Follow TV Tropes


Creator / Lloyd Alexander

Go To
I loved all the world's mythologies.

We learn more by looking for the answer to a question and not finding it than we do from learning the answer itself.
Lloyd Alexander

Lloyd Chudley Alexander (January 30, 1924 – May 17, 2007) was an American writer of children's fantasy novels, best known for the High Fantasy The Chronicles of Prydain. Other works include The Arkadians, Time Cat, The Golden Dream of Carlo Chuchio, The Illyrian Adventure and the Westmark trilogy.

Alexander's list of works:

Works by Lloyd Alexander provide examples of:

  • Action Girl: A staple of Alexander's writing. Most of his female protagonists fall under this trope in some way or another; even the ones who don't show much prowess of the battlefield tend to be Plucky Girls with more wits and courage than most of the male characters.
  • Awesome Moment of Crowning: Ops in The Arkadians.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Lloyd Alexander is quite fond of these.
    • The First Two Lives of Lukas Kasha ends with the main character saving the day, learning his lesson and being very violently torn from all the friends he's made over the course of the book including the girl he may or may not have fallen in love with, along with any influence he may have had over that world. Instead, he is sent back to his home where everyone thinks he's a worthless layabout and no one believes he was almost a king, and a good one at that. He leaves the town in order to spend his entire life searching for a way to get back into Abidon.
    • The Rope Trick ends with the characters very narrowly escaping the bad guy's clutches, the main character finally accomplishing the thing she's been trying to do all novel, and entering a land of peace. The bitter part? None of them know if they're alive, dead, or nonexistent.
  • Cats Are Mean: Averted without fail. Any cat that shows up in a Lloyd Alexander book is going to be portrayed in a positive light, and will be either one of the protagonists of the story or ultimately end up on the side of the protagonist.
    • In The Cat Who Wished To Be A Man, the cat, Lionel, begs his master (a wizard who gave him speech in the first place) to turn him into a human. Lionel is one of the kindest, nicest, and most generous humans in the book, especially compared to the villainous and tyrannical local ruler, bent on bleeding the town dry with outrageous taxes and fines.
    • All the stories in the short-story collection The Town Cats And Other Tales star heroic and helpful cats (several of whom are pitted against foolish, Jerkass humans and come out on top). Even the one cat who's portrayed as a bit of a screw-up has nothing but the best intentions and mainly keeps failing because his loving, but misguided owners keep talking him into trying jobs that cats aren't suited for, like baking and weaving.
  • El Cid Ploy: The First Two Lives of Lukas-Kasha has La RĂ©sistance perpetuate the myth that their greatest king is alive and fighting to frighten their oppressors. In reality, his daughter is in charge, and arguably accomplishing more than her father actually did.
  • Evil Chancellor: The Vizier in The First Two Lives of Lukas-Kasha.
  • Expy: Unbeknownst to most fans, Eilonwy from the Prydain cycle appears to be based on Princess Diahan from Time Cat. Just like Eilonwy, Diahan has red hair and a fiery temper, is something of a Cuckoosnarker, goes around in sandals, stamps her foot when she's angry with something, and refuses to speak to the main character (with whom she shares considerable Ship Tease) when he does something disagreeble... except to remind him, several times, that she's not speaking to him.
  • Fantasy Counterpart Culture: Many of his novels feature a similar quest plot and cast of characters, each set in a different one of these.
    • The Chronicles of Prydain: Welsh mythology
    • The First Two Lives of Lukas-Kasha: Persia
    • The Remarkable Journey of Prince Jen: ancient China
    • The Arkadians: ancient Greece
    • The Iron Ring: ancient India
    • The Rope Trick: Renaissance Italy
    • The Golden Dream of Carlo Chuchio: the Silk Road
    • The Westmark Trilogy: 18th-19th century northwestern Europe
    • The Vesper Holly Adventures:
      • The Illyrian Adventure: the Ottoman Balkans
      • The El Dorado Adventure: Panama
      • The Drackenberg Adventure: part Austria-Hungary, part tiny German principality
      • The Jedera Adventure: Algeria
