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Characters / The Black Cauldron

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A character sheet for The Black Cauldron. For their book counterparts, see The Chronicles of Prydain.

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Main characters

    Taran of Caer Dallben
"Look at me, Hen! I can do it!"
Voiced by: Grant Bardsley Other voice actors
The main protagonist.
  • Action Survivor: He is surprisingly resourceful and brave, even without the sword.
  • Almighty Janitor: Played with. He holds the rank of an Assistant Pig-Keeper, but he's hardly almighty. In fact, he loses more often than he wins.
  • Attention Deficit... Ooh, Shiny!:
    • His habit of daydreaming causes him to lose focus on his task or surroundings. Foreshadowed when, after tormenting the farm goat, he starts bragging to Hen Wen and fails to notice her Oh, Crap! reaction:
      Taran: See, hen? Everybody runs from the famous Taran of Caer Dallban- (the goat butts him up the backside) Oof! (goes flying into the mud)
    • He then manages to lose track of Hen Wen by slipping into a daydream at the pool he stops by, letting her wander off without even noticing.
  • 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.
  • Fiery Redhead: Especially in the beginning, as Taran was easily restless and impatient.
  • 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?
  • Four-Temperament Ensemble: The melancholic, he’s brave and heroic, but also a dreamer with self-esteem issues.
  • 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 Gave My Word: Subverted. He initially refuses to have Hen Wen disclose where the black cauldron is because he promised Dalbin he'd never do so, but immediately relents when the horned king threatens to have Hen Wen killed.
  • 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, slightly arrogant and insensitive when it comes to Eilonwy, Taran proves to be a brave, heroic, and kind-hearted young man. Thanks to Character Development he matures into a Nice Guy.
  • Kid Hero: Only 14 and is The Hero.
  • Nice Guy: Near the end, after he matures, he acknowledges his failure as a warrior and does a selfless act when he chooses to attempt to jump into the Black Cauldron.
  • Official Couple: With Eilonwy.
  • Politically Incorrect Hero: Taran disregards Eilonwy's earlier help and advice simply because she's a girl and said so to her face, which upsets her. He realizes his mistake and apologizes for what he said.
  • Redhead In Green: A redhead who wears a green vest and pants.
  • Robbing the Dead: Taran takes the magic sword from the tomb of the king who built the Horned King's castle. Eilonwy is appalled by this, though Taran reasons that they need a weapon more than the deceased king does.
  • Significant Green-Eyed Redhead: He has red hair, green eyes, and is the hero of the story.
  • Small Name, Big Ego: Taran, at the beginning of the movie, is certain he's destined to be a great warrior, and after he gets his hands on a magic sword really starts thinking of himself as a bigshot hero. His Character Development mostly revolves around realizing just how fake that image he has of himself is.
  • Took a Level in Kindness: Taran starts off as a haughty, immature, and foolhardy boy who thinks he knows what he's doing. His adventures matures him into a selfless and calm young man at the end.
  • Ungrateful Bastard: After Eilonwy helps him escape the Horned King's castle and gives him useful info about the magical sword he found. Instead of thanking her, he's ticked off and angrily tells her off which she suddenly tears up. Then, it's subverted when he realizes he's in the wrong, he immediately apologizes and thanks her.
  • 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.
  • Wide Eyes and Shrunken Irises: Whenever facing something frightening, Taran's eyes go wide or his iris shrinks. Examples include the Witches threatening to eat his friends (Orgoch saying "Nice and tender" as she pinches the skin on Taran's arm) as well as the final confrontation with the Horned King.
  • Would Hit a Girl: Implied. He points his sword threateningly at the Witches when they mess around with Fflewddur.

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

A small, gopher-like creature that accompanies Taran.

