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The enchanting story of Stevie Nicks, the Mabinogion and Harry Styles

11 Jun 2024 4 minute read
Stevie Nicks, The Mabinogion, Harry Styles

It’s an unlikely line-up whichever way you look at it.

One is a famed rock legend, one is a boyband star, the other are the fabled tales from Wales.

Fleetwood Mac star Stevie Nicks has spent the last few years working on creative projects based on a famous story from The Mabinogion – which it’s hoped will star Harry Styles.

The project is based on the band’s 1975 hit ‘Rhiannon’ and the singer’s more than 40-year obsession with the tale of the magical otherworldly goddess from the Welsh folk tales.

Nicks introduces the song on stage as “about an old Welsh witch” and also copyrights her songs ‘Welsh Witch Music’.

Stevie Nicks (Credit: Wiki Commons)

The genesis for this love affair with the tale from Wales, blossomed when the US star discovered the Rhiannon character in the early 1970s through a novel called Triad by Mary Bartlet Leader.

The novel is about a woman named Branwen who is possessed by another woman named Rhiannon. There is mention of the Welsh legend of Rhiannon in the novel, but the characters in the novel bear little resemblance to their original Welsh namesakes in the Mabinogion.

“It was just a stupid little paperback that I found somewhere at somebody’s house, lying on the couch,’ Nicks explained in an interview with Classic Rock magazine. “It was called ‘Triad’ and it was all about this girl who becomes possessed by a spirit named Rhiannon.

“I read the book, but I was so taken with that name that I thought, ‘I’ve got to write something about this.

“So I sat down at the piano and started this song about a woman that was all involved with these birds and magic.”


It was only after writing the song that Nicks learned about the legend of Rhiannon, and was amazed that the haunting song lyrics uncannily applied to her Welsh namesake.

A fan sent her four paperback novels in a Manila envelope five years after she first wrote ‘Rhiannon’ in 1973 that explored all the mythology behind the song.

Included in the envelope was Evangeline Walton’s adaptations of the Mabinogion, which Nicks then bought the rights to after being “transfixed” by the prose.

Evangeline Walton’s Mabinogion novels

It was then the musician started to research the Mabinogion story and began work on a Rhiannon project, initially unsure of whether it would become a movie, a musical, a cartoon, a TV series or even a ballet.

Over the years there have been several Rhiannon-centred Stevie Nicks songs to emerge from this ongoing project, including ‘Stay Away’ and ‘Maker of Birds’: Nicks wrote the Fleetwood Mac song ‘Angel’ from the band’s 1979 album ‘Tusk’, based on the Rhiannon story.

The singer had revealed in interviews last year that working on a Rhiannon movie had been her priority after Fleetwood Mac had finished touring in 2019.

After intending the Rhiannon story to be adapted as a movie the project became so big in scope it’s now hoped it will now be turned into a television miniseries.

The ‘Rhiannon’ miniseries is set to explore the mythology and folklore surrounding the fabled story.

It is rumoured Nicks has 10 songs she never released that she is holding onto in order to include in the Rhiannon miniseries.

The musician said she had no plans to star in the project herself, although she revealed she is keen for her friend, One Direction star Harry Styles to appear in the series.

Styles has acting experience having had appeared in Olivia Wilde’s upcoming psychological thriller ‘Don’t Worry, Darling’, as the male lead in the film opposite ‘Midsommar’ and ‘Little Women’ star Florence Pugh.

Nicks has said that Styles “is definitely in the running,” adding, “I’m going, ‘Harry, you cannot age one day. You have to stay exactly as you are.’ I’ve already sold him on it.”

Watch: Singer’s beautiful Welsh language version of Fleetwood Mac classic

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2 days ago

If there is a mini series I hoped it will be shot in Wales with Welsh crew & actors

2 days ago
Reply to  Sian

Doubt it – Having something set in Wales is a big no no in the Entertainment industry.

2 days ago

The Mabinogi isn’t a collection of tales….not in the sense of how we see them today. They were actually Imaginative tellings of real History. Passed of as Folk tales so that any King or Queen captured by the English crown could keep them safe. Because a lot of our history was either burned by the English royals when they were captured and sent to the tower, or shipped of to the Vatican.

2 days ago
Reply to  Riki

I’ve read two of those books, long ago. Carried them from location to location. They are gone now so I cannot refresh my memory.

Harry Styles needs a film that can really show him off in the mainstream. Even this article forgets he was in Dunkirk and My Policeman.

Was the Mabinogi ever written down after the threat of their destruction past? I found your post enlightening, Riki.

1 day ago
Reply to  Ramona

I would advise you to look up certain authors who have spent their entire lives studying such areas. One I would suggest is Adrian Gilbert, author of “Blood of Avalon”, I have a copy myself. He goes into detail about the history of Wales, from the Roman period, all the way up to the Tudors and Windsors. I would also recommend Cambria triumphans. An ancient book all about Wales, that one is really difficult to find however. I hope my recommendations are of your liking.

Katherine Sullivan
Katherine Sullivan
7 minutes ago
Reply to  Riki

Your knowledge of this is both impressive and fascinating. I am Irish American, not Welsh, but I suspect our history is very similar ( English Opression) etc.. Thank you so very much for sharing

Noel Walsh
Noel Walsh
1 day ago

Hope Stevie sings in it!

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