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|Cthulhu Mythos character|
"To R.H. Barlow, Esq., whose sculpture hath given immortality to this trivial design of his obliged obedient servant, H.P. Lovecraft
|First appearance||"The Call of Cthulhu" (1928)|
|Created by||H. P. Lovecraft|
|Species||Great Old One|
High Priest of the Great Old Ones|
The Great Dreamer
The Sleeper of R'lyeh
Cthulhu (// kə-THOO-loo) is a cosmic entity created by writer H. P. Lovecraft and first introduced in the short story "The Call of Cthulhu", published in the American pulp magazine Weird Tales in 1928. Considered a Great Old One within the pantheon of Lovecraftian cosmic entities, the creature has since been featured in numerous popular culture references. Lovecraft depicts Cthulhu as a gigantic entity worshipped by cultists. Cthulhu's appearance is described as looking like an octopus, a dragon, and a caricature of human form. Its name was given to the Lovecraft-inspired universe where it and its fellow entities existed, the Cthulhu Mythos.
Etymology, spelling and pronunciation
Though invented by Lovecraft in 1928, the name Cthulhu is probably derived from the word chthonic, derived from Classical Greek, meaning "subterranean", as apparently suggested by Lovecraft himself at the end of his 1923 tale The Rats in the Walls.
Lovecraft transcribed the pronunciation of Cthulhu as Khlûl′-hloo and said that "the first syllable pronounced gutturally and very thickly. The u is about like that in full; and the first syllable is not unlike klul in sound, hence the h represents the guttural thickness." (An approximate IPA transcription, based on this description and the non-IPA signs, would be [kʟ̝̊ʊlʔ.ɬuː], with a voiceless velar lateral fricative.) S. T. Joshi points out, however, that Lovecraft gave several differing pronunciations on different occasions. According to Lovecraft, this is merely the closest that the human vocal apparatus can come to reproducing the syllables of an alien language. Cthulhu has also been spelled in many other ways, including Tulu, Katulu and Kutulu. The name is often preceded by the epithet Great, Dead, or Dread.
Long after Lovecraft's death, the spelling pronunciation // kə-THOO-loo (alternatively transcribed as kuh-THOO-loo) became common. The role-playing game Call of Cthulhu has used the pronunciations klhul-hoo or tluhluh. (An approximate IPA transcription, based on these descriptions and the non-IPA signs, would be [kʟ̝̊ʊl.ʔuː] for klhul-hoo and [ɬʊʔ.lʊʔ] for tluhluh.)
In "The Call of Cthulhu", H. P. Lovecraft describes a statue of Cthulhu as "A monster of vaguely anthropoid outline, but with an octopus-like head whose face was a mass of feelers, a scaly, rubbery-looking body, prodigious claws on hind and fore feet, and long, narrow wings behind." Cthulhu has been described in appearance as resembling an octopus, a dragon and a human caricature, hundreds of meters tall, with webbed human-looking arms and legs and a pair of rudimentary wings on its back. Cthulhu's head is depicted as similar to the entirety of a gigantic octopus, with an unknown number of tentacles surrounding its supposed mouth.
Simply looking upon the creature drives the viewer insane, a trait shared by many of the Great Old Ones and Outer Gods.
This section may require cleanup to meet Wikipedia's quality standards. The specific problem is: This section contains paragraphs on derivative works by authors other than Lovecvraft - though Derleth's works may be considered relevant, works by authors such as John Glasby are. Furthermore content on derivative works by TSR etc has also been added. None of this has anything to do with the works of the original author and creator (May 2018) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
H. P. Lovecraft's initial short story, "The Call of Cthulhu", was published in Weird Tales in 1928 and established the character as a malevolent entity, hibernating within R'lyeh, an underwater city in the South Pacific. The imprisoned Cthulhu is apparently the source of constant anxiety for mankind at a subconscious level, and also the subject of worship by a number of human religions (located several places worldwide, including New Zealand, Greenland, Louisiana, and the Chinese mountains) and other Lovecraftian monsters (called Deep Ones and Mi-Go). The short story asserts the premise that, while currently trapped, Cthulhu will eventually return. His worshippers chant "Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn" ("In his house at R'lyeh, dead Cthulhu waits dreaming.").
