In the natural evolution of Barsoom, Zodanga was on the brink of becoming
the most powerful nation on the planet. Then came John Carter and everything
changed. Zodanga’s once proud glory soon faded and it became nothing more
than a large city under Helium’s domination.
The causes of the fall of Zodanga are many, but the chief cause appears
to be their policy of genocide in regards to the Green Martian hordes.
In the end, it was the Green hordes that brought the proud nation to its
knees. Karma is a bitch even on Mars.
We will now examine the data both before and after the fall of Zodanga.
It is my belief that Zodanga has a basis in reality, namely the city of
Chicago. Like its Earthly counterpart, Zodanga is a magnet for gangsters
and political corruption. Although there a lot of good and respectable
people in Zodanga, they seem to be primarily country folk. Within an eye
blink, Zodanga goes from befriending John Carter to being his most bitter
enemy. Let us now see why.
John Carter has just escaped from the arena of the dreaded Warhoons,
a Green Martian horde. He treks for days and finally comes across the tell-tale
sign of human life: tall trees marking a waterway. But first he is confronted
by an enormous building covering four square miles and two hundred feet
high. He has stumbled upon the atmosphere factory, and it appears to be
in the territory of the Zodangan empire. While discussing his story with
the caretaker of the factory, he learns that Zodanga is the closest city:
“Before I retired for the night he promised
to give me a letter to a nearby agricultural officer who would help me
on my way to Zodanga, which he said, was the nearest Martian city.
Carter telepathically picks up a signal from the old man that he plans
to kill Carter once he has fallen asleep in case the old man accidentally
gave the code to unlocking the doors to the factory in his thoughts, but
Carter, having read the old man’s mind, recalls the nine tones of the mental
code and telepathically unlocks the doors in the middle of the night and
escapes with Woola.
“‘But be sure that you do not let them know you
are bound for Helium as they are at war with that country. My assistant
and I are of no country, we belong to all Barsoom and this talisman which
we wear protects us in all lands, even among the green men – though we
do not trust ourselves to their hands if we can avoid it,’ he added.” (PM/20.)
He stumbles upon some low rambling buildings in the waterway, but know
one answers after he repeatedly pounds on the doors. He falls asleep and
is awakened the next morning by the three Ptor brothers, who take him into
their homes showing a good side of Zodangan hospitality and friendship.
They feed him and give him a red pigment to disguise his skin since he
is an anomaly on the planet. They give him money and a letter of introduction
to a high official in Zodanga so that he might find employment either in
the army or navy.
He travels down the waterway to the city and discovers that Dejah Thoris
is believed to be dead. He learns this information from a local noble person
who had been in Helium on a diplomatic mission several years earlier.
“At a second stop I met some highly cultivated
people of the noble class and while in conversation we chanced to speak
of Helium. One of the older men had been there on a diplomatic mission
several years before and spoke with regret of the conditions which seemed
destined ever to keep these two countries at war.
The reader will remember that only John Carter fell into the hands of the
Warhoons after he stood them off so that Sola and Dejah Thoris could escape
on their thoats. We are not told from what horde the captured Green warrior
belonged, but he was likely a Thark in pursuit of Carter and Dejah Thoris.
Why he believed that she was dead is likely because of the reputation of
the Warhoons. What transpired with Sola and Dejah Thoris after they left
John Carter presents a mystery in the Mythos that must be solved by guess
work. But we will wait until we have all of the information before we make
“‘Helium,’ he said, ‘rightly boasts the most beautiful
women of Barsoom, and of all her treasures the wondrous daughter of Mors
Kajak, Dejah Thoris, is the most exquisite flower.
“‘Why,’ he added, ‘the people really worship the
ground she walks upon and since her loss on that ill-starred expedition
all Helium has been draped in mourning.
“‘That our ruler should have attacked the disabled
fleet as it was returning to Helium was but another of his awful blunders
which I fear will sooner or later compel Zodanga to elevate a wiser man
to his place.
