Read Taran Wanderer by Lloyd Alexander Online


Taran is an Assistant Pig-Keeper no longer; he has become a hero. Now he dreams of winning the hand of the Princess Eilonwy. Eager to find his origins, Taran sets off with the faithful Gurgi on a quest across the marvelous land of Prydain. Their journey takes them to the three witches in the Marshes of Morva, through the many realms of Prydain, and finally to the mysticalTaran is an Assistant Pig-Keeper no longer; he has become a hero. Now he dreams of winning the hand of the Princess Eilonwy. Eager to find his origins, Taran sets off with the faithful Gurgi on a quest across the marvelous land of Prydain. Their journey takes them to the three witches in the Marshes of Morva, through the many realms of Prydain, and finally to the mystical Mirror of Llunet, which may hold a truth about Taran's identity that he cannot bear to face. In the course of his travels, Taran will learn much about his world and the good and bad people in it, but will also discover much about himself. After many hard lessons, Taran learns the secret of the Mirror Llunet and of the past--and finds not an ending but a beginning....

Title : Taran Wanderer
Author :
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ISBN : 9780805080513
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 222 Pages
Status : Available For Download
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Taran Wanderer Reviews

  • Ahmad Sharabiani
    2019-02-25 14:41

    The Book of Three (The Chronicles of Prydain, #4), Lloyd Alexander The Book of Three (1964) is a high fantasy novel by Lloyd Alexander, the first of five volumes in The Chronicles of Prydain. The series follows the adventures of Taran the Assistant Pig-Keeper, a youth raised by Dallben the enchanter, as he nears manhood while helping to resist the forces of Arawn Death-Lord. In 2012 The Book of Three was ranked number 18 among all-time best children's novels in a survey published by School Library Journal, a monthly with primarily U.S. audience. The concluding novel, The High King, was also among the top 100.تاریخ نخستین خوانش: بیست و چهارم ماه آگوست سال 2008 میلادیعنوان: افسانه های پریداین - کتاب 4 - تاران و آینه ی مرموز؛ نویسنده: لوید الکساندر؛ مترجم: مریم سیادت؛ تهران، تندیس، 1385؛ در 272 ص؛ شابک: 9789648944174؛ جلد چهام نیز عنوان اصلی اش «تاران سرگشته» بوده که در برگردان فارسی عنوان «تاران و آیینه مرموز» برای آن انتخاب شده است، سری پنج جلدی «افسانه‌های پرید‌این» د‌ر د‌هه‌ ی 60 قرن بیستم میلاد‌ی برای نخستین بار در ایالات متحده به چاپ رسید‌ه، به نوشته ی مهتاب روشنگران: «لین کارتر»، منتقد‌ مهم اد‌بیات فانتزی، از قول نویسنده سری «ماجراهای پریداین» نقل می‌کند‌، که جد‌ا از اثرپذیری ایشان از «تالکین»، کار او ملهم از کتابِ مهم د‌یگری د‌ر اد‌بیات فانتزیِ قرن بیستم میلادی، یعنی «شمشیر د‌ر سنگ» نیز هست (کتابی که به افسانه‌ های «آرتور شاه» می‌پرد‌ازد‌). همین مهم باعث شد‌ه تا سری «پرید‌این»، علاوه بر د‌اشتن المان‌های فانتزی بزرگسال، به طنز و شوخ و شنگی فانتزی‌های نوجوان هم نزد‌یک بشود‌. ا. شربیانی

  • Ivan
    2019-03-16 11:38

    2.5 starsIt's nice fairytale-like story that reminds me of stories I read as kid early in early grades.I think it's ok middle grade read but not much more. Young me would like this book but adult me found it uninteresting. That maybe reasonable but there are some books like Coraline, Graveyard book, Un Lun Dun that both my middle grade self and my adult self would adore.

  • Aj the Ravenous Reader
    2019-03-07 06:39

    Of the five books, this affected me most. I felt so much for Taran, his loss, his loneliness, his sufferings. I love the fullness of his characterization.

