Mabinogion is the gathering of old tales that originated from Celtic. These stories comprised of witches, giants, dragons, magic, monsters and various funny animal sounds long before the Harry Potter came to existence. These stories were spread through travellers who moved from village to village to narrate the stories in exchange of food and benefits useful to them. The stories were mostly from rich families and would explain about the natural occurrences such floods, earthquakes and droughts and also explain basic human concerns about stages of life and death by asking rhetorical questions such as who are we?, why are we in existence?, who were the earliest to exist?, what happens when pass away (die)?, what are the causes of the natural phenomena and many others. (Thames and Hudson in February 2015).
These stories were more widely told to the Celtic and Wales people even though the Wales had knowledge about them. In the 19th century is when they started being spread to the wales. This was due the Lady Guest who wanted to preserve their culture through music and poetry. Mabinogion comes from the word “tales” which means story or tale. Celtic myths comprise of giants, heroes, gods, goddesses, wars and love matters. Not only from their interest as ancient pagan myths, are also very important entertaining stories (Thames and Hudson in February, 2015)
Mabinogion comes from the name mabinogi tales. Mabinogion is divided into four branches with the following main characters: Pwyll, Branwen, Manawydan, and Math. All of them are related to Pryderi. Pwyll who is the Prince of Dyfkes becomes the King of the Underworld through a series of magical trials. He takes Rhiannon from her fiancé and seduces after which they get married and becomes his wife.
Branwen advises people to have peace. She was of her country because soon it was going to be ripped off. In this narrative Branwen is talking about 150 districts of Britain taking revenge on the King’s sister. Despite all this Efnysien is in doubt of Irish intention and glances within the house premises. Various character traits are seen in this Mabinogion. Branwen’s show of wisdom is depicted when Bendigeidfran beliefs on her advice. (Sioned Davies, 2007)
The main character in Mabinogion in third branch is Manawydan. Looking outside to the town London sees him as a dispossessed person. Manawydan is seen as the main key character who takes Pryderi to jail hence showing as exile narrative at this stage.
The fourth branch is about Blodeuwedd the flower woman. She betrays her husband Lleu and shares his secrets with Goronwy, who spears him and turns to be an eagle and flies to the oak. She was later cursed by Gwydion for her bad morals.
Through this definition of Mabinogion Harry Potter got inspired from it since. This is due to the fact that most of the stories are about witches, magic, lover matters, monsters, gods, goddesses and wars. These stories are very highly entertaining and informative especially to the young children and adults as well. Some of this stories include below…
Mabinogion: Fourth branch
Blodeuwedd the flower woman
This story talks about Blodeuwedd, a flower woman created for Lleu to acts as his wife. Blodeuwedd is not a normal human being as she is created from flowers comprising of meadowsweet, oaks and brooms obtained from the forest. She was created by two magicians: Math and Gwydion. Because he was not ordinary being Lleu’s mother cursed him after birth denying to give him a name, weapons and a wife unless she herself would give him. Gwydion tricked her sister who is Lleu his uncle in several instances and gave him a name and weapons. He tried on how to tricky her to find a wife for Lleu bt he failed. It’s due to this situation when another magician by the name Math created Blodeuwedd to solve the problem (Thames and Hudson in February 2015).
Lleu his woman was not a normal being also. Due lack of normal being morals, Blodeuwedd cheated him with another man, Goronwy who is their neighbour and the two of them plan to kill Lleu. Lleu himself was no ordinary mortal. Therefore killing him was not easy. He cannot be killed neither inside the house, nor outside the house, on a horseback or on feet. It’s when Blodeuwedd reveals the tricks that can kill Lleu. She told him that only a spear which must be a year in the making, and he must stand on one foot on a roof built by the river side and the other foot stand on the back of a goat can kill Lleu. (Sioned Davies, 2007)
Armed with all these secrets Goronwy has been told by Blodeuwedd he starts to make the spear. A year later after Goronwy had finished making the spear, Blodeuwedd asks Lleu to demonstrate on how he would stand in order to be killed. In the process of showing her Goronwy throws the spear to him, unfortunately Lleu turns to an eagle and flew away to the forest. Goronwy takes Blodeuwedd to stay with her and takes control of Lleu his land.
All this occurrences makes Gwydion heartsick and angered and goes all over Wales and finds Lleu in an oak of a tree and takes him back where he changes him to a human being. But Lleu is not strong as before illness. He cursed Blodeuwedd and turns her to an owl and should hunt alone at night. If found during broad daylight she other birds will attack her (Thames and Hudson in February 2015).
Rhiannon the maiden
This Mabinogion is among the first branch tells which narrates the story of Pwyll, Prince of Dyfed. One day after Pwyll winning the title of Head of Annwn returns to his home. When he was outside his court resting he saw Rhiannon the horse maiden passing by. He had used his men to try and catch her but they had failed. He takes this opportunity and does it very easily and stops Rhiannon. This horse maiden who is the strongest woman among the several available is believed to be engaged to Gwawl. But on first sight by Pwyll she falls in love with him and proposes to marry Pwyll instead of Gwawl. (Thames and Hudson in February 2015).
Pwyll after learning the weakness of Gwawl he traps him in a sack and beats him inside the sack by his men. Gwawl dies and Rhiannon marries him (Pwyll). They struggle to get a child but finally after several attempts Rhiannon gives birth to a son. At the birth place six women are given the task to watch the mother and the newborn son. Unfortunately the child disappears the same night it’s born.
This women fearing the wrath of Pwyll, they decide to plan a tricky. They smeared blood of a puppy on Rhiannon’s face and clothes and accuse him of killing her own son. Pwyll on hearing this he did not chase her way but gave a severe punishment. He ordered her to carry visitors from the gate on her back to the court. He also told her to tell people who came a story on what had happened. (Thames and Hudson in February 2015).
Finally, luckily enough the baby is found on Teyrnon his doorstep as he tries to chase a monster from his home. Teyrnon takes care of the boy and names him Gwri Golden- hair. As the boy continued to grow resembled his father Pwyll. He was taken back to his parents and her mother named her Pryderi meaning a “worrier” and their ends her punishment.
In conclusion from these stories of Mabinogion Harry Potter came up with an idea of writing stories. At first it wasn’t easy for him. He got a lot of rejections since most people did not want to read fantasy stories since they were too unfashionable. Harry Potter kept on writing borrowing some features from Mabinogion which comprised of adding witches, magic and monsters to his story. He kept on attracting his audience which were mainly the children. Adding magic created a great impact to his stories and more children liked it. (Sioned Davies, 2007).
Harry Potter kept writing and in every book he wrote the characters became more advanced. At this particular point no age gap that were selective to his writing. Both the young and the old read his books. Acting of Harry Potter bookies through movies made it easier for children to understand. Any child who had read a particular book will recommend the book to be good and encouraged others to read also increasing its popularity and great appreciation of their reading. The films and videos yielded a lot of profits.
The magic in his books had that kind of power to increase the hope of readers and writers too. Children love stories, and therefore Harry Potter focusing mostly on children stories helped him. Publishing more books for children have had a very important history for Harry Potter.
Harry Porter his great publications available in libraries, schools, universities, bookshops and many fans he has is a clear indication that popularity and fame for him will never fade. He will still be remembered for his great since he is among the best writers available. (Thames and Hudson in February 2015).
- The Celtic Myths: A Guide to the Ancient Gods and Legends by Miranda Aldhouse-Green, was published by Thames and Hudson in February 2015.
- Sioned Davies,The Mabinogion(Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007), pp.22-30.