|SPOILER WARNING: This article has important plot information. Caution is advised!|
|“||Long ago, before the High Fae, before man, there was a Cauldron... They say all the magic was contained inside it, that the world was born in it. But it fell into the wrong hands. And great and horrible things were done with it. Things were forged with it. Such wicked things that the Cauldron was eventually stolen back at great cost. It could not be destroyed, for it had Made all things, and if it were broken, then life would cease to be. So it was hidden. And forgotten. Only with that Cauldron could something that is dead be reforged like that.||”|
The Cauldron is a powerful magical artifact that is said to have been used to create life.
Long before there were Fae kingdoms like Prythian or Hybern there was a magical Cauldron with the cosmic matter from which the world where A Court of Thorns and Roses series takes place originated from, only theirs, not other worlds that existed before.
The Cauldron, in order to function must be supported on its three feet, and as a way to prevent its power from being used in a bad way, the Fae from other worlds created the Book of Breathings, written in the Holy Tongue or Leshon Hakodesh. In it, explanations are given on how to nullify the power of the Cauldron. The book was divided into two parts and after the War between Fae and mortals, a part was given to the High Lord of the Summer Court for his care and the other was given to the Mortal Queens of that time. The part of the mortal queens could only be given to the Fae with free will since if one tried to steal it with magic or spell the queens to give it up, that half would be destroyed.
The power of the Cauldron can revive dead people if their souls were preserved and it also allows mortals to become Fae if they have sufficient willpower. With the power of the Cauldron you can also destroy the Wall that was erected between the Fae kingdoms of the north and the Mortal Lands of the south.
The three feet of the Cauldron were given to the Priestess and kept in three different temples.
The King of Hybern began searching for the Cauldron after the Attor fled Under the Mountain upon witnessing the death of his former boss, Amarantha, and took with him the jewels she wore, which contained an eye and a finger bone with Jurian's soul. As Jurian had been the greatest defender of mortals in war and had loved a half-mortal, half-Fae woman named Miryam, the King planned to convince him to seek revenge for the abandonment of Miryam, who had left him for Drakon, a Fae prince. He said that with Jurian's help he could destroy the Wall they could coexist with mortals, when in reality he planned to dominate and enslave them as in ancient times.
He first began by stealing the three feet of the Cauldron from the Priestess temples and upon learning of this, Rhysand, the High Lord of the Night Court realized what he intended and began to seek both parts of the Book of Breathings to nullify power from the Cauldron. To confirm his theory that the King wanted to resurrect Jurian, he travels with Feyre Archeron to the Prison to meet the Bone Carver at the Prison to bargain with him for any information he can give them about returning a soul to a body. The Bone Carver told them that it was possible to resurrect him if his soul had been preserved, and then he told them about the book and where they could find it: one half was in the Summer Court and the other in the palace of the mortal queens on the Continent. After asking questions of his own, the Bone Carver tells them the story of the Cauldron.
According to the Bone Carver, the Cauldron existed before the High Fae and mortals. The world was born in the Cauldron. It fell into the wrong hands and great and horrible things were done with it. Eventually, it was stolen back at a great cost. Since it couldn't be destroyed without life ceasing to be, it was hidden and forgotten. Only with the Cauldron could something that is dead be reforged.
The Bone Carver reveals that the Cauldron was hidden at the bottom of a frozen lake in Lapplund, but vanished a long time ago. He says that millennia before Rhysand was born, the Cauldron's three feet were successfully removed from its base in an attempt to dull its power. It worked, but barely. The feet were then hidden at three temples: Cesere, Sangravah, and Itica. Judging by the recent attacks on the three temples Rhysand and Feyre deduce that the King of Hybern has stolen the feet so that the Cauldron is at full power.
The Bone Carver also states that aside from raising the dead, the Cauldron could also be used to destroy the Wall. He explains that the Cauldron is pure energy and power. And like any magic, it can be depleted. The Bone Carver continues, saying that when the Cauldron was made, its dark maker used the last of the molten ore to forge a book, the Book of Breathings. This book contains the secrets of the Cauldron.
Once all three feet were gathered, he was able to use the power of the Cauldron to resurrect Jurian and make him his ally. Then he sent him to the mainland to talk to the queens and when they learned that he had fought for mortals in the war and discovered that one of the queens had given their half of the book to Rhysand, they allied with him and told him about Velaris, so the King sent a legion to attack the city.
After Amren cracked the spell to nullify the Cauldron, Feyre, Morrigan, Cassian and Azriel went to Hybern but Feyre joined the two halves of the book believing that only then would she manage to take away its power and that caused the King to realize their interference and trap them. When Feyre and her friends face the King of Hybern in his castle. They discover he has used the Cauldron to resurrect Jurian. As a demonstration to the Mortal Queens, who wanted to become High Fae and rule forever, the King uses the Cauldron to forcefully Made Feyre's two sisters, Elain Archeron and Nesta Archeron, into High Fae.
