TorchLit Hall

Gorean Information

Using Book Quotes


You’ve heard it, I’ve heard it … quotes from the books.  On this site, you will find many quotes used to support what is written.  So I think it would be helpful if I told you a little about how I use a quote.  Just because something is written in one of the books does not necessarily guarantee that it is completely valid. 


The favorite of mine is “kollar” versus collar.  The only time I have found the spelling to be “kollar” was in Slave Girl of Gor.  It is clearly meant as a phonetic rendering or perhaps an attempt to demonstrate the accent of the Gorean language to a newly acquired barbarian girl.  Everywhere else in the over 10,000 pages of information in the thirty-three books in the Gorean series, it is written collar.  There are folks around though that point to that quote as definite proof the word is “kollar”


 Ko-lar,” she said, indicating her collar. “It is the same word in English,” I cried. She did not understand my outburst. Gorean, as I would learn, is rich in words borrowed from Earth languages; how rich it is I am not a skilled enough philologist to conjecture. Slave Girl of Gor


We need to be clear that because something isn’t mentioned in the books, does not mean it doesn’t exist.  Frogs, for instance … this girl has never found a quote that identifies their existence … but neither has she found a quote that says they don’t exist.  So while it isn’t specified, it is possible.  Red sugar is another example.  There are many folks online who claim there is red sugar.  There is definitely red salt on Gor.


Most salt at Klima is white, but certain of the mines deliver red salt, red from ferrous oxide in its composition, which is called the Red Salt of Kasra, after its port of embarkation, at the juncture of the Upper and Lower Fayeen.  Tribesmen of Gor


However there is mention of 4 sugars … but only two are ever described … white and yellow.  Does that mean there isn’t red sugar? … No, it could be one of the two unnamed colors … but it also may not be.  The matter is too ambiguous to absolutely state there is no red sugar … nor can we state there is.  I think somewhere along the line someone online mixed up red salt and red sugar has managed to survive in the minds of some folks. 


"With a tiny spoon, its tip no more than a tenth of a hort in diameter, she placed four measures of white sugar, and six of yellow, in the cup; with two stirring spoons, one for the white sugar, another for the yellow, she stirred the beverage after each measure."  Tribesmen of Gor

"Lola now returned to the small table and, kneeling, head down, served us our dessert, slices of tospit, sprinkled with four Gorean sugars."  Rogue of Gor


To use a quote accurately to support your point of view, you need to carefully read the quote you have found not forgetting to read it in its context.  You need to look at who is talking and what their personal biases may be.  For instance, a native Gorean may look at a situation completely differently than someone new arrived from Earth.  A Gorean may look at a situation and not be the least be alarmed or shocked … but the new person may view it differently.  So the quote you are reading may be part of an opinion that may or may not be accurate state of affairs on Gor. 


You need to look at if your quote is ambiguous or not.  For example, a quote that stated "Ka-la-na wine is always red" would clearly denote the color of Ka-la-na wine. If on the other hand the quote said "I drank a light Ka-la-na wine" then the precise color of the wine would not be clear. The adjective "light" may refer to the color, body or flavor of the wine. Even if we knew it referred to the color, "light" could mean a white color or even a light red color. We need would more evidence to determine its actual color. Now, if the quote said "I drank a red Ka-la-na wine" then that too would be somewhat ambiguous as to the color of Ka-la-na wine in general. The quote does show that some Ka-la-na wines are red but it does not state that all of them are red. Other colors could exist as well. Examined in another light, if all Ka-la-na wine were red, then it would be unnecessary to describe it as a "red Ka-la-na" in that quote. Thus, the implication would be that other colors exist. An ambiguous quote is obviously most often less credible than a clear quote in proving a proposition. If a quote is ambiguous, then further evidence will be needed to clarify the vagueness. For example, additional quotes would be needed to support the proposition.   If there are 19 quotes mentioning red Ka-la-nas and only one that mentions white … you could be more secure in stating that Ka-la-na is usually red.


Also I look for contradictory quotes.  It is well known that John Norman made mistakes thoughout the series, as most authors do in writing such a lengthy series.  You must be careful in taking single quotes as the absolute truth.  I am reminded of River Thalarion.


