Characters / The Black Cauldron

Featured in 1985's The Black Cauldron
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    Taran of Caer Dallben
"Look at me, Hen! I can do it!"
Voiced by: Grant Bardsley

The main protagonist.
  • Almighty Janitor: Played with. He holds the rank of an Assistant Pig-Keeper, but he's hardly almighty. In fact, he has more losses than wins.
  • Character Development: Obviously, nowhere near as well-designed or thorough as the books, but it's pretty evident here. Taran goes from an impulsive kid fantasizing that one day he will be a hero, to a more mature, compromising young man who realizes he is unfit to be what he considers a hero.
  • Failure Knight: Taran so wants to be a Knight In Shining Armour, but at almost no point in the film does he successfully do anything useful with his own skills: He loses Hen Wen almost immediately after being entrusted with her; when held captive by the Horned King he only escapes with the help of Eilonwy and the magic sword; and he unwittingly brings the Black Cauldron into the Horned King's hands by getting it from the witches with whom it probably would've been completely secure (as well as giving away the potentially story breaking magic sword in the process). At the end of the film, Taran actually acknowledges that he's a failure as a warrior and forfeits his chance to become one in order to resurrect Gurgi.
  • Farm Boy: An Assistant Pig-Keeper no less.
  • Final Speech: When the three witches offer Taran his magic sword back. It's short but very, very sweet.
    Taran: I'm not a warrior... I'm a pig-boy. What can I do with a sword?
  • Free-Range Children: Dallben concludes that the Horned King is after Hen Wen, so he decides to send Taran, his thirteen-year-old ward, off into the forest with the pig so they'll be safe.
  • Happily Adopted: Taran was a foundling discovered by Dallben, the enchanter and farmer.
  • I Just Want to Be Special: He harbors an intense desire to prove his worth and heroism through noble acts.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Though occasionally foolhardy, Taran proves to be a brave, heroic, and kind-hearted.
  • Kid Hero: Only about 14 or 15 and is The Hero.
  • Official Couple: With Eilonwy.
  • Put on a Bus: Due to The Black Cauldron not being a financial success, Taran, like his female counterpart Eilonwy, is rarely featured in official Disney merchandising.
  • Red-Headed Hero: The second human Disney male protagonist to have red hair, after Peter Pan.
  • Redhead In Green: A redhead who wears a green vest and pants.
  • Significant Green-Eyed Redhead: He's the hero of the story.
  • Who Will Bell the Cat?: When the Horned King's undead army begins spreading out to destroy Prydain, Taran steps up to perform the necessary Heroic Sacrifice. Gurgi pre-empts him.
  • Would Hit a Girl: Implied. He pointed his sword threateningly at the Witches when they mess around with Fflewddur.

"Munchings and crunchings in here somewhere."
Voiced by: John Byner

A small, gopher-like creature that accompanies Taran.

"Girl? GIRL?! If it weren't for this girl, you would still be in the Horned King's dungeon!"
Voiced by: Susan Sheridan

A princess that was kidnapped the Horned King and the deuteragonist.

