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The Black Cauldron (1965)

by Lloyd Alexander

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: The Chronicles of Prydain (2)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
5,694881,349 (4.1)3 / 172
Taran, Assistant Pig-Keeper of Prydain, faces even more dangers as he seeks the magical Black Cauldron, the chief implement of the evil powers of Arawn, lord of the Land of Death.
  1. 81
    The Grey King by Susan Cooper (infiniteletters)
    infiniteletters: The Grey King is technically Book 4 of a series, but it could be read alone. Silver on the Tree also has Welsh mythology.
  2. 00
    The Hound of Rowan by Henry H. Neff (infiniteletters)
    infiniteletters: The Hound of Rowan is modern, but it shares aspects of Welsh mythology.
  3. 15
    Stardust by Neil Gaiman (Medicinos)
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Showing 1-5 of 88 (next | show all)
In which Taran sets out to put an end to an army of undead grotesques, and can't seem to avoid a heck of a lot of familiar faces.

Picking up where The Book of Three left of, the second novel in the Chronicles of Prydain series is overall a better experience. Alexander's prose still sometimes seems to skip through entire sequences at breathtaking speed, and characters are prone to overtly state elements of the author's mission statement, but - as I said in my review of the first book - that is only because the Chronicles are that rare type of children's fiction meant only for children, and not older readers too.

The world of Prydain is further expanded here, and all the characters are back. Taran gets a greater emotional journey here, although most of the other characters are given short shrift in favour of (admittedly interesting) new ones. In some cases that's quite sad - Eilonwy deserves more than to be an outspoken follower, and there's more to the bard's tale that can surely be examined. Others, however, seem like they could become quite one-note if they mysteriously appear on every journey just to provide another voice. We'll see. I remain optimistic about this series because, once you except the obvious limitations of Alexander's prose, it's a captivating and easy-to-read novel. My favourite element of the first book remains: Alexander is a staunchly moral writer, and the lessons Taran and his gang learn are always important and honest. Yet, he's refreshingly mature. The fates of numerous heroes and villains are often truly tragic or horrific. This is a novel about going from the innocence of childhood into the dark complexities of the real world - and the fact that it creates a world which is genuinely real is a treat.

As a sequel it more than lives up to the first novel, and overall The Black Cauldron is a success. I look forward to finding out what happens next to Taran, Eilonwy, Gurgi, and the gang. ( )
  therebelprince | Jun 24, 2021 |
This is the one that was made into a movie that I’ve never seen. This whole series would be good as a show, I think, especially right now while fantasy is pretty hot. ( )
  jobinsonlis | May 11, 2021 |
An old favorite. ( )
  wetdryvac | Mar 2, 2021 |
This is the second book in the series about Assistant Pig-Keeper Taran. Taran wants to be a hero. After the events of the first book he has made some good friends and proven himself. In this book, he is invited to join a quest to retrieve the Black Cauldron, which the evil Awran has been using to create undead minions. The book was a fun quest with good lessons learned. I really liked the band of characters on the quest. Overall, I found it to be a straight forward, predictable story. I am interested in seeing where the story goes in the next book. ( )
  Cora-R | Jan 23, 2021 |
The uneven setup that was [b:The Book of Three|24780|The Book of Three (The Chronicles of Prydain, #1)|Lloyd Alexander|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1405184012s/24780.jpg|1149593] all pays off in this masterpiece. A bland quest narrative in the first book is replaced here by a deep and moving quest, with humor and pathos in equal measure. Instead of a chase for a McGuffin, this book is driven by its characters — the core group introduced in "The Book of Three" bouncing off each other and several interesting newcomers, and more importantly being forced to make several vitally important and resonant choices. "The Black Cauldron" blends elements of fairy tale with epic fantasy; though highly accessible to children it's no less enjoyable for adults. It also expands the world of Prydain far more effortlessly than the first book, serving both the purposes of its own plot and mood but also laying the groundwork for the rest of the series. ( )
  dhmontgomery | Dec 13, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 88 (next | show all)
The Newbery-winning fantasy series now available in gorgeous new paperback editions! SinceThe Book of Threewas first published in 1964, young readers have been enthralled by the adventures of Taran the Assistant Pig-Keeper and his quest to become a hero. Taran is joined by an engaging cast of characters that includes Eilonwy, the strong-willed and sharp-tongued princess; Fflewddur Fflam, the hyperbole-prone bard; the ever-faithful Gurgi; and the curmudgeonly Doli all of whom have become involved in an epic struggle between good and evil that shapes the fate of the legendary land of Prydain. Released over a period of five years, Lloyd Alexander s beautifully written tales not only captured children s imaginations but also garnered the highest critical praise. The Black Cauldronwas a Newbery Honor Book, and the final volume in the chronicles,The High King, crowned the series by winning the Newbery Medal for the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children. Henry Holt is proud to present this classic series in a new, redesigned paperback format. The jackets feature stunning art by acclaimed fantasy artist David Wyatt, giving the books a fresh look for today s generation of young fantasy lovers. The companion book of short stories,The Foundlingis also available in paperback at this time. In their more than thirty years in print, the Chronicles of Prydain have become the standard of excellence in fantasy literature for children.
Distributed by Syndetic Solutions, Inc.
added by kthomp25 | editSyndetic Solutions, Inc.
 
