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Comic Book / Arawn

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Monster, demon, abomination. Men imagine that I am the devil. But what do they know of the king of hell? What do they know of good and evil? My name is Arawn. I am the lord of Burning Lands. The king of the underworld. The ruler of the dead. Humans fear me. They're right. I do not know pity. I despise weakness. I am the God of Wrath. The Avenging God... But it was not always this way. I was a man once, born from my mother's belly...

Les chroniques d'Arawn is a French comic book written by Ronan le Breton and drawn by Sebastian Grenier originally published in the pages of the Heavy Metal magazine. Its loosely based on Celtic Mythology and tells the tragic story of Death-Lord Arawn, an Evil Overlord that has thoroughly conquered the land and how he came to be the way he is.

The unwanted son of an amazon named Siahm, he and his half-brothers were trained as a warriors and each one of them acquired magic artifacts, with Arawn gaining a Cauldron of Blood, an unholy relic with unspeakable powers and has a mind of its own. With each of Siahm's sons parting ways and gaining their own kingdoms, Arawn's older brother Math turns into a ruthless tyrant who utterly destroys all those that stand in his way and also desires Arawn's cauldron for himself. Things go From Bad to Worse when Math kidnaps Arawn's wife Deirdre (who is also pregnant with his child) and holds her hostage until his brother surrenders his cauldron in exchange for her return. An all-out war between siblings erupts, which ends up causing everyone whom Arawn knew turning against him because of a prophecy his mother had about all of her children dying and one of them (believed to be Arawn) turning evil. So naturally, Arawn decides that he might as well be the monster everyone think he is and make the prophecy come true...


The comic has been published in both French and English languages and ran for six volumes, though its schedule has been irregular.

Arawn contains examples of the following tropes:

  • Action Mom: Giving birth to four kids hasn't hampered Siahm's skill with the sword, as she succeeds in killing several werewolves.
  • Always Identical Twins: The four sons of Siahm are two sets of identical twins spawned from a different father. Math and Kern were the sons of her husband Dag, Arawn and Engus were the sons of her rapist Bran. Each one looks identical both to their twin and their sire.
  • Animal Motifs: Arawn and Engus resemble wolves; Math and Kern resemble lions.
  • Anticlimax:
    • Math is built up as Arawn's Arch-Enemy, having played a huge hand in the events that turned his brother in the Death-Lord he is now. However, Math dies on Volume 5 in the most pathetic way possible: a broken shell of his former self on his throne, struck down by his own mother rather than Arawn.
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    • Engus after becoming a god and leading a destructive campaign of conquest upon the land. He goes down without a fight or any epic confrontation, being merely confronted in his room, dragged before his army and decapitated without ceremony.
  • Artifact of Doom: The Cauldron is a powerful item giving its owner the power to summon demons and the undead, heal grievous injuries such as as dismembered limbs, but it can also corrupt people into desiring it. Its a completely evil son of a bitch to booth that causes so much disgrace and misery that the One Ring would probably feel jealous.
  • Asshole Victim: Math and Engus suffer a Fate Worse than Death at the end of the story. Nobody will shed a tear for the lunatic tyrants that raped and murdered innocents in their wake. Arawn himself thinks that it will never be enough punishment fitting for them.
  • As You Know: Due to the story being a Framing Device that Arawn has his entire life story told to his lieutenant Owen, including bits that didn't need to be told to him given his knowledge before hand, if it wasn't done for the audience's sake.
  • Authority Equals Asskicking: Arawn and all his brothers become kings and they are all powerful warriors in their own right.
  • Ax-Crazy: Math could qualify as an almost literal example, since he is an axe-wielding insane warlord with no reservations about killing innocent women and children.
  • An Axe to Grind: The Sun Axe is Math's indestructible weapon, capable of shattering almost any weapon with its blows.
  • Back from the Dead:
    • The Cauldron is able to revive the recently deceased by dumping their bodies inside of it.
    • Arawn himself gains this power after rising as a dark lord, using it to revive the recently deceased by feeding them his blood. With that said, it has its limits and it can't bring back those that died a long time ago such as Deirdre.
    • Kern is brought back to life as a god himself and Arawn spends his time killing him every day, only for him to be resurrected in the next day.
