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Disney: The Black Cauldron

"Whosoever uses the Black Cauldron for evil will be all-powerful, for my blood will flow with his, and together we will either rule the world or destroy it."
—The curse of the Black Cauldron

Meet Disney's Red-Headed Stepchild, Old Shame, and the 25th entry in the Disney Animated Canon, 1985's The Black Cauldron. It is the story of Taran, a young Assistant Pig Keeper who desperately wants to be a great warrior. He is charged with hiding Hen Wen, an innocent-looking pig -who is actually an oracle. The Big Bad, the Horned King, wants the pig because she can uncover the location of the Black Cauldron, with which he will bring to life an army of invincible, undead warriors to conquer the world.

Along the way, Taran meets Gurgi, a cowardly, furry creature who is always looking for food to eat, Princess Eilonwy, who aids him in his escape from the Horned King's dungeon, and the wandering minstrel Fflewddur Fflam.

Based on a series of novels, The Chronicles of Prydain by Lloyd Alexander, The Black Cauldron is easily one of Disney's darkest animated features. It is significant for the company in three ways:

  • It is the first Disney animated feature to be rated PG in the USA for Family-Unfriendly Violence and disturbing imagery.
  • It is the first Disney animated feature to have absolutely no singing; thus, there is one less element available to alleviate the movie's dark elements.
  • It flopped so massively that Disney almost shut down their entire animation department over it.

A common misconception is that The Great Mouse Detective was the first animated Disney movie to use CGI. Actually, it was this movie - the Bauble, boat, explosions, and cauldron itself were animated with CGI. However, because The Black Cauldron was such a failure, most fans and critical Disney historians purposely forget this vital piece of trivia.

The Black Cauldron was also a mildly successful computer game released by Sierra Entertainment in 1986 (yes, the same folks who produced Space Quest and King's Quest).

The film's lack of success has led to it becoming something of a black sheep for the company. Its first official home video release did not occur until 1998. A 25th anniversary edition was released on September 24, 2010, so it seems Disney is confident of some demand for it among audiences, but characters from the film rarely appear in other Disney material. In particular, despite her Princess status, Princess Eilonwy is not part of the official Disney Princess line up.

Despite being a massive flop, it had gotten praise from probably the last person you'd expect - the writer of the original books, Lloyd Alexander. He stated:

"First, I have to say, there is no resemblance between the movie and the book. Having said that, the movie in itself, purely as a movie, I found to be very enjoyable. I had fun watching it. What I would hope is that anyone who sees the movie would certainly enjoy it, but I'd also hope that they'd actually read the book. The book is quite different. It's a very powerful, very moving story, and I think people would find a lot more depth in the book."

This film includes examples of:

