Lloyd Alexander died yesterday, two weeks after his wife. He'd just finished his last book, The Golden Dream of Carlo Chuchio. He was 83.
I consider the Chronicles of Prydain to be one of the formative texts of my life. I actually came across them in a very Gen-Y sort of way - when I was 7 or 8, my mum bought me the computer game of The Black Cauldron, based on the Disney film. It was the first computer game I ever played, and I seriously don't think one has ever been made to rival it. I didn't see the film until many years later, but I loved the game.
Around the same time, Mum was learning Chinese at Victoria College. She had an evening class, and instead of being babysat by some creepy neighbour, I usually opted to go with her, and hang out in the library. Luckily, it was the same part of the university that taught education, so there were plenty of children's books there.
I have such a strong memory of wanting something new to read, and thinking I'd pick something from the A section, and work my way through to Z. I went over to A, and low and behold, there was a book called The Black Cauldron! And not just one book, a whole five-part series! I borrowed them all and was immediately hooked.
As a tribute and a thank you to Mr Alexander, I'm bumping everything else off my to-read pile and re-reading the Chronicles. I will also re-watch the film this weekend, and perhaps see if there's some sneaky way that my iBook can run the game. I will blog with thoughts.