Sonya Goldman (Children's Literature)
Five enchanting books comprise the "Chronicles of Prydain" by Alexander. Prydain is a land with heroes and legends drawn from Welsh mythology. In TheBlack Cauldron, book 2 of the series, Taran takes further steps toward manhood. He must help destroy the vessel from which the fearsome Cauldron Born warriors spring to march with the evil lord Awren. The companions join with him again on this new adventure. Wondrous magic and a very arrogant young nobleman punctuate this gripping tale. The princess Eilonwy has been growing like a weed. Other books in the Chronicles include The Castle of Llyr, Taran Wanderer, The High King and The Book of Three. 1965, Henry Holt and Bantam Doubleday Dell, $16.96 and $4.99. Ages 10 up.

added by kthomp25 | editChildren's Literature, Sonya Goldman
 

» Add other authors (13 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Lloyd Alexanderprimary authorall editionscalculated
Langton, JamesNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lee, Jody A.Cover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Maitz, DonCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ness, EvalineCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pilhjerta, Ritva-LiisaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Stead, RebeccaIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wyatt, DavidCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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The following pages are intended, hopefully, to do something more than continue the Chronicles of Prydain. "What happens next?" is always an urgent question, and this volume attempts to answer it, at least partially. Nevertheless, The Black Cauldron should stand as a chronicle in its own right. Certain matters previously hinted at are here revealed more fully; and, while extending the story, I have also tried to deepen it. [from the "Author's Note"]
Autumn had come too swiftly. In the northernmost realms of Prydain many trees were already leafless, and among the branches clung the ragged shapes of empty nests. To the south, across the river Great Avren, the hills shielded Caer Dallben from the winds, but even here the little farm was drawing in on itself. [from chapter 1, "The Council at Caer Dallben"]
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Taran, Assistant Pig-Keeper of Prydain, faces even more dangers as he seeks the magical Black Cauldron, the chief implement of the evil powers of Arawn, lord of the Land of Death.

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In the imaginary land of Prydain, where "evil is never distant," Prince Gwydion faces dangers more threatening that have ever been dreamed of. It has become imperative that the Black Cauldron, chief implement of the evil powers of Arawn, lord of the Land of Death, be destroyed.

For each of the warriors chosen to journey to Arawn's domain, the quest has special meaning. To Ellidyr, the youngest son of an impoverished king, it means a chance to satisfy his bitter longing for fame. For Adaon, beloved for his gentleness and bravery, the quest is an omen whose significance he dreads to discover. And to Taran, Assistant Pig-Keeper, the adventure seems a glorious opportunity to wear his first sword, and be a man among men.

In this story, filled with great sacrifice and great adventure, each warrior fulfills his destiny in ways entirely unforeseen.

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