  • Adaptational Attractiveness: From a Bigfoot-like monster in the original books to a Ridiculously Cute Critter in this movie.
  • Adaptational Nice Guy: Kind of. In the books he starts out as a lot more self-serving and even displays a slight vicious streak (if he's certain he's on the winning side), before he Takes A Level In Kindness due to his developing friendship with Taran. In the movie, while still not overly reliable at first, he's a lot more friendly from the get-go.
  • Adaptational Wimp: Not to a huge degree, and his overall personality is actually very close to how it was in the books, but the Gurgi of the books would occasionally try to fight and could even make a pretty big nuisance of himself when he wanted to.
  • Adaptation Species Change: In the books he's a shaggy, grimy, long-limbed Yeti-like beast; here he's a small, gopher-like creature.
  • Big Eater: He is always looking for "munchings and crunchings". When he first appears, he steals an apple from Taran and refuses to give it back.
  • Character Development: His adventures with his new friends transform Gurgi from a Dirty Coward to a Cowardly Lion.
  • Cowardly Lion: When he sacrifices himself to stop the Cauldron.
  • Dirty Coward: Runs away from battle whenever possible. Subverted at the end.
  • Disney Death: Heroic Sacrifice necessary? No worries when there are witches around to bring you back.
  • Four-Temperament Ensemble: The sanguine. He’s cheerful and friendly, but very flighty.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Jumps into the Cauldron to stop its power. He's brought back soon after.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: He's introduced as an annoying Dirty Coward and a thief but ultimately proves to be loyal when he sacrifices himself to destroy the Cauldron's power and save his friends.
  • Kid-Appeal Character: Annoying sidekick? Check. Comic relief? Check. Ridiculously Cute Critter? Check.
  • The Lancer: To Taran.
  • Leitmotif: A childlike and innocent theme.
  • Lovable Coward: Even though he's initially afraid, he gets better later on in the movie.
  • Non-Human Sidekick: He is kind of a fuzzy version of Gollum.
  • Ridiculously Cute Critter: Even though he starts out as a bit cowardly, he still has an adorable, cuddly apearance in the film.
  • Shipper on Deck: He's strongly in favor of Taran and Eilonwy becoming a couple.
  • Spanner in the Works: The Horned King succeeds in using the Black Cauldron to create the Cauldron-Born and send them to conquer the world, with Taran, Eilonwy and Fflewddur all securely tied up. Had Gurgi not sneaked inside the castle to free the heroes (Taran hadn't expected him to show up), the Horned King would have won. Taran intended to sacrifice himself to stop the army as soon as he was freed, but Gurgi beat him to the punch.
  • Third-Person Person: Gurgi always refers to himself in the third person.
  • Took a Level in Badass: His first scene shows him being a shameful coward when Taran asked for his help in getting into the Horned King's castle. Fast-forward to the climax, Gurgi calmly and willingly sacrifices himself to spare Taran's life.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: He has a huge fondness for apples.
  • Undying Loyalty: Slowly develops one for Taran.

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

A princess who was kidnapped by the Horned King; she's the deuteragonist of the movie.

  • Accidental Kiss: With Taran at the end.
  • Adaptational Nice Girl: She is a lot less abrasive and confrontational than in the books, where she is a Harsh type Tsundere as opposed to the Sweet type personality of this version.
  • Adaptational Wimp: While she does retain some of the spirit and attitude of her book counterpart, she's been heavily toned down from the overall Little Miss Badass and borderline-Fearless Fool (with occasional magical powers) she was in the books.
  • Adaptation Dye-Job: In the books, she had "red-gold hair", but she's outright blonde here.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: While she's a very nice girl, she is certainly no pushover, as Taran finds out.
  • Clingy MacGuffin: Her magic bauble.
  • Deuteragonist: She's the second main focus after Taran.
  • Everyone Has Standards: Her reaction to discovering that Taran committed grave robbery by stealing the magic sword from its owner's burial chamber is not exactly thrilled.
  • Four-Temperament Ensemble: Choleric. A spirited young lady with natural leadership abilities but a temper to match.
  • Friend to All Living Things: She even takes a liking to Gurgi.
  • Girliness Upgrade: Much more of a girly-girl than her more tomboyish book counterpart.
  • Gratuitous Princess: There is literally no reason for her to be a princess. It never comes up as something relevant, ever. She was highborn in the books, but an orphan, and earned her keep at Caer Dallben as a scullery maid. In the movie, the Horned King once even calls her "scullery maid", a reference to this.
  • Hair of Gold, Heart of Gold: Beautiful, young, good and has blonde hair.
  • Hime Cut: Her hair has characteristic side locks next to each ear, while the rest of it is in bangs or flows over her back all the way down to her waist. She notably is the only character with this type of hair style, and she is also the only character that's royalty.
  • 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.
  • Nice Girl: Brave, heroic, optimistic, and helpful.
  • Official Couple: With Taran.
  • Plucky Girl: She is very strong-willed and optimistic.
  • Princess Classic: Downplayed. She is a Damsel in Distress, a beautiful blonde, Friend to All Living Things and good seamstress, but she's also quite snippy, cynical, and temperamental.
  • Princesses Prefer Pink: Has some pink on her otherwise lilac dress.
  • Rebellious Princess: Quite ironically (since she is a forgotten character from an obscure Disney film), she is the first Disney chronological example of a princess with a rebellious attitude (like practically every female protagonist since then), who differs from the previous Proper Lady princesses.
  • Single Woman Seeks Good Man: She becomes an Official Couple with Taran after he takes a level in kindness and goes from a Jerk with a Heart of Gold into a selfless and kind young man.
  • Textile Work Is Feminine: She likes sewing.
  • Tomboy Princess: Although heavily watered down from her original characterization, which fits this more.
  • True Companions: With Taran and Gurgi.
  • Tsundere: The Sweet type. She's a kind person but has a bit of a temper when provoked.
  • Uptown Girl: She's a princess and becomes an Official Couple with Taran, a farm boy.

    Fflewddur Fflam
"Great Belin!"
Voiced by: Nigel Hawthorne Other voice actors

A self-styled bard and the tritagonist.

