Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Brak So Far

I've read a few of John Jakes' Brak the Barbarian stories now.  I am liking them better than the portion of the Thongor stories I have read.  Perhaps it is the writing.  I don't know.  I do think Brak is a fairly silly name though.  Perhaps created simply for the alliteration?

I thought Brak was a pretty cold-hearted bastard at first.  I still think he is but now I'm a bit confused.  In one story he throws the evil female antagonist to a horde of just escaped male prisoners who she was largely responsible for incarcerating and enslaving.  Fortunately, the author ends the story without describing the particulars of her fate.  However, in a second story he does not strike down an evil female antagonist who is  taunting him by stabbing him repeatedly with a dagger in preparation of killing him.  She does this because she knows he won't slay her because of his "code of honor."  I just don't quite get it.  I guess I'm just not barbarian enough to understand.

Here are the Brak's BoL stats as I envision them so far.  I'll update his profile as I learn more.

Barbarian from the Icy Northern Steppes

Attributes:  Strength 3 Agility 1 Mind 0 Appeal 0
Combat Abilities: Brawl 1 Melee 2 Ranged 0 Defense 1
Careers:  Barbarian 2 Hunter 1 Slave 0
Lifeblood: 15  Hero Points 5
Boons:  Hard to Kill, Plains Tracker
Flaws:  Distrust of Sorcery
Gear:  Sword d6

Edit:  Apparently Brak was the title of some African kings.  So there is a historical precedent for the name.


  1. I have not read any Brak-but yes the name is a bit...odd. Have you read any Kane stories from Karl Edward Wagner. Other than Conan, these are my favorites

  2. I haven't read any of Wagner's stuff. I want to but haven't got ahold of any yet.

  3. I'm plowing through the Brak short-story collection, "The Fortunes of Brak." Jakes presents him as fairly honor-bound, making him a more sympathetic character than Conan. I'd be tempted to give him a flaw along those lines, though in a heroic genre that sort of behavior is probably more normal than "flawed." Still, he seems more principled than a lot of S&S characters.

  4. I've only read the first Brak novel and some Thongor short stories. I did enjoy the honorable nature of Brak. He even shacked up with one of his heroins but was ""honorable during the whole domestic arrangement.

    I'm currently reading The Compleat Enchanter by Prat and De Camp and find it very enjoyable.

  5. Hey Chris. I actually just finished that story about him living with the queen and working in the rock pit. He really is honorable.