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ChillyPolly

Lovecraft References

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We now seem to have a fair number of Lovecraft references in ASOIAF and related works.

(1) Leng (Island) from the World Book = possibly inspired by the Plateau of Leng (mentioned in "The Hound" and other Lovecraft stories).

(2) Carcosa (in the Map Book) = probable reference to Carcosa from Robert W. Chambers ("The King in Yellow") by way of Ambrose Bierce ("An Inhabitant of Carcosa"). Lovecraft references "The King in Yellow" in his own works, incorporating it into the "Lovecraft mythos". In Chambers' work, Carcosa is associated with the "Lake of Hali". GRRM's Carcosa also borders a large lake (called "The Hidden Sea" on the World Map).

(3) Sarnath (city) from World Book = probably inspired by "Sarnath" (city) from Lovecraft's "The Doom that Came to Sarnath". Both cities are destroyed and desolate. Both were once known for magnificent palaces.

(4) Ib (island / former land civilization) = possibly inspired by "Ib" from "The Doom that Came to Sarnath", where it is an alien city destroyed by Sarnath and the source of its curse.

(5) K'dath, in the Grey Waste (Map Book) = inspired by "Kadath in the Cold Waste", referenced in many of Lovecraft's works, most notably "The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath"

(6) The Church/Cult of Starry Wisdom (main volumes, World Book) = probably a reference to the Church/Cult of Starry Wisdom from Lovecraft's "The Haunter of the Dark". In Lovecraft, the cult worships Nyarlathotep.

(7) Deep Ones (referenced in the World Book) = probably inspired by the "Deep Ones" from Lovecraft's "The Shadow over Innsmouth". Both are a species of aquatic creatures of high culture that interbreed with humans. In Lovecraft, they are associated with the worship of Cthulhu; while in ASOIAF they are associated with the worship of The Drowned God. The World Book contains many references to humans who may have tainted heritage (like the inhabitants of Innsmouth), such as the people of the Thousand Islands, who worship "squamous fish-headed gods".

(8) "What's dead may never die" (main volumes) = probably inspired by Lovecraft's couplet "That is not dead which can eternal lie / And with strange eons even death may die." Both references are associated with Drowned Gods (Cthulhu, in Lovecraft's case).

(9) The Drowned God = possibly inspired by Cthulhu. See 7 + 8 above. Also, Cthulhu is believed to have been inspired by Tennyson's poem "The Kraken"; and the Drowned God is also associated with krakens, (or maybe is a Kraken?)

(10) Dagon = a name associated with Ironborn culture. In Lovecraft, it is a god or ancient being, vaguely associated with the Deep Ones and the worship of Cthulhu (as in the short story "Dagon" and the Church of the Order of Dagon from "The Shadow over Innsmouth"). Originally, of course, Dagon was a Phonoecian god who may have been associated with fish.

(11) Old Ones who dwell beneath underground cities in Leng, who reputedly drive mad those who encounter them = references to Lovecraft's "Old Ones" (elder gods who include Cthulhu). [Thank you, Mrs Grumpy, below]

(12) A sorcerer rules HPL's Carcosa claiming to be the 69th Yellow Emperor of Yi Ti = inspired by "The King in Yellow", a mysterious being, possibly masked, referred to in Chamber's "The King in Yellow", who also associated with Carcosa. Lovecraft's works also contain vague references to this figure, i.e. in "The Fungi from Yuggoth" ("The Thing, they whisper, wears a silken mask of yellow, whose queer folds appear to hide a face not of this earth") and the similar figure who appears in "The Dream Quest of Unknown Kadath". [Thank you, TheSovereignGrave, below]

[13] The Black Goat of Qohor = possibly a reference to Lovecrafts Shub-Niggurath, the "Black Goat of the Woods with a Thousand Young" a/k/a "The Black Goat of the Woods" a/k/a "The Lord of the Wood". Referred to in Lovecraft's "The Whisperer in Darkness", "Dreams in the Witch-House", and "The Thing on the Doorstep"), and also identified (in "The Last Test") as the All Mother (possibly identifying it with Cybele, the Magna Mater from "The Rats in the Walls") and the wife of He Who Is Not to be Named. Note that GRRM's city of Qohor is located near a massive forest [ Thank you again, TheSovereignGrave]

