This was going to be a longer page but I think we've all waited long enough.
I've been recently going back through the comic and reading all the great comments. I just want to thank everyone - both the regular commenters and the wallflowers who occasionally chime in to tell me they are enjoying it. It all really helped pull me out of a funk today and I'm so grateful whenever I'm reminded of how many people I have touched with this project.
As always, Eilonwy's face is great, hehe.
"I am surrounded by idiots."
I guess Eilonwy's signal to Taran didn't quite sink in so far...I love Eilonwy's exasperated expression in the last panel! And I admire Taran's courage in this scene, ill advised as it is.
Sorry you have been in a funk, hope you're back to 100 percent soon. I'm glad reading through the comments helped cheer you up. You definitely do brighten a lot of people's lives, don't ever doubt the impact you have!
Oh, it wasn't deep depression or anything. I just really was struggling to finish several things from a general sense of inertia, topped by some real-world art drama over a theft of one of my images, and then typical overwhelmed-by-life stuff that is just par for the course for everyone. I am generally chill about stuff, but now and then there's just too much at once. This comic is both outlet and escape, so when I'm tempted to resent a page for not coming together as fast as I'd like, I go back and remind myself of what it means to others and what it's done for me in terms of feeling rewarded by fan enthusiasm.
Heh - "clotted nonsense". Heh.
There's an intellectual property litigation firm licensed in Fla. that could help you perhaps. www.hgdlawfirm.com is the website and the IP folks are concentrated in Atlanta.
Thank you. I have spoken with a lawyer already, but the product in question is being produced and sold in the Philippines, and without having it physically in my hands it is difficult to prove that it is a real thing authorized by the company whose brand is on it. I am trying to blast them on social media, but so far that’s not getting much traction.
Oh, it did. But he didn't get the response he had hoped for on his first attempt and at once considered it unworthy for a hero, switching rather to Gwydion mode. Note that Fflewddur follows without objection ... While Eilonwy seems to acknowledge the truth in some things Achren has told her about men.
Hahaha poor Eilonwy! She gets a headache from certain Assistent Pig-Keepers...
You have just made my breakfast a happy one!
LOL you're welcome! I'm so glad.
Kid, what part of "magical fair folk" did you not understand?
Some people learn everything the hard way.
Poor Taran. At least he never stops trying, haha.
Also, the colors of these pages are so beautiful.
He should have known “aggressive negotiations” don’t work with Fair Folk on their home turf, but I guess he’s just figured that out, lol.
And thanks! I love jewel tones; it’s been fun to create a landscape full of them.
Boys, Elonwy had it under control and you blew it.
She really handed it to them on a platter and they just dropped it like a rock.
In ten years this conversation will be, "honey you need to let me handle the diplomacy because you're about to start a war." Though of course he'll have learned better by then too.
I like the sense of distance between the two in the first panel. It sets up Taran's fundamental disconnect and willingness to resort to force. Also, the blue of the background is also in the king's eyes, reinforcing that this is HIS realm.
Of course, Taran being who he is, every action is guided by his internal model of what he imagines a powerful warrior would do. It'll take more time with Gwydion (and Adaon) before that internal model changes for the better.
We can excuse Taran's undisciplined response with reminders of his inexperience and impulsivity. I think it's interesting that Fflewddur follows his lead though. What's his excuse? I'm guessing just a general impulsiveness, but it might be that he's less invested in attacking any Fair Folk than in realizing he might need to save Taran from his own rashness in a second here.
All true, but let's give Taran some credit for his courage here. Eiddileg isn't giving him much choice so far, so he thinks fighting their way out is the only option to continue the mission, even if it costs them their lives. That conviction isn't lost on Eiddileg, and in spite of his words he has already begun to respect the travelers and to listen to what they are saying.
True! Taran has no experience in dealing with someone as irascible and contradictory as Eiddileg. Dallben is a grump but he's straightforward and says exactly what he means. Eiddileg is fae; he's going to be full of double-speak and loopholes and whatever other trickery he can resort to, and you don't know whether he means half of what he says. But Taran has no way of knowing that.
Fflewddur probably should, since at least a little of that bardic training should include faerylore. Eilonwy may or may not; she just recognizes the pomposity they're seeing and has seen Achren manipulate with flattery.
So a lot going on here and they all have their Reasons.
Well one reoccurring thing about Fflewddur is his rather ironic distrust of things magical. Maybe he's aware fighting is hopeless, but thinks you can't trust a deal with the Fae anyway, so what's there to lose.
Also, maybe folklore about the Fae isn't very flattering. You'd think the bards, of all people, would no better; but they're only human.
Besides, Fflewddur failed that exam anyway!
all very true! XD
The way that Taran's sword reflects the crystalline light and color of the cavern is beautiful!
And I love the "Just a big kid" side of Fflewddur.
I keep wondering if I should be making their swords more bronze-colored, given this time period - I don't think they'd have been using steel yet. But it's just so darn pretty and...well, fantasy doesn't really have a time period.
I think Taran was always working with iron, with Coll and later with Heyvedd (life is a forge!). But then again they grabbed those weapons from an ancient burial... But let your sense lead, it is after all your impression of the story!
