I'm just going to step over here while she explains how this works...
Dang! Take that Taran! I hope you've learned your lesson. He hasn't, of course, don't they get into "you're a girl" fights until book 3?
Not by coincidence, until about the time he figures out that her being a girl is actually something he appreciates quite a lot?...yeah. lol
can we just get on with the actual story please? instead of having the young male character get dressed down for the umpteenth time!
If you are under the impression that the story exists in the action sequences and sword-waving, instead of in the hard lessons learned by that young male character in precisely these types of scenes, you are going to be disappointed often. The character development in these books is what endears them to me, and I will be unapologetically taking my sweet time with it, and with the relationship between these two in particular. I realize Eilonwy is abrasive and even obnoxious in the beginning, but she has an arc, too. Patience.
The next chapter (which starts in one, maybe two more pages) will see some momentum though, if that helps you get through all this tedious growth.
perhaps i phrased my comment too brusquely. it was not out of a desire to be harshly critical, or want to see "action sequences and sword-waving"(although a little more sword-waving would not hurt. any sword-waving in a sword & sorcery story is not a bad thing.) ,but to see story progression. it just seems the pacing is a bit slow. but perhaps that is the inherent drawback of the format of a webcomic that updates only once a week or so. i know these pages take a long time to do, and i'm fully aware of the demands of producing a webcomic. you're a fabulous artist with a beautiful style and i have nothing but the greatest respect and admiration for your talent.
No offense taken, dear. I wish I could please everyone with every aspect of this (and nobody wishes more desperately than I that I could crank out more than one or two of these a week!), and I admit this is a slow chapter, heavy on dialog and light on action. It's crucial stuff to get through though. Alexander was a very minimalist author who didn't waste words, and I don't have the luxury of cutting a lot of stuff from his text without severely altering the characters and plot.
Don't worry, things are about to start moving along fairly quickly in the next chapter.
Might I also pipe in...you do realize she's just following the book word for word, right? So...your beef is with Mr. Alexander, not the comic artist ;)
Also, these people just met and are still trying to get to know each other, but Taran's lost someone whom he admired greatly, and is still dealing with the guilt that he feels is on his shoulders for that. Having not known Eilowny for a long time, but having been saved by her, I got the feeling he was just trying to prevent himself from loosing someone else and it being his fault--someone he's assuming won't be resourceful/helpful and will just get in the way (based mostly on her gender, possibly age, too.) Additionally, the assumption he's gotten having lived a very sheltered life, is that it's his job to to take care of things (assistant pig keeper.) So he's trying to take care of people/things without realizing they have their own agency: something young people OFTEN do and have to learn to deal with and respect.
Just saying, it may be boring you, but it's important to the series, the character's relationships, and characterization in general.
Also, if you knew/know Eilonwy's back story, you'd know why she's so aggressive on this subject and sick of being told what to do by people who are trying to control her fate.
I for one am enjoying the pacing and that for once there's a faithful adaptation of one of my favorite childhood books finally being created. :3
i DO realize she's "following the book word for word". that's the whole problem. there is a very fine line but big difference between "faithful" and "slavish" adaptations.
and if it is the artist's intention to illustrate every single sentence from the books, i don't know if i'll live that long to see her finish this thing. the artist is exceptional in her skills as an artist, but if she can be faulted in any area, it is that she has too great a love of the source material.
thank you for your comments on the backgrounds of the characters, that was very helpful. i'm glad your enjoying the pacing, i've never read the books myself, but i feel like i'm reading them now. ;P
Guilty as charged. Lol. However, Thing, if it helps, I actually am condensing quite a bit, but I tend to grant a lot of breathing room to interactions between Taran and Eilonwy simply because her character and their relationship are my biggest emotional hook on this story. I can't apologize for that, though I realize it's not as interesting to everyone as it is to me. Bear with me. It all has purpose, and poor Taran's not always as browbeaten as he appears to be here.
If it's encouraging, and not slavishly so, I actually think you're condensing TOO MUCH, sometimes. Like when you left out the part where Eilonwy tells Taran she thinks he's the nicest person she's ever met in her life. I mean, that's not exactly a stunning compliment, given what her life's been like, but it shows a softer side of her that might get a little obscured at times. I loved that part, because first it makes me go, "D'awww," and then "Heywaitaminnit!!"
Aww, I know, I hate leaving out ANY of her lines, and it's very difficult sometimes deciding where to cut, but she just talks. SO. MUCH. lol I'm trying, in moments like that, to show her softer side via expression and body language rather than having her come out and say things directly - so you have, for example, the moment in front of the ruins of Spiral Castle where she lays her hand on Taran's shoulder, or her expression where she's thanking him for saving her life. Those are very deliberate moments that, I hope, speak loudly without words.
