The monsters of the Myths have always had a certain charm, for me, as in a multitude of readers, fans, directors, writers and even musicians. Why have monsters always had such a hold on the collective imagination?
The strongest and oldest feeling of the human soul is fear,Howard Phillips Lovecraft
and the greatest fear is that of the unknown.
The second thing to move is, and always will be, fear.
We love to have fear, terror, the physical stimulus it gives us, the inactivation of certain areas of the brain, the feeling of relaxation that is given to us after a fright. But sometimes we associate fear with evil, when in reality the evil, of the monsters of the Myths, is an evil other than human evil. It's a superhuman evil, as he confirms John Carpenter in this excerpt.
'What scares you the most?'
The answer is simple.
'What scares you. We are all afraid of the same things. And one of them is evil. '
Evil can have many origins. Evil often comes from afar, from the darkness beyond the flickering light diffused by our fire. Evil is the Other, the Stranger, the Alien.
...Introduction by John Carpenter "Lovecraft" H. Rodionoff, E. Breccia with K. Griffen, 2003
However, starting with such words, and then denying the intent of the Providence Solitaire, seems to me a betrayal of HPL.
Is the description of monsters possible?
Fear and the unknown are closely linked in Lovecraft's literary work. But at a certain point, when that unknown slightly hinted at and poorly described, because it is precisely unknown, and that fear that has been cleverly made to grow word by word, line by line, page by page, burst into the description of the various monsters, entities , divinity, you lose something ... but you certainly gain more!
The "fault", if we can call it that, of having given a "physical body", and therefore a description to these entities, is not only of our Good Old Man "Grandpa Theo”(BVGT from now on, another Lovecraft nickname). He just set the A to a mad symphony to which other Servants of the Outer Gods have added their bone flutes. August Derleth, to which we owe the minting of the term Myths of Cthulhu, Clark ashton smith, Robert ervin howard e Fritz Leiber, just to name a few, they are the other protagonists.
It is therefore possible to give a classification to each, or at least to the majority, of all the beings born of this great writer and his heirs. We had already talked about Cthulhu, HPL and the mythical monsters, through two game books that we had reviewed. You can find the links here: Choose Cthulhu & Dagon.
After a first analysis, we can divide all the monsters of the Myths, which appear in the tales of the BVGT extension and writers, in two large classes. That of the Creatures and that of the Deities of Myths ("Mythos" in original).
Classification of the Monsters of Myths
The monsters of the Myths, in turn, are divided into four categories: Fantastic Creatures, Independent Races, Serving Races and Unique Entities.
Fantastic Creatures are beings, mystical or enchanted, that populate legends and legends popular traditions. Potentially dangerous, they inspire amazement and wonder to those who meet them. They are not linked to the world of Myths if not for their presence in the Dreamlands, the only place they live in.
Bitter enemies of one of the breeds of Howard Philip Lovecraft's greatest allies, and his mythical counterpart Randolph Carter, cats. This dream realm race was defeated by our beloved felines and were forced to "sign" a peace treaty in the tale In search of the Unknown Kadath.
Some do not serve any divinity or Great Ancient in particular, although some individuals devote themselves to their worship. Others avoid any contact with the different races of the world of myths. Instead, still others actively work to forge alliances or wage war against different species, or even against deities or Great Ancients.
This thing, with the appearance of an amoeba with various pseudopods and with a tarry external appearance, is one of the entities that precipitated Abdul Alhzred in madness. In fact, Shoggoths are capable of compressing their entity, simulating organs and even… human bodies.
Belonging to these breeds are often associated with Great Ancients, of the External or Ancient Gods. A divinity or a Great Ancient often manifests itself in the company of numerous servants who, in the stories of the Myths, acted as guards, kidnappers, assassins, messengers, spies and the like.
Inhabitants of the Deep
Servants of Father Dagon and Mother Hydra (not Hail Hydra I recommend!), These are the inhabitants of the depths. Stronger than a normal human being, but with the ability to bond with our race to generate… hybrids.
Certain creatures they challenge any attempt at classification. Some are eminent members (because they are particularly appreciated or powerful) of a particular race. Others are not members of a race, nor deity, nor the Great Ancients.
M'bwa is a zombie serving the Nameless God of the Red Stream, arrived on Earth just before the foundation of the Roman city. According to legend, M'bwa was the first human being to travel the deserted valley inhabited by the Nameless God in Africa and who remained his faithful undead servant over the centuries.
Classification of the Gods among the monsters of the Myths
The deities of the Myths are divided into five main classes: Ancient Gods, Great Ancient, Large, External Gods and Avatars.
