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  • Okay, how in the flying hell do you pronounce "Cthulhu"? I've seen and heard at least five different ways. (Unless the point is that you'd have to be unbalanced to start with if you wanted/needed to use it on a daily basis...)
    • That's kinda right. Lovecraft said in his letters that there's no one correct way to say it, since it's just the closest approximation the human tongue can make of its true name. Most people say "cuh-thu-loo", I prefer "cuh-too-loo", but anything that gets the gist of it across is fine.
    • Here's what Lovecraft wrote:

      "The actual sound - as nearly as human organs could imitate it or human letters record it - may be taken as something like Khlul'-hloo, with the first syllable pronounced gutturally and very thickly."

      "The best approximation one can make is to grunt, bark, or cough the imperfectly formed syllables Cluh-Luh with the tip of the tongue firmly affixed to the roof of the mouth. That is, if one is a human being. Directions for other entities are naturally different."

      • Did Lovecraft just make...a joke?
      • You know, the guy had quite a sense of humour, it's just that he didn't express it in its tales. In his letters though, he did.
      • Pickman's pals thought "Holmes, Lowell and Longfellow are buried in Mount Auburn" was hilarious enough...
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    • You english speakers are struggling for nothing. Some languages, like portuguese, actually have the "lh" sound, and for us pronouncing "Cthulhu" would be resonaly easy.
      • That completely misses the point: "Cthulhu" isn't some absolute way to pronounce it, it's just the closest the writer can get to writing down a name that can't be spoken by human vocal apparatus. Being Brazilian doesn't give one the ability to voice alien words.
      • That mortal approximation he spoke of, you mean? And as for Lovecraft's humor, yes, it is one of his most overlooked literary traits, although it is all over the tale Ibid, though much more so if you know the story's origin. (He wrote it about a Latin-named faux historical figure as a big joke or prank when a student mistook that common abbreviation for what it sounds like, a Roman name.)
      • I just the other day read a story of his that had a funny line in it. Very subtle, but it really stood out. Most of his stories are written from such a serious/shattered point of view that humor would be inappropriate.
      • Try Sweet Ermengarde and Waste Paper (a sendup of Eliot's The Waste Land). He even makes fun of himself.
      • In Russian it is pronounced as "K-tool-hoo". When the Mythos was just accumulating momentum in the former USSR, various other weird pronunciations/transliterations existed, such as "Ts-tool-hoo", but once Cthulhu became a meme and a household world in the internets, "K-tool-hoo" became the universal standard. The final codification event was Vladimir Putin's official conference of 2006, where one of the questions was about Cthulhu; since then, there was no other way to pronounce Cthulhu in Russian other than the way it was pronounced on that conference.
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    • Mirriam Webster's lists the similar-looking word chthonic (meaning :relating to the underworld") as thahn-ick. So I always thought the "correct" pronunciation was THOO-loo. I still pronounce it kuh-thoo-loo, though.

  • It isn't part of the mythos (though you could probably connect it via the Dreamlands cycle), but there's one bit in Lovecraft's story "The White Ship" that's bugged me, and made me laugh, for years as the longest Did I Just Say That Out Loud? moment ever. Allow me to quote, and keep in mind this is while the character's standing on the ship with his crewmates, lost in thought and just mumbling idly to himself...

    "Cathuria," I would say to myself, "is the abode of gods and the land of unnumbered cities of gold. Its forests are of aloe and sandalwood, even as the fragrant groves of Camorin, and among the trees flutter gay birds sweet with song. On the green and flowery mountains of Cathuria stand temples of pink marble, rich with carven and painted glories, and having in their courtyards cool fountains of silver, where purl with ravishing music the scented waters that come from the grotto-born river Narg. And the cities of Cathuria are cinctured with golden walls, and their pavements also are of gold. In the gardens of these cities are strange orchids, and perfumed lakes whose beds are of coral and amber. At night the streets and the gardens are lit with gay lanthorns fashioned from the three-coloured shell of the tortoise, and here resound the soft notes of the singer and the lutanist. And the houses of the cities of Cathuria are all palaces, each built over a fragrant canal bearing the waters of the sacred Narg. Of marble and porphyry are the houses, and roofed with glittering gold that reflects the rays of the sun and enhances the splendour of the cities as blissful gods view them from the distant peaks. Fairest of all is the palace of the great monarch Dorieb, whom some say to be a demigod and others a god. High is the palace of Dorieb, and many are the turrets of marble upon its walls. In its wide halls many multitudes assemble, and here hang the trophies of the ages. And the roof is of pure gold, set upon tall pillars of ruby and azure, and having such carven figures of gods and heroes that he who looks up to those heights seems to gaze upon the living Olympus. And the floor of the palace is of glass, under which flow the cunningly lighted waters of the Narg, gay with gaudy fish not known beyond the bounds of lovely Cathuria."

