Oh MAN you all. I'm so sorry for such a long break, which was never my intention. Between other projects and back-to-school madness this became a page I just got "stuck" on - but I've gotten two or three brand new fans in the past week or two and it's been super motivating to get back on track. I'll do my best not to get so far behind again.
Hopefully cuddly Fflewddur makes up for the wait.
It's one of my headcanons that Fflewddur takes a sort of "cool uncle" role for both the kids but for Eilonwy it's almost a cross between uncle/dad sometimes...in my prequel fic I had a reviewer say that Geraint reminded them of Fflewddur a little bit and that had not been my conscious intention, but it was such perfection I am now firmly of the belief that Eilonwy is drawn to Fflewddur precisely because he subconsciously reminds her of her father. And I will fight anyone who argues otherwise.
Great panel and better analysis. I always thought of FF playing the role of "cool young uncle" to Taran but could definitely see Eilonwy seeing him as a father type. The books gave me the impression that E was separated from her parents as a baby, and that's where my head cannon took the story, but she could have been older. Admittedly I'm behind on your story, but I'll try to get caught up and leave a review. Cool that your merging the two projects.
The books never say exactly when she was separated from her parents. We find out in Taran Wanderer that Angharad begs for Morda’s help in finding her “infant daughter” BUT Eilonwy wouldn’t remember anything about living by the sea or any of the lore of Llyr if she’d been a baby when Achren got to her, so I choose to interpret “infant” very broadly - which is, apparently, not wrong in British vernacular. Or Angharad, delirious and near death, could be misspeaking. In any case I think Eilonwy is probably around five at her abduction.
It could be even later, because of the vernacular, Angharad's delirium, and the assumption that Achren has the magical capability to suppress/manipulate memories -- she's so devious that she definitely would if it meant controlling a magical asset such as the last of Llyr's decendents.
Oh yes, magical suppression of Eilonwy’s memory is definitely part of my headcanon too.
I never thought about this aspect of Eilonwy's and Fflewddur's relationship before, she is such and strong and independent character most of the time. But it makes perfect sense. I need to catch up on your fanfic too, I went through some of it last night and was quickly drawn in. I'm looking forward to reading more!
See I think her strength and independence are things she grows into after leaving Achren. In the first book she is smart-alecky and overly sensitive, and I interpret these as being character traits of someone wounded and insecure. (Whether Lloyd intended this or not I don’t know.)
She remains opinionated and decisive as she matures in later books, but her acidity gets cut way down after the healing experience of living at Caer Dallben with people who love her. In the end she’s strong because of that growth combined with what she has endured - and the companions are a big part of that.
That totally makes sense. I love how this comic makes me see stuff that was apparently there all along.
I second that. This comic shows me levels, even though I started reading it before I started with, or finished, the books and short stories.
For so long, I was just outraged that Eilonwy's family would leave her with Achren, but as the story unfolds, it makes ever more sense, and five years old or thereabouts is what I always imagined, even with the aid of memory magic, as being the age of separation.
I agree that Eilonwy's smart-aleckyness is a small kid's version of a tattoo - a way to seem tougher than one is, and to avoid being hurt without entirely withdrawing from the world and shutting down.
The psychological insight of the author and that of Saeriellyn are both quite high.
Saeriellyn speaks from personal experience as much as insight. :/
Anything you say can and will be used against you in future fanon, huh? XD
Fflewddur likes kids. He's probably not too intimidated by Eilonwy looking to him to nurture her, and it certainly doesn't seem that way in your art, though he is a little surprised.
I've always thought of this scene as very sad and potentially scary for Eilonwy. Lost Llyr and her stolen childhood is really just the beginning of it. She's pretty much in the same boat we'll see Gurgi is in: right now, she has no idea of what she'll do after the quest. She has no home to return to. Her family's gone, except for distant kinspeople she doesn't know and assumes sent her to live with a monster. Her choices thus far have made living with Achren again even more dangerous for her, even if the two of them found one another again. Where's she going to go? Who will take her in? She has to know she's still too young to actually make it on her own. I guessed--and I seem to remember that you guessed too--that she was already making plans to leverage her help on this quest to ask for sanctuary with the Sons of Don, Fflewddur Fflam, or (most of all) with Taran when everything was over with. But she couldn't KNOW it would work.
