The Plot

(Critical Survey of Science Fiction and Fantasy)

Nicholas, David, Helen, and Roland are exploring an unfamiliar part of Manchester, England, when they discover a derelict church. Retrieving a ball lost during a game, the children go into the building, one by one, until only Roland is left outside. Frightened by music that the other children have not heard and by glimpses of a lame fiddler whom they did not see, he retreats into the church. He meets the fiddler, who, through the power of his music, transports them to another world.

Roland finds himself on a barren seashore close to a castle, which proves to be empty, although he hears the sound of a man singing. The fiddler leads him away from the castle, through desolate countryside that is devoid of living things and any evidence of human presence. They reach a mound, topped by a stone circle, where Roland finally confronts the musician.

The fiddler is Malebron, the ruler of Elidor, a land that gradually is being swamped by the powers of Darkness. Of the four castles of Elidor, only Gorias, visible in the distance, remains in the Light. Malebron is fighting to preserve it and to save the land. He has brought the children into Elidor to rescue its Treasures from the Mound of Vandwy. Roland’s brothers and sister already have entered the mound but did not emerge. Roland must save the Treasures and his siblings, a task in which he succeeds.

Malebron tells the children that he is following a book of ancient prophecies that will...

(The entire section is 512 words.)


(Beacham's Guide to Literature for Young Adults)

Because Elidor is a novel of parallel worlds, setting is a crucial element in its structure. One afternoon, the four Watson children,...

(The entire section is 698 words.)

Literary Qualities

(Beacham's Guide to Literature for Young Adults)

Garner uses a concentrated, poetic style, moving deftly from scene to scene and world to world. The dialogue is terse, with few explanations;...

(The entire section is 544 words.)

Social Sensitivity

(Beacham's Guide to Literature for Young Adults)

When Elidor was first published, Library Journal suggested it for grades five through seven, but it is not always easy to say...

(The entire section is 131 words.)

Topics for Discussion

(Beacham's Guide to Literature for Young Adults)

1. Roland is the youngest and weakest of the Watsons, but he seems to succeed in Elidor while his brothers and sisters do not. Why do you...

(The entire section is 349 words.)

Ideas for Reports and Papers

(Beacham's Guide to Literature for Young Adults)

1. Elidor is a fantasy world, but it is based on prehistoric and medieval sites that Garner is acquainted with. Read about dolmens, stone...

(The entire section is 323 words.)

Related Titles / Adaptations

(Beacham's Guide to Literature for Young Adults)

Elidor began as a half-hour radio play. At the end of the play, the children returned to Manchester with the treasures.

(The entire section is 21 words.)

For Further Reference

(Beacham's Guide to Literature for Young Adults)

Chambers, Aidan. "An Interview with Alan Garner." Signal 27 (September 1978): 119-137. Reprinted in The Signal Approach to...

(The entire section is 301 words.)