RHIANNON

Real Name: Rhiannon

Identity/Class: Human (or possible goddess, see comments) magic-user, (1st through 10th Century AD);

Occupation: Ruler of Ashandriar

Group Membership: People of Ashandriar;
   the
Tuatha da Danaan (Celtic Gods)

Affiliations: Marada the She-Wolf

EnemiesSimyon Karashnur, Y'Garon and other demons of the Outer Dark

Known RelativesDonal MacLlanllwyr (son (see comments), deceased), unidentified daughter (or daughter-in-law, deceased), Arianrhod MacLlyanllwyr (granddaughter);
    possibly others (see comments)

Aliases: None

Base of Operations: Ashrandiar, on the rocky coast of England

First Appearance: Epic Illustrated#10 (February, 1982)

 

Powers/Abilities: Rhiannon possesses a number of mystical abilities, including sensing occult forces, performing spells of teleportation (to and from Ashandriar), and spells of healing. She likely had more abilities than those she demonstrated, and she was also likely of much greater power in her prime.

Eyes: Blue?
Hair: White

 

 

 

History: Rhiannon's origins are unrevealed.

(Epic Illustrated#12 / Marvel Graphic Novel#21: Marada the She-Wolf (fb) - BTS) - Rhiannon's people are old, bound to the Earth. They live in peace and harmony with its essential life force and derive their special powers and abilities from it.

(Epic Illustrated#10 / Marvel Graphic Novel#21: Marada the She-Wolf (fb) - BTS) - Rhiannon's people dwell in Ashandriar, a stronghold and place of learning, mystery, and power. It is a remote place, made moreso by its reputation (it was shunned even by the Druids), and even older than stonehenge. Built into a rocky mountainside, the only way to and from Ashandriar was via a spell of transportation.
    Legends state that those who rule Ashandriar are not human but Sidhe, the immortal gods and goddesses of the faery; these legends have SOME truth to them. Ashandriar was ruled by Rhiannon, mistress of the arts arcane

(Epic Illustrated#10 / Marvel Graphic Novel#21: Marada the She-Wolf) <55 BC (or thereabouts)> - During his invasion of Britain, Julius Caesar wrote commentaries, speaking of Asharndriar as a home of the gods, like Mt. Olympus.

(Epic Illustrated#10 / Marvel Graphic Novel#21: Marada the She-Wolf (fb) - BTS) - Rhiannon's daughter-in-law (or daughter?) died in childbirth, bearing Arianrhod.

(Epic Illustrated#10 / Marvel Graphic Novel#21: Marada the She-Wolf (fb)) - According to Arianrhod, Asharndriar "is a faery place -- part of the world, yet apart from it -- but we're human enough -- too human, grandmother (Rhiannon) thinks."

(Epic Illustrated#10 / Marvel Graphic Novel#21: Marada the She-Wolf (fb) - BTS) - The warrior Marada was broken and ravaged by the demon Y'Garon with the aid of the sorcerer Simyon Karashnur.

(Epic Illustrated#10 / Marvel Graphic Novel#21: Marada the She-Wolf) - Donal MacLlyanllwyr freed Marada from Parthian mercenaries. Donal faced eastward and, "as the first crease of fire seared the crest of the height," he drew the sacred sigil in the air before him and cried ancient words of power. The star grew as the sun rose, its golden glow enveloping Donal and his men, transporting them from the highlands of Galilee to Asharndriar.
    Rhiannon approached Donal and Marada, but feared that Donal's efforts were wasted, as she recognized the stench of blackest sorcery about Marada.
    As Simyon Karashnur summoned a demon that took Marada's form in preparation for recovering her, Marada observed this in a dream and awakened, screaming. Rhiannon and Donal rushed into her room. Donal had his men search the entire wing for trespassers, while Rhiannon comforted Marada, her mystic senses detecting the mystic scars upon Marada's back. Rhiannon noted that the wounds were fresh, and the psychic residue was unspeakably foul, as was the creature that formed them, and she further commented that Marada's dream indicated that the creature was not finished with her. Rhiannon had her granddaughter, Arianrhod, stay with Marada and comfort her, while Rhiannon and Donal reviewed Asharndriar's defenses.
    Over the next few days, Donal and Arianrhod befriended Marada, eventually getting her to begin to open up about her trauma.
    Rhiannon enjoyed an evening's feast alongside Donal, Marada, Arianrhod, and others, observing a small band and a young woman dancer.

(Epic Illustrated#11 / Marvel Graphic Novel#21: Marada the She-Wolf) - The N'Garai Marada attacked Donal and Marada, delivering a mortal wound to Donal and abducting Arianrhod to force Marada to follow her.
    For a day and a night, Rhiannon tried and failed to save Donal, after which Marada re-donned her old warrior attire. She accompanied Rhiannon to the aged sorceress' inner sanctum, and Rhiannon sent her to Y'Garon's realm so that she might rescue Arianrhod. Knowing Marada had not yet fully recovered from her previous physical and emotional trauma, Rhiannon nonetheless noted her determination and gave Marada her blessings and her love, calling herr "Daughter of my heart."
    After Marada had slain Karashnur, temporarily destroyed Y'Garon, and freed Arianrhod, Arianrhod cast a spell to return them to Earth, but they arrived in an area unknown to them. Rather than risk an even worse outcome, Marada decided that they would journey on foot from there.