She needed that hug. Thanks for giving it to her.
Only if it’s good fanon!
And I agree - though I think at this point she’s really banking on staying at Caer Dathyl; the little bit of knowledge of her heritage that she retains would give her at least a hopeful sense that her identity entitles her to a certain amount of rank-pulling within the royal family, though she’d be nervous about getting sent back to her kin, and I think my theory was that if they made that attempt she planned to run off with Fflewddur. In my mind she doesn’t really consider staying with Taran until the end - after she’s spent a couple days getting over the novelty and prestige of Caer Dathyl and realizing there’s not actually much for a girl of her temperament to do there.
So great to get a new post! A new post makes ALL apologies accepted. And the Fflewddur-as-father-figure thing makes perfect sense in context, even more if you see Fflewddur as Lloyd Alexander's author-insertion character to take care of his protagonists.
Which I do!
Honestly if I’d met the man when he were alive I’d have been tempted to do exactly what she’s doing here.
I think you're creating a lot of the backstory that would be necessary for, say, a series of movies based on the Prydain chronicles. There is just too much space in LA's wonderful but spare writing style for movies, someone has to fill in the blanks. And in a way that is true to the author, his intentions and his characters. As I have said before, I truly hope someone at Disney is paying attention. If they still remember they own this property.
That’s a big “if”. My fear is that the backlash about their endless live-action remakes of classic animated films will get so loud that they’ll stop doing them before they get to the one that actually needs remaking - or that that same backlash will drive people away from the series even if they make it.
I don't want a remake of Disney's The Black Cauldron, though, which is what you'd get if they followed the pattern of Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, and The Lion King. I doubt Disney does either; I suspect they'd just as soon we all forgot they ever made that movie in the first place.
Well, needless to say, I agree - a reinvention would be a more accurate term; I'm just speaking in the context of the fact that there seems to be nothing in their vault they aren't willing to mine for its live action potential and as long as they're on that track it's annoying that they ignore TBC.
It should be clear to them based on the positive responses to announcements about a new Narnia series on netflix and new Tolkein material on amazon that a) people are not excited about remakes but are mostly ok with re-inventions and exploring further story possibilities AND b) Disney + NEEDS its own fantasy epic to compete. I mean it's pretty much a family-friendly (and vastly better written) GoT. It's nothing but win. They are insane fools for ignoring it.
Maybe but my hope is that quality comes through in the end. A high end movie or movies based on these works is long overdue, and I believe would be a huge hit. The source material is just too good to deserve less. Even high end animation on the order of the "How to Train your Dragon" movies would be OK. I'm a big fan of those...but I would prefer live action for sure.
Disney has, shockingly, done so well with Narnia so far, that I hope they give these books the same treatment, cartoon be dadgummed. There's much material to be mined.
Unfortunately, given the cultural trends at Disney, this might be politically unpopular with many in upper management. After all, Narnia was a mega-hit series (and Prince Caspian was one of those rare films arguably superior to the book, even though it was my favourite the first time I read it as an adenoidal whelp sniffling at home alone and seriously under the weather), and the remainder are relegated to Netflix at some unspecified point in the future.
See I wasn’t nuts about their Narnia treatment, though it’s always been difficult for me to put my finger on why, exactly, I think it was the scrambling attempts to find ANYthing to emphasize other than the sovereignty of Aslan, to the point of inventing other themes (family togetherness,etc) to build the film on. It's an inescapable problem when converting the Narnia books into films for the masses, though - no matter what they did they were going to alienate someone and I am certain that’s why they turned over the job to a different studio.