[14] The Isle of Toads has a 40' statue of a toad, made of oily black stone, which is worshipped by the island's odd fish-featured inhabitants (World Book). These inhabitants seem another reference to Lovecraft's Deep Ones, which suggests the toad-god may be inspired by Tsathoggua, the Sleeper of N'Kai, referenced Lovecraft in "The Whisperer in Darkness" and "At the Mountains of Madness", but actually invented by his associate Clark Ashton Smith. It is also suggestive of the toal-demon from Robert E. Howard's Lovecraftian story "The Black Stone" (which some fans identify with Tsothoggua). The oily black stone sounds vaguely Lovecraftian (Lovecraft was constantly writing about alien stones and substances with unfamiliar properties), but is not an exact match (idols of Cthulhu tended to be smaller and made from soapy greenish-black stone), but black alien stones are also mentioned in "The Black Stone" and "The Whisperer in Darkness" [Thank you, LordToo-Fat-to-Sit-a-Horse, below]

[15] N'Ghai, a myserious land whose capital city Nefer is populated by dark sorcerors (World Book) is possibly inspired by N'Kai, the underground realm where Tsathoggua is said to sleep (mentioned in "The Whisperer in Darkness"). While GRRM's N'Ghai is a surface country at first glance, there are said to be vast underground regions beneath its capital city.

[16] The Shadowlands contain the corpse city of Stygai at their heart, and Asshai as their port. Asshai is said to be older than time (and older than man?) and is vaster than any other human city. It seems mostly deserted with lights burning in a small portion of its black edifices, made of a greasy light-drinking black masonry. There are no children; and inhabitants go masked (hinting some might not be human?), of whom only the Shadowbinders dare venture into the Shadowlands upriver past the walls of the city, a realm where demons dwell; and even they dare not approach to Stygai. The Shadowlands are the probably source of the twisted misshapen idols that made such a bad impression on Dany in Vaes Dothrak. It is not just one, thing, but one realls Lovecraft's penchant for indescribable horrors; corpse cities such as the "corpse-like" Sarkomand from "Dream-Quest..."); R'lyeh ("...Cthulhu"); or the demonic corpse city from "He"; semi-human creatures who conceal their inhuman features and who serve and fear other creatures even less human than themselves recall the Deep Ones ("...Innsmouth"), the turbaned servants of the Moon Beasts and/or the silk-masked priest ("Dream Quest..."); cities of inhumanly vast extent ("At the Mountains of Madness"); alien cities made of black masonry like light-hating alien city of Yuggoth ("The Whisperer in Darkness"); cities that seem more deserted than they are because of what may lie hidden ("Innsmouth..."). It's not a single connection, but a mix of elements, creating an overall "Lovecraftian" feel. [Thank you, Mrs. Grumpy]

Any more?

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K'Dath is located in Grey Waste...which is a cold desert.



You forget to mention Old Ones beneath the undergroun cities. Who only talks with God-Empress of Leng.

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It's not exactly Lovecraft, but Carcosa is also supposedly the home of the sorcerer lord who claims to be the 69th Yellow Emperor.



And you also have the people of the Thousand Isles. According to tWoIaF they supposedly sacrifice sailors to squamous, fish-headed Gods. And I think the use of the word 'squamous' is itself a reference to Lovecraft, since wasn't he rather fond of that adjective?


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K'Dath is located in Grey Waste...which is a cold desert.

You forget to mention Old Ones beneath the undergroun cities. Who only talks with God-Empress of Leng.

It's not exactly Lovecraft, but Carcosa is also supposedly the home of the sorcerer lord who claims to be the 69th Yellow Emperor.

And you also have the people of the Thousand Isles. According to tWoIaF they supposedly sacrifice sailors to squamous, fish-headed Gods. And I think the use of the word 'squamous' is itself a reference to Lovecraft, since wasn't he rather fond of that adjective?

Added these, thank you.

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It is a speculation but I think the Death of Dragons is actually an extremely ancient book from Asshai which is the counterpart of Necronomicon in ASOIAF.


