Friday, June 24, 2011

*Spoiler Warning* The Chronology of Conan the Barbarian.

This is based solely on evidence as presented in the novelization by Michael Stackpole. Spoilers will undoubtedly be included, you have been warned.

0y - Corin's village is raided by Vanir Raiders, his pregnant wife is killed protecting their unborn son, her last act is to name the newborn Conan. Conan the Barbarian, Chapters 1 - 11

About 5y - Conan is jealous of the other village boys who have been given swords, and resents doing menial chores. His father gives him an old Aquilonian short sword. Conan the Barbarian, Chapters 1 - 11

About 12y - Corin teaches his sown how to forge steel, and the two together make the boy's first sword. Conan the Barbarian, Chapters 1 - 11

About 13y - Conan's village is attacked by an army of diverse nationalities lead by a man named Khalar Zhym. Conan is the only survivor. He goes to live with his grandfather Connaught in the hills. Conan the Barbarian, Chapters 1 - 11

About 16y - Connaught and Conan are summoned by the Cimmerean elders to take part in the attack on an Aquilonian fortres, Venarium. The battle over, and after years of Connaughts stories, Conan heads south to discover what the world is like. Conan the Barbarian, Chapters 1 - 11

About 17y - He goes to The City of Thieves and raids the fabled elephant tower, slaying its owner, Yara, in the process. He meets Artus for the first time. "The Tower of the Elephant"

"Rogues in the House" Is possibly placed here.

About 25y - Conan is on the run from the authorities in Argos, buys passage on a ship south. The ship is raided by the so called Queen of the Black Coast, Belit, and Conan becomes her lover. Belit and her crew venture up a river in search of treasure, but find only death. Conan burns the Tigress as Belit's pyre. and then wanders some time in the southern black kingdoms. "Queen of the Black Coast"

About 28y - Conan has found his way back to the Hyborean Kingdoms and has met up with Artus again. They are plying their trade as Pirates now, following the same rough path that the Tigress formerly did. He is approached by one of the men who had raided his village and retrieves information about Khalar Zyms whereabouts, He then heads south down the coast seeking the Shaipur Pass. Conan rescues a girl named Tamara, is informed it's his destiny to defeat Khalar Zym and save the world and to escort her to Hyrkania. The two go to Hyrkania, they take part in an epic battle and Khalar Zym is slain. Afterwords, Conan departs for other adventures. Conan the Barbarian, Chapters 12 - 33

There are specific mentions to several things in the book. Conan's backstory is all made up of relatively known things. They don't add a lot too it, theres no wheel of pain or slavery. Conan is tough from the get go, he takes part in the sack of Venarium. He then leaves to adventure elsewhere. The story then jumps ahead a considerable amount of time. And it is made clear that in that time, The Tower of the Elephant and Queen of the black coast occurred. Later it is referenced that Conan has not been to either Vendhya or Khitai. So nothing rules out other of the early REH stories from taking place in that span either. But I'd say that at least three did occur, the third being Rogues in the House, though there is no internal evidence to support that idea except that the book seems to fit around the first three stories in the old "Probable outline of Conan's career" chronology from P. Shyuler Miller and John Clark.

If So, I wonder if that alludes to what we might see in the sequel? And it also speaks volumes that Micheal Stackpole ignores all other chronologies, and uses the only one which REH himself saw. It also makes me hope that these three stories are included in the forthcoming Del Rey volume "Conan the stories that inspired the movie"..

The only problem is, while Aqualionia, Zamora, Zingara, Shem, Kush, and others are mentioned, apparently none of the states of the Hybroean age are capable of standing against Khalar Zym's ragtag band of defeated soldiers. He's either exceptionally powerful, or the great powers lack any control over their borders. Its the same problem I felt that Thulsa Doom's forces had in the first Conan film. If it were just a few minions, I could buy them being able to furtively slip around border posts.. but not an entire army.

All in all though, this does a far better job of incorporating Robert E. Howard's Conan than either of the movies, or live action show did. Though he's not exactly REH's Conan.. he is still definitely Conan. It is a shame though that thanks to the construction of this, if we get any of Tower of the Elephant or Queen of the black coast on screen, it will likely be as a flashback, and not as a straight forward adaption. On the other hand, It's perfectly likely we can still get Black Colossus as a straight forward adaption.. which would be pretty darn cool.


Tex said...

I'm just glad Mr. Stackpole's One Of Us, and was able to put as many Howardian elements into the novelization as he did.

I can only hope that those non-Two-Gunners who read it are interested enough to seek out the Real, Right Thing.

(who's gonna grab him a copy of this, thanks to the summary posted here)

Tex said...

And why the hell isn't anyone elst who read the summary commenting on it?

(wot, y'all too busy anticipating Momo to write about the book?)

Lagomorph Rex said...

yeah I agree entirely. I've been pretty surprised I've gotten no comments considering I've gotten about 4000 page views in the last few days.