This article brings together on one page all the known maps of the land of Prydain.
Official MapsIllustrator Evaline Ness designed five maps of Prydain -- printed in The Book of Three, The Black Cauldron, Taran Wanderer, The High King and The Foundling and Other Tales of Prydain.
Ness's maps are stylized, similar to the collages she produced for the Prydain book covers (see Book Editions and Cover Illustrations Part One and Part Two). The maps are not to scale, employ non-traditional symbols, and are more whimsical than they are accurate to the source texts. With all that said, the maps are very much in keeping with the spirit of the books.
The final map by Ness, included in first editions of The Foundling..., is rendered in ink rather than collage. Recent printings of the book use the map from The High King. This makes the Foundling map a rare item.
Artist and screenwriter Brendan Wanderer has produced an extraordinarily detailed map that merges Alexander's Prydain with the physical geography of Wales. Several key features distinguish Brendan's cartography from that of his predecessors. Most notably, the artist has shifted the locations of the Hill and Valley Cantrevs. Typically located east and west of the River Ystrad, respectively, here the Hill Cantrevs are sited north of the Valley Cantrevs, to better approximate the location of Wales' Black Mountains/Brecon Beacons (which lie north of the South Wales Valleys).
Other differences include the repositioning of the Small Avren and Ystrad rivers to reflect actual river routes. Both Annuvin and the Eagle Mountains are located in the area of Snowdonia National Park. The Forest of Idris covers a vast expanse as it extends from the southern edge of Annuvin all the way to the Marshes of Morva, here located in the area of Pembrokeshire. Mona has been formed by spinning the real Welsh island Anglesea 180 degrees, and moving it southward into the crescent bay.
These changes to the previous cartographic paradigm of Prydain's contours have resulted in the most geophysically convincing of all such illustrated maps. Improving on perfection, Brendan Wanderer has used his large map as a foundation for numerous smaller, more detailed route maps, which track our heroes' (and in some cases, villains') paths across the terrain. These smaller maps can be found at the bottom of each chapter page for Books One - Three. The artist is currently working on similar maps for the final two books.
MichalBlogger/artist Michal has produced two maps of Prydain. The first of these is more traditional in design and execution, and resembles more closely the nation of Prydain's inspiration, Wales. The second map by Michal is more colorful but less realistic; more simplistic symbols are used for terrain features, and the defining coastline of Wales has been smoothed and rounded until this version of Prydain has become an unreal fantasy land.
In creating his maps Michal said: "Evaline Ness is a fine artist, but the Prydain maps were rough affairs that changed from book to book, reshuffling locations while erasing others." His critique is cogent.
LotesseInternet blogger Lotesse has created a composite of the various Ness maps with some additions of her own. She has noted that the originals "do not reproduce one another with any spatial accuracy."
WalesFor the sake of comparison, here are several maps of Wales. Lloyd Alexander, author of the Chronicles of Prydain, wrote that "Prydain is not Wales -- not entirely, at least." It should not be assumed, then, that the two countries match each other's features and geography on a 1:1 basis; however, it's reasonable to use real maps of Wales as a general guide for the layout of Prydain.
Comparing real-world cartography to the illustrations, it becomes apparent that some parts of England -- namely Gloucestershire, Hereford, Warwickshire, Staffordshire and Cheshire -- must be included in Prydain as the Free Commots, with the Shropshire Hills and the Black Country in the place of the Llawgadarn Mountains.