Here’s to Hoping the New Prydain Chronicles Movies Do the Books Justice
More than three decades have passed since Disney first adapted Lloyd Alexander’s fantasy series Chronicles of Prydain into an animated movie. However, that attempt did not turn out to be very successful. In fact, it was generally considered to be a failure, making back less than half of its $44 million budget, and stopping any further thoughts of a franchise.
Now, with the rise of fantasy and young adult material in general, and more serious, dramatic fantasy in particular, Disney has decided that it is time for a reboot, and has reacquired the rites to the series. Details haven’t come out yet on whether they’ll be going the animated route again, or whether they’ll go for live action this time around. All we can hope for is that they’ll find the right creative team this time, and do the well written, engaging series justice.
The five book fantasy series, written by Lloyd Alexander and published annually from 1964 to 1968 was well received, and won multiple literary awards. Alexander drew heavily on Welsh mythology, especially the Mabinogion (medieval Welsh stories) to craft his series: The Book of Three, The Black Cauldron, The Castle of Llyr, Taran Wanderer, and The High King. They follow the protagonist Taran, a pig farmer, through his early years up until his adulthood. Taran dreams of becoming a hero, and on his journey, he crosses the Horned King, a mysterious and terrible foe. And as any fantasy hero, Taran is joined by a group of companions, the most important of which are Princess Eilonwy, wandering bard Fflewddur Fflam, a wild half human half animal Gurgi, and a dwarf Doli. The plot is set in the magical land of Prydain, which “resembles ancient Wales and is engaged in a series of battles with Annuvin, the Land of Death.”