Author Topic: Lovecraft Inspiration  (Read 7535 times)

GrayLensman

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Lovecraft Inspiration
« on: March 28, 2005, 09:41:00 pm »
I find that the series, and Lavos in particular, is reminiscent of the Lovecraft Mythos.  Lavos bears a striking similarity to the Elder Gods.  Does anyone think that Lovecraft was a source of inspiration for the series?

Daniel Krispin

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« Reply #1 on: March 28, 2005, 10:47:28 pm »
I've heard that speculated before, I think, although I myself know nothing about his books (save for what I found when I was attempting to debunk a certain post about Chthulu being a Babylonian god.) But I do have a comment. Now, perhaps I'm speaking out of ignorance here, but bear with me.
It concerns the only name I know from those books, the one I found was certainly not a Babylonian god, Chthulu. Now, this may be widely known, I don't know, but I came upon it of my own, and found it somewhat interesting. When I had seen that name, it didn't strike me as Babylonian and, after figuring out that it was from a novel (looking it up on Wikipedia), dismissed it as a fully fictional name. After all, it is quite oddly pronounced, and the th sounds really weird if the pronounciation was given aright on Wikipedia, some sort of t, and why the heck would a ch be pronounced like a k?
But now I'm not so sure.
Not one week ago I was writing a paper on Greek religion and, in the course of looking through some books that were a measure beyond me, I happened upon something interesting, the word 'Chthonioi'. Now, it may be coinciedence pure and simple, but somehow I doubt it. Firstly, what the Greek word means. From what I know of the Chthulu from that short Wikipedia article I read long ago, he was some sort of ancient creature that lived under the sea, a great demon of some sort barely sentient (for which, I assume, you connect him with Lavos.) These Chthonioi in Greek are, according to these textbooks I was reading, essentially the 'gods of the underworld', who would dwell in and under the earth. I looked up the root for the name in the Greek Lexicon, Chthos or something like that, and it means earth. Now, aside from the fact that the four letters Chth are almost never put together (or, at least, I have never outside of these two cases seen them together), there is pronounciation. The ch in Greek is actually a chi, pronounced by some as in the German 'nacht', but by others as an aspirated 'k', which for English ears and tongues isn't that far removed from a k. Likewise the th. It is not the soft one as in English, apparently. It is more aspirated as well, similar to a t, even as the ch is similar to k. Thus, in rough English terms, Chth becomes pronounced K-t, which is the very same as the pronounciation of Chthulu that Wikipedia gave. Therefore I came to a conclusion: it's Greek! Not only that, but the idea seems to match very well, also.
This, then, can tie in perfectly with Lavos. He is, after all, a god (by the defenition that the Greeks would probably have put upon gods) that resides under the earth, is he not?
As I said, being fully ignorant of this, it may just be common knowledge to those that know it, as simple seeming as to me when someone says something about Morgoth based on LOTR, and me knowing the entire story from the Silmarillion saying 'aha!'. But in the off chance that it isn't, I figured I'd mention it. Disregard this if I'm being a fool, I just find such things related to Greek words interesting.

Hadriel

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« Reply #2 on: March 29, 2005, 02:38:17 am »
All I truly know of the Lovecraft mythos is contained in Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem for the GameCube.  That was one tight-ass game.  Seriously, it's so tight-assed that if you put a piece of coal in its ass, in ten minutes you'd have a diamond.

I don't know too much about how Cthulhu influenced history in Call of Cthulhu, seeing as I haven't read it (but I'm going to, I swear) but it seems that a prerequisite for being a Great Ancient is that you have had some profound impact on history.  The Ancients in ED -- Chattur'gha, the Great Being Of Matter, Xel'lo'tath, the Mistress of Insanity, and Ulyaoth, the Master of the Planes, all influenced humanity in their competition with one another.  No fewer than four decidedly major historical events and everything surrounding them -- in order, the Renaissance, the Inquisition, World War I, and the first Gulf War under George Bush Sr. -- are attributed to the involvement of the Ancients.  There are others that I can't recall off the top of my head, as well.  Lavos is held to be the progenitor and cause of what humanity is today; "all our art and science...to meet the needs of this beast."

