Bad Scot will be represented by red text, Good Scot will be represented by blue text.
Since I like to end on a good note, I'll start with the bad: Vincent Schroder's nice overview of Conan the Barbarian, which explains why there's more to it than "Hurff durff Ahnold sucks."
A point of criticism heard is that the movie is that it's sexist and overly macho yet one of the strongest characters is female (and feminine!). Valeria is a cunning warrior, trusted to bring up the rear when they escape Doom's temple. She's smarter that Conan and Subotai ("You don't even have a rope!) and very spirited. It's these qualities that make Conan and Subotai respect her (and Conan fall in love with her) and it makes the viewer see her not as the token female or love interest but as a hero. Or shero, if we're talking Arnocorps.
The female slaves are used "for breeding" but that's not any more degrading that having the males fight to the death for others' entertainment. Life's as fleeting and happiness is as precious in this movie regardless of sex.
Unfortunately, it also happens to have this perplexing bit:
Sandahl Bergman as Valeria. All three main actors are athletes, she's a dancer. Calling her a love interest doesn't do her character justice. She's as fierce a warrior as Conan and Subotai and a much better thief. Conan falling in love with her is the biggest difference of character compared to the original stories and it's for the better.
Well, that's an interesting idea. I fail to see how Conan didn't fall in love with her namesake in "Red Nails," so I broached the question. Vincent's response:
I just finished reading one of REH's original Conan stories called "Phoenix of The Sword. Ever since I started visiting this forums and reading assessments on REH's Conan mythos posted by various experts on this forum like Tsotha-lanti, finn-palm, and Taranaichasaurus(I might have misspelled that) just to name a few, The mythos seemed interesting to me and then I got interested even more when I started wiki-ing the character. So I decided to finally read one of the stories today since I figured I'd use my head for something before heading to work today lol.
Anyway, I finally got to read this on the AoC wiki since the stories are still in the Public Domain and I must say that this was a pretty good Conan story. I was surprised that this story(which I believe is said to be the first Conan story) was set during Conan's time as King. I thought the conspiracy plot to kill Conan was pretty interesting and the plot of how Conan seems to be struggling to be a good King while being excellent as a fighter. What really won me over though was how good REH is at describing things and making you feel like you were there without overdoing it like J.R.R Tolkien did with Lord of The Rings. He really knows how to paint a picture in the reader's mind that's for sure. Another good thing about this was the dialogue and the way various characters spoke in rhyme or riddle at time like the quotes at the beginning of each chapter just reels me in and successfully keeps me interested.
Did Anyone else feel the same way when they read this story?
It's always heartening to see new fans of Robert E. Howard, a real shot in the arm. Just goes to show, for every three links I could complain about, there are three more I can commend.