The first novel in the Prydain Chronicles, The Book of Three introduces us to Taran the assistant pig-keeper, Hen Wen the pig, Gurgi the…um…wildman?, and the rest, as well as the Welsh inspired land of Prydain. The book drips with a sort of gauze filtered, dreamy Fantasy in a similar vein to Tolkien’s Shire, particularly from The Hobbit.
Reading the book, I kept thinking it would have fit as a comic strip in the tradition of Prince Valiant. It also has a lot that could translate well into an animated film or potentially a live action film these days. To be honest, there’s not a ton of story either, which might make the translation to film that much easier. Sadly, Disney did a take on it during one of their lower periods, and though I loved it when I saw it in the theater as a kid, it’s really not very good.
As far as the story goes, it’s pretty simple. We follow Taran as he leaves his farm home, goes out into the wider world, makes enemies and allies, fails frequently and learns slowly. The finale is somewhat lackluster, falling into the same deus ex machina, hero passes out while the big bad gets it thing that’s so common in youth-aimed fiction (Harry Potter, I’m looking at you!).
I’ll be reading the rest of the series in the days to come, so we’ll see how it all plays out.