The Black Cauldron (The Chronicles of Prydain #2)
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The Black Cauldron (The Chronicles of Prydain #2)

4.12 of 5 stars 4.12  ·  rating details  ·  41,533 ratings  ·  776 reviews
Taran, the Assistant Pig-Keeper, and his friends are led into a mortal struggle with Arwn and his deathless warriors. Taran must wrest the black cauldron from them, for it is the cauldron that gives them their evil strength. But can he withstand the three enchantresses, who are determined to turn him and his companions into toads? Taran has not foreseen the awful price he...more
Paperback, 182 pages
Published May 16th 2006 by Square Fish (first published June 1965)
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Bryce Wilson
Old Shit I'm Revisiting: The Prequel: Part 2

Aw this is more like it. As I said I was a bit disappointed reading The Book Of Three this is more like The Prydain I remember. There are still flaws, writing at times can be a bit flat, and the exposition a bit heavy. But the moral universe of the characters has grown nicely adding shades of grey to what was starkly black and white before, there's room for some apt and surprisingly lovely metaphor (The broach that causes everything to look different i...more
Scott
Apr 02, 2007 Scott rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: decent people
The first book in the Prydain series didn't exactly impress me. I was afraid the whole lot of them would be stories where this motley crew of adventurers makes one mistake after another because they're silly and self-righteous but somehow manages to magically win in the end.

The Black Cauldron changed my mind. While the characters didn't get too much smarter, they matured quite a bit. Their bumbling isn't quite as tiresome, and they seem to learn a lot quicker and think less about themselves. So...more
X
Jun 16, 2008 X rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fantasy fans, especially kids and young adults
Recommended to X by: Q
Yet another fast moving, easy reading book. I wish I had read it sooner, as I was confused in the beginning trying to remember who all the characters were. However, after the first chapter or two it was quite good. A few parts were disturbingly LOTR reminiscent, but not enough to make it a cheap rip-off. Most of the characters were good and the mythological influences were nice. I'll think I won't wait so long to read the rest of the series.
Ashley
This book is the one that gave the Disney film from the 80s its name--you know, the one nobody saw that was a complete box office disaster--right before The Little Mermaid came out and ushered in Disney's Golden Age. I saw the film once and wasn't impressed with it. It bears almost no resemblance, aside from its characters sharing the same names and a few select characteristics, to the books.

As stated in my review for The Book of Three, I was not very impressed with this series to start off with...more
Courtney H.
I liked The Black Cauldron better than I liked The Book of Three. The characters we knew grew a bit, but not so much that they were unrecognizable. As irritating as Taran can be, too much change wouldn't quite be believable. The Black Cauldron also introduced a number of new characters, as quirky as the last batch. I particularly liked Orddu, Orwen and Orgoch -- they might be my favorite characters of the series (I'm writing this review after having finished the Chronicles). They were multi-face...more
Elijah Kinch Spector
Granted, The Black Cauldron is quite a short book, but I still think it says something that I read it in two days, with a lot of other stuff going on in my life. Honestly, I can't even put my finger on what it is that makes me give it four stars instead of five... the absence of some intangible something. Nonetheless, a great book.

The Book of Three was fun but took awhile to get going, and only moved out of normal kid adventure now and then, but the second book goes into grander, more epic, and...more
Jim
I really loved this series when I was younger, but when I went back to read it around Y2K, it wasn't as good. Something about the writing style didn't sit well, which is why I only gave it 4 stars - it really is a Young Adult classic. Some writers, like John Christopher & L'Engle, are a bit better at writing - FOR ME - over the years. I read all their books as a kid & again as I grew older. Some stories are still re-readable, some aren't.

It's a fantasy with magic & such. Nothing ter...more
Travis
One of the best books in this series, as our heroes join the mission to steal the magic cauldron the the Dark King uses to create his zombie soldiers.
They find the Cauldron, get separated from the main army and have to deal with witches, a treacherous swamp and the forces of evil.
Great fantasy adventure novel, full of strong characters and a clever sense of humor.

Jasmyn
The evil Lord Arawn is creating mindless, undieing cauldron-born. The familiar companions from The Book of Three join forces with the greatest lords of the land with a plan to steal the cauldron and destroy it. Plans like this never seem to go well, and this one seems to be foiled from the very beginning. We are intruduced to a handful of new characters, I'm not sure if they will continue throughout the rest of the series or not.

I enjoyed this book more than the first in the series. Alexander h...more
Ben
Ever since I was disappointed in Harry Potter for ending up an escapist epic rather than kidlit of moral and ethical value, I've tended to judge fun, entertaining page-turners with a bit of snide disdain. Every word and sentence of a story aimed at kids is an opportunity for a teaching moment. Rarely are these opportunities used.

