I mentioned previously that The Chronicles of Prydain had a strong influence on me as a kid and likely have had a strong influence on The Vergrinn War. I also mentioned that I intended to look at each of the books individually in the future. Well, the future begins (as it usually does) with today.
The Book of Three is an interesting book. It starts out with an awkward boy (whose age is not explicitly referenced). It shows that boy’s desire to be great, and then it proceeds to challenge his understanding of what it means to be great.
Primarily, this book seems to be about understanding that appearances can be deceiving while true understanding grants power. Gwydion, as rough as his appearance is, turns out to be a valiant warrior and Prince. Gurgi, greedy, grasping creature who threatens at first to eat Taran, turns out to be a fiercely loyal companion. Eilonwy, the seemingly airheaded young lady, is actually a practical and intelligent princess. Fflewdur Fflam, who wants to appear bold and noble, is actually a somewhat timid free spirit.
I think it is no mistake that the image presented at first of almost every character in the book is revealed to be untrue. The final revelation of The Book of Three, after all, is that the best and only way to truly defeat evil is by acquiring knowledge.
I loved this story as a kid, and I have re-read it many times as an adult, including with our daughter when she was six. I hope that one day my stories will be read and cherished like this one.