  • Bastard Bastard: Siahm's illegitimate children from Bran's rape end up turning into this trope.
    • Arawn gets crap dumped all his life for being The Unfavorite until he reaches a breaking point with everyone he knows betraying him and taking those he loves the most away. It culminates with him becoming a Death-Lord devoid of any compassion.
    • Though Engus was not mistreated as his brother, he ends up turning into his trope later in life when he turns into a degenerate hedonist that pulls orgies in his hold. Then he is turned into a Physical God by the Cauldron and becomes even worse than before. The fact he has no Freudian Excuse to justify this makes him a bigger figurative bastard than Arawn.
  • Beat Still, My Heart: Arawn has removed his own heart after Deirdre's death. He keeps it in a platform where it bleeds forever without stopping, creating a massive lake of blood.
  • Berserk Button: Do not make fun of Math's father dying in his bed at Bran's hands. Engus did it and Math plummeted him so badly that he would have died if Arawn hasn't stepped in.
  • Big Bad: The Cauldron of Blood is the closest thing to the role; not only Arawn's downfall was caused by its machinations, but when you get down to it, nearly every bad thing that happened in the story can be traced back to it.
  • Big Brother Bully: Math is this trope taken to extreme degrees towards Arawn.
  • Black-and-Gray Morality: It's pretty hard to pin point which side is the most "grey", but its a pretty accurate assessment to say nobody on either side comes out clean.
  • "Blind Idiot" Translation: The English translation of the comic (originally published in French) is rather crude, especially when it comes to missing articles ("a", "the").
  • Blood Magic: After becoming a living god, Arawn can use his blood to bring people Back from the Dead.
  • Broke Your Arm Punching Out Cthulhu: Owen manages to destroy the godlike demon spawned from the Cauldron of Blood, who even the pantheon of gods had trouble dealing with, by destroying the Cauldron itself with Math's Sun Axe. He ends up dying in the resulting explosion, but is later resurrected by Arawn.
  • Butt-Monkey: Owen. For starters, he is reduced to a decapitated head who lives in constant torment at Arawn's hands for his betrayal. And as Arawn's tale shows, he was constantly disrespected, berated and slapped by others. But then again, given the kind of stuff he pulled, he deserved it though he kinda redeems himself by throwing down his life to destroy the Cauldron.
  • Cain and Abel: Oooh boy. Where do we get started?
    • The most prominent deadly rivalry is between Math and Arawn for possession of the Cauldron, driving the former to utterly ruin the latter's life and push him down the dark path. While Arawn is ultimately robbed of personally killing Math, he makes sure to torture his sibling in the Underworld for the rest of time.
    • Kern seems to be the only one in good terms with all his brothers until he too is tempted by the Cauldron and tricked into sacrificing Engus to the Cauldron in order to become a god. The joke was on him, since it was Engus who rose as a god at the end an promptly killed Kern in retaliation. At the end of the series, Kern is resurrected as a god himself named Kernunos, leaving him as Arawn's only surviving sibling. Arawn tries to kill him in revenge for playing his part in taking Deirdre from him, but he is always brought back to life every night.
    • Engus himself, despite being Arawn's blood brother, also ends up partaking in this trope when he becomes a god and usurps the Cauldron's power from him. Engus actually succeeds in killing him in a duel, but just like his own example above, Arawn is resurrected by the Cauldron and returns the favor by killing him and taking his soul to be tortured alongside Math forever.
  • The Caligula:
    • Math is an insane, power-hungry brute who lusts after the Cauldron's power and goes to war with his brother just to possess it.
    • Engus turns out into a decadent degenerate who holds non-stop orgies in his throne room. By the way, one of the girls brought before him looks no older than ten. He becomes even worse after gaining the Cauldron's power, having an army of demons at his back and call, and fueling the Cauldron with the souls of the innocents.
  • Came Back Wrong: Deirdre, when Arawn tries to bring her back to life with his blood, she returns as an Empty Shell, a living body without a soul.
  • Chainmail Bikini: Any female fighter will be invariably "dressed" this way.
  • Child by Rape: Arawn and his twin brother Engus were conceived from Siahm's rape by Bran.
  • Combat by Champion:
    • Unlike his brothers, Kern gained his crown with the most minimal bloodshed, by simply challenged his rival into a duel and winning.