Re E's talking: In the books, Taran's mental note of this when they're underneath Spiral Castle always cracked me up. Or when he's in the pit, and she's rattling off ideas to get him out, and eventually tells him to shut up because she can't hear herself think, even though he's just standing down there listening to her.
Also let me add that it's very gratifying to know that people are so impatient for the next page every week. <3 Encouraging, motivating, all that fun stuff, so thanks for that! :)
Good job Taran! Always thinking of the safety of others and willing to put yourself in danger in their place is the true mark of heroism.
I'm not sure it's humility at work here as much as his own inflated sense of importance to this mission. He doesn't think he needs help (he's willing to send Fflewddur off as well, after all), and he assumes that a girl will be nothing but a burden.
We all know (those of us who have read these books) he's inwardly noble and his motives are almost always good. But he's still young and very unwise in this first book, and here he's speaking from ignorance and inexperience, not to mention rudely sidelining Eilonwy by speaking of her as though she's an object to be delivered rather than a person with her own objectives. I'm amused that anybody is defending this. Must have struck quite a nerve with this page.
I got a kick out of Fflewddur slowly scooting out of the way... and he scoots over to Eilonwy's side, whether he is actually aware of it or not. Not that it's going to help him when she sets her eyes on him next. As for that other review... Great Belin. I suppose it would be best to just keep my mouth shut.
He scoots away from the perceived line of fire. A Fflam is shrewd.
And hey, people are allowed opinions. If I'd written the story I might feel miffed, but I'm just following the text. And not everybody has the benefit of our foreknowledge.
Fflewddur's tactical retreat FTW!
I wouldn't want to be caught between those two kids, either. They'll hash it out. It's part of growing up.
Yep! No need to rush it either! Lol
I think that one of the reasons I liked this series so much was how relatable the character of Taran was, to me personally, even though I'm a girl. Eilonwy is an awesome character too, but Taran was the one I always related to the most. I never went on any adventures (though I always wanted to), but I did have delusions of grandeur as a child, and still struggle to find my place in the world as a mature adult. You know how sometimes you're reading a book or listening to song lyrics and you think, "wow, this writer just GETS me"? That's how I feel about Lloyd Alexander and his stories. So please, continue with the character development, I don't think its hurting the pacing at all.
Taran is Everyman (and woman). It is greatly to Alexander's credit that his protagonists are so relatable. Of course, he surrounds them with supporting characters who tend to be almost charicatures, so the contrast between them and the hero lends some extra realism to the primary role. One of the things I am enjoying about this is the opportunity to round out the supporting characters via their mannerisms and appearance.
Regarding Taran and Eilonwy: They're both wrong (though Eilonwy never seems to get called on it). Taran's a sexist. He can't help it; he's a product of his time and upbringing just as we all are. He needs to be educated, but that doesn't mean Eilonwy has to be rude about it. Because she is. Aside from a few comments he made in the tunnels beneath Spiral Castle--at a time he was under a lot of stress--and immediately after its fall in the midst of his grief, Taran is always as courteous and good to Eilonwy as he knows how to be. The difficulty is he doesn't know any better. Eilonwy seems to realize this--she does appreciate and like him, after all, quite a lot--but she can't ever seem to be as gracious to him as he is to her for a moment (as misguided as he is), though it would speak a lot better for her if she was.
Regarding who I relate to? Taran. Again, though I'm a girl. Eilonwy is far the more practical of the two of them. Taran's more idealistic. He's almost Quixotic in his expectations of himself. Although I think I'd be much happier if I weren't, so am I.
Regarding the pacing/the page in general: The page is beautiful. They're all beautiful, and I love every one. In this one, I particularly love Fflewddur's expression in the last panel, like he either knows a girl like Eilonwy or could've called how Taran's attitude with Eilonwy, specifically, would fly. Sometimes I do languish, waiting for a new page, but I enjoy these dialogue-heavy ones as much as the action, and having my book handy, I know you're actually compressing things quite a bit. Just a word of encouragement.
Thank you LMS. I am in full agreement with you. This is a patriarchical society and of course Taran is sexist. Eilonwy, for her part, is inexcusably rude to him throughout most of book one and quite a bit of book two - given her background, hardly surprising. They both change, and this is one of the beautiful things about how the books handle their relationship.
I'm sorry I can't get these out faster, y'all. It is what it is. I'd rather not tell the story than tell it wrong.
I really like your analysis of Eilonwny, because whereas a lot of people think it's all just Taran being the butt of the joke, Eilonwny's actions are speaking to her background and imperfections as well. Most people are thinking it's just about making the dude look wrong, but it's not. It's also showing her brashness, arrogance, and-I guess privilege (not sure if that's the right word for it.) She's extremely condescending to someone she views as nothing but a pig keeper. Granted, her heart is in the right place, and she obviously cares enough to help others, but it's a fault all the same.
