I hooded her and snapped her wrists together in the slave bracelets. The ringing of the
tharlarion's shod claws on the road grew louder.
In a minute the rider appeared in view, a fine, bearded warrior with a golden helmet and a
He drew the riding lizard to a halt a few paces from me. He rode the species of tharlarion which
ran on its two back feet in great bounding strides. Its cavernous
mouth was lined with long, gleaming teeth. Its two small, ridiculously disproportionate forelegs
dangled absurdly in from of its body. Tarnsman of Gor, page 115
In those days I learned to master the high tharlarion, one of which had been assigned to me by
the caravan's tharlarion master. These gigantic lizards had been bred on Gor for a thousand
generations before the first tarn was tamed, and were raised from the leathery shell to carry
warriors. They responded to voice signals, conditioned into their tiny brains in the training years.
None the less, the butt of one's lance, striking about the eye or ear openings, for there are few
other sensitive areas in their scaled hides, is occasionally necessary to impress your will on the
The high tharlarions, unlike their draught brethren, the slow-moving, four-footed broad tharlarion,
were carnivorous. However, their metabolism was slower than that of a tarn, whose mind never
seemed far from food and, if it was available, could consume half its weight in a single day.
Moreover, they needed far less water than tarns. To me, the most puzzling thing about the
domesticated tharlarions, and the way in which they differed most obviously from wild tharlarions
and the lizards of my native planet, was their stamina, their capacity for sustained movement.
When the high tharlarion moves slowly, its stride is best described as a proud, stalking
movement, each great clawed foot striking the earth with a measured rhythm. When urged to
speed, however, the high tharlarion bounds, in great leaping movements that carry it twenty
paces at a time.
The Saddle and Footwear
The tharlarion saddle, unlike the tarn saddle, is constructed to absorb shock. Primarily, this is
done by constructing the tree of the saddle in such a way that the leather seat is mounted on a
hydraulic fitting which actually floats in a thick lubricant. Not only does this lubricant absorb much
of the shock involved, but it tends, except under abnormal stress, to keep the seat of the saddle
parallel to the ground. In spite of this invention, the mounted warriors always wear, as an
essential portion of their equipment, a thick leather belt, tightly buckled about their abdomen. In
addition, the mounted warriors inevitably wear a high, soft pair of boots called tharlarion boots.
These protect their legs from the abrasive hides of their mounts. When a tharlarion runs, its hide
could tear the unprotected flesh from a man's bones.
I would have given much for a tarn in my journey, though I knew no tarn would fly into the
mountains. For some reason neither the fearless hawklike tarns, nor the slow-witted tharlarions,
the draft and riding lizards of Gor, would enter the mountains. The tharlarions become
unmanageable and though the tarn will essay the flight the bird almost immediately becomes
disoriented, uncoordinated, and drops screaming back to the plains below.
|This research is done on the series of books written by John Norman, the comments in italics are mine and my point of view.
Woman of Gor
Then the smell of a cooking fire came to my nostrils. I heard the hum of unhurried conversation. Through the trees I could see tent
canvas, a tharlarion wagon, the strap-masters unharnessing a brace of low tharlarions, the huge, herbivorous draft lizards of Gor. For
all I could tell neither of them had heard the scream, or paid it any attention. Outlaw of Gor, page 184
There was nothing living on Gor I knew that could take the impact of a tharlarion charge. Nomads of Gor, page 114
...other guard, then, thrusting a heavy piece of meat on one of the hooks, to which a rope was attached, held the meat away from the
platform and half submerged in the water. Almost instantly there was a frenzy in the water near the meat, a thrashing and turbulence
in the murky liquid. I felt water splashed on my legs, even standing back as I was. Then the guard lifted the roped hook from the
water. The meat was gone. Tiny tharlarion, similar to those in the swamp forest south of Ar, dropped, snapping, from the bared hook.