    • Later on, Arawn challenges his brother Engus to a duel to the death for control of their armies. Arawn deliberately hands over his black sword to his rival, because its enchanted to not harm its owner. Except the Cauldron removes the enchantment allowing Engus to kill his brother effortlessly. Prick.
  • Cool vs. Awesome: Most of the major battles include various fantasy monsters. Though perhaps taking the cake is The Legions of Hell versus Night of the Living Mooks.
  • The Corrupter: The Cauldron pushed Arawn's brothers to madness in pursuit for power, primarily Math and Engus.
  • Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: The Cauldron switches owners very frequently and is constantly whispering promises to those next who can provide more souls to it.
  • Damsel in Distress: Deirdre.
  • Death Glare: Rather than screaming or crying, Siahm simply glared silently at Bran while he raped her.
  • Death of a Child: Kids are not safe from onscreen deaths, one of Math's infamous moments was murdering the children of the king he dethroned just to prevent any future rebellions, and also his own nephew Gwern (Arawn's son) out of sheer spite.
  • Deconstructed Character Archetype: The comic is a deconstruction of the Evil Overlord. Arawn, sitting atop his skull-adorned throne in Scary Impractical Armor, introduces himself as the immortal demon god of death, lives in an Evil Tower of Ominousness in a burning wasteland, and rules over an army of hellspawn monsters and undead soldiers who mindlessly obey his every word. However, he Was Once a Man, and relates his long and sad life story of what it took for him to become such a figure of pure evil. The answer involves irrevocable prophecies, evil artifacts, divine intervention, and decades of warfare between him and his three warrior brothers. Also, despite his immense power, he never got what he really wanted, since even with his mastery over life and death he cannot truly bring back the woman he once loved.
  • Deity of Human Origin:
    • The main protagonist became a god of his own right after being possessed by the Cauldron and absorbing the essence of two gods. He may probably double as a Demon of Human Origin too.
    • Kern is resurrected as the god Kernunnos at the end of the story.
  • Demon of Human Origin: The main character became the King of Hell, but he was once human. This came about after he was possessed by an actual demon who then absorbed the energy of a Physical Goddess but was killed when his Soul Jar was destroyed, leaving Arawn with their combined power.
  • Despair Event Horizon:
    • After Math kidnaps Deirdre and their unborn child and his cauldron is stolen by Kern, Arawn turned into an Empty Shell holed up inside his ruin castle to grieve while his kingdom is torn apart by his vassals. It takes Deirdre's death for him to get out of his despair and seek revenge.
    • Deirdre crosses this too when Math kills Gwern, her son with Arawn.
    • Math himself is also swallowed by despair following the deaths of his own son Duncan and Deirdre, even though he killed her in revenge for their son.
  • Dirty Coward: What exactly made Owen betray Arawn? He handed over the Cauldron to Kern, ruining any chance of saving Deirdre when she is captured by Math.
  • Divine Conflict: The demon created from the Cauldron of Blood eventually devours so many souls that its powers are on equal footing with the gods. Then he kills and absorbs the goddess of war, which angers the rest of the divine pantheon enough to make them join their forces and fight him. They are actually on the losing end until Owen destroys the Cauldron itself.
  • Downer Ending: It's a Foregone Conclusion. Arawn is left as a tormented and damned undead ruling over the underworld and unable to bring his wife back to life.
  • Driven to Suicide: Deirdre tries to slit her wrists after Arawn had brutally murdered her husband, but she is stopped.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Pretty much every major character is either a murderer or an outright Ax-Crazy warlord but has this as their only redeeming trait. Brothers Math and Kern are at least loyal to each other, the amazon warrior Siahm loved her own mother as well as her husband Dag, the rapist Bran had his older brother and father to look up to, Arawn and Math both love their sons, Arawn was driven by his love for Deirdre, etc.
  • Everybody Hates Hades: Granted that this comic makes him a sympathetic villain, but in actual mythology Arawn really isn't a bad guy at all.
  • Evil Is Not a Toy: Anyone who thinks they can somehow control the Cauldron of Blood is a misguided fool. It may offer its current owner great power, but it's always on the look-out for a new Master and its only real goal is to acquire as many souls as possible for itself to feast on.
