The Book of Three

fan adaptation of the first novel in The Chronicles of Prydain by Lloyd Alexander

chapter 15 page 14

posted 21st Feb 2020, 6:35 PM

chapter 15 page 14
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view Saeriellyn's profile

21st Feb 2020, 6:35 PM

Saeriellyn

CHAPTER FOURTEEN IN THE BAG.

Eiddileg has some 'splainin' to do.

As always happens during this process, I realized something new and vital; this moment is a humongous one for Gurgi, so recently burdensome to the company; I call to mind Medwyn's words about how doing something purposeful would mean so much to him. Well, here it is - he's just brought what could possibly be the best news Taran has ever had to this kid he already adores, and I can just imagine his wiggling, frenzied, full-bodied joy over it. I just want to rub his belly for days. Such a good boy. Such a good boy.

Next realization: I've never imagined Gurgi to wear clothes, yet on several instances (most recently as I was reading CoL to my kids last night) Lloyd seems to imply that he does, though it may be just a cloak, as here. Any opinions on the subject?

Little break here as I work on a few other things that need attention - stay tuned for the exciting wrap-up of cranky fairy kings and eloquent assistant pig-keepers, etc, in the next couple weeks.

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view MK_Wizard's profile

21st Feb 2020, 6:50 PM

MK_Wizard

Good work, Gurgi! I forgot about this part of the book.

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view Saeriellyn's profile

21st Feb 2020, 10:21 PM

Saeriellyn

Oh yes! A very important development!

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view Skyboy91's profile

21st Feb 2020, 7:13 PM

Skyboy91

A joyous Gurgi is hard to beat! And so nice to see a smile on all the companions' faces at the same time. Just a beautiful and radiant page, and refreshing in a way after all this time underground.

Yeah I definitely remember Gurgi wearing clothes in the books - pulling his cloak closer about him, teeth chattering etc. In my mind's eye, I could never quite get a grasp on what Gurgi really looks like - of course the wolfhound smell and "lack of tail," which implies dog, but in my head I suppose he was more ape like, since he was able to wear clothes and climb trees...Oh, and he could ride a horse, or at least a pony.

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view Saeriellyn's profile

21st Feb 2020, 9:34 PM

Saeriellyn

Yes, that’s it, though, he never mentions more than a cloak, iirc. I can handle a cloak but the thought of him in more than that just seems very weird. Though I could maybe consider him in bits of armor.

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21st Feb 2020, 11:01 PM

ZosiaDetroit (Guest)

Gurgi does seem to don outerwear, at least: cloaks on occasion, and a “jacket of unshorn fleece” that Craddoc gave him in Taran Wanderer. I imagine such garments are roomy enough to accommodate his rather unusual anatomy and biomechanics whereas pants and shirts would be problematic (and just plain weird on him IMO). ; ) They probably also make him feel a bit more human, in addition to providing extra warmth.

I’m reveling in how HAPPY they look on this page — brightens my own day to see it!

Also, umm, not fair that Taran’s hair on a bedraggled day looks better than mine on a good one. {{{pout}}}

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view Saeriellyn's profile

21st Feb 2020, 11:19 PM

Saeriellyn

Ah, I forgot about that sheepskin jacket!

As far as hair goes, same, really; I should be depicting it all more realistically but I just can’t bring myself to rough it up. XD

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21st Feb 2020, 11:43 PM

ZosiaDetroit (Guest)

Ohhh, I’m not complaining about the depiction... we like pretty Taran very much. XD

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22nd Feb 2020, 12:34 AM

CM (Guest)

Viggo Mortensen's Aragorn could have taken some tips from Taran.

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view Saeriellyn's profile

22nd Feb 2020, 1:21 AM

Saeriellyn

lol yes indeed.

I mean he’s not old enough for facial hair yet so that helps. Just realized I forgot Fflewddur’s stubble.

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view Skyboy91's profile

22nd Feb 2020, 2:51 AM

Skyboy91

Fflewddur is clearly getting in a quick shave with his trusty Norelco while Gurgi is barreling down the steps...he keeps it in his harp bag right next to his spare harp strings - a Fflamm is always prepared. I love the tumble of poor guards trying to keep up with him. I take it the crash was Gurgi knocking over a stalactite? (Or stalagmite, I always forget which is which)...

