EYEs of SET
Classification: Magic item
possibly Set or one of his spawn of agents
User/Possessors: Conan, Mer-Ath, Ptolemy
First Appearance: Conan the Barbarian I#79 (October, 1977)
Powers/Abilities/Functions: The Eyes of Set's power was largely symbolic, representing the peace between the cites of Harakht and Attalus. However, when the holder of one of the Eyes slew a priest of Set, the Eye weeped blood, indicating it indeed had some magical power.
Conan also speculated that the
one-eyed Hun-Ya-Di wished to place the Eye of Set within his empty eye
socket and gain some mystic power for himself.
(Conan the Barbarian I#79 (fb) - BTS) - For many years, Harakht (the "Hawk City") and Attalus (descended from Iskander/Alexander the Great and his army who were transported back in time via a strange blue mist), two cities in Stygia who generally remained outside of the domination of the Stygian nation, maintained a peace. Whenever a new monarch took the throne of either city, they symbolized their desire to maintain peace by sending a lone warrior -- the strongest and bravest man in the city -- to exchange a pair of sacred jewels, the Eyes of Set, one of which was held by each city's ruler.
(Conan the Barbarian I#79 (fb)) - After Conan and BÍlit had
aided Mer-Ath in becoming the ruler of the Hawk City, Harakht, Mer-Ath asked
them to transport his city's Eye of Set to Attalus. In return, Mer-Ath offered
them safe passage to Luxor and the court of King Ctesphon.
Hun-Ya-Di, the new high priest of Harakht objected, stating that he should be the one to convey the Eye of Set, but Mer-Ath denied him, stating that the decision was his to make. Hun-Ya-Di hoped that by gaining one of the two Eyes of Set he could use it to embellish his claim to be co-ruler of Harakht, and Conan accepted the mission largely to irritate Hun-Ya-Di, who then chose Conan's guide, Ak-Ner.
(Conan the Barbarian I#79) - Holding Harakht's Eye of Set within his belt, Conan slew Ak-Ner, who had instead ambushed and attacked him. Conan fought off and escaped a number of assassins sent by Hun-Ya-Di and then found and freed Bardylis, a resident of Attalus who then led him to her city and introduced her to the king, Ptolemy.
(Conan the Barbarian I#80) - Though suspected by Ptolemy of being a Stygian spy, Conan was given a bed chamber in which he hid the Eye of Set behind a small stone block. That night, Conan was ambushed and captured by agents of the desert-dweller Ablah, who had paid him to obtain the Eye. Conan broke free and slew Ablah's men, but Ablah escaped and told Ptolemy that Conan had ambushed and murdered his men. Conan and Ablah argued their cases, and when Ptolemy was uncertain who to trust, Conan insulted him as being too dense to receive the Eye of Set. The giant Ptolemy then challenged Conan to combat to decide his worth, and Conan managed to drop Ptolemy. It was announced that Stygians were invading the city, and that Conan was now king for having defeated Ptolemy.
(Conan the Barbarian I#81) - Having recovered the Eye of Set, Conan led the soldiers of Attalus to defeat those serving Hun-Ya-Di. As Conan slew Hun-Ya-di himself, the Eye began to weep blood, and Conan resisted the urge to hurl away the bewitched gem so that he could fulfill his vow. Ptolemy recovered and peacefully acknowledged Conan's right to be Attalus' king, but Conan refused, not wishing to be trapped forever in the valley, and gave the kingship back to Ptolemy. After Ptolemy revealed the severed head of the lying Ablah, Conan gave him the Eyes of Set, and Ptolemy promised to give Conan the other Eye when they returned to the city. Bardylis showed Conan her appreciation.
(Conan the Barbarian I#82-83 - BTS) - Conan's return to Harakht took him through swamplands known as Viper's Head, where he fought alongside the Stygian Neth-At against Sabia, the alleged daughter of Damballah, and the witch-man Toroa and his Man-Dragon servants.
(Conan the Barbarian I#84 - BTS) - Conan returned to Harakht and presumably delivered Attalus' Eye of Set but then was captured by Mer-Ath's troops for use as a hostage as it had been learned that BÍlit had intended to harm King Ctesphon before she had departed. Conan later escaped with the aid of Zula.
Comments: Created by Roy Thomas, Howard Chaykin, and
Freely adapted from "The Lost Valley of Iskander" by Robert E. Howard.
I don't think it is ever confirmed that Conan delivered Attalus' Eye of Set to Mer-Ath, but presumably he did that upon his return to Harakht, before he learned that BÍlit was missing.
Profile by Snood.
The Eyes of Set should be distinguished from:
images: (without ads)
Conan the Barbarian I#79, p5, panel 1 (Eyes of Set)
#81, p14, panel 1 (bleeding eye)
Conan the Barbarian I#79-81 (October-December, 1977) - by Roy Thomas (writer/editor), Howard Chaykin (penciler), Ernie Chan (inker), Archie Goodwin (consulting editor)
Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.
First Posted: 08/19/2007
Last Updated: 09/05/2023
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