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A Concept of Howard's Conan Novels:; Thought on his Ideas in Stories!
Topic Started: May 4 2011, 11:30 AM (646 Views)
Nialldubh
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Reviews on the Conan Novels by Howard


Will be adding various statements and notions from Robert E. Howard's Conan stories here as I find them.

This is to get a better comprehension of this land and from a small amount of knowledge what he thinks is occurring to Peoples or about the various lands.
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Nialldubh
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What Age is Conan when he Meets Atali

Reasons why this story is set later in Conan's years, near twenty-three or later. My personal opinion is Conan seems to be a Man in his prime, about 33 years of age, powerful strong and ferocious. But that just the feeling I get (not everyone of my feeling have been correct in passed). Though by Stephan Jones research from the Man who combined the Conan Chronicles, Volumes I & II, he mention that it was not an original Conan story, but a character called Amra of Akbitana.

Howard wrote:

Both were tall Men, built as powerful as tigers. Their shields were gone, their corselets battered and dented. Blood dried on their mail; their swords stained red. Their horned helmets showed the marks of fierce strokes. One was beardless and black-maned; the locks and beard of the other were as red as the blood on the sunlit snow.

“Man,” said the later, “tell me your name, so that my brothers in Vanaheim may know who was the last of Wulfhere's band to fall before the sword of Heimdul.”

“Not in Vanaheim,” growled the black-haired warrior, “but in Valhalla shall you tell your brothers that you met Conan of Cimmeria!”


Now the two words to note are Men and Man.

Conan is called a Man by Howard twice in only so few sentences, but it is because he is treating Conan as an adult, not describing him as in his youth.

We know how the writers introduce Conan in each story, the burly youth, he not yet a Man, etc, but this is blatant “Man!” Described by the very Man who created the Character. It denotes the story happens much later in Conan's life and his personality screams to early thirties.


Later in story as Conan is talking to Atali...


“I cannot tell,” said he, “whether you are of Vanaheim and mine enemy, or of Asgard and my friend. Far have I wandered, but a Woman like you I have never seen. Your lock blind me with their brightness. Never have I seen such hair, not even amongst the fairest daughters of Æsir, by Ymir-”

The statement to note is how Conan's experience with Woman is regarded as extensive ("Far have I wandered!"), if he had just travelled from Cimmeria to Asgard, he would have no right to presume Atali strange and uncommon, but he can, for in theory by this time in his life he has travelled to Zamora, Turan and possibly to Khitai and back.

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Nialldubh
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Concerning the Terrain:

Howard mention Conan on ice fields or snow fields in which the battle took place, of course these could be on either side of the Blue Mountains' range. But how is it as he chases Atali north and that Howard mentions blue mountains beyond hills after he leaves the snow plains.

Out across the blinding-white plains the chase lead.

And...

As the hours passed and the sun slide down it long slant to the horizon, the land changed; wide plains gave way to low hills, marching upwards in broken ranges. Far to the north he caught a glimpse of towering mountains, their eternal snows blue with distance and pink with the rays of the blood-red setting sun.

Now three levels of terrain are mentioned here, the snow fields, ice covered plains, then the low hills, probably rising in height the further north they go till they become mountains, but what mountains? Howard calls them blue coloured mountains, but is this the Blue Mountains separating Vanaheim from Asgard?

If so, the lower part of Blue Mountain Ranges between Vanaheim and Asgard, possibly about 50 miles wide is of snow covered plains.


Snow fields Map:


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Nialldubh
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Concerning Atali and Frost Giants:

“My village is further than you can walk Conan of Cimmeria,” she laughed.

One more things, some give Frost Giants an organization of life as solitary or small family/clan groups (2-4 giants).

But here Atali mentions a village, which for a giant-sized place of dwelling might mean a few hundred Frost Giants living in this community.
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Nialldubh
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Various Quotes about Cimmeria and its People:

By Robert E. Howard:


The Cimmerian hesitated. He was not afraid, but slightly bewildered, as a barbarian always is when confronted by evidence of civilized networks and systems, the workings of which are so baffling and mysterious to him.

~The God in a Bowl,
Robert E. Howard



“A lie!” broke in Arus. ! No man could climb that straight wall!”
”Did you ever see a Cimmerian scale a sheer cliff?” asked Demetrio impatiently. “I am conducting this investigation. Go on Conan.”

~The God in a Bowl,
Robert E. Howard



“Straggled,” he muttered. “Why straggle him when a sword-stroke is so much quicker and surer? These Cimmerians are a bloody race, born with a sword in their hand, as it were; I never heard of them killing a man in this manner.”

~The God in a Bowl,
Robert E. Howard

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Nialldubh
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To the people of the exotic climes, the north was a mazy half-mythical realm, peopled with ferocious blue-eyed giants who occasionally descended from their icy fastnesses with torch and sword. Their raids had never taken them far south as Shem, and this daughter of Shem made no distinction between Æsir, Vanir or Cimmerian.

