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Owain Glyn Dŵr (c. 1359 – c. 1416), anglicised as Owen Glendower, was a Welsh prince who had fought against the English for Welsh freedom, and then disappeared when his capture seemed inevitable. He is a driving force behind most of the characters in The Raven Cycle books, each of them having different reasons for seeking him.

History[edit | edit source]

Glyndŵr was a descendant of the Princes of Powys from his father Gruffydd Fychan II (Griffith Vuchan), hereditary Tywysog of Powys Fadog and Lord of Glyndyfrdwy, and of those of Deheubarth through his mother Elen ferch Tomas ap Llywelyn. On 16 September 1400, Glyndŵr instigated the Welsh Revolt against the rule of Henry IV of England. Although initially successful and rapidly gaining control of large areas of Wales, the uprising suffered from key weaknesses - particularly a lack of artillery, which made capturing defended fortresses difficult, and ships, which made their coastlands vulnerable - and was eventually overborne by the superior resources of the English. Glyndŵr was driven from his last strongholds in 1408-9 and the last documented sighting of him was in 1412. He refused to accept a pardon and despite large rewards being offered, was never betrayed to the English. As a result, his ultimate fate remains a mystery.

Notable Figures[edit | edit source]

Glyndŵr is a notable figure in the popular culture of both Wales and England, portrayed in William Shakespeare's play Henry IV, Part 1 (anglicized as Owen Glendower) as a wild and exotic man ruled by magic and emotion ("at my nativity, The front of heaven was full of fiery shapes, Of burning cressets, and at my birth The frame and huge foundation of the earth Shaked like a coward." — Henry IV, Part 1, Act 3, scene 1). In the late 19th century the Cymru Fydd movement recreated him as the father of Welsh nationalism, revising the historical image of him and joining him in popular memory as a national hero on par with King Arthur.

The Raven Cycle[edit | edit source]

Glendower is a sleeping Welsh King who grants a wish to whoever awakens him. It was through his power that Gansey survived the fatal bee stings he received as a child. This was due to the fact that Noah was dying at the same time at another point on the ley line. The Raven Boys are engaged in a quest to find his sleeping body. Gansey has been searching for him ever since his accident as a child, upon hearing that Glendower was the reason he survived it.

Trivia[edit | edit source]

  • Some have speculated that Owain had the power of invisibility because of his impossible victories against larger armies.
  • Some theories include that Owain was crowned with a second crown, but the location of this crown is unknown if it existed at all.
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