The Princess and ….

In the past couple of weeks, I’ve read both The Princess and the Goblin and The Princess and Curdie by George MacDonald. I first heard about them over the lunchroom table from a coworker who said they were her sister’s favorite books. My interest was piqued by that, as well as her recounting that MacDonald was an inspiration for C.S. Lewis and J.R.R Tolkien. I promptly recommended the titles to my library to acquire and devoured them once they were made available.

The Princess and the Goblin
by George MacDonald

Princess_and_the_GoblinIt took me a few chapters to adjust to the writing style of George MacDonald. I honestly don’t know if it’s just something unique to his style or something indicative of the late 1800s, but either way it is a far cry from what I’m used to. But once I found the right cadence, I quickly became immersed in the tale of a princess (who was truly a princess) and a young miner boy.

Both Princess Irene and Curdie are mature far beyond their years and while the Princess had her newfound faith in her grand, old great-great grandmother’s existence tested, Curdie uncovered a subversive plot made by the goblins to overthrow the kingdom. In the midst of all this, the two children met and became quick friends.

Through a riveting saga (which frequently brushed up against the fourth wall), the children helped stop the goblin’s foul plot, find the key weakness in the goblins’ defenses (which amused me greatly!), save the castle from utter destruction, be swept away by the magic of the Great Princess, and ensure the love and respect of the King.

All in all, it was a fun read, and I’m grateful to my friend for recommending it to me. I can see this being a book I’ll read to my kids when they get a little bit older.

Re-read Rating
( ) definitely won’t read again
(x) might read again
( ) definitely would read again

Recommendation Rating
( ) wouldn’t recommend
( ) might recommend
(x) definitely would recommend

 

The Princess and Curdie
by George MacDonald

Princess_and_Curdie

This time around, Curdie takes center stage, and we are brought back to his story a few years after their initial adventure. The transpiring years have wrought a dark change in Curdie, and after an encounter with the Great Princess, he discovered the depravity of his soul. He was purified in the rosy fires and given a gift, a companion, and the task of visiting the King.

But all is not well in the kingdom, and upon his reunion with the Princess, they must set things right again. With the gift enabling him to see the inner beast of people, he uncovered a plot against the life of the King himself! Gathering the help of the surprisingly few good people left, Curdie and the Princess purge the castle of miscreants then set off to do battle with the invading army.

It seemed that the story was going to have a ‘happily ever after’ type ending, but the last several paragraphs turned that on its head and I was left with another strong emphasis from the author about the depravity of mankind.

Throughout the book, he makes a very strong emphasis that without help, incredibly few people will make good choices. It is all too easy to fall into the trap of selfishness and even wrap ‘good teachings’ around it to make ourselves feel better about it. In the end, man is going to seek after his own pleasures instead of the good of others. Quite a heavy (but true) lesson to be taught in such a tale, but I can see it being a good avenue to bring up the topic with my kids when they get a bit older.

Re-read Rating
( ) definitely won’t read again
(x) might read again
( ) definitely would read again

Recommendation Rating
( ) wouldn’t recommend
( ) might recommend
(x) definitely would recommend

 

To evaluate the series, I applaud George MacDonald for the tale he wove. There are many hidden truths in it that I will be pondering on, and I very well may pick up the books again to see if I can find other gems. If someone where to try publishing these books today, I don’t think they’d fly, but I’m grateful that the publishers who put this to press a hundred and fifty years ago said yes!

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