“‘Even now, though our victorious armies are surrounding
Helium, the people of Zodanga are voicing their displeasure, for the war
is not a popular one, since it is not based on right or justice. Our forces
took advantage of the absence of the principal fleet of Helium on their
search for the princess, and so we have been able easily to reduce the
city to a sorry plight. It is said she will fall within the next few passages
of the further moon.’
“‘And what, think you, may have been the fate
of the princess, Dejah Thoris?’ I asked as casually as possible.
“‘She is dead,’ he answered. ‘This much was learned
from a green warrior recently captured by our forces in the south. She
escaped from the hordes of Thark with a strange creature of another world,
only to fall into the hands of the Warhoons. Their thoats were found wandering
upon the sea bottom and evidence of a bloody conflict were discovered nearby.’
“While this information was in no way reassuring,
neither was it at all conclusive proof of the death of Dejah Thoris, and
so I determined to make every effort possible to reach Helium as quickly
as I could and carry to Tardos Mors such news of his granddaughter’s possible
whereabouts as lay in my power.” (PM/21.)
Carter arrives at the gates of Zodanga after he orders Woola to return
home to Thark. It is not normal on Barsoom for red men to have calots as
pets. The Martian dog, about the size of a Shetland pony, would only scare
everyone in the city, as would a Earth man followed by a lion in any large
“He seemed to understand me fully, and
when I pointed back in the direction of Thark he turned sorrowfully away,
nor could I bear to watch him go; but resolutely set my face toward Zodanga
and with a touch of heartsickness approached her frowning walls.
So, thus far we have the word of a recently captured Green warrior that
the princess is dead. We have two thoats with no riders and the sign of
a bloody struggle. Finally, we learn that Dejah Thoris is in the hands
of Sab Than. Unfortunately, those are all the clues we are given.
“The letter I bore from them gained me immediately
entrance to the vast, walled city. It was still very early in the morning
and the streets were practically deserted. The residences, raised high
upon their metal columns, resembled huge rookeries, while the uprights
themselves presented the appearance of steel tree trunks. The shops as
a rule were not raised from the ground nor were their doors bolted or barred,
since thievery is practically unknown upon Barsoom. Assassination is the
ever-present fear of all Barsoomians, and for this reason alone their homes
are raised high above the ground at night, or in times of danger.
“The Ptor brothers had given me explicit directions
for reaching the point of the city where I could find living accomodations
and be near the offices of the government agents to whom they had given
me letters. My way led to the central square, or plaza, which is a characteristic
of all Martian cities.
“The plaza of Zodanga covers a square mile and
is bounded by the palaces of the jeddak, the jeds, and other members of
the royalty and nobility of Zodanga, as well as by the principal public
buildings, cafes, and shops.
“As I was crossing the great square lost in wonder
and admiration of the magnificent architecture and the gorgeous scarlet
vegetation which carpeted the broad lawns I discovered a red Martian walking
briskly toward me from one of the avenues. He paid not the slightest attention
to me, but as he came abreast I recognized him, and turning I placed my
hands upon his shoulder, calling out:
“‘Kaor, Kantos Kan!’
“Like lightning he wheeled and before I could
so much as lower my hand the point of his long-sword was at my breast.
“‘Who are you?’ he growled, and then as a backward
leap carried me fifty feet from his sword he dropped the point to the ground
and exclaimed, laughing, “‘I do not need a better reply, there is but one
man upon all Barsoom who can bounce about like a rubber ball. By the mother
of the further moon, John Carter, how came you here, and have you become
a Darseen that you can change your color at will?’
“‘You gave me a bad half minute my friend,’ he
continued, after I had briefly outlined my adventures since parting with
him in the arena at Warhoon.
‘Were my name and city known to the Zodangans
I would shortly be sitting on the banks of the lost sea of Korus with my
revered and departed ancestors. I am here in the interest of Tardos Mors,
Jeddak of Helium, to discover the whereabouts of Dejah Thoris, our princess.