Such tiny, swift tharlarion, in their thousands, can take the meat from a kailiauk in an Ehn. The girl on the platform, naked, kneeling, a
metal collar hammered about her neck, the metal pole between her leg., grasping it with both arms, threw back her
head and screamed piteously. The two guards then withdrew. Samos, hooded, walked out on the floating walkway, steadied by its
chains. I, similarly hooded, followed him. He lifted the torch. The platform´s front edge was about a yard from the tiny, wooden,
metal-sheathed, circular platform, mounted on the wooden, metal-sheathed pole, that tiny platform on which the girl knelt, that
narrow, tiny platform which held her but inches from the tharlarion-filled water.
She looked up at us, piteously, blinking against the light of the torch.
She clutched the pole helplessly. She could not have been bound to it more closely if she had been fastened in close chains.
The small eyes of numerous tharlarion, perhaps some two or three hundred of them, ranging from four to ten inches in length,
watching her, nostrils and eyes at the water level, reflected the light of the torch. Explorers of Gor, page 23
There were other barges on the river, some moving across the river, others coming toward Laura, others departing. Those departing
used only the current. Those approaching were drawn by land tharlarion, plodding on log roads along the edges of the river. The land
tharlarion can swim barges across the river, but he is not as efficient as the vast river tharlarion. Both sides of the river are used to
approach Laura, though the northern shore is favored. Unharnessed tharlarion, returning to Lydius at the mouth of the Laurius,
generally follow the southern shore road, which is not as much used by towing tharlarion as the northern. Captive of Gor page 81
A hunt master, astride a monstrous tharlarion, holding a wand, tufted with panther hair, preceded the retinue. He wore over his head,
half covering his face, a hood formed of the skin of the head of a forest panther. About his neck there were twined necklaces of claws.
Across his back there was strapped a quiver of arrows. A bow, unstrung, was fastened at his saddle. He was dressed in skins, mostly
those of sleen and forest panthers.
Behind him came musicians, with their trumpets, and cymbals and drums. They, too, wore skins, and the heads of forest panthers.
Then, on carts, drawn by small, horned tharlarion, there came cages, and poles of trophies. In certain of the cages, of heavy, peeled
branches lashed together, there snarled and hissed forest sleen, in others there raged the dreadful tawny, barred panthers of the
northern forests. From the poles there hung the skins and heads of many beasts, mostly panthers and sleen. In one cage, restlessly
lifting its swaying head, there coiled a great, banded hith, Gor's most feared serpentine constrictor. It was native only to certain areas
of the forest. Marlenus' hunting must have ranged widely. Captive of Gor, page 209, 210
I rather liked the odors of the stables and barns, such complex mixed odors, ranging from straw, and hay and leather, to the organic
wastes of our huge charges, some four species of draft tharlarion, We did not, in the great stables, raise saddle tharlarion, though in
the house stables, here in Mistress' villa some forty pasangs south and west of Vonda, there were several saddle tharlarion. The
mistress did not breed and raise racing tharlarion, incidentally, These are usually larger and more agile beasts than common saddle
tharlarion and are smaller, of course, than either draft tharlarion or war tharlarion, the latter used almost exclusively in the cavalries of
Gor, huge upright beasts, several tons in weight, guided by voice commands and the blows of spears. Fighting slave of Gor, page
I went to where he now knelt in the sand. The sand there began to sink down slightly. I saw it stir. Then, suddenly, the horn snout of
a tharlarion thrust up from the hot sand. Its eyes blinked. Its tongue darted in and out of its mouth, licking sand about its jaws. Its
head was some eight inches in width.
"Snout strap," said Barus.
I picked up one of the long, leather, coiled snout straps lying at hand.
The head of the tiny hatchling, some eight inches wide, some foot or so in length, was now fully emerged from the sand. I saw one
clublike foot, clawed, strike up out of the sand. It hissed.
I looped the snout strap about its jaws and tied them shut. It squirmed and half pulled itself from the leathery casing which had
contained it, drawing it up, half out of the sand.
