The Princess and the Goblin Paperback – Jun 9 2011
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As always with George MacDonald, everything here is more than meets the eye: this in fact is MacDonald's grace-filled vision of the world. Said to be one of J.R.R. Tolkien's childhood favorites, The Princess and the Goblin is the story of the young Princess Irene, her good friend Curdie--a minor's son--and Irene's mysterious and beautiful great great grandmother, who lives in a secret room at the top of the castle stairs. Filled with images of dungeons and goblins, mysterious fires, burning roses, and a thread so fine as to be invisible and yet--like prayer--strong enough to lead the Princess back home to her grandmother's arms, this is a story of Curdie's slow realization that sometimes, as the princess tells him, "you must believe without seeing." Simple enough for reading aloud to a child (as I've done myself more than once with my daughter), it's rich enough to repay endless delighted readings for the adult. --Doug Thorpe --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
First, and perhaps most importantly "The Princess and the Goblin" is a delightful story. There is a lot of the "just plain fun reading" stuff going on in this story. There is also a lot more.
MacDonald has buried a lot of treasures within the cave walls of his story. If the reader looks carefully as they follow the fates of Irene and Curdie, they will find these jewels just sitting there shining in the darkness, ready to be mined. There are nuggets of wisdom to be gained here in the dialogue, the narration, and in the overall arch of the story.
More than this, MacDonald's story features the best of what was Romantic literature and blends it with the greatest characteristics of fairy tales--then he turns convention on its head. Some examples:
-Whereas in fairy tales wisdom is associated with the old and knowledgeable, wisdom is here associated with innocence.
-While in traditional tales, it is the hero who saves the princess, here the princess must rescue the hero.
-Fans of modern fantasy may be used to Providential Guidance being related to male literary figures such as Tolkien's Gandalf, Lewis' Aslan. Here the figure is Feminine--the Grandmother.
In the process of playing off of and twisting traditional Romantic literature and fairy tales MacDonald manages to transcend both genres and create a truly original work of wonder.
I recommend the "Princess and the Goblin" most highly. Get it today. Just be careful that you don't pick up an abridgment--they tend to rip out the heart of the tale in an attempt to make the text more modern (neutered).
I was well past the age of 50 when I first heard of George MacDonald. What a delight to pick up his fantasies, including the children's fairy tales, and discover myriad treasures in them.
Any good children's book works well at any age level, and MacDonald's stories, like C.S. Lewis's Narnia Chronicles, are layered in such a way that although children can enjoy the simple story, adults can see deeper principles at work. As other reviewers have pointed out, MacDonald's stories contain elements of spiritual mysteries. I actually have excerpts from this story printed out and taped to the wall in my home. They're the part where Princess Irene invites Curdie to meet her great great grandmother, but he can't see the grandmother or any other features of the room that Irene sees. This breaks the princess's heart, but her grandmother consoles her. The grandmother explains that she did not mean to show herself, that the princess must be content not to be believed for awhile, and the grandmother will take care of what Curdie thinks of the princess in the end. Those who have a true faith in God will understand this section, as we ourselves are very often not believed. But we, like the princess, must be understanding and forgiving, and willing to be misunderstood for awhile. Also, the thread that Irene uses to lead her into the mountain (darkness) to rescue Curdie reminds me very much of the leading of the Holy Spirit in a believer's life.Read more ›
Little Princess Irene has always been kept in ignorance of the goblins -- until one night when she and her nursemaid stay out a bit too late, and are chased by a bizarre creature. They are rescued by a young miner boy, Curdie, who tells her the way to deal with them.
While mining, Curdie explores underground caverns where the goblins dwell, uncovers a terrible plot -- and is taken captive by the malignant goblin queen. And Irene explores a mysterious tower where her magical "great-grandmother" lives -- not knowing yet that she's at the center of the goblins' plotting, and that Curdie may be her only hope.
Like many early fantasy stories, "The Princess and the Goblin" is a book completely free of cliches. Written in the 1800s, this book has the flavour of a long-forgotten fairy tale that MacDonald simply dug up and presented to the public. We have goblins, monsters, a heroic young boy, a brave princess, noble kings and magical ladies. What else is a fairy tale about?
It's also striking for its mixture of childlike optimism and extraordinary writing. MacDonald often writes some scenes with the sort of twee flavour of many nineteenth-century novels, with chirrupy kids and kindly servants. But he also can whip up some truly amazing atmosphere: exquisite moonlit scenes that play out like dreams, or underground disasters that sound like nightmares.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
This is one of those rare books that can be enjoyed by everyone. For the younger reader, it is an exciting fantasy story. Read morePublished 9 months ago by Sheldon Falk
It was a wonderful story, that kept one entertained, with heart warming characters and an engaging story. Looking forward to the next book.Published 23 months ago by Amazon Customer
I've learned amazon can be vague as to weather or not a version is complete and unabridged...before i spend six to fifteen dollars on a new book i've never read i'd like to know if... Read morePublished on Nov. 12 2011 by pinkshades
George MacDonald's The Princess and the Goblin is a classic childrens tale of the 19th century, and one of the earliest and most influential. Read morePublished on Jan. 11 2004 by Michael Dea
This story is a classic of its kind and was influential in the ongoing development of contemporary fantasy. Read morePublished on Nov. 9 2002 by Arthur W Jordin
So you love C.S. Lewisï¿½ Narnia Chronicles? There people who donï¿½t are few and far between. One of the biggest influences on C.S. Read morePublished on Oct. 5 2001 by Godly Gadfly
The story the Princess and the Goblin was an exciting epic of adventure and suspense. It started with a small princess named Irene who comes across her long lost grandmother. Read morePublished on Feb. 21 2001
I just finished this book, and, like all other books by George MacDonald, I loved it. There was a sense of wonder about this book, though not as rich or deep as that in Phantastes,... Read morePublished on Nov. 8 2000