Sab Than, prince of Zodanga, has her hidden in the city and has fallen
madly in love with her. His father, Than Kosis, Jeddak of Zodanga, had
made her voluntary marriage to his son the price of peace between our countries,
but Tardos Mors will not accede to the demands and has sent word that he
and his people would rather look upon the dead face of their princess than
see her wed to any than her own choice, and that personally he would prefer
being engulfed in the ashes of a lost and burning Helium to joining the
metal of his house with that of Than Kosis. His reply was the deadliest
affront he could have put upon Than Kosis and the Zodangans, but his people
love him the more for it and his strength in Helium is greater today than
“‘I have been here three days,’ continued Kantos
Kan, ‘but I have not yet found where Dejah Thoris is imprisoned. Today
I join the Zodangan navy as an air scout and I hope in this way to win
the confidence of Sab Than, the prince, who is commander of his division
of the navy, and thus learn the whereabouts of Dejah Thoris. I am glad
that you are here, John Carter, for I know your loyalty to my princess
and two of us working together should be able to accomplish much.’” (PM/21.)
Note, there is no word about Sola. In fact, she disappears from the
story until the very end. We must assume that she is wherever Dejah Thoris
is, since they were together when Carter was captured by the Warhoons.
We can guess that Sola and Dejah Thoris were later captured by Green Martians
of either horde but were rescued by the Zodangan air scout division of
the navy who gave the Green Martians a bloody fight to win the princess.
In the end, your guess is as good as mine.
“The plaza was now commencing to fill
with people going and coming upon the daily activities of their duties.
The shops were opening and the cafes filling with early morning patrons.
Kantos Kan led me to one of these gorgeous eating places where we were
served entirely by mechanical apparatus. No hand touched the food from
the time it entered the building in its raw state until it emerged hot
and delicious upon the tables before the guests, in response to the touching
of tiny buttons to indicate their desire.
Carter then spies a lone airman stranded on the ground below being attacked
by three Green Martians as he makes his way to one of the walled fields.
Upon closer observation, Carter notes the metal of the Red Martian as that
of the same scout squadron to which Carter is attached. He descends, and
coming up on the Green Martians from behind, rams the front of his craft
between the shoulders of one of the Green warriors, lopping his head off.
The thoats of the other two Green warriors bolt in fear in opposite directions.
“After our meal, Kantos Kan took me with him to
the headquarters of the air-scout squadron and introducing me to his superior
asked that I be enrolled as a member of the corps. In accordance with custom
an examination was necessary, but Kantos Kan had told me to have no fear
on this score as he would attend to that part of the matter. He accomplished
this by taking my order for examination to the examining officer and representing
himself as John Carter.
“‘This ruse will be discovered later,’ he cheerfully
explained, ‘when they check up my weights, measurements, and other personal
identification data, but it will be several months before this is done
and our mission should be accomplished or have failed long before that
“The next few days were spent by Kantos Kan in
teaching the intricacies of flying and of repairing the dainty little contrivances
which the Martians use for this purpose. The body of the one-man air craft
is about sixteen feet long, two feet wide and three inches thick, tapering
to a point at each end. The driver sits on top of this plane upon a seat
constructed over the small, noiseless radium engine which propels it. The
medium of buoyancy is contained within the thin metal of the body and consists
of the eighth Barsoomian ray, or ray of propulsion, as it may be termed
in view of its properties.
“This ray, like the ninth ray, is unknown on Earth,
but the Martians have discovered that it is an inherent property of all
light no matter from what source it emanates. They have learned that it
is the solar eighth ray which propels the light of the sun to the various
planets, and it is the individual eighth ray of each planet which ‘reflects,’
or propels the light thus obtained out into space once more. The solar
eighth ray would be absorbed by the surface of Barsoom, but the Barsoomian
eighth ray, which tends to propel light from Mars into space, is constantly
streaming out from the planet constituting a force of repulsion of gravity
which when confined is able to lift enormous weights from the surface of
“It is this ray which has enabled them to so perfect
aviation that battle ships far outweighing anything known upon Earth sail
as gracefully and lightly through the thin air of Barsoom as a toy balloon
in the heavy atmospher of Earth.
“During the early years of the discovery of this
ray many strange accidents occurred before the Martians learned to measure
and control the wonderful power they had found. In one instance, some nine
hundred years before, the first great battle ship to be built with eighth
ray reservoirs was stored with too great a quantity of the rays and she
had sailed up from Helium with five hundred officers and men, never to
“Her power of repulsion for the planet was so
great that it had carried her far into space, where she can be seen today,
by the aid of powerful telescopes, hurtling through the heavens ten thousand
miles from Mars; a tiny satellite that will thus encircle Barsoom to the
end of time.
