Thursday, March 07, 2013

Tarzan 101 | Tarzan and the Jewels of Opar

Celebrating Tarzan's 101st anniversary by walking through Scott Tracy Griffin's Tarzan: The Centennial Celebration.

If I'm going to finish this project by the end of the year, I'm occasionally going to have to do two posts a week on it. So this is that.

With Tarzan and the Jewels of Opar, Burroughs didn't pick up the series where Son of Tarzan left off. Instead, the events of Jewels of Opar make most sense if they take place during Son of Tarzan (probably between chapters 12 and 13), but I don't get the feeling that Burroughs was too concerned about that. Mostly he seems to just be getting back to telling ripping yarns about everyone's favorite jungle lord.

Opar is especially memorable for Tarzan's getting amnesia just when Jane needs him most, but it also brings in a lot of characters and elements from previous stories. Most notably, the lost city of Opar and its priestess La are back from Return of Tarzan, while Tarzan's friend Mugambi shows up again after Beasts. This is one of the first Tarzan stories I remember reading as a kid and it's still one of my favorites. In a way, it's the Tarzan novel that sets the template for what the series eventually became: a series of stand-alone adventures.

There's also a bit about a maddened elephant that I'd forgotten about, but Griffin didn't and uses that to springboard into a chapter on Tantor, discussing Tarzan's relationship with elephants through the novels and films. I'd forgotten that Tarzan killed an elephant in Return of Tarzan and actually eats some elephant meat in next week's story, but that's by way of explaining why he'll never do it again.

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