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Blodeuedd


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[W., Flower Face].

Elfwife and betrayer of Lleu Llaw Gyffes, whose story is told in Math, the fourth branch of the Mabinogi. When Arianrhod curses Lleu by saying that he should have no wife of any race on earth, Gwydion and Math fashion Blodeuedd for him from the flowers of the oak, broom, and meadowsweet. Her name, ‘Flower Face’, bears testimony to her beauty. She brings her husband little joy, however. While Lleu is absent she falls in love with a passing hunter, Gronw Pebyr, with whom she plots to kill her husband. As Lleu is invulnerable, Blodeuedd has to find secret means by which his life may be taken. She tricks Lleu into a position that exposes him to Gronw, who kills him. As punishment for her betrayal, Blodeuedd is transformed into an owl by Gwydion. Blodeuedd may serve as a model for the Arthurian adulteresses Florie and Lore. See Saunders Lewis, Blodeuwedd, a verse play in Welsh (1947); trans. Gwyn Thomas in Presenting Saunders Lewis, ed. Alun R. Jones and Gwyn Thomas (Cardiff, 1983), 199–250; trans. Joseph Clancy as ‘The Woman Made of Flowers’, in The Plays of Saunders Lewis, i (Llandybie, 1985), 45–97. Alan Garner's popular novel The Owl Service (New York, 1979) also treats of Blodeuedd. See also BLÁITHÍNE.

Subjects: Religion.


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