Book Five: The High King

A note from the writer: Skip a book I must for I still do not have a copy of the fourth, Taran Wanderer. Soon enough, I will find it – all in its perfect time and place. Meanwhile, let us move on to the final of the Chronicles of Prydain, The High King, winner of the Newbery Award.

“The final choice, which even faithful Gurgi cannot avoid, is almost too hard to bear. Fortunately, it is never offered to us in the real world – not, at least, in such unmistakable terms. In another sense, we face this kind of choice again and again, because for us it is never final. Whether the Assistant Pig-Keeper chose well, whether the ending is happy, heart-breaking, or both, readers must decide for themselves.”

– Lloyd Alexander

It was time. The inevitable has come – the final battle between good and evil must take place and sides must be taken. Are they for good or for evil? Taran has learned much through all of his adventures. Time and experience had taught him well. Yet as he was faced with the responsibility of becoming one of the war leaders of Prydain, he still stands a little unsure of himself while his friends and followers continue to believe in him and follow him because of friendship, loyalty, and camaraderie.

Dallben, Coll, Prince Gwydion, Fflewddur Fflam, Doli of the Fair Folk, Gurgi, and Princess Eilonwy – the original companions of Taran from the very beginning were there alongside many other friends such as Prince Rhun, King Math, King Smoit, Llyan, Hevydd the Smith, Llonio Son of Llowen, the rest of the Commot Folk, the Fair Folk, and even Medwyn’s animals. All of them played their own specific roles to be able to do what they had to do and that is to defeat Arawn once and for all. It was an arduous journey yet the characters took heart as they remained hopeful to a better outcome than what the Lord of the Dead has planned. For Taran, it took a lot of courage to be able to carry such a burden while travailing on such dark paths. This alone already marks him to be truly called a hero. Once again he made sacrifices and tried to bear the pain for others, a true leader in his own right despite being simply an Assistant Pig-Keeper.

Perhaps among all five books, this one has the most twists and turns that what would happen next remained unpredictable and the end remained unknown. It is also here that all things finally become clear as everything becomes revealed – the significance of every event, of every weapon, of everything that Taran had to experience before he truly discovered his destiny. Many lives were lost but they were not lost in vain because it had been for the good, the good that everybody still believed to be worth fighting for.

I do not want to reveal much of the story because it is better for the readers themselves to be where I was – there in Prydain, whether I was with Taran, was Taran himself, or perhaps as Princess Eilonwy. To be a witness of his growth from boy to man was a magnificent spectacle because I too grew up alongside him. The whole Chronicles of Prydain has been nothing but an adventure filled with much heart and spirit. It is a wonderful story of courage and wisdom that everyone may learn from.

As I reached the last page of the story and closed the book, I knew that it will never end because Lloyd Alexander was right – we are continuously faced with the same choices day by day. What will be our choice? 

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