    • Wow... that is the character's idle mumbling?! I can only imagine the rest of the crew giving each other nervous glances and backing away slowly as the narrator rambles on and on to himself (remember, he's saying all this aloud!). Lovecraft's a great writer with brilliant ideas, but he does have a charming quirk about losing track of the context once he really gets into a Purple Prose bender
    • Personally I've always wondered where he got all this detailed information from given that nobody had ever been to Cathuria!
      • Stephen King explains about Lovecraft's problem with writing natural-sounding dialogue very well in On Writing.
      • Heck, Lovecraft himself had this to say on the matter:
        I respect realism more than any other form of art—but must reluctantly concede
        that, through my own limitations, it does not form a medium which I can
        adequately use.
      • Thing is, Lovecraft wasn't a great writer. At all. He had some cracking ideas and his Mythos was an amazing concept just because of the framework that these unimaginably alien and powerful beings couldn't care less about humanity but his prose was, in many cases, absolutely dire. There's one story in particular (I want to say the Colour Out of Space but I'm not 100% on that) where a character is writing his journal when something bursts through his window. The final line of the story is something along the lines of 'oh no, they're outside now, they're coming through the window, arrrgh.' Because obviously when being attacked by an alien monstrosity you'd be sure to make sure your death-scream was recorded.
      • That wasn't Lovecraft. That was Lin Carter's The Hounds of Tindalos, where the narrator continues to write his final words as he's being eaten alive by the titular creatures. Lovecraft's own prose doesn't have quite as egregious examples, and the few, like "Dagon" or The Haunter of the Dark, clearly have the narrator frantically scribbling their final notes, in hopes that they manage to get their last words down before the creature breaks in, and tend to cut off at a critical point. In The Colour from Space the narrator has no personal experience of the events at all, and the person he interviews survived after only glimpsing the Colour a couple of times.
      • The Hounds of Tindalos was by Frank Belknap Long, not Lin Carter.
      • "God, they are breaking through! They are breaking through! Smoke is pouring from the corners of the wall. Their tongues—ahhhh—"
      • You're probably thinking of "The Diary of Alonzo Typer", which was by William Lumley and revised by Lovecraft.
      My courage and curiosity wane. I know the horror that lies beyond that iron door. What if Claes van der Heyl was my ancestor—need I expiate his nameless sin? I will not — I swear I will not! . . .
      [Writing here grows indistinct]
      Too late — cannot help self — black paws materialise — am dragged away toward the cellar. . . .
      • Ahhhh indeed. Robert M. Price cites all of the above in "Famous Last Words", for his Crypt of Cthulhu fanzine, reprinted in Twilight Zone magazine for August 1983. He points out that it's only when these things are supposed to be written documents that they seem silly, rather than, say, over the phone (like in "The Dunwich Horror").note 

  • Ok. Is Cthulhu merely a single entity, or is it a race of creatures?
    • "Cthulhu" is a proper noun for a single individual, but he represents a race of similar creatures, whose high priest and ruler he is.
    • I think they are just called the "Star Spawn of Cthulhu". They are basically Cthulhu, except much smaller, roughly 7 feet tall.
    • They're also sometimes called Cthulhi. Wikipedia tells us that, in a letter to James F. Morton, Lovecraft said that Cthulhu is himself the son of Nug, who is the child of Yog-Sothoth and Shub-Niggurath.
    • Cthulhu is singular; the name of an individual, as mentioned above. As for the race, I want to call them Xothians (after the star or planet they came from, IIRC), but can't place the reference right now, so take that with an appropriate dose of salt. And incidentally, we don't — strictly speaking — know for certain that the entity who put in an appearance in The Call of Cthulhu actually was Great Cthulhu himself. It never bothered to introduce itself or wear a convenient name tag for a certain bunch of unlucky sailors to name it by, after all...and Cthulhu is hardly the only sleeper in R'lyeh.
      • Lin Carter made Xoth Cthulhu's origin, in "Out of the Ages".

