The Prydain Project

Thirty years after first devouring Lloyd Alexander's Prydain books, I'm rereading them to see if the magic is still there. If you've arrived at this blog because you loved Prydain as a kid, I hope you’ll enjoy the chance to revisit it along with me. To read the recaps in order, start here: "The Book of Three," Chapter 1

Friday, August 5, 2016

The Castle of Llyr, Chapter 18 – The Golden Pelydryn

Poor Rhun realizes his mistake immediately, and turns away in dismay. Achren says all she needs to fulfill her plans are the book of spells and the Pelydryn, and she commands Gwydion to turn them over. Gwydion says they are well-hidden and out of her reach. Achren says it will be easy to make them talk, especially Rhun. Rhun tells her to go ahead and torture him, then. Gwydion tells Achren if she harms any of the companions, he’ll kill her. Achren says if he tries to harm her, she’ll kill Eilonwy. It’s a stalemate!

Eilonwy says that her bauble should not be “in the hands of strangers.” Taran gives an anguished cry at this, and Achren quickly susses that hearing Eilonwy call him a stranger hurts Taran more than any physical torture. She offers to give back Eilonwy’s memories of Taran in exchange for the book and the Pelydryn. Even more than that, she will make Eilonwy a queen, and “who shall be her king? … Achren gives favor for favor.” She says she knows Eilonwy is promised to Rhun, but she can change all that. Taran is completely torn up by this, moreso than you would think given how he’s stood up to psychological torments in the past – the promises of Orddu, for instance. He’s crying, and has his head in his hands, trying to block out Achren’s voice.

Then Gwydion cries out, “You shall have what you ask!” and straight up tells Achren where he buried the goods. (So did he think Taran was going to break? Or was he just trying to spare Taran from being tormented?) Magg runs out to the courtyard and retrieves the book and the bauble. Achren gives them to Eilonwy. Magg is like, yay, now I get to be a king, and Achren tells him not so fast – he’s lucky she lets him live. So much for her promises of Turkish Delight!

As Eilonwy holds the bauble, it starts to glow, and she seems to recover some of her memory. Shaking violently, she struggles against the enchantment, as Achren urges her to read the spells. Finally, Eilonwy throws the book to the ground, where it bursts into flame. It burns up completely, and then the curtains catch fire. Achren is apoplectic with rage at the loss of the book. Eilonwy, exhausted, passes out. Fighting off spells is hard!

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