I'm sure he's working iron on the horseshoes with Coll, but even Coll gives him that line about "this is not the metal for weapons" so they must have some alloys by then. I can't remember what he uses with Hevydd, beyond that the smith makes him smelt the metal himself. Time for a re-read!
Bronze is so superior to iron for swordsmithing I like to believe they've gotten at least that far.
They also lost some knowledge - stolen by Arawn.
When Taran meets Hevydd LA describes his voice singing a song "like stones rattling on a bronze shield"
More, however is not told about the sorts of metal used and left, as usual i would say, to the imagination of the reader.
I hope they were steel, in my mind good fantasy requires good steel. :-)
Here is an interesting read on the subject:
Maybe the period of time spoken of when European swordsmiths lost the art of steel folding (which was later rediscovered with Damascus steel) corresponds to Arawn's "theft of knowledge."
I like this theory!
That does sound like a plausible theory; it always seemed to me that the books were set in a circa-eleventh century sort of world. I’d been wondering about metals used for weaponry, too, so that article is very interesting.
To Saeriellyn: I am so happy to see the newest update! Eilonwy in the last panel... XD I’m with her. I think I need to go have a friendly chat with Fflewddur about toning down those warrior-Celt impulses of his. Gonna get himself in trouble, and I like him too much to allow that to happen. Taran’s inexperience does excuse him a little, but still... logic, boys, logic! It’s not that difficult to see that threatening the Fair Folk king in his own throne room (ah, cavern) isn’t wise, no matter how desperate you are.
Should I look forward to a chapter in which the royal smiths rediscover Damascus steel, thereby outfitting the new High King’s war bands with an edge over his enemies?
Anyhow, it occurs to me that Fflewddur is weirdly passive through most of this exchange, and now I’m confused about it. Given his discomfort with all things magical, maybe he’s just too weirded out by all of it to take the leadership out of Taran’s hands for the moment even though he probably should. It’s kind of ironically fitting that of all of them, it’s the guy who breaks out in hives at the idea of magic that winds up being best buds with the most magical member of their final party. Unless it’s just me who sees that odd-couple relationship between Flewddur and Doli. Total Legolas/Gimli parallels.
Oh rats, I don't know if I can work a chapter about metalsmithing into my current plot line, but now I feel like I need to! Hmmm. I'll have to give that some thought.
You know, I never really noticed the Doli & Fflewddur dynamic. I'll have to pay more attention on my next re-read. Fflewddur is somewhat contradictory about magic, though, isn't he? He gets all twitchy over magic in the semi-abstract, but has an enchanted harp as a prized possession, is a friend or friendly acquaintance of multiple magically-associated beings (Eilonwy, Doli, Llyan, Dallben), and has no qualms about the Pelydryn. Such a quirky guy... but I suppose that's part of what makes him so endearing.
I think it's just a thing I worked into my own headcanon while writing Sunrise - mainly because I didn't quite know what to do with Doli - and then because it's already there in my head I've started reading it into the books themselves. It makes sense though - they are the only two adults in the group, both struggle with a dissatisfaction over something they aren't and seek to make up for it in their respective ways, and Doli's irascibility is the perfect counterpart to Fflewddur's stubborn optimism. I just think there's this wealth of extra material of the two of them hanging out separately from the rest of the group from time to time, insulting each other with good-natured glee, trading ribald jokes and songs they can't say in front of the kids, and arguing politics.
Tolkien always had his creations using iron for everything, and I never ceased wondering why.
A lot of Tolkien’s works have a gradual decline/loss of technology/knowledge/medicine as a theme — maybe that’s why?
I know this is a dumb comment, because I kind of feel this way about every page, perhaps due to my nostalgic love for the series, but I don't know if I can proprly express in words how marvellous this single part of the overall scene is to me. The last page struck me similarly, but this one edges it out because I can put myself in Taran's shoes and feel the same sense of purpose and motivation he has, even if I'm not half the man he will become.
Some people are more inclined toward diplomacy (Fflewddur), some are schooled in it by experience (Eilwony), but the rest of us befuddled individuals have to learn things the hard way because we don't know any better for one reason or another. Considering the state Taran is in, physically uncomfortable, emotionally in turmoil because of their situation and Eilwony's anger and disappointment with him (not to mention his own guilt for upsetting her before the current predicament), I think there's a foolish & noble charm to his actions. Perhaps Eiddileg senses that, which is why he's chuckling quietly as he escalates AND defuses the situation by paralyzing Taran & Fflewddur. Given his mastery of both magic and words, it wouldn't surprise me at all if he is just play acting with Eilwony as well, letting her think that her flattery affects him, which I think would embarass her greatly if she found out. If that's the case, well, these are the differences between those who have life experience, and those who don't yet, which is one thing I've always tried to be mindful of as I've gotten older, because I believe, more fervently than ever, that the old, "respect your elders", line is not something that should be dismissed, but rather instilled as part of one's being. Not all "elders" are smarter or "more right", but generally speaking, their life experience is worth far more than whether they are right or wrong, because you can always learn from them sharing it, even if it's not the lessons you'd expect.