  • Michelle Isenhoff
    2019-03-05 08:47

    “Who am I?”That is the question Taran seeks to answer in book four of the Chronicles of Prydain. Taran has already had many adventures, fought many foes, won several battles, and fallen in love with Princess Eilonwy. He is held in high esteem by all who know him, yet he is still an Assistant Pig-Keeper, an orphan with no known history. Were his parents peasants, or could he be of noble blood, making him worthy of the princess? This is what he seeks to learn, and he covers all of Prydain in his quest.This book at first seemed a little pointless. There was no evil to defeat, no plot to foil. Taran simply began wandering with no clear direction and no clues to help him. “What I seek, I do not know. But, alas, I know it is not here.” But the old crew soon joins him—Gurgi, Doli and Ffluddur Flam—and the adventures start rolling in. The book grows as rich as ever, with the most important battle being waged inside Taran. It is exquisitely written. Once again I have page after page of notes, beautiful quotations, and nuggets of wisdom that give such deep insights into life. I just love this series.In his travels, Taran is offered King Smoit’s kingdom and refuses it. He’s offered a stone of power by the wizard Morda and refuses it. He shows excellent leadership abilities, he judges disputes with the wisdom of King Solomon, he repays friendship with aid, he inspires courage and displays loyalty. In every respect, he acts admirably and proves himself noble. Before his quest ends (I won’t tell you if he’s nobly born or not), he realizes the folly of looking to blood to prove one’s worth: “When I was a child I dreamed of adventure, glory of honor in feats of arms. I think now that these things are shallow….As for my parentage, it makes little difference…manhood is not given but earned.”Here are a few more quotes that I really like:“Once the apple is ripe, no man can turn it back to a greening.”“Was a royal robe enough to hide a dishonorable deed?”“If I fret over tomorrow, I’ll have little joy today.”“Trust your luck, Taran Wanderer, but don’t forget to put out your net.”“Craftsmanship isn’t like water in an earthen pot, to be taken out by the dipperful until it’s empty. No, the more drawn out the more remains.”“Life is clay to be shaped.”Though I have not looked at the final book in the series, I believe this one sets it up in some important ways. As a result of his journey, Taran has established relationships all over Prydain, he’s learned the hardships its people face, and he’s seen how Arawn, the evil Lord, has devastated the land. He has also gathered a great deal of experience, wisdom and confidence. I believe in the next book, The High King, that Taran will face Arawn in a final battle and emerge as the leader of all Prydain. He has certainly proved himself able. I also think the princess Eilonwy will make a significant return to the series. I missed her fiery personality in this one.Though I can make some strong predictions as to the tale’s ending, I wouldn’t miss the reading of it. This series has been phenomenal. Truly the sweetest of adventures! I’m off to purchase the last book now…

  • Daniel
    2019-02-24 07:29

    U odnosu na prethodne knige ova je dosta ... mirnija, daje vremena da se diše a i sam fokus nije ni na čemu epskom već pokušaju spoznaje samog sebe. E sada ima malo previše kuknjave za moj ukus ali opet sve je nekako ozbiljnije, manje humora i ima dosta finih rečenica i stvari koje mogu da poteraju na razmišljanje tako da može preporuka.One more to go :)

  • Jan-Maat
    2019-02-22 10:31

    Nice coming of age story that marks a change from the other books in the series. I'd say it was reasonably free standing, but then I'm the kind of person who regards starting watching a film from the middle as a challenge rather than an impediment. Here the adopted Taran wants to find out about himself and has a series of adventures culminating in accepting himself without having to have noble ancestors to make life worth living.The journey towards this destination is made up by a Wanderjahr round part of Alexander's Prydain - a mythical version of ancient Wales complete with it's own wizard and little people who live underground. On his journey the young Taran tries out various professions from sheep herder, to potter, to blacksmith, to weaver. On being confronted with the idea that weaving is woman's work the old woman who is the master weaver points out that she had never heard a job complain about who did it. Experience has shown this to be very true. (view spoiler)[the gender politics of the rest of the series is less exciting with women appearing as mothers, wives, a wicked witch and the three fates. Although the magical prophetic pig is a sow - there you go, a broader view of gender achieved one pig at a time. (hide spoiler)]The traditional triple goddesses who in these books literally weave the fates of mice and men, creating an inconveniently long comic strip version of what we read remind me ofWhere ever you go, there you are because unlike the rest of us who cannot ever take a break from being ourselves and forever carry the consequences of our actions in ourselves for good and ill they swap bodies and personalities amongst each other, unfortunately since one of the three is distinctly sour tempered and perpetually irritable this has to be strictly regulated and the poor goddess has to be obliged to be herself whether she likes it or not, which naturally results in her being more than normally sour and irritable like a person eating fresh sloes(view spoiler)[ if you haven't tried it, don't. If you are curious obtain a few and give them to somebody else, not a friend unless you want them to become not a friend, and watch the result (view spoiler)[ you might want to have a camera handy (hide spoiler)] (hide spoiler)]