  • Evil Overlord: Guess who? Though to be fair, he has a sympathetic backstory.
  • Evil Tower of Ominousness: The main character is an Evil Overlord, so it shouldn't be a surprise that he calls a giant scary tower his home. We eventually learn that it's actually built from the bones of a slain goddess.
  • Evil Uncle: Fenris tries to usurp his nephew Arawn's throne after he's become an Evil Overlord. Of course, since he's already a virtual deity by this point, Fenris' insurrection is squashed pretty quickly.
  • Exposed to the Elements: Justified Trope. This gets lampshaded by the decapitated head of his former friend that Arawn is recounting his life story to. His mother Siahm was an amazonian warrior, the Last of Her Kind, who always walked around in a Chainmail Bikini, even in the middle of winter. This was because of a magic spell that she used to prolong her life and protect her body from the elements.
  • Fanservice: Goes both ways with loads of muscled and ripped men and busty and curvy women. Hey, this was a Heavy Metal title.
  • The Farmer and the Viper: Arawn's father Bran repaid Dag's hospitality by killing him in his sleep, trying to sacrifice his sons Math and Kern and raping his wife Siahm besides Dag's corpse, which ended up conceiving Arawn and Engus.
  • Fate Worse than Death: The ultimate fates of Math and Engus are eternal torture at the hands of the brother they betrayed: the former has his body forever quartered for all eternity and the latter has his still-alive decapitated head impaled in front of a mirror with his eyelids removed for all eternity.
  • Fisher King: After Deirdre became Math's hostage and forced wife, Arawn retreats to his castle and becomes a complete shut-in, with his kingdom falling apart as result of his despair.
  • Foregone Conclusion: The first issue already establishes Deirdre's death and Owen's betrayal. Also its kinda obvious that since he is fated to become an dark lord, Arawn's survival is pretty much guaranteed.
  • For the Evulz: The Cauldron has no long-term end goal other than devouring souls and is constantly searching for people to corrupt who can provide him with victims, it doesn't matter how many owners he screws over, the bastard. Of course, this is because he was created as a Made of Evil artifact to begin with.
  • Framing Device: The whole comic is narrated by Arawn himself to the decapitated head of his lieutenant Owen.
  • Freudian Excuse: Math's father was killed by a man who raped his mom, and much of his madness is attributed to the Cauldron. Whether the audience buys it or not is up to them.
  • Giant Flyer: Siahm traveled to her son Math's castle when she felt the end of his reign was near on a giant eagle. It was killed right when she arrived by a hail of arrows.
  • Glowing Eyes of Doom: Siahm and her children have the power of manifest these during a fight.
  • Gorn: It's extremely rare to find a clean death without High-Pressure Blood flowing around or body parts spread all over the room.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: Math really wants Arawn's cauldron and couldn't get over the fact that The Unfavorite got the best relic of all their brothers. This ends up being his undoing.
  • The Heavy: Math is the most prominent antagonist in the series, since his murderous rivalry with Arawn drives the plot, but he is under the influence of the Black Cauldron, who is the real Big Bad.
  • The Hedonist: Engus becomes an extremely debauched hedonist after he and his three brothers retreat to their individual kingdoms, spending his time doing nothing but drinking and holding orgies in his throne room. He even has a little girl brought before him, but thankfully we don't see what happens next.
  • Hell Hound: Arawn always had a connection to wolves, but they don't start to fit this trope until he becomes an Evil Overlord and resurrects the last two wolves from his pack as his personal pets with glowing red eyes.
  • Heroes Want Redheads: Well, anti-heroes at any rate, but Deirdre is the only woman our protagonist ever loved.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Pulled by the most unexpected people of all: Owen destroys the Black Cauldron with the Sun Axe at the cost of its own life.
  • Honest Advisor: Owen used to be one to Arawn, believe it or not. His chronological Establishing Character Moment was telling Arawn to watch himself around Cymru's court since he is in a den of wolves.
  • Hope Spot:
    • When it looks like Deirdre might be returned to Arawn when he decides to exchange an imprisoned Math for his wife. But then Math beckons his sun axe back and grabs Deirdre again and Kern returns with the Cauldron in hand.
    • Arawn is advised to hand over his black sword to his rival since the weapon is enchanted to not harm him. The Cauldron removed it and allows his enemy to kill Arawn with his sword.
