The Princess and the Goblin

The Princess and the Goblin, George Macdonald
Reprint by Wordsworth Classics
pb. 221 pp.
Ages 7+

This was our first Macdonald story to read together. That fact, combined with the estimation by many that this is his best children’s story, led to high expectations- perhaps too high. Even though C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien mention Macdonald as a great inspiration to them, I did not think this story rose to the level of Tolkien or Lewis. The book starts a bit slowly, but in the end the boys and I enjoyed it.

This is a fun tale of a young princess, goblins which conspire to capture her and a common miner boy who rescues her. Along the way Macdonald emphasizes faith in the unseen, graciousness to others, patience wit those who cannot yet believe, and strongly critiques the then common idea that nobility of spirit was only to be found in those of “noble birth.” In spite of the disappointment mentioned above this was a fun story. At various places we laughed out loud or were held in suspense by the action or intrigue. I was particularly interested in how the evil goblins were held at bay by the use of poetry. Very interesting!

There seemed to be loose ends that were never tied up so that a few things remained unclear to me. However, we would commend this book as a fun story to share.

One Comment

  1. I am sorry that you were disappointed in the story. I think it is unfair to judge his work in light of those he inspired. It took me some time to realize how the Inklings were inspired. At this point, every time I read Lewis, I see MacDonald. I don't read enough Tolkein, but I can definitely see Bombadil as an influenced character.

    I really enjoy the way MacDonald is able to express a deep truth in a beautiful description without you even realizing what he is doing until after it is done.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *