I’m psyched to see the new Conan movie this weekend starring Jason Momoa. He was awesome as Khal Drogo, in Game of Thrones, and has the perfect look for Conan. Regardless of if the new movie is good or not, I’m sure in some ways it will never compare to the original Arnold Schwarzenegger Conan movie. And of course the most memorable and absolute best quote from the 1982 Conan the Barbarian movie is the lamentation quote:
Mongol General: “Conan! What is best in life?”
Conan: “To crush your enemies — See them driven before you, and to hear the lamentation of their women!”
Lamenting Lemur Recites the Best Conan Movie Quote Lamentation
Was the Conan quote ripped off?
The interesting fact about this quote is that it is actually lifted from a 1928 book by Harold Lamb entitled Genghis Khan The Emperor of All Men . I am including an excerpt of the book with the original quote below, which was used nearly verbatim in the Conan movie:
iia GENGHIS KHAN
A courier galloped down the caravan tracks to the
exultant Chep Noyon, bringing word that the
thousand horses had reached the Khan. ” Do not
become proud, through success ! ”
Whether chastened or not, Chepd Noyon went on
gathering warriors under the ranges of Tibet. Nor
did he return to Karakorum. There was work ahead
for him in another quarter of the world.
Meanwhile, with the overthrow of Gutchluk, an
armistice as sudden and decisive as the fall of a curtain
settled down on north Asia. From the China to the
Aral sea one master reigned. Rebellion had ceased.
The couriers of the Khan galloped over fifty degrees
of longitude, and it was said that a virgin carrying a
sack of gold could ride unharmed from one border of
the nomad empire to the other.
But this administrative activity did not altogether
satisfy the ageing conqueror. He no longer relished
the winter hunts over the prairies. One day in the
pavilion at Karakorum he asked an officer of the
Mongol guard what, in all the world, could bring the
” The open steppe, a clear day, and a swift horse
under you,” responded the officer after a little thought,
” and a falcon on your wrist to start up hares/’
” Nay,” responded the Khan, “to crush your
enemies, to see them fall at your feet to take their
horses and goods and hear the lamentation of their
women. That is best.”
The Master of Thrones and Crowns was also the
Scourge. His next move was one of conquest, terrible
in its effect, and it was toward the west. And it came
about in a most curious way.
The full text of the book can be found on archive.org.
Nearly the whole lamentation quote from the original Conan movie is taken directly from the Genghis Khan book. It’s quite funny that the memorable quote comes not from Robert E. Howard, but from Harold Lamb instead.