Friday, March 7, 2014

Prince of Annwn - Evangeline Walton

This fable is the last in the series although the first chronologically of the tales of the Mabinogion, the ancient celtic folk stories of the Welsh people.  This particular volume focuses on Pwyll, King of Dyved, and his battle with the powers of the Underworld to win the Goddess Queen, Rhiannon (that's where Stevie Nicks got the name from!).  Once again, there is the recognition of the power of women and of the earth as mother of all life.  Having been published in the 70's, there's a good dose of environmentalism as well.  The tale rounds up the pieces hinted at in the previous volumes I'd read.  If I had it to do over again, I'd read the stories in the order they were originally intended, this one first.  I was surprised to read in the introduction to this story that J.R. Tolkien drew heavily on these tales and when I think of the Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, I see the parallels and borrowings.

Having completed the series, I'm glad I read them and I take away an imagined understanding of some of the folk tales that may have trickled down over the centuries to my Welsh ancestors.  I'd like to rent the movie made of the books to learn how to pronounce the names of the characters.  The spelling will help me in researching my own branch of the family from Wales (both my fraternal great-grandmothers were Welsh).  I still think that a visit to Wales is in order.

Published:  1974   Read: March 2014  Genre: Fantasy

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