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[Spoilers Main] LOVECRAFT : Nyarlathotep = Many Faced God
Nyarlathotep. The Crawling Chaos, the Faceless God, the Sphinx, the Haunter of the Dark. Who is this mysterious Outer God? Why is he central to the plans of the Outer Gods, whom he openly mocks? Why does he enjoy spreading fear, chaos and terror in the hearts of humans?
In this essay I will show that the Many-Faced God of the House of Black and White of Braavos is none other than Nyarlathotep. To further the whim of the Outer Gods, a group of powerful cosmic beings that have mostly been banished from Earth, the Faceless God Nyarlathotep roams the world in many forms. His evil aims will become central to the main story of A Song of Ice and Fire in The Winds of Winter, as his one of his avatars mocks both the Gods and humans and bespeaks the end of the world by hastening the return of the Outer Gods and the Great Old Ones.
"Nyarlathotep, horror of infinite shapes and dread soul and messenger of the Other Gods" - HP Lovecraft, "The Dream Quest of Unknown Kadath"Developed by HP Lovecraft in 1920, Nyarlathotep is first described as man of strange powers who has come from the ancient lands of Egypt. He gives demonstrations of his powers that awe and frighten the people, but his reputation spreads quickly, as do the night screams and nightmares of the populace in the lands he visits.
HP Lovecraft wrote 4 stories and one poem where an avatar of Nyarlathotep appears directly: "Nyarlathotep", "The Dream Quest of Unknown Kadath", "The Dreams of the Witch House", "The Haunter of the Dark" and the poem "Fungi from Yuggoth", where he appears in 2 stanzas.
Quickly adopted by the many other writers who shared the Cthulhu Mythos with Lovecraft (Block, Price, Derleth, Carter, and more), and even other authors who are not known as Mythos writers (such as Stephen King), the role and archetype of Nyarlathotep has been employed to introduce a mocking, malevolent being who takes many forms (or wears many masks, according to some of the Mythos writers) and has many avatars on Earth.
It's worth noting that there is a famous RPG called Masks of Nyarlathotep that also helped spread his fame and infamy. After Cthulhu, Nyarlathotep is the most referenced of Lovecraft's creations.
To gain understanding of the archetype, let's review the role of Nyarlathotep from another, familiar story: Stephen King's The Stand.
Randall Flagg (Stephen King)Stephen King, long inspired by the Mythos, used the Nyarlathotep archetype to introduce Randall Flagg. In fact, the language describing Randall Flagg is evocative of the language HP Lovecraft uses to introduce Nyarlathotep. Compare these passages:
There was a dark hilarity in his face, and perhaps in his heart, too, you would think - and you would be right. It was the face of a hatefully happy man, a face that radiated a horrible handsome warmth, a face to make water glasses shatter in the hands of tired truck-stop waitresses, to make small children crash their trikes into board fences and then run wailing to their mommies with stake-shaped splinters sticking out of their knees. It was a face guaranteed to make barroom arguments over batting averages turn bloody. -Stephen King, The StandWith two very different styles, both King and Lovecraft invoke a being who radiates power and evil that inspires nightmares and terror wherever he goes. A good-looking man ("horrible handsome warmth" vs. "swarthy, slender, and sinister") with evil intentions ("hatefully happy" vs. "capricious humor") who brings pain and terror wherever he goes.
Into the lands of civilisation came Nyarlathotep, swarthy, slender, and sinister, always buying strange instruments of glass and metal and combining them into instruments yet stranger. He spoke much of the sciences - of electricity and psychology - and gave exhibitions of power which sent his spectators away speechless, yet which swelled his fame to exceeding magnitude. Men advised one another to see Nyarlathotep, and shuddered. And where Nyarlathotep went, rest vanished; for the small hours were rent with the screams of a nightmare. -HP Lovecraft, "Nyarlathotep"
...a tall, slim figure with the young face of an antique Pharaoh, gay with prismatic robes and crowned with a golden pshent that glowed with inherent light. Close up to Carter strode that regal figure; whose proud carriage and swart features had in them the fascination of a dark god or fallen archangel, and around whose eyes there lurked the languid sparkle of capricious humour. It spoke, and in its mellow tones there rippled the mild music of Lethean streams. -HP Lovecraft, "The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath"
Technically, in universe, he is referred to as "Nyarlahotep", but this is referencing the same character, a man-like being who serves terrible gods but does so mockingly, while tricking humans into following him with "strange instruments of glass and metal" and "exhibitions of power which sent his followers away speechless".