  • Sotiris Karaiskos
    2019-02-20 10:50

    The fourth part of the series is, as the author writes in his foreword, the most heroic of all. In this, our beloved pig keeper begins a journey to discover his true origin so that he can stand next to his beloved as an equal. In this journey, we follow the classic pattern of fairy tales and mythological circles, with the hero encountering difficulties, obstacles, dangerous people and overcoming them with his power and wit. Of course, on this trip he meets people who give him valuable advice and help him on his way. Following the same pattern, the journey is essentially a way of shaping the character, acquiring the necessary skills and in our case a passage from childhood to adulthood. And of course, as in most journeys, it is understood that the issue is not the destination but the journey itself. In other words, we have before us the deepest and most philosophical book of the series so far. A book that includes many important lessons that are not limited to the young audience to which it is addressed. Of course, as in the previous parts of this series, it does not mean that it's not fun enough to be attractive, it just gives the reader much more food for thought. Shortly before the end, I feel that I have read another important book that matters even more when I think of how positive effect it can have in shaping the character of children. Το τέταρτο μέρος της σειράς είναι, όπως λέει και ο συγγραφέας στον πρόλογο του, το πιο ηρωικό από όλα. Σε αυτό ο αγαπητός μας χοιροβοσκός ξεκινάει ένα ταξίδι για να ανακαλύψει την πραγματική καταγωγή του ώστε να μπορεί να σταθεί δίπλα στην αγαπημένη του ως ίσος. Σε αυτό το ταξίδι ακολουθούμε το κλασικό μοτίβο των παραμυθιών και των μυθολογικών κύκλων, με τον ήρωα να συναντά στο δρόμο του δυσκολίες, εμπόδια, επικίνδυνους ανθρώπους και να τα βγάζει πέρα με τη δύναμη και την εξυπνάδα του. Φυσικά σε αυτό το ταξίδι συναντά και ανθρώπους που του δίνουν πολύτιμες συμβουλές και τον βοηθάνε στη διαδρομή του. Ακολουθώντας το ίδιο μοτίβο το ταξίδι γίνεται ουσιαστικά μία διαδρομή διαμόρφωσης του χαρακτήρα, απόκτησης των απαραίτητων εφοδίων και στην περίπτωσή μας του περάσματος από την παιδική ηλικία στην ενηλικίωση. Και φυσικά όπως και στα περισσότερα ταξίδια γίνεται αντιληπτό ότι το ζήτημα δεν είναι ο προορισμός αλλά το ίδιο το ταξίδι. Με άλλα λόγια έχουμε μπροστά μας το πιο βαθύ και το πιο φιλοσοφημένο βιβλίο της σειράς ως τώρα. Ένα βιβλίο που περιλαμβάνει πολλά σημαντικά διδάγματα που δεν περιορίζονται μόνο στο νεανικό κοινό στο οποίο απευθύνεται. Φυσικά όπως και στα προηγούμενα μέρη της σειράς αυτό δεν σημαίνει ότι το ίδιο δεν είναι αρκετά διασκεδαστικό για να είναι ελκυστικό, απλά δίνει στον αναγνώστη πολύ περισσότερη τροφή για σκέψη. Λίγο πριν το τέλος, δηλαδή, νιώθω ότι διάβασα άλλο ένα σημαντικό βιβλίο που η σημασία του γίνεται ακόμα μεγαλύτερη όταν σκέφτομαι πόσο θετική επίδραση μπορεί να έχει στη διαμόρφωση των παιδιών.

  • Paul Christensen
    2019-03-07 14:25

    Taran WandererAs Taran goes a-seeking for his parentage,To uncover the lost secrets of his heritage,He finds more than he bargains for by far,As is forced to meet his inner self and sparWith the riddle dread of what life really means.Unexpected is the answer that he gleans...

  • Barb Middleton
    2019-02-28 12:51

    I liked this story the least of the Prydain Chronicles. It's important to the series because it shows Taran really understanding that his identity is based on his ability and accomplishments rather than on position; however, I missed Eilonwy who is barely in it and I found myself not becoming attached to the new characters as much. I didn't think there was enough dynamic. Mostly Taran is being mentored and there isn't as much tension as characters, interact with each other. The story reads more like a folktale with clear morals or lessons Taran learns from his mentors. The usual humor exists and there are action scenes; however the character dynamics didn't hold my interest cover to cover. I didn't burn any meals because I couldn't put this book down.Taran goes on a quest to discover his parentage so that he can marry Eilonwy. He fantasizes that he is the son of a king and queen and he journeys to far away lands in search of his roots. He gains wisdom and learns how to negotiate and settle disputes by listening to two nobles who are fighting. His ability to empathize with others is a leadership quality that he keeps honing. He continues to learn to rely on himself versus magic and it is his raw honesty with himself and reflections of who he is that makes him so accessible and endearing to the reader. When he is fooled over his parentage, rather than getting angry with the wrong-doer, he realizes that part of the fault lay within himself as well. He realized he had to set aside his shame of not being of noble birth. On his travels, he meets many common people and learns the nobleness of everyday work. It is after he is apprenticed to a weaver, metal-smith, potter, and farmer that he realizes actions determine what defines a person and not ancestry. When he travels to the Mirror of Llunt, the self-revelation that he has good and bad inside of him helps him accept his orphan status and ignoble birth. He is no longer ashamed and gains wisdom to be content with his station in life.While learning skilled crafts, Taran learns what it means to fail and not be good at something because he doesn't have a passion for it. One of the journey's with growing up is trying to find something one has a passion for or is good at in life. Taran explores this concept and also realizes that he has a limitation when it comes to making pottery. He does not have the greatness within to be like the master potter he is under. This is a powerful message because to be happy in a chosen profession, a person must have a passion for it, as well as some natural bent. I liked the messages in this book, I just struggled with the pacing in parts. And I missed Eilonwy ; )