“The fourth day after my arrival in Zodanga I
made my first flight, and as a result of it I won a promotion which included
quarters in the palace of Than Kosis.
“As I rose above the city I circled several times,
as I had seen Kantos Kan do, and then throwing my engine into top speed
I raced at a terrific velocity toward the south, following one of the great
waterways which enter Zodanga from that direction.” (PM/21.)
“Reducing my speed I circled and came
to the ground at the feet of the astonished Zodangan. He was warm in his
thanks for my timely aid and promised that my day’s work would bring the
reward it merited, for it was none other than a cousin of the jeddak of
Zodanga whose life I had saved.
I interrupt at this time to mention one of the enigmas of Barsoom. Where
do all of the feathers come from that the Martians use for their adornment?
We know that no birds or insects pester the Martian farmlands, but we also
know that there are birds and insects on Barsoom. We are told that voiceless
birds inhabit the trees in the Valley Dor, but we are not told of any other
birds on the rest of the planet, except for the Malagors in Synthetic Men
of Mars. Yet, even the Malagors were thought to be extinct until Ras Thavas
brought them back to life in his Jurassic Park experiments. So, either
there are other kinds of birds on the planet in plenty that are never mentioned
in the Mythos, or the feathers are heirlooms handed down from generation
to generation from a time when birds were plentiful on the planet. Or,
perhaps it is just another example of an ERB screw- up. He was not, after
all, the infallible God of Barsoom. Anyway, back to the story:
“We wasted no time in talk as we knew that the
warriors would surely return as soon as they had gained control of their
mounts. Hastening to his damaged machine we were bending every effort to
finish the needed repairs and had almost completed them when we saw the
two green monsters returning at top speed from opposite sides of us. When
they had approached within a hundred yards their thoats again became unmanageable
and absolutely refused to advance further toward the air craft which had
“The warriors finally dismounted and hobbling
their animals advanced toward us on foot with drawn long-swords. I advanced
to meet the larger, telling the Zodangan to do the best he could with the
other. Finishing my man with almost no effort, as had now from much practice
become habitual with me, I hastened to return to my new acquaintance whom
I found indeed in desperate straits.
“He was wounded and down with the huge foot of
his antagonist upon his throat and the great long-sword raised to deal
the final thrust. With a bound I cleared the fifty feet intervening between
us, and with outstretched point drove my sword completely through the body
of the green warrior. His sword fell, harmless, to the ground and he sank
limply upon the prostrate form of the Zodangan.
“A cursory examination of the latter revealed
no mortal injuries and after a brief rest he asserted that he felt fit
to attempt the return voyage. He would have to pilot his own craft, however,
as these frail vessels are not intended to convey but a single person.
“Quickly completing the repairs we rose together
into the still, cloudless Martian sky, and at great speed and without further
mishap returned to Zodanga.
“As we neared the city we discovered a mighty
concourse of civilians and troops assembled upon the plain before the city.
The sky was black with naval vessels and private and public pleasure craft,
flying long streamers of gay-colored silks, and banners and flags of odd
and picturesque design.
“My companion signaled that I slow down, and running
his machine close beside mine suggested that we approach and watch the
ceremony, which he said, was for the purpose of conferring honors on individual
officers and men for bravery and other distinguished service. He then unfurled
a little ensign which denoted that his craft bore a member of the royal
family of Zodanga, and together we made our way through the maze of low-lying
air vessels until we hung directly over the jeddak of Zodanga and his staff.
All were mounted upon the small domestic bull thoats of the red Martians,
and their trappings and ornamentation bore such a quantity of gorgeously
colored feathers that I could not but be struck with the startling resemblance
the concourse bore to a band of the red Indians of my own Earth.” (PM/21.)