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view Saeriellyn's profile

22nd Feb 2020, 4:23 PM

Saeriellyn

Stalactites stick tight to the ceiling....stalagmites might trip you as you walk... Juvenile, but it works. ;) I gotta go in and fix Fflewddur’s stealth shave!

Btw I have responded to a couple of your reviews over at the fanfic site - let me know if you can’t get to them. So glad you are enjoying it...and yes, good catch, Eilonwy is named partially for her aunt Eilwen.

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view Skyboy91's profile

22nd Feb 2020, 5:02 PM

Skyboy91

Yes I saw your PM's where you said Thanks, Thank You! Such a weird site, I can't see my last review (ch 9) although you obviously saw it. Maybe it will show up later. Weird.

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view Saeriellyn's profile

22nd Feb 2020, 5:25 PM

Saeriellyn

There’s more to them than that, so make sure you click on them if you haven’t. XD It is a very glitchy site, regularly swallows reviews for half a day or more but I still get the email alert for them. Something about trying to keep the spam and bots under control. Thankful this site is better run.

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view Skyboy91's profile

22nd Feb 2020, 5:33 PM

Skyboy91

Duh..OK got it, Thanks again!

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view Candralar's profile

24th Feb 2020, 5:09 AM

Candralar

One of my grade school teachers taught us that the way to remember stalactites and stalagmites is - stalactites have a "c" because they are on the ceiling, and stalagmites have a "g" because they are on the ground.

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24th Feb 2020, 10:41 AM

Pete Bailey (Guest)

I had always learned stalaCtites, for c=ceiling. StalaGmites, for g=ground.

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view Skyboy91's profile

24th Feb 2020, 8:26 PM

Skyboy91

...All good tips Folks, Thanks!

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21st Feb 2020, 9:43 PM

LMS (Guest)

Okay, I love the body language here. Gurgi just RUNNING to Taran; Taran, Eilonwy, and Fflewddur all three basically hugging him, smiling like anything that he's alright and didn't actually abandon them. "What joyous meetings!" as Gurgi himself might say.

It still kind of gets me how much Taran saves this odd, sad creature's life in this book, and how simply. Taran doesn't make anything that really seems like a big, grand gesture toward Gurgi. For the first half of the book, you get the sense that he doesn't even like Gurgi. He's just tolerating him, behaving with basic decency. Paying him a share out of the little he possesses for information, making sure he gets the care he needs when he's hurt instead of abandoning him or killing him to expedite their admittedly desperate mission. But it means SO MUCH to Gurgi. When Taran offers him a home not too far before this, while he can't give Gurgi what he wants most of all (a place in the world of either man or beast; a defined role in the ordered universe), he offers him the next best thing: a place to belong and people to belong to and potential work to do. In the space of a few weeks (?--the timeline is fuzzy), Gurgi goes from a grotesque, begging monster of the wilds to something akin to Taran's yeoman and comrade-at-arms. He has pride and respect and purpose, and EVERYTHING'S changed for him. Taran gave it to him--without really even knowing he was doing it.

And I can see it happening here like I could read about it happening there. So thanks.

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view Saeriellyn's profile

21st Feb 2020, 11:18 PM

Saeriellyn

Most welcome. :)

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25th Feb 2020, 8:04 PM

Honzinator (Guest)

Part of what makes us love things, especially storge love, is the mere act of caring for those things. It's kind of a nice trait. It even applies to the most vicious mammals there are, cats (which happen to be among my faves) - they can be remarkably affectionate - but canids, like Gurgi, are more likely to want, or need, to belong.

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21st Feb 2020, 10:35 PM

CM (Guest)

Gurgi here is like if you dressed your great dane up as Superman. (And he probably feels about the same, too.)

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view Saeriellyn's profile

21st Feb 2020, 11:17 PM

Saeriellyn

I’m thinking he probably donned the cloak as extra protection when they were out in the rain, and haven’t decided if he has a nice short undercoat to help repel the water.