Prydain has none of the sticky religious allegory however, and absolutely no reason they shouldn’t do it, beyond the evident one that nobody there really believes in its viability due to the obscurity of the books. I suspect it was the lukewarm reaction to the news of their plans in 2016 that shelved the idea.
Yes, I think therein lies the issue. The books aren't popular enough to where a film project would be a guaranteed hit. It would be a bit of a risk, and the first 1-2 films would likely have to be really good and successful in order to ensure all of them being made (as opposed to a commitment to making all 5 at the outset, which would be best). Maybe it will take some director/producer/star with enough clout to champion the project in order to get it done. We can only hope...
I guess we Prydain lovers are the minority of the population, sad as that seems. My childhood, for one, wouldn't have been the same without them. And as much as we would like to share that experience with others, we can't force it to happen. My kids loved the books too, I hope they pass that down to their kids. And if great movies never get made, so be it. Lots of great things never achieve huge popularity. And folks like us would probably pick them apart anyway....I'm just glad we have Saeriellyn available to us. Her skill and passion for this material, her art and her writing, outshine any movie. It's enabled us all to enjoy and appreciate these stories far beyond what we ever would have. So rock on Saeriellyn! :-)
Aww. I’m blushing. Thank you friend. You guys all keep me going. As much as I love this project, I’m sure I wouldn’t have had the stamina to keep on without the support of my readers.
Good point, especially since the deep Christianity in Alexander's work is quite well-hidden and of the sort most modern secularists assume (incorrectly, but the less we Westerners know about something, the more confident we are about it) to be culturally universal.
Of course, the Christianity in Narnia is part of what MADE it a big hit with the actual, you know, public. The lack of Christianity in the remake of L'Engle's glorious work, or even in The Dark is Rising, likely hurt the box office and critical receipts. See also, for the flip side, his Dark Materials.
(long post coming)
Checking back here once or twice a week to see if you've posted anything new, I ran into the Narnia conversation. I almost had to leave the page when someone praised the franchise. Honestly, LWW was near-perfect, and as someone mentions below, Eustace was fantastic in VDT, but everything else about PC and VDT was a travesty, in my opinion. I understand why they played it the way they did. VDT was always going to be too episodic to really make a good film, so they tried to cobble together a cohesive plot with the most compelling parts of the book (Eustace's turn as a dragon, Ramandu's daughter, and the Dark Island) and ended up botching it. But PC was terrible because they tried to make postwar fairy tale protagonists and turn them into twenty-first century exemplars of teen angst (in a misguided attempt to appeal to an older and supposedly more complicated audience), and thus lost almost all of the beautiful simplicity and moral brilliance of Lewis's book.
Translating the Chronicles of Prydain to a visual media, in addition to the popularity issue that means that an adaptation wouldn't be a guaranteed major hit with a large preexisting fan base, the largest problem creators would have would be the same thing that killed BC--ignoring the seemingly mundane darkness that already exists (war leaders burning sacrifices in baskets and genuinely dark side characters consumed with jealousy, vengeance, or mental illness) in an attempt to focus in and plump up supernatural or sexy darkness. In the 80s, that was the Horned King and the Cauldron Born, witches that should have been a momentary feature that became major antagonists. Today it would probably be the trauma and abuse Eilonwy suffered, Taran's initial impetuosity turning him into something more like a moody antihero instead of the everyman idiot he's supposed to be, and Gwydion and Dallben's secrecy turning into a conspiracy that could have risked everything.
The hard, painful, evident goodness that the companions must strive and sacrifice for all the time would be entirely skipped over, and character would develop in all the wrong ways. Taran and Eilonwy would fall in love, but it would be a love based in physicality rather than in Taran's appreciation of Eilonwy's courage and keen mind and Eilonwy's appreciation of Taran's leadership ability and moral strength. Fflewddur's goodness, actual true humility opposed to the loud boasting no one is supposed to believe anyway, and utter bravery would be forgotten, and like Ron Weasley in the Harry Potter adaptations and the Fflewddur of BC, he would become simply a fool. All of this would be done in an attempt to make Alexander edgier and more marketable because the creators wanted to please the producers and make a movie or TV series that would do well. The thought would be that Prydain is too old-fashioned, that there is a need to make it more exciting. But if the creators fell into these traps, all they would actually accomplish would be stripping the chronicles of their simple profundity, the deep and innocent truths that makes them resonate with the child in all of us.