  • Adaptational Ugliness: In the original The Chronicles of Prydain novels, Fflewddur Fflam the bard is a 30-year-old man who is remarked as handsome, if unkempt. In this movie, Fflam is in his 50s with a potbelly.
  • 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.
  • Adaptation Personality Change: A good deal meeker and more awkward than his book counterpart.
  • Age Lift: In the first book, he was thirty, but he's at least a couple of decades older here.
  • 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 want to repossess the Cauldron, they must make an exchange of equal value back to the heroes.
  • Bewitched Amphibians: He's turned into a frog by Orgoch who then tries to eat him. Orwen rescues him and turns him back, only for Orgoch to turn him back again almost immediately. He then struggles to get out of Orwen's cleavage before she notices him and turns him back to human. He immediately afterwards catches a fly with his tongue, much to the witches' amusement.
  • 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.
  • Character Catchphrase: "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.
  • Did You Just Flip Off Cthulhu?: Fflewddur calls the three witches powerless, prompting them to resurrect Gurgi in exchange for the Cauldron.
  • 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: The Phlegmatic. He’s the peacekeeper of the group, but even more cowardly than Gurgi.
  • 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.
  • Mistaken for Spies: Why he is imprisoned in the Horned King's castle when Taran and Eilonwy meet him. No one except a spy would walk up to such a terrifying place, but a no name bard like Fflewddur is just that desperate for a paying gig.
  • 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.
  • Oh, My Gods!: "Great Belin!" Reminder that Belin is a Celtic sun god.
  • Older Sidekick: Much older than Kid Hero Taran and the other main characters.
  • 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.


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

Dallben is the greatest wizard in Prydain, the keeper of the oracular pig Hen Wen, Taran's adoptive father, and one of the supporting heroes.

  • Badass Bookworm: The Sierra game adaptation refers to him studying the Book of Three prior to the events of the film.
  • Big Good: Carries this role over from the books.
  • 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).
  • Informed Ability: He's called the "greatest wizard in Prydain", but his skills were never shown.
  • Lethal Chef: Implied. The gruel 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. In the manual for the game, it is stated that he found Taran in a forest near a battlefield, not knowing which of the slaughtered bodies were his parents.
  • So Proud of You: He says this at the ending about Taran's act of opting for Gurgi's resurrection over regaining the magic sword.
    "You did well, my boy."

    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.
  • The Chessmaster: In a moment of invokedFridge Brilliance right before the credits, it's revealed that Hen Wen has long foreseen events that would ensure the destruction of both the Cauldron and Horned King's power, and end to their threat to the land. What the viewer would attribute to the heroes' Idiot Ball is simply Dallben and her acting accordingly in line with this vision to ensure they are realized, and the protagonists come home safe and sound.
  • Escort Mission: One of your first tasks in the game is to deliver Hen Wen to Gwystyl. There is the chance that she will get kidnapped by the Gwythaints during this task.
  • 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 with enormous blue eyes, 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.

    Eidilleg and the Fair Folk
Voiced by: Arthur Malet (Eidilleg), John Byner (Doli) Other voice actors

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

  • Adaptational Jerkass: Doli is just as cantankerous, temperamental and rude as his literary counterpart, but where Doli of the books stuck with Taran and crew to the end, this Doli leaves them at their lowest point with a short "The Reason You Suck" Speech, whereupon his role in the movie is essentially over.
  • Adaptational Nice Guy: In the books, King Eidilleg is an extreme grouch and a Jerk with a Heart of Gold with a grudge against humans. In the movie, he's a mild-mannered and somewhat ineffective Nice Guy, probably to contrast better with Grumpy Old Man Doli.
  • Adaptation Species Change: True to legend, the Fair Folk in the books were hugely varied and had many different kinds. Doli, in particular, is specifically described as a dwarf. In the movie, they're all tiny winged creatures; (Tinker Bell even makes a brief, blink-and-you'll-miss-it cameo among them.)
  • Age Lift: Similar to Fflewddur, Doli looks a lot older here than he's described as in the books.
  • Demoted to Extra:
    • Doli is a major character in the books, even forming an Odd Friendship with Flewddur, but his role in the movie is pretty minor.
    • Gwystyl even moreso: he was the owner of Kaw, a recurring character in the books, and partook in the final battle in the fifth book. In the film, he was Adapted Out, but makes a brief appearance in the game if you get Hen Wen to safety.
  • Expy: Doli is the recycled character for Grumpy from Snow White because of their rough and sweet personality.
  • Grumpy Old Man: Doli is an old man and is the most cantankerous of the Fair Folk.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Doli is a rude and cantankerous old man who deep down cares more about people than he's willing to let on.
  • Light Is Good: They emit a glow and are on the side of good.
  • Nice Guy: King Eidilleg in contrast with Doli.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here: After the heroes have found the Black Cauldron and discovered they can't do anything with it, Doli loses his temper and leaves. He isn't seen again for the rest of the movie except for a brief appearance in the very last scene, where he's on Dallben's farm with Dallben and Hen Wen.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech:
    • They're collectively subject to one in a scene in which Eilonwy shames them into being helpful, which was unfortunately cut for time.
    • Doli delivers a short one to the main characters before he leaves them; "What a bunch of blundering misfits! Things just never work out when you're dealing with people! You can go back to feeding pigs! I've had it! Goodbye!"
  • Wacky Wayside Tribe: Cave-dwelling fairies who steer the heroes toward the Witches of Morva.


