At last, at last! Trying so hard to get back to a consistent schedule. I was blocked so hard by this particular page. I think it was the tiny full-figure frames at the top. Those are the most difficult parts for me. That and horses. Ugh. So glad to be done with them for now.
Looking forward to next couple pages though. T/E angsty tension, yay. Yes, yes, I know, spoilers. :P
It is even more anticlimactic visually than it is in the book, so that it actually comes out pretty freaking hilarious.
"Let's at least do it bravely and heroically!"
"Huh. Somehow I feel more cheated than relieved."
Eilonwy's hair is beautiful. Glad you're back.
Right? I kept thinking how disappointing this is going to be for readers without prior knowledge (I need a word for them...Prydain...um...virgins?lol). In a graphic novel you do really expect more "sword" in a sword and sorcery genre. That may have been a partial reason I wasn't really enjoying this page. But...gotta stick with the text.
Yeah, I thought it came out pretty hilarious, too. The question marks popping up above the companions' heads really added to the hilarity. Like a video game from the 90s (which is a good thing!).
"Sorry, folks, it's quitting time. Cauldron-Born Union rules, don't'cha know. We'll have to kill you some other day."
I'd like to imagine that the reason behind them leaving is purely beurocratic. Like, they were contracted for exactly 15 miles from the castle and as they're turning away they're muttering 'not our job' or something.
I was NOT expecting that outcome. like, at all. I'm still struggling with whether it's a good surprise or bad surprise. But then again if 'someone' had saved them I would have felt cheated.
Awesome page though. I feel your pain about the horses. Horses are strange animals. Kinda like drawing bicycles. They SHOULDN'T be hard to draw, but they are.
LOL that is my new headcanon now. "Ok, Ralph, we're off the clock. Wanna go get a drink?" "Sure, Frank. Hey, the tavern's playing the joust. Let's catch the end."
We're never given a real reason for this. Obvious plot contrivances, along with at least one Deus ex Machina per book, are typical Alexandrian motifs, but somehow they don't manage to spoil it for me. Taran's explanation is plausible. There is a second one, first suggested to me by another fan, that I like more, and that I hinted at in the framing of the previous page. But the significance of it doesn't really become clear until the very last book, and...we don't have that kind of time here, so I left it vague. Interestingly, one of my first-time readers did actually catch it and comment on it - I didn't expect anybody but those already in on the theory to do that.
Horses just suck to draw. All their knobbly spindly legs that look like they should not be able to hold up that bulky body. How anything so oddly put-together manages to be graceful and majestic is one of the great mysteries of nature.
Hah, saw that comment on the previous page, and then kicked myself for not thinking of it first. They don't know there isn't anyone here who can safely wield the thing, after all, and getting within swinging range of it would be an epically bad idea.
It makes a lot of sense, doesn’t it? I was very disappointed in myself for not thinking of it before it was suggested to me!
Wow, I never pictured the CB being that close, it ups the stakes--at least until they leave, haha. You are right though, you do pick up on a number of plot holes when re-reading the books, but they don't take away from the overall enjoyment. Plus you can usually come up with some pretty reasonable explanations in you head, like the one you reference here. This panel does a great job hinting at ideas and providing some subtle foreshadowing--while also looking great!
Beautiful (especially Eilonwy <3 )
So, they simply left... :o
Yep! No battles today!
This is amazing and I wish I knew it existed right from the start. I love these books so much!!!
Well...at least you got to read this far without having to wait a week between pages! Now you’re stuck. ;) Glad to find another fan.
Just started reading today. Your work is fantastic. I hope you find a way to get this authorized.
One critique, I think the second panel stands fine without the ???, and I don't recall seeing that kind of non-dialogue in your other pages.
I’m inclined to agree; although I have used such devices previously, I do it rarely, because they feel too “comicky” and incongruous with my style. I’m not quite sure how else to get the point across on those rare occasions though. Sound effects and other non-dialog uses of text remain one of my bigger challenges.
And welcome! Glad to have you here! :)
It's pretty amazing to think that we don't see the Cauldron Born again until well into book 5, and then they make the most awesome entrance. Even though we don't see them we readers are constantly aware of them being around somewhere and nervous about if they'll appear. Mr. Alexander knows how to save his baddies for best effect.
That's true! I didn't even think about that. Other bad guys to design and depict but we are effectively done with these now. For this book anyway.
Even with the anticlimactic ending here, the entire action sequence over the last few pages was really well done. I could really feel the intensity of the scene as Eilonwy and Taran made their stand with the Cauldron-Born closing in. Lots of suspense and some really cool effects with Eilonwy's magic.
We will have battle-action a-plenty later, so I didn't regret not having to do it here. All the magical effects were a lot of fun!
/Insert mental note here/
Cauldron-born 1: Wait. We have no instructions regarding enchanted arms.
Cauldron-born 2: Aye. What does our briefing recommend in such cases?
Cb 1: As usual. No unauthorized actions. Retreat until further notice.
Cb2: I'm relieved to hear that.
Yesterday it has occurred to me there might be a very simple reason for why the cauldron-born turn back. It is much more straightforward than Taran’s contrived explanation.
First, I don’t think the cauldron-born are out to specifically seize T, E & FF. At this point, no one can know that they have banded up and for what purpose. These riders (there may have been more) are simply dispatched to investigate the site of Spiral Castle and to track anyone down who has left from there living, to be brought for interrogation on details of the disaster. This tracking they can obviously perform across considerable distances – by sniffing or otherwise -, but they cannot tell from afar who it is they are pursuing. Keep that in mind.
Second, Achren enjoys a general order of immunity from the cauldron-born: they might report on her but are not permitted to touch or abuse her. This order has to apply to all of them for they were regularly exchanged at Spiral Castle since sooner or later they have to “recharge” in Annuvin. Now Achren will have made sure that this immunity extends to Eilonwy lest she might lose her precious apprentice to some “accident”. And for certain it has crossed no one’s mind recently to revoke this order.
As a consequence, as these riders approach close enough and become able to identify Eilonwy among their prey, most likely by the pendant, they are stalled because they have run into conflicting orders: seize any survivors vs. leave that one alone. Unable to resolve this conflict as cauldron-born are probably no autonomous thinkers, they do the obvious: turn back to base and escalate the situation.
Conclusion: It is the mere presence of Eilonwy that saves the day and not any obscure problem with distance from Annuvin or proximity of Dyrnwyn. Taran should be glad to have her there!
That's an interesting and very possible explanation!