    • Arawn finds out his blood has the power to resurrect the dead after becoming a Evil Overlord, which he uses on his fallen comrades that died in combat. So logically, he tries to use it on Deirdre... Only to find out her body has become an Empty Shell and her soul is long gone.
  • Human Sacrifice: The Cauldron constantly demand that its owners give them souls.
  • Karma Houdini: Siahm, who does a lot of questionable decisions (such as siding with Math when he kidnaps Deirdre, even though he raped his sister-in-law and is clearly driven insane driven by his desire to have Arawn's cauldron), but she survives the events of the series.
  • Kill the God:
    • A resurrected Arawn managed to kill Morrigan, the Celtic Goddess of War and stole her godly power.
    • As lord of the underworld, Arawn ventures into the forest each year to kill his deified brother Kern, but he is resurrected each time by the mother goddess.
  • A Lady on Each Arm: Arawn is shown this way in one of the later albums after he's become an Evil Overlord, with a female demon on either side of his throne.
  • Last of Her Kind: Siahm and her mother were the only two amazons who survived the destruction of their tribe. Eventually her mother passed away as well, leaving her as the last amazon.
  • Light Is Not Good: Math wields the Sun Axe, a weapon evocative of light, while being a power-hungry monster who manages to be even worse than his little brother Arawn.
  • Losing Your Head: Arawn has cut off Owen's head many years ago, but he's still alive and talking to him. This is because Arawn, as the Lord of the Dead, can render any part of a person immortal.
  • Lovecraftian Superpower: After becoming the god of death thanks to the Cauldron of Blood, Arawn is able to spontaneously summon black tentacles from his body.
  • Love at First Sight: Arawn fell in love with Deirdre in the moment he laid eyes on her. She didn't return the favor at first, since he had taken her as his wife right after usurping her husband's throne. Probably the only reason why she fell in love with him at all is because he didn't exercise the Marital Rape License.
  • Manipulative Bastard: The Cauldron of Blood turns all sides against the middle and themselves, seducing Arawn and his brothers with ultimate power and godhood, only to betray them when it's convenient. But what really makes it qualify is that despite its blatantly treasonous nature, nobody so far figured out it is the real threat or done anything to stop it, as it continues to play everyone like a fiddle. With that said, the moment someone (Owen) realizes the danger it represents and decides to do something about it, the Cauldron's demise was imminent.
  • Marital Rape License: Subverted when Deirdre becomes Arawn's wife by right of conquest after he murdered her husband and took over his kingdom. Naturally she despises him and pushes him away when he tries making a move. Arawn rips her dress and attempts to force himself on her, but he refrains from doing so as he prefers that she gave her consent. She eventually does after rejecting him for a few weeks.
  • Mother Nature: After everything is over, Siahm goes to live in the forest where she is protected from Arawn's wrath by the goddess of nature, fertility, and women. She also resurrects Kern as a forest god each time Arawn tries to kill him in revenge.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Siahm. Most women tend to be fanservicey, but she is the one to receive most attention in the story, being frequently depicted partially or fully naked. Even when she is covered, her outfits are really skin-tight.
  • Mystical White Hair: Siahm is a white-haired pretty girl, just like the rest of her Amazon tribe. She also possesses some limited magical power, being able to extend her own lifespan.
  • Noble Wolf: Arawn was nursed by an albino she-wolf named Sohrja. Sadly, she becomes the first of Math's many victims after being corrupted by the Cauldron. Her remaining wolf pack still follows Arawn and one of the few creatures that are unwavering loyal to him.
  • Offing the Offspring:
    • Siahm leaves Arawn to die as a baby in the forest, but he survives after being cared and nursed by a she-wolf.
    • She ends up personally killing Math, after he crossed the Despair Event Horizon.
    • Deirdre kills her innocent son Duncan in revenge for Gwern's death.
  • One-Winged Angel: It happens to Arawn when he becomes a giant infused with the Cauldron's power to fight Morrigan.
  • Orcus on His Throne: The comic's notion of kingship—before and after death—seems to involve extended brooding on a raised throne and not much else. It might or might not involve naked women at the foot of it, facing away from you (which, frankly, seems backwards).
