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Was Conan An Anti-Hero?


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#121 Ironhand

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Posted 03 February 2011 - 04:46 AM

I would think that for fans of REH's Conan, the term "hero" would be understood in the same sense as in the Greek myths and the Norse sagas.
"Did you deem yourself strong, because you were able to twist the heads off civilized folk, poor weaklings with muscles like rotten string? Hell! Break the neck of a wild Cimmerian bull before you call yourself strong. I did that, before I was a full-grown man...!" - Conan, in "Shadows in Zamboula", by Robert E. Howard
"... you speak of Venarium familiarly. Perhaps you were there?"
"I was," grunted [Conan]. "I was one of the horde that swarmed over the hills. I hadn't yet seen fifteen snows, but already my name was repeated about the council fires." - "Beyond the Black River", by Robert E. Howard

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#122 JohnitoZ

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Posted 03 February 2011 - 05:54 AM

I would think that for fans of REH's Conan, the term "hero" would be understood in the same sense as in the Greek myths and the Norse sagas.


And yet, I am a fan of REH's original stories and still consider Conan to be an anti-hero in the modern sense (although a personal hero to me).
I think, for me, the difference is the time period in which they were written. I consider REH to be a modern writer and use my interpretation of the modern terminology. Odysseus, Achilles, et al, were written/told when the concept was different and thus I would consider them written as heroes for their time.

#123 monk

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Posted 03 February 2011 - 06:00 AM

Conan is much more like the morally ambiguous protagonists of some of the Norse sagas than he is like Greek heroes or the chivalrous knights. I would class Conan as a hero, but only because so many of the things he fights are less "good" than he is. Conan is a hero of the individual, whereas knights were heroes of a culture.



I agree with Conan being the hero of the individual and not a hero of a culture.



what about amongst the settlers such as lived on the border of aquilonia and the pictish wilderness.

we also get the sense that he was something of mention amongst his own people...

honestly, and what I feel Deuce is definitely laying out, Conan is a hero in the most classic sense of the word.

I don't even think he is that morally ambiguous.

Edited by monk, 03 February 2011 - 06:01 AM.

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#124 BasilBJr

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Posted 08 February 2011 - 09:07 PM

Not an easy question to answer, as there are many differnt types of hero. Certainly Conan is not like Superman; he is not fighting for truth, justice and the Hyborian Way. In temperment, he is closer to Batman, dark and brooding, but like Bruce Wayne, enjoyed a good party. Also like Batman, the was nothing super about Conan. Batman's skills came from intense physical training and Conan's came from his harsh Cimmerian upbringing. But on the other hand, Batman's motivation was to prevent anyone else from going through what he did; a child witnessing the murder of his parents. Conan had no such motivation.

To keep it in the realm of Sword and Sorcery, Conan is not like Aragorn, the sword swinging hero emerging to save the world from the Dark Lord, then becoming king as a rewrad for doing it. While Conan could certainly swing a sword, he wasn't out to save the world, even if he ultimately ended up doing it. While Xulthan (forgive my spelling) the Acheronian wizard from "Hour of the Dragon" could be considered a dark lord, Conan's motivation was to regain his throne, not defeat the wizard. If the wizard had simply fled to another land, Conan would not have thought too much about it. Nor was Conan anything like Frodo; an unassuming bloke who reluctantly left his home to take up a burden in order to save that home. Conan left Cimmeria voluntarily, and likely believed that Cimmerians could handle themselves just fine and didn't need saving.

So in a sense Conan could be considered an anti-hero in the sense that he is the opposite of the above mentioned types. Thief, Pirate, Bandit, Mencenary, are not honorable professions, but Conan conducted himself with a code of honor, that at the same time didn't interfere with his self-interest. He did not mug struggeling workmen, he robbed greedy merchants, corrupt officials, and overmighty wizards. While he didn't set out to fight monsters, he fought and defeated the ones he did find, preventing them from harming anyone else. Splitting a judge's head may not be honorable, but I can think of some judges who deserve to have their heads split. Usurping a throne is hardly constitutional, but Aquilonia didn't have a constitution, and Conan made a far better ruler than anyone from the old dynasty. Whoever brought up the term "wild hero" may have come up with the best description of Conan.