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

The main antagonist, the skull-faced Horned King is a centuries-old Sorcerous Overlord with A God Am I delusions, who seeks out the titular Black Cauldron, which he plans to use to turn all life into undead minions, so he can rule over them as a Physical God.

  • 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.
  • Ascended Extra: In The Chronicles of Prydain book series, he only appeared in the first book, where he was an agent of Arawn sent to capture Hen Wen, only to be killed by a bolt of lightning. Here, his role is expanded as the film's Big Bad.
  • Ax-Crazy: He's usually calm and collected. This is until he finally vents his hidden emotions. When he does it, you can read pure madness in his face.
  • Bad Boss: His default reaction to anything bad is to 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.
  • 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, as well as frequent appearances in mobile games.
  • The Chessmaster: Following the heroes' escape, the Horned King allows them to do for him the dirty work of finding the Black Cauldron, unaware that they're being followed.
  • Composite Character: The book's Arawn and the Horned King are combined into one in the movie.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: Comes in contact with the Black Cauldron, which causes his skin to be ripped off reducing him to a skeleton, and then said skeleton is vaporized.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Just in one scene where he taunts Taran, Eilonwy and Fflewddur Fflam as his prisoners. This is one of the few scenes where he shows a bit of sarcasm.
    The Horned King: My, such a brave and handsome crew. A pig-boy, a scullery maid, and a broken-down minstrel. Perhaps it may interest you to see what fate has in store for you.
    • Also when Taran is forced to make Hen Wen show the Cauldron's locations:
    The Horned King: That's better.
    • When Creeper joyously boasts that he's caught the pig boy, the Horned King answers in a rather dry tone, "But you let the pig go didn't you ?"
  • Defiant to the End: He struggles to the end as the Cauldron is sucking him in, even when he has just his bones left.
  • Dem Bones: Has a skeletal appearance to begin with, and is rendered completely fleshless during his death scene.
  • The Dreaded: All of his minions are terrified of the imposing, ruthless, and hideous Horned King. Everyone, including Taran, that sees the Horned King up close is almost paralyzed with fear. Considering he is essentially walking talking nightmare fuel, it is not hard to see why.
  • Dystopia Justifies the Means: Plans to have his Army of the Dead kill off all opposition and then have whatever remains to revere him as a deity.
  • Evil Brit: Courtesy of John Hurt.
  • Evil Counterpart: In his first scene, the Horned King is immersing himself in his vision of creating the Cauldron-Born and being worshiped as a god, while Taran daydreams several times about becoming a knight and a hero. They're both shown to be fairly unremarkable in spite of these aspirations and the amazing feats they do perform only happened because they were wielding powerful artifacts (artifacts that are themselves counterparts to each other). They also have cowardly and toady little sidekicks whom they don't respect (though Taran gets better about this); and in the end, they both fail to accomplish their goals (though Taran eventually acknowledges that he's a failure while the Horned King continues to proclaim his greatness right up to his death).
  • Evil Has A Bad Senseof Humour: When Creeper reveals that Taran has escaped, the King grunts with irritation and beckons Creeper over to strangle him. Creeper instead says "Allow me" and strangles himself, before the Horned King reveals that he is actually pleased that Taran escaped because he'll lead them to Hen Wen. So basically he was just screwing with Creeper for his own twisted amusement.
  • Evil Overlord: Of an abandoned castle.
  • Evil Sorcerer: He's implied to be this, though it's not shown much.
  • Evil Sounds Deep: He's a mix of both this and Evil Sounds Raspy, courtesy of John Hurt.
  • Family-Unfriendly Death: Probably the most brutal in the entire Disney canon.
  • Faux Affably Evil: He puts on a polite and reasonable act when he tells Taran to coax the cauldron's location from Hen Wen. When Taran tries to refuse, that mask shatters like the goblet in his hand.
  • A Glass in the Hand: When Taran refuses to make Hen Wen reveal the location of the Black Cauldron, the Horned King shatters the wine goblet he's holding, prompting his minions to blackmail Taran with a threat of Hen Wen's death.
  • 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.
  • Horned Humanoid: Well he is the Horned King (technically they're antlers) and not even remotely human-looking.
  • I Control My Minions Through...: Fear. When one looks like an undead sorcerer with horns, and is completely ruthless, he can be rather effective in terrifying everyone into submission. Even with informed abilities of magical prowess or fighting ability that he hasn't displayed, the Horned King still holds command over his battle-hardened minions. They do not question his orders because he is that horrifying in close proximity, and the Horned King is noted to be genuine nightmare fuel towards the audience. This enables him to delegate ruthless tasks, working through his minions, which makes him a major threat in Prydain, and allowed him to obtain the Black Cauldron.
  • Informed Ability:
    • Zigzagged. Everyone is deathly afraid of him, which would imply he has some sort of magical powers (and he does display some incredible Villain Teleportation during one scene); but he doesn't do much of anything in the movie other than give orders, shuffle around a bit, and growl.
    • During his final battle with Taran, he tries to physically off him, completely forgetting his magical abilities. Though this could be explained by his Villainous Breakdown.