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22nd Feb 2020, 12:32 AM

CM (Guest)

I like it.


Also, congratulations on getting so much work on this comic done in the last week! It's singularly impressive.

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view Saeriellyn's profile

22nd Feb 2020, 1:22 AM

Saeriellyn

I have indeed been on a roll! It’s been refreshing.

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22nd Feb 2020, 2:41 AM

CA (Guest)

A cloak seems to make sense. Sort of splits the difference between nothing (like an animal) and full-on human costumes, which honestly describes Gurgi, caught in between worlds. Plus it’s believable that he would have come across some sort of discarded cloak living out in the wild. I can imagine him searing an abandoned camp site looking for crunchings and munchings, and finding a cloak instead. It tracks.

Great end to the chapter!

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view Saeriellyn's profile

22nd Feb 2020, 2:52 AM

Saeriellyn

Well in this case, in my head, Medwyn has provided the spare cloaks they are wearing...though why a guy in his position would have extra cloaks is a fair question; I just figure he must do something with all his sheep.

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22nd Feb 2020, 9:39 PM

NotTheHarp (Guest)

He had them because he new they were coming eventually? Smart question.

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view Saeriellyn's profile

23rd Feb 2020, 1:09 PM

Saeriellyn

Who knows? Maybe the birds told him.

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23rd Feb 2020, 5:34 AM

Good old Doli (Guest)

Regarding Gurgi wearing clothes, my impression as a child was that he did not wear clothes when he first met Taran, and adopted clothes later, probably once he had a home at Caer Dallben, possibly even more gradually. But certainly picking up a cloak from Medwyn would be a start (and would make sense as a provision for cold mountain passes). I do certainly remember the descriptions of him in the sheepskin jacket Craddoc gives him for extra warmth.

Gurgi always inhabits the in-between space between animal and human, but I think that when he is first introduced he is closer to a talking animal (and living wild in the forest), but gradually takes on more and more human characteristics. Not physiological changes, but behavioral, etc.

I will note that I did always imagine Gurgi as ape-like, something a little like a young gorilla (a little smaller than boy Taran).

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view Saeriellyn's profile

23rd Feb 2020, 1:09 PM

Saeriellyn

A gradual adaptation to clothing would follow his character evolution well, though I confess, even by the end I can't really imagine him fully-dressed.

Ape-Gurgi is the most common interpretation, and I know my more canine one meets with controversy, but it came about as I read the text more and more with an eye toward his characteristics, which all seemed more doglike to me. I also wanted to step away from all previous versions of him I had seen. At one point I ran into a record of a letter from Lloyd where he swears he got the name Gurgi from some Welsh text that described a character as a "hideous gray dog-man" and that just cemented my opinion of what he really is. But I don't argue with folks. ;) I've had quite a few people who initially didn't like my Gurgi eventually come around to him.

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view Skyboy91's profile

23rd Feb 2020, 3:11 PM

Skyboy91

I certainly agree your Gurgi is much more endearing than an ape-like Gurgi would be!

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view Candralar's profile

24th Feb 2020, 5:39 AM

Candralar

Another great chapter. I think you portrayed the realm of the Fairy Folk very well. Now I'm all caught up and have to (im)patiently wait for updates :D. I'm going to miss being able to read a new chapter every few days. You've done an excellent job adapting this book into a graphic novel, and I can't wait for the next chapter.

We finished reading The Book of Three and are now a few chapters into The Black Cauldron. My son and I both really enjoyed the book, and it was nice to have your work as a companion piece to go along with it. A great example of this is when Spiral Castle collapses. In the book, this is basically covered in a few sentences where your comic takes this event and turns it into this exciting and dramatic scene with lightning striking, rubble and debris crashing down, and Taran and Eilonwy making their frantic scramble to get clear of the destruction. I'm not trying to really be critical of the book here. I'm just saying that adding your depiction of that scene to what we were reading in the book took the stakes to a much higher level that really can't be reached with just the way it is written.