In my opinion one hero Conan resemble is Jack Driscoll from the 1933 King Kong. Driscoll was a grtty sailor and certainly no do gooder. He went through the jungle out of personal feelings. He survived where others did not. He was surprised to see the dinosaurs, but wasn't paralized by them. Ultimately he ended up with Anne Darrow. I think Conan would have done much the same thing. He would have wisely avoided the dinos, knowing his sword would be no match for them, but at the same time wouldn't have been scared of them either. He may not have married the nearly disrobed Anne Darrow, but he certainly would have spent some time with her. And he might have had more empathy for Kong, seeing him as an untamed wild creature similar to himself.

#125 Kortoso

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Posted 08 February 2011 - 09:57 PM

I would think that for fans of REH's Conan, the term "hero" would be understood in the same sense as in the Greek myths and the Norse sagas.


Maybe in that sense, for those interested in coining new terms, he'd be a "neo-hero" since he was a hero in the ancient mold, a throwback, rather than a Superman type.

#126 Ironhand

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Posted 09 February 2011 - 04:27 AM


I would think that for fans of REH's Conan, the term "hero" would be understood in the same sense as in the Greek myths and the Norse sagas.


Maybe in that sense, for those interested in coining new terms, he'd be a "neo-hero" since he was a hero in the ancient mold, a throwback, rather than a Superman type.

A "retro-hero"? Maybe an "old-fashioned" hero. But that would depend on what the discussants considered "old-fashioned". Maybe an anachronistic hero, again depending on what period you were using as a referent.
"Did you deem yourself strong, because you were able to twist the heads off civilized folk, poor weaklings with muscles like rotten string? Hell! Break the neck of a wild Cimmerian bull before you call yourself strong. I did that, before I was a full-grown man...!" - Conan, in "Shadows in Zamboula", by Robert E. Howard
"... you speak of Venarium familiarly. Perhaps you were there?"
"I was," grunted [Conan]. "I was one of the horde that swarmed over the hills. I hadn't yet seen fifteen snows, but already my name was repeated about the council fires." - "Beyond the Black River", by Robert E. Howard

Read my Conan screenplays at The Scrolls of Ironhand (in particular my transcription of THE FROST GIANT'S DAUGHTER in Act II of "The Snow Devil") at
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#127 megocimmerian

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Posted 30 April 2011 - 05:39 AM

By the way, is there an official REH story detailing how and why Conan seized the throne?


Sadly, no. The only version is by L. Sprague de Camp who blocked Karl Edward Wagner from writing a far better account.


How can you be so sure? Did you read a early draft of the story or something?
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#128 Axerules

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Posted 30 April 2011 - 05:52 AM


By the way, is there an official REH story detailing how and why Conan seized the throne?


Sadly, no. The only version is by L. Sprague de Camp who blocked Karl Edward Wagner from writing a far better account.


How can you be so sure? Did you read a early draft of the story or something?

KEW has written an outline for that story. LSdC has indeed blocked Wagner's attempt. The synopsis was later published in a fanzine. It has been posted on the forum, in this thread; http://www.conan.com...?showtopic=5659
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#129 deuce

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Posted 10 March 2013 - 07:02 AM

Who considers Сonan as the antihero and why? Give reason, please

Forgive for an expression. I will explain. On a site http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Main_Page it has been written that Conan the antihero. I have corrected a little, but 3 men have written again about the antihero.
I did not read Howard's texts in the original in English and much that I do not know, therefore have decided to ask you, whether so it?

 

 

As Bingam admits, English is not her native language. Unfortunately, many whose native tongue is (obstensibly) English keep on throwing out this "Conan is an 'anti-hero' " garbage. Yeah. Garbage. Utter garbage.

 

Quite a few of those tossing out the "anti-hero" label ALSO cite Karl Edward Wagner's Kane as an example. Kinda funny, since KEW himself specifically noted that Kane was NOT an "anti-hero".

 

At the other end of the spectrum, L. Sprague de Camp also unequivocally stated that Conan was not an "anti-hero".

 

In Spraguie's case, we know exactly whom he considered as being an "anti-hero". That would be Woody Allen.

 

http://givemegreenfi...n-antihero.html

 

Exactly HOW can Conan and Woody Allen occupy the same conceptual space? Wagner and De Camp BOTH agree that "anti-hero" DOES NOT MEAN what many seem to think it means. Howard never used the term AT ALL (despite probably being familiar with it).

