As a child, I read and reread The Chronicles of Pyrdain a countless times over.
This five-volume series is by Lloyd Alexander, who passed away last week at the age of 83. It was not surprising that I enjoyed the tales of a young boy who went from a simple kid to a hero and a king – not in the least because it wasn’t just a story of wish-fulfillment, but one of genuine growth and heroism.
I read them many times as a child – and even now, these stories are among the few that I still return to time and time again. Perhaps that is one of the defining marks of a truly good story – being able to inspire one to return, once again, to well-worn pages for yet another telling of the tale. That in spite of knowing what is coming – of knowing every little twist and reveal – every page is as enjoyable as the time before.
There are some stories out there that I’ve read several times more from necessity than desire, and these are not bad stories – the Wheel of Time is a good example of a story so overwhelmingly plot-filled that it requires a week playing catch-up every time a new volume comes out. There are more than a handful of webcomics that are similar in nature – that every so often require another trip through the archives just to know what is going on.
But there are also those precious few that present a story so solid, so enjoyable, so timeless, that I return to them again of my own volition, compelled by nothing more than memory.
The Chronicles of Prydain were among the first such stories to have stayed with me throughout the years. They will stay with me forever.
Rest in peace, Lloyd Alexander. You will be remembered.