is a character appearing in a series of short stories
by Robert E. Howard
, the few of which published during his lifetime appeared in Weird Tales
. Kull is a barbarian hailing from Atlantis
, but was exiled from his homeland. After some years as an adventurer, Kull made himself king of Valusia in a bloody coup. He lived approximately 100,000 years ago (according to Kings of the Night
Howard's more famous Conan the Barbarian
inhabits the same continuity as Kull, but lives many thousand years later. Kull is a precursor of sorts of Conan; indeed, the first Conan story was a rewrite of a Kull story Howard had not sold. Both are fierce barbarian warriors, but Kull is a more thoughtful, philosophical character.
The Kull stories are a peripheral part of the Cthulhu Mythos
. Perhaps most notably, Cthulhu fans will recognize the Serpent People who appear in The Shadow Kingdom
Kull stories written by Robert E. Howard
Few Kull stories were actually published in the lifetime of Howard, as the character was not particularly popular.
- The Shadow Kingdom. First published in August, 1929. First Kull story.
- The Mirrors of Tuzun Thune. First published in September, 1929.
- Kings of the Night. First published in November, 1930. Features a crossover with Bran Mak Morn.
- The King and the Oak, a poem. First published in February, 1939.
- The Altar and the Scorpion. First published in 1967.
- Black Abyss, also known as The Black City. First published in 1967. Howard actually left the story unfinished. Lin Carter added further chapters and a conclusion to the story.
- By This Axe I Rule. First published in 1967. Famed because Howard revised the story to The Phoenix on the Sword (1932), the first Conan story.
- The Curse of the Golden Skull. First published in 1967.
- Delcarde's Cat, also known as The Cat and the Skull. First published in 1967.
- Exile of Atlantis. First published in 1967. Howard finished the story, but never gave it a title.
- The Skull of Silence, also known as The Screaming Skull of Silence. First published in 1967.
- Swords of the Purple Kingdom. First published in 1967.
- The Striking of the Gong. There are two version of this tale. The original Howard version was first published in 1976, and a version revised by Lin Carter in 1967.
- Riders Beyond the Sunrise. There are two version of this tale. The original Howard version was first published in 1976, and a version revised by Lin Carter in 1967.
- Wizard and Warrior. There are two version of this tale. The original story draft by Howard was published in 1978, an expanded tale by Lin Carter appeared in 1967.
Some Kull stories here
See also: Robert E. Howard
, Conan the Barbarian
, Bran Mak Morn
Not to be confused with the big Urgals
from Christopher Paolini's Inheritance Cycle
(though Kull probably inspired their name) or with the movie Krull
although there was a 1997 movie Kull
with Kevin Sorbo in the title role.
- An Axe to Grind: "By this axe, I rule!"
- Asexuality: Kull "was not interested in women", according to The Shadow People and The Cat and the Skull.
- Awesome McCoolname: Come on, say it, KULL.
- Ax-Crazy: The reader often gets the feeling that Kull is bored very easily with his job. "Kull, who opens Pandora's Boxes like birthday gifts".
- Badass Grandpa: Kull won't allow age to lessen his contempt if you are not this.
- Badass in Distress: Kull himself in Swords of the Purple Kingdom. He thought Brule was one in The Cat and the Skull.
- Barbarian Hero: Duh.
- Big Bad: Thulsa Doom is a self proclaimed one (though he only appears in one of Howard's stories)
- Berserk Button: Kull will look for any excuse to go kick someone's ass. He easily bored
- Bookcase Passage
- Bound and Gagged: Happens to no less than 5 characters, one of them being Kull himself.
- Contemplate Our Navels: Most egregiously seen in The Mirrors of Tuzun Thune.
- Cosmic Horror Story.
- Cross Over: Kings of the Night, featuring Kull and Bran Mak Morn.
- Curtain Camouflage
- Deadly Decadent Court: The state of existence in Valusia for so long that literally no native Valusian can conceive of any other way to be.
- Divided We Fall
- Duel to the Death
- The Exile
- Even Evil Has Standards
- Evil Is Not Well Lit
- Fake King: The Serpent People do this, murdering and replacing the rulers of Valusia and other lands.
- Feuding Families
- Fire-Forged Friends
- Glory Seeker
- Go Mad from the Revelation
- The Good Chancellor: First Councillor Tu.
- Green-Eyed Monster
- Heterosexual Life-Partners: Kull and Brule the Lance-slayer, justified by the fact Brule acts as his bodyguad and also is one his few true friends and collaborators.
- Hidden Depths
- Human Sacrifice
- I Am the Noun: "I AM THE LAW!", Kull said, fed up with the Can't-Marry-Slaves law. He takes an ax to it. Could very well be a Trope Namer.
- Identical Grandson
- In Harm's Way
- It Was a Gift
- Lizard Folk: The Snakemen
- Made a Slave
- Mad Oracle
- Magic Mirror
- Master of Illusion
- Mercy Kill
- No Ontological Inertia
- Obvious Trap
- Or Was It a Dream?
- Our Ghosts Are Different
- Pet the Dog: Kull has a soft spot for young lovers and other such fools.
- Petting Zoo People
- Precursors: The Serpent People and other races (implied).
- Recursive Precursors: Atlantis, Kull's homeland, is a young and barbaric island nation while Valusia and its culture is considered ancient beyond reckoning, extending back to the very dawn of Man as a free, non-enslaved species.
- The Promise
- The Power of Friendship: Despict being from enemy races Brule shares with Kull a great friendship, in more than one occasion each one has saved the life of the other, even in one situation where they had to face a cosmic entity.
- Power of Trust
- Power Trio: King Kull is The McCoy, Councillor Tu is The Spock, and Brule is The Kirk.
- The Promise
- Proud Warrior Race Guy: Quite obvious.
- Purple Prose: Howard was one of those exceptional writers who did this well.
- Religion of Evil
- Reptiles Are Abhorrent: The Serpent People, through which Howard distantly connects with the Cthulhu Mythos of his friend H.P. Lovecraft.
- Requisite Royal Regalia
- Royal Blood
- Screw the Rules, I Make Them!: Look at I Am the Noun above.
- Sealed Evil in a Can: The Screaming Skull of Silence. Kull almost ends the world out of sheer boredom.
- Shoot the Dog: In "Exile of Atlantis", Kull throws a knife in a girl's heart to spare her from being burned to death.
- Schrödinger's Butterfly
- Self-Made Man
- Talking in Your Dreams
- Time Travel: In Kings of the Night, Kull visits Bran Mak Morn who lives 100,000 years later.
- Vestigial Empire
- Victory Is Boring: Kull spends most of his time after becoming king in an existential funk, because it's so much more enticing to conquer than to rule.
- What Could Have Been: The '97 movie was originally intended to be the third movie for the Conan the Barbarian movies, which were supposed to be about Kull anyway.
- The unfinished fragment that came to be called "Riders Beyond the Sunrise" ends with Kull and some of his warriors, in pursuit of a man who has defied the law and insulted him, reaching a river. There is a ferryman who says, "Here is the end of the world; beyond is magic and the unknown. Here is the boundary of the world; there begins the realm of horror and mysticism. This is the river Stagus and I am Karon the Ferryman." It is explicitly stated that this would go down through the centuries to become the myth of the river Styx and Charon the ferryman. The ferryman takes Kull and his men across, and the story stops there. David Drake called this story "the only fragment I've read that made me really wish that Howard had completed it himself."
- Will Not Tell a Lie: Judging by his behavior, Kull regards liars as scheming weaklings. Real men always tell the truth...and kill all who take offense to it.
- Zerg Rush