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Legend has it, in the mystic land of Prydain, there was once a king so cruel and so evil that even the gods feared him. Since no prison could hold him, he was thrown alive into a crucible of molten iron. There, his demonic spirit was captured in the form of a great Black Cauldron. For uncounted centuries, the Black Cauldron lay hidden, waiting, while evil men searched for it, knowing whoever possessed it would have the power to resurrect an army of deathless warriors, and with them, rule the world.
―The narrator talking about how the Black Cauldron came to be.[src]

The Black Cauldron is the titular object of the 1985 animated feature film of the same name. Fueled by the spirit of an evil overlord who ruled over the land of Prydain, the cauldron has the ability to raise the dead. During the prologue, the narrator recounts how the evil cauldron came to be.


The Black Cauldron[]

The face of the overlord (stated in the quote at the top of this page) is apparently engraved upon the cauldron. At certain points in the movie, the face is illuminated.

For uncounted centuries the cauldron remained hidden while evil beings searched for it. They knew that whoever owned it could rule the world and hatch an army of undead warriors. One of these beings was a wicked emperor known as the Horned King, who sought to find the cauldron and use its power to unleash an army of deathless warriors.

Taran traded his Magic Sword for the Cauldron in hopes to destroy it, but was told by the Witches of Morva that the Black Cauldron was indestructible. However, all of the Black Cauldron's evil powers could be undone if a soul willingly climbed into the cauldron at the cost of their own life. Taran's choice to find the cauldron was his biggest mistake when he and his companions were captured by the Horned King's guards. With the cauldron in his possession, the Horned King brought his Cauldron Born army to life and sent them to conquer all of Prydain.

Taran attempted to sacrifice himself by jumping into the cauldron but Gurgi stopped him and made the sacrifice himself, causing the Cauldron Born to collapse. The Horned King then attempted to throw Taran into the cauldron in hopes of resurrecting the Cauldron Born, but the cauldron dragged the king in instead, consuming him and destroying his castle. With its hunger satisfied, all of the cauldron's evil was undone, its power lost.

The cauldron was last seen floating in the water where Orddu, Orwen, and Orgoch were waiting to take it but, as it rightfully belonged to Taran and his companions, they were obliged to bargain for it. They first offered Taran Dyrnwyn for the cauldron, but he refused and instead asked for Gurgi's return.

House of Mouse []

In the House of Mouse episode "House of Magic", Daisy Duck accidentally makes the House of Mouse audience disappear. When they ask the Magic Mirror for help, he tells them to check the prop basement for something magical to help them. Daisy and Minnie Mouse find the Black Cauldron (a sign on it says: Who-So-Ever Uses the Black Cauldron for Evil Will be All Powerful) and decide it's what they need.

Daisy dresses as Maleficent and attempts to cast a spell. She ends up summoning the Cauldron Born instead. In order to make it go away, she casts a spell. However, in the process, she makes the whole House of Mouse disappear. After everything was set straight by Jafar, Daisy attempts to use the Cauldron as a fondue pot, again summoning the Cauldron Born.

Once Upon a Halloween[]

A cauldron similar to the Black Cauldron appears in this direct to DVD feature. However, this cauldron is in the possession of the Evil Queen and talks to her via magic. Each time it talks, it speaks in a male voice and tries to give ideas for the Queen. The first story told explains how this particular cauldron ended up in the Queen's dungeon, being one of the cauldrons that were owned by the Witches of Morva, which links it back to the Black Cauldron.

Other appearances[]

  • The Black Cauldron has a minor cameo in the Tangled: The Series episode "Keeper of the Spire", as one of the framed items on the Spire's Vault wall.
  • For a brief moment in Descendants 3, a slightly smaller to medium version of the Black Cauldron is seen as one of the exhibits at Auradon's Museum of Cultural History, during Audrey's solo song, before and after, she takes Maleficent's sceptre. It appears again in the Descendants themed "Date Night at the Museum" Chibi Tiny Tales short when Carlos tries bobbing for apples with it, which causes the Horned King to emerge and scare the teens.
  • In a non-Disney appearance, the Black Cauldron is present in the prop room of Sierra On-Line's studios during the ending of Leisure Suit Larry 3: Passionate Patti in Pursuit of Pulsating Pectorals. When looked at, the game doesn't refer to it by name; simply commenting the fact it was from a previous game Leisure Suit Larry creator Al Lowe worked on.

Powers and abilities[]


  • Necromancy: The Black Cauldron can manipulate the dead, raising an army of dead skeletal corpses as Cauldron Born. It's said that whomever resurrects its deathless army can use them to rule the world. In order to activate this ability a corpse must be placed in the cauldron.
  • Indestructibility: According to Orddu, one of the witches of Morva, the Black Cauldron can never be destroyed.


  • Sacrifice: The powers of the Black Cauldron can be stopped if a living being climbs into the cauldron of their own free will, however this being will never come out of the cauldron alive.
    • Witches of Morva: The witches of Morva can restore the body of the being that jumped into the Black Cauldron and bring them back to life.

Behind the scenes[]

The idea of an evil overlord ruling Prydain is not unfamiliar to the source material. In the books that the Black Cauldron was based on, the overlord is named Arawn, the Death-Lord of Annuvin. Arawn was replaced by the Horned King due to a misunderstanding regarding the storyboards. Several people working on the film were discouraged about this because they had read the books and felt that you couldn't do the film based on the book without the book's main villain. The spirit in the cauldron is never named in the film, but it may have been a reference to Arawn.

The cauldron in the books, and by extension, the cauldron in the film, is based on the Pair Dadeni (Cauldron of Rebirth) featured in the Welsh tales of the Mabinogion.



  • The Black Cauldron is called "Crochan" in the original books. Instead of Gurgi, the one who sacrificed himself by plunging into it was Ellidyr, Son of Pen-Llarcau, who was a proud and glory-seeking prince. In place of the Magic Sword Dyrnwyn, Taran gave Adaon's brooch (which is a magical possession) to the Witches of Morva in exchange for the cauldron.

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