  • Something seems inconsistent about the power of the great old ones (like cthulhu). In The Call of Cthulhu Cthulhu is knocked out when someone rams a yacht into his head, and in Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth Hydra and Dagon are both killed by the player with conventional weaponry (well, Hydra was killed with a Yithian Engergy Gun), yet I've also heard that they are extremely powerful and could end humanity on a whim. So are they immortal badass gods or can they be killed?
    • Cthulhu isn't knocked out as such, just dispersed for a time and after that doesn't follow the yacht anymore; it's hard to tell how much the impact truly hurt him, if at all. As for the power to end humanity on a whim...remember that much of what we 'know' about the Great Old Ones is plain old cultist propaganda even where it isn't simply crazy babble. And even so, it's never said in the original story that Cthulhu & Co will one day wake up and decide to just wipe out mankind — rather, the prophecy is that when the stars are right, humanity will already be pretty much like them, which is to say, not exactly very 'human' anymore as you and I might commonly understand the term. (Can't comment on Dagon and Hydra, though I seem to remember reading — in the RPG, most likely —, that those two aren't so much GOOs as 'merely' very, very old and oversized Deep Ones.)
      • The boat seems to have punctured his head, and dispersed all the jelly. Johansen says that he looked back, and saw him reassembling.
    • Their power level is inconsistent, and varies Depending on the Writer. Lovecraft himself never cared about consistency between stories. Moreover, if a story's to have a truly Lovecraftian feel, then we should not know what the Great Old Ones are, and what powers they have. Are they gods or monsters, mortal or immortal? They're beings from another part of the universe, where the natural laws are different. Humans can't understand what they are; trying will drive you insane.
      • Even if the cultists are mistaken about them being gods, this troper has always been puzzled by which of these (faux) "gods" the ones in the stories always choose to worship. The legends of the Great Old Ones aren't exactly secretive about the fact they'd gotten their immortal asses kicked by the Elder Gods, which is how they got Sealed In A Can in the first place. So why the heck do all the fanatical nutjobs who believe in them insist on revering the losers of that ancient conflict, rather than the winners? Where are the Elders' faithful worshipers hiding?
      • This Troper assumed that the Elders simply don't care about humans one way or the other, and as such they don't bother getting groups of humans to form up and be their worshippers. The Great Old Ones, though, are aware of humans and are more than happy to manipulate them.
    • It's true that Lovecraft wasn't big on continuity and many of his stories stand well enough alone without being shoehorned into one overarching 'Mythos universe' (though some are more connected than others). That said, towards the end of his work he seems to have leaned towards the point of view that the 'gods' of the Mythos were really just weird alien entities that early humanity mistook for gods or demons out of ignorance and by Clarke's Third Law. (As to whether Science Is Bad really is a necessary key element of 'Lovecraftian flavor'...I'd say it's debatable when the aesop of his tales more often than not seems to be that while knowledge may be bad for your peace of mind, it's ignorance that gets you killed outright.)
      • Lovecraft's not the type of author that one would read to find an Aesop, the incredibly long earlier discussion notwithstanding. To the extent that any Aesops exist in his work, they're only valid in context, like "don't steal amulets from the graves of really wicked wizards" ("The Hound").
      • Most of them (such as Cthulhu) don't appear to be gods based on what little Lovecraft wrote about them so much as incredibly powerful aliens. As for the variations in power, part of that is inconsistency by Lovecraft and later writers and part of it is the more advanced technology we have now. Later writers had to find a way to make creatures like Cthulhu a threat when humans have access to weapons with far more kinetic power than a crashing ship.
      • It should be noted there is no real, meaningful difference between gods and powerful aliens, as gods have a long history of being mortal.
    • In the case of The Call of Cthulhu's climactic encounter, it is not in fact stated at any point that the abomination that emerges from Rl'yeh's gate is in fact Cthulhu himself, and not a Star-Spawn, Beloved or some other unknowable living atrocity. As part of the story ambiguous phrasing, it could be that the Alert destroyed the initial form of a much less potent threat than the big guy himself.
    • Perhaps the reason Gustaf Johansen was able to take out Cthulhu was because he had only just been reawakened and was not at his full strength just yet.
      • And the stars weren't right.
    • What I think happened is similar to this. A man is sleeping in his bed with the window open. He awakes to see a cat crawling in the window. He moves to shove the cat out the window. The cat hisses and scratches at him. He pulls his hand back, and the cat flees out the window. The man closes the window and goes back to sleep. All humans could do was make Cthulhu flinch, and he had no interest in waking up if not disturbed.

  • OK, forgive me if I didn't research this enough, but what exactly are the Deep Ones? Aliens? Demons? Some prehistoric animal that survived in the depths of the ocean? Precursors?
    • They're ageless fish-people who've lived in the oceans for at least millennia, if not much longer, and interact with humans only rarely, in secret, and on their own terms. They're also capable of interbreeding with humans, resulting in hybrid offspring that start out looking human enough but will usually over the years 'mature' into fully accepted Deep Ones themselves. I don't think their precise ultimate origin is ever spelled out, but The Shadow over Innsmouth at least vaguely hints that they're simply another race native to Earth, what with all life having originally come from the sea and all that...
      • "The Doom That Came to Sarnath" elaborates on their origin.
      • Most people interpret the creatures from "The Doom That Came to Sarnath" as entirely different. For one thing, they're driven to extinction at the start of the story.
      • IIRC, there's some suggestion that they're spawn of Dagon, one of the...I get these mixed up, whatever gods are on the same level as Cthulhu. Great Old Ones?
      • Dagon isn't a Great Old One (which is a fairly imprecise term) and definitely not on the same level as Cthulhu. He appears to be a very powerful Star Spawn of Cthulhu.
      • Or a very, very old (and much bigger) Deep One. This is the interpretation in the Chaosium "Escape from Innsmouth" RPG module, I think.
      • At least one critic has proposed that Dagon is Cthulhu — Lovecraft generally didn't use clear, pre-existing, earthly names like the Biblical name Dagon for his alien creatures. Thus, it's possible that Dagon is just a more familiar name for Cthulhu being used by the people of Innsmouth as cover.
    • "The Shadow Over Innsmouth" is a little obscure on the issue, but I believe it states that the Deep Ones are a separate evolutional offshoot of mankind, which is why they can successfully interbreed with humans.