I could probably ramble on further, but...I'm venturing too far off the subject. I really need to find some time to read this book, and the whole series, again, so I can attempt to keep up with the rest of you fine folks.
P.S. I can't thank you enough for reintroducing me to this story, Saeriellyn. Life is too long, and too short, to forget what you love from your childhood.
This is so meaningful, and I wish I had words to respond as it deserves, but you summed it up so well in the "life is too long and too short" line. I've lost several people I love within the last year, and was hit with the realization that I have reached an age where this is going to become more and more the norm rather than the exception. Nobody tells you, when you're in your teens or twenties or even thirties, that middle-age turns out to be as much about what's happening to the other people in your life as all the expected changes happening to you. Where are the books about that? Sigh.
I find myself returning to Alexander's gentle wisdom a lot. These books are all about making big life transitions, and even though this stage of my life isn't the one that's covered...the lessons are similar.
Well said both of you. As Led Zeppelin said, Ramble On as much as you like Thracecius...yeah I am to an age where I can hear you both clearly, although I can't hear my Led Zeppelin albums as clearly...For me, I haven't read these books through since I was twelve...there doesn't seem to be a reason to, they are so clearly stamped on my memory. Nothing I have ever read sticks as much, and the life lessons are always coming to mind. Thanks to Saeriellyn for showing me that others feel the same way.
I appreciate the reply, even if you don't have the words you want with which to reply, Saeriellyn; you too Skyboy.
I often fumble for what to say, which is one reason why I don't comment as often as others (mostly it's because I've forgotten the details of the story after 30+ years), but I'm glad something resonated. I'm only entering into my mid-40's, but right now I'm struggling against thoughts that are not particularly positive or helpful, because, who knows, I might live until I'm 90, but what will I have to show for it? This is an age old problem for a lot of people I'm sure, and doubly so for people like me with no children or spouse, but I try to be reasonable in my expectations and not think too heavily on the "what ifs", because I've spent years trying to put those behind me and look at reality. When that becomes too much though, it's nice to know I can escape, even for a little while, in the fantasy world of Taran and company, courtesy of a very kind and talented artist by the handle of Saeriellyn.
Oh, I didn't realize you were such a young feller. ;-)
You've got plenty of time to do whatever you want with your life my friend! You seem pretty well spoken to me, I've enjoyed reading your posts, and anyone who loves the Prydain Chronicles has a lot going for them in my opinion. Fantasy is great, but don't forget there are plenty of evils to be fought in the real world these days. You can always leave a mark.
Young feller, lol. See, Thrace. 40-odd and we are just spring chickens.
Skyboy, now that I think about your handle (I'm slow, but I get there)...are you retired Air Force by chance? I heard through the grapevine recently that I've got some groupies of that persuasion...
You're very close but I prefer to keep the details of my background private - for some important reasons, and some unimportant ones. I'm not retired yet...still working hard, with one daughter in college and the other entering law school. I have recently bought a place in the country, with my high school sweetheart (a long and star crossed love story)! - with my own private air strip that I am fixing up in my spare time. When I do retire, I hope to spend it flying with my wife around the country and Canada, teaching her to fly, flying into small airports, eating greasy cheeseburgers, swapping pilot stories, and maybe writing a book about it all. And keeping up with your adaptations of the rest of the Prydain chronicles, and reading your wonderful writing, of course. ;-)
Oh my, that is already more info than I would have pried for, only curious, as I heard rumors of my work being discussed amid some Gurgi impressions during a group RPG session, and the thought was intensely amusing.
Best of luck on achieving those dreams. My oldest is currently obsessed with planes and has big dreams of being a pilot - he has his first flying lesson in a month, and I am waiting to see if this particular thing "sticks" as he has a history of jumping from one passion to another. It all started with last summer's trip to the UK; the flight was his favorite part of the entire business, and he will randomly discuss the make and model of the plane to anyone who will listen. (A Boeing 777-300ER, according to him; I cannot vouch for this accuracy, but he did have enough loose trivia on hand to impress a pilot who sat behind us during our last flight to Burlington over the holidays, so I've learned not to question him too much.)
Good luck to your son! Let me know how his first lesson goes...you'll probably know after that if he is meant to be a pilot. If the flying bug bites, it bites hard and becomes a lifelong passion. And now is a great time to go into aviation as a career, as the military is not churning out pilots as it once did and there will be a huge demand in the coming years.
Whew! There are so many replies here that I got burned out trying to read them all. I just want to repeat that I love your work!
Thank you, Marcel. Comments or not, I'm just happy for the love folks have for it. :)
In the last panel, could Eilonwy be any more disgusted? She's like, "Do I have to do everything here?"
The last panel is precious. I feel like Eilonwy ever time I have to talk with my 14 son.
As for all the talk about age... I am entering the second half of a century this year. And trying to figure out how to pay for the kid who wants to go to college in FL. We live in northern Illinois.
Eilonwy, final frame:
"Why didn't I let them rot in their cells?"
? ? ?