    Fflewddur Fflam
"Great Beelin!"
Voiced by: Nigel Hawthorne

A self-styled bard and the tritagonist.
  • Adaptational Wimp: In the book series: while he was hardly the Badass he boasted of, he actually did defeat impressive odds two or three times. The Disney Fflewddur generally shies away from combat.
  • Adorkable: He has shades of this, especially when he's reduced to nervous sputtering.
  • All There in the Manual: The book explains why Fflewddur's harp keeps breaking and how he got it, and includes the detail that he's not really a bard at all, but a king who left his kingdom to become a bard, and failed the academy.
  • Alliterative Name: Fflewddur Fflam
  • Batman Gambit: Fflewddur completely ruins the Witches' Batman Gambit, reminding them that if they will repossess the Cauldron, they must make an exchange of equal value back to the heroes.
  • Bullying a Dragon: Luckily for Fflewdur, mocking the witches for being powerless resulted in a living Gurgi, not a return to toad status.
  • Butt Monkey: In the course of the movie, he's captured, has his pants torn by dogs, falls into a pit, is turned into a frog, and so forth.
  • Catch Phrase: "Great Belin!"
  • Cloudcuckoolander: At first, he appears to be so. Visit an ominous, gloomy castle that looks so obviously suspicious nobody goes there? Hey, you're a bard, why not? He later proves to be much smarter than most would give him credit for.
  • Companion Cube: Downplayed - Fflewdur speaks to his harp as if it's alive.
  • Foil: To Taran. Whereas Taran is more hotheaded, ambitious, and headstrong, Fflewddur is more of a Shrinking Violet, cautious and dithering. In the book, Taran and Fflewddur were much more alike.
  • Foreshadowing: The witches proclaim that "What we do is bargain, trade!" Fflewddur later throws these words right back at their faces.
  • Four-Temperament Ensemble: Phlegmatic.
  • The Heart: At least he tries to be whenever Taran and Eilonwy have a spat.
  • Lie Detector: Fflewddur's harpstrings snap whenever he tells a lie.
  • Living Lie Detector: Again, his harp!
  • The Load: Poor Fflewddur was much more useful in the book. But alas, he only proves useful twice - weakly trying to convince the feuding Taran and Eilonwy that they have to work together, and taunting the three witches into trading the restoration of Gurgi's life for the return of the Cauldron.
  • Mood Whiplash: In a very dimly lit scene, the Horned King orders for his pet dragon-lizard-things called Gwythaints to hunt down the heroes who have escaped from his gloomy castle. Directly following that is Fflewddur singing a silly song.
  • Nice Hat: A brown hat with a red feather.
  • Odd Couple: With Gurgi.
  • Older Sidekick
  • Only Sane Man: Among the protagonists, Fflewddur is probably the only one who keeps things balanced - kind of.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Blue to everybody.
  • Took a Level in Badass: At the end, when he uses the witches' creed against them.
  • Verbal Tic: "Great Belin!"
  • Wandering Minstrel: He blunders into the story when he wanders to the wrong castle.

    The Horned King
"Now I call on my army of the dead — the Cauldron Born!"
Voiced by: John Hurt

