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Prydain: Taran Wanderer

Okay, I went back and checked. Early in the Black Cauldron, we get explicit day transitions, and it takes Gwydion's group 3 days to get from Caer Dallben to Annuvin; they attack that night. Some fleeing later, it's a day from Gwystyl's waypost to the Marshes of Morva. At 20 miles a day I'd say Prydain's 80 miles across.

In this book, it is "many days" to Morva, and many days back, just to Smoit's domain/cantrev, which itself is 3 days from the border to the castle. It's like it grew up with Taran. Or he had a better idea. Or he just need more room to accomodate Taran's wandering. I wonder if the next book will stay big enough to spend weeks crossing or will shrink again for fast plot needs.

First book: Taran makes bad decisions
Second book: Taran makes hard decisions
Third book: wheee, travelogue!
Fourth book: Taran makes wise decisions and invents a windmill. More travelogue!
Fifth book: action climax? I remember the most scenes from it, and the ending, but not the plot.

I've remembered the map. Various bits and pieces have been recalled or seemed familiar. Overall, reading has been like rediscovering the books, though; I haven't halfway through a book gone "oh yeah, I remember the plot now."

I liked this one and don't have anything snarky to say about it. I suppose I could work up something about how Taran's now good at almost everything and gets kingships offered to him, but meh. I do wonder if next book will remember "oh yeah, I could totally be Smoit's heir."

One bit I did remember fast was Llonio the Lucky, with all his nets and optimistic attitude toward flotsam and jetsam; he was so unusual and impressive that it sticks with you. Funnily enough, there's been modern research on 'luck', that says it boils down to making lots of opportunities and bringing an optimistic and open-minded attitude to them, which is *precisely* what Llonio does, decades earlier. He puts out nets and boxes, checks them, patrols his area, and can find a use for almost everything. Lucky! Depressed people who don't leave the house are never lucky.

I was surprised by one character not getting killed, I thought he totally had Tropes of Meaningful Doom written over him.

One wonders how Arawn stole away all the craft secrets of the world. Magical implements, sure, but secrets?

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Damien Sullivan

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