Sorry for last week's lack of updates. Life is hectic, but when is it not?
Come to think of it, it makes saying "screw it", throwing off responsibility, and setting out to wander the countryside look remarkably appealing.
Yay! New page!
:) I never quit, I just slow down from time to time!
Oh, I sort of see the Lloyd Alexander shining through here. He was bored of his life in a world without magic (boring life as a king), so he chose to write stories (go barding) to have some adventure. Sound accurate?
Certainly does! Plenty of parallels to play with here.
Fflewddur followed his heart's desire. A lucky man.
Very true. <3
I love Fflewddur's facial expressions! Especially panel 4. :D. I also love how you pulled off the panel at the bottom showing him leaving the kingdom. It gets the point across so well!
He sets off jauntily doesn't he? :)
Love the expressions, though I would have expected more visible surprise from the kids.
That last panel is so beautiful I can hear the bagpipe music.
Now that I think about it,Fflewddur's story is kind of a reverse on most fairy tales, a king who becomes a wandering waif
Haha, that's true. The fairy tales never address all the boring stuff that comes with that happy-ever-after.
I sense excessive embellishment. I do not trust this 'bard'.
Embellishment there is, but the harp makes him trustworthy. It doesn't let him get away with anything.
My head canon about Fflewddur (which I freely admit there is no textual support for) is that he had a young wife or fiancé who died, triggering his decision to go barding. Also in this head canon, he has a loving but overbearing mother who married into the Fflams and thinks they're just the greatest. She's the one who instilled all the "A Fflam is always ..." sayings in Fflewddur. She runs the kingdom with benevolent tyranny while he's wandering. (My head canon is mostly useful for explaining where all the female characters in Prydain are, since there are almost none.)
Oh now that's interesting. My own headcanon fills in a lot of missing women as well, but I have never imagined Fflewddur married. I do have some ideas about various flings he's had during his life of wandering. :)
My only basis for the Fflewddur was married or engaged theory comes from my presumption that an adult king would have marriage pretty high on his priority list (or at least his advisors' priority list) in order to ensure succession. As a wanderer, yeah, matching him with a gypsy makes a lot of sense, but there might have been some suitable planned match for him back in his kingdom. Or maybe he's wandering to escape that arranged match.
I would agree, except if you look at Gwydion's example, producing an heir doesn't seem to be high on his priority list either. But I'm up in the air about this, as according to the Mabinogion it would be the king's sister's child who would be next in line for the throne rather than a king's son himself, and while Lloyd obviously doesn't follow every detail of his inspirational material, it is true that Gwydion is Math's nephew, not his son. Nothing is ever mentioned about who is next in line if he goes.
Not that this really has anything to do with Fflewddur. I can imagine he probably gets a lot of flack from his advisors every time he goes back, about settling down and producing some heirs. It's /probably/ one of his reasons for leaving, even if there is no specific woman they have in mind. He seems likely to resent the nagging.
Who needs more when you've got Eilonwy?
LOL right? She's enough girl to run the entire pentalogy.
Realistically though there should be more women. Even in a warrior culture, all those people gotta come from somewhere.
Haha. Indeed. Even when she's absent from the page, she casts a long shadow.
I was always waiting for Fflewddur to find himself a squeeze. Can you imagine what it'd be like when Fflewddur tried to woo? You just know he's got it in him to be super smooth.
There was also always a part of me that wanted to see what Eilonwy would do with (or more likely, TO) a rival. I'm sure that at times she hated being the only girl in the group--but she might've hated NOT being the only girl, more.
I played with the idea of a romance for Fflewddur in one of my fan fictions once, after a spirited discussion at our author forum on the topic. The consensus was that he's too much of a gypsy to be very appealing to most women who'd expect to settle down, so I settled the problem by giving him a gypsy of his own. But that came with its own insurmountable obstacles. It was a fun creative exercise. If you're interested, it's the Fflewddur chapter of the story "One More Day", in the Lloyd Alexander section of FanFiction.Net.
As far as a rival for Eilonwy, that is an interesting question. I will have to think on that. I was writing something at one point about her time on Mona and I did create a friend for her, and started to explore how she'd respond to the typical manipulations and relationships of other girls. I never finished it though.
Lol geez that one is so old and I've developed so much more of the character and story since then. I'd have to rewrite the whole thing...of course part of the problem was that I really am rubbish at coming up with original plot. I can play within the established events with abandon, broadening, deepening, digging out every nuance. But if I have to come up with new story elements, forget it. This is why I do fan work and not original!
