The original Conan the Barbarian (1982) is one of the most important spiritual parables of our time, and reveals the wellspring from which strength flows.Spoilers follow in the article. If you haven't seen the film, I highly recommend it. The lesson is that strength is a matter of will. Conan's family is killed by Thulsa Doom in the opening scene. That incident defined Conan's character. In a certain sense, Doom made Conan. The pain of seeing his family killed forged Conan's spirit. In many films, the heroes dwell on their pain and are never able to move on. Conan gets his revenge against Doom and the ending scene emphasizes that this part of Conan's life is over. It drops a sequel hook by hinting at Conan's future reign as king of Aquilonia, and if rumors on the internets are accurate, Arnold will return to play King Conan.
Although at first glance merely a simple action film, the original Conan the Barbarian was written and directed by John Milius, the screenwriter of Apocalypse Now,who was part of the same wave of film school graduates that produced George Lucas and Francis Ford Coppola.
“Conan is a movie that has definitely got a singular vision in it,” Milius states. “Directors don’t do that today. They just shoot the movie. It’s all how slick it can look, as opposed to whether you like this movie or not. It does have it’s own morality. It does have it’s own code of behavior.”In the commentary track director John Milius says, “it’s really not just a simple story. It’s about what makes us what we are.” Conan is a movie about transformation and how pain, wounding, and trauma can fuel personal growth and ultimately create a stronger version of man.
The sword by itself is useless if the hand that wields it is weak or clumsy. The man must have physical strength, and more importantly will. Our failures, traumas, and pain forge us into the man God wants us to be to complete the mission he gives each of us. We often forget this while we endure our trials in the present moment, and it's only later after sober reflection that we realize that failure is itself instructive. I certainly forget it often.
Don't think of it as a failure. Consider it a roundabout way to success.