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Literature / The Princess and Curdie

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The Princess and Curdie is the sequel to The Princess and the Goblin, both children's fantasy novels. It was written by George MacDonald in 1883, 11 years after the first.

Curdie, one of the heroes of the previous novel, is now fighting against traitors to the kingdom to restore the rightful king's rule.

The book is in the public domain and can be read here and here.

The Princess and Curdie novel has examples of:

  • Aesop Amnesia: At the beginning, Curdie has forgotten that he did believe in Irene's grandmother, and has convinced himself it was all a dream.
  • Babies Ever After: Averted; it is stated they never had any children.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Curdie and his allies defeat the traitors and restore the rightful king's rule, and Curdie finds gold under the city to restore the king's treasury, and then later Curdie marries Princess Irene and becomes king. But after they die, the kingdom degenerates again, people become greedy and selfish once more, and the new king continues mining under the city so much that the city collapses, killing everyone.
  • Comes Great Responsibility: Irene's grandmother warns Curdie against using his new Detect Evil power for personal gain.
  • Detect Evil: Irene's grandmother gives Curdie the ability to touch someone and feel what kind of animal they are on the inside (e.g., pig, snake, dog, etc.). This reflects what kind of temperament and moral values the person has, which is handy for identifying traitors.
    • It also works the other way around: Honest and upright people will have human hands to Curdie's touch, and notably Lina also has human hands inside her bestial paws, suggesting that she is in the middle of a prolonged Heel–Face Turn.
  • Dude, Where's My Respect?: Curdie is treated badly by most of the people he meets in his travels, despite saving the princess, almost single-handedly defeating the goblins, and being personally honored by the king in the previous book. Even his miner co-workers treat him as just one of the guys.
  • Evil Chancellor: Not just the chancellor, but apparently the king's entire court has plotted against him.
  • Feathered Fiend: Curdie is attacked by some evil birds after he unwittingly travels through a Forbidden Zone.
  • Loyal Animal Companion: Lina is a hideous-looking, but very friendly, vaguely dog-like creature who follows Curdie around and proves very useful in his quest. She also has human hands to Curdie's Detect Evil power, suggesting that she Was Once a Man and is working to redeem herself.