  • Guile Hero: Most of Alexander's work will feature at least one of these, sometimes as a main protagonist and sometimes as an important supporting character.
  • Grumpy Old Man: There's no shortage of elderly men with a less-than-sunny disposition in Alexander's works. Some, like Dallben in the Prydain chronicles, are treated with dignity... others, like the Grumpy Old Bird Garuda from The Iron Ring, are more played for laughs. Expect lots of complaining about aches and pains.
  • Kindhearted Cat Lover: The title character of The Marvelous Misadventures of Sebastian. He rescues a white cat from men accusing it of being a witch and when it follows him, he names it Presto. Sebastian is a very affectionate owner, giving Presto all sorts of silly nicknames (such as "His Most Excellent Catliness" and "Duke of Gauli-Mauli") and making jestful (but somewhat sincere) promises like gifts of silk pillows and gold saucers. Presto himself is a very intelligent cat and helps Sebastian any way he can and in surprising ways.
  • Know-Nothing Know-It-All: There are a few side characters like this in the books; usually they're older than the protagonist and fancy themselves wiser and more knowledgeable, but on the inevitable journey they tend to be more The Load than anything else. While frequently played for laughs, though, they are never without redeeming qualities and usually get a bit more sense as the story progresses.
  • Legacy Immortality: In The Arkadians, the main girl's mother is the latest in a line of priestesses passing for one immortal one.
  • Pride: A very common Fatal Flaw in characters from Alexander's works. A lot of trouble could have been avoided if the hero or heroine hadn't allowed their pride to overcome their rational thinking, and quite a few antagonists meet their downfall because they're too proud to see that they're headed for the fall.
  • Regent for Life: Regent Grinssorg from The Marvelous Misadventures of Sebastian. He's Regent prior to Princess Isabel's parents' deaths, but considering how he may have had a hand in that, his goal was likely this. He aimed to marry Isabel in order to cement it too.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something:
    • In The Iron Ring, the lead is a minor king from Fantasy India who abandons his country over a matter of honor; he did a perfectly good job until then and left it in good hands, but he comes back with a mega agenda at the end and reforms the country like crazy. A whole lot of other kings appear over the course of the story, as both negative and positive examples.
    • The lead of The First Two Lives of Lukas-Kasha is a professional layabout who's magically sent to a vaguely Persian country where he first nearly drowns and is then proclaimed king. Spends a while enjoying the easy life, then gets bit by a sense of responsibility, complains about how exhausting it is, annoys the hell out of his whole court by attempting to actually rule, and gets himself nearly assassinated. Then the plot starts.
    • In The Remarkable Journey of Prince Jen, it's implied that Prince Jen's father doesn't do much, at least partially because his corrupt chancellors perpetually keep him oblivious. Prince Jen is growing up to be the same, but when the wise man, Master Wu, enters the royal court (and evades guards who want to punish him for such a brazen act) and tells him of a utopian kingdom ruled by the wise Yuan-Ming, Jen and his father agree that Jen must go there, learn from him, and become this trope.
    • In the case of Princess Isabel of The Marvelous Misadventures of Sebastian, it wasn't that she "didn't do anything", but "couldn't do anything". Her palace staff were ordered by the corrupt Regent Grinssorg to brainwash her to brainlessness before she was old enough to assert her authority. Fortunately, she retained enough willfulness to rebel and seek help in overthrowing said regent.
  • Royal "We": In The Marvelous Misadventures of Sebastian, princess Isabel speaks like this.
  • War Is Hell: A very common theme in the books. While you do get a few characters who go on about glory in battle, and fighting is sometimes portrayed as a necessary evil, many a young Alexander protagonist discovers too late that war is not great or glorious.
  • Who Wants to Live Forever?: The short story, "The Stone", was about a man who found a stone that stopped him from aging — but it also had the same effect on everything around him. So his crops wouldn't sprout, his cow wouldn't calve, and his child wouldn't grow. To make matters worse, the stone was a Clingy MacGuffin.