Of the Ancient
The Ancient Gods present themselves as neutral or, at times, in opposition to the External Gods. Although endowed with great and terrible powers, they do not seem to be hostile to mankind to the same extent as the External Gods are. Like the latter, however, they do not seem to seek any kind of contact with humanity.
Nodens, Lord of the Great Abyss
Nodens, Lord of the Great Abyss (for Kenneth grant the Great Abyss is the human subconscious!), takes the form of a white-haired old man, with a long gray beard with an oak staff in one hand. Often travels on an immense chariot-like conch shell, pulled by alien monsters or fantastic or legendary creatures. Her attitude towards men is almost friendly. His servants are the Skinny Nocturnes o Gaunt of the Night. Opposes Yog-Sothoth.
The Great Ancients are the monsters of the most famous myths. They are not omnipotent, but they are extremely fearful and many human beings worship them more than other divinities, precisely by virtue of the greater "humanity" that they believe to identify in them.
The Great Ancients occasionally participate in human affairs, sometimes coming to the point of coming into contact with individuals. They are alien entities with supernatural powers. Their strength, however, is not comparable to that of the External Gods. Each Great Ancient is an independent entity and many are imprisoned in various places.
Gol-Goroth and Cthulhu
Words cannot be used to explain the horror of these beings and only the imagination we leave to you readers, or faithful, to personify them.
The Great ones
The Great Ones are the deities of Dream lands and should not be confused with the Great Ancients. They are the weakest of all the Mythic deities and a mortal creature with wisdom and cunning might even try to defeat them.
They are protected by the fearsome External Gods and that is why men reverence and worship them. They have an attitude benevolent towards mankind and are so close that it is not uncommon to see crossings between Great and human beings.
The aspect of the Grandi is that of real men: a resolute and fierce face, long thin eyes, ears with large lobes, thin nose and pointed chin. They move easily both in the air and on the ground and, if necessary, they can travel through the dimensions, quickly reaching every destination.
Lobon, the God of the Holy Spear, lives in the Wonderful Kadath protected by the External Gods. It is mentioned in the story The end of Sarnath, where he is one of the three deities worshiped by the citizens before Bokrug, the Great Water Lizard, engulfed the city.
The Outer Gods control the universe. All the lower creatures and deities of the Myths recognize their authority. Many worship them.
Except for the isolated case of Nyarlathotep, these deities almost never come into contact with mankind. Men who deal with the external gods pay the consequences of it with madness or death. The external gods are usually represented as real gods and some embody cosmic principles.
Only a few external gods interfere with human affairs. When this happens, they usually break into our reality through cosmic portals or dimensional planes to bring new and bigger destructions.
Avatars are manifestations of an External God, an Ancient Great, an Ancient God or a Great who is capable of taking independent action. They have fewer powers, although they often are more frightening to meet of the deities of which they are the manifestation. They are usually of reduced size and shape.
The Nyarlathotep Avatars are the best known: 999 have been cataloged and, of these, at least one (the Black Man) has human features.
Avatar of Nyarlathotep, the Tick Tock Man
One of the Thousand Faces of Nyarlathotep, this insane device is just one of its incarnations. Man, machine, a retrograde technological fusion of madness, gears and power.
Conclusions on the Monsters of Myths
Already at a first analysis, we have framed creatures and divinities. Some images already show us part of their anatomy so where is the fear of the unknown?
As I said above, with the more or less detailed description of each being linked to the Monsters of the Myths, we lost that thrill that he would run along his back as we read about unknown, vaguely humanoid shadows climbing the cliff. While under the strange waves lights illuminated the slow pace of the Inhabitants of the Deep, our imagination would do the rest.
The growing folly of fearing what lies beyond our perception, indescribable with our simple words, has been replaced by the most reassuring manifestation of those who previously waited just outside the reach of our psyche.
But we have gained something when the veil that has been torn. We were able to enjoy the descriptive ability, the skilful use of written language, of the imaginative and fervent imagination of HPL, and the writers who were inspired by his works. The latter, in fact, have given rise to a long series of neologisms specially coined to describe the universe of Myths. And from the words we pass immediately tofigurative art. We can not only thank the BVGT extension which provided the opportunity for so many artists to propose, even today, their personal vision of the Myths and which contribute, in their own way, to the eternal mission of Howard Phillips Lovecraft.
...Lovecraft H. Rodionoff, E. Breccia with K. Griffen, 2003
Howard Phillips Lovecraft died in Providence in 1937.
"For the moment, the door stays closed."