Characters: Chronicles of Prydain

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The protagonist of the series, Taran is the Assistant Pig-Keeper of Caer Dallben, charged with caring for the oracular pig, Hen Wen. Taran is dissatisfied with this life of tedious drudgery and would prefer to have exciting adventures like his idol, Prince Gwydion. Over the course of the series, Taran is caught up in many battles for Prydain’s future, but the heart of the story is more focused on Taran’s own personal journey, and he undergoes an enormous amount of Character Development as he grows from a boy to a man.

  • Aesop Amnesia: At the end of The Book of Three, Taran learns that grand adventures are far more dangerous than he thought and that he was ill-prepared for the trials he had to face, and he much preferred living a peaceful life at Caer Dallben. At the beginning of The Black Cauldron, he is back to being a Heroic Wannabe again. Thankfully, the lessons stick this time.
  • Ascended Fanboy
  • Being Good Sucks: Doing the right thing for Taran always requires sacrifice, and very often demands that he give up the things that are most important to him, often with little thanks or reward. He does it anyway.
  • Coming-of-Age Story: This series is as much about Taran growing up as it is about cool adventures in a high fantasy world, if not more so.
  • Cool Horse: Melynlas, the son of Prince Gwydion’s own steed, Melyngar, is gifted to Taran in the first book, and serves his master faithfully for the rest of the series. Melynlas only allows Taran (and sometimes Eilonwy) to ride him.
  • Cool Sword: Dallben gives him one early in the second book. Taran assumes it is enchanted, a notion Dallben finds fairly repugnant. Later in the series, Taran loses this blade and forges his own sword, and eventually earns the right to wield Dyrnwyn in battle.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: After numerous painful sacrifices on his part, including giving up a chance at eternal happiness in paradise, the series ends with Taran marrying Eilonwy and becoming a wise and respected ruler.
  • Embarrassing Middle Name: His official title is Taran, Assistant Pig-Keeper. However, Hen Wen is a very important pig, and Taran takes great pride in caring for her.
  • The Everyman: Taran is never physically described and meant to be very easy for a young audience to identify with.
  • Fearless Fool: In the first book, and to some degree in the second one. However, though he never really loses his gung-ho attitude, he gets a lot less foolish about it as the series progresses.
  • Friend to All Living Things: While not as blatant as other versions of this trope, Taran is shown on many occasions to have a very strong kinship with animals, especially Hen Wen. He is capable of taming even a savage gwythaint fledgling, and his horse, Melynlas, obeys his commands alone. Even Medwyn is impressed.
  • Glory Hound: Early on, Taran wishes to make a name for himself and be a hero. This is a major plot point in the second book.
  • Guile Hero: He spends as much time of the fourth book solving problems through his own cleverness as he does with violence.
  • Honor Before Reason
  • Journey to Find Oneself: Taran Wanderer
  • Jumped at the Call: Taran is so eager to join Gwydion on his quest that Gwydion questions his sanity.
    • He actually literally jumps - headfirst into a thorn bush, because he thinks that what's moving in there is a threat to Gwydion's life. It's really only Gurgi, but Gwydion is surprised and impressed by Taran's selfless bravery.
  • Kid Hero
  • Meaningful Name: He begins calling himself "Taran Wanderer" in the fourth book as he begins to outgrow his former identity.
  • Oblivious to Love: From the end of the third book onward, Taran acknowledges his love for Eilonwy. He's completely unconvinced that it's mutual, right up until his proposal near the end of the final book. Eilonwy herself even lampshades it.
  • Open Mouth, Insert Foot: A terminal case, especially when dealing with Eilonwy. In any given situation, if it's at all possible to accidentally insult her, Taran will manage it each and every time.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Taran takes about one per book. It’s really amazing to see how much he has changed by the end of the series.
  • The Unchosen One: Subverted. The last chapter of The High King reveals that he was The Chosen One the whole time.
  • Walking the Earth: The fourth book is basically Taran doing a lot of this.
  • Wise Beyond Their Years: Far more noticeable in later books, but even in the early books there are signs that Taran is far cannier than he seems.

Princess Eilonwy

A princess of House Llyr and the last in a line of powerful enchantresses, Eilonwy was stolen as a child by Queen Achren, who intended to use Eilonwy’s power to conquer Prydain. She escapes Achren’s clutches and serves as a loyal companion and romantic interest to Taran…sort of. She is of Taran’s age with red-gold hair and has very peculiar speech patterns. She is quite the Action Girl, despite the protests from many characters that she should Stay in the Kitchen.


A strange, shaggy forest creature who speaks in third person and uses a lot of rhymes, Gurgi is neither man nor beast. At first, Gurgi is a miserable coward who flees at the first sign of danger, but as the series goes on he grows to become brave and loyal. He comes to admire Taran for his wisdom, and eventually becomes his closest friend.

