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Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser

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Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser are two seminal sword-and-sorcery heroes created by Fritz Leiber (1910–1992) and loosely modelled upon himself and his friend Harry Otto Fischer (1910-1986). They are the protagonists of what are probably Leiber's best-known stories.

One of Leiber's original motives was to have a couple of fantasy heroes closer to true human stature than the likes of Howard's Conan the Barbarian or Burroughs's Tarzan. Fafhrd is a tall (seven feet) northern barbarian; Mouser is a small, mercurial thief, once known as Mouse and a former wizard's apprentice. Both are rogues, existing within a decadent world where to be so is a requirement of survival. They spend a lot of time drinking, feasting, wenching, brawling, stealing, and gambling, and are seldom fussy about who hires their swords. But they are humane and — most of all — relish true adventure.

Main article: Nehwon

The tales are for the most part set in the mythical world of Nehwon (although one story takes place on Earth), many of them in and around its greatest city, Lankhmar. It is described as "a world like and unlike our own". Theorists in Nehwon believe that it may be shaped like a bubble, floating in the waters of eternity. Nehwon is in a developmental stage somewhere between Earth's Bronze Age and Iron (Steel) Age. Template:Fact

The series includes many bizarre and outlandish characters. The two who most influence—and, some would say, cause the most trouble for—Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser are their sorcerous advisors, Ningauble of the Seven Eyes and Sheelba of the Eyeless Face. These two lead the two heroes into some of their most interesting and dangerous adventures.

==Publication history==
The first story appeared in Unknown in 1939 and the last in The Knight and Knave of Swords in 1988. Leiber wrote all the stories except for 10,000 words of The Lords of Quarmall that were penned by Harry Otto Fischer in 1964. The stories' style and tone vary considerably, but nearly all contain an often dark sense of humour, which ranges from the subtle and character-based to the Pythonesque.  The earlier tales owe as much to Clark Ashton Smith as to Robert E. HowardTemplate:Fact

The stories have been collected in the Swords series:

# Swords and Deviltry (collection 1970)
## "Induction" (vignette 1970, first publication)
## The Snow Women (novella 1970 Fantastic)
## "The Unholy Grail" (novelette 1962 Fantastic)
## Ill Met in Lankhmar (novella 1970 F&SF)—telling how Fafhrd and the Mouser met, this story won both a Nebula award and a Hugo award
# Swords Against Death (collection 1970, expanded and revised from Two Sought Adventure 1957)
## "The Circle Curse" (1970, first publication)
## "The Jewels in the Forest" (novelette 1939 Unknown, as "Two Sought Adventure")
## "Thieves' House" (novelette 1943 Unknown)
## "The Bleak Shore" (1940 Unknown)
## "The Howling Tower" (1941 Unknown)
## "The Sunken Land" (1942 Unknown)
## "The Seven Black Priests" (novelette 1953 Other Worlds)
## "Claws from the Night" (novelette 1951 Suspense as "Dark Vengeance")
## "The Price of Pain-Ease" (1970, first publication)
## "Bazaar of the Bizarre" (novelette 1963 Fantastic)
# Swords in the Mist (collection 1968)
## "The Cloud of Hate" (1963 Fantastic)
## "Lean Times in Lankhmar" (novelette 1959 Fantastic)
## "Their Mistress, the Sea" (1968, first publication)
## "When the Sea-King's Away" (novelette 1960 Fantastic)
## "The Wrong Branch" (1968, first publication)
## Adept's Gambit (novella 1947, in Leiber's Night's Black Agents collection)
# Swords Against Wizardry (collection 1968)
## "In the Witch's Tent" (1968, first publication)
## "Stardock" (novelette 1965 Fantastic)
## "The Two Best Thieves in Lankhmar" (1968 Fantastic)
## The Lords of Quarmall  (novella 1964 Fantastic), with Harry Otto Fischer
# The Swords of Lankhmar (novel 1968—first part published as Scylla’s Daughter (novella 1961 Fantastic))
# Swords and Ice Magic (collection 1977)
## "The Sadness of the Executioner" (1973, in Flashing Swords! #1, ed. Lin Carter)
## "Beauty and the Beasts" (vignette 1974, in The Book of Fritz Leiber)
## "Trapped in the Shadowland" (1973 Fantastic)
## "The Bait" (vignette 1973 Whispers)
## "Under the Thumbs of the Gods" (1975 Fantastic)
## "Trapped in the Sea of Stars" (1975, in The Second Book of Fritz Leiber)
## "The Frost Monstreme" (novelette 1976, in Flashing Swords! #3, ed. Lin Carter)
## Rime Isle  (novella 1977 Cosmos SF&F Magazine) (these last two published together as Rime Isle by Whispers Press in 1977)
# The Knight and Knave of Swords (collection 1988)
## "Sea Magic" (1977 The Dragon)
## "The Mer She" (novelette 1983, in Heroes and Horrors)
## The Curse of the Smalls and the Stars (novella 1983, in Heroic Visions)
## The Mouser Goes Below (novella 1988, first publication—portions first printed as "The Mouser Goes Below" (1987 Whispers) and "Slack Lankhmar Afternoon Featuring Hisvet" (1988 Terry’s Universe, ed. Beth Meacham))

* The first six books in the series were reprinted in a uniform, archival series from Gregg Press, and were the first hardback editions of all volumes save The Swords of Lankhmar.

