The Black Cauldron – Lloyd Alexander

I’ve actually reviewed this one nearly everywhere I could over the years, including disappeared blogs etc but here we go again anyway 😀

The Black Cauldron is second in the Chronicles of Prydain, a series Lloyd Alexander started in 1964, and one which I’ve read a great many times – more than any other book in the set.

For my money, it’s the most powerful and a little grimmer than the others – the story where the characters face more of their own demons but also where the sense of wonder is strongest, where the story is tightest, most self-contained. In it, Taran and his companions must destroy the zombie-creating Black Cauldron and the odds are stacked quite high against them.

Now, Taran is a classic boy-hero but far and above my favourite character in the story is the prideful but surprising Ellidyr, and right on his heels are Orddu, Orwen, and Orgoch – the three witches who steal the show.

Alexander mentions how the books were influenced by Welsh mythology, which is clear from the first read, from names to setting and myths, all of which he weaves together so well. I devoured The Black Cauldron over and over as a kid (since 1991 I think it was when I was given a copy by Mum for a birthday) and have read it about once a year ever since.

If you’ve never read these books and enjoy ‘children’s literature’ check this out. It’s a classic and well deserving of its longevity (and *far* superior to the Disney adaptation).