But is it enough to keep the hounds away until they can find the pebble and destroy the serpent?

Despite its great (almost 700 pages!) size, the book is told in a lyrical fairy-tale style generally geared at children (and anyone who loves a good yarn). It contains NightmareFuel and SweetDreamsFuel in equal measure, though it remains firmly on the "idealistic" scale of the SlidingScaleOfIdealismVersusCynicism.
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'''This book contains examples of:'''

* ActionGirl: Brigit may only be 5, but she has the heart of a spirited adventurer.
* AmusingInjuries: Puddeneen does not like hammers.
* BecauseYouWereNiceToMe: [[spoiler:Causes Fowler to make a HeelFaceTurn.]]
* BestOutOfInfinity: [[spoiler: The Glomach tries to do that when Brigit beats him at jacks. She won't have ''any'' of it.]]
* BilingualBonus: A great many if you happen to speak Gaelic. If not, the back of the book provides a handy glossary and pronounciation guide which explains the name meanings, as well.
* BoisterousBruiser: Brigit is this in spirit, if not in actuality.
* ButtMonkey: The poor Seargent. Perhaps by nipping into illegal whiskey he's asking for it, but...
* CaveBehindTheFalls: [[spoiler: There's one in the Second Valley that Pidge, Brigit, and Cooroo use to escape.]]
* CunningLikeAFox: Cooroo, of course.
* DeliberatelyCuteChild: [[spoiler: The Morrigan conjures one in order to capture the Seargent.]]
* DevelopmentHell: The book took ''ten years'' to write. The author even tried to write a sequel, but it never quite materialized.
* [[spoiler: EveryoneJoinTheParty]]: [[spoiler: The Seven Maines, Maeve and Ailill (the Weeping Woman and her gander, plus her men who were ducks), Finn and Daire, all their friends, Boodie and Patsy, and Cathbad the Druid.]]
* EverythingsBetterWithRainbows: [[spoiler: The Dagda's gift to Pidge and Brigit after they complete their quest--rainbows just for them, just because, whenever.]]
* TheFairFolk
* FlowerMotifs: Daisies are a recurring theme, because they are the flowers of Angus Og, the God of Love.
* FoodPorn: In writing, as the world of the spirits is so full of tasty treats you'll want to jump in and take a bite yourself. We have specially-seasoned scrambled eggs, sausages abound, wonderful fruits, and even the Swapping Sweets, which are both yummy ''and'' useful.
* ForTheEvulz: All three Morrigan sisters. However, they ''feed off corpses,'' so causing as much havoc still does serve them.
* FunetikAksent: A number of characters have them.
* GettingCrapPastTheRadar: Brigit tries to do this with, "Where's that bloody pebble?!" Pidge catches her and gives he a scolding.
* GiantSpider: Mawleogs and his clan are a whole family of them! However, they're firmly on the good side, and they love acrobatics and singing songs.
* GodInHumanForm: [[spoiler: Boodie and Patsy, who are really Brigit (the goddess) and Angus Og, respectively.]]
* {{Gorn}}: The final battle is almost ''insanely'' bloody, such that if the book were to be filmed, it would probably get a PG-13 rating ''at least'' for that scene alone.
* HappyRain
* TheHecateSisters: the Morrigan
* HellHotel: [[spoiler: Castle Durance.]]
* [[spoiler:HeelFaceTurn]]: Fowler, [[spoiler: BecauseYouWereNiceToMe.]]
* [[spoiler: InnOfNoReturn]]: The original designs of Castle Durance.
* IrishNames: Unless you ''are'' Irish, we recommend giving this page a good once-over before reading this book.
* ItMayHelpYouOnYourQuest: Many characters on the side of good give Pidge and Brigit items in this fashion early on.
* KickTheDog: The main Morrigan shows just how ''nasty'' she is when she finds a pair of decades-old friends talking quietly by the fire, and causes a horrible argument leading to a teary breakdown between them just because she enjoys sowing discord.
* KidHero: Pidge and Brigit. Brigit is only 5!