  • Ashley
    2019-02-28 14:46

    In terms of character development, Taran Wanderer is probably the most impressive of the five Chronicles of Prydain books.There is no evil to overcome in this one, no one wrong to right, no one to rescue. Taran simply wants to know where he came from, and so he sets off from Caer Dallben with only Gurgi and his faithful steed Melynlass to accompany him and no idea of where to start looking for the secrets to his heritage. Of course, Taran also has some other motives going on here. Mostly he wants to know where he came from because he wants to be worthy of the Princess Eilonwy, because everyone knows only a man of noble birth can marry a princess. He knows deep down that he very well might find he is a person of no consequence, but a very large part of him does in fact expect to find out he's some secret prince, or the long lost son of lord.As Taran doesn't know where to start looking, he goes to the only people in Prydain who might be able to point him in the right direction: the enchantresses Orddu, Orwen, and Orgach. After a bit of flim-flammery and misdirection, they tell him there is a mirror that if looked upon will show him who he truly is. And so Taran and Gurgi set off to find the Mirror of Llunet. Their journey, however, is quickly and frequently derailed by chance meetings, scuffles with local lords, and a crisis of confidence-inducing encounter with a sheep farmer in the Northern Commets, among other things. Every encounter Taran has (some with familiar faces like King Smoit and Fflewddur Fflam) leaves his preconceptions about the world and himself changed, shifted, or even erased. He learns more about himself in the looking than in the finding, as the three enchantresses had warned him.What was really interesting to me is that all of the encounters Taran has seem specifically tailored by Alexander into shaping Taran as a man. He sees many examples of leadership and masculinity in his year of travels (I joked in a status update on Goodreads that everyone in this book either wanted to kill or adopt him), which enables him to see the type of man he is becoming, and examine whether that is someone he should aspire to be at all. The almost bleak nature of the questions the book asks of Taran frankly astounded me in places (I'm thinking particularly of his encounter with Craddoc the Shepherd). And the ending doesn't go where you think it's going to go, considering the premise.If I ever have a son, he's definitely getting these books as a present one day--you know, as like, a hint. Just really great stuff here.

  • Courtney H.
    2019-03-04 07:36

    I really enjoyed Taran Wanderer. Taran grew up quite a bit, which made him more fun to read as a protagonist. I really liked the characters that Alexander introduced. Some were nuanced; some were merely Good (like the people of the Free Commots), but still likeable and for once not bumbling, if still somewhat whimsical. This book follows Taran as he quests for his parentage. Alexander introduces us to some of his most nuanced, interesting characters yet, such as Craddoc; and Taran himself grows a great deal. Old friends return; we get two new bad guys, one of whom is still alive to provide foil in book 5; and we get the people of the Free Commots, a collection of villages not under any kingdom, who govern themselves. Taran spends a great deal of time there, learning from their artisans and forming strong relationships that will carry through the end of the series. I liked Llonio best, but they were all marvelous (if clearly there to help Taran grow). The pacing of this book was better than the last. The book does not get bogged down anywhere, and Alexander puts Taran through quite a few trials, to help in grow and keep us, as readers, entertained. Of course, this--like so many penultimate books--is largely a set up for what is coming: the big war. Bumbling won't do when it comes down to it, so Taran had to grow up and become effective, as did many characters; he had to start forming relationships from which he might command loyalty; we have to get a sense of the full landscape of Prydain, so as to understand how the various factions and geography will affect the war. Alexander set it up well, and this was a very satisfying book to bring us toward the conclusion.

  • Andrea
    2019-03-08 12:24

    That is some deep stuff. In the fourth book of Prydain Chronicles Taran realizes that he loves Princess Eilowny (who is again missing from the narrative) and goes on a journey of self-discovery. He hopes to be of noble birth, so he can propose marriage to the princess, thinking that an assistant pig-keeper would not be worthy of her hand. What he gets though is a lesson in self-worth, societal prejudices, and misconceptions about human nature. Can facilitate some great philosophical discussions with your kid.

