Monday, 22 April 2013
FIGHT! FIGHT! FIGHT! #28
Conan the Barbarian; Conan the Cimmerian; Conan, King of Aquilonia; Conan, bloke who could seriously fuck-up your shit. Conan is the barbarian’s barbarian, arguably the first of a noble lineage of barely clothed slabs of man-meat who like to split skulls, thieve, loot, pillage and plunder. Conan is played by Arnold Schwarzenegger in the 1982 film Conan The Barbarian, based on the Conan books by Robert E. Howard.
Khal Drogo is the undisputed leader of the largest of the Dothraki Khalasars. He specialises in the plundering of villages, the razing of settlements and generally scaring the shit out of cities until they give him a fuck-ton of gold and slaves to go away. Drogo can be found in the Game of Thrones TV show by HBO, (where he is played by Jason Momoa) and the A Song of Ice and Fire book series by George R.R. Martin.
Neither of the two is homo-erotic in any way.
Conan is traditional armed to the teeth with a whole variety of axes, daggers, swords, spears and sharp pointy objects close to hand.
Drogo generally restricts him to an Arakh (the bastard love-child of a sword and a scythe) and a couple of daggers.
A tie, simply because if school taught us anything, when you play rock-paper-scissors, if you both chose scissors it’s a draw. THOSE ARE THE RULES.
Backing up Mr C. Barbarian there is Subotai, a thief, archer and token side-kick; and Valeria, also a thief, but on top of that blonde, buxom and a token love interest. Conan hangs round with some seriously dodgy token people.
Mr. K. Drogo has at his back his loyal Bloodriders and an army of 40,000 angry, merciless, Dothraki screamers. It’s an army which makes whole countries shit themselves with equine derived terror. On top of that there’s the associated civilian hangers-on and the folk who deal with the actual logistics of scraping up the dung of the 40,000 or so horses. You know, the people who do the actual work. The Dothraki have decided to tax them for dung storage because they can.
Conan Wins. A win for Conan you ask? How could Conan possibly win, Drogo’s got a whole army! You know who else had an army? Thulsa Doom had an army. Conan hacked off his head and tossed it about like a really shit football. With his rag-tag group of adventurers, no army’s going to stop Conan doing whatever the fuck it is that Conan wants to do.
Conan spent his childhood in slavery, pushing a really big wheel round and round, before then graduating to illegal underground pit bouts that make Fight Club look like an old lady’s tea party. This has made Conan had as nails and inured to pain and misfortune. Oh and there was the time he was crucified and killed a vulture who was trying to eat him with his bare teeth.
Despite his desire to mutilate and dismember Conan is something of a philosopher. Even if it is a murderous philosophy that proclaims that the best thing in life is “To crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentations of their women.” And that’s before you even consider his on going quest to understand “The riddle of steel.” He even briefly held a position in the English department of Dublin’s Trinity College.
Khal Drogo has never been defeated. According to Dothraki tradition this means he’s allowed to have the best barnet. In addition to being adept at slaughter Drogo doesn’t have any issues with slavery or mail-order brides and lacks any understanding of the phrase “proportional response.” Arguments could be made that on the inside he’s just a big softly who loves his tiny, little ethnically displaced wife.
Conan wins. This is basically because, although neither are very nice people, Drogo is a bit flat. You don’t see him musing about the nature and meaning of fighting do you?
Our two burly and over muscled combatants meet in the undulating fields of endless grass. It could be in the lands of the great Hyborian age or equally it could be the Dothrak Sea. It is in all likelihood, probably somewhere in Wales.
Tenuous narrative reasoning has decided that the two men will face each other in single combat, because that’s the sort of thing that barely clothed, sword swinging barbarians do. Conan probably dinged Drogo’s horse when reversing out of the Dread Tomb of King Watsisface, or something like that. It’s totally plausible. Frankly I'm peeved that you're asking me to do all the work.
The two warriors wearily circle each other; Conan crouched slightly, his broadsword gripped in both hands. Drogo stands upright, almost casual, his chest thrust outward as if he’s preparing to beat Conan to death with his pecks. There is a clash of steal as Conan sends a few probing strikes towards Drogo, strikes which would make the director of choreography at a school play blush with embarrassment. Abruptly Conan backs off and shouts:
“What is best in life?” and starts grandstanding before the Dothraki observers.
It’s at this point that Drogo lunges forward and properly lamps Conan in the face and then slices him up something proper until his chest looks like someone’s tried to staple fifteen increasingly angry cats to it. Bleeding like a pig that’s been stuck in a blender, Conan is left to die slowly, noisily and painfully on the dry earth.
Ordinarily that’d be that. Foe vanquished, victory achieved, then home for the Dothraki equivalent to tea and crumpets, which is probably something like blood wine and chargrilled horse-arse. But Conan is nothing if not the product of his age. Not the Great Hyborian Age, but the 1980s.
Under the cover of darkness Subotai carries off Conan’s barely alive body. Over the next few months Conan is nursed back to health, you see his first few staggering steps as he recovers from his wounds, you see him swinging a sword at mid-air while looking seriously pensive, wearing his very best Barbarian Thinky Face™ (It’s totally a thing.) The entire thing looks dangerously like a montage.
Drogo and his horde have barely cantered over the top of the next hill when they see Conan waiting for them, now wearing his best “serious face.” Months, maybe even years have passed for Conan in his queer 80s montage dimension, he’s a different man to the one Drogo brutally fucked up a few minutes ago. What had been a minor social inconvenience has now become all about vengeance. And if there’s one thing Conan is good at, it’s vengeance.
Stunned by the reappearance of a bloke he just murderised, Drogo shoves tangible emotion for the first time in his life: a look a slight shock as Conan hacks off his head with a big knife.
Head severed, Conan punts it deep into the mass of people and horse, his face is stern but you know fine well that inside he’s going “Whooooo!”