The main antagonist.
  • Ambiguously Human: It's never clarified if the Horned King is a demon, a horribly deformed man or a lich. His self-association with his skeletal warriors suggests the third option.
  • Authority Equals Asskicking: Completely averted, unusually for Disney villains. He seems to be physically frail, never moves faster than at a shambling pace, demonstrates no magical powers independent of the Cauldron, and is easily overpowered by Taran in the climax.
  • Bad Boss: His default reaction to anything bad is choke Creeper. Also, his reward to his human minions for their service is to turn them into mindless undead warriors.
  • Big Bad: Of the film.
  • Big "NO!": He shouts this as he dies.
  • Berserk Button: The Horned King is quite calm and cold-blooded, but if you spoil his plans he immediately gets enraged and tries to choke you to death.
  • Black Eyes of Evil: He has these by default unless he's very angry. Then it's Red Eyes, Take Warning.
  • Breakout Villain: Easily the most memorable character of the film, plus the only one that had appearances beyond the film. He even gets a cameo in the House of Mouse series, becomes the Final Boss of the Tokyo Disneyland Castle Tour and a constant throw in for a possible Kingdom Hearts role for what it's worth.
  • Composite Character: The book's Arawn and the Horned King are combined into one in the movie.
  • Dangerously Genre Savvy: Decides its better to have Taran and co to find the Cauldron for him and then chains them so they don't escape like last time. The only reason he failed was that he failed to take into account Gurgi, someone that never that went into the castle and would have no idea about.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Just in one scene where he taunts Taran, Eilonwy and Fflewddur Fflam as his prisoners. This is one of the few, if not the only one, scenes where he shows a bit of sarcasm
    The Horned King: My, what a brave, handsome group. A pig keeper, a scullery maid, and a broken-down minstrel. Perhaps it would interest you to see what fate has in store for you.
    • Also:
    The Horned King: Now, that's better.
  • Dem Bones: Has a skeletal appearance is reduced to one during his death.
  • The Dreaded: You bet. Ask his Mooks.
  • Dystopia Justifies the Means: Plans to have his Army of the Dead kill off all opposition and then have whatever remains worship him as a deity.
  • Evil Brit : Courtesy of John Hurt
  • Evil Overlord: Of an abandoned castle
  • Evil Sorceror: He's implied to be this, though it's not shown much.
  • Evil Sounds Deep: Courtesy of John Hurt
  • Family-Unfriendly Death: Probably the most brutal in the entire Disney canon.
  • Famous Last Words: Said before he's sucked in by the Cauldron and lets out his Big "NO!".
    "No! You'll not have me! My power cannot die! Curse you!"
  • A God Am I: His Evil Plan involving the Army of the Dead is to devastate Prydain and force the survivors to worship him as a demigod.
  • The Grim Reaper: The Horned King looks like the Reaper's brown-robed twin but with horns.
  • Guttural Growler: Courtesy of John Hurt
  • Horned Humanoid: Well he is the Horned King (technically they're antlers) and not even remotely human-looking.
  • Informed Ability: Everyone is deathly afraid of him, which would imply he has some sort of magical powers, but he doesn't do much of anything in the movie other than shuffle around a bit and growl.
  • Killed Off for Real: In an extremely graphic way by the Disney canon standards. He's skeletonized, and then his bones burst into flame.
  • Knight of Cerebus: The film gets much darker when he's involved. He is hateful, cruel, cold-blooded, brooding, and shockingly violent, so it's not difficult to see why. Also a very meta example, as Disney Villains had become slowly become more and more comedic as time went on, villains in following films became much more threatening after his appearance. Coincidence?
  • Load-Bearing Boss: Justified, The Black Cauldron acting as a suction, absorbs the surrounding area into its being once he dies
  • Monstrous Humanoid: The Horned King has horns and a skull face, with no explanation for why he has this way, his display of certain powers imply that he's much more monstrous than he lets on.
  • Necromancer: Trope Codifier for animated flims. The Cauldron Borns is an undead army, and he reanimates them to serve him.
    "Now I call on my Army of the Dead; the Cauldron-Born! Arise, my messengers of death! Our time has arrived!"
    Horned King
  • Nightmare Fuel Station Attendant: Just look at him...
  • Non-Action Big Bad: He spends most of the movie standing still and doesn't really get very involved in any of the action. When he does tangle with Taran in the movie's climax, he loses almost immediately.
  • No Sense of Humor: What makes him so menacing.
  • Obviously Evil: You think?
  • Our Liches Are Different: It's not clarified if he is some kind of monster or a hideously deformed man, but it's clear from his powers and aura that he's not entirely human to say the least
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: When he gets exicted or pissed.
  • Skull for a Head: The Horned King is a horned variation. While he's an undead evil sorceror, the rest of his body looks quite normal (if we ignore the greenish rotting skin) compared to his positively skull-like head.
  • Sorcerous Overlord: The Horned King, although his magical powers are fairly limited and require complex rituals to realize. This tyrant is a horned, robed member of the undead, probably a lich. He plots to take over the world from his fortress by acquiring an army of skeletal warriors known as the Cauldron Born.
  • Take Over the World: His goal, using a resurrected army to kill off every last man in Prydain, in order to be worship as a demigod.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Accompanied by red eyes of doom.
    The Horned King: GET UP YOU FOOLS... KILLLLL!!!
  • Would Hurt a Child: At two points in the movie to Taran, when he decides to kill Taran once he's revealed the location of the Cauldron and when he tries to choke him for ruining his plan... which backfires on him.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Attempted this to Taran when he located the Cauldron and then his Mooks by offering them for his army to slaughter.

