Best 1967 Adventures (8)

By: Joshua Glenn
December 20, 2016

One in a series of 10 posts identifying Josh Glenn’s favorite 1967 adventure novels. Happy 50th anniversary!



Lloyd Alexander’s Chronicles of Prydain YA fantasy adventure Taran Wanderer.

Some fans of Alexander’s Chronicles of Prydain enjoy this installment the least: Taran’s quest — to discover whether he is of noble or common blood — has little urgency; there aren’t any battles with the forces of Arawn Death-Lord; and Eilonwy, the hot-tempered witch-princess who shared in all of Taran’s previous adventures, scarcely makes an appearance. Still, Taran meets interesting people, learns new skills and crafts, and gets into some tough scrapes; for comic relief, he’s accompanied by the shaggy hominid Gurgi, the would-be bard Fflewddur Fflam, and the cranky dwarf Doli. This is a Bildungsroman, and Alexander makes Taran’s education — he studies with a blacksmith, a weaver, a shepherd, a potter, and a truly inspiring and marvelous tinkerer named Llonio, each of whom teaches him something about his own character — fascinating to readers. Oh, and Taran battles a wizard!

Fun fact: Alexander originally intended to write four books in the Chronicles of Prydain series; but after publishing The Castle of Llyr, his editor persuaded him to write a book before The High King — one which would persuade readers that Taran had developed into someone deeper and wiser than a courageous Assistant Pig-Keeper.


Let me know if I’ve missed any 1967 adventures that you particularly admire.

What do you think?

  1. Fascinating that an editor felt that a Bildungsroman was necessary. The readers in my family feel this is the book that separates the Prydain books from many competitors, largely for the reasons your article delineates. The main crisis is one of self-image and self-regard, which is amazingly subtle for a book that is YYA (young Young Adult).

  2. I didn’t know the term YYA before, thanks! And yes — TARAN WANDERER really sticks with you, throughout your life.

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