Lovecraft conceived a detailed genealogy for Cthulhu (published as "Letter 617" in Selected Letters) and made the character a central figure in corresponding literature. The short story "The Dunwich Horror" (1928) refers to Cthulhu, while "The Whisperer in Darkness" (1930) hints that one of his characters knows the creature's origins ("I learned whence Cthulhu first came, and why half the great temporary stars of history had flared forth."). The 1931 novella At the Mountains of Madness refers to the "star-spawn of Cthulhu", who warred with another race called the Elder Things before the dawn of man.
August Derleth, a correspondent of Lovecraft, used the creature's name to identify the system of lore employed by Lovecraft and his literary successors: the Cthulhu Mythos. In 1937, Derleth wrote the short story "The Return of Hastur", and proposed two groups of opposed cosmic entities:
... the Old or Ancient Ones, the Elder Gods, of cosmic good, and those of cosmic evil, bearing many names, and themselves of different groups, as if associated with the elements and yet transcending them: for there are the Water Beings, hidden in the depths; those of Air that are the primal lurkers beyond time; those of Earth, horrible animate survivors of distant eons.:256
According to Derleth's scheme, "Great Cthulhu is one of the Water Elementals" and was engaged in an age-old arch-rivalry with a designated air elemental, Hastur the Unspeakable, described as Cthulhu's "half-brother".:256, 266 Based on this framework, Derleth wrote a series of short stories published in Weird Tales (1944–1952) and collected as The Trail of Cthulhu, depicting the struggle of a Dr. Laban Shrewsbury and his associates against Cthulhu and his minions.
Derleth's interpretations have been criticized, among others, by Lovecraft enthusiast Michel Houellebecq. Houellebecq's H. P. Lovecraft: Against the World, Against Life (2005) decries Derleth for attempting to reshape Lovecraft's strictly amoral continuity into a stereotypical conflict between forces of objective good and evil.
In John Glasby's "A Shadow from the Aeons", Cthulhu is seen by the narrator roaming the riverbank near Dominic Waldron's castle, and roaring. The physical description of the god is totally different from that given as canon by all the other authors.
The character's influence also extended into recreational literature: games company TSR included an entire chapter on the Cthulhu mythos (including statistics for the character) in the first printing of Dungeons & Dragons sourcebook Deities & Demigods (1980). TSR, however, were unaware that Arkham House, which asserted copyright on almost all Lovecraft literature, had already licensed the Cthulhu property to the game company Chaosium. Although Chaosium stipulated that TSR could continue to use the material if each future edition featured a published credit to Chaosium, TSR refused and the material was removed from all subsequent editions.
Cthulhu was once again mentioned in the 5th edition of the Dungeons & Dragons Player's Handbook (2014), after Dagon, another of Lovecraft's fictional creations, featured prominently in the 4th edition of the game rules.
This section may require cleanup to meet Wikipedia's quality standards. The specific problem is: Contains reference to multiple works that though about the Cthulhu Mythos are not about Cthulhu which is the topic of the article.
Comments in the article clearly state "This section is for significant cultural depictions of the Cthulhu character. If it's a minor namecheck or a wider mythos reference, put it in Cthulhu Mythos in popular culture instead."In addition some of the references are to works that only reference the topic in passing, and/or could be considered trivia . eg song "Margate Fhtagn" (May 2018) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
In 2006, Bethesda Softworks together with Ubisoft and 2K Games published a game made by Headfirst Productions called Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth based on the works of Lovecraft. Cthulhu himself does not appear, as the main antagonists of the game are the Deep Ones from The Shadow Over Innsmouth, and the sea god Dagon, but his presence is alluded to several times, and a statue depicting him appears in one of the temples that will negatively affect the player's sanity. One of Cthulhu's "chosen", a Star Spawn of Cthulhu, a hideous creature similar in appearance to the abomination himself, also appears as a late-game enemy.
On March 19, 2007, Steve Jackson Games released an iteration of their card game Munchkin called Munchkin Cthulhu. The game presents Cthulhu and its surrounding mythos with a cartoon art style and comedic tone, heavily playing upon themes of madness and cultism. Great Cthulhu features as a standalone monster in the deck, alongside various parodies of Lovecraft's creatures. Cthulhu is depicted as an overweight, bright green creature with a large, bulbous head, and a pair of disproportionately small wings.
