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{{Infobox short story <!--See Wikipedia:WikiProject Novels-->
| name              = By This Axe, I Rule
| title_orig        =
| translator        =
| author            = Robert E. Howard
| country           = United States
| language          = English
| series            = Kull
| genre             = Sword and sorcery
| published_in      = King Kull
| publication_type  = Paperback
| publisher         =
| media_type        =
| pub_date          = 1967
| english_pub_date  =
| preceded_by       =
| followed_by       =
}}

This is more detailed entry than the silly one on Wikipedea.

"By This Axe, I Rule" by Robert E. Howard is the last of Howard's Kull stories, set in his fictional Thurian Age.  It was first published in the Lancer Books paperback ''King Kull'' in 1967.<ref>Howard Works, retrieved 2 January 2008</ref>"By This Axe, I Rule" by Robert E. Howard is the last of Howard's Kull stories, set in his fictional Thurian Age. It was first published in the Lancer Books paperback King Kull in 1967. This story was rejected by the pulp magazines Argosy and Adventure in 1929 after which Howard rewrote it, substituting a new secondary plot, into the first Conan the Barbarian story, The Phoenix on the Sword which was published in December 1932. The first comic book appearance of King Kull was in "Kull the Conqueror" (1971) published by Marvel Comics. The first issue was in part an adaptation of "By This Axe, I Rule" and issue #11 (1973) was more specifically based on that story and had the same title. The 1997 movie Kull the Conqueror starring Kevin Sorbo was also partly based on the "By This Axe, I Rule" story.


This story was rejected by the pulp magazines Argosy and Adventure in 1929<ref>REHupa: REH Fiction Timeline, retrieved 2 January 2008</ref> after which Howard rewrote it, substituting a new secondary plot, into the first Conan the Barbarian story, The Phoenix on the Sword which was published in December 1932.




 


This story is the most powerful of the law-oriented stories in this series. The reader finds Kull a virtual slave to the laws, unable to govern as he sees fit; Kull is made to sit by and watch the eons-old laws command the king and the kingdom. The laws have always existed, the king is told, and they always will. Kull becomes, however, the literal shatterer of laws.Something that one the surface looks cool and just,but basically make the only law in the land.Coming from democratic society,it strikes as almost facist,though I'm Howard never saw that way.


This is the ultimate statement of the individual. Freedom of choice is of paramount importance. The longer a society or civilization exists, the more customs and traditions it garners, until the individual is not allowed to be unique -- but rather is forced to fit the mold by playing the roles society demands of each one of us. Kull, as a barbarian, was able to see this in Valusia; and, as an outsider, he was able to shatter the laws without fear of divine reprisal.

Kull's throne is not secure for all of this. The outlaw, Ardyon, had honey-combed the empire with sedition, and not even the outlaw's death will allow Kull a comfortable seat upon the throne for some time.Obviously,this Robert E.Hpward nobel savage way of handleing the assassination of Julius Caesar.Instead of getting stabbed by the conspirators,King Kull turns the tables and kills them to defend himself and position upon the Topez Throne.


Secondly, we have Kull chafing under the restrictions imposed on his power by ancient law and tradition. This second is the more central plot, in which a nobleman comes to Kull wishing to wed a slavegirl -- something forbidden by Valusian law. Kull would allow the wedding but his hands are tied.This bogs down the story a bit,even it's central to the stories conclusion. In the end, the two plots merge when, still fired up after slaughtering the assassins (with his famous axe), Kull literally breaks with tradition, shattering the ancient law tablet (a scene used in the movie Kull the Conqueror) and declaring that he will henceforth make his own laws -- and anyone who wants to object can take it up with his axe.

As with so many of these stories, when the action occurs, things move along spritely, but, in between, Kull endlessly meditates on his own impotence (politically speaking), bogging the whole thing down and weakening what might otherwise have been a tighter story. It isn't that I object to the brooding, but far too many parts read like a philosophy 101 textbook. In spite of his supreme statement of the individual, Kull is not a raging bull. In this story is exhibited his kindness towards women, something also seen in "Exile of Atlantis" and "The Mirrors of Tuzan Thune" (even though it is revealed here that Kull has never been a lover). He also allows Kaanuub and others boasting descent from the old dynasty to live, something that most kings in Kull's position would not have done. Nor has he yet closed the doors to the City of Wonders' Temple of the Serpent; another sign of an extremely tolerable temperment.

That same temperment allows him to believe that "a great poet is greater than any king." Kull also is seen to have always dreamed of capturing a throne, not just to have had the single dream discussed in "Exile of Atlantis." Yet it is stated that Kull and Brule have spent most of their lives in Valusia; that inordinate amount of time spent in Valusia had not allowed Kull to comprehend its statecraft. Here, like in many stories in this series, it is seen that the matter of how to govern Valusia is a mystery to the Atlantian. A mystery that even the victory described in this story may not help him to solve.

==Style== Edit


Kull is Conan the Barbarian's direct literary forerunner. Conan's first story (both as a written piece and a published one), The Phoenix on the Sword, is a rewriting of an earlier Kull story By This Axe, I Rule.  The Conan version has a completely new backstory, less philosophy, more action and more supernatural elements to make it more saleable.  Many passages of both stories still match word for word.



==Adaptations==
Edit


The first comic book appearance of King Kull was in "Kull the Conqueror" (1971) published by Marvel Comics. The first issue was in part an adaptation of "By This Axe, I Rule" and issue #11 (1973) was more specifically based on that story and had the same title.

The Chronicles of Kull Volume 1  - Now available! The Chronicles of Kull Volume 1: A King Comes Riding and Other Stories kicks off Dark Horse's newest addition to its popular Robert E. Howard reprint line. Presenting every color Kull comic from the 1970s and '80s chronologically for the first time ever, Volume 1 features completely remastered color Kull stories from Creatures on the Loose! #10, Monsters on the Prowl #16, and Kull the Conqueror #1 to #9. The writing talents of legendary creators Roy Thomas, Gerry Conway, and Len Wein and the stunning visuals of Marie Severin, John Severin, and Bernie Wrightson are on display in such thrilling tales as "The Skull of Silence," "Night of the Red Slayers," and "The Forbidden Swamp!" See how Robert E. Howard's Kull stories were interpreted over three decades ago in comics. Paperback: 200 pages Publisher: Dark Horse Comics ISBN-10: 1595824138 ISBN-13: 978-1595824134 $18.95

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===Film=== Edit


The 1997 movie Kull the Conqueror starring Kevin Sorbo was also partly based on the "By This Axe, I Rule" story.
In 1997, a Kull film called Kull the Conqueror was released with Kevin Sorbo in the title role.  The film was originally intended to be a Conan film and some elements of this remain. The Story's basis and several names can be directly traced to the Conan story The Hour of the Dragon.  This is ironic as the first Conan story was a rewritten Kull story and even the first Conan film, Conan the Barbarian, contained elements from the Kull stories.Kull the Conqueror is a 1997 fantasy action film about the Robert E. Howard character Kull starring Kevin Sorbo. It is a movie adaptation of Howard's Conan novel The Hour of the Dragon, with the protagonist changed to the author's other barbarian hero Kull. The story line also bears similarities to two other Howard stories, the Kull story "By This Axe, I Rule" and the Conan story, "The Phoenix on the Sword", which was actually a rewrite of the Kull story.
The film was originally intended to be a third Conan film

.http://www.absoluteastronomy.com/topics/Kull_the_Conqueror
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==See also==
Edit


* List of works by Robert E. Howard

==References==


==External links==
* Publication history at Howard Works

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