Aaaaand Happy New Year! As we start off with a page that NEVER should have taken as long as it did, but eh...holidays and craziness and blahblahblah.
Hope everyone had a great holiday. I went to New England and saw amazing snowscapes and then got stuck in Boston for four days thanks to the blizzard. Had I been stuck alone I would have gotten a lot of work done...but it was a family trip with man, kids, and a grandmother along. Suffice to say I am glad to be back home, but sorry to be no further along than this in the comic.
However, no use whining. On we go!
Yay! Happy Friday to me! Lovely sunrise/woodscape, and I love how nice Eilonwy is being to Gurgi here.
It always gets me how the companions definitely have opinions (Fflewddur has a plan for the route they should take; Eilonwy WILL NOT be left behind), but they always turn to and/or let Taran lead when it's time to make decisions. At this point, Fflewddur really still might be humoring him, but by the end of the book, I'm convinced he develops a real respect for Taran, otherwise his decisions in later books make no sense.
. . . Someday I really should finish writing Black Cauldron from companion perspectives. The others just don't interest me that way. By CL, I think the direction he's headed is fairly set, but his position and character is still in flux there, and in that book it continues to be fascinating the way others react to his ambiguous status (Dallben's ward, of personal interest to the Prince of Prydain) and his innate abilities and character and the decisions he makes. Anyway, often enough when I see a page from you, that's what I think about: how I'm not quite done with this fandom myself, even if I'm working on other projects/life right now.
I love how you bring your own thoughts to the table when you engage with the comic. It makes this so rewarding.
I think this scene is interesting, character-wise, for the fact that it's the first time we see Taran in the capacity of healer, which turns into a repeated theme. He consistently displays an impressive knowledge of medicinal herbs, nurses wounded animals in several books, and, by book five, Gwydion himself - with Dallben's full and estimable approval. His gentle affinity for animals and/or the vulnerable is recognized by Medwyn and later by, I think, Adaon (since he bequeaths him his herbs), and pops up numerous times throughout the series. Someone at FB brought up the fact that the healer-king is a common motif in Welsh myth, and of course we see it in Tolkein, so it probably appears in the Scandinavian mythos as well.
Of course a conscientious farm kid /would/ know something of animal care so on the face of it, it's simply a practical detail, and I love that most of all - that Alexander was so subtle about the significance and you can miss it if you aren't looking.
All that to say your talk of innate abilities and character is stuff that I, too, love digging out and playing with in fan work. I'm convinced that in this scene and in the coming one with the gywthaint, Taran's compassion and care for the wounded is one of the things that raises the estimation of him in the eyes of all his companions (except, at that point, Doli, haha).
Yes-- I think his compassion makes a big impression. Also his willingness to self-sacrifice when he needs to. To lay down his own goals and the things that matter most to him personally in order to serve the greater good. That, I think, is what first starts winning the companions over, but it sets up a really interesting dynamic in BC which continues to build in later books.
Taran, not quite by chance (Dallben had already put him in position), manages to impress some very, very important people, and thereafter, he has some definite advantages that he himself doesn't recognize (but characters as varied as Ellidyr, Morgant, King Rhuddlum, and Achren--in later appearances--do). After the events of this book, although Taran doesn't realize it, the Who's Who of Prydain is very aware of him. They're all watching him, wondering "Who the heck is this kid and what is it about him?" (As Orddu might say, his worms have been dug for him!) Initially, this may be partially based on the attention others are paying him, but by the end of CL and TW, that has shifted. Taran has done enough and grown enough that he's begun to deserve the reputation he earns here and in BC among his companions.
As for my thoughts, you're welcome to them. I love to share them. :)
I assumed the flowers and other herbiage took extra long to draw, but now I hope they brought you out of your icy snowed-n experience in good order.
I too went straight to kingsfoil and farm-boy combined. Then to the shepherd motif of the New Testament.
Ha! No, they didn’t take long at all; that’s a custom brush that just poops out grass and weeds like magic.
As for the healer-king, another example of Lewis’s “True myth”, no?
I do love magical foliage-pooping brushes. I use them often for commissions but they don't fit the aesthetic of my comic (which is irritating).
Omg yay! A new update! The colors in this one are absolutely gorgeous especially panels 4, 5, and 7. I love Gurgi's eyes in panel 3 -- they look so real! Also, I gotta say, if we were having a competition about whether Fflewddur looks better with stubble or no stubble, I'm voting stubble.
Just a question, how old is Taran supposed to be? Is it ever specified in the books (I don't think so)? I always supposed he was thirteen/fourteen and Eilonwy twelve in the first one, because it felt fitting for him to be eighteen in the last one...
I read somewhere that LA at some point stated that Taran was about 15 in book one, and around 19-20 in book five. I have always thought of him as somewhat younger - the 13-14 range - but as I've written and adapted, (and associated with boys in the general age range) I am coming around to the idea that he is somewhere between 14-15, and that Eilonwy is not much more than a year younger. Of course, speaking for this comic, and my inability to achieve total design consistency, they seem to jump around all over the place. :P
Taran's age has seemed consistent to me in your comic! I do think that he acts more like an older boy in the first book because he's very respectful (for the most part) of everyone he meets and seems very mature. Still, he kind of seems pre-pubescent in the first one, because he only really comes around to the deeper feeling about Eilonwy in book 3...