I really like that you pointed that out--it's a good observation :)
Oh yes, in her own way she's as complex a character as Taran, even if we aren't privy to her thought as we are his. Granted, a lot of this is my own interpretation of her character built over literally decades of analyzing her and writing things from her perspective, but I can back up most of my ideas with textual support, so I'm pretty sure I'm reading her accurately, or at least in way the author would consider valid, even if it wasn't his actual intention.
You have to remember this girl grew up with Achren as the only role model she can remember. She doesn't seem to have any conscious memories of her family and parents, and she's been living with this evil woman who is no doubt neglectful and cold at best and abusive at worst, her only objective to use her as a tool and pawn in a dangerous political and magical game. It's a miracle Eilonwy is as normal as she is by the time we meet her.
Also consider the environment of Spiral Castle itself, crawling with cauldron-born and Achren's staff, who we can assume are as unsavory as she is. Can you imagine the kind of self-protective mechanisms a little girl would develop? My theory has always been that Eilonwy's harshness, moodiness, criticism and sarcasm spring from deep-seated insecurity, fear and anger. They're armor protecting a child who desperately wants love and companionship and connection but who is terrified of vulnerability. You can see her innate goodness in her actions and sometimes it gets surprised out of her in words, but she immediately covers it with some obnoxious remark.
(spoilers ahead) I love how Alexander develops her over the course of the series. In the next book you can already see how a year at Caer Dallben has changed her - she's more thoughtful, less shrewish, though not less bold and justice-minded. The third book is where she has her own identity-crisis, which is something I plan to explore more in my own fic-writing, but she comes out of that, in book five, completely changed; you have to hunt for it a little because the action rather sidelines the characters in that one, but her maturity is very clear.
I'm a little bit obsessed with this stuff. You might have noticed. LOL
Keep up the good work! One of the best things about these books is that while on the one hand it's a fairly traditional hero's journey/fantasy story; on the other it approaches things from different perspectives and has emotional beats and character development you don't always find. You're doing a great job of "illustrating" it here.
You go, tell him, Eilonwy!!! <3 <3 <3
haha yes, never fear, he will never get away with comments like that while she's around.
I always wondered why Eilonwy's relatives never appear in the main story. You'd think when word got out that Spiral Castle exploded they would have sent someone to check in on her; and when she was in Mona for she was just a hop-skip-and-a-jump away from Llyr, but in a year or more not one of them came to visit. Even if they for some reason didn't personally care about her at all, you'd think they would have still done something for the sake of keeping up appearances.
Oh, see I don't think she has any living relatives except for the folks on Mona who are only distantly related. Caer Colur is in near ruins by the time of Castle of Llyr, so I think we can extrapolate that the rest of Llyr has been lost in some catastrophic event. I actually have an entire backstory written out in my head on this, and maybe one day I'll write it...I know exactly how Llyr fell, and why, and who was involved. You've read The True Enchanter, haven't you? The short story that describes how her parents met?
Remember, she wasn't sent to Achren - she was kidnapped. The line about her kin sending her to learn magic was just the story Achren gave her to justify keeping her there.
Oh my happiness!!!! I am so glad to have discovered this comic. Such beautiful renditions of the characters!!! I need to read these books again!!
Welcome and thank you for commenting!!
You may be all misreading Taran. His previous words to Fflewddur sound rather uncharacteristic for him (and his unusual choice of words doesn't escape the bard). I think he simply tried to emulate the gallant knights in the Book of Three because their mode of speaking felt adequate in order to sound noble and courteous. In other words: He strictly followed the manual, and it isn't his fault that Eilonwy hasn't read it.
Oh no I think you’re spot on. Eilonwy may or may not have read the book, but I don’t believe she’d be impressed by it regardless.
She didn't understand Taran's allusion to the Book, remember, but surely she would indeed have scoffed about its content. Of course, Taran in turn commits the mistake of projecting his romantic preconceptions on Eilonwy despite her previous assurances to the opposite: Matters of safety aside, surely she must want to "return to her people" because that's what the damsels in distress want in the BoT? And what other basis does he have to judge upon?
But as for Eilonwy's response, there's unmistakably Achren speaking. "This girl" is used to watching the Lady bidding and finds it most natural that, with Achren gone, she would have inherited the privilege. Having already made up her mind that Taran is now her family (in whatever role - and what other choice does she have?), she will make him accept it one way or another.
Ah, yes, that’s right, you were speaking directly of The Book of Three. My mind jumped to a broader metaphor about a mythical rulebook for chivalrous behavior. Eilonwy is arguably contradictory about wanting Taran to be polite but then being affronted at the manner his politeness expresses itself, but what we have here is a conflict of expectations. ;)