Cthulhu appears as a monster in many video games. Terraria features bosses named after the character, and he appears as main inspiration for the story of the Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 Zombies saga. The massively multiplayer online role-playing game World of Warcraft has numerous references to Cthulhu and the Mythos, with one of the game's "Old Gods" named N'Zoth resting in a sunken city.
In 2016, Z-Man games released an alternate version of their board game Pandemic. This new adaptation Pandemic: Reign of Cthulhu is set in the Cthulhu Mythos and explorers race to save the world before Cthulhu returns.
Cthulhu has appeared as a parody candidate in several elections, including the 2010 Polish presidential election and the 2012/2016 US presidential elections. The faux campaigns usually satirize voters who claim to vote for the "lesser evil".
The Californian spider species Pimoa cthulhu, described by Gustavo Hormiga in 1994, and the New Guinea moth species Speiredonia cthulhui, described by Zilli & Holloway in 2005, are named with reference to Cthulhu.
Two microorganisms that assist in the digestion of wood by termites have been named after Cthulhu and Cthulhu's "daughter" Cthylla: Cthulhu macrofasciculumque and Cthylla microfasciculumque, respectively.
In 2014, science and technology scholar Donna Haraway gave a talk entitled "Anthropocene, Capitalocene, Chthulucene: Staying with the Trouble", in which she proposed the term "Chthulucene" as an alternative for the concept of the Anthropocene era, due to the entangling interconnectedness of all supposedly individual beings. Haraway has denied any indebtedness to Lovecraft's Cthulhu, claiming that her "chthulu" is derived from the Greek khthonios, meaning "of the earth". However, the Lovecraft character is much closer to her coined term than the Greek root, and her description of its meaning coincides with Lovecraft's idea of the apocalyptic scale of the threat of Cthulhu, with his horrifying tentacles, to collapse civilization into an endless dark horror: “Chthulucene does not close in on itself; it does not round off; its contact zones are ubiquitous and continuously spin out loopy tendrils.” 
In 2015, an elongated, dark region along the equator of Pluto, initially referred to as "the Whale", was proposed to be named "Cthulhu Regio", by the NASA team responsible for the New Horizons mission. It is now known as "Cthulhu Macula".
Film and TV
Several films and television programs feature the threat of Cthulhu returning to dominate the Universe. A vivid example of the latter is three episodes of the adult cartoon series South Park in which Eric Cartman turns out to be so irredeemably evil that he is able to tame Cthulhu and direct him to annihilate personal enemies. In those episodes ("Coon 2: Hindsight", "Mysterion Rises", and "Coon vs. Coon & Friends") Cthulhu is faithfully represented as the monstrous tentacle-mouthed god-like being Lovecraft describes. Also, Supernatural devoted "Let It Bleed" (episode 21 of season 6) to a Lovecraft-inspired plot, with teen character Ben even shown reading a graphic novel entitled Cthulhu Tales right before he is kidnapped by demons who are crafting an evil empire and working to put Purgatory under their control. In the popular adult animated science-fiction sitcom Rick and Morty, a depiction of Cthulhu can be seen in the opening sequence, immediately prior to the title card.. In Cartoon Network's animated show The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy Cthulhu has a dedicated double length episode called "Prank Call of Cthulhu".
On October 27, 1987, Cthulhu appeared in season 2 episode 28 of The Real Ghostbusters animated cartoon entitled "The Collect Call of Cthulhu", in which the Ghostbusters went up against the Spawn, and Cult, of Cthulhu.
Heavy metal band Metallica reference Cthulhu in the song "Dream No More" from their 2016 album Hardwired... To Self-Destruct, as well as on the 1984 album Ride The Lightning with the instrumental song "The Call of Ktulu", inspired by H. P. Lovecraft's book The Shadow over Innsmouth, which was introduced to the rest of the band by Cliff Burton, and on the 1986 album Master of Puppets with the song "The Thing That Should Not Be" (whose lyrics are based on The Shadow over Innsmouth and contain partial quotes from "The Call of Cthulhu"). The second album of British steampunk band The Men That Will Not Be Blamed for Nothing features the song "Margate Fhtagn" (Fhtagn being a term used in the Cthulhu mythology for dreaming), the song describes the band taking a holiday in the seaside town of Margate only to be met by Cthulhu who proceeds to ruin their trip and eat their grandmother, which they later thank the beast for. English extreme metal band Cradle of Filth's fourth album, Midian, features a song titled "Cthulhu Dawn", although the lyrics seem to have nothing to do with Lovecraft's sea-monster. The song "Last Exit for the Lost" by British gothic rock band Fields of the Nephilim references Cthulhu (or 'Kthulhu' as it is spelled on the album's inner sleeve) in the lines "We're getting closer/I can see the door/Closer and closer/Kthulhu calls."
