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The Black Cauldron (The Chronicles of Prydain #2)

4.13  ·  Rating Details  ·  47,082 Ratings  ·  954 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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Kristie Stauffer It was a Newberry Honor recipient in 1966. The fifth book in the series, The High King, won the Newberry in 1969.

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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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
Bryce Wilson
Feb 28, 2008 Bryce Wilson rated it really liked it
Shelves: ya, fantasy
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 really liked it
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 really liked it  ·  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.
Bill Tillman
Oh yes, after a long time away I am back again reading and listening (Audible) to Black Cauldron.

So finished again, must admit that I've forgotten parts of it, but all the better to enjoy again.

Just finished The Black Calderon wonderful balance of themes. Faith, friendship, courage, self worth and the balance of good and evil. Above all I think the lessons of discernment are done will.
Aj the Ravenous Reader
This was an enjoyable read. I love the adventures and the pureness of the characters.
Becky
Aug 22, 2015 Becky rated it really liked it
Me: Okay boys, today we're starting chapter three of the Black Cauldron and-
Student: I FINISHED THE ENTIRE THING AND THE LIBRARY DOESN'T HAVE THE REST SO MY MUM IS GOING TO BUY THEM ALL FOR ME.

I love it when I find things that my reluctant readers get hooked on, and this exchange happened during the second class I've ever had with this kid. I'm all like:



Stand back, Mrs. Student'smom, let me work.

So anyway, I read this book when I was a kid and I had basically forgotten how it ended, I just reme
...more
Sarah
Jan 08, 2016 Sarah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I first read all five of Lloyd Alexander's Chronicles of Prydain in my early teens, and frankly, it's hard for me to remember much about them beyond general emotional impressions: the first two were adventurous, the third a bit odd, the fourth dry and philosophical, and the fifth - well, it all went to hell in the fifth book. The announcement of these new yearly 50th Anniversary editions, therefore, are a great excuse not just to revisit the series but to separate them out and consider them some ...more
Travis
Mar 14, 2012 Travis rated it it was amazing
Shelves: classics, sf-fantasy
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.

Meg Cabot
Jul 12, 2014 Meg Cabot rated it it was amazing
In 4th grade all I wanted to be was Princess Eilonwy from The Black Cauldron.
Benjamin Thomas
Nov 17, 2015 Benjamin Thomas rated it it was amazing
While enjoyed the first book in this series, I think part of my enjoyment was due to finally diving into such a classic series that had eluded me for so many years. I did enjoy that first book, The Book of Three, but it did seem to meander a little too much for my taste. This time around, I felt the plot was much tighter and focused on just a handful of characters, allowing me to get to know them much better.

I also liked how Taran, the main character, grew through the novel. He is still an assis
...more
Dusty
My parents bought me the Prydain book series as a bundle, at my insistence, from the Scholastic Book Fair. I was in eighth grade and riding high after a long-awaited family trip to Disneyland. I was also fairly convinced that I wanted to become an animator and had read about Disney's The Black Cauldron (1985) in Bob Thomas's Art of Animation. Since the movie wasn't available on VHS, I figured reading the books upon which it was based was an acceptable alternative. Of course, I did not expect the ...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
Courtney H.
May 07, 2012 Courtney H. rated it really liked it
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
Caitlin
Oct 24, 2009 Caitlin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2009
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
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
Elijah Spector
Jan 21, 2009 Elijah Spector rated it really liked it
Shelves: sci-fi-fantasy
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
Alex
Apr 11, 2012 Alex rated it really liked it
Shelves: sf-fantasy
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
Jim
Oct 23, 2014 Jim rated it really liked it
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
Michael
Nov 22, 2015 Michael rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Children, fantasy fans, Alexander fans
Recommended to Michael by: Serendipity
Shelves: literature, fantasy
After I had grown up enough to read and comprehend The Book of Three, I immediately became an enthusiastic Lloyd Alexander fan. The Chronicles of Prydain were the first, or one of the first, series I read by choice, years before I became interested in Xanth, but after my mother had given me the Chronicles of Narnia. Curiously, I don’t recall ever seeing the animated feature (people tell me it’s terrible), though I may have it jumbled in my head with “The Dark Crystal” (which was not terrible).

Th
...more
Janne Paananen
Oct 12, 2015 Janne Paananen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Sianpiian!" Eilonwy huudahti ärtyneenä. "Älä ikinä puhu itsestäsi tuolla tavoin, Caer Dallbenin Taran. Olipa nyt tapahtunut mitä tahansa; sinä olet apulaissikopaimen! Se on jo kunnia sinänsä! Ei silti, etteivätkö ne tarkoittaisi samaa asiaa, kun sitä oikein ajattelee", hän sanoi, "mutta toinen on ylväs nimitys ja toinen ei ole. Jos kerran voit valita, valitse ylväämpi!"

Prydain kronikan toinen osa on ensimmäistä menevämpi ja tiivistunnelmaisempi. Edelleen kyse on kevytfantasiasta, jossa tarina j
...more
Aleksandar Janjic
Jun 02, 2015 Aleksandar Janjic rated it it was amazing
Рогати краљ је отегао папке на крају прве књиге, али то не значи да је пријетња нестала. Зли Араун и даље доминира јер посједује фамозни Црни котао, помоћу којег генерише зомбије. Наши хероји одлучују да је то крајње недопустиво и формирају тим (Дружина Котла?) који ће да тркне до Анувина (то је предио гдје Араун пребива), мазне котао и онда га уништи, е не би ли се Араунова моћ генерисања зомбија донекле редуковала. Међутим, препад доживљава потпун фијаско, јер се испоставља да котао уопште ниј ...more
Kris
Much better than The Book of Three!

There's a much a deeper plot and much more character development in this one. I liked hearing the different voices of each character come out more. (And Eilonwy's irritating rants are somehow more bearable.)

Sure, it's still a bit too fast-paced and LotrR-esque for me. Sure, the hero is a "do-gooder" and his internal conflict is over-implified. And sure, Eilonwy, Gurgi, and the Bard remain somewhat useless sidekicks. (*sigh* I suppose one can't ask for the nuanc
...more
Dan
Feb 11, 2015 Dan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Check out my Booklikes Blog, Dan Grover: Cover to Cover

This book has no clothes!

Oh, wait...I'm getting my allegories mixed up. The emperor wasn't wearing any clothes, but only a little girl had the sense to point it out. Or maybe she lacked the sense to keep it to herself.

So do I have any sense? Probably not. Because despite the universal love and adoration of this book, I found it dull, witless, and entirely unbelievable.

Book one was the same way, but I assumed things would get better. They don
...more
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
Oct 19, 2013 Ben rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics, kid-lit
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
Danny
Apr 27, 2008 Danny rated it really liked it
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
Jul 05, 2012 Kevin rated it it was amazing
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.
Jun 08, 2013 Jen A. rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013
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
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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...

Other Books in the Series

The Chronicles of Prydain (5 books)
  • The Book of Three (The Chronicles of Prydain #1)
  • The Castle of Llyr (The Chronicles of Prydain #3)
  • Taran Wanderer (The Chronicles of Prydain #4)
  • The High King (The Chronicles of Prydain #5)

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“Child, child, do you not see? For each of us comes a time when we must be more than what we are.” 2142 likes
“Indeed, the more we find to love, the more we add to the measure of our hearts.” 103 likes
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