Synopses & Reviews
Robin McKinley's mesmerizing history of Damar is the stuff that legends are made of. The Hero and the Crown
is a dazzling "prequel" to The Blue Sword.
Aerin is the only child of the king of Damar, and should be his rightful heir. But she is also the daughter of a witchwoman of the North, who died when she was born, and the Damarians cannot trust her.
But Aerin's destiny is greater than her father's people know, for it leads her to battle with Maur, the Black Dragon, and into the wilder Damarian Hills, where she meets the wizard Luthe. It is he who at last tells her the truth about her mother, and he also gives over to her hand the Blue Sword, Gonturan. But such gifts as these bear a great price, a price Aerin only begins to realize when she faces the evil mage, Agsded, who has seized the Hero's Crown, greatest treasure and secret strength of Damar.
The dazzling prequel to The Blue Sword follows the adventures of the Damarian king's daughter, Aerin, as she fights to claim both birthright and love. "Splendid high fantasy . . . superb, filled with tender moments, good characters, satisfying action and sparkling dialogue".--School Library Journal. 1984 ALA Notable Book; 1985 ALA Best Book for Young Adults; 1985 Newbery Medal Book.
About the Author
Robin McKinley won the 1985 Newbery Medal for her book The Hero and the Crown
, and a 1983 Newbery Honor for The Blue Sword,
both set in mythical Damar. She is also the author of Beauty,
a retelling of Beauty and the Beast. She lives in England.
In Her Own Words...
"I was an only child and my father was in the Navy. We moved every year or two—California, Japan, upstate New York, New England. I early found the world of books much more satisfactory than the unstable so-called real world. I can’t remember the first time I read Frances Hodgson Burnett’s but this particular story, about a little girl all alone in a strange land who told stories so wonderful that she believed them herself, fasci-nated me. I never quite lived up to Sara Crewe’s standard, but I tried awfully hard.
"Writing has always been the other side of reading for me; it never occurred to me not to make up stories. Once I got old enough to realize that authorship existed as a thing one might aspire to, I knew it was for me. I even majored in English literature in college, a good indication of my fine bold disdain for anything so trivial as earning a living; I was going to be a writer, like Dickens and Hardy and George Eliot. And Kipling and H. Rider Haggard and J.R.R. Tolkien. I was, however, going to tell breathtaking stories about girls who had adventures. I was tired of the boys always getting the best parts in the best books. What with reading and making up my own stories, I spent most of my life in my head; about the only irresistible attraction reality had for me was in the shape of horses and riding. And I liked traveling. Perhaps because of my childhood, staying in one place for very long just seemed to me like a waste of opportunity.
"It’s funny, though, the things life does to you. Inadvertently I discovered myself settling down, looking for excuses not to climb on another airplane. I bought a house because I fell in love with it, and it was somewhere to leave the thousands of books I picked up everywhere I went. Later, I decided that I wanted something around that didn’t necessarily sit politely on a shelf till I took it down, so I bought a dog, a whippet I named Rowan. Insidiously I began liking it that tomorrow was going to be much like yesterday: walking the dog, sitting at the typewriter. I declared myself to have found home in my tiny house in a small village two-thirds of the way up the coast of Maine. I also, a little ruefully, concluded that my individual mix of the writer’s traditional absent-mindedness, a rather uncompromising feminism, and a naturally intransigent personality made marriage or any sort of permanent romantic attachment impractical. I didn’t actually think I was missing much; I liked being single.
"This no doubt explains—somehow—why I am now living in a small village in a very large house in Hampshire, England, with my husband, the English writer Peter Dickinson, three whippets, and a horse, and what seems to me, the only child and ex-solitary adult, about half a million Dickinson grandchildren rioting underfoot, down the corridors, and across the garden. When Peter and I decided to get married, it was obvious to me I was the one who had to emigrate; I was the military brat with lifelong experience of pulling up and moving on. So I dug up my tender new under-standing of “home,”packed it very carefully, and brought it over here with me, with the eighty cartons of books and one bewildered whippet. It has taken root vigorously here, but the message to headquarters is very emphatic: “Don’t you ever do this to us again.”I’m not likely to: I’ve planted over four hundred rosebushes in what were once Peter’s classic English garden borders—and look after them devotedly. I have the scars to prove it. I think I’ve discovered reality after all. I’m astonished at how interesting it is. It’s giving me more things to write stories about."