Thursday, 15 May 2008

The Old Ones and me

It's time for another genre and medium transcending, geek out session. Today's unexpected connections concern the 'Old Ones' (not to be confused with the geriatric legions) as featured in H.P Lovecraft's, weird tales.


The 'Old Ones,' including the famous Cthulu, are God like beings from outer space, another dimension, or wherever, its not really made clear. Suffice to say they're big, malicious and will drive you mad. At some point, way back, they ruled this little globe.

"You know what killed off the dinosaurs, Whateley? We did. In one barbecue." - Neil Gaiman, 'What's A Tentacle-Faced Thing Like Me Doing In A Sunken City Like This'

Then for whatever reason they had to go to ground, under ground, deep under the ocean. Most of Lovecraft's stories that mention the Old Ones, are usually about a cult or some other kind of servant(s) attempting to bring them back.


Reminded of the 'Old Ones,' I unconsciously searched for any references in my pop culture library (brain). How I remembered the following is a mystery, and I should probably be worried. Before we get started, an 'Old One,' in the context of this post, needs to be at least a bit slimy or crustacean like, to count. They can't just be err, old. Lets get started:

In the Warcraft universe, there's a pretty straight forward homage to the Old Ones:

"The Old Gods (aka, Old Ones, elder beings, dark elders) were malevolent deities who ruled Azeroth in the ancient past...Soon, the Titans defeated the Old Gods, then chained the raging beings beneath the earth where supposedly, they remain to this day."


The Twilight Cult found in WoW are similar to the Cthulhu Mythos Cults. The Murlocs (genius) are based on Lovecraft's Deep Ones.

In the Myth universe, Ghouls are said to worship 'Dark Gods.' The genesis story for the world of Myth is similar to that of Warcraft: there was chaos, Dark Gods lived it up and then a being of order came and ruined the party, trapping them somewhere.

"It is they alone who remember the names of the dark gods." - Ghoul flavor text, Myth II

B'Y'laggo is also unpronounceable enough to qualify as an 'Old One.'

" ... little is known of the bre'Unor, a fir'Bolg word referring to the various head-cults of The Ermine, aside from their fanatical devotion to the profane elemental spirit, b'Y'laggo..." -bre'Unor Flavor Text, Myth II



Terry Pratchett mocks Lovecraft's 'Old Ones' in the Discworld book, The Colour of Magic:

"The temple [of Bel-Shamharoth] is long since abandoned, worship of the Sender of Eight being a decidedly short term prospect. These days he is mostly remembered in the name of the Young Men's Reformed-Cultists-of-the-Ichor-God Bel-Shamharoth Association."

In Mike Mignola's, Hellboy series, the Ogdru Jahad bare a close resemblance and alignment to Old Ones:

"...the Ogdru Jahad are serpentine/crustacean entities which once resided on, and presided over, Earth. They are pitiless, chaotic, bent on destruction and subjugation and often so horrific in appearance that the mere sight of one of them sometimes induced madness...Some of the monsters were forced out of their bodies and into the wind, while others were entombed in the earth."


In the fantastic (poo your pants) game, Eternal Darkness, 'The Ancients,' act as antagonists in the plot and are part of the game mechanic too. They are a clear adaptation of the Old Ones:

"...the concept of the "Ancients" is a clear homage to Lovecraft's innumerable cast of monstrous, malign, godlike entities who manipulate humanity in a scheme to eventually enslave the world. Many of the deities and spells have similar sounding names, while Inspector LeGrasse was the name of a character in Lovecraft's The Call of Cthulhu."


And to finish, Neil Gaiman:

2 comments:

Celestial Fundie said...

It is fascinating how much the Old Ones crop in different sci-fi mythologies under different names. I think a huge proportion of the Doctor Who t.v. show has been inspired by Lovecraft's creations.

I don't know if you like Heavy Metal music, but an awful lot of Heavy Metal lyrics have been influenced by Lovecraft.

For me, the Old Ones are real. I see them as fictional representations of the evil and ancient cosmic powers that I believe exist, being a Christian.

I believe there are evil cosmic beings that hold this world in their grip.

I suppose that means I go with Auguest Derleth's moral, rather than Lovecraft's amoral interpretation of the Old Ones.

Stroudy1 said...

I like this it has given my inspirations for my own Geriatic Legions