If the Chronicles are ever adapted well into visual media, it will probably be by a brave but otherwise small company, less concerned with making a profit that can run theme parks and feed and clothe thousands of employees and more concerned with artistic integrity. Or as a passion project by a multimillionaire who can afford to lose. I would like to see an animated series, I think, as movies or seasons on TV. But seeing people fall into the trap of trying to make a Prydain adaptation exactly like everything else that does well (thus killing everything that would make the adaptation satisfactory and memorable) would be very sad.
I don't know who currently has the rights to the Chronicles themselves, but Saeriellyn, you have something of a following and some critical acclaim now. It's possible you have a wee, tiny bit of leverage to get this comic made into an official adaptation--you're faithful enough. If it is, you could also come to the attention of the powers that be--they that make movies and TV series--as an Alexander expert and feasibly maneuver yourself into a position to advise if anyone wants to take more of a stab at things. Just a random thought.
That's a very reasonable critique of what I said.
I went in to all the Narnia films expecting heretical travesty. I was relieved that they kept to most fo the spirit, in both sense.
You paint a very bleak picture, LMS, but precedent, unfortunately, bears you out. Sadly, Disney does still own the film rights to the Chronicles, and though nothing would thrill me more than being consulted on the project, I know them to well to think they care about my opinion or anyone else’s that would actually be relevant. The guys who pitched it to them are just as talented, passionate and respectful of the material, but were shown the door. Disney will do what it wants...so far, we are fortunate that they really don’t seem interested.
If they're smart though, they wouldn't consider a Prydain film series to be a "live action remake" but rather a completely new project, and market it as such. They already basically pretend the original BC movie never happened (for good reason) and many people are unaware of it, so there would be ample opportunity to push Prydain as a completely new idea, which a full adaptation of the whole series would be. For a lot of the population, it would be something fresh. Also as was said before, the text leaves so much room to expand the world and fill in gaps without breaking cannon that a film series (or heck, even a tv series) could be so, so good. Not holding my breath though...
TV might be a good way to go, actually; there are no dragons, or anything like them, in the Prydain books, so you wouldn't need the kind of CGI budget necessary for a show like Game of Thrones.
Well, there are the gywthaints, and I think the cauldron-born should be a combo of heavily made-up actors and CGI...and Gurgi would probably also be a CGI character. Sets and costume budgets would need to be generous, but overall, yes - it certainly would not require the same financial risk as a GoT.
Yeah, it's an interesting option to consider. Doesn't Disney have a new streaming service coming out? Maybe that's what they're saving Prydain for, lol. There certainly could be a market out there as a family friendly GoT. I think the other challenge would be in adaptation though, as all the books are structured differently from each other. For instance, I think Taran Wanderer lends itself nicely to a TV series, whereas Castle of Llyr would work much better as a feature film.
No, I guess the right movie visionary with enough influence just hasn't come along yet. Maybe someday. And the source material and backstory will be ready ;-)
This is one dang cute page.
And, you know, I'm just now realizing that I wish we'd learned more of Gurgi's backstory.
He is looking pretty sheepish in this panel I noticed. He's an enigma...maybe even for those who try to illustrate him ;-)
Now THAT could be a productive television series.
Awww... just wonderful! I hope I can be such a good uncle to my nieces and nephews.
