About the Girl
Princess Eilonwy is the heroine of the 1985 Disney feature film, The Black Cauldron, based on Lloyd Alexander's Prydain Chronicles (to learn more about Eilonwy in the books, be sure to check out Light Bearer). Eilonwy's appearance is deceiving: with her long blonde hair, violet eyes, and melodic, youthful voice, she gives the impression of being just another stereotypical damsel-in-distress princess, who needs the hero to save her. This presumption, however, could not be further from the truth.
Eilonwy, in fact, is quite capable of taking care of herself. She was taken captive by the Horned King with the hopes that her magical bauble (more on that momentarily) would help the villain locate the Black Cauldron; when that effort proved futile, however, Eilonwy was imprisoned in the dungeon. When we first meet Eilonwy, she has already broken out of her cell and is searching for a way out of the castle when she stumbles across Taran, whom she hopes is a warrior who can help her escape. She is disappointed to learn that he is, in fact, actually just an "assistant pig-keeper;" nevertheless, she invites him to escape from the dungeon with her, and continues on her way with Taran following. In the end, his prescence does prove useful, as the enchanted sword he found is what allows them to escape; and from that point in the movie on, Eilonwy begins to realize that she may have underestimated Taran.
Eilonwy is quick resourceful and intelligent, but with the downside that she is quick tempered and, at times, almost shrewish. Throughout the film, we get to watch Eilonwy grow as a person, as well as see her relationship with Taran blossom. As the film progresses, Eilonwy begins to realize that she is not always right, and that perhaps her first impressions about Taran are incorrect. In fact, she proves to be, as John Grant stated in The Encyclopedia of Disney Characters, "possibly Disney's most engaging heroine of all time."
Eilonwy is also an apprentice enchantress, who is learning to control small feats of magic, such as controlling her mystical bauble, which helps light the way out of the dungeon, and assists Eilonwy in locating things.
Eilonwy's original voice actress was the well-known Hayley Mills; she even mentioned it in a special Walt Disney Presents she narrated. However, for reasons unbeknownst to me, she was replaced by Susan Sheridan, which is just as well, because Ms. Sheridan did such an excellent job with the role that I can't imagine anyone else playing Eilonwy.