"Look! Look, sire! It's working!"
Voiced by: Phil Fondacaro

Creeper is The Horned King's sidekick and the secondary antagonist.
  • Butt Monkey: Is always blamed when something goes wrong, even if it wasn't his fault.
  • Canon Foreigner: The only character in the film that wasn't in the books.
  • The Dragon: Created to be a very ineffectual chief subordinate for the Horned King.
  • Evil Counterpart: Towards Gurgi. They're both small and cowardly sidekicks for the Horned King and Taran, respectively. They both do much to try and please their masters without much success: the Horned King loathes Creeper during the entire movie, and Taran isn't fond of Gurgi until after a while. While Gurgi sacrifices himself to destroy the Black Cauldron's power so that Taran wouldn't have to, Creeper watches as his master is killed by the Cauldron and decides he's glad.
  • Karma Houdini: He's last seen flying away with the surviving gwythaint.
  • Neck Lift: On the receiving end whenever the Horned King gets upset. His majesty gets upset quite a lot...
  • Non-Human Sidekick: A small goblin creature who is this to the Horned King.
  • Our Goblins Are Different
  • Sycophantic Servant: He always tries to please the Horned King. For what good it does him.
  • Vile Villain, Laughable Lackey: Creeper was comically drawn (by comparison) and cowardly, but he routinely suffered the abuse of his terrifying Boss.

"Hen Wen, from you, I do beseech...."
Voiced by: Freddie Jones

Dallben is the greatest wizard in Prydain, the keeper of the oracular pig Hen Wen, Taran's adoptive father, and one of the main protagonists.
  • Big Ol' Eyebrows: He has thick, messy eyebrows.
  • Composite Character: He amalgamates two characters from the books - Dallben (an elderly sorcerer and Big Good) and Coll (the Pig-Keeper who is Taran's teacher).
  • Fingerless Gloves: Wears a grey pair.
  • Informed Ability: He's called the "greatest wizard in Prydain", but his skills were never shown.
  • Lethal Chef: Implied. The meal he prepares for Hen Wen was so inedible that she and the pet cat refused to eat it.
  • Nice Guy: Dallben is a kind man.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: His last line implies that something Hen Wen showed him led him to send Taran and Hen Wen into harm's way, but it still seems like an odd decision.
  • Parental Substitute: The books make it more clear that Taran was found on Dallben's doorstep as a young child.

    Hen Wen
Voiced by: Frank Welker

Hen Wen is the magical pet pig of Taran and Dallben.
  • Amplified Animal Aptitude: Her superior intelligence may be justified by her oracular nature.
  • Living MacGuffin: For the first half of the film. The Horned King wants her because he wishes to control her prophetic abilities. Thankfully, she was able to escape thanks to Taran.
  • Ridiculously Cute Critter: A little white sow, very timid, picky about her food and fond of Taran.
  • Shoo Out the Clowns: She's packed off back to Caer Dallben while the heroes go on to Morva. One of Taran's wiser decisions, as it turned out.
  • Waif Prophet: A non-human version. Hen Wen has the ability to see into the future.

    Eidelleg and the Fair Folk
Voiced by: Arthur Malet (Eidelleg), John Byner (Doli)

A group of kindly fairy-like creatures led by King Eidilleg.

    The Witches of Morva
"We have made a bargain!"
Voiced by: Eda Reiss Merin, Adele Malis-Morey, Billie Hayes

Three neutral witches that are infamous for making bargains, they sold the Black Cauldron for Taran's Magic Sword.
  • Abhorrent Admirer: Orwen toward Fflewdur.
  • Adaptational Villainy: In the books they are implied to be the three Fates (or a Welsh equivalent) and are strictly neutral (though Orddu, at least, seems willing to offer a little advice for free.) Here they are presented as adversaries out to cheat the main characters.
  • All There in the Manual: Two of them go unnamed until the end credits.
  • Big Beautiful Woman: Despite her large figure, Orwen is clearly the most attractive of her sisters.
  • Equivalent Exchange: They insist that the Cauldron must be paid for with a magical artifact of equal value. After the villain's defeat, they try to reclaim the cauldron, only for Fflewder to insist that they compensate the heroes for it.
  • Gag Boobs: Orwen, which leads to a case of Marshmallow Hell for Fflewdur.