This page lists the main differences between Disney's The Black Cauldron and the Chronicles of Prydain series by Lloyd Alexander. This list is not meant to be exhaustive; readers should feel free to add additional differences where appropriate.

This page contains spoilers. If you do not wish to be spoiled, do not read further.

In the main, the animated film is an amalgamation of the first two books in the series. The Book of Three provides the chief narrative structure, but includes key elements from The Black Cauldron.

Main Story Differences

The book of three.jpg
  • The Horned King is the ruler of Prydain, and is the main antagonist of the story rather than Arawn.
  • Arawn is a spirit trapped in the Black Cauldron.
  • Hen Wen is pursued for her putative power over the Cauldron rather than for her secret knowledge of the Horned King.
  • Hen Wen shows Taran and Dallben a vision of the Horned King looking for the Black Cauldron. Taran takes Hen Wen with him on a journey until the pig wanders off and gets captured by the dragon-like Gwythaints.
  • A magic sword, similar to Dyrnwyn, is Taran's prized possession, but is not named as such, and is not black. Taran trades this sword, instead of the Brooch of Adaon, for the Cauldron.
  • The Horned King's castle is a major locale, from which the characters must escape and in which the climax occurs, rather than Spiral Castle or Annuvin.
  • Instead of Ellidyr sacrificing himself to destroy the Cauldron, Gurgi performs the sacrifice. The Witches of Morva bring him back to life as a show of power rather than allowing human choice to dictate the unfolding of fate.

Character Differences

  • Princess Eilonwy has "dirty blonde" hair rather than "red-gold" hair. Her bauble floats instead of being hand-held.
  • Dallben has no beard and is bald, somewhat like the description of Coll.
  • Fflewddur Fflam is elderly and portly rather than middle-aged and slender.
  • Gurgi is small and resembles a lapdog rather than being large enough to wield a sword and bow.
  • Hen Wen is tiny and pink instead of an adult white sow.
  • The Gwythaints are small dragons or wyverns rather than eagle-like birds.
  • All of the Fair Folk are miniature, moth-winged fairy-people, including Doli.
  • Orddu, Orwen, and Orgoch are loud and obnoxious rather than clever and subtle. Orwen is inexplicably attracted to Fflewddur.
  • The Cauldron-Born are skeletal warriors rather than fleshed; they appear only briefly near the climax of the film.
  • Creeper is an original character to the movie.
  • There are no Huntsmen of Annuvin; the Horned King's henchmen are standard, non-magical warriors.
  • The following key characters from the first two novels do not appear: Coll, Gwydion, Achren, Adaon, King Smoit, Ellidyr, and King Morgant.

Notable links to The Chronicles of Prydain

  • Taran sees his image in a pool of water similar to the Mirror of Llunet; however, rather than seeing himself as he truly is, as the real mirror allows, Taran imagines he is a great warrior celebrated by crowds of adoring fans.
  • In a deleted scene, Gwydion is mentioned by King Eiddileg.
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