If I was to say one thing we were both somewhat disappointed with in the book was how the final battle with the Horned King and his forces was depicted (or not depicted might be a better way to describe it). When we finished reading it, I asked my son what he thought of the book, and he said it was really good but the ending could have been better. We both would have loved to have had a chapter that was dedicated to the battle rather than having Taran knocked unconscious and then have what happened told to him at a later time after he had awakened. I've never been very fond of this type of storytelling because I feel you lose a lot of drama, emotion, and "heat of the moment" things when you just find out what happened after the fact. We still had a lot of fun reading it though, and like I said above, we've already moved on to The Black Cauldron which is off to a good start.

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view Saeriellyn's profile

24th Feb 2020, 10:47 AM

Saeriellyn

Yay! I'm so excited to hear you guys are moving onto the next book.

I know what you mean regarding scenes like the castle collapse. Lloyd was a minimalist, and there's places that works very well and other places where I wish he'd given us a little more - but the gaps leave me plenty of space to fill in as I please, and the freedom has its perks. Sometimes it's tedious - as in the scene with the cauldron-born and Eilonwy's failed spell; it took me about eight pages to show something that the book took one paragraph to describe, but the results were some of my best work.

That's a fair criticism regarding the end. I guess to me it underscores the running theme of Taran being less of the Great Hero he desires himself to be at this point and more a cog in the wheel of a bigger machine; an important cog, of course, but the story is more about what's happening within him than what's happening in the world outside. As you move forward, you'll see him take a more active role in the climactic moments of each book - though there's still at least one good deus ex machina per book, I will warn. It's just how Lloyd operated, and somehow he made it work. The stories get progressively more serious, and the stakes get higher, and Taran's choices become ever more difficult. I look forward to hearing your opinion on the rest of them!

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view Candralar's profile

25th Feb 2020, 6:13 AM

Candralar

You may have thought it was tedious, but the Cauldron-Born scene with Eilonwy's failed spell is another great example of your work enhancing the overall experience of reading the book. Actually, reading both your adaptation and Alexander's book together is a pretty cool way to read The Book of Three. Both versions are great on their own, but when you put them together, you get a much more enriching experience.

One of the things Alexander did so well in this book was to create memorable characters. Eilonwy, Fflewddur, and Gurgi become very important to the story and to the readers, and while this is more Taran's story, the other characters importance is a main reason why I would have liked to have seen more pages dedicated to the final battle with the Horned King, where we could have experienced what Fflewddur and Doli did as well as how Gurgi and Eilonwy made it through the battle. I get it though that a major battle scene was not the story that Alexander was telling here, and I understand why he chose to tell the story in the way he did. I just happen to love a big, epic battle. :)

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view Saeriellyn's profile

25th Feb 2020, 11:48 AM

Saeriellyn

LOL well - this is one of many reasons fans of the series have wished for a couple decades now that someone would make a decent film! I'm sure they'd feel it necessary to throw in some battle epics for the modern audience, and it'd be exciting to see.

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view Thracecius's profile

26th Feb 2020, 12:27 AM

Thracecius

It's been far too long since I read the books, but to play the contrarian, I think the lack of an epic battle is a nice counterpoint to the story as a whole - it's the little actions that make the most difference to the outcome, and that's what the reader is left to reflect on by hearing it after the fact. The books are, after all, primarily a coming of age adventure and the major events around the characters are merely the backdrop. Too few stories these days have truly interesting characters, which is one reason why Lloyd Alexander's work remains popular. He may not get the bright lights and accolades that famous authors receive, but his quiet works sink in and stay with you, even if you don't remember all the details. All in all, if I had to choose between fame, fortune and critical success or being remembered for a truly outstanding story, I'd rather the latter.

I just hope that, if I do live long enough to see the Prydain Chronicles brought to the silver screen, they are done justice greater than those beloved classics that have alredy seen such treatment.

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view Candralar's profile

26th Feb 2020, 5:52 AM

Candralar

Fair enough. It's just a preference thing. I love stories where characters have to make a stand and rise to the occasion when everything is on the line or when they've been pushed to their limits and they still find a way to get back up and carry on. Not every story needs a big battle or an epic climax though and not everybody wants to see or read one and that's fine too.