  • So, the Great Old Ones and their kin aren't malevolent, but simply do not register that we're here, or that we're sentient...does that mean you can defeat Cthulhu by initiating a pleasant and intelligent conversation?
    • In theory maybe. Generally the stories depict Cthulhu as being a very powerful creature whose resurrection would mean bad times for humanity. Of course the original story has Cthulhu getting knocked over by a ship crashing into it but we can probably chalk that one up to technology marching on.
      • And the other Great Old Ones? It's mentioned above that none of them are aware we're sentient. Striking a conversation with one of them would concievably change that.
      • With the contradictory nature of the Cthulhu Mythos that isn't quite certain and it's sometimes suggested that they're so alien they couldn't understand us and vice versa.
      • And yet, ordinary humans can summon these creatures we're incapable of ever understanding and vice versa?
      • Not all of them and the people who summon them tend to either be hybrids or mostly insane (or both), however simply summoning something does not equal comprehension. Also the stories are hardly consistent.
      • In any case, in The Call of Cthulhu we see that when the titular Old One awakens, the sheer psychic shock is enough to send sensitive minds around the world into insanity or even suicide. Humans and Old Ones can't coexist simply because being within few astronomical units from one in their full strength would destroy human consciousness. Even their dreams would be dangerous, if not for the ocean water that somehow insulates the psychic influence.
    • Considering how several of the Great Old Ones seem to be bitter rivals, it's unlikely that getting them to acknowledge humans are sentient would make us safe. They're not friendly to each other, why should they be that way to anyone else?
    • If you make any Lovecraftian abomitation aware of humanity's intelligence and abilities, you just make it into another Nyarlathotep. Remember, Gnarly knows who we are and is interested in us. And this does NOT make him exactly benevolent.
    • Cthulhu does appear to be aware to some extent of humans and our sentience. His tomb is designed to be opened from the outside and Call of Cthulhu implies that he deliberately calls out for sapient beings in his dreams to release him. But he also seems utterly ungrateful and without any empathy towards his liberators.

  • Why is Nodens described in the character sheet as The Hunter when is attitude and actions are more like a Egomaniac Hunter that hunts for sport? where is the fragment that says otherwise?

  • Why do the cosmic beings in the Mythos take so many weird forms,like Y'golonac "YOU FOOL! YOU'VE DOOMED US ALL!":Takes the form of a obese male with no head and mouths on his hands.

  • Why do the various monster of the Cthulhu Mythos take multiple avatars?
    • In Nyarly's case at least, I'm inclined to suspect the answer of being 'for fun' with a side of it making messing with the squishy mortals easier.
      • This is largely a trait of the most potently deistic creatures in Lovecraft's pantheon (Shub-Niggurath, Nylarthotep, Yog-Sothoth, but not Cthulhu, Yig, et al) because he's borrowing from old religious archetypes. Near all religions that refer to deities refer to them by multiple monikers and tell tales of them assuming manifold forms due to their mythologies being created by many individuals over long periods of time with countless cultural influences informing each. The Christian god is at once Yahweh, The Triumvirate Godhead of Father, Son and Holy Ghost, Our Father Who Art In Heaven, The Whirlwind in the Burning Thorn Tree and many others. Not so different from say Nylarthotep, The Crawling Chaos, The Dark Man of the East, and of course Nyarko the Silver-Haired anime girl who fights aliens (Sorry).

  • What the hell was it that got summoned by accident in The Case of Charles Dexter Ward? I mean, it's one of the few genuinely helpful supernatural entities in Lovecraft's works and there's absolutely no indication of who or what it was. I know that Nothing Is Scarier was his thing but sometimes a hint would be nice.
    • If you mean the figure that apparently reconstituted itself from the ashes in front of Dr. Willett on his underground foray, there are hints. It apparently had a beard if his words on waking up are anything to go by, the letter it left with him was written in Latin using "the pointed Saxon minuscules of the eighth or ninth century A.D.", and if the way it seems to have brought him home and erase all evidence is any indication it must have possessed a fair degree of power, "magical" or otherwise. All that might point towards one particular Public Domain Character...