Unlike The Book of Three, the first novel in the series, The Black Cauldron grabs at many of these moments right from the start. Taran is faced with (view spoiler)...more
Mr. Graham
Great book. This is a fantasy with a human element in the hero that is rare. Taran, a lowly "Assistant Pig-Keeper," is humble, though often hot-headed. To this hero honor matters, but integrity rules. His decisions are always selfless and courageous, though often youthfully unwise. His companions and superiors are often the more wise and honorable, yet Taran's leadership takes them where they must go. The self sacrifice and humility he shows makes him a great hero for young people, most of whom...more
Danny
The Black Cauldron



The Black Cauldron by Lloyd Alexander is part of a series of books about the land of Prydian. The main character is a young boy named Taran who is joins a search to find and destroy the evil black cauldron. There are a couple of conflicts in this book one is internal and the other is external. The external one is easiest to understand and to explain that is the goal of the searchers to find and destroy the black cauldron. The second internal conflict can best be described as a...more
Kevin
Arawn is again threatening Prydain. He has a black cauldron, which reanimates corpses as deathless soldiers. Gwydion has determined that the cauldron must be destroyed. He gathers together an eclectic group to attempt the feat. Included, of course, is Taran, along with several of his companions from his last adventures. Excluded is Eilonwy, but the stubborn, tom-boyish princess is not to be denied. Taran and a few others are soon separated from Gwydion and the bulk of the company and must pursue...more
Jen A.
When I was a kid I watched the Disney video, The Black Cauldron, but I barely remember it. From reading Lloyd Alexander's book (for the first time, as a 34-year-old), what I do remember is Gurgi's particular cadence of rhyming speech: "breakings and achings, my dear master!"

Alexander's book is a follow-on to a previous installment in the Chronicles of Prydain. The Black Cauldron can, however, stand on its own as enough of the history is revealed to keep you with the flow of the story. A young ad...more
Andrea
Lloyd Alexander never ceases to amaze me!!

This installment of the Prydain Chronicles is, I think, the best...although I've only read this one and the first one. (thank you Ivy for adding it to my ever-growing stack of library books!!)

The surprising twist with Ellidyr at the end is brilliant, not to mention rather tear-inducing (okay, I really didn't cry...I ALMOST did, which is a huge improvement for me!!! :)).

Also, Eilonwy proves to be more and more like me each day...it's kind of creepy...at t...more
Gail
This is the second book in the Prydain series for Lloyd Alexander. In this book Taran goes on a journey to try and get the evil cauldron that is being used to bring back the dead. As they are separated into groups with different assignments, Taran finds himself with Elliyr, a royal with a bad attitude and Adaon, a bard and dreamer. Even though Eilonway and Gurgi were not invited on this dangerous trip, they find Taran and go with the group to try and destroy the cauldron. Along the way, Adaon is...more
Caitlin
This has always been my favorite of the series. It has such danger & humor & the various hero's journeys deepen as the story continues. Here we meet Gwystyl & Kaw & the tragic figures of King Morgant & Ellidyr & Islimach.

When I read this book as a little girl, I was quite taken with the character of Adaon, the son of Taliesin. I hated Ellidyr, the last son of a poor family who has nothing but his sword, his horse & his prideful rage to carry him through. As an adult I...more
Michelle
Michelle Kwait
Adventure

(SPOILER ALERT)

Summary:

The Black Cauldron follows the journey of Taran, assistant pig-keeper, and his assorted companions through the fictional realm of Prydain. The Black Cauldron of the title is in posession of Arawan of Annuvin, who plans to use the cauldron to create souless, immortal warriors to place him firmly in power. The companions set out to steal the caldron from Arawan, only to find someone else beat them to it. The group attempts to head home, but are pursued...more
Moira Fogarty
Oh, James Langton, you silver-tongued devil. Your audiobook recordings are so unbelievably good, so lively and full of unique characters, I could listen to you read for days (and I have).

'The Black Cauldron' is the second book in the Prydain chronicles - a classic quest, full of Princes and crones, evil undead and courageous warriors. We begin in Caer Dallben, where Taran works as Assistant Pig-Keeper, dreaming of greatness and glory.

