While these two stories come in a book that looks like something for a low reading level, do not be fooled by appearances. Both "The Throme of the Erril of Sherril" and "The Harrowing of the Dragon of Hoarsbreath" are stories that can be read once when younger, then revisited when older to learn the depths behind the stories.
Both stories possess similar themes. In the first, Magnus Thrall, "the dark king of Everywhere" is a bitter, dissatisfied man because he does not own the one thing he wants--the haunting, beautiful Throme written by the Erril of Sherril--and in his dissatisfaction he allows no happiness to those around him, not his daughter Damsen, not his favored Cnite Caerles who loves Damsen. When he sends Caerles on a quest to bring him back the mythical Throme, it is a quest doomed to failure--and even if it succeeds, will Magnus Thrall prosper from it? The second story takes place on a frozen island known as Hoarsbreath, where gold is mined deep in the icy heart of the mountain. When Peka Krao, a miner's daughter, discovers Ryd Yarrow the Dragon-Harrower in her mountain, she also learns that he plans to root out the dragon that coils sleeping around Hoarsbreath. To do so would be to destroy all that Hoarsbreath is--dark, cold, secret, grudging with its gold and stark in its beauty--but who will be hurt more if Ryd succeeds?
These are not easy questions to answer, and Patricia McKillip presents them honestly. Of course, with the honesty she also offers a wealth of sumptuous, vivid language, rich imagery, humor, and everything else you might expect in a good story. Your expectations will not be disappointed here. Disregard the "kid's cover"! Read the book!