Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Hastur Theory

So, that theory on Hastur ...

Ideas are interesting things. You come up with a conecpt, and immediately think how it would make a good RPG or a good short story or a good novel. And sometimes you think of something, and it doesn't really fit anywhere, and when you try to make it fit, it just turns out differently. I suppose I could make this a scholarly article, but I think I've pretty much shown the last time that Hastur pretty much as evolved as a concept instead of being any intelligent design. Furthermore, I don't have the strength of will to source all quotes and concepts. As a result, the idea becomes a powerful grain of salt that eats into the flesh over time.

So it ends up here.

(Oh, yeah, I also figured out how the doors in Doctor Strange's Sanctum Sanctorum function, but that's another piece of data that will probably never be used).

So, Hastur. His first appearance was in "Haita the Shepherd". The story is here and it is a short read - Haita, a Shepherd, who worships Hastur, god of shepherds, is good and kind and rewarded with a beautiful young maiden. But each time he questions his fortune, the maiden disappears and something bad happens. He visits a hermit, who states:
Know, then, that her name, which she would not even permit thee to inquire, is Happiness. Thou saidst the truth to her, that she is capricious, for she imposeth conditions that man cannot fulfil, and delinquency is punished by desertion. She cometh only when unsought, and will not be questioned. One manifestation of curiosity, one sign of doubt, one expression of misgiving, and she is away!
That's is what Bierce says on Hastur - the moral of the story is truly "Don't worry, be happy". When Chamber calls upon the god, and adds the King in Yellow. his protagonists are upper class, often have suffered a head injury, and read the play as some point, intensifying their madness. Lovecraft invokes the name (and the Yellow Sign) to alude to powerful mystic forces. It only when we get to Derleth that we are off to the races with Cthuloid horrors.

But let's back up. What if Hastur is, as originally posited, a god of the shepherds. And humanity are therefore his sheep? "Tatters of the King" plays with this concept to some degree, connecting the Hastur mythology to Christian Trinity, with varying degrees of success. Indeed, if you think of Hastur as a Shepherd god, the parable of Matthew 25, where Jesus speaks of separating the sheep and goats, comes to mind.

And the question that comes out of that Bible verse is - who are the sheep and who are the goats? The best example of Hastur's "sheep" is Haita, who is faithful and rewarded, and who, when he questions, is punished. Hastur's "goats" can be seen as Chambers' men and women of the world, upper class, worldly, and most of all, intelligent.

You may see where we are going with this. Hastur as a god, his faithful are his flock, blindly following. The danger to his flock are those that question - the smart people, the elite, the intelligentsia. Those are the goats. They have to be identified and excised.

Enter the King In Yellow and his play. Hastur's supposed avatar is a targeted anti-viral agent, the mechanism by which the god protects his people. The common folk, the hoi-palloi, and the illiterate would be immune to a vector directed against the upper classes, the readers, and the intellectual elite. A play, in particular a play aimed as the "smarter set" would be a perfect vector for protecting the dumber population.

What this is means is actually kind of scary for the average Cthulhu investigator. The smarter you are, the more likely that Hastur will lump you among the "goats" and the more vulnerable you are to the King in Yellow. And by definition, the investigators tend to be more goats than sheep in the first place.

So Hastur loves humanity. It is you that he is out to get. It is an interesting idea, but I just don't know where I would want to go with it.

Don't worry. Be happy. More later,