“One of the staff called the attention
of Than Kosis to the presence of my companion above them and the ruler
motioned for him to descend. As they waited for the troops to move into
position facing the jeddak the two talked earnestly together, the jeddak
and his staff occasionally glancing up at me. I could not hear their conversation
and presently it ceased and all dismounted, as the last body of troops
had wheeled into position before their emperor. A member of the staff advanced
toward the troops, and calling the name of a soldier commanded him to advance.
I must take this time to point out the dark irony of all this before I
forget. All of the prominent men in this scene will likely soon be butchered
in the great massacre at the hands of the Green Hordes under the leadership
of Tars Tarkas. Did ERB already know the plot of the whole story before
he wrote it? Or did he just start writing and go with the flow? I know
he made notes as he wrote a story, but did he have fully written outlines
of each plot in advance?
“The officer then recited the nature of the heroic
act which had won the approval of the jeddak, and the latter advanced and
placed a metal ornament upon the left arm of the lucky man.” (PM/21.)
It is my belief that ERB had a rough outline in his mind and then let
his mojo do the workin’. Perhaps we are to understand Carter’s attitude
one of acting undercover among one’s enemies, since Zodanga was at war
with Helium. But at this time the only pseudo-allegiance he has is with
the Tharks. Unless, when he pledged to serve Dejah Thoris, he took on her
nation’s interests at the same time. It seems pointless in a well-outlined
plot to have Carter save this man and earn his eternal gratitude just to
later cut him down in the great hall of Than Kosis during the wedding ceremony
If this indeed is the truth, then ERB was one cruel, sadistic son of
a bitch to have the Zodangans so reach out and befriend him just to have
him repay them back with vengeance because the son of their leader fell
madly in love with the most irresistible woman on the planet, creating
a situation where the whole nation had to fall so that by Martian custom
Carter could have his Martian princess.
ERB’s mind is still too deep for me to fully fathom. Now back to the
“Ten men had so been decorated when the
aid called out, “‘John Carter, air scout!’
It is my opinion that Carter is not yet at enmity with Zodanga when he
enters the palace to become part of The Guard. All he wants is Dejah Thoris.
That it is the only interest he has at this time. As I see it, his whole
future political loyalties are formed in the next scene, when Carter overhears
a conversation between Than Kosis, Sab Than, and Dejah Thoris.
“Never in my life had I been so surprised, but
the habit of military discipline is strong within me, and I dropped my
little machine lightly to the ground and advanced on foot as I had seen
the others do. As I halted before the officer, he addressed me in a voice
audible to the entire assemblage of troops and spectators.
“‘In recognition, John Carter,’ he said, ‘of your
remarkable courage and skill in defending the person of the cousin of the
jeddak Than Kosis and, singlehanded, vanquishing three green warriors,
it is the pleasure of our jeddak to confer on you the mark of his esteem.’
“Than Kosis then advanced toward me and placing
an ornament upon me, said: “‘My cousin has narrated the details of your
wonderful achievement, which seems little short of miraculous, and if you
can so well defend a cousin of the jeddak how much better could you defend
the person of the jeddak himself. You are therefore appointed a padwar
of The Guards and will be quartered in my palace hereafter.’
“I thanked him, and at his direction joined the
members of his staff. After the ceremony I returned my machine to its quarters
on the roof of the barracks of the air-scout squadron, and with an orderly
from the palace to guide me I reported to the officer in charge of the
If Dejah Thoris appears too happy with Sab Than in this scene, we must
remember she has been told that John Carter was killed by the Warhoons.
Still, she has apparently spent little time in grieving for him. I also
want to point out the suggested sexual intimacy between the prince and
princess. Perhaps she is happy because her new lover has spent hours helping
her to get through her mental pain. It is likely that this isn’t the first
time she has lost a lover. She is, not to forget, over three hundred years
older than Carter’s civil war era life.
Pay attention to the subtle undertones in the conversation between Carter
and Dejah Thoris when they were captives of the Tharks in Korad. In this
scene Carter struggles over whether he should tell the princess that he
has fallen madly in love with her, a fate also awaiting Sab Than in the
“My first impulse was to tell her of
my love, and then I thought of the helplessness of her position wherein
I alone could lighten the burdens of her captivity, and protect her in
my poor way against the thousands of hereditary enemies she must face upon
our arrival at Thark. I could not chance causing her additional pain or
sorrow by declaring a love which, in all probability she did not return.