The story was adapted for the stage by Oregon-based theater company, Puppeteers for Fears, who performed "The Call of Cthulhu," as Cthulhu: the Musical! a feature-length rock and roll musical comedy performed with puppets. The script and songs were written by playwright Josh Gross, and after a successful run in Ashland, Oregon, the production toured the west coast in 2018, including a sold-out run at the Hollywood Fringe Festival. Of the show, The Portland Mercury wrote, "You haven't truly experienced Lovecraft's madness until you've experienced it in its truest form: As a puppet musical."
- Lovecraft, H. P. (1967). Selected Letters of H. P. Lovecraft IV (1932–1934). Sauk City, Wisconsin: Arkham House. "Letter 617". ISBN 0-87054-035-1.
- Callaghan, Gavin (2013). H. P. Lovecraft's Dark Arcadia: The Satire, Symbology and Contradiction. McFarland. p. 192. ISBN 1476602395.
- Lovecraft, H. P. Selected Letters V. pp. 10 – 11.
- Joshi, S. T. "The Call of Cthulhu". The Call of Cthulhu and Other Weird Stories. note 9.
- "Cthul-Who?: How Do You Pronounce 'Cthulhu'?", Crypt of Cthulhu #9
- Harms, Thomas. "Cthulhu" and "PanCthulhu". The Encyclopedia Cthulhiana. p. 64.
- Petersen, Sandy; Willis, Lynn; Herber, Keith (2005). Call of Cthulhu (6th ed.). Oakland, California: Chaosium. ISBN 1568821816.
- Chodak; et al. (1983). Call of Cthulhu (2nd ed.). Chaosium.
- Wikisource:The Call of Cthulhu
- Wikisource:The Shadow Over Innsmouth
- Wikisource:The Whisperer in Darkness
- Angell, George Gammell (1982). Price, Robert M., ed. "Cthulhu Elsewhere in Lovecraft". Crypt of Cthulhu #9. 2 (1). ISSN 1077-8179.
- Wikisource:The Dunwich Horror
- Lovecraft, H. P. At the Mountains of Madness. p. 66.
- Derleth, August. "The Return of Hastur". In Price, Robert M. The Hastur Cycle.
- Bloch, Robert. "Heritage of Horror". The Best of H. P. Lovecraft: Bloodcurdling Tales of Horror and the Macabre.
- "Deities & Demigods, Legends & Lore". The Acaeum. Retrieved 2010-05-10.
- "Steve Jackson Games: Previously Shipped". www.sjgames.com. Retrieved 2018-05-10.
- "Munchkin® Cthulhu™ – Card List". www.worldofmunchkin.com. Retrieved 2018-05-10.
- "Daily Illuminator: Munchkin Cthulhu Guest Artist Edition: Then And Now". www.sjgames.com. Retrieved 2018-05-10.
- "Pandemic: ROC - The Old Ones Series - Hastur". zmangames.com. Z-Man Games. April 14, 2016. Archived from the original on October 28, 2016. Retrieved October 25, 2016.
- "Cthulhu for America". Archived from the original on 3 August 2016. Retrieved 3 Aug 2016.
- "Cthulhu Dagon 2012". Retrieved 2016-10-29.
- Hormiga, G. (1994). A revision and cladistic analysis of the spider family Pimoidae (Araneoidea: Araneae) (PDF). Smithsonian Contributions to Zoology. 549. pp. 1–104.
- Zilli, Alberto; Holloway, Jeremy D.; Hogenes, Willem (2005). "An Overview Of The Genus Speiredonia With Description Of Seven New Species (Insecta, Lepidoptera: Noctuidae)". ALDROVANDIA Journal. Museo Civico di Zoologia Roma. 1: 17–36. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-07-22.
