High King Math

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Math son of Mathonwy is the High King of the fictional realm of Prydain in the Lloyd Alexander novel series The Chronicles of Prydain. He rules above all lesser kings in Prydain. Math is patriarch of the Royal House of Don, comprising descendants of the Lady Don and her consort, Belin, the Sun king. Math rules with a just hand, and through his leadership Arawn, Death-Lord is at least partly held in check. He dwells in the stronghold Caer Dathyl, north of the Eagle Mountains. He appears fleetingly at the conclusion of The Book of Three and briefly in The High King.

Overview[edit]

King Math is described as having a long white beard and his face is wrinkled with age. Upon his head, the Golden Crown of Don rests, but seems more like a cruel burden then a blessing.

In The High King, Math tells Taran that he is deeply disturbed by the war that rages across his kingdom. He sadly laments that he wished that his kingdom remained in peace, rather than be engulfed by war and bloodshed. When King Pryderi arrives at Caer Dathyl and reveals that he has aligned himself with Arawn and vows to succeed in achieving peace, where the Sons of Don failed. King Math answers "Is there worse evil than that which goes in the mask of good?"

Pryderi's forces, along with Arawn's Cauldron-Born warriors, launch an assault upon Caer Dathyl. When the deathless warriors batter down the gates, Math stands alone and defiant before them, armored in gold and holding a sword. The Cauldron-Born warriors stride forward, knocking Math's sword aside and striking him down. Soon the lifeless warriors turn their battering rams on the walls of Caer Dathyl, turning the once proud capital into a heap of rubble. The Chief Bard Taliesin consecrates the ruined citadel as Math's barrow.

Prince Gwydion is the heir to Math's throne and title, and briefly becomes the new High King after Math's death. It is never stated definitely whether Gwydion is in fact Math's son.

Like many aspects of the series, Math is based on a character from Welsh mythology, Math fab Mathonwy, a legendary king.