Should I be so indiscreet, her position would be even more unbearable than
now, and the thought that she might feel that I was taking advantage of
her helplessness, to influence her decision was the final argument which
sealed my lips.
One can easily imagine John Carter’s beating heart sinking like the Titanic
when the princess wouldn’t directly answer his question. ERB is informing
the reader that Dejah Thoris is not a virgin, even though, as far as any
reader can know, she has never been married. The Red Martians may be a
virtuous people on whole, as ERB keeps reminding us, but there is ample
evidence of fornication to put the general rule to test.
“‘Why are you so quiet, Dejah Thoris?’ I asked.
‘Possibly you would rather return to Sola and your quarters?’
“‘No,’ she murmured, ‘I am happy here. I do not
know why it is that I should always be happy and contented when you, John
Carter, a stranger, are with me; yet at such times it seems that I am safe
and that, with you, I shall soon return to my father’s court and feel his
strong arms about me and my mother’s tears and kisses on my cheek.’
“‘Do people kiss, then, on Barsoom?’ I asked,
when she had explained the word she used, in answer to my inquiry as to
“‘Parents, brothers, and sisters, yes; and,’ she
added in a low, thoughtful tone, ‘lovers.’
“‘And you, Dejah Thoris, have parents and brothers
“‘And a – lover?’
“She was silent, nor could I venture to repeat
“‘The man of Barsoom,’ she finally ventured, ‘does
not ask personal questions of women, except his mother, and the woman he
has fought for and won.’” (PM/14.)
So we can well imagine John Carter’s love for the princess creating
an inherent jealousy of Dejah Thoris’s other lovers, all coming to a head
when he surmises that she has been up to her royal lecherous ways with
Sab Than. I would say this is Carter’s psychological breaking point, where
he becomes almost psychopathic in his willingness the depopulate the entire
planet to win
the princess. It sounds like the green monster at work.
I tend to go along with R.E. Prindle’s theory that this triangle between
Carter, Sab Than, and Dejah Thoris, was based on the triangle between ERB,
Frank Martin, the son of a wealthy tycoon, and Emma. (See, ERBzine
#1343.) If this is true, and there is little reason to doubt it, then
ERB learned what most writers know, that petty grievances, or major ones,
over people and events, can best be worked out in fiction, where it is
not a crime.
“The major-domo to whom I reported had
been given instructions to station me near the person of the jeddak, who,
in time of war, is always in great danger of assassination, as the rule
that all is fair in war seems to constitute the entire ethics of Martian
Yes, a lot can happen in two days between a man and a maid, especially
when he has her in bondage in a secret hiding place. There may even be
a hint that Sab Than is well endowed and it’s this fact that finally persuaded
her to give in.
“He therefore escorted me immediately to the apartment
in which Than Kosis then was. The ruler was engaged in conversation with
his son, Sab Than, and several courtiers of his household, and did not
perceive my entrance.
“The walls of the apartment were completely hung
with splendid tapestries which hid any windows or doors which may have
pierced them. The room was lighted by imprisoned rays of sunshine held
between the ceiling proper and what appeared to be a ground-glass false
ceiling a few inches below.
“My guide drew aside one of the tapestries, disclosing
a passage which encircled the room, between the hangings and the walls
of the chamber. Within this passage I was to remain, he said, so long as
Than Kosis was in the apartment. When he left I was to follow. My only
duty was to guard the ruler and keep out of sight as much as possible.
I would be relieved after a period of four hours. The major-domo then left
“The tapestries were of a strange weaving which
gave the appearance of heavy solidity from one side, but from my hiding
place I could perceive all that took place within the room as readily as
though there had been no curtain interfering.
“Scarcely had I gained my post than the tapestry
at the opposite end of the chamber separated and four soldiers of The Guard
entered, surrounding a female figure. As they approached Than Kosis the
soldiers fell to either side and there standing before the jeddak and not
ten feet from me, her beautiful face radiant with smiles, was Dejah Thoris.
