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The Frost-Giant's Daughter

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"The Frost-Giant's Daughter" is a short story by Robert E. Howard first published in its original form in Rogues in the House (Donald M. Grant 1976). When the original story was not accepted, REH rewrote it with a different hero (Amra of Akbitana), and changed the title to "The Frost King's Daughter," published in The Fantasy Fan (March 1934) as "Gods of the North." L. Sprague de Camp found the original manuscript, extensively rewrote it, and called it "The Frost Giant's Daughter" (no hyphen); this version was first published in Fantasy Fiction (August 1953).

Plot SummaryEdit

Conan encounters Atali, the duaghter of the god Ymir, in the frozen wastes of the north.

Detailed SynopsisEdit

On a snowy field somewhere in Nordhiem (likely along the border of Asgard and Vanahiem), a battle between Conan's Æsir companions and a war-party of Vanir ends with Conan, the sole survivor of his band, facing the final surviving Vanir, Heimdul. Conan is victorious but so weakened he collapses onto the battlefield, almost losing consciousness. He is startled by a woman's laughter, and though his vision is foggy, he sees a beautiful, ivory-skinned woman stand before him. The enchanting, pale golden-haired beauty, taunts Conan, who cannot tell if she is Vanir or Æsir, challenging him to rise from the snow and follow her. Her mocking attitude overwhelms Conan's weariness, and he pulls himself up and lunges at her lustfully. As she dances, barefoot, across the snow, laughing at Conan's exertions, he stumbles and toils after her, becoming more and more agitated and angry with each step. After hours and miles, she leads him into a trap. Her two frost giant brothers rise from the snow, and the girl gleefully asks her brothers for Conan's heart. But Conan's passion and bloodthirst is too strong, and he swiftly cuts down the giants. The girl, looking on in horror, ceases her playful dancing, and runs in earnest from Conan. This time, however, Conan catches her and holds on to her, though she manages to break free, leaving Conan holding a shred of her gossamer clothing. She steps back, raisers her arms, and calls on the god Ymir, her father, to save her. She is immediately enveloped in a blue flame and vanishes. An exhausted and shocked Conan collapses into unconsciousness. He comes to in the company of a band of his Æsir comrades, who reveal they have been following his solo tracks for some time. Conan wonders how they could not have seen the tracks of the girl, and while many Æsir believe him to be delirious, an older warrior, Gorm, believes his story. For Gorm claims to have seen Atali, daughter of Ymir, years ago, and insists Conan has encountered the legendary frost giant's daughter. The other Æsir dismiss Gorms claim as the ravings of an addled old man, but then they all gape at the cloth still clenched tightly in Conan's hand, "...a wisp of gossamer that was never spun by human distaff."

CharactersEdit

  • Conan
  • Wulfhere, slain Æsir war-party leader
  • Bragi, slain Vanir war-party leader
  • Heimdul, Vanir warrior
  • Atali, daughter of Ymir
  • Horsa, Æsir warrior
  • Niord, Æsir war-party leader
  • Gorm, elderly Æsir warrior

LocationsEdit

  • Asgard
  • The palm and rose gardens of Poitain - mentioned in passing
  • Wolraven - old battlefield [edited to Wolfraven in the deCamp version]. Mentioned by name only.

Continuity NotesEdit

Miller/Clark/deCamp Chronology
Previous Story:
"The Blood-Stained God"
"The Frost-Giant's Daughter" Next Story:
"The Lair of the Ice Worm"
Robert Jordan Chronology
Previous Story:
"The Blood-Stained God"
"The Frost-Giant's Daughter" Next Story:
"The Lair of the Ice Worm"
William Galen Gray Chronology
Previous Story:
Conan the Valorous
"The Frost-Giant's Daughter" Next Story:
"The Lair of the Ice Worm"
Joe Marek Chronology
Previous Story:
"Cimmeria"
"The Frost-Giant's Daughter" Next Story:
"The Tower of the Elephant"
Dale Rippke Chronology
Previous Story:
None
"The Frost-Giant's Daughter" Next Story:
"The Tower of the Elephant"

AdaptationsEdit

Publication historyEdit

Note: One source (The Barbarian Keep) asserts that the version published in Rogues in the House was the de Camp version, making the Wagner anthology the first publication of Howard's original.
Frank Frazetta - The Frost-Giant's Daughter

Frank Frazetta - The Frost-Giant's Daughter

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