 

Sloppy usage of the English language by semi-literate journalists (and others) has contributed to this silliness. It is time for it to stop. WHY should we let them take our heroes away? Honestly? 

 

"Heroes" like REH's Conan have existed since the beginning of recorded history. Gilgamesh. Theseus. Herakles. David ben Jesse. Jesse James (whom I'm related to, laterally).

 

"Heroes" like Aeneas or Malory's King Arthur (and his court) served to propagate the status quo of the Establishment. "Folk heroes" (which, I would argue, Conan stands tall amongst) have always been "earthy" and populist. Their popularity resides in their COURAGE (the primary trait necessary in any hero, IMO) and their congruence with the cultural views of their constituency.

 

Just because Conan doesn't resemble Superman™ or Dudley Do-Right does NOT disqualify him in some (or any) way from being a "hero" as has ALWAYS been understood by the "common folk" of ANY time or clime.

 

Call Conan a "folk hero" or "flawed hero" or a "dark hero" or a "pre-modern hero". OR, the "damnedest bastard that ever was". Just do NOT slap the the hyper-civilized, pre-fabricated, ultra-modern label of "anti-hero" upon him. The dark, flawed, folk hero of the Cimmerian hills does not deserve it.

 

Of course (who knows?), Woody Allen might thank you if you did.   :)

 

Karl Edward Wagner certainly WOULD NOT. But, hey, pi$$ on his grave if ya want.   :)

 

 

On another tangent, our own Keith Taylor (from another thread) points out a few instances where Conan is anything BUT a "damnedest bastard": 

 

 

"Conan feels pity and aching sadness for the tortured Yag-Kosha in "Tower of the Elephant", when a crude young thief, and later in life, he not once but twice refuses to abandon his adopted kingdom to "the slavers and the butchers" even though it would have been to his advantage ... in fact, saved his life.  (He managed to save his own life, in the end, on both occasions, but he didn't know that when he told his captors they could go to hell.)

 

Loyal only to his animal instincts and his desires of the moment?  As when he put himself on the line to save the settlers from the Picts in "Beyond the Black River"?  Uh-uh."

 

IMO, one can point to any Howard tale of Conan and nail down a "moral crux" that occurred before or during that yarn. Yeah, Conan could have taken the "bastardly" road, but he didn't. That is NOT to ignore the stuff "off-screen" which implies more heinous doings (QotBC is a big one), just that Conan, as depicted by REH, is within "heroic" (as I define it) bounds in every REH Conan yarn.


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#130 Libaax

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Posted 10 March 2013 - 11:15 AM

It depends on story i think too.   Some stories he is the Ancient Greek bloody but heroic hero.   

 

Some stories he fits like No-hero that some use for criminal noir characters like Richard Stark's Parker.   If the less heroic Conan stories was Noir theif killing his way to gain,money and revenge he would fit No-hero.   

 

Like Parker who feels only for his own needs and doesnt care about anything else.  Imo you cant judge Conan in the many different stories like he is the same all the time.

 

Mostly i agree he is flawed, dark hero that has been around 1000s of years. 



#131 deuce

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Posted 10 March 2013 - 11:58 AM

It depends on story i think too.   Some stories he is the Ancient Greek bloody but heroic hero.   

 

Some stories he fits like No-hero that some use for criminal noir characters like Richard Stark's Parker.   If the less heroic Conan stories was Noir theif killing his way to gain,money and revenge he would fit No-hero.   

 

Like Parker who feels only for his own needs and doesnt care about anything else.  

 

What's this "No-hero"?   :blink:

 

EVERY culture/sub-culture/counter-culture has its "heroes".  Elsewise, one wouldn't see various sub-cultures idolizing Osama bin Laden or Jesse James (I named him for a reason) as "heroes". Pancho Villa is another good example.

 

You've kept ignoring this basic, historic (yet current) definition for (instead) a "paragonic" one since the debate started.

 

Nobody can rule/operate (even in an "underworld") without someone (a whole BUNCH of "someones") believing in their "heroic" persona. As it is, we rarely see Conan in that milieu. Sorry, Parker isn't a very good match.

 

Conan was ready to go to the mines to honor his word to Aztrias.

 

Even later, as KTJ pointed out, Conan refused a BIG payoff to desert "his" Aquilonians.