  • Can a cosmic deity be killed?
    • The Mythos universe doesn't really play favorites. So in principle, if any way for the entity in question to die at all exists in the first place, somebody (or something) may one day find and implement it. Of course, if it really is a 'cosmic deity' we're talking about rather than 'merely' a sufficiently advanced alien, then it's probably also connected to the cosmos in ways that might make its demise bad news for the rest of us anyway...
    • If the rpg is anything to go by, then the physical form of many of them can be destroyed, but the essence is still there so the "death" just banishes then until they rebuild themselves (which can be very quick in some cases)
      • Which is a pretty big 'if', considering that most game information about the Mythos gods and creatures included in the Call of Cthulhu RPG was made up from whole cloth by its designers in order to fit what names and fuzzy bits of actual information they could extract from the source fiction into familiar tabletop RPG concepts and the "Basic Role-Playing" Chaosium house system in particular. In fact, a fair number of common "Mythos tropes" of today arguably got their proper start only with that game...
    • On some level it may depend on the deity in question. Lovecraft himself seemed to lean more toward the idea that the Great Old Ones were merely aliens so advanced that they seemed God-like in comparison to us humans. If that's the case, than theoretically Cthulhu could be considered in some sense "mortal" in which case there probably is a way he can be killed. Granted, whether he could actually be killed by anything human or if destroying him would take something beyond our ability to comprehend is another matter entirely. I'm not sure about Azathoth or Yog-Sothoth, though.
    • "That is not dead which can eternal lie, and with strange eons even death may die." Also from Call of Cthulhu, we have the discussion (paraphrased) that "when the stars were right they ruled over all the world, but when the stars were wrong they could not live." What death means to entities like Cthulhu is likely as incomprehensible to us as his very existence is.

  • What does the only word we know of in the language of the Elder Things, "tekeli-li", mean?
    • Given that it is screamed by an Elder Thing moments before it is crushed by a Shoggoth in "In The Mountains of Madness", it's possible it means something similar to "Run For Your Lives". The Shoggoths repeat it endlessly either in a primitive attempt at imitating their former masters, or as a kind of cruel mocking threat.
    • Alternatively, given that the Elder Things are described as whistling a lot, it might be that most of their language would sound like "tekeli-li" to English speakers. Alternately alternately, it's an onomatopoeia for a bird call.

  • Why can Nodens compare to the power of Nyarlathotep? How is it possible that one of the Outer Gods to NOT vanquish this annoying pest? Does he have something in particular that makes him a necessary evil?
    • Because Nodens is that awesome.
      • But that doesn't explain why someone like Nyarlathotep, who is OMNIPOTENT on The Dreamlands where Nodens lives (or frequents often), doesnt just banish on imprison him like the other gods in Kadath.
      • Nyarlathotep's and Nodens's relative "power levels" are never actually established in Lovecraft's work, and Nyarlathotep isn't really ever credited with banishing or imprisoning any gods on Kadath either; they seem to have snuck out in Dream-Quest easily enough and he either didn't have the power or couldn't be bothered to simply yank them back. It's altogether possible that Nyarlathotep — whose primary claim to any sort of power and authority seems to be his position as his largely mindless cosmic bosses' intelligent-as-humans-understand-it errand boy, anyway — actually simply can't do anything about Nodens.
    • Nodens, at best, inconveniences Nyarlathotep occasionally. They are both highly alien entities whose motives are difficult to decipher, but it's unlikely that Nodens is actually any kind of threat to Nyarly. Nodens is not, incidentally, one of the gods of Kadath, at least in the original story. The only reason why Nyarlathotep doesn't simply force the Great Ones back to Kadath, by the way, is to manipulate Randolph Carter for reasons unknown.