* The series was continued by Robin Wayne Bailey in Swords Against the Shadowland (novel 1998).

* A collection, Bazaar of the Bizarre, illustrated by Stephan Peregrine,  comprised Leiber's three favourite Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser stories: "Bazaar of the Bizarre", "The Cloud of Hate", and "Lean Times in Lankhmar".

* A sex scene from The Swords of Lankhmar, cut by editor Don Wollheim ("Good Heaven, Fritz, we're a family publisher...") was published in Fantasy Newsletter #49 (July 1982)<ref>Fantasy Newsletter, July 1982, p. 5-7</ref>.

=== Omnibus editions ===
Several omnibus editions have also been published:

* Science Fiction Book Club: The Three of Swords (1989; books 1–3) and Swords' Masters (1989; books 4–6).

* White Wolf: Ill Met In Lankhmar (1995; books 1 and 2, with a new introduction by Michael Moorcock and Fritz Leiber's "Fafhrd and Me"), Lean Times in Lankhmar (1996; books 3 and 4, with a new introduction by Karl Edward Wagner), Return to Lankhmar (1997; books 5 and 6, with a new introduction by Neil Gaiman), and Farewell to Lankhmar (1998; book 7; the hardcover edition curiously omits the final seven chapters of "The Curse of the Smalls and the Stars")

* Orion/Millennium's Fantasy Masterworks: The First Book of Lankhmar (2001; books 1–4) and The Second Book of Lankhmar (2001; books 5–7).

=== Comics adaptations ===

In 1972, Fafhrd and the Mouser began their comics career, appearing in Wonder Woman #202 alongside the title character and Catwoman in a story scripted by award-winning SF writer Samuel R. Delany. In 1973, DC Comics began an ongoing series, Sword of Sorcery, featuring the duo. The title was written by Denny O'Neil and featured art by Howard Chaykin, Walt Simonson and Jim Starlin; the well-received title ran only five issues. Stories included adaptations of "The Price of Pain-Ease", "Thieves' House", "The Cloud of Hate", and "The Sunken Land", as well as original stories.

In 1991, Epic Comics published a four-issue comic book adaptation of seven of the stories: "Ill Met in Lankhmar" (issue 1), "The Circle Curse" and "The Howling Tower" (issue 2), "The Price of Pain Ease" and "Bazaar of the Bizarre" (issue 3), and "Lean Times in Lankhmar" and "When the Sea King's Away" (issue 4). The comics were scripted by Howard Chaykin, who had drawn several issues of the earlier DC title, and pencilled by Mike Mignola, whose Hellboy comic book often has a similar feel to Leiber's work. Hellboy himself shares some personality traits with Fafhrd. Mignola also did the jacket covers and interior art for the White Wolf collection.  This series was collected by Dark Horse Comics in a trade paperback collection published in March 2007.<ref name=libraryjournal>{{cite web
|title=Graphic Novels
|author=Cornog, Martha; Raiteri, Steve
|accessdate=August 06|accessyear=2007
|publisher=Library Journal}}</ref>

Marvel Comics created there own somewhat version of Fafhrd and the Grey Mouser,when they teamed Conan with Fafnir was born in the icy wastes of Vanaheim.The two character were very much alike and Roy Thomas,who wrote original Conan comics made no secret that this his intenion,to create a character that was tribute to Fritz Leibers creation.

 Fafnir was enormously tall (7' or more) and strong, dwarfing even Conan the Barbarian in height and at least matching if not surpassing him in strength (peak human to enhanced human), until he lost one of his arms. Even after this Fafnir remained incredibly strong, just incapable of bringing a certain amount of leverage to bear without two hands. Fafnir was an accomplished soldier and swordsman as well as a seasoned mercenary that had survived many campaigns and was also a passable thief very agile for his size.
Even after the loss of his left arm to sepsis, and the necessary amputation, Fafnir could best most men in swordplay and was even still capable of effectively climbing a rope one handed (which as far as I can tell is no mean feat!). He also remained a skilled horseman, able to guide the horse with the reins in his mouth when he needed to keep his arm free for swordplay or to sweep up a maiden in need of rescuing.

For a brief period of time Fafnir had the left arm of an unnamed demon magically grafted onto him, in order to replace his lost arm. While he had this arm Fafnir possessed enhanced to superhuman strength, the full extent of which was never determined (supposedly the "strength and ferocity of a dozen men"). This limb was capable of acting independently of Fafnir’s conscious will, doing things such as killing a bandit Fafnir had thought surrendered but was actually secretly drawing a knife.

Fafnir's second demon arm, the arm of Kx'ulthuum, grants him comparable power to the first. This arm also draws on the power of Nergal and Tammuz. Fafnir sometimes wore a leather sleeve, which suppressed both the strength and the independent will of his second demon arm. By removing the sleeve, he could again access its monstrous strength, but the longer it remained off, the more the arm would begin to influence his own behavior.