Build on it.
*lol* nice King... =P
...and that harp *lol* does it auto-reconnect the broken strings? otherwise it should soon be rid of all its strings...
Oh no, he has to tie them up and restring them constantly. You'd think that would cure him of the habit, wouldn't you?
Indeed. But obviously not...
...where does he get replacement strings from?
THIS IS AN IMPORTANT QUESTION
Oookay, now you've all driven me on a research goose-chase to figure out what, exactly, medieval harps were strung with!
It appears that gut strings were widely used, but I hate to think of catgut in association with Fflewddur, given certain later events! The use of metal wire strings, including gold, seems to be credited to the Celtic countries, with the Welsh also throwing in horsehair.
In any case, as you've seen, I've given Fflewddur an actual harp case, which Lloyd never did. Any musician knows that a wooden instrument needs to be protected from the elements, so this was a practical addition to the story (and saved me from having to draw the harp all the time since it's a pain in the tookus). Therefore let us assume the good bard carries, in his harp case, an ample supply of extra string, and restocks whenever the opportunity arises. In a pinch, he can always snag a hair from a passing horse's tail.
*lol* sorry for the extra work.
...yeah, that is very feasible - and as you said, many carry extra strings - I was just wondering how he replaces them when he runs out of replacements because I do not think he can buy them at the next music shop...
Indeed, poor Melyngar...
Not at all, I love the research! That is part of the fun.
Good to hear :)
Catgut is usually actually from a sheep, for what it is worth.
I remember somebody bringing that up somewhere, but it might have been my facebook page.
Ahem. *straighten book and points to page* *realizes something and rereads book*
Hmm. I... Don't know. I mean, he might be able to stock up before he leaves for his wandering tours since he goes back to his kingdom occasionally.
See above reply! Many uses for a harp case, and anyone who plays a portable stringed instrument carries extra string as a matter of course.
Fflewddur is so firmly a bard in my mind, I always forget he was a king!
Totally off the subject, but I just spotted Gwydion in my reread of Neil Gaiman’s American Gods. It’s a quick cameo on page 542 of the paperback:
There was a fair-haired man, little more than a boy, restocking breakfast cereal shelves.
“Hey,” said Mr. Nancy.
“Hey,” said the you man. “It’s true, isn’t it? They killed him?”
“Yes,” said Mr. Nancy. “They killed him.”
The young man banged several boxes of Cap’n Crunch down on the shelf. “They think they can crush us like cockroaches,” he said. He had an eruption of acne on one cheek and over his forehead. He had a silver bracelet high on one forearm. “We don’t crush that easily, do we?”
“No,” said Mr. Nancy. “We don’t.”
“I’ll be there, sir,” said the young man, his pale blue eyes flashing.
“I know you will, Gwydion,” said Mr. Nancy.
That’s it – I didn’t see him mentioned again later in the book, but I take him at his word that he was there. I hope he stayed safe.
I've never read any of Gaiman, so I'm not familiar with this scene, but that's fantastic!
So I decided to pick up these books again 20 years after reading them for the first time to see how they would hold up reading them as an adult (spoiler alert, they're still awesome) and I found this page through a random google search. You've done a phenomenal job with it! The illustrations are beautiful and you're really captured the essence of the story and added to it as appropriate. Directors/producers of the upcoming films would be well served to take a look before writing the screenplays. Keep up the good work!
Thanks very much! And yes, they do hold up well - every adult fan I know just keeps appreciating them more the older we get (and I'm not even going to say how old I am, lol). Glad you found me, and as far as the film...well, we can only hope!
When I was a kid I strongly identified with Taran when I first read these. Growing up on a dairy farm in northern Wisconsin will do that. Taran Wanderer is still one of my all-time favorite books.
Now though as a middle-age adult, it is so much easier to relate to Fflewddur, particularly with working a humdrum day job to support the enjoyable projects I love doing.
I have really enjoy your work. It adds another layer to an amazing set of books. Cheers!
It’s one of the beauties of Alexander’s work that in his broad archetypes, one can nearly always find oneself, somewhere. :) I definitely have Fflewddur-ish days myself!
I’m so glad you’re enjoying this! Thank you for taking the time to comment! It’s so rewarding to hear from other fans of the series.
Also Fflewddur does end up with the best "steed!"