Comments: Created by Chris Claremont and John Bolton.

    Donal calls Rhiannon mother (and the text refers to this relationship as well), but it seems to me that she could just as easily be his his mother-in-law, calling her mother out of respect. I can't find anything that discusses this definitively.

    With Ashandriar allegedly being ruled by "Sidhe -- the immortal gods and goddesses of faery," it would seem likely that Rhiannon could be to be the Celtic Goddess Rhiannon, though this is unconfirmed. At any rate, Rhiannon may have been active for centuries or more at the time she was first seen.

    As detailed by Archie Goodwin in Overview (Epic Illustrated's notes on stories and contributors), Marada's first story was initially intended to feature Red Sonja, but copyright complications at the time resulted in the story and character being totally redesigned into Marada. Further, it was intended to feature in Bizarre Adventures (the black and white magazine that had evolved out of Marvel Preview). The delay due to the copyright brought about a shelving of the material for use in Bizarre Adventures for many months. Reluctant to let their work -- with which they were quite pleased -- languish in inventory, Claremont pitched it to Archie Goodwin and Jim Shooter, the editors of Epic Illustrated (with the latter being Marvel's Editor-in-Chief at the time), and they got a spot for it split between two issues...plus they got to make it their own property (which was the nature of Epic material).
    It has been theorized that Simyon Karashnur was changed from Kulan Gath, but I think he resembles any number of evil sorcerers from the Hyborian and other eras.

    Chris Claremont notes that he intended to do more stories about Marada and noted her time of activity as the century bracketing the Birth of Christ. I'd take that to mean from 50 BC to 50 AD.

    The Marada the She-Devil graphic novel is a colored retelling (not quite a reprint, there are a few minor pages added) of her stories in Epic Illustrated#10-12.

    For more information on the Rhiannon of myth, please see: http://www.angelfire.com/planet/mythguide/epona.html
    For more information on the Sidhe, please see: http://www.shee-eire.com/magic&mythology/Fairylore/Sidhe/page%201.htm

The Tuatha da Danaan's All-New Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A to Z Premiere (HC)#12 entry confirmed that the goddess Rhiannon "or her mortal host" was the one who aided Marada the She-Wolf.
--David A. Zuckerman

Profile by Snood.

CLARIFICATIONS:
It is unrevealed whether Rhiannon is the same being or of any exact relationship to the Celtic goddess Rhiannon:
She should be distinguished from:


Ashandriar

(Epic Illustrated#12 / Marvel Graphic Novel#21: Marada the She-Wolf (fb) - BTS) - Rhiannon's people are old, bound to the Earth. They live in peace and harmony with its essential life force and derive their special powers and abilities from it.

(Epic Illustrated#10 / Marvel Graphic Novel#21: Marada the She-Wolf (fb) - BTS) - Rhiannon's people dwell in Ashandriar, a stronghold and place of learning, mystery, and power. It is a remote place, made moreso by its reputation (it was shunned even by the Druids), and even older than stonehenge. Built into a rocky mountainside, the only way to and from Ashandriar was via a spell of transportation.
    Legends state that those who rule Ashandriar are not human but Sidhe, the immortal gods and goddesses of the faery; these legends have SOME truth to them. Ashandriar was ruled by  Rhiannon, mistress of the arts arcane

(Epic Illustrated#10 / Marvel Graphic Novel#21: Marada the She-Wolf) <55 BC (or thereabouts)> - During his invasion of Britain, Julius Caesar wrote commentaries, speaking of Asharndriar as a home of the gods, like Mt. Olympus.

(Epic Illustrated#10 / Marvel Graphic Novel#21: Marada the She-Wolf (fb)) - According to Arianrhod, Asharndriar "is a faery place -- part of the world, yet apart from it -- but we're human enough -- too human, grandmother (Rhiannon) thinks."

(Epic Illustrated#10 / Marvel Graphic Novel#21: Marada the She-Wolf) - Marada was brought to Ashandriar to recover from her assault at the hands of Y'Garon.

(Epic Illustrated#11 / Marvel Graphic Novel#21: Marada the She-Wolf) - A demon of the Outer Dark slew Donal MacLlyanllwyr and abducted Arianrhod. Rhiannon sent Marada to recover Arianrhod.

--Epic Illustrated#10 (10 (fb) - BTS, 10-11

 

 

 

 


images: (without ads)
Marvel Graphic Novel#21: Marada the She-Wolf, story p5, panel 3-4 (Ashandriar)
        p6, panel 2 (Rhiannon face, straight-on)
        p12, panel 5 (Rhiannon face, oblique)
        p25, panel 1 (Rhiannon's inner sanctum)
            panel 6 (full body, casting spell)


Appearances:
Epic Illustrated#10 (February, 1982) - by Chris Claremont (writer), John Bolton (artist), Archie Goodwin (editor)
Epic Illustrated#11 (April, 1982) - by Chris Claremont (writer), John Bolton (artist), Archie Goodwin (editor)


Last updated: 05/09/15

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

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