Fafnir's life force was briefly augmented, giving him a lifespan of a thousand years, and making him immune to death from most other forms of injury. This energy was virtually exhausted by Kx'ulthuum. Even before this, Fafnir survived apparently certain death on a few occasions, and since then revived from death on two separate occasions. The nature of this regenerative ability has not been disclosed, but Fafnir has commented that he is not certain that he can die. Residual magic from the energy of the egg, combined with the energy of the demon arm(s) seem the most likely explanations.

(Conan the Barbarian#6) - In Shadizar the Wicked, Fafnir argued with his fellow thief and partner Blackrat over how to split the booty from their rececent efforts--three pieces of gold. As they argued, Conan vaulted over the walls of the city and offered to resolve their dilemna, by taking the third piece. The two tried to fight him off, but Conan dodged one of Blackrat's swordthrusts, which instead skewered Fafnir. Conan then dropped Blackrat with a boot to the head, took all three gold pieces for himself, and went on about his business.

(Conan the Barbarian#17) - Fafnir was one of a group of pirates of the inland sea who assaulted a Turanian Galley on which Conan was working. Conan fought valiantly, but Fafnir eventually laid him out with the flat of his sword. Fafnir the bound Conan to the mast, despite the wishes of his crew (because he needed more men to man the ship), and renewed their acquaintance upon his waking. The ship suddenly struck a reef, and while Conan assumed Fafnir would run him through, he instead cut Conan free and challenged him to "risk Dagon's cellar with the rest of us."
Conan and Fafnir washed up the shore of Bal-Sogoth, the apparent sole survivors of the shipwreck. Conan, angrily remembering his past wars with the Vanir, challenged Fafnir to a fight to the death. After an even struggle, Fafnir ended the fight by lowering his weapon--Conan refused to strike him if he would not defend himself. Fafnir gave Conan a friendly bearhug, but then they both had to save a woman, Kyrie, from a raptor-like devil beast: Groth-Golka, last of the once-dreaded lizard gods.
Kyrie revealed herself as having been formerly thought to a goddess, Aala, in Bal-Sogoth until she was overthrown and ousted by the high-priest Gothan. She convinced them both to join her in winning back her kingdom--an ancient prophecy had predicted that two men from the sea would overthrow the city. Armed with two powerful warriors and the prophecy they appeared to be following, Kyrie took back her city and overthrew Gothan and his puppet-king, Ska.

=== Games ===
:See also: Lankhmar in games
In 1937, Leiber and his college friend Harry Otto Fischer created a complex wargame set within the world of Nehwon, which Fischer had helped to create.  Later, they created a simplified board game entitled simply "Lankhmar" which was released by TSR in 1976.  This is a rare case of a game adaptation written by the creators of the stories on which the game is based. 

In 1986 Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser were featured in a 1-on-1 Adventure Gamebook set, Dragonsword of Lankhmar. One player controlled Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser, who were trying to find a magical sword beneath an altar (just which one, they were not sure) in Lankhmar. The other player controlled assassins from the local thieves' guild, who were trying to kill the famous rogues for operating in the city without permission from the guild.

Nehwon, and some of its more interesting inhabitants, are described in the early Dungeons and Dragons supplement Deities and Demigods, and the stories themselves were a significant influence on the Dungeons and Dragons role playing game.

==Weapons of Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser==
Fafhrd commonly uses a longsword which he names Graywand. He also carries a poignard named Heartseeker and a short hand-axe which has never been named. The Mouser also fights with a pair of weapons: a rapier called Scalpel and a dirk called Cat's Claw. The latter is balanced for throwing. As the pair are often divested of their property, these are names they apply to any of their appropriate weapons and not names of specific ones.

==References in other works==
In Terry Pratchett's The Colour of Magic, Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser are parodied as Bravd and the Weasel. Although Ankh-Morpork bears more than a passing resemblance to Lankhmar, Pratchett, known for the use of pastiche in his early works, has been quoted as not intending a direct takeoff.<ref name=annotated>{{cite web
|title=The Annotated Pratchett File |author=Lindley, Robin
|accessdate=August 06|accessyear=2007
|author=Breebaart, Leo; Kew, Mike
|publisher=Unseen University
}}</ref> Some of the features of similarity (e.g. a Thieves' Guild, and a general air of degeneracy) may instead be common tropes of fantasy literature, although it could be argued, especially in the case of the Thieves' Guild, that many of the tropes in question originated with Leiber.

In Issue #77 and #78 of Vertigo Comics' Fables, characters Freddy (Fafhrd) and Mouse (Gray Mouser) are incorporated as local rogues who unleash an Old Sorcerer into the world.

== References ==

== External links ==
* Charles Fewlass's The Scrolls of Lankhmar
* Dragonsword of Lankhmar at Demian's Gamebook Page
* Template:Isfdb series
*Review of Chaykin and Mignola’s Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser adaptation at The Daily Cross Hatch, from May 17, 2007

fr:Le Cycle des épées
nl:Fafhrd en de Grijze Muizer

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