So with that established, let's now review some of the forms of Nyarlathotep.
The God of the Thousand FormsNyarlathotep has a true form, but this form is horrifying to humans. He is most frequently encountered as a tall, swarthy man who takes joy in spreading chaos and suffering. In early stories he was encountered as an Egyptian pharaoh-like being, who inspires legions of followers with demonstrations of magical and terrible new technologies. Through rich rewards and magical deception, these followers lose awareness of their surroundings as Nyarlathotep, ambassador of the banished Outer Gods, spreads despair and terror.
It's postulated that he has so many forms because of the many gods that he serves - that each of them, while banished from Earth, can take the form of Nyarlathotep and so the many roles he must play on Earth can represent separate and even disparate missions. Let's review some of the Cthulhu Mythos forms and roles fulfilled by the many faces of Nyarlathotep.
The Faceless God
It was the eldritch scurrying of those fiend-born rats, always questing for new horrors, and determined to lead me on even unto those grinning caverns of earth's centre where Nyarlathotep, the mad faceless god, howls blindly to the piping of two amorphous idiot flute-players. - HP Lovecraft, "The Rats in the Walls"Here is the earliest and most direct reference to the Faceless God by Lovecraft himself. Lovecraft had developed the character of Nyarlathotep from the initial mysterious man from Egypt into a god, and encouraged other writers to do so as well. This story does not focus on Nyarlathotep, but mentions him as "the mad faceless god" that horrible beings worship.
The Crawling Chaos
Unlike the other Outer Gods, spreading madness is more important and enjoyable than death and destruction to Nyarlathotep.Nyarlathotep takes great pride in driving men mad and causing chaos. Instead of just torturing people, he aims to drive them mad. In fact, another name or title of Nyarlathotep is The Crawling Chaos.
Then, crushing what he chanced to mould in play, The idiot Chaos blew Earth’s dust away. - HP Lovecraft, "Fungi From Yuggoth"This name partially derives from his role as the messenger (and soul) of the being Azathoth, which is basically a "chaotic" nuclear being that is both "beyond angled space" (i.e. outside of our universe and space-time) while also the creator of the universe, who dreamed it into being. It is also speculated that the Crawling Chaos is another name for the end of the world, that will be initiated by Nyarlathotep.
If Azathoth were to wake, the universe would be blown to dust, so the Outer Gods dance around him to flutes, hoping to ensure that Azathoth does not wake. This overwhelming amount of power is what leads me to believe that Azathoth, while the most powerful of all the gods, is not the Great Other. Azathoth is too important to the universe to involve himself in the squabbles over Earth. Hastur, in my opinion, is the more likely candidate to be the Great Other.
The Black Man of the Witch Cult
_And at the last from inner Egypt came The strange dark One to whom the fellahs bowed; Silent and lean and cryptically proud, And wrapped in fabrics red as sunset flame._ - HP Lovecraft, "Fungi Form Yuggoth"In "The Dreams in the Witch House", the protagonist meets the Black Man of the Witch Cult by sleeping in a haunted Salem attic where a witch disappeared centuries before. This is not a man of African descent; instead, he has midnight black skin, hairless and wearing a black robe. He represents the collusion of the witches with an evil worthy of Satan, and even has a satyr-like legs:
"a tall, lean man of dead black colouration but without the slightest sign of negroid features; wholly devoid of either hair or beard, and wearing as his only garment a shapeless robe of some heavy black fabric. His feet were indistinguishable because of the table and bench, but he must have been shod, since there was a clicking whenever he changed position." - HP Lovecraft, "The Dreams in the Witch House"The Black Man/Dark Man of the Witch Cult was a Christian vision of the being that sealed agreements between witches and Satan; Lovecraft adopted the idea and replaced Satan with Nyarlathotep.
