Penarddun emerges from Welsh myth as Llŷr’s spouse and the mother of his children Bran, Branwen, and Manawydan. She is the daughter of Beli Mawr, son of Manogan. In the Mabinogi’s Second Branch, she is portrayed as having two more sons, Nisien and Efnisien, fathered by Euroswydd—Nisien being noble of character, while Efnysien is depicted as devious.

Bendigeid Vran, the son of Llyr, was the crowned king of this island, … And with him were his brother Manawyddan the son of Llyr, and his brothers by the mother’s side, Nissyen and Evnissyen, and many nobles likewise, as was fitting to see around a king. His two brothers by the mother’s side were the sons of Eurosswydd, by his mother, Penardun, the daughter of Beli son of Manogan.

The Second Branch of the Mabinogi: Branwen Daughter of Llyr

Welsh Triads recount Llŷr as one of Britain’s Three Exalted Prisoners, a title thought to originate from a now obscure narrative about the circumstances surrounding the birth of Penarddun’s younger children.

Three Exalted Prisoners of the Island of Britain:
Llyr Half-Speech, who was imprisoned by Euroswydd, and the second, Mabon son of Modron, and third, Gwair son of Geirioedd.  And one (Prisoner), who was more exalted than the three of them. This Exalted Prisoner was Arthur. And it was the same lad who released him from each of these three prisons- Goreu, son of Custennin, his cousin.

The Welsh Triads

There is uncertainty surrounding Penarddun’s nature as a giantess stems from her son Bran being born a giant demigod. This raises questions about whether Bran’s size is solely due to his divine heritage or if it could also be attributed to Penarddun. Consequently, it remains unclear whether her other children, Branwen, (possibly) Mannanan, Efnysien, and Nisien, are giants or possess giant lineage.

Penarddun’s name itself suggests preeminence in beauty, derived from the Welsh words pen, meaning “head” or “chief,” and arddun, meaning “fair” or “beautiful” in reference to a woman.