  • Zezee
    2019-03-08 08:47

    As posted on Zezee with Books.Another adventure in the Chronicles of Prydain series. This time, Taran embarks on a quest to discover who he is and where he’s from.Quick summary:This installment picks up shortly after The Castle of Llyr. Eilonwy is still on the Isle of Mona learning to be a lady but Taran is back at Caer Dallben. He misses Eilonwy and wants to be worthy of her hand so he begins to inquire about his origins. He first sets out for the Marshes of Morva because who better to tell him who he is if not Orddu, Orwen, and Orgoch.But lack of a fair trade leaves Taran more puzzled about his origins than before. The witches try to help by telling him of another way he can get the answers he wants. Apparently, there is a magic mirror in the Free Commots, a land in where people govern themselves, that could possibly give Taran the answers he seeks. Taran and Gurgi set off for the magic mirror and have several adventures along the way. They traverse King Smoit’s land for some time, where they find Fflewddur, who decides to accompany them on their quest since he’s not yet ready to return to his own lands. While in King Smoit’s kingdom, Taran helps him resolve a grievance between two troublesome lords that almost lead to war. Taran’s show of wisdom makes King Smoit respect him even more.After leaving King Smoit’s land, they find Doli, who was unfortunately turned into a frog by an evil wizard. The wizard draws his power from a gem that belonged to Eilonwy’s mother, who received it as a wedding gift from the Fair Folk. With the help of his friends, Taran wrests the gem from the wizard and returns it to the Fairfolk, which make them indebted to him. From that entanglement, they fall into another when they run into Dorath, a sellsword and thief who reminded me of a pirate the entire time I read. Taran and his friends barely escaped unscathed.After a break from his quest during which he learned about the value of family, Taran finally makes it to the Free Commots, where he picks up various skills, faces who he is, and accepts his identity.My thoughts: (spoilers)This one was okay. I guess I loved it upon completing it because back then (early June) I gave it 5 stars on Goodreads and placed it on my Favorites list, but now that I’ve calmed down, I dropped it to 4 stars and removed it from my Favorites.“If I do find pride, I’ll not find it in what I was or what I am, but what I may become. Not in my birth, but in myself.”The story is good. It is an improvement from The Castle of Llyr, which is probably why I rated it so high after completing it. I guess it is worth such a high score because Taran improves in this installment and we get a glimpse at the kind of leader he will become. But I was disappointed that we do not learn his origin. Sure it’s great and jolly that he accepts himself, faults and all, but I really wanted to know who his parents were and if they’re still alive and what part of the kingdom is he from and why they gave him up in the first place. I guess it doesn’t matter but since the beginning of the series, I’ve wanted to know. Why couldn’t Dallben just tell him? Anyways, this is becoming too ranty.Apart from Taran’s adventures, I like that Alexander allowed Taran to find his own way in this installment. In the previous books, Taran is accompanied by an adult for part of his adventures, usually at the beginning. The adult’s function is to offer guidance and advice that will help Taran later when he’s placed in a tough situation. The adult — Gwydion or Adaon — stands apart from other older characters Taran encounters, such as Fflewddur, because they’re leaders that Taran reveres. Not that Taran does not respect Fflewddur, but it seems that Fflewddur is presented more as Taran’s equal when compared to Gwydion or Adaon. Also, whenever such adults are included in the story, you can hear the adult speaking through them to advise Taran. I often view them as Alexander placing himself in the story to help Taran along but in this installment, Taran has only the wisdom he has gained to guide him along.For the majority of the quest, Taran is accompanied by only Gurgi. I think Alexander nicked Fflewddur from much of the adventure to be fair to Taran that he truly finds his own way (and also to keep the focus on Taran’s struggle). However, helpful adult figures aren’t totally removed from the story. Instead of having an adult to lead him, he receives teachers to instruct him instead. And I appreciate this change, especially since identity is of utmost importance. Although we may admire many figures, it’s those who we look to for instruction who influence how we interpret the world and see ourselves in it. When Taran reaches the Free Commots, he becomes an apprentice to various skill masters. Along with teaching him a skill, each master passes on their metaphor for what life is. They help Taran to better navigate his own life.I also like that he gets to spend time with the common folk. I believe that Taran will become king of something in the next installment since that one’s titled The High King and from the start of the series Taran has been much respected by high officials throughout Prydain though he’s just an pig-keeper, an assistant pig-keeper at that, and has been given much responsibilities. It’s good that he gets to know the people he will someday govern, as well as the rapscallions who will try to undermine his rule.Another positive for this installment is how relatable Taran has become. I couldn’t help sympathizing with Taran as he questions his existence and his identity. How can you define yourself if you don’t know from where you’ve come? When Taran finds the magic mirror, he’s solaced by an answer that suits him. I wish it had suited me too because I was none too happy with that resolution (as I’ve stated above) but outside the story, I do agree. Instead of agonizing about his origin, Taran sees himself as he truly is, accepts it, and looks forward to who he will become.“True kinship has naught to do with blood ties, however strong they may be. I think we are all kin, brothers and sisters one to the other, all children of all parents.”Another aspect of Taran that I found relatable is when he realizes that what he says he’s searching for wasn’t what he hoped to find. With this quest, Taran intended to find his family and learn who he is but when he found a family—Craddoc—he’s upset because it’s not how he wanted to be defined. As we know from the previous books, Taran longs to be of nobility but to learn that he’s just a peasant was a disappointment. I sympathized with him there as well, especially when he felt trapped by his discovery (well, he felt trapped by who his father is but I read it as him being trapped by the knowledge). Ah, to seek and find what you’re looking for only to realize you don’t want it and wish you didn’t know about it. Still, Taran has grown much because if it was me who was tricked and made to work on some dude’s land to fulfill his selfish deeds, I’d want to kill him again if he died before I could knock him out. Just saying.Overall: ★★★★☆I enjoyed the flow of the story, Taran’s character development, and all the little adventures Taran finds himself in. The side characters are enjoyable though they are one-dimensional but I doubt that will sour anyone’s enjoyment. It’s a simple story and a quick read and even if you are an adult reading this middle-grade novel, you too can benefit from the lessons Taran learns.Quotes from the book:“…the further from the deed, the greater it grows, and the most glorious battle is the one longest past. So it’s hardly surprising how many heroes you run into.”“You need only sharpen your eyes to see your luck when it comes, and sharpen your wits to use what falls into your hands…Trust your luck, Taran Wanderer. But don’t forget to put out your nets.”“Life is a forge! Yes, and hammer and anvil, too! You’ll be roasted, smelted, and pounded, and you’ll scarce know what’s happening to you. But stand boldly to it! Metal’s worthless till it’s shaped and tempered.”“Face the pounding; don’t fear the proving; and you’ll stand well against any hammer and anvil.”“[Life is] a loom, rather, where lives and days intertwine; and wise he is who can learn to see the pattern.”“Stale water is a poor drink. Stale skill is worse. And the man who walks in his own footsteps only ends where he began.”