"Girth cloth, Taphris!" called Barus.
Together Barus and I drew the hatchling out of the sand. With my foot I thrust back the clinging shell.
"Watch out for the tail!" said Barus to Taphris. She stepped back.
Barus and I threw the hatchling on its back and, rolling it, then, wrapped its torso in the folds of the girth cloth. This tends to protect it
against the tunnel air when it is carried to the nursery. I bent down and, with the help of Barus, got the hatchling to my shoulders.
The head, with its strapped-shut jaws, rotated on the neck, some two feet in length. It struck against my thigh. The young beast
weighed, I conjecture, some one hundred and forty to one hundred and fifty pounds. Fighting slave of Gor, page 272-272
To my right, some two or three feet under the water, I saw the sudden, rolling yellowish flash of the slatted belly of a water
tharlarion, turning as it made its swift strike, probably a Vosk carp or marsh turtle. Immediately following I saw the water seem to
glitter for a moment, a rain of yellowish streaks beneath the surface, in the wake of water tharlarion, doubtless its swarm of
scavengers, tiny water tharlarion, about six inches long, little more than teeth and tail. Raiders of Gor, page 1
My leg slipped from the island into the water and suddenly a tiny tharlarion struck it, seizing his bit of flesh and backing, tail whipping,
away. My leg was out of the water, but now the water seemed yellow with the flashing bodies of tiny tharlarion, and beyond them, I
heard the hoarse grunting of the great marsh tharlarion, some of which grow to be more than thirty feet in length, weighing more
than half a hundred men. Beyond them would be the almost eel-like, long-bodied, nine-gilled Gorean marsh sharks. Raiders of Gor,
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 page 79-80
The chair, I noted, was not borne by male draft slaves, but was supported by tharlarion. There might be various reasons for this. One
might be ostentation, a simple display of wealth, for good tharlarion are generally more expensive then male slaves, particularly draft
slaves. Mercenaries of Gor, page 270
Small Saddle Tharlarions
I proceeded down the street in the direction indicated, leading the tharlarion by its reins. Small saddle tharlarion are generally
managed by snout reins. The huge war tharlarion are commonly guided by voice signals and the blows of spears on the face and
neck. Draft tharlarions are harnessed, and can be managed either by men or usually boys, who walk beside them, or by reins and
whips, controlled by drivers, men mounted in drawn wagons. Fighting slave of Gor, page 174
"Pietro Vacchi!" exclaimed Aulus, drawing back his tharlarion. "I should have known it would have been you!" I was terrified at his
stirrup, the chain on my neck. It was like being tethered at the side of a mountain of scales and muscle. These beasts are
unexpectedly agile for their size. Very little I would think could stand against their charge, lest it be a terrain of pits, a forest of peeled,
inclined, sharpened stakes. The handful of riders had approached us on the Viktel Aria, they moving north. Only a few yards from us
had they halted, wheeling their mounts. The very earth on which we stood had shaken. It had been, I suppose, a joke,
that we must wait to see if we were to be struck, trampled, or impaled on their spears. Aulus had retained his composure well, I
though, considering the provocation. Actually we were not far at all from Venna, only a few pasangs. They had ridden north, it seems,
to meet us. Dancer of Gor, page 355
He moved about the wagon and climbed to the wagon box. I heard, in a moment, his shouting to the lead beast, and the crack of the
tharlarion whip. The whip, incidentally, seldom falls on the beast. Its proximity, and noise, are usually more than sufficient. Too, it
often functions as an attention-garnering device, a signal, so to speak, preparing the beast for the sequent issuance of verbal
commands, to which it is trained to respond. Renegades of Gor, page 12
He was now regarded as much in the same category with the urts that one clubs in the Sa-Tarna sheds, or are pursued by small pet
sleen, kept there for that purpose, or with the tiny, six-toed rock tharlarion of southern Torvaldsland, favored for their legs and tails,
which are speared by children. Marauders of Gor, page 153