  • So Azathoth is being kept dormant with music that a bunch of unspeakable creatures use to avoid blowing up existence as we know it by waking up. Does that mean that if humans figure out the frequency (or whatever the music is) we can keep him dormant ourselves? does that mean that we can even send transmissions of movies and such to keep him entertained so he never wakes up and we can study it?
    • Considering the description of the "wild piping" of demonic flutes, it's unlikely to be any constant frequency. It can also be a metaphor for a wide variety of things. In any case, Azathoth is not reachable by normal human means in our universe.
      • In Lovecraft's stories, the piping is never "wild". It's a "thin monotonous whine" (Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath) or "thin monotonous piping" (Dreams in the Witch-House, Haunter in the Dark).
    • Azathoth's court is notionally at the center of the universe (indeed, that rather than any sort of nuclear power is what his "nuclear chaos" epithet refers to — he sits right at the "nucleus" of everything), so certainly would at least be in it and could be hypothetically found and reached if human technology ever advanced that far (and, ideally, faster-than-light travel turned out to be feasible). On the other hand, of course, the universe as modern astronomy understands it doesn't seem to have an objective "center" as such...which fundamentally leaves the question just where Azathoth might be found and how easily he could be reached (if at all) as an exercise for the writer.
      • The centre of the universe can't be reached just by travelling in the three dimensions that perceive. Azathoth dwells "beyond angled space" (Whisperer in Darkness).
    • There also seems to be some dispute as to just what is up with Azathoth, whether he is literally kept asleep by the incessant music or if it merely keeps him entertained. Of course, being an Eldritch Abomination, his tastes are probably very different from anything on Earth, so assuming we could show him movies or let him listen to our music there's no guarantee he'd like them. You'd probably be best leaving the music to the servants that actually know what they're doing. As for whether or not we can study him, that depends on whether there's even something we can conceivably study in any researcher's terms. After all, the Great Old Ones supposedly aren't even made of matter; who knows what Azathoth is composed of?
    • Considering he's described as a "blind idiot" who "bubbles and blasphemes", chances are good that Azathoth is awake- he's just incapable of doing anything but sitting there and gibbering.

  • Does the presence of Yog-Sothoth means that there is no Free Will in the mythos since he is All-Knowing and Omnipresent?
    • Who knows? Ask [1].
    • There is Free Will, that Yog Sothoth know what we are going to do doesn't mean he can change or control it (a few humans worked together to banish his son, after all).
    • It would certainly fit into the general "uncaring universe" worldview of the Mythos if there was no such thing as free will. Not that it would particularly matter — not having free will doesn't mean being unable to do something you want, it means being unable to want it in the first place if you're not predestined to do so. Wherefore you of course wouldn't want it and thus never actually notice any difference in practice...

  • Just how much of the Mythos is genuinely in the Public Domain?
    • All of Lovecraft's works are in the public domain, as well as the original Lovecraft circle. From there the waters are a bit murky.
      • What about Cthulhu and the Necronomicon?
      • Well, considering both were creations of Lovecraft, they would logically be public domain.

  • If Earth and Humans (and perhaps even our own plane of existence) are so pitiful and insignificant, why are so gosh-darn many cosmic and other miscellaneous "higher" beings hanging out here?
    • Maybe we are just in their way. Think of us as bunch of microscopic organisms living in a doorknob. they wouldn't care about us, but they would still use the doorknob.
    • A lot of them aren't necessarily so much "hanging out here" as they get summoned or at least contacted from here every so often. Also, compared to humanity Earth is old. A lot of species that we only know from fossils (and probably quite a few more we'll never even discover) have evolved, had their heyday, and died out before the first proper exemplar of the genus Homo was ever born. The occasional entire alien species like the Elder Things (whose lab accident supposedly started the whole thing anyway) or the Great Race of Yith, to say nothing of a few dozen individual powerful entities, can quite frankly easily get lost in that kind of noise. — Also, of course: who's to say that there aren't at least thousands of planets in our galaxy alone that are just as busy? A human observer would quite naturally only know about Earth...

It has indeed been heavily implied, if not stated outright, that Earth isn't the only planet with numerous Great Old Ones, and that some planets may even still be ruled by their resident Great Old Ones, but, of course,<<|Most Writers Are Human|>>.

  • If humans are to Cthulhu what bacteria are to humans, how can humans summon Cthulhu? After all, bacteria cannot summon us.
    • If you're going to go that route, we can't really summon Cthulhu either. As far as we know, bacteria **can** summon us in Lovecraft's verse.
    • Bacteria certainly have their ways of getting our attention. We, in our incomprehensibly alien (to bacteria) fashion, just choose to call them "getting sick"...
      • So does this mean that we get sick when deranged bacteria want to call down the power of the Great Hu'umaann? Actually, it kind of does ... they want our fecund cells to breed in. The real question here is if white blood cells are the equivalent of Wilbur Whateley or similar.