  • Abhorrent Admirer: One of the witches to Fflewddur Fflam.
  • Absurdly Sharp Blade: The sword Taran wields.
  • Accidental Kiss: Taran and Eilonwy are sort of tricked into one of these at the end, not that they particularly mind.
  • Adaptation Distillation: One of the more weirder Disney examples; it cobbles together the characters from the first book and story elements of the first and second novels, leading to something of a strangely mixed, 85-minute film version of the first two novels.
  • Adaptational Villainy: The witches. In the books, they're neutral figures who bend their own rules to help Taran and his friends dispose of the cauldron. In the film, they try to trick him into giving up a treasure for the cauldron only to retrieve it later.
    • The same also happens to Ursula in The Little Mermaid. Disney has a real problem with witches, huh?
  • Adapted Out: Quite a few.
    • Prince Gwydion, who in the books was the only one able to defeat the Horned King. Interestingly, he was alluded to in a deleted scene as the king that once wielded the sword Taran has.
    • Also, Achren and Coll.
    • And almost every supporting character from the book called The Black Cauldron, such as Prince Ellydir and King Morgaunt.
    • The Cauldron's destruction. In the book it can only reanimate the dead; it cannot animate living beings, because they're already alive, and thus, self-destructs.
  • Aerithand Bob: Subverted. None of the names in the movie are normal, but you have titles such as the short, somewhat regular-sounding Taran next to real whoppers like Fflewddur, Eilonwy, and Dallben.
  • All There in the Manual: Of the Witches of Morva, only one is named; the book names them all. It also mentions that Dallben was essentially raised by them, 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.
  • Artifact of Doom: The Cauldron.
  • All Deaths Final: Averted; the witches say they cannot bring back Gurgi but then the bard forces them to do so. It's implied this was a hard thing to do.
  • Animate Dead: The Horned King's reason for seeking the eponymous Black Cauldron is because it's a magical Artifact of Doom which can create an undead skeletal army known as the Cauldron Born for the summoner to conquer the world.
  • Bad Boss: The Horned King's first response to any setback whatsoever is to strangle Creeper, whether it's his fault or not. Also, his reward to his (deceased) human minions for their service is to turn them into mindless undead warriors instead of giving them a proper burial. Not to mention what would have happened to his living minions had there not been extreme Executive Meddling going on.
  • Batman Gambit: The sneakiest of the witches convinces Taran to trade his magic sword for the Cauldron, counting on the notion that he and his friends won't know what to do with it and will eventually give it back — so she and her sisters will own both the sword and the Cauldron! It's then beautifully crippled by Fflewddur, who remembers in the nick of time that if they're going to take back the Cauldron, then they must give the heroes something in return.
  • Berserk Button: Eilonwy. Don't ever be sexist (Taran) in her presence. Nor take the side of said sexist (Fflam).
    • Also, 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.
  • Bewitched Amphibians: Fflewddur gets turned into a frog by one of the witch sisters who wants to eat him, but he gets changed back by the one who has a crush on him.
  • Big Bad: The Horned King.
  • Big Eater: Gurgi is always on the lookout for "munchings and crunchings".
  • Big Ham: The Horned King, primarily. "Get up you fools!!! KILL!!!!!!!"
  • Bigger Bad: The spirit trapped inside the Black Cauldron counts as one.
  • Bigger Good: The good king who used to live in what is now the Horned King's castle and originally owned the sword Taran has.
  • Brick Joke: Hen Wen is left under the guard of the Fair Folk when the heroes go after the Cauldron; she doesn't turn up again until the very end of the film, where she's shown back at Dalben's house, revealing to The Obi-Wan what happened to his student. Doli's there, too, indicating that, unsurprisingly, he got stuck with the job of going wee wee wee all the way home...
  • Butt Monkey: Creeper is always getting abused by the other henchmen, stepped on, strangled by the Horned King, and things tend to fall on his head.
  • The Cameo: Tinkerbell makes a brief appearance among the Fair Folk.
  • Canon Foreigner: Creeper, who was not part of Alexander's original series.
  • Cartoon Creature: Gurgi is a strange example of this trope, looking something like a cross between an Old English Sheepdog, a marmot, and a gibbon.
  • Clingy MacGuffin: Eilonwy's "bauble", which floats around chasing rats. This is (again) a huge departure from the books, in which the bauble was neither sentient nor able to move under its own power, but had many other magical properties.
