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The Choice

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The Choice is the seventeenth chapter of The Black Cauldron. Here the hero is asked to relinquish his claim on the object of the story, won through noble self-sacrifice, to the benefit of his arrogant rival. The themes of keeping one's word, of loyalty to a cause, and of pride clouding honor strengthen the potent flow of the narrative.

This page contains spoilers. If you do not wish to be spoiled, do not read further.
Prince4

Plot

Ellidyr, feverish and wounded, demanded food from the Companions; Taran ordered a grumbling Gurgi to feed him. Eilonwy offered to give the Prince directions straight to Morva, which he had been seeking before being barred by Huntsmen and attacked by gwythaints. He assumed the companions too had failed, but Taran pointed out the Black Crochan, wedged in the shallows of the Tevvyn.
Black eagle
Ellidyr, proud and angry at being beat to the task, refused to help. Gwythaints circled overhead and descended to settle on the Cauldron -- eyeing the group who took cover in the woods -- before flying away. Under new urgency, Ellidyr said he and Islimach would help -- on condition that the companions would all swear before Gwydion that he, Ellidyr, had won the Crochan from Morva, and that the group were under his orders. Eilonwy refused, but Fflewddur put the matter in Taran's hands, and Eilonwy begrudgingly followed suit.
Black cauldron artwork color 07
Ellidyr put forth a superhuman effort to dislodge the Cauldron, but then turned on Taran with his sword, certain the "pig-boy" would betray him. Before the Assistant Pig-Keeper could draw his sword, he toppled into the river where a sharp rock knocked him out cold.
The Black Cauldron
1. The Council at Caer Dallben | 2. The Naming of the Tasks | 3. Adaon | 4. In the Shadow of Dark Gate | 5. The Huntsmen of Annuvin | 6. Gwystyl | 7. Kaw | 8. A Stone in the Shoe | 9. The Brooch | 10. The Marshes of Morva | 11. The Cottage | 12. Little Dallben | 13. The Plan | 14. The Price | 15. The Black Crochan | 16. The River | 17. The Choice | 18. The Loss | 19. The War Lord | 20. The Final Price

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