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Saturday, June 23, 2007

cover of The Grey King

Fourth in the series, and this time Will Stanton is sick and goes to stay with relatives in Wales to recover his health. And this just happens to be the place where the next step needs to be taken by the Old Ones. Within the first few days there, will meets Bran Davies .. who has white hair and pale skin and amber eyes and just doesn't fit in. So they rather fit together, in some senses. Together they have adventures to find the golden harp and to wake the sleepers. Will, who as an Old One usually knows about people, has a hard time judging or knowing Bran. But someone has been there ahead of him to prepare the way and make sure these two boys will both meet and trust one another.

The Grey King is the name that has been given to the huge mountain in the area of Wales where this story takes place. That's what everyone calls it, because of legends from long ago. But Will can feel that they are not just legends. That the Grey King is a presence that wants to control and bring a heaviness to this place. And because the Grey King has become almost part of the land, his power is strong .. but will must fight against him both carefully and powerfully. Through a series of 'accidents' Will & Bran and Bran's dog, Cafall, end up in a stairway that leads to the one place they could find the harp where they must answer three questions. Before they step into the stairway and right after the Grey King seeks to attack them and ruin their chances .. but he does not succeed. The idea of a menacing presence that is part of the land feels very real to me. When evil has occured in a place, it can take root. Making echoes of itself felt long after the evil has passed. For good to conquer over evil in a place takes much time and something powerfully good. The imagery and legends are used well to bring this malevolent presence to life in a way that feels dangerous and almost possible.

Title:The Grey King
Author: Susan Cooper
Date published:1975
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Series: The Dark is Rising
Number of pages: 165
Notes: Repeat reading


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