  • Closing Credits: These were absent in previous Disney animated films. From Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs through The Fox and the Hound, Disney held onto the old Hollywood format of having a long opening credits sequence with no credits at the end, Alice in Wonderland being the only exception and it was only a cast list. From The Black Cauldron onward, all Disney animated films have closing credits.
  • Collapsing Lair
  • Cosmic Plaything: The film takes an almost uncanny pleasure in watching Taran screw up or falter multiple times. Then again, the Horned King's [1] assistant Creeper has this too, in spades.
  • Crapsack World: Prydain looks pretty mellow and forested for the most part, but the presence and nature of the Cauldron itself, especially considering that this is a Disney film, is incredibly unnerving and unsafe.
  • Creator Cameo: Animator Phil Nibbelink snuck a self-portrait in as a red-headed henchman who shakes Creeper and demands "More women!"
  • Composite Character: The book's Arawn and the Horned King are combined into one in the movie. However, the filmmakers work Arawn in by alluding to him as the sealed evil in the cauldron in the prologue.
  • Darker and Edgier: In comparison to other Disney movies before it. This was the first Disney Animated Canon movie to earn a PG rating, and fittingly so, given its high concentration of Nightmare Fuel.
  • Dem Bones: The Cauldron Born.
  • Death Is Dramatic: Holy shit, the Horned King.
  • Deus ex Machina: While the cauldron is the first artifact and/or character introduced, the way it qualifies is how it takes out The Horned King. While it was explained that a living person entering the cauldron of his or her own free will would seal its powers, it is not explained why it kills the guy and destroys the castle. It's implied that it's just that evil, but that's a rather flimsy explanation. Its pretty obvious this was done in desperation to avoid a Kudzu Plot and tie up all loose ends quickly.
    • It is also highly anticlimactic, because the King doesn't get to DO anything, despite being hinted as being a powerful sorcerer, that can teleport at whim.
    • Another is supplied by the witches, who revive the person that jumped into the cauldron. And why is it that the witches have this cauldron in the first place and the heroes practically fall on top of apparently the only society that knows where they are?
  • Dirty Coward/Lovable Coward: Gurgi always ducks out at the first hint of trouble, much to Taran's fury... until he volunteers to give his life to stop the Cauldron Born.
  • Disney Death: Heroic Sacrifice necessary? No worries.
  • Due to the Dead: Eilonwy disapproves of Taran taking the sword from a grave.
  • Evil Tower of Ominousness
  • Everything's Better with Princesses: Eilonwy, the Red-Headed Stepchild of the Disney Princesses; this being one of the "unpopular movies" mentioned in the trope entry, you won't be seeing her plastered all over your local department store. For added hilarity, in the books, the character was described as having red-gold hair, while in the film it's Hair of Gold, Heart of Gold. This is brought up in the Disney Princess cosplay skit, in which all of the Disney Princesses meet onstage and argue. When Eilonwy introduces herself, everyone asks "Who are you?" When she mentions the film's name, they all say, "Never heard of it!"
    • In the books, she is the last living member of the royal house of Llyr. She's actually the daughter of the Princess Angharad, who fell in love with a commoner and ran away from her royal family to marry him. Eilonwy was kidnapped from her parents and orphaned as a very young child. In the books, after the first adventure, she goes to live with Taran and Dallben at the farm Caer Dallben. Anyone who wants to belittle her calls her a "scullery maid", in reference to the chores she does there. The film reflects this point but fails to explain or develop it.
  • Evil Brit: The Horned King (being voiced by John Hurt). Of course, most of the good guys also have British voice actors.
  • Evil Gloating
  • Evil Overlord: The Horned King.
  • Evil Sorcerer: The Horned King.
  • Evil Sounds Deep: The Horned King.
  • Evil Minions
  • Evil Plan:The Horned King has a good ol' Take Over the World plot but he needs the Black Cauldron to make it happen.
  • Expy: Imagine Gurgi meeting Gollum from Lord of the Rings.
    • Primarily green-clothes, mid-length hair, carries around a sword and wears a vest over his long-sleeved shirt. Taran sure does resemble Link.
    • Eilonwy looks quite a lot like Aurora, primarily in her hair color and outfit design.
  • The Face: Eliowny, as a princess, contrasts the guys of the group and talks reason into the big headed The Hero.
  • Failure Hero: 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.
  • The Fair Folk: Subverted. Or at least downplayed. They're not really much like this trope. But they are called that.
  • Family-Unfriendly Death:
    • The Horned King is absorbed into the cauldron, his clothing, blood and flesh are sucked into the demonic spirit and destroyed (since it wants his soul, not his body), leaving but a disturbingly smiling skeleton, which explodes after having its spirit yanked straight out.
