Ghatanothoa is a fictional deity in the Cthulhu Mythos. The being first appeared in the short story "Out Of The Aeons" (1935) by H. P. Lovecraft and Hazel Heald. It is a large, amorphous, exceptionally hideous being comparable to Medusa.
Ghatanothoa is a Great Old One and the first born of Cthulhu. It is a huge, amorphous monstrosity which is so hideous, anyone who gazes upon it (or even a perfect replica) is petrified into a living mummy. The victim is permanently immobilized—the body taking on the consistency of leather and the internal organs and brain preserved indefinitely—yet remains fully aware. Only the destruction of the subject's brain can free it from its hellish prison, though the unfortunate is likely to be incurably insane long before the welcomed release.
Ghatanothoa is currently trapped underneath Mount Yaddith-Gho in sunken Mu. He was brought to Earth from the planet Yuggoth (Pluto in Lovecraft's fiction) by an ancient, alien race, possibly the Mi-go, who built a colossal fortress atop Yaddith-Gho and sealed Ghatanothoa inside the mountain beneath a large trapdoor. Ghatanothoa was worshipped by the ancient Muvians, who both feared and respected him because of his ability to turn any humans that beheld him into living, thinking mummies.
Many attempted in vain to defeat Ghatanothoa; most notably T'yog, the High Priest of Shub-Niggurath, whose story is recounted in Friedrich von Junzt's grimoire Unaussprechlichen Kulten or Nameless Cults (Robert E. Howard's answer to Lovecraft's Necronomicon). T'yog created a scroll that was supposed to protect him from the petrifying effect of gazing upon Ghatanothoa. But T'yog was defeated after Ghatanothoa's priests stole the scroll and replaced it with a fake one. This occurred in the Year of the Red Moon, which is 173,148 B.C. according to von Juntz.
Other connections to the mythos
In Lin Carter's Xothic legend cycle, Ghatanothoa is said to be the firstborn of Cthulhu; his siblings, in order of birth, are Ythogtha, Zoth-Ommog, and Cthylla. Colin Wilson connected Ghatanothoa to the alien, reptilian race of energy beings—the Lloigor—as the deity's servants.
Appearance in other media
Ghatanothoa appeared in the Japanese TV series Ultraman Tiga as an ancient evil that had defeated Ultraman Tiga and his fellow giants in ancient times and destroyed the civilization present on Earth at the time. In the finale, he reawakens and attempts to do the same to the modern world, covering the Earth in darkness. Tiga challenges him but the tyrant defeats him and turns him back to stone. However, Tiga is revived by humanity as Glitter Tiga and manages to overwhelm and finally kill Ghatanothoa with a powerful beam from his Color Timer. This version of Ghatanothoa bears some resemblance to a chimera of deep-sea life, including the chambered nautilus. Ghatanothoa also commands a race of lesser deities called the 'Zoiger', who are based on Lovecraft's Lloigor. After Ghatanothoa is defeated, the Zoiger seemingly migrate away, with only the stronger, 'Shibito' Zoiger remaining to live in the South Pacific. He also appears in the Japanese anime Haiyore! Nyaruko-san as a little girl; the show parodies the Lovecraft mythos with several prominent old ones appearing as aliens disguised as Japanese school girls.
- Carter, Lin  (1997). "The Thing in the Pit". In Robert M. Price (ed.). The Xothic Legend Cycle: The Complete Mythos Fiction of Lin Carter. Oakland, CA: Chaosium. ISBN 1-56882-078-X.
- Lovecraft, Howard P.  (1989). "Out of the Aeons". In S. T. Joshi (ed.). The Horror in the Museum and Other Revisions (4th corrected printing ed.). Sauk City, WI: Arkham House. ISBN 0-87054-037-8. Definitive version.
- Tierney, Richard L. (1993). The House of the Toad. Minneapolis MN: Fedogan and Bremer. ISBN 1-878252-03-8.
- Colin, Wilson  (October 1998). "The Return of the Lloigor". Tales of the Cthulhu Mythos (1st ed. ed.). New York, NY: Random House. ISBN 0-345-42204-X.
- Harms, Daniel (1998). "Ghatanothoa". The Encyclopedia Cthulhiana (2nd ed. ed.). Oakland, CA: Chaosium. pp. 115–6. ISBN 1-56882-119-0.
- Joshi, S. T. (1989). "Lovecraft's Other Planets". Selected Papers on Lovecraft (1st printing ed.). West Warwick, RI: Necronomicon Press. ISBN 0-940884-23-2.
- Lovecraft & Heald, "Out of the Aeons", The Horror in the Museum and Other Revisions, p. 272.
- Although the aliens in question are presumed to be the Mi-go, or Fungi from Yuggoth (Harms, The Encyclopedia Cthulhiana p. 115), S. T. Joshi does not hold this view. In his essay "Lovecraft's Other Planets", Joshi argues that these beings are an older and perhaps indigenous race of Yuggoth. Citing Lovecraft's "The Whisperer in Darkness" (1931), Joshi notes that the structures on Yuggoth were "built by some elder race extinct and forgotten" before the Mi-go arrived. Thus, Joshi concludes that these ancient beings—and not the Mi-Go— are "the alien spawn of the dark planet Yuggoth" (as quoted from "Out of the Aeons") that brought Ghatanothoa to Earth. (Joshi, "Lovecraft's Other Planets", Selected Papers on Lovecraft, p. 39.)
- Lovecraft & Heald, "Out of the Aeons".
- Carter, "The Thing in the Pit", The Xothic Legend Cycle.
- Wilson, "The Return of the Lloigor", Tales of the Cthulhu Mythos.
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