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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. It is a huge, amorphous monstrosity, so hideous that anyone who gazes upon it (or even a perfect replica) is petrified: the body taking on the consistency of leather and the brain preserved indefinitely, while fully aware. Only the destruction of the subject's brain can free it.[1]

Ghatanothoa is currently trapped underneath Mount Yaddith-Gho in the sunken continent of Mu. He was brought to Earth from the planet Yuggoth (Pluto in Lovecraft's fiction) by an ancient, alien race. These are presumed to be the Mi-go, or Fungi from Yuggoth (Harms, The Encyclopedia Cthulhiana p. 115), but S. T. Joshi, in his essay "Lovecraft's Other Planets", 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; wherefore, the aliens here 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.), who built a colossal fortress atop Yaddith-Gho and sealed Ghatanothoa inside the mountain.

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 was defeated after Ghatanothoa's priests 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.[2]

Other connections to the mythos[edit]

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.[3] Colin Wilson connected Ghatanothoa to the alien, reptilian race of energy beings—the Lloigor—as the deity's servants.[4]

Appearance in other media[edit]

  • Ghatanothoa appeared in the Japanese TV series Ultraman Tiga under the name Gatanothor, 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 attempts to do the same to the modern world, and Tiga challenges him and is again defeated, but is revived by humanity as Glitter Tiga, who kills Gatanothor 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. Gatanothor also commands a race of lesser deities called the 'Zoiger', based on Lovecraft's Lloigor[citation needed]. After Gatanothor is defeated, the Zoiger seemingly migrate away, with only the stronger, 'Shibito' Zoiger remaining in the South Pacific. His anger is transferred to one of Tiga's former allies, Kamila, and her two followers, Hudra and Darramb, with Kamila being able to unlock a massive, demonic form called 'Demonzoa'.
  • Ghatanothoa appears in the Japanese anime Nyaruko: Crawling with Love as a little girl; the show parodies the Lovecraft mythos with several prominent old ones appearing as aliens disguised as Japanese school girls.
  • Ghatanothoa appears in the American urban fiction novel "Dying Bites," by Don DeBrandt, as an elder god summoned to reshape the world. The representation is true to Lovecraft's original creation.



  1. ^ Lovecraft & Heald, "Out of the Aeons", The Horror in the Museum and Other Revisions, p. 272.
  2. ^ Lovecraft & Heald, "Out of the Aeons".
  3. ^ Carter, "The Thing in the Pit", The Xothic Legend Cycle.
  4. ^ Wilson, "The Return of the Lloigor", Tales of the Cthulhu Mythos.

Primary sources[edit]

  • Carter, Lin (1997) [1980]. "The Thing in the Pit". In Robert M. Price (ed.) (ed.). The Xothic Legend Cycle: The Complete Mythos Fiction of Lin Carter. Oakland, CA: Chaosium. ISBN 1-56882-078-X. Archived from the original on 2007-05-29.CS1 maint: Extra text: editors list (link)
  • Lovecraft, Howard P. (1989) [1935]. "Out of the Aeons". In S. T. Joshi (ed.) (ed.). The Horror in the Museum and Other Revisions (4th corrected printing ed.). Sauk City, WI: Arkham House. ISBN 0-87054-037-8.CS1 maint: Extra text: editors list (link) 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) [1969]. "The Return of the Lloigor". Tales of the Cthulhu Mythos (1st ed.). New York, NY: Random House. ISBN 0-345-42204-X.

Secondary sources[edit]

  • Harms, Daniel (1998). "Ghatanothoa". The Encyclopedia Cthulhiana (2nd 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.

External links[edit]