  • From the trope "Sentient Cosmic Force": "To an extent, Yog-Sothoth is this. Yog-Sothoth is often described as The Gate and The Key. It acts as a kind of manifestation, separate entity and integral part of the universe itself. It's two major actions of Lovecraft's works are it fathering Wilbur Whateley and the actual Dunwich Horror, Wilbur's twin brother and in the epic Mind Screw that is Through The Gates of the Silver Key we learn that not only is Yoggy it's own creature, it is part of a Super Archetype, of which every living thing in the universe is part of. Randolph Carter, all of the major human villains and heroes - even the reader - is part of this one Archetype, we are all facets of the same thing, even the hideous alien monsters. By traversing these gates, you gain the ability to travel through time and space." Explanation please? what super archetype refers to or even means in the context of Lovecraft verse? is that supposed to be a bad thing? wont that mean that everyone is capable of being just as monstrous as Cthulhu given enough time to survive the uncaring universe? That sounds awfully alot like a Friedrich Nietzsche mentality. He considered the world to be one connected thing, including mankind and nature. He invented the idea of the "will to power". This idea is that everyone and everything is trying to overcome itself, or defeat or take control from itself. Therefore, if the world is just one thing, this is the force that makes the world.
    • As I recall, Through The Gates Of The Silver Key was Lovecraft revising/ghost-writing someone else's story that was based on Theosophist mysticism, so for the purposes of that story I think "super-archetype" means that at the root of everyone's soul is an aspect of this "super-archetype" entity, whatever that is - essentially, we are all avatars of some cosmic thing, we just don't know it. And in answer to your second question, yes, probably. Lovecraft was hugely racist and xenophobic, he was shocked when he discovered one of his ancestors was Welsh, and the whole point of The Shadow Over Innsmouth is how horrifying it would be if you discovered your genetics weren't pure. It's quite likely he meant to evoke similar horror by suggesting that even our souls are inextricably connected to alien outer gods. I have no idea why you brought up Nietzche though.

  • Why do several characters in different stories who, according to the plot, are not Cthulhu worshipers, suddenly start chanting to Cthulhu in the middle of a monologue, and "correctly", too (i.e. "Iä! Iä! Cthulhu fthagn! Ph'nglui mglw'nfah...", instead of just "Hail Cthulhu" or something)? Zadok Allen, in "The Shadow Over Innsmouth", is one example.
    • Zadok Allen is a poor example because he was technically a member of the Order of Dagon, so it makes sense that he'd have picked up some of the ritual litany. Other than that, that line is just about the one most commonly associated with Cthulhu, period — it stands to reason that at least in-universe most people who've heard of him in the first place would have stumbled across the famous quote as well, much like most people who've heard of Einstein will probably be able to cite "E = mc^2".

