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Saturday, March 17, 2007

cover of The Grey King

Will Stanton has been deathly ill-- so sick that he's forgotten what he is (an Old One), and the prophecy that he was entrusted to remember (at the end of Greenwitch). To recover from his illness, he's sent to an uncle's farm in Wales-- which is exactly where he was intended to be. While there, he meets and befriends an unusual boy named Bran, Bran's dog Cafal (apparently named for King Arthur's dog?), gets a lesson in Welsh pronunciation. Oh yeah, and while he's there he also faces off with the powerful Dark Lord, the Grey King, recovers the golden harp and awakens the six sleepers who will fight for the Light in the coming battle.

Bran is an interesting character-- and one of the most astounding things here is his identity. It's not made completely clear, but he seems to have more power than Will (or perhaps just a different kind of power?). It turns out that he is Arthur and Guinevere's son brought forward in time-- Guinevere was afraid that because she had been unfaithful to Arthur before he wouldn't believe that this was his son. But, Merriman/Merlyn seemed to take full advantage of that and brought Bran forward into time so the light would have another champion, another Pendragon to help them fight the Dark when it came rising.

I know I read this book before, but this wasn't what I remembered at all. Sure it was a long time ago, but shouldn't I have had some idea of the gist or main characters? I vaguely remembered something about wolves-- for some reason I thought maybe the Grey King was a wolf (we never see him, but he's a powerful Dark Lord). I guess I must have been remembering the milgwyn, the huge, gray, powerful ghost-foxes that serve the Grey King. The milgwyn are altogether too clever-- and it's very upsetting the way they are able to manipulate an angry human and a faithful dog to the destruction of one (perhaps both, in a way).

Title:The Grey King
Author:Susan Cooper
Date published:1976
Genre:Children's Fantasy
Series:The Dark is Rising Sequence
Number of pages:208
Notes:repeat reading


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