|This article relies on references to primary sources. (May 2011)|
Ellidyr is described as a prince, the son of a king who had nothing left to leave his son but "his name and his sword." He is deeply sensitive about his poverty, and covers this with arrogance, treating all whom he does not see as social equals with disdain and contempt. Adaon, with the aid of a magic talisman, sees this as a "black beast," sitting on Ellidyr's shoulders and tormenting him.
Shortly after arriving at Caer Dallben, Ellidyr quarrels with and offends Taran; their interactions afterward are marked with friction for most of the rest of the book. When Taran, Princess Eilonwy, Fflewddur Fflam and Gurgi are bogged down by the Black Crochan, Ellidyr only agrees to help them after they promise to allow him to have the glory of recovering the Crochan to himself.
Later, when Ellidyr has been captured by an enemy along with Taran and his companions, Ellidyr finally comes to wisdom and realizes what sort of person he has been. He makes amends by destroying the Crochan (only a living person throwing himself into the Crochan, knowing that to do so is fatal, will accomplish this). Afterwards, Ellidyr is buried with honour, along with Islimach, his horse; the horse threw herself from a cliff right after Ellidyr's death.
Ellidyr is described as having extraordinary strength and seems to only truly love Islimach. Though arrogant, he is not evil and swears to Taran though he would have taken credit for finding the Crochan, he would have seen it destroyed and never would have used it to create Cauldron-Born. Despite their obvious differences, Ellidyr and Taran are in fact very similar. Both are headstrong, brash, and search for ways to sate their desires for honor and glory. However, it eventually is proven that Taran values his companions and their mission over his own honor. Ellidyr too comes to realize that there are more important things than his own glory, and it is after his noble sacrifice that he is honored among his comrades.
Parallels could be drawn from him to one of the villains of The Mabinogion Evnisien whom, although he is much more villainous (Murdering his own nephew to continue a war) also sacrifices himself in the end, by throwing himself into the cauldron of that story, giving up his life and ending the cauldron, which was the basis of Ellidyrs cauldron.
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