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Thog is a literary character created by Robert E. Howard in his story "The Slithering Shadow", published by Weird Tales during September 1933.

Biographical sketch[]

Thog is a terrifying and grisly demon, stalking the dreaming corridors of Xuthal in the form of a great shadow, consuming those who stumble across his path. It's described by Thalis as the "God of Xuthal", who has been in the city ever since its founding. It is uncertain whether Thog or Xuthal came first, but whichever, the creature has always stalked the corridors of Xuthal in search of prey. The citizens of Xuthal fear Thog, but accept their fate as necessary sacrifices. It is largely Thog’s fault that their numbers have fallen from thousands to mere hundreds.

Thog is also a lustful creature, despite its otherworldly and repulsive appearance, trying to rape Natala rather than simply devour her, which seems to be more typical of Thog’s modus operandi.

“That was Thog, the Ancient, the god of Xuthal, who dwells in the sunken dome in the center of the city. He has always dwelt in Xuthal. Whether he came here with the ancient founders, or was here when they built the city, none knows. But the people of Xuthal worship him. Mostly he sleeps below the city, but sometimes at irregular intervals he grows hungry, and then he steals through the secret corridors and the dim-lit chambers, seeking prey.”

Robert E. Howard, "Xuthal of the Dusk"

Thog proved itself to be a challenge even for Conan himself, during his rescue of Natala.

He was tossed to and fro in the violence of that awful battle, and had a dazed feeling that he was fighting not one, but an aggregation of lethal creatures.

Robert E. Howard, "Xuthal of the Dusk"

A mysterious glow often accompanies Thog before its arrival.

The thing glowed all over now with a weird phosphorous radiance, and this glow was in Conan’s eyes, blinding him, as suddenly the heaving billowing mass fell away from beneath him, the saber tearing loose and remaining in his locked hand. This hand and arm hung down into space, and far below him the glowing body of the monster was rushing downward like a meteor.

Robert E. Howard, "Xuthal of the Dusk"

Physical Appearance[]

Thog is portrayed as having “a great toad-like face, the features of which were as dim and unstable as those of a specter seen in a mirror of nightmare” with “great pools of light that might have been eyes”, and a body whose “outline seemed to waver and alter subtly…yet its substance was apparently solid enough. There was nothing misty or ghostly about it.” Thog does not have limbs in the normal sense, but “dark tentacle-like member[s]”.

Traits and skills[]

Thog’s body appears to have the ability to shift from its toad-like incarnation into a shadowy form, with varying degrees of corporeality inbetween. The demon is also very resilient, surviving multiple thrusts of Conan’s blade: it's unclear whether even plunging into a chasm finished off the beast.

Stories featuring Thog[]