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C.S. Lewis has written of encountering a sense of the holy while reading the works of George MacDonald. I agree with Lewis assessment when it comes to The Princess and the Goblin. Anyone who reads this book with profit by having done so.

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, MacDonalds 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 Tolkiens 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.

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