Characters: The Black Cauldron

Featured in 1985's The Black Cauldron

Taran of Caer Dallben

Voiced by: Grant Bardsley

  • 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?
  • Kid 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 protagonst to have red hair, after Peter Pan.
  • Redhead In Green
  • 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.

Gurgi

Voiced by: John Byner

Eilonwy

Voiced by: Susan Sheridan

Fflewddur Fflam

Voiced by: Nigel Hawthorne

  • Adorkable: He has shades of this, especially when he's reduced to nervous sputtering.
  • All Thereinthe 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.
  • Badass: At the end, when he uses the witches' creed against them.
  • 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.
  • Chick Magnet: One of the witches becomes his Stalker with a Crush.
  • 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.
  • Let's Get Dangerous: Averted, as the Disney Fflewddur generally shies away from combat.
    • It was played straight in the book series: while he was hardly the Badass he boasted of, he actually did defeat impressive odds two or three times.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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

  • 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.
  • 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,
  • 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.
  • Breakout Character/Spotlight-Stealing Squad: 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.
  • 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: Implied
  • Evil Sounds Deep: Courtesy of John Hurt
  • Family Unfriendly Karmic Death: Probably the most brutal in the entire Disney canon.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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. Out of all other Disney villains, even Maleficent could spare a sarcastic laugh or two.
  • 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 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.

Creeper

Voiced by: Phil Fondacaro

Dallben

Voiced by: Freddie Jones

  • 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).
  • Free-Range Children: He concludes that the Horned King is after Hen Wen, so he decides to send his thirteen-year-old ward off into the forest with the pig so they'll be safe.
  • 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

Eidelleg and the Fair Folk

Voiced by: Arthur Malet (Eidelleg), John Byner (Doli)

The Witches of Morva

Voiced by: Eda Reiss Merin, Adele Malis-Morey, Billie Hayes

  • 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.
  • 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.