In my other venues, so far user voting has fallen squarely on the "he's not tempted by this at all" side. Any disagreements out there?
I have to say it's almost a little insulting, when I have her trying so hard.
I think if she gave him back his sword he may - MAY - consider listening. Maybe?
Or he just wants to cut her head off.
I just can't help thinking any straight male would at least struggle a LITTLE bit, even knowing she's a liar, which he does.
And see, he's too much of a golden boy to cut her head off, even if he could and should. He'd go all Superman on her and "I can't kill you because you might redeem yourself."
I think I'm annoyed by his moral invulnerability.
Speaking as a straight male, I feel confident in stating that there is a difference between attraction without and attraction with knowledge, no matter how comely the woman. Certainly, physical attraction can, and usually is, an overpowering urge, but given Gwydion's prior knowledge of her character his wisdom wins handily. Prey that is aware of your nature is not so easily fooled. I agree with the others who said that he is likely hoping for her redemption, but I doubt he sees much chance for it.
I'm late to the party here, but I read and loved the Chronicles of Prydain over 30 years ago and I am happy to see the first book coming to life in pictures. Now I think I need to dig out my copies of those poor dusty old paperbacks and reread them. Middle age tends to lead one toward nostalgia, but not always toward rereading that which was almost forgotten, so thank you, Saeriellyn, for sharing your work with us readers. We are all the better for it.
Thank you friend! It's so nice to hear from a new visitor...and I know exactly what you mean by nostalgia, though I've never placed these to the side long enough for them to get dusty. So glad you are enjoying this, and thanks for taking the time to engage. Interaction with other fans of the series is part of my reward for pouring myself into this project, and I appreciate thoughtful commentary so much. Hope you chime in again! :)
I'm going to agree with friend here. Since I don't know this woman, I go strictly by the moment. My "experience" with her so far has been that of a gentle seductress, which although raises some alarms (especially with the undead she seems to command) it would definitely tempt me.
If, on the other hand, I knew she was pure evil, I might resist the temptation, but only because of the knowledge that whatever deal I reach with her would end up in a bad place.
Well, that last panel certainly looks like he's all out of patience, tempted or no.
He's probably just pissed that she's getting fingerprints all over his sword hilt.
SPOILERS DON'T READ SPOILERS No, Gwydion knows Achren far too well to fall for her tricks. I think if he could survive Oeth-Anoeth without giving in, he's probably just fine when it comes to simple interrogation.
*sigh* Yes, yes, Gwydion, the god among men, enters O-A in moral perfection and exits in even perfecter moral perfection.
I can't be the only one this irritates just a little bit. I hope they make him a little more...well, human, in the film.
Well, *I'm* certainly tempted. So there's that.
;) Then my work is done.
I just ran across this recently and can I say I'm absolutely delighted to find it?
As for his temptation... I think he's not tempted, but he's not unaffected. I always got the feeling in the books there *is* a mutual attraction, there is a connection there. He just knows, with absolute certainty, this isn't going anywhere good.
I always got the feeling he ends up believing in her redemption because he really wants to.
That's a good way to put it, I think. Certainly it would lend a welcome complexity to both their characters. I can imagine, were Achren not what she is, there being a certain mutual respect and attraction, and Gwydion is far more gracious to her later than he is in this scene. Perhaps a greater compassion and sympathy for her gained from his time unlocking the mysteries of the universe in Oeth-Anoeth? I smell the vague outlines of a fanfic in here somewhere...
I really like the idea he actually grows more sympathetic to her over the course of this experience. He had to understand her to break Spiral Castle's power, and in understanding her, softens.
Not without paying the taxes, Gwydion!
He is absolutely not tempted. How is Achren so beautiful and young-looking, despite being so old? Hint: it's not Oil of Olay. Just after this, Gwydion says, "It is no secret what you are!" Just what is she? I've always interpreted this as hinting she's an Elizabeth Bathory type. Knowing/deducing/suspecting this, Gwydion probably has a reaction like what C. S. Lewis described in The Great Divorce: "If a corpse already liquid with decay had arisen from the coffin, smeared its gums with lipstick, and attempted a flirtation, the result could not have been more appalling." Perhaps later on, he comes to pity her as well (which would explain his actions in Castle of Llyr), but I don't see that in him at this point.
Achren is my favorite of the bad guys in this series...maybe because she's...not a guy, but also because she's the most complex of the villains. Though yes, I think she's totally rotten at this point, I'd love to know her backstory, whether she was...ahem, born wicked, or had wickedness thrust upon her, to quote. She does, at least, have a glimmer of understandable motivation for her actions, besides the standard "I will take over the world because I am/serve an evil overlord" shtick of Arawn and all his minions.
She's also a phenomenal archetype, or maybe anti-archetype, if you will, the goddess overthrown by the patriarchal warrior culture, the fertile matriarch betrayed and left barren. If you're into all that fun symbolism, which I am. Prydain itself is rather barren, if you notice, in a lot of ways.
So in my head, Gwydion does have genuine pity for her because he either knew her as she once was or knows what she ought to have been had things gone differently, and maybe he himself or at least his people have had some kind of hand in that and he feels that responsibility. I haven't worked it out yet though.
LOL. Absolutely stunning, and I love the way you draw Gwydion but if you're read the Mabinogi and know what he did to Arianrhod, you'd understand he's not a "golden boy" at all. He's cunning, ruthless and more than just "morally grey". But he was absolutely the most impressive guy in all the books.
Oh heavens, I know. Lloyd really cleaned him up for these books, understandably. But I like to think that somewhere underneath this noble hero there are still foundational threads of the Loki-like figure he was initially - it gives him more dimension.