  • Our Liches Are Different: After Fenris is killed by Siahm, he resurrects himself as a walking skeleton but retains his magical powers.
  • Outliving One's Offspring:
    • One of Siahm's greatest fears was seeing all her children dying. And they all do with one of them dying by her own hand, though Arawn and Kern are resurrected.
    • Arawn and Deirdre outlive their son Gwern, who is murdered by his uncle/stepfather Math.
    • Math's son Duncan is murdered by Deirdre and then fed to him as a Revenge by Proxy for his previous murder of Gwern.
  • Parental Favoritism: It's clear that Siahm prefers her legitimate children with her deceased husband Dag over the bastard children born from Bran's rape, even siding with them with they declare war on each other, nevermind that the one who started it was Math.
  • Physical God: The gods are physical entities, and can be killed by beings of equal power.
  • Please Kill Me If It Satisfies You: Arawn finally wins Deirdre's heart by telling her that he loves her so much that he is willing to put his life in her hands, then offers her a knife and asks her to either kill him if she really hates him that much, or accept him. While she's tempted, she instead falls into his arms, moved by his declaration of love.
  • Post-Climax Confrontation: After the deaths of Math and Engus, as well as the Cauldron being destroyed, all threats and torments Arawn has faced are seemingly defeated. But then his uncle Fenris tried to usurp his power, but fails spectacularly and gets killed for his troubles.
  • Prophecy Twist:
    • According to Siahm's prophecy, one of her sons will become all powerful, which she believes to be Math. Turns out every single one of her children end up becoming all-powerful at some point... Except for Math, who is reduced to a broken shell of his former self caused by his madness.
    • It also claimed that all of her children would end up dying. They indeed all do, but Arawn and Kern are brought back to life as deities.
  • Protagonist Journey to Villain: The entire comic is about Arawn relating his life story to explain how he went from an ordinary human to the demonic Evil Overlord of the underworld.
  • Protagonist Title: Arawn is the lead character and the narrator.
  • Raised by Wolves: Downplayed. Arawn was initially left out in the freezing cold to die by his mother Siahm, but he was nursed back to health by a she-wolf who become a surrogate mother to him. However, he spend his youth living with both his human and wolf relatives.
  • Rape and Revenge: Siahm was raped by Bran after he killed her husband Dag. She immediately killed him after freeing herself.
  • Rape as Drama:
    • Siahm is raped by Bran right next to her husband's corpse.
    • Deirdre by Math, after her own wedding ceremony no less. When she is kidnapped by him and kept as a hostage, she ends up being forced to carry his son.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: Arawn, as you can see in the picture above.
  • Redemption Equals Death: Subverted. For having a playing his part in giving up Deirdre to Math due to his cowardice, Owen makes it up by sacrificing his own life to destroy the Cauldron of Blood with the Sun Axe. It was thanks to this that Arawn decides to resurrect him shortly afterwards.
  • Red Right Hand:
    • Arawn was born without genitals which Siahm thought marked him as who would betray all others. He gains them once he bathes on the Cauldron for the first time. Unfortunately he is hit with his trope again, after Math strikes the left side of his face with his axe, blinding him in one eye and giving him a disfiguring scar.
    • His uncle Fenris also has a similar scar in his left side, though it was cased by a swamp monster slashing his face.
  • Revenge by Proxy: After her son with Arawn is murdered by Math Deirdre takes revenge on him by murdering their son Duncan, chopping him into pieces and serving his body as meat for their husband to eat.
  • Sanity Slippage: Math was not always stable, but the desire for the Cauldron pushes him more and more towards madness. After the deaths of Duncan and Deirdre, he turns into a raving lunatic who hallucinates with their ghosts and thinks his subjects are conspiring to have him killed, such as killing a bedwarmer sent to his chamber because he thinks she was sent to kill him.
  • Screw Destiny: Siahm wants to at least stop all her children from dying, and at least have one become a god. At the end, she decides to take matters into her own hands and slays Math after he became a shadow of himself.
  • Shout-Out: Arawn's collection of enemy skulls seems to include a Predator. Which is hilariously ironic when you think about it.
  • Sirens Are Mermaids: As part of his trial of water, Arawn is captured by a monstrous mermaid who petrifies and devours men. He manages to turn her power against herself before smashing her face into a thousand fragments.