"The Black Pharaoh, an insane pharaoh who secured the Shining Trapezohedron for Egypt, but after being convinced by the resident Haunter of the Dark, he had a lightless temple created to hold the stone and the deity within. That temple became a center of abominable happenings, and the rites carried out there were so monstrous the temple was destroyed and the Pharaoh's name was struck from all records and monuments. The Pharaoh was controlled by the cruel god Nyarlathotep, of whom the Haunter of the Dark was likely an avatar"The story of Nephren-Ka gives evidence that human characters can be directly controlled by Nyarlathotep, as Nephren-Ka is directed by Nyarlathotep to build a lightless temple to house the Shining Trapezohedron. It is in the darkness of the temple that blood sacrifices are used to call the Haunter of the Dark.
The SphinxNyarlathotep is also known as the Sphinx, and loves to tease humans with riddles, much like the mythical Sphinx of ancient Egyptian lore. Having been created by Lovecraft with a pseudo-Egyptian name ("-thotep" being an Egyptian honorific meaning "honored"), the reference to the mysterious Sphinx, also without a face, was unavoidable.
One story concerning Nyarlathotep is called "The Faceless God". Written by Robert Bloch in 1933, this avatar of Nyarlathotep took the form of a faceless sphinx idol, buried in the Egyptian desert and uncovered by a ruthless archaeologist. The idol, made of a curious black stone, inspires great fear in the native Egyptians hired to uncover and haul the idol. They desert the corrupt archaeologist to his doom that very night, and the sphinx comes alive to hunt him down.
The Dweller in DarknessIn this August Derleth story, a professor studying a haunted lake in Wisconsin disappears and his friend sets out to find him. What he discovers is that the lake and the woods are inhabited by an avatar of Nyarlathotep. To drive him away, the friend is helped by a sullen local Native American who is haunted by the long history of the lake and the terrible Great Old One.
This is also a notable story as it both introduces Derleth's major addition to the Mythos, Cthugha, and sees Cthugha invoked to scare away the avatar of Nyarlathotep. From the beginning, then, Cthugha, the Lord of Light, is at war with Nyarlathotep. I will cover Cthugha more completely in a future essay, as i believe that he is a major component of the pantheon of the Gods of Terror - he is the god of the Red Religion.
The Haunter of the DarkThis is really interesting, as it relates directly to the Church of Starry Wisdom, which exists in Westeros and Essos and has a sinister reputation, according to Master Yandel. In "The Haunter of the Dark", written by Lovecraft in 1935, the diaries of the _Spoiler_ (dead) protagonist are discussed and analyzed for truth. Robert Blake, the protagonist, is a writer in Providence, Rhode Island. He described his fascination with a dark church:
"Of all the distant objects on Federal Hill, a certain huge, dark church most fascinated Blake. It stood out with especial distinctness at certain hours of the day, and at sunset the great tower and tapering steeple loomed blackly against the flaming sky." - HP Lovecraft, "The Haunter of the Dark"He becomes obsessed with the church and its dark presence. He decides to investigate it finally and what he finds horrifies him:
It was a human skeleton, and it must have been there for a very long time. The clothing was in shreds, but some buttons and fragments of cloth bespoke a man's grey suit.A note in the man's tattered pocket contained a sordid history of the presence of the Church of Starry Wisdom in the town. It describes how its cultists use an ancient Egyptian "box" that "can't exist in light", and that these cultists used this "box", which they called the Shining Trapezohedron, as a window to see all of space and time. This window, and the knowledge that could be gained by looking into it, came at a terrible price. For Nyarlathotep, in his avatar The Haunter of the Dark, demanded monstrous blood sacrifices for the use of the Shining Trapezohedron.
What form does this avatar take? A three-lobed burning eye with wings.Does that remind you of anyone's sigil, just a little? (Euron. It's Euron.)
The many roles of NyarlathotepTo understand Nyarlathotep, you must understand the roles he plays in the Mythos stories. Much like his forms, they are varied and sometimes confusing or conflicting.
The Messenger of the Gods
"I am His Messenger," the daemon said, As in contempt he struck his Master’s head. - HP Lovecraft, "Fungi From Yuggoth"Because Nyarlathotep can walk among mortals, Lovecraft and the other Mythos writers employ Nyarlathotep as the interface between humans and the Outer Gods. He appears in more stories than most of the Other Gods (that is, the Outer Gods and the Great Old Ones, which are not exactly distinct as there is no real order to the Mythos, but that is an issue for another day).