* LastEpisodeNewCharacter: Raidarc, who is introduced ''after'' the VeryDefinitelyFinalDungeon, but sticks with the heroes to the end.
* LittleMissBadass: Brigit envisions herself as one.
* LoadsAndLoadsOfCharacters: Pidge and Brigit meet a ''lot'' of people on the road.
* NamesTheSame: Boodie points out early on what a good name Brigit has, because she shares it with a goddess named Brigit. [[spoiler: Boodie ''is'' that goddess.]]
* NapoleonDelusion: An ''earwig'' believes he's Napoleon.
* NewPowersAsThePlotDemands: [[JustifiedTrope Justified.]] The magic walnuts given to Pidge and Brigit explicitly provide them with whatever they might need at the time.
* NoAccountingForTaste: Hannah and Corny, but this is noted by Corny as applying mostly on wash day. Any other day, Hannah is a perfectly nice lady.
* NoMoreForMe: The Seargent keeps blaming his [[QuickNip poteen]] for the weird things he sees happening to him, but keeps drinking it anyway.
* NotSoStoic: The Seargent, when his WeirdnessCensor starts to fail.
* {{Oireland}}: Gets a bit Disney-Oirish in places, begorrah and bejabers.
* OneWingedAngel: [[spoiler: Subverted. The Morrigan sisters' last action is to turn into an immense, vile, three-headed giant crow... but the fight is already done, and it's only to scream their rage at the children before leaving.]]
* OnlyKnownByTheirNickname: Macha and Bodhb are typically only referred to by their in-story aliases, Melodie Moonlight and Breda Fairfoul.
* PrecisionFStrike: "You're a ''damned'' fool."
* QuickNip: The Seargeant tends to nip into his stores of confiscatched hootch for... less-than-professional reasons.
* RealityChangingMiniature: The table the Morrigan sisters use.
* RoadSignReversal: The very first trick Macha and Bodhb try to pull on Pidge. It's much eerier than the usual examples, because, of course, they have magic.
* SealedEvilInACan: Olc-Glas. His release is something they want to ''prevent.''
* SealedGoodInACan: [[spoiler: The Irish Elk.]]
* SortingAlgorithmOfThreateningGeography: Two children living in modern Galway are drawn into the other Ireland of myth and legend. As their quest progresses, the mythological landscape is at first funny, absurd, Disney-Oirish, even, with hints of something deeper beneath. It gradually becomes darker, bleaker, more sinister, as the life-or-death nature of their quest asserts itself, and the final showdown with the forces of Not-Good takes place in a Mordor-like bleak and barren place. It's like going from a leprachaun Hobbiton to a Mordor ruled by the Morrigan.
* TalkingAnimal: Most animals in the other world talk. Even the insects!
* TeamPet: Cooroo, once he joins the team.
* ThirdLineSomeWaiting: Pidge and Brigit, and the three Morrigan sisters, form the main two plot threads. The Seargeant who gets unluckily caught up in their fight is the third.
* TinyGuyHugeGirl: Cornelius and Hannah, one couple Pidge and Brigit meet on their journey. Luckily, she's also the fastest runner in the world, and helps them.
* TomboyAndGirlyGirl: Melodie and Breda are a villainous version, with Melodie being the sweet/romantic one, and Breda being the more blunt one.
* TrademarkFavoriteFood: Cooroo loves sausages.
* TheVeryDefinitelyFinalDungeon: The Third Valley, ''definitely.'' And, possibly, [[spoiler: the Morrigan's labyrinth, though Mossie Flynn takes care of that unintentionally.]]
* [[spoiler: VictoryGuidedAmnesia]]: [[spoiler: Although the Dagda takes away Pidge and Brigit's memories, he favors them after. Cooroo comes back as their friend, though he can no longer talk to them, and Dagda sends them rainbows just for them.]]
* WeirdnessCensor: The Seargent attempts to maintain his for quite a while, blaming poteen, before he finally realizes there's nothing he can do.
* TheWorldIsJustAwesome: Pidge has a moment of this when he first beholds [[spoiler: the second valley.]]
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