The twin Princes of Hybern, Dagdan and Brannagh, went to the Spring Court to examine the cracks in the the Wall in an attempt to discover which of them was the most indicated to use the power of the Cauldron and destroy it.
After Feyre's sister, Nesta, recovered from her shocking magical transformation resulting from her being forcibly dipped into the Cauldron, it was revealed that she had managed to take considerable magical power from the Cauldron during their brief exchange. As such, she can sense the Cauldron's presence, its power, and its intended use in advance. The Cauldron as revenge took the beauty and youth of the first mortal queen who tried to use it to become Fae, but gave her immortality anyway.
During the night after the High Lords meeting in the Dawn Court, Nesta felt that something was not right and the answer to this feeling came the next day, during a new meeting, in where the King of Hybern unleashed the power of the Cauldron and destroyed the Wall.
The Cauldron, under the control of the King of Hybern, is eventually brought with him from Hybern to Prythian via ship to the site where the final battle is to be fought. It is situated on a rocky mountain face above the field, near the King's pavilion.
During the Final Battle, the King of Hybern uses the power of the Cauldron to burn entire swathes of soldiers into fine ash within seconds. He first turns this power on the Illyrian army in the sky, destroying an entire regiment that Cassian had been leading. Cassian only barely escaped his death as a result of Nesta calling out to him. Cassian dropped out of the sky at the cry, his loyalty to her safety taking precedence. In doing so, he dodged the Cauldron's burning-light spell entirely. His soldiers, however, were not so lucky. They were turned instantly to ash.
The second attack by the Cauldron was directed on the foot soldiers on the ground, where the Bone Carver was cutting through Hybern's army with his death magic, having agreed to fight for Feyre's cause. The Cauldron's power was unleashed against him, and in a blinding flash of heat and light, it slammed into the Bone Carver, disintegrating him completely in the blink of an eye. Feyre, witnessing the attack, was shocked by its raw, destructive power.
Exhausted of its strength and needing time to replenish its power, the Cauldron was out of commission following the second attack. Feyre and Amren, following Stryga the Weaver, make their way up the mountain to the King's pavilion, intending to destroy the Cauldron. Stryga is killed by the King of Hybern. Afterward, Nesta and Cassian fight the King to distract him, so Feyre and Amren sneak around and get to the Cauldron.
As they approach the Cauldron, Amren reveals her real intention: not to destroy the Cauldron, but to use its power to strip her of her Fae form, so she might take up her real form and be unleashed upon Hybern's forces. Her intended sacrifice, she insists, will end the war quickly in favor of Prythian. Feyre agrees to help Amren and watches as her friend descends beneath the surface of the black water inside the Cauldron.
A moment later, Amren's true form - that of a fiery Angel of Retribution - breaks the surface of the black water and escapes the Cauldron, rising up into the world once more to attack Hybern's forces. She defeats them, but the cost is she burns herself out entirely until she is no more.
Amren's release breaks the Cauldron, and it begins leaking a type of anti-matter (a black ooze that eats up everything living) into the world. To stop it, Feyre and Rhysand together use their magic to seal the Cauldron's rift. The effort costs Rhysand his life and nearly does the same to Feyre.
Fortunately, Rhysand is saved by the other High Lords (in a manner similar to how Feyre was saved by them at the end of A Court of Thorns and Roses), and as he rises once more, he tells Feyre that while he was inside the Void of the Cauldron, he felt a familiar presence nearby. He reaches into the Cauldron's black water and draws out a wet, sputtering Amren, who has survived the transition. The Cauldron, she says, transformed her physical body when she shed her otherworldly power. Henceforth, she is Fae (and appears as a female of the High Fae).
After the war, Feyre and Rhysand give the cauldron over to Drakon and Miryam in an attempt to prevent feuding between the High Lords over what happens to the Cauldron. Drakon and Miryam agree to bring it back and keep it hidden on their island that has remained hidden for centuries.
According to the Fae, the Cauldron was where the world was created. All life originated from within it, and it has unimaginable power. It was taken by malevolent beings who used its power for horrible deeds, including forging wicked things within it. It was eventually stolen back and, because it couldn't be destroyed, was hidden and forgotten.
The Cauldron can do the following:
- Raise the dead.
- Turn Mortals into Fae.
- Shatter powerful magic spells and wards.
- Burn living creatures into ash within seconds with an attack that contains the same heat and light as the sun.
- Create wicked creatures and objects.
The Cauldron's only weakness is the Book of Breathings, a book made from the last of the molten ore used to forge the Cauldron. The Book contains spells to negate the Cauldron's power or control it. The book can only be used by that which was reforged or Made.
- It is common in Fae realms for the expression "By the Cauldron!" to be used, as if the Cauldron were a divine force.
- If we were to make a comparison with another Sarah J. Maas series, Throne of Glass, the Cauldron could be compared to the Wyrdgates, from which everything came, as with the Cauldron. The Wyrdgates also needs three keys and in this case the Cauldron needs three feet to function.