Nodens (Cthulhu Mythos)

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Nodens (Lord of the Great Abyss or Nuada of the Silver Hand) is a fictional character in the Cthulhu Mythos. Based on the Celtic deity, Nodens, he is the creation of H. P. Lovecraft and first appeared in his short story "The Strange High House in the Mist" (1926).

Summary[edit]

And upon dolphins' backs was balanced a vast crenelate shell wherein rode the grey and awful form of primal Nodens, Lord of the Great Abyss… Then hoary Nodens reached forth a wizened hand and helped Olney and his host into the vast shell.

—H. P. Lovecraft, "The Strange High House in the Mist"

Nodens is one of the Elder Gods and appears as an elderly, human male with white hair—gray-bearded and hoary yet still vital and strong. He often rides in a chariot formed from a huge seashell pulled by some great beasts of legend. Nodens is served by the Nightgaunts.

As a hunter, he will chase down evil creatures in the Dreamlands, such as the Shantaks. He prefers to hunt the servants of the Great Old Ones or Nyarlathotep because they are usually the most intelligent and offer the best sport, but not necessarily because he wants to help humans being attacked by them. He has, however, been known to deliberately help humans, such as when he offers advice to assist Randolph Carter against Nyarlathotep in The Dream Quest of Unknown Kadath: "Out of the void S'ngac the violet gas had pointed the way, and archaic Nodens was bellowing his guidance from unhinted deeps," later followed by "And hoary Nodens raised a howl of triumph when Nyarlathotep, close on his quarry, stopped baffled by a glare that seared his formless hunting-horrors to grey dust."

Lovecraft may have based Nodens on Arthur Machen's The Great God Pan (1890) because Machen was one of Lovecraft's favorite authors.[1] In the novel, Machen describes a late Roman inscription hinting that Nodens is actually the titular god Pan.

On one side of the pillar was an inscription, of which I took a note. Some of the letters had been defaced, but I do not think there can be any doubt as to those which I supply. The inscription reads as follows:

DEVOMNODENTi
FLAvIVSSENILSPOSSVit
PROPTERNVPtias
quaSVIDITSVBVMBra

'To the great god Nodens (the god of the Great Deep or Abyss) Flavius Senilis has erected this pillar on account of the marriage which he saw beneath the shade.'

—Arthur Machen, The Great God Pan

Machen was probably inspired by the finding of an extensive temple complex dedicated to Nodens at Lydney Park in Gloucestershire.

Other appearances[edit]

  • Nodens is mentioned in "The Collect Call of Cathulhu," an episode from The Real Ghostbusters.
  • Nodens appears in the Boom! Studios series Fall of Cthulhu.
  • Nodens makes an appearance in the PlayStation game Persona 2: Eternal Punishment as a summoned creature.
  • Nodens makes an appearance in episode 2 of Haiyore! Nyaruko-san
  • Nodens is mentioned in Red Wasp Studios' "The Wasted Land".
  • Nodens is the antagonist in Brian Keene's 2008 novel Ghost Walk. In the novel, Nodens form is a mass of living darkness who feeds off the misery and fear of others. Nodens is described as one of thirteen beings from the previous universe that God destroyed in order to create the current one. In retaliation, Nodens and the other thirteen beings wish to cause God pain by destroying his greatest creation: human beings.

References[edit]

Books[edit]

  • Harms, Daniel (1998). "Nodens". The Encyclopedia Cthulhiana (2nd ed. ed.). Oakland, CA: Chaosium. pp. 213–14. ISBN 1-56882-119-0. 
  • Lovecraft, Howard P. (1985) [1926]. "The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath". In S. T. Joshi (ed.). At the Mountains of Madness and Other Novels (7th corrected printing ed.). Sauk City, WI: Arkham House. ISBN 0-87054-038-6.  Definitive version.
  • Lovecraft, Howard P. (1986) [1926]. "The Strange High House in the Mist". In S. T. Joshi (ed.). Dagon and Other Macabre Tales (9th corrected printing ed.). Sauk City, WI: Arkham House. ISBN 0-87054-039-4.  Definitive version.
  • Lovecraft, Howard P. (2005). "Supernatural Horror In Literature". At the Mountains of Madness: The Definitive Edition. Modern Library. ISBN 0-8129-7441-7. 
  • Machen, Arthur (1993) [1890]. The Great God Pan. London, UK: Creation Books. ISBN 1-871592-11-9. 

Web sites[edit]

  • Gault, R. T. "The Great God Nodens". Order of the Twilight Star, Dedicated to the works of Arthur Machen. Archived from the original on April 9, 2005. Retrieved July 18, 2005. 

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ In his essay "Supernatural Horror In Literature," Lovecraft writes: "Of living creators of cosmic fear raised to its most artistic pitch, few if any can hope to equal the versatile Arthur Machen, author of some dozen tales long and short, in which the elements of hidden horror and brooding fright attain an almost incomparable substance and realistic acuteness."