Bringer of Chaos
"... the gigantic ultimate gods, the blind, voiceless, tenebrous, mindless Other Gods whose soul and messenger is the crawling chaos Nyarlathotep." - HP Lovecraft, "The Dream Quest of Unknown Kadath"Nyarlathotep spreads not just doom but chaos as well, to help spread fear and distress within the populace. In the first story, HP Lovecraft describes how screams and nightmares filled each city visited by Nyarlathotep as he gave his demonstrations of power.
Harbinger of Doom
"If there are gods to listen, they are monstrous gods who torment us for their sport. Who else would make a world like this, so full of bondage, blood, and pain? Who else would shape us as they have?" - Tyrion XI, A Dance With DragonsThe Gods of Terros are terrible. Their indifference to the suffering of humanity, and the even more sinister enjoyment of suffering shown by Nyarlathotep, are not even the worst part of their plans.
According to Derleth, the Outer Gods and the Great Old Ones were banished from Earth in an ancient war with the Elder Gods of Earth. Some of the Outer Gods/Great Old Ones are sleeping on Earth, like Cthulhu, and others were banished into outer space, but they want to return to take their revenge. However, they are prevented from doing so without outside help.
Only Nyarlathotep is free to roam the earth and interact with mortals, doing the bidding of the Gods. He is working to reverse the banishment, and to awaken the sleeping gods. And it's for this reason that he appears in A Song of Ice and Fire.
Nyarlathotep in A Song of Ice and Fire
"And through this revolting graveyard of the universe the muffled, maddening beating of drums, and thin, monotonous whine of blasphemous flutes from inconceivable, unlighted chambers beyond Time; the detestable pounding and piping whereunto dance slowly, awkwardly, and absurdly the gigantic, tenebrous ultimate gods-the blind, voiceless, mindless gargoyles whose soul is Nyarlathotep." HP Lovecraft, "Nyarlathotep"If you have been reading my Gods of Terror theory series, you understand that George RR Martin is a huge Cthulhu Mythos fan. I have already identified two major Mythos gods in the pantheon of Gods present in A Song of Ice and Fire (Hastur is The Great Other and Tsathoggua is the Toad God), and Cthulhu is so generally seen as the Drowned God that I haven't had to write it up yet. Dagon is another
The Many-Faced God and the representations of DeathThis connection is at the heart of the relationship between Nyarlathotep and mortals. In fact, it is the main role that Nyarlathotep takes in A Song of Ice and Fire: that of the God of Death. From the beginning, the roots of the cult of the Faceless Men is about Death.
The story told by the Kindly Man to Arya about the beginnings of the cult of the Many-Faced God in the House of Black and White indicates that The Many-Faced God gave the first "gift" of death to a slave. Where was he encountered? Deep in the earth where slaves of Valyria toiled for the dragon masters.
But before he gave the gift, he trained this first Faceless Man in the ways of the masks. And from this interact came the cult of the Faceless Men and the religion of the Many-Faced God.
Not every god represented in the House of Black and White is directly associated with the Cthulhu Mythos. The Pale Child of Bakkalon is a call out to an older GRRM story, though I don't know what to make of that yet.
The Faceless Men
"It is understood in the land of dream that the Other Gods have many agents moving among men; and all these agents, whether wholly human or slightly less than human, are eager to work the will of those blind and mindless things in return for the favour of their hideous soul and messenger, the crawling chaos Nyarlathotep." - HP Lovecraft, "The Dream Quest of Unknown Kadath"In the Cthulhu Mythos there is a group of cultists called the Dark Brotherhood or Black Brotherhood, who are dedicated to hastening the return of the Great Old Ones. They are an international group of assassins, made of people of all ethnicities and all ways of life, who adopt a mask to disguise themselves.
Now, this being an August Derleth story (while it's credited to both him and Lovecraft, it's his story from HP's rough idea), all of the assassins wear a mask that stupidly looks like Edgar Allen Poe. Yes, the writer. It's also worth noting that Poe wrote a story called "The Sphinx" which may have influenced Nyarlathotep's background.
However stupid the origin, the Faceless Men fit this model closely. And their presence throughout the story, and especially in Oldtown, speaks to their importance to the endgame of the gods.
