Sunday, 24 July 2011

Conan vs Khal Drogo and other such silliness

It's interesting that following the little kerfuffle which emerged when we found out which fictional barbarian Jason Momoa has his money on, many seemed to think the dispute was about how REH fans are incensed that Jason picked the wrong choice.  However, I don't think that's the case.  For one thing, there isn't actually a debate, since we can't really know who would win out of Drogo or Conan for the simple reason that we barely know anything about the former, most specifically his combat prowess.

In A Game of Thrones, all we have to go on is hearsay.  Tales of how impressive the Khal was in battle, the fact that he has a massively long ponytail suggests he was never defeated in battle, the fact that everyone fears and respects him.  But we never see first hand evidence of his skills, strength and endurance.  He has a fantastic mystique and aura of death about him, but it's all just that: mystique and aura.  This was somewhat remedied by the TV show, but I maintain what I thought originally: that wasn't a fight, that was an execution.  Drogo was barely scratched by the "challenger," and he punished the would-be usurper with contemptuous ease.  Aside from that, we have practically no information to go on.

Conan, of course, is a different story.  We have plenty of first-hand accounts of the Cimmerian's battle against scores of different opponents. Duels, brawls, skirmishes, assaults, battles, sieges, with odds both against him and in his favour.  So we have a good idea of how Conan would fare against, say, Thomas Covenant, Imaro or Elric.* But against Drogo, all we can do is speculate.  All the more reason to be annoyed at Martin killing off one of the best characters in A Game of Thrones.

Conan, being a rather famous example of the badass barbarian warrior, is a regular combatant in such contests. However, given how vastly different Howard's Conan is from film-Conan, who is different from Marvel Conan, who is different from animated Conan... So you can have matchups go all over the place. And, of course, all are decided by vote.

Sometimes he's really punching above his weight:

Loss Optimus Prime 17 to 85

Loss Witch-King of Angmar 56 to 62
Loss Wolverine 12 to 75

Others, he's come out on top when circumstances really point against it:

Win He-Man 41 to 36

Win The Balrog 13 to 12
Win Alien King 24 to 8

And, predictably, there are other battles he really should've won:

Loss Bruce Lee 60 to 62
Loss Chewbacca 47 to 48
Loss King Leonidas 58 to 76

That said, when it comes to fictional characters, the only person who would really win is who you want to win: all the attempted empirical deduction and analysis is, unfortunately for such pedantic folks as myself, subject entirely to the whim of circumstance, bias and story.

*Effortlessly, Decently and Poorly respectively.

1 comment:

  1. Also, George R. R. Martin himself asked the question.

    But I agree with some that it's bad publicity for the Conan film.