  • Devyn Duffy
    2019-02-19 12:52

    "I've never heard the work complain of who did it, so long as it got done!"Taran Wanderer, the fourth book in the five-book Prydain Chronicles series, has been my favorite since I first read it as a fourth-grader. While half of the story is adventure in the face of grave danger like in the other books, the other half of the story is more human and real.Taran is now old enough to realize that it's OK to admit that he likes a girl. Unfortunately, Eilonwy is a princess and is away at princess school (so to speak), so the Assistant Pig-Keeper Taran believes that he must discover that he is of noble birth himself to be worthy of proposing marriage to her, and Eilonwy isn't around to talk him out of the idea. Much of this book's story, then, is Taran's quest to discover who his parents were, and to find out who he is now.Unlike other fantasy stories, however, the search isn't straightforward and there's no cryptic prophecy to guide the characters. Most of Taran's search for identity is instead a quest to create an identity, by going from place to place, meeting various people, and learning what he can from them. And much of what he does is useful work for people of modest means: farming, smithing, pottery-making, and more. It's in these moments, when Taran is learning or developing his skills with an experienced teacher while no one is trying to kill him, that this book really shines. And each teacher has his or her own personality and point of view, giving Taran and the reader the chance to choose which lessons are best worth remembering.Like the other books, the pacing is fast even when months go by. While a chapter or two might be too intense for very young children, the danger never lasts long. And also like the other books, this one can be read on its own but is much more powerful when read in sequence. I only wish that in fourth grade I had realized that Taran's lessons would have been just as valuable for me--this would be a good book for adults to read along with children and discuss afterward.

  • Jacob
    2019-02-23 12:29

    A very strong start that kind of falters, and the pacing is a bit uneven. However, as I read the first half I was reminded how much I enjoy this series and how much a new generation should still read these classics. I'll take one more whack at trying to get my kids interested in a bard with a harp that breaks every time he lies (named Fflewddur Fflam, no less), a hairy person-thing who speaks in rhyming talkings and squawkings, a not-entirely-cooperative-but-yes-entirely-plot-driving semi-intelligent crow, and of course an assistant pig keeper.Part of the issue is that the interesting parts are over way too quickly. Taran leaves Caer Dallben to find himself, looking to learn his parentage in particular. He decides to consult Orddu, Orwen and Orgoch and somehow gets there the day he leaves home. Their discussion is mildly interesting but Taran leaves without further complication, which is entirely unlike the three O's. Later he encounters an enchanter who is powerful enough for his defeat to be the entire focus of the book, but again his subplot is resolved in one scene. The next subplot with Dorath and the one after with Craddoc are quite good, but then the next bits involving a "lucky" farmer, a smith, a weaver, and a potter are all extremely similar and not enough distinguishes them from each other. I must admit, though, I liked Taran producing an ugly sword whose mettle was actually stronger than his previous weapon.Taran's experience at the Mirror of Llunet is similarly over too quickly without the essential fulfillment of the book's promise, leaving the reader unfulfilled. This book was written quickly to bridge the time between the third and fifth books, and I think it shows. Although the author clearly has a purpose to this story, it hasn't been finely crafted. No wonder it's the only one in the series not to win an award.

