Written by Old Bluffer 20th May 2009
Conan's father is a Cimmerian, a hard people, used to harsh winters and followers of a harsher god.
"Fire and wind come from the sky, from the gods of the sky. But Crom is your god. Crom, and he lives in the earth. Once, giants lived in the Earth, Conan. And in the darkness of chaos, they fooled Crom, and they took from him the enigma of steel. Crom was angered. And the Earth shook. Fire and wind struck down these giants, and they threw their bodies into the waters, but in their rage, the gods forgot the secret of steel and left it on the battlefield. We who found it are just men. Not gods. Not giants. Just men. The secret of steel has always carried with it a mystery. You must learn its riddle, Conan. You must learn its discipline. For no one - no one in this world can you trust. Not men, not women, not beasts."
He then points meaningfully at his sword.
"This you can trust."
The young Conan takes this philosophy for the rest of his life, but in the Director's Cut, we get a hint that the Cimmerians aren't all about sword forging and battle, they have a softer side too. As Conan reflects:
"I remember days like this when my father took me to the forest and we ate wild blueberries. More than twenty years ago. I was just a boy of four or five. The leaves were so dark and green then. The grass smelled sweet with the spring wind."
Nonetheless, this is a Barbarian movie, and there is no way that the eponymous hero of the piece is going to be allowed an idyllic childhood with his parents. And after a mere few minutes into the film we are shown Thulsa Doom's armoured forces, riding ominously through icy forests.
The raid on Conan's village, when it happens, is swift and devastating. Surprisingly so in fact, as Doom's forces burn and slaughter with virtual impunity. One would think Crom would be desperately unhappy at the pitiful defence the villagers put up. [In fact, their fighting skills are so poor I'm inclined to think there is some kind of back-story here that I'm not aware of - maybe Conan's family are exiles, and the only true warriors in the village? - Old Bluffer]
Conan's father (who I'm going to call Mordec from now on, as that is apparently his name in the Conan canon) is made of far sterner stuff though, and drawing the mighty sword that we saw him forging during the opening credits, he sets about exacting a heavy price on any raider brave enough to face him.
Foe after foe fall to his blade, at least half a dozen or more, until a nameless fellow on a grey horse slams an axe into his back.
Seriously wounded, Mordec stands no chance as two ferocious looking armoured wardogs charge towards him and start rending his flesh. From the distance, the young Conan and his mother look on in horror as the dogs take him down, and all Mordec can do is die, painfully.
Old Bluffer's Note:
Wikipedia currently states that Conan's father is wounded by Rexor and Thorgrim, but I don't see any evidence of this. Thorgrim swings his oversized hammer but Mordec easily ducks underneath it. The chap that hits him with a fairly ordinary axe is not Rexor - he has a brown beard and is nobody special as far as I can tell.