    • Scenes of the Cauldron Born tearing apart the Horned King's living minions were cut to keep it from getting an R rating.
  • Farm Boy: Taran.
  • The Film of the Book: Of the books, more accurately. This film is a bit of a mash-up of elements from the first two books of the Prydain series, The Book of Three and The Black Cauldron.
  • Foreshadowing: Taran being bested by a goat, who he pretends is the Horned King, shows that things will not go well for him when he actually tries to fight.
  • Gag Boobs: Orwen of the three witches, who is on the heavier side and well-endowed enough to lose a frog in her bodacious bosoms.
  • Gendo Pose: The Horned King does this several times.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: Umm... Fflam, in frog form, getting helplessly trapped in the witch's bodacious bosom, anyone?
  • A God Am I: The Horned King is ready to kill the world to be worshipped as a god by the dead.
  • Great Offscreen War: At the beginning of the film the characters mention that there's a war being fought (presumably against the Horned King, given the context), but we never see any part of it, nor do we even see whom or whatever the Horned King is fighting against.
  • The Grim Reaper: The Horned King looks like the Reaper's brown-robed twin but with horns.
  • Grumpy Old Man: Doli, in probably the only characterization completely faithful to the books other than the species switch from dwarf to fairy.
  • The Guards Must Be Crazy
  • Guttural Growler: The Horned King.
  • The Hecate Sisters: The three witches who guard the Black Cauldron:
    • Orwen is the Maiden (flirtatious and youthful)
    • Orddu is the Mother (leads the witches and is the most knowledgable about magic)
    • Orgoch is the Crone (greedy and conniving)
    • In an interesting interpretation of this trope, Orwen's large build is typically associated with the Mother; while Orddu is by no means beautiful, her thinness is a trait often held by the Maiden.
  • Heroic Sacrifice
  • Holding Back the Phlebotinum: The very story-breaking magic sword only sees some action during the escape from the Horned King's castle. Taran exchanges it for the Black Cauldron and doesn't ever get it back.
  • Horned Humanoid: The Horned King.
  • Hostage For Mcguffin: Hen Wen will be beheaded unless Taran makes her reveal the location of the Black Cauldron.
  • How Do You Like Them Apples?: Gurgi.
  • Idiot Ball: The three witches grab it pretty hard when they trade the Black Cauldron to Taran in exchange for the magic sword. They assume that after getting it in trade, the heroes will be forced to return the cauldron when they learn that they can't use it without sacrificing a willing life, allowing the witches to keep both the sword and the cauldron. They don't take into account that the heroes could just refuse to give the cauldron back for nothing, and lo and behold, when the witches try to retrieve it at the end of the movie, Flewdur refuses to let them have it without payment.
    • Dallben grabs it earlier in the movie when he makes the decision to send Hen Wen to his secret cottage and has Taran, a boy who daydreams constantly and easily loses track of what's going on around him, supervise her. What happens soon after they leave? Taran loses Hen Wen who then gets kidnapped by gwythaints.
  • Implacable Man: The Cauldron-Born are the Implacable Army.
  • Its A Small World Afterall: Taran apparently lives a brisk walk away from the Horned King's castle.
  • Jerk Ass: The Three Witches, but primarily Orddu, the schemer.
    • Gurgi, when he's thieving and stealing.
  • Jump Scare: When Taran first enters the Horned King's castle, he quietly maneuvers past a sleeping guardsman, before hiding behind a stone wall. When he peaks his head out to check if his route is safe, the guardsman's dog suddenly leaps out, barking loudly and violently right in Taran's face. The fact that this scene plays without any discernible music in the background makes it all the more effective.
    • It does it again after Taran finds the magic sword. As he's looking for Eilonwy—again, in a quiet scene—a guard leaps out of nowhere with a roar and tries to cut his head off.
  • Karmic Death: The Horned King is killed by the Cauldron he tried to control.
  • Karma Houdini: Creeper.
    • Given the crap that Creeper's taken for everything that wasn't his fault, he might be an exception, though still doesn't excuse the fact he's done a lot of evil in the name of servitude.
    • The Witches that transform countless people into frogs to eat them afterwards also get off the hook.
    • The Cauldron that tried to absorb Taran doesn't get destroyed, even though in the book it most certainly gets annihilated.
  • Keystone Army: The Cauldron-Born.
  • Kid Hero: Taran.
  • Knight of Cerebus: Things get much darker when the Horned King is around.
