The Hero and the Crown

The Hero and the Crown

by Robin McKinley


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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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780441013050
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 01/02/2007
Edition description: Reissue
Pages: 304
Sales rank: 776,153
Product dimensions: 5.10(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.80(d)
Age Range: 12 - 17 Years

About the Author

Robin McKinley has won various awards and citations for her writing, including the Newbery Medal for The Hero and the Crown and a Newbery Honor for The Blue Sword. Her other books include Sunshine; the New York Times bestseller Spindle's End; two novel-length retellings of the fairy tale Beauty and the Beast, Beauty and Rose Daughter; and a retelling of the Robin Hood legend, The Outlaws of Sherwood. She lives with her husband, the English writer Peter Dickinson.

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

She Could Not Remember a time when she had not known the story; she had grown up knowing it. She supposed someone must have told her it, sometime, but she could not remember the telling. She was beyond having to blink back tears when she thought of those things the story explained, but when she was feeling smaller and shabbier than usual in the large vivid City high in the Damarian Hills she still found herself brooding about them; and brooding sometimes brought on a tight headachy feeling around her temples, a feeling like suppressed tears.

She brooded, looking out over the wide low sill of the stone windowframe; she looked up, into the Hills, because the glassy surface of the courtyard was too bright at midday to stare at long. Her mind ran down an old familiar track: Who might have told her the story? It wouldn't have been her father who told her, for he had rarely spoken more than a few words together to her when she was younger; his slow kind smiles and slightly preoccupied air had been the most she knew of him. She had always known that he was fond of her, which was something; but she had only recently begun to come into focus for him, and that, as he had told her himself, in an unexpected fashion. He had the best -- the only -- right to have told her the story of her birth, but he would not have done so.

Nor would it have been the hafor, the folk of the household; they were polite to her always, in their wary way, and reserved, and spoke to her only about household details. It surprised her that they still remembered to be wary, for she had long since proven that she possessed nothing to bewary about. Royal children were usually somewhat alarming to be in daily contact with, for their Gifts often erupted in abrupt and unexpected ways. It was a little surprising, even, that the hafor still bothered to treat her with respect, for the fact that she was her father's daughter was supported by nothing but the fact that her father's wife had borne her. But then, for all that was said about her mother, no one ever suggested that she was not an honest wife.

And she would not have run and told tales on any of the hafor who slighted her, as Galanna would -- and regularly did, even though everyone treated her with the greatest deference humanly possible. Galanna's Gift, it was dryly said, was to be impossible to please. But perhaps from the hafor's viewpoint it was not worth the risk to discover any points of similarity or dissimilarity between herself and Galanna; and a life of service in a household that included Galanna doubtless rendered anyone who withstood it automatically wary and respectful of anything that moved. She smiled. She could see the wind stir the treetops, for the surface of the Hills seemed to ripple beneath the blue sky; the breeze, when it slid through her window, smelled of leaves.

It might very well have been Galanna who told her the story, come to that. It would be like her; and Galanna had always hated her -- still did, for all that she was grown now, and married besides, to Perlith, who was a second sola of Damar. The only higher ranks were first sola and king; but Galanna bad hoped to marry Tor, who was first sola and would someday be king. It was no matter that Tor would not have had Galanna if she had been the only royal maiden available --"I'd run off into the Hills and be a bandit first," a much younger Tor bad told his very young cousin, who had gone off in fits of giggles at the idea of Tor wearing rags and a blue headband and dancing for luck under each quarter of the moon. Tor, who at the time bad been stiff with terror at Galanna's very determined attempts to ensnare him, had relaxed enough to grin and tell her she had no proper respect and was a shameless hoyden. "Yes," she said unrepentantly.

Tor, for whatever reasons, was rather over-formal with everyone but her; but being first sola to a solemn, twice-widowed king of a land with a shadow over it might have had that effect on a far more frivolous young man than Tor. She suspected that he was as grateful for her existence as she was for his; one of her earliest memories was riding in a baby-sack over Tor's shoulders while he galloped his horse over a series of hurdles; she had screamed with delight and wound her tiny hands in his thick black hair. Teka, later, had been furious; but Tor, who usually took any accusation of the slightest dereliction of duty with white lips and a set face, had only laughed.

But whenever she decided that it must have been Galanna who first told her the story, she found she couldn't believe it of her after all. Having told it for spite and malice, yes; but the story itself had too much sad grandeur. But perhaps she only felt that way because it was about her mother; perhaps she had changed it in her own mind, made a tragedy of nothing but sour gossip. But that Galanna would deliberately spend enough time in her company to tell her the story was out of character; Galanna preferred whenever possible to look vaguely over the head of the least of her cousins, with an expression on her face indicating that there was a dead fly on the windowsill and why hadn't the hafor swept it away? When Galanna was startled into speaking to her at all, it was usually from a motive of immediate vengeance. The Hero and the Crown. Copyright © by Robin McKinley. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