  • Big Eater: If he's not hungry, then something is probably seriously wrong. He's even given a magical food pouch which never goes empty so as to keep him from begging.
  • Cowardly Lion
  • Dirty Coward: At first. Then upgrades to Lovable Coward, and then to Cowardly Lion.
  • The Lancer: Although he's usually dubious and woebegone, not sarcastic.
  • Third-Person Person
  • Non-Human Sidekick
  • Rhymes on a Dime: A peculiar version, as he doesn't actually speaks in rhyme, but rather peppers his speech with rhymed pairs of words, such as "crunchings and munchings" (meaning food), "smackings and whackings" (meaning a beating) and "sneakings and peekings" (meaning spying).
  • Undying Loyalty: He refuses to be parted from Taran until the very end of the last book.

Fflewddur Fflam

A loud-mouthed bard who tells exaggeratedly wild tales of his own acts of heroism, Fflewddur is a good-hearted if overzealous adventurer who frequently accompanies Taran on his quests. It is quickly revealed that he is not actually a real bard, but is actually a king who grew bored with life at court and decided to be a bard instead. Fflewddur carries a magical harp whose strings snap when Fflewddur exaggerates a little too wildly. (They break often.) It is not all bluster though, as Fflewddur actually is fairly Badass. His catchphrases are "A Fflam is (insert appropriate adjective here)!," and "Great Belin!"

  • Anime Hair: He's described as having wild yellow hair that is always sticking up in spikes.
  • Badass: He much better at fighting than he is at being a bard.
  • Boisterous Bruiser
  • Consummate Liar: Though due to harp strings breaking, it's always clear.
  • Cool Horse: The enormous mountain cat, Llyan, eventually adopts Fflewddur and allows him to use her as a mount.
  • Hair of Gold, Heart of Gold: As noted above, the narration describes him as having "spiky yellow hair," and while he's a little wayward, he's definitely got his heart in the right place.
  • In Harm's Way: He's the king of a small drafty castle in a dreary corner of Prydain. He'd much rather be trekking through the wilds than sitting at home doing kingly stuff.
  • King Incognito: Though he's not always trying to hide the fact, and he isn't worried about anyone finding out he's royalty; he just generally doesn't act or dress like it.
  • Large Ham
  • Lie Detector: His harp, although it only detects Fflewddur’s lies. Whenever he lies, a string breaks. The bigger the lie, the more strings break.
  • Magic Music: His harp practically plays itself. The music itself has no magical effects, although it does have a charming effect on Llyan.
  • Oh My Gods!: One of Fflewddur’s favorite expressions is “Great Belin!” Belin is a God of the sun in Welsh Mythology, although in-universe he is referred to as “The King of the Sun.”
  • Older Sidekick
  • Refused by the Call: All Fflewddur really wants is to be a bard, but he failed at all the tests, due to his own ego.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something: Ironically, Fflewddur is actually a pretty lousy king and is far more competent as an adventurer.
  • Small Name, Big Ego: A mild case; he actually is brave and competent, but he's always trying to present himself as a lot more heroic, fearless and successful than he really is.
  • Spoony Bard: Very averted, he’s one of the deadliest fighters in the series. In fact, bards in this setting are universally respected and revered, though not normally for their fighting prowess.
  • Wandering Minstrel
  • War Is Glorious: One of the few heroic characters who seems to genuinely enjoy the glory, if not the bloodshed.
    Fflewdur (eyeing his harp cautiously): Terrified. Absolutely green.
  • Wild Hair
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: Due to his bardic training, Fflewddur thinks he is clever. It turns out, not so much.


A member of the Fair Folk, Doli is a grumpy dwarf who complains all the time but secretly has a heart of gold. Nevertheless, he tries his hardest to be as disagreeable as possible. He is a skilled warrior and craftsman, and possesses the ability to turn invisible at will, although he hates to do this as one of the side effects is an awful ringing in his ears.