The Thing, they whisper, wears a silken mask Of yellow, whose queer folds appear to hide A face not of this earth, though none dares ask Just what those features are, which bulge inside. Many, in man’s first youth, sought out that glow, But what they found, no one will ever know. - HP Lovecraft, "Fungi From Yuggoth"The representations of the Stranger - a man with a veiled face - correlate closely to the King in Yellow and the High Priest Not To Be Described. It is easy to make the connection to Nyarlathotep, who is often associated with the King in Yellow and the High Priest Not To Be Described. Most importantly, however, is the association with Death.
The Black Goat?The association of the Black Goat with the Many-Faced God at the House of Black and White is a bit confusing, as Shub-Niggurath is seen as female, and the Black Goat is seen as male in the World of Ice and Fire.
However, this confusion is usually resolved by picturing this Black Goat (of a Thousand Young), a Pan-like satyr or half-man/half-goat, as the incarnation of Shub-Niggurath on Earth. This horned 'Lord of the Woods' copulates with worshipers to produce horrible offspring. And he demands blood sacrifices from beasts and man alike. It is very possible that the Black Man of the Witch Cult avatar of Nyarlathotep, who appears as a pitch-black satyr in "The Dreams of the Witch House", might be the same being as the Black Goat. If so, that would mean that Shub-Niggurath sends Nyarlathotep to Earth to interact with her followers and to father her "thousand young".
The Black Goat, then, may not be one of Nyarlathotep's forms, but she/he is definitely a god of Death and is one of the avatars of an Outer God.
Lion of NightBecause the Many-Faced God is directly associated with the Lion of Night, and Nyarlathotep is associated with the Many-Faced God, then Nyarlathotep may be directly associated with the coming of the Long Night as described in the Yi Ti story of the Great Empire of the Dawn, from The World of Ice and Fire.
Yhoundeh, the Wife of NyarlathotepI'm not sure exactly how this fits in yet, but it's worth noting that Nyarlathotep has a wife, the horned elk-goddess Yhoundeh. She was worshiped in ancient times in Hyperboria after her priests banned the worship of Tsathoggua. However, the fall of the Hyperborean civilization lead to the abandonment of the religion of Yhoundeh. She is mainly mentioned in the The Door to Saturn by Derleth.
Apparently, Yhoundeh had an affair with Darkness, which birthed Shub-Niggurath, the Black Goat of the Woods with a Thousand Young. The Black Goat is worshiped in Qohor, of course, and this means that Yhoundeh could exist in the world of A Song of Ice and Fire. In fact, she is my vote for the Maiden Made of Light (while of course, the Maiden Made of Light represents the Sun, she might also be a Mythos God).
The Bloodstone Emperor?I'll cover this more in part two of this essay, but the story of the Bloodstone Emperor of the Great Empire of the Dawn is full of Nyarlathotep allusions. The Bloodstone Emperor worshiped a black stone that fell from the sky. This is a direct allusion to the Shining Trapezohedron worshiped by the Church of Starry Wisdom in "The Haunter of the Dark". In fact, the Yi Ti legend states explicitly that the Bloodstone Emperor was the first priest of the "sinister" Church of Starry Wisdom, which exists in the main story throughout the port cities of Essos and Sothoryos and Westeros.
What could this mean? Well, in "The Haunter of the Dark", the protagonist discovers that the Church performs human sacrifices over the Shining Trapezohedron to call the Haunter of the Dark, who gives them visions of the future in exchange for that most terrible of coin: blood.
I'll have a lot more on this in the second part of this essay, where I will postulate as to what this reference will mean for A Song of Ice and Fire.
In The Main Story???
Faceless Men and BraavosIt's clear that there is more to the story of the first Faceless Man and the cult that was formed to worship the Faceless God (excuse me, the Many-Faced God). For instance, how did the moon singers of the Jogos Nhai receive the visions of the lagoon that was to become Braavos? How does the House of Black and White relate to the Iron Bank of Braavos?
Did they cause the Doom of Valyria? And if so, why?
The obvious Cthulhu Mythos comparison is the Dark Brotherhood, even with it's Derleth-imposed limitations. The idea of an international brotherhood of assassins that wear masks and are working to bring back the banished Gods seems to be a direct inspiration for the Faceless Men (without the Poe bullshit to hold it down).
