Sunday, May 1, 2011

Something Awesome from Robert Howard's "Conan" Stories

Found this on TVTropes.  The site lists this under Badass Creed and said it's from Howard's Conan poem "The Road of Kings."

Gleaming shell of an outworn lie, fable of Right Divine
You gained your crowns by heritage, but Blood was the price of mine
The throne I won by blood and sweat, by Crom I will not sell
For promise of valleys filled with gold, or threat of the Halls of Hell!
When I was a fighting man, the kettle-drums they beat
The people scattered gold dust before my horse's feet
But now I am a great king; the people hound my track
With poison in my wine cup and daggers at my back.
What do I know of cultured ways, the gilt, the craft and the lie?
I who was born in a naked land and bred in the open sky.
The subtle tongue, the sophist guile, they fail when the broadswords sing.
Rush in and die, dogs — I was a man before I was a king!

This is awesome.  Very Nietzchean and Will-to-Power, which is appropriate considering how the film Conan the Barbarian began with Nietzche's "What does not kill us makes us stronger."

I need to work in an allusion to this in my "Wastelands" novels, for Grendel and ultimately for Andrew Sutter.

(Oops...was that a spoiler?)

I did ponder a sketch of Grendel ramming his foot down on one Merrill soldier while shooting another with his "Old World" rifle (a modern assault rifle, probably an AK-47 or an M-16) and title it "I Was A Man Before I Was A King."  When I was in Britain in 2006, I saw a Star Wars-related magazine cover depicting Vader bringing down his lightsaber on a Rebel Alliance soldier, so it would be in a similar style.  I could also do a similarly-themed sketch with Andrew doing the same to a Flesh-Eater.

I already have a sketch of Alonzo Merrill in my sketchbook, which I used to visualize him for Chapter Nine of Battle for the Wastelands when the character is introduced, so I've already got some "Wastelands" artwork.

However, until my "Wastelands" novels become popular, there's not much of a market or audience for that.  I suppose I could post it on DeviantArt, but that risks the ideas being stolen.


  1. That is epic for sure... and people wonder why I like the Conan series

  2. Technically it's three portions of The Road of Kings, possibly meant as an in-universe poem written by Conan himself. The first four lines are from chapter 2 of The Scarlet Citadel, the next four are from chapter 2 of the first Conan tale, The Phoenix on the Sword, and the last four are from chapter five of that same story.

    One wonders if Howards had not planned on including more excerpts in other tales.

    1. I didn't know that. Thanks for keeping me informed. They flow together so well.

      It's amusing to imagine Conan as an old man taking up poetry, but then again, many samurai were into calligraphy and the like.