Daniel Krispin

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« Reply #3 on: April 06, 2005, 06:34:18 pm »
Quote from: Hadriel
I don't know too much about how Cthulhu influenced history in Call of Cthulhu, seeing as I haven't read it (but I'm going to, I swear) but it seems that a prerequisite for being a Great Ancient is that you have had some profound impact on history.

Well, then, maybe I am wrong. If the spelling is Cthulhu, maybe it's not so connected as I thought. Chthonioi (XΘovioi) would be still pronounced similarly, but the marked difference in spelling gives me cause for doubt.
Quote from: Hadriel
The Ancients in ED -- Chattur'gha, the Great Being Of Matter, Xel'lo'tath, the Mistress of Insanity, and Ulyaoth, the Master of the Planes,

Does ANYONE know how to pronounce names like that rightly? And, moroever, what's the point in those consonant breaks? (I have a certain measure of dislike for the overuse of that bloody ' in names, because it usually signifies a name that is near impossible to pronounce.)

Leebot

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« Reply #4 on: April 06, 2005, 06:55:41 pm »
Well, in Klingon, the apostrophe signifies a kind of clicking noise made in the back of the throat. In some other languages, it signifies a glottal stop.

ZeaLitY

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« Reply #5 on: April 06, 2005, 07:08:14 pm »
The Bushmen of the K..something with a K desert in Africa use a clicking sound in their language, transcribed as a ! in English.

Leebot

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« Reply #6 on: April 06, 2005, 10:22:54 pm »
I think that's Kalahari.

Hadriel

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« Reply #7 on: April 06, 2005, 11:18:02 pm »
They pronounce the names repeatedly in the game's dialogue, so no worries there.

Daniel Krispin

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« Reply #8 on: April 07, 2005, 12:16:48 am »
Quote from: Hadriel
They pronounce the names repeatedly in the game's dialogue, so no worries there.

Ah, well, you know... games and movies and the like don't always get things right, either. Take the name Nephilim in Xenosaga, for example. I honestly don't think it's said with short i's; it might be, but I don't think so. And as far as such names go, don't mind me... I actually just have something of a vendetta against those dratted ' symbols. Too many fantasy things use them without care or purpose, just to make it seem 'cool' or something like that. It's all right if done with understanding and reason, ie. the Klingon you mentioned, but I have the sneaking suspicion that often it's just done because somebody got it in their head that it would seem 'cool' without really bothering to understand that (you can be assure that I NEVER use it in the names that I invent, and all 150 words I have devised are likewise bare of it.) Well, there's that...that, and those darned unpronouncable names with superfluous volumes of consonants. True enough, there were weird ancient names (Supiluliamus, for example), but most were a measure better sounding, and easier to pronounce (how hard is it to say Apsu, or Timat, Marduk, Ouranos...even Yggdrasil is easier than those names!) Sure, a double n has its reasons, but I wager that most don't think of it as being a longer held sound. I don't see why fantasy writing has to use confusing names just to try and sound 'non-English.' The irony is, most fantasy, from what I can tell, still use anglisized pronounciations and ways of saying the letters, even after all those attempts to make it foreign seeming! I mean, you just have to look at the pronounciations in Warcraft III to see this in full swing. A personal gripe of mine. Fortunately, CT/CC are very good in that regard.

Leebot

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« Reply #9 on: April 07, 2005, 12:37:19 am »
Quote from: Guardian_of_Ages
Well, there's that...that, and those darned unpronouncable names with superfluous volumes of consonants.


There are actually some of those in the real world. Take the entirety of the Welsh language. For instance, the Welsh name of Caladbolg (roughly the Scottish equivalent of Excalibur) is Caledfwlch, and no, that's not a typo.