A lovely page and a wonderful sentiment. You do Alexander's work proud, Saeriellyn. :)
Personally, with the way Disney has been abusing so many creative properties the past couple of decades (especially Star Wars), I don't want them to do *anything* with Prydain, unless it's to sell their rights to someone more capable of appreciating the source material. Their meddling to make everything politically correct and socially relevant always results in disappointment for me. Maybe I'm just too old fashioned to appreciate their efforts, but if someone is going to try and bring beloved stories to the big screen it is my firm belief that they should stick to canon as faithfully as possible.
Disney isn't the only one who does it, New Line/Peter Jackson made some very disagreeable changes to LotR and The Hobbit, but overall the movies are watchable. Walden Media did a great job on the first Narnia movie, okay on the second (what's with the dopey teen love story??), and decently on the third, particularly with regard to Eustace. The Star Trek franchise reboot is abysmal, gutting nearly everything that made the original films and TV series memorable. The only thing I remember about this first film was that the casting was pretty good (except Simon Pegg as Scotty, I think they did that as a joke or something, especially with the alien sidekick), but all of the details were bizarre choices, particularly when it came to physics. It left such an awful impression that I didn't even bother with the second. Was there a third? And the TV show is so bad that even die hard fans of the franchise don't like it, so what's the point? To run a piece of American popular culture into the ground? I don't get it.
TL;DR - I hope that Disney leaves Prydain alone until such time as a worthy individual or group comes along to bring it to the big screen.
I fully sympathize, friend (mostly - I seem to be in a minority who does actually like the Star Wars reboot, but I don’t have the same emotional hooks in it, granted; I hated the prequels and had no interest in any of the Clone Wars spinoffs so had already begun to distance myself before Disney began the latest set of films).
This is particularly poignant to me at present, as I just finished, with my family, the new Dark Crystal Netflix series, including the special documentary on its creation, and am blown away by the artistry, passion, commitment, and craft that went into this project. As part of the generation that grew up with the original film, listening to people my age express that same nostalgia and warmth, and the their appreciation of being able to apply that to a new project that has all the magic of the film and more, I was literally moved to tears not only over the magic they had created but my own sadness that there does not seem to be any team of people willing to commit this same level of passion to a Prydain project - a story with similar potential, I think. In no DIsney “making of” documentary have I never heard anyone express the level of sentiment I heard from the cast and crew of TDC: AoR, and honestly it just hits me right in the gut with yearning, and the devastating knowledge that it just won’t happen. It won’t. DIsney will never care that much.
There's a Dark Crystal on Netflix? Squee!
I like the new Star Wars stuff, mostly because, after the horrid second half of Return of the Jedi I expected really bad work-product. Recall, please that most of us saw our first Star Wars at a very young age. All that Force stuff is kind of, well, stupid (go ahead, tell teenagers to stop thinking about the future and trust their feelings - they'll become rappers or politicians), though the rest works well. I believe I was six when the first impossibly large star-ship was heard behind me and to the one side, moving forward and to the other side, chased by an even larger star-ship that seems like it'll end before it ever does.
I'm old enough that I not only remember The Dark Crystal, but also saw it in an actual movie theatre. I saw the original Stars Wars for the first time at a drive-in theatre at age 3, so that gives you an idea of what popular culture I recall from my childhood.
I wasn't a fan of the prequel Star Wars movies for numerous reasons, but the first sequel movie, which I did see, was so underwhelming and comical (not in a good way) that I had no interest in seeing the second one, which turned out to be a mangled mess that doesn't hold true to the original source material at all, at least from what I was told and read about (more importantly though, we don't need anymore Emo Vader). Like the Star Trek reboot, if you mess with the underpinnings of what makes a universe work, then no plot or story will make sense and you lose all internal consistency. Lose that and I can't take anything seriously and will be constantly aggravated by the details, as I am with how they treated Tolkein's work.