 

Apparently, you'd like to see a "Conan" free of any and all constraints. Keep reading the "Parker" books.


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#132 Libaax

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Posted 10 March 2013 - 12:25 PM

It depends on story i think too.   Some stories he is the Ancient Greek bloody but heroic hero.   

 

Some stories he fits like No-hero that some use for criminal noir characters like Richard Stark's Parker.   If the less heroic Conan stories was Noir theif killing his way to gain,money and revenge he would fit No-hero.   

 

Like Parker who feels only for his own needs and doesnt care about anything else.  

 

What's this "No-hero"?   :blink:

 

EVERY culture/sub-culture/counter-culture has its "heroes".  Elsewise, one wouldn't see various sub-cultures idolizing Osama bin Laden or Jesse James (I named him for a reason) as "heroes". Pancho Villa is another good example.

 

You've kept ignoring this basic, historic (yet current) definition for (instead) a "paragonic" one since the debate started.

 

Nobody can rule/operate (even in an "underworld") without someone (a whole BUNCH of "someones") believing in their "heroic" persona. As it is, we rarely see Conan in that milieu. Sorry, Parker isn't a very good match.

 

Conan was ready to go to the mines to honor his word to Aztrias.

 

Even later, as KTJ pointed out, Conan refused a BIG payoff to desert "his" Aquilonians.

 

Apparently, you'd like to see a "Conan" free of any and all constraints. Keep reading the "Parker" books.

 

 

Well i agree he is heroic in general but i just found it interesting some stories he shows criminal interest only before he still must fit the heroic mold.   Of course he has restraint and he is suppose to be bloody,tough hero that still does heroic things like saving women from supernatural monsters.  Its S&S series after all.   

 

I meant he doesnt always fit the hero mold all the time in the stories.   



#133 deuce

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Posted 10 March 2013 - 12:39 PM

 

It depends on story i think too.   Some stories he is the Ancient Greek bloody but heroic hero.   

 

Some stories he fits like No-hero that some use for criminal noir characters like Richard Stark's Parker.   If the less heroic Conan stories was Noir theif killing his way to gain,money and revenge he would fit No-hero.   

 

Like Parker who feels only for his own needs and doesnt care about anything else.  

 

What's this "No-hero"?   :blink:

 

EVERY culture/sub-culture/counter-culture has its "heroes".  Elsewise, one wouldn't see various sub-cultures idolizing Osama bin Laden or Jesse James (I named him for a reason) as "heroes". Pancho Villa is another good example.

 

You've kept ignoring this basic, historic (yet current) definition for (instead) a "paragonic" one since the debate started.

 

Nobody can rule/operate (even in an "underworld") without someone (a whole BUNCH of "someones") believing in their "heroic" persona. As it is, we rarely see Conan in that milieu. Sorry, Parker isn't a very good match.

 

Conan was ready to go to the mines to honor his word to Aztrias.

 

Even later, as KTJ pointed out, Conan refused a BIG payoff to desert "his" Aquilonians.

 

Apparently, you'd like to see a "Conan" free of any and all constraints. Keep reading the "Parker" books.

 

 

Well i agree he is heroic in general but i just found it interesting some stories he shows criminal interest only before he still must fit the heroic mold.   Of course he has restraint and he is suppose to be bloody,tough hero that still does heroic things like saving women from supernatural monsters.  Its S&S series after all.   

 

I meant he doesnt always fit the hero mold all the time in the stories.   

 

To what "hero mold" do you refer?

 

As Campbell pointed out, there are a LOT of "molds". Are you still flogging that "Superman" horse? Odysseus, Rob Roy and Conall Cernach were ALL "outlaws" outside their tribal milieu (and heroes within). We never see Conan amongst the Cimmerians. 


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#134 Libaax

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Posted 10 March 2013 - 12:54 PM

I was thinking about he usually in the stories i have read he fits the Outlaw hero mold because as you say we never see him among the Cimmerians.  Interesting that he is often the conqueror, new warlord,captain of the guard,mercenary in other lands. 

 

 

He is well outside his tribal milieu and we see him contrasted to people in the new lands he doesnt belong to.  Like Odysseus and co are the bloody enemy in The Illiad from the POV of the Troyans,  The other,barbarian that he is to many characters in the stories.   

 

Really i was thinking more like his setting makes him look darker, less heroic at times than he really is.   My original point i tried to explain was that his usual line of work is odd choice for someone who does some heroic things.  