For me though, to use a sports analogy, if my favorite team is playing in the championship, I would much rather watch the game than have somebody tell me the final score the next day.

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view Thracecius's profile

26th Feb 2020, 11:51 PM

Thracecius

I don't disagree with you at all, I enjoy a rousing epic battle scene (the Ride of the Rohirrim is one of my absolute favorites and Theodin's speech always sends a shiver up my spine - the movie did a decent job of it), I just recognize that not all stories are going to have a field of glory, particularly when the protagonist is still only a child. Those happen (Lion, With and the Wardrobe comes to mind), but generally speaking they aren't very believable unless they're pure fantasy.

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view Saeriellyn's profile

27th Feb 2020, 1:28 AM

Saeriellyn

Well, there’s also the thematic element that by the time Taran grows up enough to hold his own in an epic battle, he’s matured enough to realize that, in some famous words: “there is more honor to be found in field well-plowed than a field soaked in blood”. I do love how pragmatic Lloyd is about war, treating it as a necessary evil but not something to be celebrated. By The High King we get battle heroics in spades...and we also get tragedy upon tragedy before the bittersweet ending, as life so often goes (not to be too spoilery). He was uplifting without being unrealistic; these books believe in the triumph of good over evil, but it never comes cheaply.

I get the original objection though. It is a bit of a letdown to be told about a climactic moment after the fact instead of witnessing it firsthand.

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1st Mar 2020, 2:45 AM

CA (Guest)

So I was going to wait until the comic got there to talk about the ending (and I won't say too much as not to spoil) but since the topic has been started here, I'll chime in a little. I'm in agreement that the climactic action of BoT is one of it's weaker points and the ultimate resolution of the conflict is a bit of a cop-out. However I also agree that it fits with Taran's journey to not have him involved in a major battle in the first book.

I think that if a film adaptation ever gets made they can find some sort of "happy medium" between what happens in the text and a full-on epic Hollywood battle scene, which should be saved for the later works. Maybe Taran doesn't fight the Horned King but perhaps someone else can....

Looking forward to continuing this thread in the future :)

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26th Feb 2020, 11:49 PM

Eric (and Juliette) (Guest)

Thanks so much for your thoughtful interpretation of this book! I ran across it while looking up some information about Prydain. I read the series as a boy and have recently been reading it to my younger daughter (age 6) - we're mid-way through The High King at the moment. I haven't showed her your graphic novel yet, but will once we're done with the books. You've done a wonderful job staying true to Lloyd Alexander's stories while at the same time infusing it with your own creative vision.

As far as Gurgi goes, your interpretation is interesting, and you certainly have a reasonable rationale for it. In my own mind, I've always considered Gurgi to be fully human, but animal-like in appearance and temperament as a result of living away from civilization for a long time. I think of him as someone who was cast out of society many years ago, and who has neither bathed nor groomed nor changed his clothes since then. Perhaps he committed some misdeed in the past, but years in the wilderness made him incredibly lonely and unsophisticated - not to mention hungry - so when he regains contact with other humans, he acts like a child or faithful dog. To me he's very similar to Ben Gunn from "Treasure Island," who has an almost identical disposition, and who is similarly described in semi-human, semi-animal terms.

In any event, Gurgi's history would make an interesting story! That's one omission from "The Foundling and Other Tales of Prydain," I guess. :-)

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view Saeriellyn's profile

27th Feb 2020, 1:17 AM

Saeriellyn

Aw, it’s nice to hear from a new fan. Thanks for following!

Wow that interpretation of Gurgi is indeed different - almost like a feral child. I can’t really imagine such a animal-acting human being at all appealing, but of course he’s not really meant to be appealing in the surface, so fair enough. As far as origins, my personal theory is that he’s either some kind of mutated fairy hybrid animal, or possibly the result of some failed magical meddling by inept practitioners, similar to Llyan.

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1st Mar 2020, 1:55 AM

Syd (Guest)

I've been meaning for a while to tell you how much I've enjoyed this. The colors! The expressions! All the thought that goes into the layout and details! It is beautiful to look at and fun to see an adaption of a story I like.
Thank you for all your work and for sharing it with us!

