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Why I Prefer Kull To Conan


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#1 RJMooreII

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Posted 19 April 2012 - 04:24 AM

I have read all or most Kull and Conan stories by Howard (though not in the scholarly depth many of the folks here have), and I have preferred Kull throughout my whole history. I read Conan first, and bought a collection of the Kull stories at a later time. The basic reasons are as follows:

1) Kull is more planning and intellectual. This isn't accidental, Howard really seems to have wanted to refine that primal, pantherish wariness in Conan. Kull is a barbarian, but he seems to retain some of that Atlantean/Elfish awareness of dim aeons and cosmic curiosity. Cimmerians eventually come to be more cynical toward divinities, probably because (among other reasons) Valka didn't protect mighty Atlantis from the curse of a hateful old sorcerer.

2) Kull is more imperious. He seems to be both more cultured and more civilized than Conan. He has a sense of his own grandeur (not to say he is deluded by it like the civilized heirs of kings), and seems to take his role as a demigod of Valusia more naturally than Conan.

3) I get the impression that Kull is a bit larger and greyer than Conan, which I think looks cooler.

Conan is still one of my favorite characters, for many of the same reasons as I like Kull and the differences. But I find Kull to be a more compelling character, despite the fact that he reflects a less developed Howard.
"Never trust a wizard - even in death." - Grognak the Barbarian

#2 wulfhere

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Posted 19 April 2012 - 01:41 PM

Atlantean/Elfish awareness


Elfish? :blink:

#3 RJMooreII

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Posted 19 April 2012 - 03:02 PM

Atlantean/Elfish awareness


Elfish? :blink:

Sure. Atlanteans are a kind of weird other-race of supermen; barbarians though they are. Certainly you don't think the ancient anscestors of the Scandinavians thought of elves as hyper-civilized faeries? An elf is basically a kind of mannish demigod.

In Germanic, Norse and Celtic mythology creatures like elves and dwarves aren't necessarily inhuman in the biological sense; they're more of a branch of anthropoid. Of course some are inhuman, many Celtic faeries and the sort are just some kind of ghostly monster; but that is exactly what the old elves (whom Tolkein pastiches a bit with faeries, starting their descent into D&D-dom) are not. They're ubermensch.

Elric gets this right, to some extent. Melniboneans are not recognizably not-human. But they're not exactly "regular" people. I see Atlanteans (and Cimmerians) in the same light.

Edited by RJMooreII, 19 April 2012 - 03:43 PM.

"Never trust a wizard - even in death." - Grognak the Barbarian