Daniel Krispin

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« Reply #10 on: April 07, 2005, 12:58:51 am »
Quote from: Leebot
There are actually some of those in the real world. Take the entirety of the Welsh language. For instance, the Welsh name of Caladbolg (roughly the Scottish equivalent of Excalibur) is Caledfwlch, and no, that's not a typo.

True. As I said, there are some weird names. The actual name of Achilles, Axilleus, is, after all, a bother to say as well. I that case the very lettering was Anglisized, because an English speaker has a bloody hard time pronouncing the x (it doesn't come up in English, after all.) I've seen that in conversing with an Israeli another forum, as well. He spells all the Biblical names in other ways. And I know that even 'Jesus' is very Anglisized, being Iesu in Latin, and something like Ieshua in Hebrew. Personally, I love those old and non-English sounding words. But the problem in my mind comes when it's not there because it's actually like that, or serves a purpose, but just because someone decided to put a lot of consonants in the word. And then go and pronounce it with English sounds, defeating the entire purpose of it.
My gripe isn't with the words themselves in real life, save on occassion when I think it could be spelled a little better in English translation... after all, our letters are not the same as that of another language neccessarially, and it just makes things confusing to string together consonants when the original sounds, though they might have used just consonants, could be put in a better way using different letters in English that represent it better. Because, if you really want to get down to it, we could just spell Philistines Plst, and Tiamat was probably Tmt, And Achilles was likely Axlls or something like that, because the old scripts had no vowels... not until the Greeks borrowed the Phoneician letters and changed them. But we've gotten into the habit of putting the vowels back in in English writing.
My problem is mainly with fantasy; I've come to have very precise views of fantasy and the way such things are approached, so I'm very picky on those matters.

Hadriel

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« Reply #11 on: April 07, 2005, 05:33:02 pm »
Tmt?  Sounds like a bad spinoff of TNT with all the reject British comedies ever invented.

Yggdrasil isn't a problem, and neither are the Ancients.  But Tmt?  Hell, the Yuuzhan Vong language is easier -- I actually know some of that.  Of course, in order to speak Klingon, all you really need to be able to do is hock up a loogie.

Daniel Krispin

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« Reply #12 on: April 07, 2005, 07:52:29 pm »
Quote from: Hadriel
Tmt?  Sounds like a bad spinoff of TNT with all the reject British comedies ever invented.

Yggdrasil isn't a problem, and neither are the Ancients.  But Tmt?  Hell, the Yuuzhan Vong language is easier -- I actually know some of that.  Of course, in order to speak Klingon, all you really need to be able to do is hock up a loogie.

You misuderstood me. It was not that it was said so. The alphabet that they used, such as it was, did not include vowels. They didn't come into use until about 700BC or so, when the Hellenes borrowed the Phonecian alphabet, and added in vowels. Thus while it might have been pronounced Tiamat and the like, in writing only the consonants were written. It is from that that we get the name Jehovah, which is a debasement of the actual Yahweh; Mazoritic scholars put in parallell vowels when they began adding in vowels. Since Adonai was often next to Yahweh, and Yahweh was spelled YHWH, they decided for the sake of parallelling to transcribe the vowels. Thus they used the a, o, a, and i from Adonai, making Yahweh into Yahowah, ie. Jehovah. Later people forget what was done, and it seemed that Jehovah had sprung out of nowhere. But you see, the spelling used only consonants: YHWH. Unpronouncable when one looks at it straight, but the vowels are implied. That's what I meant for TMT.

Ed

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« Reply #13 on: April 29, 2005, 12:29:13 am »
Lavos seems quite a bit different in nature than the Lovecraft's Elder Gods... where Lavos directly impacted human evolution, the Elder Gods more or less distance themselves from human-kind and only interact with them if contacted in some way (Not taking into account the Dream world, a la "The Dream-Quest of Unknown Khaddath", but I suppose even in that case, the protagonist made a physical effort to seek out something and happened to cross paths with Nyarlathotep.)

Indeed.

Swordmaster

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« Reply #14 on: June 20, 2005, 11:54:17 pm »
Look for some Lovercraft tales at Dagon Bytes

Take a look in The Shadow out of Time