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Just now I was poking about in mythology some more. There's a Celtic myth called "The Tragic Story of the Children of Lir" (there are several versions of the title). It's rather long, but the main part is that Lir's (a king) four children (two sets of twins) are turned into swans by their stepmother, Aife. She curses them to remain in this form for 900 years. The ending is rather sad. (Let me know if you don't mind spoilers and I'll add that part.) Eilonwy's introduction interested me. This is a scene in The Book of Three , when she and Taran are talking:

"'Is--is Achren your mother?' Taran gasped and drew back fearfully.

"'Certainly not!" cried the girl. 'I am Eilonwy, daughter of Angharad, daughter of Regat, daughter of--oh, it's such a bother going through all that. My ancestors,' she said proudly, 'are the Sea People. I am of the blood of Llyr Half-Speech, the Sea King. Achren is my aunt, though sometimes I don't think she's really my aunt at all.'

"'Then what are you doing here?'

"'I said I live here,' Eilonwy answered. 'It must take a lot of explaining before you understand anything. My parents died and my kinsmen sent me here so Achren could teach me to be an enchantress. It's a family tradition, don't you see? The boys are war leaders, and the girls are enchantresses.'" (70)

I have no proof at all that Lir and Llyr are at all the same person but it's still an interesting idea. Also, the third book in the series is titled The Castle of Llyr . Makes me wonder if Eilonwy has cousins somewhere who are currently swans.

There is no such thing as loving stories too much.

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