 

What Superman horse?   I dont know Superman well, he is too boy scout hero for my taste. Not like Conan, Solomon Kane,Batman and other dark heroes i like.


Edited by Libaax, 10 March 2013 - 12:57 PM.


#135 deuce

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Posted 10 March 2013 - 01:15 PM

What Superman horse?   I dont know Superman well, he is too boy scout hero for my taste. Not like Conan, Solomon Kane,Batman and other dark heroes i like.

 

I was referring to the English idiom of "flogging a dead horse". You (and others) keep using an ABSOLUTELY "paragonic" ideal as your baseline for the definition of "hero". That's referred to as a "reductio ad absurdum" argument.

 

Parker (and his ilk) only evoke "respect" in contrast to the civilized surroundings they prey upon (hey, I enjoy them myself). However, at the core, they're just "feral dogs" (BtBR) tearing at the carcass of civilization. They'd just get both barrels from my shotgun.

 

Conan can't really be shown to be like that except in The Vale of Lost Women. In that case, he's the uber-gangster in a land of gangsters. Even in "Rogues", it's recognized early on that Conan has more inherent nobility than anyone else.


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#136 Libaax

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Posted 10 March 2013 - 01:44 PM

What Superman horse?   I dont know Superman well, he is too boy scout hero for my taste. Not like Conan, Solomon Kane,Batman and other dark heroes i like.

 

I was referring to the English idiom of "flogging a dead horse". You (and others) keep using an ABSOLUTELY "paragonic" ideal as your baseline for the definition of "hero". That's referred to as a "reductio ad absurdum" argument.

 

Parker (and his ilk) only evoke "respect" in contrast to the civilized surroundings they prey upon (hey, I enjoy them myself). However, at the core, they're just "feral dogs" (BtBR) tearing at the carcass of civilization. They'd just get both barrels from my shotgun.

 

Conan can't really be shown to be like that except in The Vale of Lost Women. In that case, he's the uber-gangster in a land of gangsters. Even in "Rogues", it's recognized early on that Conan has more inherent nobility than anyone else.

 

Yeah i wouldnt say Parker and his ilk is like Conan but i thought there were some similarities just like you said the gangster in a land of gangsters.  I was thinking more about their world, their profession and not Conan actions who is clearly different.  Frankly if he wasnt heroic, it wouldn't be interesting read and contrast to his bleak fantasy world.

 

Well i didnt really use paragonic ideal for definition of hero because i claimed from the start i saw Conan as darker, more flawed but still clearly a hero.   I didnt just explain well what i meant from the start. I wouldnt be much of REH reader if i didnt see there were heroes that are from far paragonic ideal but still great heroes.  I find Solomon Kane for example to be a real nobel hero despite all his darkness, his violence.


Edited by Libaax, 10 March 2013 - 01:45 PM.


#137 deuce

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Posted 10 March 2013 - 02:30 PM

 

What Superman horse?   I dont know Superman well, he is too boy scout hero for my taste. Not like Conan, Solomon Kane,Batman and other dark heroes i like.

 

I was referring to the English idiom of "flogging a dead horse". You (and others) keep using an ABSOLUTELY "paragonic" ideal as your baseline for the definition of "hero". That's referred to as a "reductio ad absurdum" argument.

 

Parker (and his ilk) only evoke "respect" in contrast to the civilized surroundings they prey upon (hey, I enjoy them myself). However, at the core, they're just "feral dogs" (BtBR) tearing at the carcass of civilization. They'd just get both barrels from my shotgun.

 

Conan can't really be shown to be like that except in The Vale of Lost Women. In that case, he's the uber-gangster in a land of gangsters. Even in "Rogues", it's recognized early on that Conan has more inherent nobility than anyone else.

 

Yeah i wouldnt say Parker and his ilk is like Conan but i thought there were some similarities just like you said the gangster in a land of gangsters.  I was thinking more about their world, their profession and not Conan actions who is clearly different.  Frankly if he wasnt heroic, it wouldn't be interesting read and contrast to his bleak fantasy world.

 

Well i didnt really use paragonic ideal for definition of hero because i claimed from the start i saw Conan as darker, more flawed but still clearly a hero.   I didnt just explain well what i meant from the start. I wouldnt be much of REH reader if i didnt see there were heroes that are from far paragonic ideal but still great heroes.  I find Solomon Kane for example to be a real nobel hero despite all his darkness, his violence.