  • Killed Off for Real: In an extremely graphic way by the Disney canon standards. He's skeletonized, and then his bones burst into flame and are finally disintegrated. His soul is presumably trapped in the Cauldron, which was specifically designed by the freakin' Gods to hold evil souls, suggesting he's probably not getting out any time soon, either.
  • 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 slowly become more and more ineffectual as time went on, villains in following films, regardless of tone, became much more threatening after his appearance. Coincidence?
  • Lean and Mean: The Horned King is tall and narrow, which makes his makes him look more like a corpse.
  • Load-Bearing Boss: His castle crumples down in a terrifying explosion just after his aforementioned gruesome death. Justified, the Black Cauldron acting as a suction, absorbs the surrounding area into its being once he dies.
  • MacGuffin Delivery Service: Following Taran's escape, the Horned King correctly predicts that the pig keeper would find Hen Wen and has the gwythaints trailing the heroes and leading the soldiers to them after they've found the Black Cauldron itself.
  • Meaningful Name: The antlers are obvious enough. But he notably does not display any significant combative ability; he delegates tasks like a real-life ruler, who happens to look like a skull-faced demon with horns and magical powers. He's called the Horned King after all.
  • The Mirror Shows Your True Self: The best ending in the Sierra game has Taran show him his reflection in a Magic Mirror which causes the Horned King to jump into the cauldron, killing himself in the process.
  • 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.
  • Near-Villain Victory: He succeeded in nabbing the Black Cauldron by tricking the heroes into searching it for him, having the heroes tied up to prevent any interference, and summoning the Cauldron's power to bring forth an undead army to lay chaos around all of Prydain (and presumably the rest of the world). If Gurgi hadn't arrived to the rescue by doing his Heroic Sacrifice, then the Horned King would've won.
  • Necromancer: Trope Codifier for animated films. The Cauldron Born is an undead army, and he reanimates them to serve him. For bonus points, he's undead himself;
    The Horned King: Now I call on my Army of the Dead; the Cauldron-Born! Arise, my messengers of death! Our time has arrived!
  • Non-Action Big Bad: He spends most of the movie giving orders, delegating tasks, and terrifying everyone around him by mere presence alone. He doesn't really get very involved in any of the action, physically or magically, and has his minions do most of the dirty work.
  • No Sense of Humor: Part of what makes him so menacing is that he quips and cracks jokes far less than most Disney villains.
  • Obviously Evil: You think?
  • Orcus on His Throne: He presides over a campaign of conquest that seems to have spread significantly across Prydain, with King Eideleid asking if "the burning and killing" is "still going on up there" and if anyone will ever stand up to the Horned King. Nevertheless, he never actually leaves his big, fancy castle over the course of the film. Dallban's vision does depict him riding on a steed however so presumably he's left the castle at some point to search for Hen Wen himself, which is a Shout-Out to the books in which it's stated that Arawn the Death Lord rode out of Annuvin in person to steal Hen Wen.
  • Our Liches Are Different: It's not clarified if he is some kind of demon or an ancient, undead man, but it's clear from his powers and aura that he's not entirely human to say the least.
  • Rank Scales with Asskicking: Downplayed, unusually for Disney villains. Aside from a very flashy teleportation, he never shows any powers independently of the cauldron. Despite his emaciated appearance, he's physically strong, able to lift Taran, a strong young boy as though he weighs no more than a feather and fling him towards the cauldron. Nevertheless, all Taran has to do is kick the King into the vacuum of the cauldron's pull and the cauldron does the rest for him.
  • Red and Black and Evil All Over: The Horned King wears a wine-colored robe and a very dark fur stole. He also has pitch-black eyes that turn red from darker emotions.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: In accordance with his delusions of godhood, he tries to act all calm and collected most of the time. However, whenever he is angry or excited, his violent emotions cause his pupils to flash red. At the end, when the Cauldron's power is destroyed, he completely snaps, trying to physically kill Taran by pushing him into the Cauldron, and his entire eyes are now flaring red.
  • Skull for a Head: The Horned King is a horned variation. While he's an undead evil sorcerer, the rest of his body looks quite normal (if we ignore the greenish rotting skin) compared to his positively skull-like head.
  • The Sociopath: He's an Omnicidal Maniac who plans on exterminating all living beings and oppressing anyone who survives.
  • 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 worshiped as a demigod.
  • Taking You with Me: As the Cauldron tries to suck him in, he throws Taran over to it, ensuring his life is claimed first. However, the Cauldron seems to be more interested in him...
  • Villainous Breakdown: When his carefully planned plan which he has been working on for literally hundreds of years go wrong, and his undead minions lose their life force and die, he completely loses it.
    The Horned King: Get up… COME ALIVE!… 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.
    • Early in the film, when Taran refuses to instruct Hen Wen to disclose the location of Black Cauldron, the Horned King claims that he has no use for Hen Wen in that case and orders his mooks to behead her (though this was mostly blackmail rather than a straight portrayal of this trope).