- James, Erick R.; Okamoto, Noriko; Burki, Fabien; Scheffrahn, Rudolf H.; Keeling, Patrick J. (2013-03-18). Badger, Jonathan H., ed. "Cthulhu Macrofasciculumque n. g., n. sp. and Cthylla Microfasciculumque n. g., n. sp., a Newly Identified Lineage of Parabasalian Termite Symbionts". PLoS ONE. 8 (3): e58509. Bibcode:2013PLoSO...858509J. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0058509. PMC . PMID 23526991.
- Donna Haraway (9 May 2014). Donna Haraway, "Anthropocene, Capitalocene, Chthulucene: Staying with the Trouble", 5/9/14. Vimeo, Inc.
- Haraway, Donna (2016). Staying with the Trouble. Durham and London: Duke University Press. pp. 174n4. ISBN 978-0-8223-6224-1.
- Feltman, Rachel (14 July 2015). "New data reveals that Pluto's heart is broken". The Washington Post. Retrieved 14 July 2015.
- Amanda M. Zangari; et al. (November 2015). "New Horizons disk-integrated approach photometry of Pluto and Charon". American Astronomical Society, DPS meeting #47, id.210.01. Bibcode:2015DPS....4721001Z.
- Stern, S. A.; Grundy, W.; McKinnon, W. B.; Weaver, H. A.; Young, L. A. "The Pluto System After New Horizons". arXiv: [astro-ph.EP].
- "Dream No More - Metallica". Metallica. Retrieved 2017-11-19.
- Joel., McIver, (2009). To live is to die : the life and death of Metallica's Cliff Burton. Hammett, Kirk. (1st ed.). London: Jawbone Press. ISBN 9781906002244. OCLC 290435379.
- "The Thing That Should Not Be - Metallica". Metallica. Retrieved 2017-11-29.
- Radio, Wicked Spins (2012-03-19). "The Men That Will Not Be Blamed For Nothing". Wicked Spins Radio. Retrieved 2017-12-03.
- "Cradle Of Filth - Midian". Discogs. Retrieved 2018-02-21.
- Fields of the Nephilim, The Nephilim album, released 1988 by Situation Two/Beggars Banquet Records
- "Cthulhu: the Musical, Original Cast Recording, by Puppeteers for Fears". The Many Projects of Josh Gross. Retrieved 2018-07-18.
- "Cthulhu: The Musical!". Portland Mercury. Retrieved 2018-07-18.
- Bloch, Robert (1982). "Heritage of Horror". The Best of H. P. Lovecraft: Bloodcurdling Tales of Horror and the Macabre (1st ed.). Ballantine Books. ISBN 0-345-35080-4.
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- Burnett, Cathy (1996). Spectrum No. 3:The Best in Contemporary Fantastic Art. Nevada City, CA, 95959 USA: Underwood Books. ISBN 1-887424-10-5.
- Harms, Daniel (1998). "Cthulhu". The Encyclopedia Cthulhiana (2nd ed.). Oakland, CA: Chaosium. pp. 64 – 7. ISBN 1568821190.
- "Idh-yaa", p. 148. Ibid.
- "Star-spawn of Cthulhu", pp. 283 – 4. Ibid.
- Joshi, S. T.; Schultz, David E. (2001). An H. P. Lovecraft Encyclopedia. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press. ISBN 0313315787.
- Lovecraft, Howard P. (1999) . "The Call of Cthulhu". In S. T. Joshi. The Call of Cthulhu and Other Weird Stories. London, UK; New York, NY: Penguin Books. Archived from the original on November 26, 2009.
- Lovecraft, Howard P. (1968). Selected Letters II. Sauk City, WI: Arkham House. ISBN 0870540297.
- Lovecraft, Howard P. (1976). Selected Letters V. Sauk City, WI: Arkham House. ISBN 087054036X.
- Marsh, Philip. R'lyehian as a Toy Language – on psycholinguistics. Lehigh Acres, FL 33970-0085 USA: Philip Marsh.
- Mosig, Yozan Dirk W. (1997). Mosig at Last: A Psychologist Looks at H. P. Lovecraft (1st ed.). West Warwick, RI: Necronomicon Press. ISBN 0940884909.
- Pearsall, Anthony B. (2005). The Lovecraft Lexicon (1st ed.). Tempe, AZ: New Falcon Pub. ISBN 1561841293.
- "Other Lovecraftian Products", The H.P. Lovecraft Archive
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