  • Here's something that has always made me wonder. Yes, I know that Lovecraft was at his core an extreme misanthrope and that he is writing primarily from the perspective of the humans he is writing about (and that he probably plain did not think it through, which hey, it happens), but why is it that while us humans view an alien (reality-warping Great Old Ones and the like not withstanding, I'm talking about the more mundane aliens here like the Yith) and go completely bonkers, the aliens never seem to have their minds snap in half when seeing a human. I mean, you would think that in a universe that evidently has so much asymmetry going on in it, Earth and its largely symmetrical lifeforms would greatly disturb these aliens? Idle speculation, I suppose, but it still makes me wonder and...well, headscratch.
    • Humans are not necessarily driven completely insane by the sightings of those creatures. Dyer holds his own throughout At the Mountains of Madness despite being chased by a Shoggoth, and though we never actually find out what Danforth saw, it is implied to be something far worse than anything they'd experienced in the mountains. In The Whisperer in Darkness, Albert Wilmarth is obviously a little freaked out by the end, perhaps even traumatized; but he just escaped from a bunch of aliens who may have been planning to remove his brain, not to mention the whole thing about Akeley's disembodied face and hands. In The Colour Out of Space, the colour itself appears to be messing with the family's heads, and in The Shadow Out of Time Paeslee's mental problems likely have to do with the fact that an alien took over his body (without his consent) only for him to be put back in three years later with almost no memory of what happened in between.
    • Maybe humans are just predisposed to insanity? or it could just be that the aliens are all used to us, having been around before we crawled out of the primordial ooze and what not.
    • I was under the impression that the Elder Things freaked out when they woke up at the expedition's camp, that's why they butchered the explorers.
      • Granted, they freaked out because all the explorers (and, to a greater extent, the dogs) were freaking out. It basically goes like this - you wake up in the middle of a horrific blizzard and think, "Shit, those guys were right about that ice age thing," and all these hairy things with teeth are barking and trying to bite you, and then there's a bunch of skinny things running around screaming and going after you for fighting back against the hairy things, possibly with projectile weapons. The Elder Things were having a really bad day.
      • It probably didn't help that the humans had dissected one of them already, either.
    • Without more information (that the stories don't provide), we really can't even begin to judge how "sane" any aliens encountered in the story canon are even by the standards of their own respective species. For all we know Earth might as well be the galaxy's official Bedlam House and it's just that nobody's thought to notify the accidentally evolved natives...
    • I like to imagine there is an alien author that writes about eldritch humans and their unfathomable penis-fingers.
  • In Dreams in the Witch House, the protagonist is able to fight off the witch with a crucifix. She actually recoils when she sees it. Why? I am almost certain Yahweh doesn't exist in the Lovecraft universe, so what would that thing do? Is it a case of Your Mind Makes It Real, where the protagonist thinks the crucifix has power, so it does?
    • Could be simply a case of the witch still thinking it has power. She's not a random Mythos gribbly with no clue about what the sign even means, after all — she got her start as a human woman who presumably only stumbled onto dark cosmic secrets later in her life.
    • And as far as Yahweh goes, one story has Yog-Sothoth appear on top of a mountain, to the leader of a small, transient tribe of desert nomads. Yeah.
    • If Jesus is the physical manifestation of a deity, one immensely more powerful than the witch, and a cross was used to kill him for ~3 days then [[fridgebrilliance it makes perfect sense for a deity to fear the cross]]. So rather than the cross being a symbol of the divine in this context it's a symbol against the divine.
  • Y'golonac makes no sense in the Lovecraftian Universe. Yes, I know he's not from Lovecraft himself, but he's apparently a part of the canon. We have creatures like Cthulhu that feasts upon the Souls of Man and drives them insane. You have the "Color" from Outer Space that feasts on people's life energy slowly before turning them into pure ash. You have the Fish Men of Innsmouth who pretty much want to live in peace but will kill outsiders if they have to. But Y'golonac? He seeks out closet perverts and offers them a chance to fulfill their desires in exchange for eternal servitude, and then he eventually kills and eats them... He doesn't fit in at all in the Universe.
    • My personal guess is that Y'golonac is basically a stooge to Nyarlathotep, if not one of its MANY alternate forms. Nyarlathotep is always trying to tempt humans into making deals with him (before inevitably screwing them over, whether or not they accept or reject his offer) - Y'golonac is basically a minion/mask dedicated to coaxing out the perverts amongst the other sub-groups of humanity that Nyarlathotep's other forms target.
    • It's part of the chaotic nature of the shared and ever-expanding mythology. Depending on the Writer, the Great Old Ones and such are extremely alien Sufficiently Advanced Aliens, or actual demonic gods with actual supernatural powers. Sometimes they're barely aware of humanity's existence, other times we're critical to their long-term plans. It all depends on which "version" of the Mythos you buy into. Similar things can happen with actual mythology. Are the Greek gods paragons of good values and loving patrons of humanity, or are they flawed characters with as many faults as good points, or are they complete jerkasses who screw with people For the Evulz? Depends on your interpretation. Is Loki of Norse mythology just a trickster archetype who keeps the other Asgardian gods on their toes, or is he the Norse Pantheon's Satan-equivalent, always trying to bring about chaos, death, and destruction just because? For that matter, is Satan actually a force a pure evil, trying to overthrow God and bring about Hell On Earth, or is just an adversary for the righteous to overcome, and become better for facing down and defeating a challenge? If you buy into a version of the Mythos where the Great Old Ones are deeply invested in humanity for whatever reason, That Y Guy makes perfect sense. If you buy into a version where the universe at large barely notices humanity exists, and doesn't give a shit when it does, then yeah, he doesn't fit.
    • Also, keeping in mind as the original troper said, that Lovecraft did not make up Y'golonac, Ramsey Campbell did in 1969. Yggy is part of the Derleth canon's good vs. evil "rebel" gods associated with esoteric doctrine. So he doesn't fit with Lovecraft's original idea of an uncaring universe with cosmic entities who don't give a shit.
  • Why are the people of Arkham so fearful of Innsmouth? Arkham has a considerable amount of Great Old One activity, not to mention Nyarlathotep haunting the place as the Black Man and abducting children for sacrifice, and yet the town that is portrayed as scarier is the one with.... fishpeople? Granted, the people in universe don't know those details, but the people in the area should still realize that Arkham has far darker secrets than Innsmouth.
    • Arkham is a normal town with pockets of weirdness. In the case of Innsmouth, the ENTIRE town has been suborned by the deep ones.
  • If a Yithian swaps minds with a human and then a Mi-go stuffs that human's brain inside a cylinder before they swap back, whose mind is stuck in the brain in a cylinder? Is the human mind snapped back to their own brain, which is now in a cylinder? Or is the Yithian trapped inside the brain? Or does it depend on the writer?
    • In The Shadow Out of Time the Yithian method of swapping minds actually relies on technology; in particular, a Yithian in a human host body who wants to return back home has to build or arrange for the construction of their own appropriate device to do so, they can't just withdraw whenever they wish. Thus, it'd still be the Yithian mind stuck in that brain cylinder — possibly for the rest of its life, if the Mi-go didn't feel cooperative and nobody else came to rescue it either.
  • Since tentacly things seem to be a recurring thing with Lovecraft's monsters, has he ever explained his fear of octopi and sea life? If letters exist, I want to read them.
    • Seeing deep sea creatures as aliens is pretty understandable, really.
  • Can somebody spoonfeed me the ending to The Festival? It might be the antiquated speech but I didn't quite understand the twist of the final paragraphs.

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