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In the book series, he appears only in the first book, The Book of Three. He is Arawn's champion and the War Leader of Annuvin. The Horned King is described as a huge man wearing armor (except for his arms, which are naked and stained crimson), a red cape and an antlered skull mask. The antlers are presumably where he gets his name.
Arawn sends the Horned King to capture the pig Hen Wen from Caer Dallben. He follows Taran across Prydain in search of the oracular pig Hen Wen, but cannot find her. In the end, he marches his army to Caer Dathyl and attacks Taran when he and Eilonwy try to warn the Sons of Don of the impending attack. Taran tries to fight him with the sword Dyrnwyn, but is nearly slain by the sword's fire in his attempt to draw it. Gwydion is able to defeat the Horned King by speaking his true name, which is never revealed; upon the utterance of his name, the Horned King is struck by a lightning blast and consumed by flames, disappearing below the surface.
The Horned King in Disney's The Black Cauldron
|First appearance||The Book of Three|
|Created by||Lloyd Alexander|
|Voiced by||Corey Burton (present)|
The animated Disney film The Black Cauldron combines scenes from the first two books, and uses the Horned King in place of Arawn as the movie's prime antagonist. He looks quite different in the movie; the antlers remain, but he wears a red hooded robe. Instead of a normal human, he appears to be an undead, repulsively skeletal creature whose eyes glow red upon being angered or excited (a lich) and is more on par with a sorcerer. He was voiced by John Hurt. His demeanor is diabolically composed, with a vast array of henchman to carry out his evil duties, but can violently take matters into his own hands, trying to kill Taran himself in the climax of the film by sheer brute strength.
In the movie, the Horned King searches for the title object, seeking to use its power to bring to life an army of undead soldiers, which he repeatedly refers to as the Cauldron Born, and conquer the world. Deploying his servant, Creeper, the dragon-like Gwythaints and human soldiers, the King seeks out the pig Hen Wen to aid in his quest. He eventually accomplishes his goal, but is thwarted some time later, when Gurgi throws himself into the Cauldron. When he attempts to cast Taran into the Cauldron as well, he ends up being consumed by the Cauldron's power and destroyed.
In addition, the Horned King makes appearances in several of Disney's House of Mouse episodes.
- In the episode "Gone Goofy" he enters the club and shakes hands with Donald.
- In the episode named "Max's Embrrassing Date" he sits at a table behind Max Goof and Roxanne throughout their date.
- In another episode named "Goofy For A Day" while Goofy sings a spoof of "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!", he is seen at a table where a penguin waiter serves him his dinner.
He is also mentioned in the episode "Rent Day" when Goofy lists a Disney Villains menu to Pete, saying a dish named "Horned King Crablegs."
This same version appeared as the final boss in the Sega Master System and Game Gear title, Land of Illusion starring Mickey Mouse. The Horned King goes under the moniker of "The Phantom" in the game and is colored differently, white bones and black robe as opposed to green bones and crimson robe. In the Super Famicom game Mickey no Tokyo Disneyland Daibōken, Pete plays the role of the Horned King in the game's final level, based on the park's former Cinderella Castle Mystery Tour attraction, where an encounter with the Horned King served as the climax. The Horned King appears in the Japanese version of Crazy Castle 2, whereas in the American version he is replaced by Witch Hazel from the Warner Brothers cartoons, as well as the Famicom title Mickey Mouse III: Dream Balloon, where he was replaced by Night Mayor in its American release Kid Klown in Night Mayor World.
In the Italian version of The Black Cauldron, Horned King was called Re Cornelius (King Cornelius) because the Italian word for horned (cornuto) also means cuckold (in the Italian version of original books the character is called Re dalle Lunghe corna, King with Long Horn).