 

 

Hey Libaax!  You're the one who responded, so you get the comments.   :)

 

What gets me is that all of this talk about "anti-heroes" is just double-speak for "MY HEROES". I'll never be convinced that kids/young men didn't say the same thing about {whoever} from "cave-man" days right up until the present day.

 

Human males (of whatever age) want a bad-ass to look up to/model their behaviour upon.  IMO, that is a good thing. However, the definition of "hero" has become so rarefied and contorted in official/conventional Western culture that some (misguided/illiterate) souls call such "idols/hero-figures" by the label of "anti-heroes".

 

So, can someone tell me what an "anti-villain" is?

 

I didn't think so. If one cannot define a "hero", then one cannot define a "villain". Without such definitions, a society is lost and ripe for overthrow.

 

The whole term "anti-hero" is just crap. Leave it to Woody Allen. It certainly doesn't apply to Conan (who had more guts than a legion of Woody Allens).


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#138 Libaax

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Posted 10 March 2013 - 02:41 PM

Hehe deuce i didnt really follow all the early comments in this topic.

 

I dont like the anti-hero either because they used it too broadly almost for any hero today.    You cant compare Conan type to shining white knight heroes and call both anti-hero.....

 

I agree fully that its double speak that annoys me alot.  Its like people reading these stories cant accept bloody,darker heroes for what they are.


Edited by Libaax, 10 March 2013 - 02:42 PM.


#139 Keith J Taylor

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Posted 12 March 2013 - 11:59 AM

Deuce!  Thanks for quoting me on the matter of Conan's finer qualities.  Very flattering indeed.  Of course he's no boy scout.  As Howard pointed out from the word go, he was "a thief, a reaver, a slayer", and as he wrote of his creation in another story, though he was savagely loyal to lovers and comrades, in short to those he cared about AS INDIVIDUALS, he "saw no reason why the rest of the world should not be plundered." 

 

He undoubtedly plundered and slaughtered high, wide and handsome with Belit aboard the "Tigress", again as a chief of the desert Zuagirs, and yet again as a leader of kozaki on the Zaporoskan steppes.  He came to recognise broader responsibilities later in life -- but, again, responsibilities he had assumed only of his own free will, by seizing the chance to become King of Aquilonia.  Dethroned, in "Hour of the Dragon" he naturally feels a strong urge to say to hell with it and return to former patterns, but he can't.  His adopted people need him.  And yet, as REH also says, "it had been with no thought of anybody's gain but his own that he had seized the crown originally.  Thus subtly does the instinct of sovereign responsibility take hold even of a red-handed plunderer sometimes."   It's good that REH judiciously says "sometimes." 

 

Who mentioned Richard Stark's Parker in this connection?  Parker's about the most amoral and soulless character in crime fiction.  You'd never find him having any of Conan's better, nobler moments.  The pair have just one thing in common so far as I can see.  They're both daring, resourceful thieves who often find themselves pulling "jobs" which turn out to have weird and disastrous elements they didn't bargain for!  



#140 Keith J Taylor

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Posted 12 March 2013 - 12:18 PM

I got off the topic a bit there.  Was Conan an anti-hero? is the thread.  A thousand times no.  The abominable invention of the "anti-hero" is a character who lacks courage, initiative, charm, generosity, or any other quality it's possible to admire or envy.  Even Constantius the Falcon and the witch Salome in "A Witch Shall be Born", while wicked and loathsome cruel villains, ain't anti-heroes, because at least they're vivid and enterprising and daring!  Murilo in "Rogues in the House" is a rogue, all right -- a traitor, and one prepared to resort to murder when threatened with exposure, but still not an anti-hero.   An anti-hero would be likely to curl up in a little foetal ball and whimper when his plans went awry, but Murilo is "no weakling to bend his neck to the axe."  If I remember the story aright, he's handsome, urbane and cultured, too -- a good foil for Conan.

 

Or take Etienne Villiers in "Sword Woman".  There too we have a rogue, as he says himself, and often a despicable one, but a complex, well-drawn character with a whole other side to him, and he too is courageous and dashing.  Thief, liar pander, "always a black rogue ... I have never been anything else," but still not that miserable twerp the anti-hero.