~Queen of the Black Coast,
Robert E. Howard



“Why did you lead me here?” he snarled, his blazing eyes darting all about the chamber. “What manner of trap is this?”

“There is no trickery,” she answered. ”I brought you here because you can aid me. I called on the gods – on Mitra – and he bade me go into the streets and ask aid of the first man I met.”

This was something he could understand. The barbarians had their oracles. He lowered his sword, though he did not sheathe it.

~Black Colossus,
Robert E. Howard



“Conan, a captain of the mercenary spearmen,” he answered, emptying the wine-cup at a gulp and holding it out for more. “I was born in Cimmeria.”

The name meant little to her. She only knew vaguely that it was a wild grim hill-country which lay far to the north, beyond the last out-posts of the Hyborian nations, and peopled by a fierce moody race. She had never before seen one of them.

~Black Colossus,
Robert E. Howard



Amalric twisted his yellow moustache to hide a grin. Evidently Conan supposed Yasmela intended to strap on a sword and take part in the actual fighting, as the barbarian women often fought.
“The women of Hyborians do not fight like your Cimmerian women, Conan...”

~Black Colossus,
Robert E. Howard

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“we do not sell our children,” he growled, his chin jutting truculently.

~Shadows in the Moonlight,
Robert E. Howard



How strange, to be cared for by one of a race, tales of which had frightened her as a child!

~Shadows in the Moonlight,
Robert E. Howard



Conan listen attentively. The natural scepticism of the sophisticated man was not his. His mythology contained ghouls, goblins, and necromancers. After she had finished, he sat silently, absently toying with his sword.

~Shadows in the Moonlight,
Robert E. Howard



"You have been living with the Picts?" Valenso asked coldly.
A momentary anger flickered in the giant's eyes. "Even a Zingaran ought to know there has never been peace between Picts and Cimmerians, and never will be," he retorted with an oath. "Our feud with them is older than the world. If you had said that to one of my wilder brothers, you'd have found yourself with a split head. But I lived amongst you civilized Men long enough to comprehend your ignorance and lack of common courtesy – the churlishness that demands his business of a Man who appears at his your door out of thousand-mile wilderness. Never mind that."

~The Black Stranger,
Robert E. Howard



“...I sense it as in my youth I sensed the tiger hidden in tall grass. There is a nameless unrest throughout the kingdom. I am like a hunter who crouches by this fire amid the forest, and hears stealthy feet padding in the darkness, and almost see the glimmer of burning eyes. If I could but come to grips with something tangible, that I could cleave with my sword! I tell you, it's not by chance that the Picts have of late so fiercely assailed the frontiers, so that the Bossonians have called for aid to beat them back. I should have ridden with the troops.”

“Publius feared a plot to trap and slay you beyond the frontier,” replied Prospero, smoothing his silken surcoat over his shinning mail, and admiring his tall lithe figure in a silver mirror. “That's why he urged you to remain in the city. These doubts are born of your barbarian instincts. Let the people snarl! The mercenaries are ours, and the Black Dragons, and every rogue in Poitain swears to you. Your only danger is assassination, and that's impossible, with men of the imperial troops guarding you day and night. What are you working at there?”

“A map,” Conan answered with pride. “The maps of the court show well the countries of south, east, and west, but in the north they are vague and faulty. I am adding the north lands myself. Here is Cimmeria, where I was born. And -”

“Asgard and Vanaheim,” Prospero scanned the map. “By Mitra, I almost believed those countries to have been fabulous.”
Conan grinned savagely, involuntarily touching the scars on his dark face. “You had known otherwise, had you spent you youth on the northern frontiers of Cimmeria! Asgard lies to the north, and Vanaheim to the northwest of Cimmeria, and there is continual war along the borders.”
“What manner of men are these northern folk?” asked Prospero.
“Tall and fair and blue-eyed. Their god is Ymir, the frost-giant, and each tribe has it's own king. They are wayward and fierce. They fight all day and drink ale and roar their wild songs all night.”
“Then I think you are like them,” laughed Prospero. “You laugh greatly, drink deep and bellow good songs; though I never saw another Cimmerian who drank aught but water, or who ever laughed, or ever sang save to chant dismal dirges.”

“Perhaps it is the land they live in,” answered the king. “A gloomier land never was – all of hills, darkly wooded, under skies nearly grey, with winds moaning drearily down the valleys.”
“Little wonder men grow moody there,” quoth Prospero with a shrug of his shoulders, thinking of the smiling sun-washed plains and blue lazy rivers of Poitain, Aquilonia's southernmost province.
“They have no hope here or hereafter,” answered Conan. “Their gods are Crom and his dark race, who rule over sunless places of everlasting mist, which is the world of the dead. Mitra! The ways of the Æsir were more to my liking.”

“Well,” grinned Prospero, “the dark hills of Cimmeria are far behind you. And now I go. I'll quaff a goblet of white Nemedian wine for you at Numa's court.”

~The Phoenix on the Sword,
Robert E. Howard

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