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view The Doodler's profile

1st Mar 2020, 3:09 PM

The Doodler

Is that the Icelandic stave for protection on the floor there? *squints*

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2nd Mar 2020, 1:12 PM

Vetch

I was thinking the same thing. It's looks vaguely like the "helm of awe"

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2nd Mar 2020, 1:11 PM

Vetch

Such an epic moment and really the turning point of Gurgi's character. This is the moment he will return to throughout the series. Correct me if I'm wrong but there are several times he mentions this. And it's not just finding Henwen. This is probably the first time in his life when he really turned to face danger and make a stand to help someone other then himself. Topped of by the fact that he completed the mission. I hope he is still retelling this story to anyone who will listen back in the Summer country.

So far as the ending. 35 years ago when I first heard this book read to me by my 5th grade teacher. I wanted the battle. But now looking at it I'm glad it's not there. For a few reasons. It's not time for that in Taran's arc. But also you have to remember that Gwydion is the "hero of another story". And the battle is his story not Taran's.

just my 2 cents

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24th Mar 2020, 3:09 PM

Glor (Guest)

First off, thank you. Thank you, thank you, thank you - for devoting so much passion to this project. It really is amazing, and for such an ambitious project at that.

I didn't think the Prydain Chronicles had as big of a following as it does. I only found the books when I was 18, 'round 2011. I loved the Black Cauldron movie when I was a kid, so it was awesome to find the source material, although disappointing to discover how condensed and watered down the movie was in comparison. Still, I fell in love with the books and the simple, but compelling coming of age story told through Taran.

I was actually trying to find the books to read online - since the hard copies I bought are in storage - and stumbled upon your comic. I spent every opportunity over the next few days reading it. The illustrations are marvelous and I didn't feel any contradictions between my imaginings and how the characters were visualized here.

Thank you for finding another way to bring Prydain to life. You've been working on this for quite a while, so I do hope you see it through to the end.

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view Saeriellyn's profile

24th Mar 2020, 7:17 PM

Saeriellyn

I plan to see it through the end of book one. I doubt I will continue on with the rest of the series once I'm done, as Disney owns all visual rights to the property and though I have largely flown under the radar, I don't trust them to care in the least about the amount of time and labor I have poured into this over the years. If they ever DO make their film, I have no doubt they'll shut down my adaptations.

But meanwhile, here I am! Welcome to the community, and thanks for letting me know you're here! :)

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view Skyboy91's profile

25th Mar 2020, 1:22 AM

Skyboy91

Wow you haven’t been so definitive on this before. And although I understand completely, it’s a depressing thought, and we’ve all got enough depressing us right now. I think TBC in particular is just begging for your special talent and attention... Just think of the wonderful characters you could bring to life! Ellidyr! Aedon! Morgant! King Smoit! Gwystl! Kaw! Orwen/Orddu/Orgoch! And the list goes on! Not that I am trying to influence you or anything.…But as NotTheHarp said, we are all going to need professional help when you’re done. :-\

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view Saeriellyn's profile

25th Mar 2020, 5:15 PM

Saeriellyn

It’s because I was unaware that Disney’s rights extended to ALL visual representations of the work. I just found this out last week. I’ve always worked under the assumption that the publisher was the one with the authority to shut me down. Disney is a different monster. They are merciless.

But I shouldn’t make it definitive. Who knows anything.

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view Leader Dessler's profile

24th Apr 2020, 10:17 AM

Leader Dessler

Just don't make it definitive. Please. There is still so much to show about T & E that only you can bring out.

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view Leader Dessler's profile

24th Apr 2020, 6:41 AM

Leader Dessler

So that's why Gurgi had disappeared so suddenly. He had left the stage to go to the wardroom and fetch his coat!

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28th Apr 2020, 4:23 AM

Rob S. (Guest)

Just catching up now. Love seeing the joy on Gurgi's face -- on everyone's faces, really! Such a relief after all this tension!

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view Saeriellyn's profile

28th Apr 2020, 10:38 AM

Saeriellyn

Ah, haven't heard from you in a little while. Welcome back!

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