Sad to say it, but I agree with LMS's interpretation of what would happen to Prydain (though I can imagine much worse), which is why I'd rather Disney do nothing than to ruin another generation's impression of great stories, and forever irritate those of us who love the Prydain Chronicles for their enduring legacy. I can sympathize with your desire to see the world come to life visually, truly I can (the LotR and Hobbit movies are a disappointment), but until something changes, I think the best any fan can hope for is what you're doing here, Saeriellyn. Thank you for sharing your art and enthusiasm for Prydain with us, it helps more than you know to see firsthand how much it means to you, because you express in words and art what some of us cannot begin to manage, and that is definitely worth something to us. :)
LMS and Thraceius have a natural gripe about changing anything at all, but the LOTR films were well-done, and overcame a number of narrative problems that would have made a faithful adaptation danged near impossible while holding true to the animating spirit (literally and figuratively) in the divine and infernal heirarchies in Tolkien's work. Expectations set too hard are the seeds of disappointment (and nearly cost the dwarves their lives, and did cost Utumno and Sauron's beasts theirs eventually). Keep your sense of whimsy, chaps. I'm older than either of you, if barely in Thacecius' case.
However, at least you are not leaping upon this fine work Saeriellyn is giving us, so, I'll end on a mere harrumph.
Re: Honzinator: have your harrumph, but I think you're slightly misinterpreting me. :) For one thing, I said nothing regarding the LOTR movies. As a matter of fact, I quite like the Lord of the Rings and can watch large portions of an Unexpected Journey and the Battle of Five Armies without complaint. I understand the need for certain changes in order to make a video adaptation of a written work more cohesive or more understandable in a different format. I'm an editor by profession, so I also understand the need to make a narrative palatable to a popular audience. In certain cases, I can even approve of adapting a written work in a VERY different direction to convey a separate message. I write fanfiction, after all, and I enjoy both the novel and the Miyazaki film of Howl's Moving Castle.
My concerns and/or predictions regarding any future adaptation of Prydain were not so much from a desire that adaptation keep everything exactly the same as they were from a desire that any potential adapter understand the soul of the work and avoid the pitfalls of writing out that soul in an attempt to change the story or the characters so they are more like what is popular now, whether that attempt is made of their own volition or on the orders of they that hold the money. There is a difference in a change made to translate a literary medium so the preexisting soul of the work becomes evident to a different audience in a way it might not be otherwise and a change made because the adapter is afraid the original work will not appeal. To give an example--I would not object to adapters of Prydain giving Arawn or Gwydion or Dallben more backstory, to building up the relationship between Taran and Gwydion during their time traveling together. I would not necessarily object to beefing up the escape from Spiral Castle somewhat or even to making Eilonwy's magical efforts against the Cauldron Born work. And, as much as I enjoy the interlude at Medwyn's in Alexander, I think it could be cut from a film adaptation with little effort and the companions' diversion to the realm of the Fair Folk could be compressed. Again: it's the motivation and result of changes made to an adaptation rather than their existence that I object to.
Wow that was quite a tribute to TDC series...I was wondering if that would be worth the time investment but you just made up my mind for me...
I had thought that I already reviewed this page, but seeing as I haven't. I will not complain about the ability to leave my thoughts here. I really liked your analysis there, and having Fflewddur as more of a father figure makes so much sense in Eilonwy's case. Coll really is the father figure for Taran, but I feel when Eilonwy moves to Caer Dallben he seemed like an uncle for her where Fflewddur felt like the uncle for Taran. A very very interesting analysis. Also...cuddly Fflewddur is the best. *sigh* If only he was able to spend more time with the two kids outside of adventuring. But, C'est la vie!
Great to see how Eilonwy is calming down chapter after chapter. Yes, her wild moods are slowly soothing: She is improving. Hope that Taran will notice.
And I was sceptical at first but now you have convinced me: her drawing closer to Fflewddur is so well worked out that it makes sense within the framework of her marred heart.
Like I have indicated in comments to Medwyn, I believe: however, that she has so far no plans at all beyond Caer Dathyl. In fact, she engages into the mission mainly to run away from the fact that she has nowhere and nobody else to turn to.