‘The Mirrors of Tuzun Thune’ continues the theme of illusion, and also Kull’s weariness with his current state of existence, especially where there is inaction, but that does not mean that he longs for his former life.
Offered a chance by Brule to get out and roam on a galley the brooding Kull states
‘I am weary beyond all these things. The cities hold no lure for me-and the borders are quiet. I hear no more the sea-songs I heard when I lay as a boy on the booming crags of Atlantis, and the night was alive with blazing starts. No more of the green woodlands beckon me as of old. There is a strangeness upon me and a longing beyond life’s longings.’
A part of this way of thinking is reflected in Kull's attitude to physical relationships, and we get a glimpse of it here.
‘Kull looked at the girl. Fine gold was hair and her violet eyes were slanted strangely, she was beautiful, but her beauty meant little to him’.
Kull, on the suggestion of the Elder girl, sought out the wizard Tuzun Thune in The House of a Thousand Mirrors to try and find some answers to his concerns on the meaning of reality, and almost lost himself in the bewitched mirrors of Thune when he became near obsessed with a reflection of himself and was trying to decipher if the reflection was the shadow or he was the shadow of the reflection and that was the reality.
I could not help but notice that Brule acted as a kind of anchor to reality, Brule shouting at Kull to awaken him from the trance of the mirror, and slaying the wizard Thune thus preventing Kull from fading into the reflected image and becoming mist.
This brought me back to The Shadow Kingdom when Kull beheld an image of himself seated upon the dais in the council room, in reality a serpent man taking an illusionary form to appear as Kull and rule in his stead.
Kull’s response was
‘This is insanity! He whispered. ‘Am I Kull? Do I stand here or is that Kull yonder in very truth and am I but a shadow, a figment of thought?’
It was Brule that brought Kull back to his senses ‘Valka’s name, be not a fool! Can you yet be astounded after all we have seen? See you not that those are true men bewitched by a snakeman who has taken your form, as those others took their forms?
At that Kull had shaken from his dizziness and went on to slay the impostor.
Back to ‘The Mirrors of Tuzun Thune’ and we are left with the sense that Kull will always be troubled with thoughts on the nature of reality.
‘For there are worlds beyond worlds, as Kull knows, and whether the wizard bewitched him by words or by mesmerisms, vistas did open up to the King’s gaze beyond the strange door, and Kull is less sure of reality since he gazed the mirrors of Tuzun Thune’.
REH had an interesting wit and down to earth sense of humour, this opening meeting between Kull and the wizard Tuzun Thune.
I liked the response to Kull’s ‘Can you do wonders ?’
‘The wizard stretched forth his hand ; his fingers opened and closed like a bird’s claws.
‘Is that not a wonder-this this blind flesh obeys the thoughts of my mind? I walk, I breathe, I speak-are they not all wonders?
Better yet when Kull spoke ‘ Can you summon up demons?’
Tuzun Thune, never missing a beat, replied ‘ Aye, I can summon up a demon more savage than any in ghostland-by smiting you in the face.’
That made me laugh.
I actually look forward to that train ride back home after working in my ordinary office job in the CBD, sitting back and enjoying the tales of Kull and other REH creations. I can’t give a higher rating that that.