“Sab Than, Prince of Zodanga, advanced to meet
her, and hand in hand they approached close to the jeddak. Than Kosis looked
up in surprise, and, rising, saluted her.
“‘To what strange freak do I owe this visit from
the Princess of Helium, who, two days ago, with rare consideration for
my pride, assured me that she would prefer Tal Hajus, the green Thark,
to my son.’
“Dejah Thoris only smiled the more and with the
roguish dimples playing at the corners of her mouth she made answer:
“‘From the beginning of time upon Barsoom it
has been the prerogative of woman to change her mind as she listed and
to dissemble in matters concerning her heart. That you will forgive, Than
Kosis, as has your son. Two days ago I was not sure of his love for me,
but now I am, and I have come to beg of you to forget my rash words and
to accept the assurance of the Princess of Helium that when the time comes
she will wed Sab Than, Prince of Zodanga.’” (PM/22.)
It can, of course, always be argued that she is merely putting on an
act in a diplomatic sacrificial move to save her country from devastation,
putting the best face forward so to speak – but the fact that ERB explicitly
pointed out that she was radiating when she entered the room – a state
that is hard or impossible to fake, should put that argument to rest. One
could just as easily argue that the radiance was due to the after-glow
of good sex. Anyway, Than Kosis is pleased at her change of mind.
“‘I am glad that you have so decided,’
replied Than Kosis. ‘It is far from my desire to push war further against
the people of Helium, and, your promise shall be recorded and a proclamation
to my people issued forthwith.’
Wow, if Dejah Thoris did do the nasty with Sab Than, it worked like a charm.
The man is obviously stricken, downright whipped, and well under the bewitching
spell of the princess.
“‘It were better, Than Kosis,’ interrupted Dejah
Thoris, ‘that the proclamation wait the ending of this war. It would look
strange indeed to my people and to yours were the Princess of Helium to
give herself to her country’s enemy in the midst of hostilities.’
“‘Cannot the war be ended at once?’ spoke Sab
Than. ‘It requires but the word of Than Kosis to bring peace. Say it, my
father, say the word that will hasten my happiness, and end this unpopular
“‘We shall see,’ replied Than Kosis, ‘how the
people of Helium take to peace. I shall at least offer it to them.’
“Dejah Thoris, after a few seconds, turned and
left the apartment, still followed by her guards.” (PM/22.)
With the competition of all the other hot babes on Barsoom, I sometimes
forget how outrageously beautiful Dejah Thoris must be. So far she has
driven a white man from Earth, a Green Martian Jeddak, and now the Prince
of Zodanga, absolutely bonkers. Carter’s next move betrays his frail mental
state and will forever seal his fate in Zodanga. That will be dealt with
in Part Two.
ADDENDUM TO "THE RIVER ISS"
I just realized I left out a key passage that helps to locate at least
one above-the-ground reference to the River Iss. It comes when Sarkoja
is confronted with her wickedness in betraying the mother of Sola by her
lover, Tars Tarkas. He gives her an alternative, since he has experienced
a streak of mercy as a result of his friendship with John Carter.
“‘Sarkoja,’ said Tars Tarkas, ‘forty
years ago you were instrumental in bringing about the torture and death
of a woman named Gozava. I have just discovered that the warrior who loved
that woman has learned in your part in the transaction. He may not kill
you, Sarkoja, it is not our custom, but there is nothing to prevent him
tying one end of a strap about your neck and the other end to a wild thoat,
merely to test your fitness to survive and help perpetuate our race. Having
heard that he would do this, on the morrow, I thought it only right to
warn you, for I am a just man. The River Iss is but a short pilgrimage,
Sarkoja. Come, John Carter.’
This explains why Tars Tarkas knew where the location was when he decided
to take the voluntary pilgrimage when he longed to see his lover and his
good friend, John Carter, again.
“The next morning Sarkoja was gone, nor was she
ever seen after.” (PM/24.)
Thus, one of the locations where you can be sure to find an ancient
skiff left there conveniently by the Holy Therns, is in the vicinity of
Thark. Thus, Thark, Zodanga, the atmosphere factory, and an above ground
location of the River Iss, are all in the same general geographical area.