    • He's a meta-example as well; in the films following Walt's death, the majority of the Big Bad villains became less and less threatening with each release. The Horned King's role in the film is arguably what got villains in subsequent films to became Darker and Edgier as a result.
  • Lie Detector: Not greatly explored in the film, but Fflewddur's harp breaks whenever he lies.
  • The Load: Fflewddur, who only proves useful twice in the entire movie: 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.
  • Load-Bearing Boss: The Horned King's demise barely precedes the destruction of his entire castle.
    • The Cauldron looks to get extremely hot after it has absorbed the Horned King - hot enough to start a China Syndrome and melt through the floor. This is probably what actually triggered the collapse of the castle, which was already in pretty rough shape.
  • MacGuffin: Hen Wen and the eponymous Black Cauldron.
  • MacGuffin Delivery Service: Not long after the heroes get the Cauldron, the Horned King's men capture them and bring the prize to their master.
  • Magical Girl: Only a minor example; Eilonwy's magic is only evident in the magical bauble that accompanies her and is the reason the Horned King kidnapped her. In the original novel series, she performs much greater magical feats and in fact is descended from a long line of enchantresses.
  • Marshmallow Hell: Fflam suffers this from Orwen.
  • Milking the Giant Cow: The Horned King loves doing hand gestures during his gloatings or whenever he's excited.
  • Mood Whiplash: Constantly.
  • More Expendable Than You
  • The Necrocracy: The Horned King is an undead lich ruling from a dark fortress. His humans minions are quite alive, but the King desires to rule over a world of mindless undead warriors because he wants to be worshipped as a god by his subjects. Made quite clear when he triumphantly declares that "our" time has come as he raises the skeletal army.
  • Never Say "Die": Averted: They explicitly say the Horned King is going to kill them all. One more nail in the coffin of family-friendliness.
    • The Horned King trying to raise his defeated Cauldron Born: "GET UP! KILL!!!"
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: After Taran and his friends first escape the Horned King, they seek out the Black Cauldron and eventually find it in the home of the three witches—which plays right into the Horned King's hands, as he simply has his minions trail the heroes and take the Cauldron.
  • Nigh-Invulnerability: The Black Cauldron cannot be destroyed, only its power stopped; the Cauldron Born are invincible — unless someone lays down their life...
  • Night of the Living Mooks: The Cauldron Born are an army of unstoppable skeletal warriors, mindless automatons serving their summoner the Horned King, who wants to use them to conquer the world. They can expand their ranks by devouring living people whole, and can be stopped only by undoing the Cauldron's spell.
  • Non-Human Sidekick: Gurgi, an unspecified furry creature, for the hero Taran; Creeper, a goblin, for the villain The Horned King.
  • No Sense of Humor: The Horned King.
  • The Obi-Wan: Taran's mentor, Dallben, who, at the beginning of the movie, shows Taran just why it is so important that they spend their lives guarding Hen Wen.
  • Off Model: On the poster above as well as the official soundtrack cover (which uses the poster's art), Eilonwy's dress is blue instead of violet and pink. On the 25th Anniversary DVD cover, Gurgi has brown eyes and Hen Wen has black eyes instead of them both having blue eyes.
    • The Horned King's first scene has him twitching because the animation looped at the end.
  • Older Sidekick: Fflewddur Fflam. In the books, he's only around 30 years old.
  • Omnicidal Maniac: Implied to be the case with the lich tyrant the Horned King. His goal: raise an undead army to conquer and enslave the world. He sacrifices his living servants to the Cauldron Born and triumphantly boasts that "our" time has finally come when he raises them, meaning he wants to rule as a god-king over the dead.
  • Oracular Urchin: Hen Wen comes close enough.
  • Our Liches Are Different: The Horned King.
  • Our Souls Are Different: Confusingly different. Souls in this film's logic can take on physical form if sealed into molten iron, thus the metal, like the spirit, is now indestructible. This gives any viewer who cares for detail an ontological headache when they try to consider the anatomy of how the metaphysical and the physical can merge. Not to mention, stating the metal is indestructible, is a really redundant thing to say. Matter and energy ARE indestructible by nature anyway, BUT they must change form. If the Cauldron gets too hot it would melt down, but writers overlook that fact.
  • Protectorate: Hen Wen.
  • The Punishment: The evil nameless king in the prologue was so tyrannical, he was thrown alive into a crucible of molten iron, the demonic spirit condemned to never pass on, and remain permanently trapped within physical form. Ouch.
  • Ragtag Bunch of Misfits
