The Horned King is the secondary antagonist in The Black Cauldron and is voiced by John Hurt. The main antagonist was originally to be Arawn, however, the animators felt people would like him better since he had horns (such as Maleficent and Chernabog). His main plan in the movie was to find the Black Cauldron and use its power to unleash an army of the deathless armies of the Cauldron Born. He tries many means to find the cauldron such as Eilonwy's bauble and Taran's oracular pig, Hen Wen. He later sends his Gwythaints to follow Taran and friends, who are seeking first Hen Wen, then the Black Cauldron. Eventually, the evil lich and his henchmen find and capture the heroes and the Black Cauldron with them. After the Horned King unleashes his army of Cauldron Born, Gurgi flings himself into the cauldron to stop the army. After facing off against Taran, he is sucked into the cauldron and perishes. The Horned King has a vast army at his disposal including the troll-like Creeper, the Huntsmen of Annuvin, and the dragon-like Gwythaints.
The Black Cauldron has never been widely resounded with audiences. In theaters, its PG-rated intensity frightened children and upset parents expecting wholesome entertainment from the "Disney" name. But those who have not avoided it often sing the film's praises, rather than singling it out as one of the weakest animated features in the studio's canon. The Horned King's increased role in the film renders him an affecting and spooky villain. His efforts to gain possession of the magical titular cauldron are drastic, as he calls forth an army of dead soldiers to find this key to ruling the world. He ranked #21 in the top 30 Disney villains (One better than Stromboli but one under Prince John.)
He was the first Disney villain to die in the film since Maleficent in Sleeping Beauty.