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

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. He's also made fun of by the soldiers at the mess hall.
  • Canon Foreigner: The only character in the film that wasn't in the books.
  • Character Tics: Creeper often keeps his right eye closed for some reason.
  • Deadpan Snarker: When he mocks the imprisoned heroes.
    "I'm sorry. I've ignored you. You did come for the Black Cauldron, didn't you? Good. Then climb in! Ha-ha! It will only cost you your life." [laughs mockingly]
  • The Dragon: Created to be a very ineffectual chief subordinate for the Horned King. Though he's made fun of by the other henchmen, they do obey his orders.
  • Evil Counterpart: To 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.
  • Evil Sounds Raspy: Creeper's voice is hoarse. Given how often he's seen getting strangled by the Horned King, that's likely to be expected.
  • Explain, Explain... Oh, Crap!: Inverted. After the Horned King is destroyed by the Black Cauldron, he momentarily mourns his master's death...before he realizes that his Bad Boss is gone forever and he's now free.
  • Karma Houdini: He's last seen flying away with the surviving gwythaint. But then, he might be able to live a better life now that his abusive master is dead.
  • Mad Eye: Creeper's right eye is smaller than his left eye.
  • Maniac Tongue: Creeper is a malicious creature of his own right, and the tongue he often sticks out showcases it.
  • 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-like creature who is this to the Horned King.
  • Our Goblins Are Different: He's never explicitly addressed as such, but his appearance and behaviour all call to mind a stereotypical fantasy goblin.
  • The Scapegoat: As stated above, the Horned King blames Creeper when something goes wrong, regardless of how reasonable that would actually be. The biggest example occurs when the undead army has suddenly collapsed; the Horned King starts choking Creeper, telling him to hope it wasn't his fault, and contemplating to reactive the Cauldron with Creeper's corpse. Creeper has been beside his master ever since the army rose; he couldn't have possibly done anything to cause the army to collapse!
  • Spell My Name with a "The": Often called "The Creeper" as if it is his title.
  • Sycophantic Servant: He always tries to please the Horned King. For what good it does him, he has the courtesy to choke himself whenever the King loses his temper, to keep his master from tiring out his joints. He ultimately has no real loyalty to the king however, as he becomes ecstatic once he realizes he's dead.
  • Uplifted Animal: He could be this, going by the French dub where everyone calls him a toad. Though it could just be insults.
  • Vile Villain, Laughable Lackey: Creeper is comically drawn (by comparison) and cowardly, but he routinely suffers the abuse of his terrifying boss.

    The Witches of Morva
"We have made a bargain!" (from left to right: Orwen, Orduu, Orgoch)
Voiced by: Eda Reiss Merin (Orddu), Adele Malis-Morey (Orwen), and Billie Hayes (Orgoch) Other voice actors

Three neutral witches that are infamous for making bargains, they sold the Black Cauldron for Taran's Magic Sword.

