Sunday, April 13, 2008


Bibliographic Information
Title: The Black Cauldron (Chronicles of Prydain Series #2)
Author: Lloyd Alexander
Publisher: Henry Holt & Company, Incorporated
Pub. Date: May 2006
ISBN-13: 9780805080490

In this third book of the Chronicles of Prydain series, Taran, the assistant pig keeper, goes in search of one of his charges Hen Wen who appears to have gone insane. Taran discovers that Hen Wen is in fact magical and possesses powers of premonition. Through Hen Wen's visions, Taran and guardian Dallben discover that the Horned King seeks the Black Cauldron, a vessel which contains the imprisoned soul of an evil king and that the Horned King plans to utilize Hen Wen for that purpose. Taran encounters Gurgi, a creature who wishes to befriend Taran, while traveling through the forest but must follow the dragon like creatures that capture Hen Wen and take her to the Horned King. Taran saves Hen Wen by pitching her into the moat but himself is captured and placed in the dungeon where he encounters Princess Eilonwy who is dismayed to discover that Taran is not a hero but instead an assistant pig keeper. Taran and Eilonwy encounter Fflewddur and it is at that point that Taran discovers his sword and its magical abilities. Later in the woods, the witches, now in the form of clouds, inform the heroes that the Black Cauldron can never be destroyed, but only its evil power can be stopped. A living being must climb into the cauldron of his own free will, however the good person shall never climb out alive. This novel is based loosely on Welsh mythologies however it deviates from Welsh lore and the geography and history are not Welsh in nature. This book follows the traditional hero tale as well as including elements of high fantasy: unusual creatures, quests and magic.

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