Literature / The God in the Bowl

"The God in the Bowl" is a Conan the Barbarian story written by Robert E. Howard. Written in 1932 or 1933, but not published. A version edited by L. Sprague de Camp was first published in September, 1952. The original version was first published in 1975.

Tropes found in this work

  • The Corpse Stops Here: The story begins when the night watchman comes across Conan near the body of Kallian Publico. It doesn't help his case that the Cimmerian was there to steal.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: Conan, did you just decapitate a Physical God?
  • Evil Is Not a Toy: Do not open the bowl
  • Faking and Entering: Kallian opens the bowl to look for valuables, since he can claim the burglar took them.
  • Flat-Earth Atheist: Dionus
  • Good Cop/Bad Cop: Demetrius and Dionus, to a large extent. Dionus threatens Conan with beatings and execution every chance he gets; Demetrius mostly just wants Conan's cooperation in figuring out what actually happened.
  • Greater Scope Villain: Thoth-Amon doesn't appear in the story, but the characters suspect that he's the one who sent the bowl to the museum.
  • Jerkass: Dionus
    • Conan himself is not exactly at his best here. The story takes place very early in his adventuring life, and he is even more hot-tempered than usual. He inflicts some very cruel damage to some of the other characters, most of whom are just honest cops doing their jobs.
  • Locked Room Mystery: Kallian Publico is found dead in his own museum, alone except for the night watchman who discovered the corpse and Conan, who had just broken in through a trapdoor on the roof and wouldn't have had time to kill him. The doors are all locked; Kallian and the watchman have the only keys.
  • Minor Crime Reveals Major Plot: Conan only broke in to the museum to steal a jeweled goblet; he had no idea that at the same time the museum's owner had accidentally unleashed an eldritch monstrosity and died horribly.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Demetrius generally comes across as one.
  • The Scapegoat: Dionus plans this for Conan
  • Snake People: One, in a jar
  • Unknown Rival: Thoth-Amon and Conan