  • Abhorrent Admirer: Orwen toward Fflewddur, though to be fair, she is the most attractive and normal-looking of the three witches.
  • 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), and they look down on Arawn and what he does with their cauldron. Here they are presented as adversaries out to cheat the main characters.
  • All There in the Manual: Orwen goes unnamed until the end credits.
  • Alliterative Name: Orddu, Orwen, and Orgoch.
  • Ambiguously Human: Their control over life and death show they are on no same level as mortals or Dallben. They are supposed to be The Fair Folk. In the original stories they represent the version of the Fates from Greek and the Norns from Norse mythology. The three of them make up the mythological archetype of a Triple Goddess.
  • Ass Kicks You: When Orgoch is about to eat the frog Fflewddur, Orwen bumps her aside with her rear.
  • Batman Gambit: Desiring Taran's magic sword as well as wanting to keep the Black Cauldron, Orddu offers the Cauldron in exchange for the sword, counting on the notion that the heroes aren't going to use it, leaving both the Cauldron and the sword for the witches in the end. It almost succeeds, but Fflewddur uses Orddu's logic against them and pressures them to give something in exchange for the Cauldron.
  • Berserk Button: All three of them are undignified by Fflewddur's accusation of them having no real power, prompting them to prove him wrong by resurrecting Gurgi in exchange for the Cauldron.
  • Bewitched Amphibians: They have humans turned into frogs stored in a chest to eat them. After Taran inadvertently releases them, Orddu threatens to turn the heroes into frogs and eat them. Orgoch turns Fflewddur into a frog two times, but Orwen changes him back both times.
  • Big Beautiful Woman: Despite her large figure, Orwen is clearly the most attractive of her sisters. In the books, all three would turn into this by night.
  • Big, Thin, Short Trio: Orwen, Orddu and Orgoch in the respective order.
  • Canon Welding: Orddu helps incite it when Taran gives up his sword, according to Once Upon a Halloween. Their departure from Prydain and into the next is what allows the Black Cauldron to appear in the dungeon of the Evil Queen.
  • Evil Redhead: Downplayed. They all have red hair, but they're neutral jerks rather than outright villains. The hair of the least abrasive witch Orwen is a lighter shade of red.
  • 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 Fflewddur to insist that they compensate the heroes for it.
  • Hand Rubbing: Orgoch does this when the witches are about to take back the Black Cauldron.
  • The Hecate Sisters: Orddu is the Mother because she's the leader as well as manipulative; the flirtatious, romantic Orwen who's the least hideous both in appearance and personality is the Maiden; and the nearly manic Orgoch who scowls at Orwen's romanticism is the Crone. Though Orddu and Orwen have opposite physiques to what's usually portrayed with their respective archetypes, all three have voices that suit these roles.
  • Jerkass: They turn humans into frogs to eat them and care more about their own gain than others.
  • Nice Mean And In Between: Orwen is the least abrasive and has a genuinely soft spot for Fflewddur (Nice); Orgoch is quick-tempered and tries to eat Fflewddur almost immediately (Mean); and Orddu is willing to play nice to get her way (In-Between).
  • Really 700 Years Old: Orwen's comment reveals that they've possessed the Black Cauldron for over two millennia.
  • Sinister Schnoz: Both Orddu and Orgoch have a long, pointy nose. Averted with Orwen who's the nicest witch.
  • Town Girls: The flirtatious and romance-loving Orwen is the Femme, the violence-loving and abrasive Orgoch is the Butch, and the Team Mom Orddu is the Neither.

Voiced by: Pat Fraley

Two wyvern-like creatures that serve as the Horned King's flying scouts.

    Horned King's soldiers 
Voiced by: Peter Renaday, James Almanzar, Wayne Allwine, Phil Fondacaro, Steve Hale, Phil Nibbelink, Jack Laing Other voice actors

An army of barbaric soldiers who serve the Horned King. They act as minor antagonists during the film.

  • Adaptational Wimp: Their equivalents in the books are the Huntsmen of Annuvin, the main army used by Arawn. If you kill one of them, his strength transfers to the rest, making each one stronger than the last. This makes them Elite Mooks as dangerous as the Cauldron-Born. In the film however, they are just the standard fare D&D style berserkers who are no match to the Cauldron-Born.
  • Aside Glance: When Fflewddur in his first scene tries to appeal to the guard tying him up by calling him "an intelligent sort of chap", the (dumb-looking) guard turns to look at the audience with a confused expression.
  • The Brute: They are barbaric musclemen of the Big Bad until the Cauldron Born come into the picture.
  • Creator Cameo: The red-headed henchman who shakes Creeper for falling in his food is apparently a self-caricature of animator Phil Nibbelink.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Though they fear the Horned King, they have no problems with carrying out his orders... until the Cauldron-Born are created and start killing them off, prompting the soldiers to flee.
  • Family-Unfriendly Death: Some of them are slaughtered by the Cauldron Born. Those scenes were actually cut to keep them from getting an R rating. In one cutscene, one of the soldiers is gruesomely dissolved by the Cauldron's green mist until there's nothing but bones left.
  • The Guards Must Be Crazy: The first guard introduced is napping while Taran first sneaks into the castle. An angry guard dog viciously barks at the boy, forcing him against the wall and waking the guard up. The drowsy guard fails to notice Taran, assumes the dog to be barking at nothing and drags it with him for a round.
  • Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy: They throw axes and spears at Taran and Eilonwy, yet they cannot even cause a scratch on them, even when the two kids are backed against the raised drawbridge.
  • Jerkass: They are vile to the good guys and like to pick on Creeper.
  • Mooks: Strongmen of the Horned King until the Cauldron Born are created.
  • Oh, Crap!: They get a collective one when the Horned King teleports to the throne room. Witnessing the magic sword at play also shocks them. And the Cauldron-Born arising terrifies them.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here: When the Cauldron Born are created and start killing the living people off, the soldiers flee for their lives.
  • Villains Out Shopping: They (excluding the guard whose angry guard dog nearly gives Taran away) are first shown feasting in the throne room, having fun with drinking, games and watching a grotesque Esmeralda Expy dance. The Horned King's abrupt entrance puts an utter stop to the mood.

    The Cauldron Born

The unstoppable army of the undead which the Horned King creates by using the Black Cauldron to animate the skeletons of dead warriors stored in his castle.

