Glew (character)

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Glew is a fictional character in The Castle of Llyr, the third book in Lloyd Alexander's fantasy series, The Chronicles of Prydain. He is discovered by accident when the companions fall into and are trapped in an underground cavern on the Isle of Mona.


Glew was formerly a very small man. In his younger days he tried unsuccessfully to enter a number of careers including slaying dragons or being a wandering bard. He found none of them to his liking, mostly due to his own sniveling disposition. Finally, he decided the only answer was to turn to sorcery, and he attempted to buy a book of spells from the enchanter Morda. Glew got the book home and concluded that he had been cheated because the book appeared to have nothing but blank pages. Actually, there was writing in the book, but it was only visible using the light from Eilonwy's bauble.

Glew then turned his mind to creating a potion that would make him a giant, hoping to achieve the power and respect he desired. Glew began to concoct growth potions in his hut. He tested them on Llyan, a small wildcat he had trapped and put in a cage. The potions worked so the cat grew larger. She eventually grew to the size of a draft horse, broke free, and attacked Glew. Forced to flee, he ran into a series of caverns, drinking the potion as he ran. Glew grew quickly but was forced to run ever deeper into the caverns to find large enough rooms to accommodate him. He eventually found a huge chamber in which he could rest but was trapped because of his large size.

Glew lives in the damp and darkness of the caverns for many years, until he encounters the companions in The Castle of Llyr. Even though Glew attempts to trap the group and use one of them as a final ingredient for a shrinking potion, Taran promises to ask Dallben to help the miserable giant. Dallben eventually sends a potion that restores Glew to his original dwarfish size, which enables him to leave the cave. He makes his way to the Castle of Mona, where he is given refuge even though he complains continuously.

In The High King, Glew is taken by Prince Rhun from Mona to Caer Dallben, where he does nothing except eat and whine about how much he misses being a giant. He is then forced to accompany Taran and the others when they go on their conquests against Arawn.

Accompanying Taran's Commot men after the fall of Caer Dathyl, Glew inadvertently causes the collapse of a Fair Folk mine shaft. He greedily digs up jewels while the Commot people are passing through the shaft. Glew's greed forces the group to turn back. In Annuvin, he and Gurgi stumble upon Arawn's treasure room. Glew tries to steal treasure from it even though Gurgi correctly suspects that it is booby trapped. Glew is nearly killed by one of the traps, but Gurgi rescues him.

At the end of The High King, Glew tells the truth about his folly in Arawn's treasure room, much to everyone's amazement. He is allowed to journey with them to Summer Country, where he will grow to the size of a man. Before leaving, he gives Taran a present of a small crystal he had kept as a keepsake (another selfless action).