  • Rebellious Princess: Eilonwy.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: The Horned King's eyes light up whenever he gets excited.
  • Red-Headed Hero: Taran.
  • Redhead In Green: Taran.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: Arawn is speculated to be the evil force within the Cauldron. Though the ancients didn't do a very good job of imprisoning him away permanently, and as such, its powers can be unleashed. And even worse is that it can be used to raise an army of the living dead.
  • Sealed Good in a Can: It's implied that Taran's enchanted sword houses the soul of the good king (revealed in a deleted scene to be Gwydion) who built the castle that the Horned King eventually took over. (In the books this is Dyrnwyn, which becomes the sword of Prince Gwydion, but the sword is never named in the movie.)
  • Shout-Out: After the Cauldron-Born start dying:
  • Significant Green-Eyed Redhead: Taran.
  • 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.
  • Someone Has to Die: The only way to destroy the evil magic possessed by the Artifact of Doom the movie is named after was for a living being to willingly climb into the Cauldron, but whoever did so would sacrifice his life in the process. (Which the three witches who give it to the heroes gleefully tell them.) At first, none of the heroes were willing to do so - or demand such a sacrifice of anyone else. When the Horned King unleashes its power, Taran tries to do so, but Gurgi stops him, and does it himself. The movie has a happy ending, however; when the three witches reclaim the now-worthless Cauldron, Fflewddur goads them into demonstrating their power, and Swiss Army Tears are able to revive Gugri.
  • 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.
  • Spiritual Successor: Adventures of the Gummi Bears, which debuted just a few weeks after this movie debuted. Though much Lighter and Softer in tone, Gummi Bears would continue with the setting, fantastic elements and even slightly modified versions of Taran, Elionwy and Creeper.
  • Stock Footage: When Taran looks for Hen-Wen in the Forbidden Forest, the same animation is used as Wart going to retrieve Kay's arrow from The Sword in the Stone.
    • When Hen Wen reveals that the Horned King is searching for the Black Cauldron, the animation of the ghostly Horned King was borrowed from similar horse-riding spirits in Fantasia.
  • Sycophantic Servant: Creeper.
  • Take Over the World
  • Tertiary Sexual Characteristics: You can tell Hen Wen's female, because she has eyelashes.
  • Third-Person Person: Gurgi always refers to himself in the third person.
  • Token Good Teammate: Orwen, the heavyset member of the witch trio. She has genuine affection for Fflewddur Flam, and in general seems kinder than her sisters. This is confirmed in the ending—when Orddu is busy making up excuses as to why she can't give Taran his sword back, Orwen interrupts her and simply conjures the sword herself, suggesting that she's the most willing to honor their bargain.
  • Tomboy Princess: Eilonwy, although heavily watered down from her original characterization, which fit this more.
  • True Companions: Describes the relationship between Taran, Eilonwy, Fflewddur, and Gurgi. (In the novels, Doli is also included in this, but he's not as involved in the film, and Gwydion - their Sixth Ranger - isn't in the film at all.)
  • Verbal Tic: Fflewddur — "Great Belin!"
    • Also Creeper, with "this isn' my fault!"
  • The Villain Makes the Plot: The evil king mentioned in the prologue, as well as the Horned King.
  • Villainous Breakdown:
    The Horned King: GET UP YOU FOOLS... KILLLLL!!!
  • Wacky Wayside Tribe: The Fair Folk.
  • Wandering Minstrel: Fflewddur Fflam.
  • Well, Excuse Me, Princess!: Eilonwy never misses an opportunity to remind Taran that he's just an assistant pig keeper. She also makes quite a few references to the fact that she's a princess, something which the original novel character almost never did.
  • Wicked Witch: 3 for the price of 1! In the books, they're forces of nature, the three fates of Greek mythology.
    • The books and the characters were inspired by Welsh mythology. The three witches are based on the concept of the triple goddess- maiden, mother, and crone. (Groups of three spooky sisters are pretty common in Indo-European mythologies, overall...)
    • And really, they're not all that wicked. Jerk Asses, yes, but they do bring Gurgi back in exchange for the cauldron.
  • Your Soul Is Mine: The heavily implied fate of the Horned King. After Gurgi sacrifices himself, the demonic spirit within the Cauldron will soon no longer be able perform any evil, or hurt anyone anymore, making it completely worthless and powerless. It'll be cold and alone... for all eternity. In desperation, it pulls anyone it can into it. It wants to absorb the evil necromancer's soul, though he doesn't come quietly.

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alternative title(s): The Black Cauldron
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