  • Ensiform
    2019-03-10 08:45

    The fourth book in the Chronicles of Prydain. Taran, despairing that he will ever know himself, leaves Caer Dallben with Gurgi to find the Mirror of Llunet, which will show himself as he truly is. Taran meets greedy cantrev lords, aids a generous king, is taken captive by a mad wizard, and apprentices himself to a smith, a weaver, and a potter.In some ways, this is the weakest of the books, being a series of only occasionally suspenseful events, with little in the way on conflict or climax, and that being of the very simplistic kind. But while Alexander is cramming the Archetypical Quest to Become a Man into a slim children’s volume, his always very fine writing carries the book along, and the inner growth of Taran is a fine lesson for children and young adults, who are on the same quest. [Read twice]

  • Melaniemouse
    2019-03-14 14:49

    I knew just from reading the jacket cover that this was going to be my least favorite of the series. A lot of series have a book like this, where the main character is literally just wondering around the whole time. The plot line is so predictable, and boring. "And now I go to this place, and this happens. And then I go to this place, and this happens. And next I go to this place, where this happens." (Kind of like "Voyage of the Dawn Treader" - my least favorite "Narnia" book...) It really isn't relevant to the plot of the series, but I guess is treated as sort of a coming-of-age time in Taran's life, his struggle to find out who he is. "Maybe I should be a backsmith... Maybe I should be a weaver... Maybe I should be a potter..." Really the only purpose it serves is to introduce a few new characters, so they can reference them in the next book. Ah well, I made it through!

  • Ren the Unclean
    2019-03-08 06:27

    I really liked this book. It, along with The Black Cauldron, is probably my favorite in the series so far.Taran Wanderer focuses entirely on Taran as he struggles to find out where he comes from and who his parents are. It is uniquely written, as each chapter covers (more or less) one leg of his journey, as he confronts some problem, learns from it, and continues his journey. It is very satisfying to see Taran do things right and succeed in everything he does through his own wit, rather than being the sort of bumbling, lucky, follower that he is in the earliest books in the series.It is also very interesting how Taran continuously finds places where he admits he would be happy to spend the rest of his days, but continues on in order to achieve his greater goal, of finding out who he is.

  • Edward Davies
    2019-03-01 09:25

    This was far better than the last few Prydain books, even though towards the end the chapters at times felt like self-contained short stories. It won't be long before I read the concluding book again...

  • KayLynn Zollinger
    2019-03-19 08:53

    Excellent book. Taran decides he must learn who he is and where he comes from. It's like Buddy the Elf meets community college general education. Except even more awesome, more serious, and less sugary.

  • X
    2019-02-24 11:29

    A quick, mostly exciting read. It's not my favorite in the series mostly due to the lack of all my favorite characters, but Alexander's writing is still good and the story is enjoyable.

  • Bill Tillman
    2019-02-21 07:41

    Another wonderful Prydain tale, learning life's lessons and choices. Another six years have passed, this time I listened to the Audible version. Utterly enjoyable Taran reaches manhood.

  • Lylah
    2019-03-06 14:39

    This was, by far, the best book of the series so far. I can't share what I loved about it without talking about some of the main points but I don't want to be vague.I like that Taran fails, over and over again, and becomes disappointed. The scene with his "father" was fantastic; it was so human of Taran to be disappointed in his origins when he had such high expectations, and so honest to expose the things he felt during that time. I really loved how brutal it was when he wished that something would happen to get him out of the situation, even as he realized how horrible it was.I loved that Taran could not become a potter in the end, because he was not meant to pick up all crafts; that the enchanted pool he sought, in a world of magic, was just an ordinary pool; that he forgot his quest along the way and adopted the role of "Wanderer" and fit into many communities as he helped them but felt that none of them belonged to him.Taran, in the end, learns a very important lesson: he is not special. He is human, with all of the ordinary human flaws, contradictions, and strengths. Taran travels Prydain, practically alone other than Gurgi and a few quickly-replaced companions, merely to learn the lesson that he is himself, regardless of his kin and his wishes. He might not get the girl he yearns for in the end; he might not master every skill; he might not be of noble birth, or be as brave as he thought he was. But Taran is Taran, and this quest was much more personal than the others, and that's what makes this Bildungsroman effective and truly one of the best ones I've ever read.