  • Achilles in His Tent: Doli frequently fumes at the companions and vows to stop helping them, but can never bring himself to actually leave them.
  • Badass Beard
  • Baleful Polymorph: An encounter with Morda turns him into a frog.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: Throughout the first book, he is infuriated when his attempts to turn invisible fail. Once he masters the ability, he wishes he’d never learned it at all, since it's uncomfortable if not outright painful to use, and the situations he finds himself in keeps requiring him to use it as a scout or infiltrator.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Saves the day at the end of the second book.
  • Blessed with Suck: He possesses invisibility powers, but it is very irritating to use it; specifically, it causes painful ringing in his ears.
    • Also a case of Be Careful What You Wish For - he spends most of his time in the first book complaining that he can't become invisible. Doli is then given said powers by Gwydion as a reward for helping the companions, and spends the rest of the series complaining about it.
  • The Fair Folk: A much more benevolent example than most.
  • Fiery Redhead
  • Got Volunteered: Doli's lot in life is to do the dirty work no other Fair Folk want to do.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: It is pretty clear throughout the series that Doli is extremely fond of his companions, and only pretends to be grumpy to stay in character.
  • Luckily My Powers Will Protect Me: In the final book, it is implied he will die due to exposure to Annuvin, the Land of Death, but his invisibility powers protect him.
  • Only Mostly Dead: He appears to die in the final book. He gets better, but at this point many central characters have died and the implication that Doli may have actually died was very real.
  • Only Sane Man: Sees himself as this.
  • Our Dwarves Are All the Same: Averted, as he doesn't display any of the stereotypical dwarfy traits other than short stature, Stout Strength, and using an axe.
  • The Sixth Ranger: Especially in the final book.
  • Stout Strength: Well, he is a dwarf.
  • The Smart Guy

Prince Gwydion

Gwydion, Son of Don, is the war leader to High King Math and one of the most beloved and universally respected figures in all of Prydain. Taran idolizes him due to the many tales he has heard of Gwydion’s bravery and heroism, however, Gwydion takes no joy in his lifestyle, instead doing it to protect his people. He is very strong, brave, and wise, and leads his people in the battle against Arawn. He becomes something of a mentor to Taran.

  • Above the Influence: After capturing him and imprisoning him in Spiral Castle, Achren attempts to seduce him and turn him into her black knight, but he shrugs her off.
  • Animal Motifs: Gwydion is often likened to a wolf.
  • Authority Equals Asskicking: Heir of the High King of Prydain, and one of the most powerful fighters in the series.
  • Badass and Child Duo: Gwydion and Taran, initially. They soon become Back-to-Back Badasses.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Gwydion loves doing this.
  • Big Good: After his father's death in The High King, Gwydion becomes the High King of Prydain until the end of the book.
  • Celibate Hero: Never has a love interest or even arranged marriage, despite being first in line for the throne of the High King.
  • Cool Horse: Melyngar, the mare he always rides.
  • Cool Sword: Taran does not believe a man dressed in rags could be a Prince, until he sees how ornate and finely made Gwydion’s sword is. He upgrades to a Flaming Sword later.
  • Good Is Not Nice: Only in The Book of Three. Taran falls in with Gwydion when hunting for Hen Wen and Gwydion allows Taran to come with him, but he's obviously not happy about it and voices his annoyance at Taran's clumsiness and lack of caution several times. Taran gets better though and Gwydion comes to see him as a friend and ally.
  • Guest Star Party Member: Unites with Taran & company once or twice per book, but never stays for long, as he's always juggling multiple responsibilities.
  • Hero of Another Story: It is often implied Gwydion is in the middle of something far more important and awesome elsewhere whenever he appears.
  • King Incognito: Gwydion generally dresses like a common traveler to disguise his intentions.
  • Left for Dead: In The Book of Three, was last seen a prisoner inside Spiral Castle right before it collapsed.
  • Magic Knight: He knows some simple sorcery, but it's generally downplayed since his martial and leadership skills are stronger. In The Book of Three surviving the dungeon of Oeth-Anoeth gives him additional powers, but these are never alluded to again.
  • Modest Royalty: So much so that when Taran first meets him, he suspects that Gwydion is lying about his identity, because he doesn't look anything like Taran thinks a prince should.
  • Not Quite Dead: See Left for Dead entry.
  • The Obi-Wan: As a mentor who frequently travels with the protagonist. Unlike most, he lives to the end of the series.
  • Papa Wolf: To Prydain in general, as the heir of the High King, and Taran and his friends in particular.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something: Son of King Math and one of the few with the skills to act openly against Arawn.
  • Ship Tease: There is a surprising amount of this between him and Achren.
  • Supporting Leader: When he isn't a Guest Star Party Member, it's because he's managing his many other responsibilities.
  • UST: Achren would just love to make Gwydion her “consort…”
  • Warrior Prince: In the Aragorn tradition.
  • Wild Hair: It's referred to regularly as adding to his 'wolfish' air.
  • The Wise Prince: He's one of Taran's primary mentors for most of the series.



The master of Caer Dallben and the mightiest enchanter in all of Prydain, Dallben is a steadfast ally of the Sons of Don and staunch opponent of Arawn. He is very old and wise, and serves as a mentor to the young Taran. He knows much of the happenings across Prydain, but rarely concerns himself with trivial matters, focusing all his attention on watching the movements of Annuvin. He possesses the mystical Book of Three, a tome of mysterious lore, which only he may read from.