Yes this is an apparent contradiction that annoys me too - he alternates between an immature impulsivity and a quite mature sense of responsibility and it makes him hard to pin down, but whether he’s thirteen or fifteen, it does take an unrealistically long time for them to stop pretending not to like each other.
Hooray! You're back!
Poor Gurgi! It always seems strange to feel bad for the weird smelly dirty grubby little monster, but he's also so snuggly... That was Gollum's problem. He needed a snuggly coat of fur.
Ha, true! Gollum would have been much more appealing with a fur coat.
Maybe. Usually, even. But ... Ever seen a possum?
Happy New Year! (Wow, the current page is amazing)
Thank you! Happy New Year to you!
It’s good to be back.
Good to be back too! It's incredible how we miss the community in a short period of time :)
Oh dear, I've run out of pages...
I just finished reading The High King for the first time the other day (when I first read the books, oh so long ago, the library only had the first... two? three?), and shortly thereafter I discovered this adaptation through TVTropes.
I am absolutely loving it.
I read through the whole thing in one sitting (okay, fine, fine, two sittings). Your artwork is gorgeous, your adaptation is superb, and your comment sections are a delight. I shall be awaiting future updates with as much patience as I can manage.
Why thank you so much for this delightful feedback! A one-sitting read is a feat indeed, particularly when you also peruse comments.
I sympathize with the dilemma of a long wait for the resolution - I had a year's anxious wondering between Taran Wanderer and The High King, in an ancient age before amazon could magically deliver a book to my doorstep in two days. I'm not sure why it never occurred to me to ask the local library to find me a copy!
You might be interested to know that this is in the works: The Book of Three Audiodrama. I've had the pleasure of adapting the script, and the first episode should be ready soon.
I hope you continue to enjoy! Now that the holidays are done, I should maintain relatively consistent updates, at least until Summer.
Hope you had a great holiday!
Let me just say that I really love and appreciate what you do. I'm really glad you took the original source material and created something as great as this comic! I'm 15 and when I was younger I was obsessed with the movie and it led me to read the books and listen to the audiobooks which became my favorite series of all time! Needless to say, I was surprised on how different the movie was to the books and how sugarcoated everything was (because of course, Disney.) but tbh, I never really lost my appreciation for the movie since I grew up with it.
I discovered your comic a while back and it was the first time I ever saw something related to the series that is actually not the movie and is accurate to the source material and I'm loving it! Your art is amaaaaazing! <3 A few months later, I heard the news that Disney is planning on making a remake of it (Though, I am pretty worried that they might butcher the material yet again but I'd rather put a little faith in it). Soon after, I learned that there is an audiodrama on the works (I listened to the sneak peek and I instantly fell in love! Congratulations on adapting the script!) I am so happy over the fact that the series is gradually gaining more attention from the media.
If I may add, I'm really sorry if some ideas weren't clear since I'm not really that good in expressing myself through words but I really just want to reach out and tell you how amazing you are. Thank you for feeding my nerd-soul lol Keep up the good work! <3
Hi yourself, and thank you for this enthusiastic comment! :)
Don't worry, I don't chase away fans of the Disney film with torch and pitchfork. If not for it, many people would never find the books or my comic, so it has its uses even for persnickety purist curmudgeons like me, haha.
I'm so glad you are following the comic, and are excited about the audiodrama! Please don't ever hesitate to strike up a conversation here - THAT is what feeds MY nerd-soul and motivates me to continue. Well met, as they say in Prydain. :) Make yourself comfortable!
Yay, new page! Also yay: Eilonwy is done snapping at Taran for the time being, and we're back to the gorgeous dawn/dusk color scheme.
YAY MANTIS IS COMMENTING AGAIN!!
Nicely done as always . I have had a soft spot for this ever sense i read the books . I am amazed at how you managed to just effing nail the tone. Keep on rocking!
Thank you so much! It's so good to hear that it resonates with fans of the book. That's my goal. :)
I think we do not need to dwell too much on mythological healer-kings. The book says plainly that Taran has learned his herblore from Coll and there is apparently nothing more about it.
So much for "I'm not speaking to you." But then, Eilonwy is no more consistent about it in the book, so you have stayed absolutely in character while expanding on her role (as you are determined to do) and showing her empathy for beasts - or what she identifies as such - that even helps her overcome her oversensitized resentments for at least the moment. I suppose in Spiral Castle she has spent much time with the horses?
I noticed that you directed her concerned question at Taran rather than Fflewddur. Wouldn't he have been the obvious choice instead? The bardic tradition, after all, attributes the role of a healer to them as well.
A lot of my expansion of her role is just small gestures and bits of dialog to make transitions. I do that with all of them, but she probably gets it a little more.
She knows Fflewddur isn't a real bard and so far is not super impressed with his skills - taking your own maternal theory, which I think she applies a little bit toward Fflewddur, she adores him but thinks he's a little silly. But Taran is already a leader in her mind, even if she doesn't consciously admit it. So it's to him she turns.
Good point. It may help that she acknowledges Gurgi's affection for Taran - he is his man-dog, so to speak.