Early in the series … Nomad of Gor, in fact, River Tharlarion are said to be herbivorous. 


"I crossed the Cartius on a barge, one of several hired by the merchant of the caravan with which I was then seeing. These barges, constructed of layered timbers of Ka-la-na wood, are towed by teams of river tharlarion, domesticated, vast, herbivorous, web-footed lizards raised and driven by the Cartius bargemen, fathers and sons, interrelated clans, claiming the status of a cast for themselves. Even with the harnessed might of several huge tharlarion drawing toward the opposite shore the crossing took us several pasangs downriver. The caravan, of course, was bound for Turia."  Nomads of Gor


However, by Captive of Gor … we find a river tharlarion clearly eating a fish, thus indicating that they are not herbivorous. 


"A broad, low-sided barge began to back toward the pier. It had two large steering oars, manned by bargemen. It was drawn by two gigantic, web-footed river tharlarion. There were the first tharlarion that I had ever seen. They frightened me. They were scaled, vast and long-necked. Yet in the water it seemed, for all their bulk, they moved delicately. One dipped its head under the surface and, moments later, the head emerged, dripping, the eyes blinking, a silverish fish struggling in the small, triangular-toothed jaws. It engorged the fish, and turned its small head, eyes now unblinking, to regard us. They were harnessed to the broad barge. They were controlled by bargemen, with a long whipping stick, who was ensconced in a leather basket, part of the harness, slung between the two animals. He would also shout at them, commands, interspersed with florid Gorean profanity, and, slowly, not undelicately, they responded to his cries. The barge grated against the pier. …  Captive of Gor


So what do we have here.  It can’t be clearly stated that all river tharlarion are herbivorous, not can it be said they all are not.  Is it a mistake made by John Norman or is he stating that some species of river tharlarion are not herbivorous. 


Another case involves Ka-la-na.  In most quotes and indeed most places in the books, Ka-la-na is described as red ... yet in Nomads of Gor, one of John Norman's earlier books, it is clearly described as yellow.  Here again, it could be a mistake or it could be two different varieties of Ka-la-na.



*"Beside several of the flower trees, there were also some Ka-la-na trees, or the yellow wine trees of Gor; there was one large-trunked, reddish Tur tree, about which curled its assemblage of Tur-Pah, a viselike tree parasite with curled, scarlet, ovate leaves, rather lovely to look upon;  the leaves of the Tur-Pah incidentally are edible and figure in certain Gorean dishes, such as sullage, a kind of soup; long ago I had heard , a Tur tree was found on the prairie, near a spring, planted perhaps long before by someone who passed by; it was from that Tur tree that the city of Turia took its name; there was also, at one side of the garden, against the far wall, a grove of tem-wood, linear, black, supple."  Nomads of Gor

 ...and drops of a red, winelike drink made from the fruit of the Ka-la-na tree.   Tarnsman of Gor

 I went to his locker near the mat and got out his Ka-la-na flask, taking a long draught myself and then shoving it into his hands. He drained the flask in one drink and wiped his hand across his beard, stained with the red juice of the fermented drink.   Tarnsman of Gor

 "But that sort of thing is behind me now," she said to me, throwing back her head and quaffing deeply of the ruby-red Ka-la-na in her cup.  Rogue of Gor

I went to his locker near the mat and got out his Ka-la-na flask, taking a long draught myself and then shoving it into his hands. He drained the flask in one drink and wiped his hand across his beard, stained with the red juice of the fermented drink.   Tarnsman of Gor


Look as well for specific examples versus generality.  For example, John Norman frequently use exceptional individuals as his main characters.  He does make it very clear that these are “exceptions to the rule” rather than the norm.  Many folks point to Tarna in Tribesemen as an example that women could battle as Warriors.  He makes it clear that she was the exception and if female Warriors were common, there would be comparisons between her skills and those of other female Warriors.  So, therefore one can not point to Tarna and state that Women were Warriors. 

I have done the best I can to try and ensure the accuracy of the quotes I have used.  I am aware that single quotes do not automatically prove anything.  Proof is often more complex and careful analysis is required.  While quotes are necessary to be factual and “by the book”, I am also wary of potential dangers and pitfalls.  I am always looking, reading and researching to make this one very complete and factual site on Gor.