Welsh: "Flower Aspect" i.e. Flower Face

1. Lleu's wife from Math ap Mathonwy in The Mabinogion. Created by Gwydion and Math ap Mathonwy out of flowers, she was intended to be the wife of Llew Llaw Gyffes; however, forced into this marriage, she took as a lover Gronwy, a local lord, and gave him the secret of how to slay Lleu. After this, however, she fled from Caer Dathyl and took her ladies in waiting with her; the women fell into a local lake, giving it the name "The Lake of the Maidens." Gwydion then turns the unfaithful wife into an owl.

The figure of Blodeuwedd was also used in Alan Gardner's The Owl Service, a modern retelling of "Math vab Mathonwy".

Older theories held that she represents a deadly lover--like Delilah--and a flower deity who causes the death of the sun god. However, the identification of Llew with the sun is currently out of favor. It's also just as likely to view her as similar to Iseult or the Irish Blathnat (whose name also refers to flowers), wife of CuRoi and lover of Cuchulain. Each of these women take a lover who is subservient to a more powerful king; this relationship naturally brings strife to the kingdom.

But is it possible that the version we have now has somehow been tweaked with regards to arranged marriages? In Blodeuwedd, we have the ultimate arranged marriage--she is created specifically for one man. Unsatisfied with her fate, she commits adultery and, with her lover, plots to kill her husband. However, it is also possible to view this as simply a stock device in medieval (and frankly modern) storytelling.

The fact that Blodeuwedd was created is not enough; there are so many transformations, shapeshifting, gender identity and space issues, running rampant in Math ap Mathonwy that there can be no definitive answer as to Blodeuwedd's nature.

2. Blodeuwedd Rowland

The wife of John Rowland in The Silver on the Tree in The Dark is Rising series. She is a member of the Dark, and though at first seems an ally, is actually trying to destroy the Old One's plans.

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Mary Jones © 2004