The Wizards of Conan: Thoth-Amon
There are only two wizards left to do for my Wizards of Conan series. This post will target Thoth- Amon, I am aware that Thoth Amon has an extended life outside of Robert E. Howard’s original Conan stories. Thoth Amon is not the only character who has gotten this treatment (I remember Valeria [from “Red Nails”] being Conan’s love interest in Conan and the Gods of the Mountain [I think]). Thoth Amon has been expanded from a powerful antagonal ally in “The Phoenix on the Sword” to being King Conan’s archenemy. I have not read any of those. So I will limit myself to solely talking about Thoth Amon from “The Phoenix on the Sword” and “The God in the Bowl.”
We do not know much about Thoth- Amon’s background. All we know is that he was a long term member of the Black Ring of Stygia. The Black Ring seems to be an organization of sorcerers and wizards affiliated with (if not entirely composed of) the priesthood of Set. This is a bit nebulous, although given the theocratic nature of Stygia I would not be surprised if the sorcerous priesthood of Set is not active in politics. Thoth- Amon was both the most powerful and likely the “leader” or the organization. Mind you, the Black Ring looks to have been loose and rather fractious. Compared to the Black Seers of Yimsha, the Black Ring is very anarchic and filled with sorcerers looking to enhance their own positions by eliminating their competition with in the organization.
This leads to a secondary plot involving Thoth- Amon in “The Phoenix on the Sword.” By the time of the narrative, Thoth Amon has been rendered powerless and enslaved because his enemies had successfully stolen the source of his power- the Serpent’s Ring. Without it, Thoth Amon is powerless.
Seeking his ring, he becomes enslaved and endures as the slave of Ascalante after the later’s band of outlaws raid the caravan he was traveling in. Becoming a sort of aid and adviser to his master, Thoth-Amon endures the humiliation of his fall with dignity. Until he gets his ring back.
Once that happens, he has his powers back. Now what do we mean by this? Clearly, Thoth-Amon’s power is solely granted by the Serpent’s Ring. I don’t know if Thoth-Amon was a brilliant scholar and insanely brave to face whatever horrors undoubtedly guarded the ring, but his only sorcerous strength comes from the Ring. The Serpent’s Ring is, therefore, a very powerful and potent goetic artifact. It is with this object that Thoth-Amon is the unquestioned power in Stygian sorcery circles.
While Thoth-Amon is most prominently featured in “The Phoenix on the Sword,” he is mentioned in “The God in the Bowl” and The Hour of the Dragon. In “The God in the Bowl,” he is the mastermind of a failed assassination plot in which a giant snake in a bowl- sarcophagus is meant to kill a rival priest in Nemedia and instead kills a crooked collector. As far The Hour of the Dragon is concerned, Thoth-Amon has returned to power in Stygia and is not free of attempts against him as Thutmekri hopes to use the Heart of Ahriman to destroy his foe. And, of course, Conan saves him.
This brings into question Thoth-Amon’s chronology. We know that Thoth-Amon must still have been in power during Conan’s youth (he is in his late teens during “The God in the Bowl”). So he must have been overthrown at some point between “God” and “Phoenix.” And he is back in his original position by the time of Hour.
So let’s now focus on his powers. Using the power of the Ring, Thoth-Amon summons a demon to kill his master and his allies.
Beyond that, there is not much more to tell about Thoth-Amon. I like Thoth-Amon, but he really only has a ghost presence in Robert E. Howard’s stories.
I’m planning on working on Xaltotun this week. I’m also going to post a review of X and some thoughts on the future of Hour of the Wolf. But all of that is contingent on revisions of a short story I wrote.