Camerius (Ar)
Selnar (Ko-ro-ba)
Passage Hand
Year 10,174 Contasta Ar

What is this Gor everyone is talking about?

by Fogaban
written 1998

Well, understand that it is simply impossible to shrink the over 11,700 pages of the Gorean series written by John Norman into a few paragraphs. But, in the briefest of descriptions, I shall attempt a concise outline.

First of all there are no Lords, Kings, Princes, Princesses, Knights, Warlocks, dragons or A/all's on Gor. Certainly not in the realm you may think. Gor is not a land of magic, spells and shape-shifting.

Gor, as described in the books is a planet circling the other side of our sun in the same orbit as Earth. It is a male dominated society, structured with a Caste system. The majority of the population, the castes below the High Castes, are encouraged to believe that their world is a broad, flat disk. On the other hand, the five High Castes, the Initiates, Physicians, Builders, Scribes, and Warriors are told the truth of such matters.

The overall scheme of life on Gor is controlled from a distance by the Priest-Kings. While not taking an active role in the day to day lives of men, they limit the advancement of technology in weapons and industry. The most advanced weapon allowed is the crossbow. There is no mechanized form of travel or communication. Then again, in ways of medicine, for instance, great strides have been made. The Priest-Kings, maintain the Sacred Place in the Sardar Mountains, a wild vastness into which no man penetrates. The Sacred Place, to the minds of most men, is taboo, perilous. Incidentally, all compasses on Gor point to the Sardar Mountains.

Religion is not muchly a force in the ways of Gor, however the Caste of Initiates, the religious leaders might tend to disagree, as they attempt to dominate the populace. Codes, instead, are what guide most people. The Code of the Warrior is, in general, characterized by a rudimentary chivalry, emphasizing loyalty to the Pride Chiefs and the Home Stone.

Home Stones are what Goreans hold most dear. Gor, in all the languages of this planet, means Home Stone. It has been said that "Where a man sets his Home Stone, he claims, by law, that land for himself." Two soldiers who would cut one another down with their steel blades for an acre of fertile ground will fight side by side to the death for the Home Stone of their village.

Gor is populated by many wild beasts. Tarns are fierce huge birds upon which one, providing he be able to master it, may ride. Tarns are not for the weak hearted and even seasoned tarnsmen have been eaten by the very birds they have trained. Tharlarions, both kinds, draft tharlarion that walk on four legs and the high tharlarion that walks on its hind legs, are lizard-like animals that too can be ridden. There are many others you may hear mention made of. Sleen, larls, urts and many, many more.

There are two places in society a person will find themselves, Free or slave. Free Persons don't really need much explanation. Slaves, on the other hand, are property, nothing more. A slave owns nothing of their own, not even their name. But this is NOT the Sadistic / Masochistic or Dominate / submissive or Bondage society you may think it to be. Pain or punishment is never delivered as pleasure. A direct quote from the Books says "Perhaps it should only be added that the Gorean master, though often strict, is seldom cruel. The girl knows, if she pleases him, her lot will be an easy one. She will almost never encounter sadism or wanton cruelty, for the psychological environment that tends to breed these diseases is largely absent from Gor." - Outlaw of Gor     Book 2     Page 53

To shed even more light on this Master / slave relationship here is another quote: "Marlenus sat down cross legged. He looked on her intently. He studied her. He gave her great attention. I knew on earth many men did not know their wives. They did not truly look upon them. Never, truly, had they seen them. But a Gorean Master will know every inch, and care for every inch, of one of his slave girls. He will know every hair, every sweet blemish of her. In a way she is nothing to him, for she is only slave. But in another way she is very important to him. She is one of his women. He will know her. He will want to know her completely, every inch of her body, every inch of her mind. Nothing less will satisfy him. She is his property. He will choose to know his property thoroughly." - Hunters of Gor     Book 8     Page 145

Therefore, on Gor, slavery can be a beautiful thing. It has also been said that only the woman who has been an utter slave can truly be free. It has nothing to with the simplicity of chains or the collar, or the brand. It means only that the woman who has utterly surrendered--and can utterly surrender--losing herself in a Master's touch--can truly be a women, in being what she is, is then free.

To sum this up is a quote from Tarl Cabot himself: "And on this barbaric world I have seen it in all its beauty and cruelty, in all its glory and sadness. I have learned that it is splendid and fearful and priceless. I have seen it in the vanished towers of Ko-ro-ba and in the flight of a tarn, in the movements of a beautiful woman, in the gleam of weaponry, in the sound of tarn drums and the crash of thunder over green fields. I have found it at the tables of sword companions and in the clash of the metals of war, in the touch of a girl's lips and hair, in the blood of a sleen, in the sands and chains of Tharna, in the scent of talenders and the hiss of the whip. I am grateful to the immortal elements which have so conspired that I might once be. I was Tarl Cabot, Warrior of Ko-ro-ba." - Outlaw of Gor     Book 2     Page 253


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