  • Soul Jar: The Cauldron of Blood serves as one for the demon residing inside it. He can regenerate from any other attack, but the cauldron is his weak point. Sure enough, once Owen figures this out, he destroys the Cauldron with Math's Sun Axe to ensure that the demon will be vanquished for good.
  • Start of Darkness: Arawn tells his to the readers through his lieutenant's decapitated head.
  • Summon to Hand: Math uses this to screw up Arawn's attempted prisoner exchange of his hated older brother for his wife Deirdre. Arawn had also taken Math's Sun Axe as a prize for his victory over him, but then Math summons the weapon to his hand to take Deirdre hostage.
  • Supernaturally Young Parent: Siahm looks extremely hot for a woman that gave birth to four sons. She also shows no sign of aging, or hell any change, when her children reach adulthood and have kids of their own. There is a reason for that: she drinks the blood from her enemies' hearts, as her tribe's secret to extend their vitality and longevity, preventing their bodies from being destroyed by the ravages of time..
  • That Man Is Dead: Although he keeps his old name, once he becomes a godlike Evil Overlord, Arawn makes it clear to Siahm that he is no longer the mere mortal that she once bore.
  • Thud and Blunder: The main characters are all walking Boris Vallejo specials, whose repertoire of responses to the world around them is mostly limited to "kill it" and "have sex with it." By comparison, the more run-of-the-mill examples of this trope read like Middlemarch.
  • Token Good Teammate: Arguably Kern. He is the only one of Arawn's brothers to not turn out into a complete dick, won his crown with the most minimal bloodshed and questioned Math's madness, believing he brought it on himself. With that said, he still followed his mad brother, ended up falling to the Cauldron's seduction too and payed with his life for it, though ironically, he was raised from the dead and became a forest god.
  • The Unfavorite: Arawn, as a result of his mother's prophecy, was thought to be the son to betray their kin.
  • Unscrupulous Hero: Before his Start of Darkness, Arawn wasn't necessarily a nice person; He became King of Cymru by butchering his way through the throne room and violently murdering his predecessor Gresholm. He has a few redeeming qualities such as having a warrior's pride, a sense of fair play and being genuinely in love with Deirdre.
  • Villainous Friendship: Downplayed. Arawn's only true friend as an Evil Overlord is the decapitated head of his advisor Owen, whom he tells the story and spends the whole tale bickering with him. In fact, the whole reason why Owen is still alive is because Arawn forces the Cauldron not to kill him and later brought him Back from the Dead after Owen gave his own life to destroy it. Having said that, Owen had also betrayed Arawn beforehand as a result of his own cowardice, but given that he saved everyone in a Redemption Equals Death sort of way, it was enough to forgive him.
  • Villainous Legacy: Bran and his tribe were responsible for massacring the amazons in search of the seer stones and it was he who forged the Cauldron of Blood and raped Siahm, who gave birth to Arawn and Engus.
  • Used to Be a Sweet Kid: Math went from a innocent child whose parents loved each other dearly to a brutal, power-mad warlord that kills children in cold blood. All because of a stranger bringing a cursed cauldron with him that killed his father and raped his mother.
  • War God: The Celtic war goddess Morrigan plays a part in the story. Arawn summons her to give him an army to fight his brother Math, which she grants him in exchange for a blood sacrifice. Siahm asks for her help in fighting the demon spawned from the Cauldron of Blood, which results in the demon killing Morrigan and absorbing her powers.
  • When Trees Attack: Kern uses his staff to animate trees and turn them against Arawn's army.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: The Black Cauldron is constantly trying to pull this on its current owner, seducing a new one and then enticing them to feed it their predecessor's body and soul. Defied in the case of Owen after the Cauldron convinces him to resurrect Arawn as its new vessel: the Cauldron immediately tries to eat him but Arawn's loyalty to his friend forces the Cauldron to back down.
  • You Kill It, You Bought It: Common practice in the setting. Not only one can become king by personally killing the previous one, his wife is taken by his successors as right of conquest. Arawn managed to gain control of an army of giants after just killing their leader in single combat.
  • Youngest Child Wins: A very dark inversion, with Arawn being the youngest of all his brothers and a Villain Protagonist. With that said, his eldest brother Math was worse.


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