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On the Isle of Toads can be found an ancient idol, a greasy black stone crudely carved into the semblance of a gigantic toad of malignant aspect, some forty feet high. The people of this isle are believed by some to be descended from those who carved the Toad Stone, for there is an unpleasant fishlike aspect to their faces, and many have webbed hands and feet. If so, they are the sole surviving remnant of this forgotten race.

This could very well be Tsathoggua,

http://lovecraft.wikia.com/wiki/Tsathoggua

And the Black stones remind of "The Black Stone" of Robert Howard

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Black_Stone

BTw, one could very well argue that Patchface went mad after meeting the Deep ones, or Dagon or whatever under the see. Thats very lovecraftian. Pretty much all of his "songs" are about them.

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The Black Goat of Qohor could be a reference to Shub-Niggurath, the Black Goat of the Woods with a Thousand Young. Plus, Qohor is located right next to an absolutely massive forest.


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Just splitting hairs here, I suppose, but Carcosa was originally a creation of Ambrose Bierce; Chambers picked it up from him. And it's worth adding that the story of the Rat King has a great deal in common with Lovecraft's "The Rats in the Walls", right down to the cannibalism.


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Stygai is referred as a corpse city like R'yleh, and R'yleh's geometry was fcked up. We know this kind of thing is possible as we seen in the HotU. So I wonder if the same can be said about Stygai, it might also explain why shadowbinders fear the city.

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Stygai is referred as a corpse city like R'yleh, and R'yleh's geometry was fcked up. We know this kind of thing is possible as we seen in the HotU. So I wonder if the same can be said about Stygai, it might also explain why shadowbinders fear the city.

I think equating R'lyeh with Stygai is a bit of a stretch. If Stygai was sunken, then I'd more inclined to believe it. But come to think of it, are there any sunken cities we know of? I mean for sure. The Thousand Isles is believed by some to have been a kingdom that sunk beneath the sea, so that would mean there were sunken cities if it were true. And the Thousand Islanders supposedly worship squamous fish-headed Gods. Hmmm...

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Stygai is referred as a corpse city like R'yleh, and R'yleh's geometry was fcked up. We know this kind of thing is possible as we seen in the HotU. So I wonder if the same can be said about Stygai, it might also explain why shadowbinders fear the city.

stygai could be a reference to Stygia of Conan the Rebel.

http://www.reddit.com/r/asoiaf/comments/2r2cpt/spoilers_all_pt_3_the_oily_black_stone_and/

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Stygai is referred as a corpse city like R'yleh, and R'yleh's geometry was fcked up. We know this kind of thing is possible as we seen in the HotU. So I wonder if the same can be said about Stygai, it might also explain why shadowbinders fear the city.

The phrase "corpse cities" is vaguely Lovecraftian, yes. Lovecraft also uses the phrase for the city glimpsed in "He" (and elsewhere uses the term "Necropolis"). And clearly this is a pretty horrible place if even Shadowbinders fear to tread there (as if Asshai was not alien enough). This may be the source of the terrible misshapen idols seen by Dany in the Dothraki city. The name "Stygai" is of course inspired by the river Styx, a river of the underworld in Greek mythology.

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stygai could be a reference to Stygia of Conan the Rebel.

The river Styx, and the surrounding land of Stygia (both names inspired by Greek mythology) are part of Robert E. Howard's "Hyborian Age", where Stygia is a tropical realm ruled by a theocracy that worships the serpent-god Set. I suppose the Hyborian Age is incorporated by reference into Lovecraft's mythos by a reference to it in "The Shadow out of Time". But, apart from being a fairly evil place, it does not have much resemblance to the corpse city of Stygai depicted here. So I am inclined to think GRRM got his inspiration (for the name) straight from Greek mythology.

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Added item 15. Is it too much of a stretch.

Not at all, considering the amount of Lovecraft nods.

PS Why no Stygai in the list q.q

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Not at all, considering the amount of Lovecraft nods.

PS Why no Stygai in the list q.q

Stygai does strike me as vaguely "Lovecraftian", but I'm still trying to make a case for it in my head.

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Wonderful job, OP. This is quite an exhaustive list. I don't have anything to add, but I do wonder if GRRM's old "old ones/deep ones" play any significant role in what is to come or if this is just GRRM paying tribute to HP Lovecraft. It's quite a lot of references for just a nod to a favorite author, though.


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