A farmer who lives at Caer Dallben, Coll's simple appearance belies his prowess as a warrior. In his youth, he marched into many battle, yet found that war was foolish and unfulfilling, and chose to become a farmer instead. He is the original owner of Hen Wen, although he knew nothing of her power until Dallben arrived. He now serves as Taran's surrogate father figure, although when called upon to serve the Sons of Don, he does not hesitate to take up his sword once again.

Hen Wen

The oracular pig, Hen Wen, dwells at Caer Dallben, watched over and cared for by Taran and Coll. She does not possess the ability to speak, but may communicate her prophecies using special letter sticks. Due to her abilities, she is greatly respected by Dallben and Gwydion, and Arawn himself once attempted to capture Hen Wen for his own uses.


A talking crow who serves as a messenger for the Fair Folk, he later comes into the service of Taran and his companions. He is raucous and playful, although he knows when to take matters seriously.


Son of the chief bard, Taliesin, Adaon is respected for his learning and wisdom but has yet to seek admission to the bardic order. A gifted seer, healer, and warrior, he accompanies Taran on his mission in The Black Cauldron, along with Prince Ellidyr, and serves as a mediator between the two.

Prince Ellidyr

The youngest son of Pen-Llarcau, Ellidyr is a bitter, scornful young prince who looks down on those beneath him in station. Due to his family’s diminishing reputation, he is eager to claim honor and restore his family’s name. He accompanies Taran on his mission in The Black Cauldron, along with Adaon, and becomes a rival to Taran.

King Morgant

One of the many kings of Prydain. He rides to Gwydion's war council at Caer Dallben and pledges his army in support of capturing the Black Cauldron from Arawn's clutches, but in truth he seeks the Cauldron for himself. He serves as the hidden half of the Big Bad Duumvirate of The Black Cauldron (the book, not the movie).

Prince Rhun

The Prince of Mona, Rhun is foppish, clumsy, and generally clueless. He is, however, ultimately well-meaning and tries his best even though things never seem to work out for him. He accompanies Taran on his quest on the Isle of Mona.

King Smoit

The king of Cantrev Cadiffor and its surrounding lands, and an ally of the Sons of Don. King Smoit is always ready to rush to war, but only sets out for good causes.


A member of the Fair Folk, and agent of King Eiddileg, sovereign of the Fair Folk. While he appears to be a thin and sickly creature, he's surprisingly adept at espionage and infiltration. Doesn't stop him from complaining about it though.


A gifted chemist and would-be con-artist; when the companions first encounter him, he'd accidentally managed to turn himself and his cat into giants. He's Brought Down to Normal and joins the companions on their final adventure, with mixed results.


A young shepherd from the Free Commots who convinces Taran to help defend his village from a group of bandits. He later joins Taran's group in order to guide them through the mountains of Annuvin to Arawn's fortress.

King Pryderi

A handsome and beloved king and staunch ally of the Sons of Don ... until he betrays them and sides with Arawn.


Arawn Death-Lord

Arawn Death-Lord is the ruler of Annuvin, the Land of Death, and the Evil Overlord threatening Prydain’s stability. Unlike most Evil Overlords, Arawn is not a ruthless tyrant, but a cunning trickster who manipulates mortals through guile and deceit. Over time, he has stolen away most of Prydain’s greatest treasures and secrets, hording them in his fortress. He commands many terrible servants, including the Gwythaints, the Cauldron-Born, and the Huntsmen of Annuvin.

Queen Achren

The vain, beautiful Queen Achren was once the ruler of all Prydain. Ages ago, she was betrayed by her subordinate, Arawn, who became the new Evil Overlord. While she continues to serve Arawn, she is obsessed with finding a way to reclaim her former power and become ruler once again. Although not as powerful as she once was, Achren is still a formidable enchantress, and Gwydion fears her as much as he does Arawn.

The Horned King

Arawn’s mightiest war leader and the primary antagonist of The Book of Three and of the film version of the ''Black Cauldron,'' the Horned King is a bestial man who takes his name from the antlered mask he wears. No one knows his true name. Arawn has imbued him with great power, and he is charged with marshalling the Southern Cantrevs and leading an attack on Caer Dathyl.


The Chief Steward of the House of Mona. He serves as a spy for and Dragon to Achren in The Castle of Llyr, and then to Arawn in The High King.


An old hermit living in the backwoods of Prydain. He also happens to be an Evil Sorcerer with a penchant for torturing his victims in cruel and unusual ways.


A wandering bandit and leader of a band of petty thugs who stalk the Free Commots. Like Achren, he is a recurring villain and comes the closest to inflicting real harm on the companions on several occasions.