Surprise update this week! May or may not replace the Thursday page...if I can get to it I will. I loved this page too much to wait to post it.
Thanks! One of my favorites for sure.
Taran is such a little hero. As in stereotypical in a very good way.
You're doing a great job with the low saturation palette, by the way. There's a lot of really great detail (like in the last panel). It looks really good!
You're hitting the nail squarely, actually. The whole story revolves around the question of what heroism really is; in a culture that values prowess on the battlefield, a warrior's death, might makes right, etc - along with feudalistic attitudes about noble vs. base birth and the value of those respective lives - Taran is the Everyman struggling to figure out where compassion, wisdom, selflessness, and humility fit in to all this. He's got a long way to go, but there are glimmers of his potential even in the first book, and I'm loving bringing them out.
I really like working in this monochromatic range. Besides being so much faster, it really does add a certain dramatic nuance. I will be sorry when the sun rises.
Hero points increased by 50%! Aaaaaaaaaaaaw.
Someone already said this, but gorgeous page! I really think this is your most beautiful update yet. The first panel is really atmospheric and moving. Also, Eilonwy is so pretty in the last panel! Who knew you could survive a castle coming down around you and still look perfect? ;)
LOL I think her perfection is just his perception. Like those fuzzy filters on the lenses for the romance scenes in old classic movies, hahaha.
Wow, look at her - all serious and flustered <3
...and so pretty <3 - I love how her eyes look... <3
:) Yep. hehehe
WARNING: HERE THERE BE SPOILERS.
I absolutely love this scene; it might be your best embellishment on what happened in the book thus far in this adaptation. There's a lot of character development packed into these few images and lines of dialogue, and I think Taran and Eilonwy understand what's happening here rather differently. Taran is grateful to Eilonwy for getting him out of the dungeon, of course, but he's also annoyed by her put-downs and worried by her recklessness; I get the sense that he turns back to help dig her out of the landslide, then shields her with his body, not so much because he cares for her as an individual all that much (yet) as because this is how he's been taught that the kind of man he admires and wishes to be treats any woman or girl. If he'd somehow escaped his cell into the tunnel by himself, picked up Dyrnwyn and caused the collapse of the castle, then seen Eilonwy trapped in the rubble without ever having met her before that, I think he would have acted exactly the same.
For Eilonwy, on the other hand, this is very, very personal. It seems overwhelmingly likely that nobody in her living memory has ever willingly done her any sort of kindness that involved any risk or cost to themselves. Achren presumably alternated between abusing her on the one hand and spoiling her with luxuries and toxic ideas about the proper deference that she's due as a princess and enchantress from the lesser beings around her on the other. The castle's servants would have treated her with that deference, thinly layered over resentment and contempt. Now along comes this "assistant pig-keeper" who, reflexively and on the spur of the moment, puts himself at risk of serious injury or death to protect her from the same. This is Taran at his heroic best, and the romantic in her can't fail to be impressed.
On top of that, there's the sheer physicality of this moment. This is a girl who likely hasn't received an instant of physical affection since Achren stole her from her mother. Now a boy who she probably already thought was cute and/or intriguing is crouched over her so that she can feel the warmth of his body on her back, his wrist brushing against her ankle, perhaps even a hint of his breath on her cheek. It's not exactly a sensual moment, but it's definitely an intimate one, and for an affection-starved adolescent like Eilonwy it's probably triggering feelings that she has no idea how to interpret or deal with. Taran gets that part of it, too, which is why he backs off so abruptly and apologizes. How much of that is a chivalrous notion of proper behavior around girls in general, and how much is his sense that an assistant pig-keeper has no business touching a princess, isn't entirely clear, but he's obviously embarrassed at having taken such a liberty once the danger that justified it has passed.
There's another element of the larger situation in which they now find themselves that Eilonwy probably understands better than Taran does. Up until now, he was depending on her to help him escape his cell and guide him through the tunnels, and she expected to sneak back into her own cell after that with nobody the wiser. Now, all of a sudden, she's become a homeless orphan with nothing to her name but the clothes she's wearing, her necklace and bauble, and a sword that's too heavy for her to wield even if she knew how (and wasn't afraid to draw it after reading the inscription on the sheath, but that only comes up the next morning) -- all of which are at least as likely to make her a target for robbery as to do her any good. That's not even mentioning the other dangers facing any young, pretty girl wandering alone in the countryside of an intensely patriarchal, medieval country on the cusp of a major war -- Alexander largely elides that aspect of life (although it's pretty clear what kind of peril Eilonwy is facing in the section of The High King where she's captured by Dorath's brigands), since he was writing for children in the 1960's, but one can infer that Prydain in this time of unrest is not much safer for unaccompanied teenage girls than, say, Westeros.
Eilonwy is smart enough to realize that if she's to survive and find her way to safety, she's probably going to need someone's help, and right now Taran and his presumed companion are the only people around she can ask. That being the case, knowing that Taran is inclined to help her should be reassuring, but it wouldn't be a great idea for her to let him realize just how vulnerable she really is now. Following up her sincere thanks with that backhanded compliment about not expecting such bravery from an assistant pig-keeper makes sense from that perspective, though it's probably more of an instinctive attempt to reestablish some equilibrium between them after that intimate moment than any conscious calculation about her circumstances.
It also makes sense that she takes it so hard when he lashes out at her after finding out that the other man she freed from the dungeon isn't Gwydion. Not only is she starting to like him and admire his courage (if not his common sense, or lack thereof), which of course makes the unjust accusations sting more than if they came from someone she didn't care for, but if Taran and Fflewddur were to abandon her now, her immediate future would start to look awfully grim. It's not exactly rosy with them, either, but her odds of survival are a lot better accompanying two experienced travelers (not that Taran is that, exactly, but thanks to Coll and Dallben he does know more than she does about surviving in the wilderness -- things like which mushrooms and berries are safe to eat, and which herbs have medicinal properties) to a known destination than they would be wandering around on her own. Knowing how much she needs her companions can't be easy for a proud young woman who likes to think of herself as self-sufficient, which probably has a lot to do with her continued prickliness toward Taran over the course of their journey.
YOU should be writing fanfiction.
If comicfury let us use emoticons, this would be a solid wall of little hearts and sighing faces.
You just hit every major note of my Inner World of Eilonwy and added a couple more I hadn't thought of and wish I had. I think I might print this comment and sleep with it under my pillow.
LOLOL okay maybe just kidding on that last part.
Upon reflection, I'm going to reply to this as a private message; some of my thoughts here are a bit TMI for a public forum.
That's a profound analysis of the scene, and I would like to add another aspect. Up to this point, Eilonwy has treated the whole affair as a little game that will have no consequences for her once it has finished. Now she has seen how wrong she was. This time, there is no sneaking out for her. They are both astray on unfamiliar territory and will have to cope with it somehow, separately or together. And we see how hard it is for her to utter a mere "Thank you" that is not condescending for an act of selflessness that for once had come without some darker motivation behind. No wonder that she is going to downplay it at once.
Indeed, they are both in unfamiliar territory on shaky footing here. I loved the relationship dynamics of this scene. It was such a complex mix of emotions to get across.