"I don't like being called 'a girl' and 'this girl' as if I didn't have a name at all. It's like having your head put in a sack."
rincess Eilonwy of the Royal House of Llyr is first introduced in chapter 6 of The Book of Three as an outspoken, fiery, and kind-hearted princess who can perform small enchantments and hold her own in combat. She is the daughter of Angharad and Regat. When they were both held as prisoners in Spiral Castle she made friends with Taran of Caer Dallben.
Geraint, Eilonwy's father, was a commoner, and Princess Angharad, her mother, apparently never completed her enchantress training. Eilonwy wears a pendant that was shaped like a silver crescent moon, her family's crest, as a representative of the House of Llyr. She also carried a golden ball that she refers to as her "bauble," but which was actually a powerful magical object.
Princess Eilonwy appears in four of the series' five novels as well as The Black Cauldron, a 1985 Disney animated film version. As a descendant of powerful enchantresses like her mother Angharad and grandmother Regat, Eilonwy is a member of the Royal House of Llyr. This trait, which she has inherited, is most obviously displayed in how she controls a magical object she calls her "bauble" (The Golden Pelydryn) — a tiny golden sphere that emits magical light when activated by her willpower. Despite her royal status, Eilonwy is down-to-earth and approachable, with a sense of humor that endears her to readers. Her friendship with Taran is one of the highlights of the series, and their banter and camaraderie add a touch of levity to the often perilous situations they find themselves in.
Throughout the series, Eilonwy proves herself to be a brave and resourceful ally, willing to risk her own safety to help those in need. She is also fiercely loyal to her friends and family, and is not afraid to speak her mind or stand up for what she believes in. Overall, Princess Eilonwy is a beloved and memorable character in the world of fantasy literature, and her courage, wit, and loyalty continue to inspire readers of all ages.
The High King, the fifth and last volume of the Prydain Chronicles, makes Taran and Eilonwy's emotions for one another much more clear. Taran and Eilonwy's interactions with one another alter dramatically from those in the earlier volumes, despite the fact that these feelings are never expressed explicitly until the final few pages of the book. In the midst of the increasing strife, Taran longs for Eilonwy and worries for her safety. In contrast to Taran, who very abruptly realized he had affections for the Princess in the opening chapter of book three, The Castle of Llyr, Eilonwy's transformation toward Taran is far more subtle, though no less certain, and may have occurred over the course of the entire series. By the book's conclusion, Taran marries Eilonwy and ascends to the position of High King of Prydain. Since all magical people are departing for the Summer Country, she must give up her magical abilities in order to be permitted to stay in Prydain. The announcement of King Taran and Queen Eilonwy's coronation and marriage marks the end of the series.
"I have never seen a fish with skinned knees, torn robe, and unshod feet. They would ill become him, as they ill become you."
Long red-gold hair, brilliant blue eyes, and elfin features are all described as belonging to Eilonwy. She wears a pendant of the family crest, a silver crescent moon, as a representative of the Royal House of Llyr.
She is depicted as donning a white robe and her family's emblem, a silver crescent necklace, in the first book in the series. According to Dallben in The Castle of Llyr, she appears to prefer going barefoot to wearing shoes; when she must wear shoes (like in The Book of Three), they are almost always sandals.
Traditionally Eilonwy is not a historically accurate Welsh name (unlike many others used in the stories), but it appears in a Glasynys story about the daughter of a mermaid named Nefyn ferch Nefydd and her human lover Ifan Morgan. The story was published in Cymru Fu, or The Wales that Was, and Sir John Rhys translated it from the Welsh in his book Celtic Folklore. The name "Eilonwy" also appears in a poem by Talhaiarn. It might be derived from the literary (i.e., extinct) Welsh term eilon, which means "deer, stag," with the fanciful suffix -wy (used to decorate river names in the 1800s) added for euphony (or perhaps in reference to the river Elan in central Wales).
From the grating, a pair of intensely blue eyes looked back at him.
- The Book of Three
Taran and Princess Eilonwy's relationship is a central aspect of "The Chronicles of Prydain" series. At first, the two do not get along well, with Eilonwy finding Taran to be overprotective and controlling, while Taran finds Eilonwy to be too headstrong and difficult to manage. However, as they embark on more adventures together, their relationship begins to change. They begin to develop a deep respect and trust for each other, and their bickering turns into playful banter. Despite their differences, Taran and Eilonwy are loyal friends who support each other through both triumphs and challenges.
Their relationship also has romantic undertones throughout the series, culminating with Taran's realization that he has some growing to do before he can be worth of Eilonwy's love. However their romance is ultimately fully realized, their friendship remains the core of their relationship. Throughout the series, Eilonwy serves as a strong influence on Taran, helping him to become a better leader and teaching him important lessons about courage and loyalty. In turn, Taran is a steadfast ally for Eilonwy, protecting her and standing by her side through the many dangers they face together.
Overall, Taran and Eilonwy's relationship is a dynamic and multifaceted one, characterized by humor, loyalty, and a deep affection for each other. Their friendship to romance trajectory is one of the most beloved aspects of the series, and continues to capture the hearts of readers of all ages.