If you are lucky enough to have the audio version of this bo...more
Venla Tuominen
Jan 30, 2010 Venla Tuominen rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Fantasy lovers, those interested in Irish mythology
Recommended to Venla by: My mom
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Eric Toribio
This was a really great, short, little fantasy adventure. When compared to other fantasy books, it feels very small. The journey isn't very long and doesn't go through too much. I'm not saying that's a bad thing. That's just what it is. The story is of an Assistant Pig-Keeper named Taran and his friends who join a company of kings and warriors who set off to find and destroy The Black Cauldron. The Horned King, Arawn, is using it to breed deathless soldiers. The way the cauldron works is, you pu...more
April
Read both books on a recommendation before watching the Disney movie again...since that covers both books! :) Enjoyed this one as well. While the first one seemed to stick pretty close, there were elements of this one that differed...things like (and again, as I haven't yet watched the film again, I'm going from memory:) a brooch instead of the sword were bartered...I did enjoy the three witches/Norns . . .whatever they are supposed to be in the book better than the movie. But there were several...more
Andy
Single review for the Chronicles of Prydain, as they are similar in style and quality and could have been produced as a single large volume of five sub-books.

The Chronicles of Prydain are children's books. Some children's books hold up well when read by an adult, but these are definitely for kids and do not carry any added depth. The adventures are amusing but flat. You might smile at Eilonwy's sass and moxie and Fflewdur Fflam's tall tales. But you're probably also going to cringe at Taran's e...more
Madeline
Book 2 of the Chronicles of Prydain series, which I sort of worshipped as a kid. I really wish that my copy of the book features the cover pictured with this review, as it seems to ignore Taran completely and just features Eilonwy doing something badass, which is pretty cool.

Also, I will repeat a warning I made in my review of The Book of Three: The Walt Disney Corporation, in a well-intended but disasterous move, decided to make an animated movie called The Black Cauldron several years ago. Th...more
Alex
My favorite movie when I was a kid was one I'd never seen. It was a Disney story I collected in a sticker book which followed the adventures of a pig herder, a princess, a hairy little man, a terrible bard and their oracular pig in their fight against the horned king. To suggest this left a profound mark upon me may have been a little of an understatement - the undead lord's rumbling of "I presume, my boy, you are the keeper of this oracular pig" still makes me grin. And so when wandering about...more
Joe
Like the first book, my review is split on this one--3 stars for me, 5 for my boys, so an average of 4. One thing is sure, this book is better than the movie version. Disney took a lot of liberties, and in many ways, spoiled it. I enjoyed this one better than the first book in the series. It starts to branch out a bit into more original territory--although the parallel between the cauldron and the one ring is a bit obvious. I liked the witches--that part is rather entertaining. I saw the ending...more
Ensiform
In book two of the Prydain series, Taran and his friends are recruited (among others) to find the Black Cauldron (or Cochran, as it’s called), which creates the undead warriors commanded by Arawn, the evil Lord of Annuvin. They find the malignant, magic thing, but discover that they cannot deal with it alone, and Taran learns a thing or two about humility in the face of arrogance.

It’s most gripping stuff, and Alexander adds a trio of memorable, not wholly malevolent witches to his cast of charac...more
Charity (CJ)
The Black Cauldron is even better than The Book of Three. Alexander's world is lush and vivid, and I have no trouble envisioning the setting of these books. I love that the choices the characters face are nuanced and difficult. They rarely have all of the information they need to feel confident they're choosing well, and---just like in real life---every decision is a leap of faith. They make mistakes and they treat people they care about poorly when they don't mean to. The morals in these books...more
Ivan
I thought it was very much like the first book - a lot of trekking about and fighting off bad guys. I took a break in the middle and read a few other things. I came back and read the second half straight through and thoroughly enjoyed it - it got very interested and communicated a number of great ideas about honesty, heroism and what it means to be a man. I think I'll wait to read the third book - but I do intend to read it.
Robert Beveridge
Lloyd Alexander, The Black Cauldron (Henry Holt, 1965)

Alexander returns to the world of Prydain with this second chronicle of Taran, Assistant Pig-Keeper, and his quest to become an heroic figure. In this volume, Gwydion, having struck a major blow to Arawn in the first book, now wants to strike, as it were, while the iron is hot, and hit Arawn as hard as possible by stealing the black cauldron, the vessel Arawn uses to create the undying Cauldron-born. This involves a major mobilization of forc...more
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Lloyd Chudley Alexander (January 30, 1924 - May 17, 2007) was an influential American author of more than forty books, mostly fantasy novels for children and adolescents, as well as several adult books. His most famous contribution to the field of children's literature is the fantasy series The Chronicles of Prydain. The concluding book of the series, The High King, was awarded the Newbery Medal i...more
More about Lloyd Alexander...
The Book of Three (The Chronicles of Prydain #1) The High King (The Chronicles of Prydain #5) Taran Wanderer (The Chronicles of Prydain #4) The Castle of Llyr (The Chronicles of Prydain #3) Time Cat

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