  • Adaptation Species Change: A variant. The Cauldron Born of the book series were zombie warriors rather than reanimated skeletons.
  • Adaptational Wimp: The Cauldron Born of the book series continued existing as strong as before after the Black Cauldron was destroyed, meeting their demise in the final book. Their movie counterparts turn lifeless the moment Gurgi throws himself into the Cauldron.
  • Animate Dead: They're for most of the movie just skeletons of long-dead warriors, but the Cauldron's power resurrects them as mindless minions.
  • The Dead Have Eyes: The Cauldron Born are for the most part drawn with empty eye sockets, but the first one emerging from the mist has tiny spots in the blackness of the sockets. Also, the three skeletons attacking a couple of guards in a diving motion have black pupils with greenish scleras. Also, a scene used only in a teaser portrays one Cauldron Born actually having in a black socket an iris as well as a pupil.
  • Deadly Lunge: The three Cauldron Born first emerging from the mist jump in a diving motion onto some of the living guards closest to them, killing them off-screen.
  • Dem Bones: They are all walking skeletons of dead soldiers.
  • Elite Mooks: They're powerful enough to be used in conquering the world, which is why the Horned King wants to replace his unreliable living warriors with the Cauldron Born.
  • Keystone Army: As soon as the Cauldron's power is destroyed, the entire skeleton army crumbles.
  • Implacable Man: They are treated as unstoppable fighters, and the only known way to stop them is to destroy the Cauldron's power through self-sacrifice.
  • Night of the Living Mooks: They're mindless and unstoppable skeletal warriors that exist only to do the bidding of their summoner, who wants to conquer the world.
  • Sickly Green Glow: They're brought to life by a glowing green mist pouring from the Cauldron, and they're enveloped by it until the Cauldron's power is undone.
  • Warrior Undead: They're the animated husks of ancient warriors, reanimated into an unstoppable undead army intended to conquer the world.
  • Zombie Gait: They advance from the Horned King's castle by walking slowly and with a hunch.

    Evil Spirit of the Black Cauldron
"There, his demonic spirit was captured in the form of a great Black Cauldron."
Voiced by: Corey Burton (Once Upon a Halloween)

The evil king who was thrown alive into molten iron that was used to forge the Black Cauldron. His spirit remained trapped inside it, and his face was engraved upon it. He's implied to be the movie's equivalent of Arawn, the main antagonist of the original The Chronicles of Prydain series.

  • Artifact of Doom: Became one when he was thrown into the crucible.
  • Bad Guys Do the Dirty Work: The Horned King ends up dying by being forcefully pulled into the Cauldron by the evil spirit.
  • Canon Welding: Not to the books, but in the Disney Animated Canon. It is implied by the direct to DVD film Once Upon a Halloween that the cauldron is still around, in the dungeon of the Evil Queen.
  • Demoted to Extra: If he's really Arawn, the overall Big Bad of the book series, then he's nothing more than the Greater-Scope Villain of this movie.
  • The Dreaded: He was in life so cruel and evil that he was feared even by the local gods.
  • Dying Curse: In the original storyboards for the opening and in the Sierra manual, his death is given in a more gruesome detail stating that as his essence dissolved with the red-hot iron, the evil king cursed, "My power will not die; 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."
  • Greater-Scope Villain: He's the very reason for the existence of the Black Cauldron, the object the Horned King wants to use to take over the world. Thanks to the aforementioned Canon Welding, he also becomes one for Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, being the cauldron used to create the Sleeping Death.
  • Leaking Can of Evil: When the Cauldron's power is undone, it suddenly starts sucking air into itself in a powerful gust, implying that the evil spirit wants to take down anyone while it still can. The wind's power increases when the Horned King enters the chamber, as if the Cauldron wants him especially.
  • Made of Indestructium: Unlike its book counterpart, the Cauldron cannot be destroyed, merely robbed of its powers. After Gurgi does that through self-sacrifice, the Cauldron glows like melting metal as it falls into the depths the Horned King's crumbling castle. However, it afterwards appears completely unharmed from the water.
  • Manly Facial Hair: The king's face has a mustache that gives him an air of regality and intimidation.
  • Nightmare Face: The king's face engraved onto the Cauldron has a cold expression, but right before the Horned King is destroyed by the Cauldron, the surface around the face glows red, making the king's gaze even more scary.
  • The Punishment: The evil king couldn't be contained by a conventional prison, so he was thrown alive into molten iron, and his soul remained forever trapped in the cauldron that was forged out of it.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: In a great iron cauldron that can be used to create implacable, deathless warriors.
  • Spared by the Adaptation: It's indestructible in the movie, but is utterly annihilated in the books when the fallen Prince Ellidyr throws himself into it. A paradox ensues. It's supposed to reanimate the dead, but it can't reanimate the living, so it tries to reanimate Ellidyr, but it can't; it just killed him. The cauldron explodes, leaving nothing but a crater and Ellidyr's lifeless body behind.
  • Suddenly Voiced: Although only in Once Upon a Halloween.