Sunday, September 09, 2012

Lovecraft & Laos: Call of Cthulhlao?

As I prepare for the 2012 H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival in Los Angeles this year the new guest list has been announced on the website. More may get announced soon but as it is there are still some exciting names appearing. Poets and screenwriters, novelists and other literary fiends will cavort about examining the legacy of early 20th century writer H.P. Lovecraft.

This also seems like as good a time for me to set a precedent with the term Cthulhlao, since it doesn't seem to have cropped up anywhere else yet to date.

So, as a quick recap, the story of Cthulhu is an ancient cosmic being, one of the Great Old Ones, came to earth in its ancient history before the rise of humanity. He, and others like him, came into conflict with other similar beings such as the alien Elder Things. Long story short, as an immortal creature, he lives in a sunken city known as R'lyeh with his followers, waiting for the stars to align properly so he can escape his aquatic prison once and for all and destroy all life on earth. In the meantime, there are secret cults around the world that still worship him, and in the Cthulhu mythos, hapless investigators are constantly stumbling upon him.

Classically, he is described as resembling  "an octopus, a dragon, and a human caricature" with a "pulpy, tentacled head surmounted a grotesque scaly body with rudimentary wings". "A mountain walked or stumbled..." gave a sense of his size.

In all seriousness, he wouldn't be referred to in the Lao language as Cthulhlao, but it is interesting to consider what words might apply to him. He would not be considered an iteration of a nak, and most Lao would object to any depictions of Cthulhu or his star spawn as such. In the Hmong language, the proper pronunciation for a black river dragon, "zaj dub" does sound interestingly close to the term for Cthulhu, but others may disagree. Tibetan language for naga or mystic serpents is "Klu" which would make an interesting cross-linguistic connection to Kutulu, and other spelling variations.

Something to ponder in the future.

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