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Literature / Krampus: The Yule Lord

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Krampus: The Yule Lord

"Santa Claus, my dear old friend, you are a thief, a traitor, a slanderer, a murder, a liar, but worst of all you are a mockery of everything for which I stood. You have sung your last ho, ho, ho, for I am coming to take your head. I am coming to take back what is mine, to take back Yuletide..."

Krampus: The Yule Lord is a book written and illustrated by Dark Fantasy writer and artist Brom.

One Christmas Eve in a small hollow in Boone County, West Virginia, struggling songwriter Jesse Walker witnesses a strange spectacle: seven devilish figures chasing a man in a red suit toward a sleigh and eight reindeer. When the reindeer leap skyward taking the sleigh, devil men, and Santa into the clouds, screams follow. Moments later, a large sack plummets earthward, a magical sack that will thrust the down-on-his luck singer into the clutches of the terrifying Yule Lord, Krampus. But the lines between good and evil become blurred as Jesse's new master reveals many dark secrets about the cherry-cheeked Santa Claus, and how half a millennium ago, the jolly old saint imprisoned Krampus and usurped his magic.


Now Santa's time is running short, for the Yule Lord is determined to have his retribution and reclaim Yuletide. If Jesse can survive this ancient feud, he might have the chance to redeem himself to his family, to save his own broken dreams...and help bring the magic of Yule to the impoverished folk of Boone County.

Tropes exclusive to this book or at least especially prominent:

  • All Myths Are True: Krampus and Santa Claus are deities from Norse Mythology (apparently). However, angels and the monotheistic God also exist.
  • Artistic License – Religion: Well, with Norse Mythology anyway.
    • Krampus is actually the son of Hel and grandson of Loki.
    • Baldr was granted invulnerability through an intricate spell using mistletoe, not his mother literally asking everything to be nice to him.
    • The arrow used to kill Baldr the first time was actually a spear.
    • Ragnarok already happened and humanity did not seem to notice.
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    • After Ragnarok, Baldr stole St. Nicholas' name and legend and became Santa Claus.
    • Loki had a black bag that he could pull anything out of for his mischief. Santa then soaked it in innocent blood in order to use it himself, thus making it red.
    • Krampus was actually a jovial god meant to bring merriment before Santa Claus chained him up and paraded him around as some boogieman to frighten kids into being good Christians.
    • Here, Santa Claus is revealed to have previously been Baldr, Norse God of Light. However, researchers say that Santa has much more in common with Baldr's father Odin.
  • Bad Santa: Baldr - now going by Santa Clause - locked the Krampus away in a mountain in North America for centuries after parading him around in chains (demonizing him and tarnishing his name after the Krampus gave him nothing but shelter and kindness), stealing his castle, killing many magical animals to use their magic for himself, dying Loki's bag red in innocent blood in order to use it himself and who know how many other atrocities in his immortal lifetime.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Krampus dies at the hands of angels, they and Santa not allowing him to regain what he had lost, but Krampus' new mark on the world has not faded just yet. Jesse Walker, in his memory, started a very popular movement known as the "Krampus Festival" in celebration of the Winter Solstice and old Yule Traditions. Boone County has made Krampus a celebrated character that has attracted many tourists and revived the town's place on the map. Children have even replaced Santa with him as the character they are all excited to see coming on Christmas.
  • Canon Illustrations: As a talented Dark Fantasy artist, Brom is best known for his gorgeous illustrations, such illustrations littered across the book displaying characters and events in the story.
  • Christmas Elves: Nordic Elves apparently work for Santa, having been implied (but not verified) to have been his slaves.
  • Christmas Special
  • Cosmic Plaything: After Baldr is resurrected, the angel tells him he should be grateful for it. Baldr complains that he has been denied his rightful place in heaven, claiming that he has done enough of the Lord's work over the centuries. The angel then tells him that he was not doing the lord's work for humanity's good, but rather because it amused him.
  • Death of the Old Gods: Ragnarok has swept Yggdrasil and now the Æsir has now been killed off, the only surviving remnants include Odin's wolfs and ravens, Baldr (who was destined to be freed from Hel and walk in the new world) and Krampus (who survived through some non-specified reason).
  • Deep South: In the first chapter, it is said that Jesse owns a gun-rack (and doesn't even own a gun) at the King's Kastle Trailer-Park. Safe to say, Boone County is all American.
  • Dragged Off To Hel: Jesse manages to defeat Dillard by forcing him into Krampus' bag at gunpoint, sending him to the dreary realm of Hel. There he will be haunted by the souls of the long dead until he dies of thrist and starvation, where he will then haunt Hel forever.
  • Face on the Cover: Krampus.
  • The Grinch: Krampus sees Christmas and its various traditions as a perversion and offense to his own holiday.
  • Horny Vikings: Both Krampus and Santa were old Norse Gods with an... appetite. Krampus claims that one of the perks of being the herald of Yule is the poon, and Santa Claus has multiple wives specifically for the same reason.
  • How Can Santa Deliver All Those Toys?: It is revealed that he does not actually carry the toys all at once in his bag. His magic bag was originally a big, black bag originally owned by Loki as a means to cause mischief, the bag giving the user the power to reach into any location and take any object. Krampus used it to provide gold-coins (kept in a stash in Hel) to children as a bribe for offerings
  • How the Character Stole Christmas: Subverted. The Krampus kills Santa and intends on replacing Christmas with his old holiday Yuletide, one household at a time. This fails not because the spirit of Christmas shines through or anything corny like that, but because they all rationalize this as some kind of new Christmas tradition instead, referring to Krampus as "the Christmas Devil."
  • The Krampus
  • Leaving Food For Krampus: Krampus gives golden coins to children as Yule gifts in exchange for their promise that come next Yuletide, they leave little offerings in their shoes in their doorstep (a reference to the real Yule tradition where kids would leave carrots in their shoes for Sleipnir in exchange for gifts from Odin). Sometime after Krampus loses his holiday spirit - the modern world drowning his hopes for the revival of Yuletide - he comes across a house where such an offering is left for him, the story of what he was doing having reached the other kids in town. He finds a small sucker in a shoe waiting for him and he suddenly regains his hopes for the future.
  • Magical Native American: Three of the belsnickles Wipi, Nipi and Makwa were members of an old tribe of Native Americans that knew of Krampus' divine nature and saw him as a forest god, serving him throughout their immortal lives.
  • Monster Roommate: Krampus may not be human, but that does not mean he can't relate with them or have something meaningful to say with them, especially with his Belsnickels. He refers to a human who's life he saved Isabel as his "little lion" and even developes a close friendhsip with the protagonist Jesse.
  • Moonburn: When Krampus steps out of his cave into the moonlight for the first time in centuries, his skin immediately goes from a sickly pale tone to an dark-grey tone, almost as if his skin tanned in seconds.
  • Mrs. Claus: Santa was apparently a polygamist.
  • Odd Job Gods: Krampus, God of Yuletide
  • Santa's Existence Clause: For once, Santa isn't the main attraction this time. In fact, he's almost the antagonist.
  • Saving Christmas: Quite the opposite, actually! Krampus and his belsnickles are out to kill Santa and replace Christmas with Yuletide and we are meant to root for them.
  • Subbing for Santa: Really it's more of a "hostile takeover" of his position, as Krampus killed Santa and took all of his tools, castle and holiday back by force.
  • Super Empowering: Krampus has the ability to turn humans into semi-monstrous beings known as Belsnickels through transfusion of his own blood. This grants them immortality, Super Strength, durability and enhanced resistance against the cold.
    • Who Wants to Live Forever?: This is not appreciated by all of them, as Jesse, Chet, Vernon and a few others were made into belsnickels against their will, especially since Krampus can control them remotely through this as well.
  • Teen Pregnancy: Isabel claims that before she was a belsnickel, she became pregnant with the love-child of a man that proposed to her before he was drafted for Vietnam. When her crazy, religious mother found out, she abused her until the baby was born and then tried to kill it, only for Isabel to accidentally kill her to protect her son.
  • Twisted Christmas: Nearly-Averted. Every Christmas, Krampus send his belsnickles to find Santa and steal his magic bag in order to free Krampus from the cave he is imprisoned in. During the events of the book, Krampus kills Santa, causing chaos. Some innocent animals die, a girl orphaned by her parent's drug-abuse, local crime-lords and corrupt police-officers causing trouble and ultimately ends with angels needlessly killing Krampus and a disgruntled Santa Claus going back to making and giving presents for all of eternity. For the hero, Jesse is a failed musician who has just finished spending time in the slammer. He is divorced with barley enough money for child-support, his ex-wife (who is dating a police officer that works for the same crime-lord that got Jesse locked up in the first place) hates him, he has the local crime-gang on his ass, he can berly support himself, and to top it all off, St. Nick himself crashes into the trailer-park and opens up a whole new can of worms for him.
  • You Mean "Xmas": Christmas and Yuletide are not the same thing here. GET IT RIGHT!