Taran Wander by Lloyd Alexander (Chronicles of Prydain #4)

Taran Wander by Lloyd Alexander cover imageSummary: A coming-of-age novel set in a fantasy world.

I do not know when I first picked up the Chronicles of Prydain series. I do not remember why I picked it up or who may have recommended it. It was not my first fantasy series, I would have read the Chronicles of Narnia before this. But it was very early in my reading career, probably around the 4th or 5th grade. I have revisited the series many times, probably reading each book in the series six to ten times over the past forty years or so. One of the advantages of chronicling nearly all of my reading is that I can look back and see what I thought and when it was that I read the book. It has been 12 years. And I did not look at the previous post until drafting this, and I am not sure I can do better. So I am going to link to my post 12 years ago and say “Ditto.”

Yesterday, one of my favorite Twitter people had a thread that was really a subtweet. I won’t get to the background, but the main point of her thread is that many people, especially white male theologians, like to argue about abstractions. But it is in the particulars that those discussions matter. One of the reasons that I love Taran Wander is that it is a book about gaining wisdom, not theory. Taran expresses the wisdom he gains in particular examples of his life and situation. I responded to the thread, maybe because I had recently read this book, asserting that Christianity is a wisdom tradition more than a tradition of principles and abstractions. To be a follower of Christ is to take what we have internalized about Christ and work out what that means to our situation daily.

As proof of the book’s point about wisdom, here is the only line I have highlighted in my kindle edition, “I’d rather see a wise pig-keeper on my throne than a blood prince who’s a fool!”

I am definitely over-promoting the series, but I do think that the series traces Taran being mentored or acting as an apprentice to Dalton and Coll, and the other characters of the book so that he could serve those around him as a mature human. This is what I want for young adult and middle-grade books more than anything else.

Taran Wander by Lloyd Alexander (Chronicles of Prydain #4) Purchase Links: Paperback, Kindle Edition, Audible.com Audiobook

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