  • Mi
    2019-02-25 09:31

    “True allegiance is only given willingly.”Having discovered his feelings for the Princess Eilonwy, Taran, now more than ever, longs to know his parentage. Travelling through all corners of Prydain, his quest leads him to farmers and kings - yet from none can he learn who he truly is. Unlike the previous instalments, Taran Wanderer does not focus on any particular evil that must be met. In a way, Taran is his own enemy as he, almost aimlessly, travels from place to place. It gives the book a more quiet nature and has an almost melancholic feeling to it.Although a more calm book, when it comes down to it, Taran faces some fierce battles that are shown in more detail than in any of the previous books. That being said, it might be because Taran faces them one on one rather than the author trying to describe a large battle altogether. In any case, although it only held a few, this book's action scenes were nicely written. For the most of it, only Gurgi accompanies Taran throughout the quest. Fflewdurr does make quite a prominent appearance (and I'm sure glad of that) and we get to see Doli for a couple of chapters. Although I missed seeing some of the other characters (such as Eilonwy) it gave more room for Taran's character development - and that turned out to be great!I've liked Taran from book one and I grow fonder of him with every new instalment. He is a character who constantly learns. His temper can still get the better of him but he will always learn a lesson or two from his mistaken judgments. Gurgi is, as always, such a faithful and lovable companion. This book, more than any of the others, showed how loyal he truly is - Taran's journey would have been a lonely one without him. I love how this book dealt with one's self-perception. It shows that no matter who your parents are, you are who you choose to be and it is in your own hands to shape your life. Although already a solid character, Taran has learnt and grown a lot during this quest - and I look forward to seeing him put it to use in the next and final instalment of these chronicles!

  • Kirsten
    2019-02-22 09:26

    This was the first Prydain book I read as a kid, and it's always been my favorite of the series. Unlike the rest of the series, this is a journey story - Taran has set out on a quest to find out who he is, since his parentage is unknown. The various people he meets along the way all contribute to his growth, and he comes to realize that being himself is enough, and what he does with his life matters more than his unknown origins. From an adult perspective the message delivery is maybe a little heavy-handed, but then again it worked wonders for me as a child and that's the target audience, even if I still love these books as an adult. 4.5 out of 5 stars, rounded up for old times sake.

  • Rob Brock
    2019-02-24 06:38

    The fourth book of the Chronicles of Prydain presents a far more personal journey for Taran, the Assistant Pig Keeper. While the action is not as quick-paced as the other books in the series, the story is deeper and more meaningful than any of the other books so far. Besides the first book in the series, this volume could stand on its own for new readers to the series, but I'd still urge you to read the books in sequence. While I suppose some may take some of the life lessons Taran learns on his journey to be heavy handed, I thought they were brilliantly presented within the story, and they were especially effective as points of discussion after reading aloud each chapter to my younger boys.

  • Marko Vasić
    2019-03-17 07:42

    Iako narativ za moj ukus jeste plitak i nerazrađen u većem delu, zanemarujem to, budući da je literatura namenjena, pre svega, mlađem uzrastu. U obilju avantura koje su u ovom delu najbrojnije, promiče i humor, ali i poneka usputna mudrost, važna za decu da je zapamte. Okosnica radnje je, kako prepoznah, što je više odmicala, zasnovana na legendi iz Mabinogiona koja pripoveda o III lozi Mabinogia - priča o Manawyddanu, Llyrovom sinu. U toj se legendi, kao i u "Taranu lutalici", Mannawydan i Pryderi otiskuju kroz Dyved, tražeći i učeći razne zanate (kao što to i Taran radi), kako bi skinuli kletvu koju je bacio druid Llwyd. Tako i Taran na kraju spoznaje ono za čim traga na svom putu.

  • Aaron W. Matthews
    2019-02-23 12:50

    Of the 4 (out of 5) books in The Chronicles of Prydain series I’ve read so far, this one is my favorite. It is a coming of age tale, where Taran is no longer referred to as “Assistant Pig Keeper”, but sets off to find out not only his heritage, but who he truly is as well. He becomes a wanderer and discovers himself in the process - not necessarily his parentage, but what it means to accept who he is as a man. Like all the other books in the series, friendship plays a heavy role in the discovery and recovery process. I’m actually proud of Taran...much more than just thinking of who he is as a character in a book. The story might not stand alone as easily as some of the other books, but it is good (to me) that I have read the others chronologically. It brings cohesion and deepens the struggles and successes. I love the development of these characters and the wisdom and camaraderie shared along the way.

  • Kelsey
    2019-03-18 06:33

    Taran Wanderer is one of the best books I have ever read. I only wish I had found it earlier! Required reading for every young person. Must be read after the first 3 books, though this one is markedly different in tone and style. You must understand where Taran comes from to truly appreciate the amazing transformation and thoughtful insights Lloyd Alexander weaves in this penultimate novel. Highly recommend this series to any lover of philosophy and truth in fiction.

  • Pam
    2019-02-21 13:27

    I have fallen in love with Prydain - and this book no less than the ones before. Yes, it is mainly for youth, but I love it anyway. Taran is what every mother hopes her son will grow up to be (except for the dangerous parts!). A wonderful fantasy centering on Taran trying to find out who he is - both literally and figuratively.