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The Hero and the Crown 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 143 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I read this book in the sixth grade in 1990. I proceeded to read it six times in the following six years. That's how good this book is! This book has a great main character. I enjoyed the strong yet somewhat vulnerable female aspect.
---Al--- More than 1 year ago
My mother gave me this book when I was about 15 and I am so glad that she did! I think that it is wonderful! And after 4 years, it is still my #1 favorite book!!! Aerin is so courageous and learns to fight her way in life. She is a kick-a** woman. I love this book because there are very few stories out there with a female as the hero and I could connect with it a lot more. I also really liked this book because McKinley creates her own land and her own animals. There is a bit of magic in here, but no broomsticks and spells which I love because I don't like too much magic. This book is truly the best book out there and I know that I will continue to love it until I die...that's how awesome and amazing it is!!! I recommend this book to anyone who loves good fantasy and captivating plots and characters. The people who don't like this book must be crazy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I loved this book. I read THE BLUE SWORD first and enjoyed it so much that I looked for other books by that author and found this one. The sword fights and magic thrilled me!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
THIS BOOK WAS FLIPPING AWESOME! I LOVED IT!! The characters were well developed, the story original, funny, and realistic. Instead of the girl being a happy-home-maker, she was a fierce warrior, and I LOVED that. I mean, gosh! She's so awesome! And it ended well. This book was TOTALLY worth reading, and I want to read it again just thinking about it!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was an amazing read and I was extremely impressed with it. I stayed up all night to read it, and I couldn't seem to put it down. I highly recommend this book, it was very interesting. Although I wasn't too impressed with Spindle's End, this book exceeded my expectations and was a heart throbbing read.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book deserves all of its 5 stars. This medeval novel has much adventure as well as a good old fashioned story.This book won the spot in my top 5 favorite books!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This was one of the most integrated books I've read. the story of Aerin was definitely a page turner.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great first time around and still great a year later at the re-read. Full of emotion and gentle action that is much more thoughtful than bloody.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I read this series : 'Hero and The Crown' 'The Blue Sword' very passionate. Mckinley's books are very poignant and exquisite!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I thought this was an excellent book and if you enjoy books about a romantic fairytale with dragoons and nonhuman events then this will be a book you can not put down. I think this book has inspired me to read the also famous 'The Blue Sword'.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I'm a fantasy fantic, and this was one of the best I've read. The plot was very engaging. I fell in love with the characters and could totally relate with Aerin.I recomend this 100%.
Guest More than 1 year ago
this book is very well written a good plot and setting i like it when the hero slay the dragon. it really has a good storyline to it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Robin McKinley brings her talent very richly in this novel. It was her greatest book yet. I only had one problem with it though and that was the ending.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This magnificent novel has led me to a deeper appreciation of literature. With spellbinding twists and turns in the plot to keep you reading for hours on end. It is the story of Aerin , the daughter of the king and a witch women. As she saves her fathers kingdom from peril after peril. It is a story of love and battle. It¿s words will intoxicate you with a love for reading.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Before I read this book I didn't know what a good book really was. I was truly impressed at how well together this novel has been written. This tremendous novel is all about a girl named Aerin who's a girl with a destiny like no other. Even though she is the King's daughter she has never meant to be the future queen, mostly because of the story of her mother, a witch women from the north. Everyone knew the story, but an important detail has been forgotten about the royal family, and the Gift. In her search for the details of her past and Damar¿s future she follows her dreams to a man that says he can help her, but has she come to late, and not only for her, but did she arrive to late to save her father's kingdom, too. The book has a little bit of something for everybody, moving from romance to action. Every letter from the first sentence to the last word flowed together like poetry. Anybody who enjoys a good action packed book with the beheading of dragons, the fight for love between two lovers, and an ancient crown with an unstoppable power, would love spending time with this flawless book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I loved 'The Hero and the Crown' for its emursing storyline. The main character, Aerin, is shy and submissive in the beginning, but after she recovers from the surka poison, she sets off on Talat to conquer the small dragon(s) that terrorize the land. After the first fight with a dragon, Aerin realizes that kenet alone is not enough to beat a dragon. When the great black dragon Maur appears, she sets off to fight him... I personally would read this book again and also the sequel to this book if I had the chance because it is a wonderful story. This is, in my opinion, a book for many ages, but discretion should be used. A few moments have bits of gore and some words that are considered to be 'curse' words in our times, but are used to describe what they were originally used to mean.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was amazing. Usually if I go into a book thinking that I won't like it, I usually don't. This was a book that I went in thinking I wouldn't like it, but I was really really wrong. The author so vividly wrote about everything. At times, I didn't even see words, I was invisioning everything perfectly, as well as feeling.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Robin McKinley never fails to excite me. Her books are so realistically written. I get a perfect image of what she describes as I read along. Sometimes I even felt as if I was actually there galloping along with Arein. This book is perfect for those who love fantasy adventure. If you enjoy reading then you MUST read this book, otherwise you're missing out.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I admit, I am an absolute book fanatic. I read almost constantly, and I've read so many books that sometimes they seem to run together. No matter what anyone else says, I was hooked on this book from the beginning, and it carried me on 'til the end. I could say that this is my all-time favorite book, and that would be an understatement. This was a spectacular book and I would DEFINITELY reccomend it!
Guest More than 1 year ago
A charming novel that stars a typical heroine and all that she goes through to save her homeland of Damar whom, at first, doesn't even apreciate her! It is a story packed with action, romance, and understanding. I give it 10 stars. If you really love to read and would like to discuss books, please IM me. my screen name is Foxychick8791.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is so beautiful. I cried with Aerin, laughed with her, sighed with her, almost died with her. This is a story that will touch your heart and give you a new perspective on life. Aerin is the only child of the king of Damar, and she is looked down upon by all but a few. The court gossip says that Aerin is the child of the enemy. Her mother was a woman of the North, where Damar's most hated and feared enemy lives. They say that Aerin is 'half-North', and she too is feared. Aerin herself is lonely, and she feels terribly forgotten. She also knows that she is different, and that someday she will have to leave the only home she has ever known to find her destiny. This book was beautiful. If you don't read it you will miss the adventure of a lifetime.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I honestly couldn't put the book down. It was soooo good.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I woul recommend this book to all you people's who love reading fantasy and award winning books. It's a great way to build your fantsy knowledge.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The Hero and the Crown was the most thrilling book I have ever read. I couldn't put it down. It is a great fantasy book and I really enjoyed it. It has every type of emotion in it and that is what I love in a book. Once again I say that I loved this book so much. It was awesome.
Guest More than 1 year ago