Littlefinger?The emphasis on causing chaos, and his background in Braavos where they worship the Many-Faced God among other gods, makes me suspect that Petyr Baelish might be some form of Nyarlathotep, but in the end I don't think he fits the archetype. He's just a scheming man (though no ordinary schemer, to be sure), and not a god intent on the destruction of humanity.
However, I do wonder exactly which gods Varys is referencing in this quote from Arya III:
"This is no longer a game for two players, if it ever was. Stannis Baratheon and Lysa Arryn have fled beyond my reach, and the whispers say they are gathering swords around them. The Knight of Flowers write Highgarden, urging his lord father to send his sister to court. The girl is a maid of fourteen, sweet and beautiful and tractable, and Lord Renly and Ser Loras intend that Robert should bed her, wed her, and make her a new queen. Littlefinger ... the gods only know what game Littlefinger is playing"Given that it hasn't been established exactly which gods Varys prays to, and the fact that he is talking privately (he thinks) to Illyrio, this should not just be taken as a reference to the Seven. Is it a reference to the Outer Gods? I don't know. But I don't think that Petyr is a Nyarlathotep avatar.
The strange dark One to whom the fellahs bowed; Silent and lean and cryptically proud, And wrapped in fabrics red as sunset flame.* - HP Lovecraft, "Fungi Form Yuggoth"This is my choice for a second avatar of Nyarlathotep. His description is very close to the Dark Man or Black Man of the Witch Cults version of Nyarlathotep. When we first meet him, he is with Tyrion on the Selaesori Qhoran. His skin is not brown or tan, but is instead coal black, as black as night:
A huge man, taller than Ser Jorah and wide enough to make two of him, the priest wore scarlet robes embroidered at sleeve and hem and collar with orange satin flames. His skin was black as pitch, his hair as white as snow; the flames tattooed across his cheeks and brow yellow and orange. His iron staff was as tall as he was and crowned with a dragon’s head; when he stamped its butt upon the deck, the dragon’s maw spat crackling green flame. -TyrionWhen he joins Victarion, the crew is incredibly afraid of him, much like the natives of Egypt who fear the black stone Sphinx from "The Dweller In Darkness". He is not the same man that Tyrion encountered on the Selaesori Qhoran.
His skin was black. Not the nut brown of the Summer Islanders on their swan ships, nor the red-brown of the Dothraki horselords, nor the charcoal-and-earth color of the dusky woman’s skin, but black. Blacker than coal, blacker than jet, blacker than a raven’s wing. Burned , Victarion thought, like a man who has been roasted in the flames until his flesh chars and crisps and falls smoking from his bones . The fires that had charred him still danced across his cheeks and forehead, where his eyes peered out from amongst a mask of frozen flames. Slave tattoos, the captain knew. Marks of evil. - The Iron Suitor, A Dance With DragonsWhen he is fished from the sea and brought to Victarion, he is wearing a faded red garment. Later, in an attempt to make him seem less evil, Victarion has a new robe made for Moroqqo from black cloth. However, this does not help to inspire the ship's crew to trust him:
Clad in black from head to heel, with a mask of red-and-orange flames tattooed across his face, the priest appeared more sinister than ever. The firelight made his black skin shine like polished onyx, and sometimes Victarion could swear that the flames tattooed on his face were dancing too, twisting and bending, melting into one another, their colors changing with every turn of the priest’s head. - Victarion I, A Dance With DragonsNote that the flame tattoos on his face have change from yellow and orange to red and orange.
Here is the description of the Black Man of the Witch Cult:
a tall, lean man of dead black colouration but without the slightest sign of negroid features; wholly devoid of either hair or beard, and wearing as his only garment a shapeless robe of some heavy black fabric. His feet were indistinguishable because of the table and bench, but he must have been shod, since there was a clicking whenever he changed position. - HP Lovecraft, "The Dreams in the Witch House"So does this mean that Moroqqo is working with Euron? It's hard to say exactly, given the confusion surrounding the relationship of Nyarlathotep and the other gods of the Cthulhu Mythos. Moroqqo is an adherent to the red religion, and Nyarlathotep is seen to be in opposition to my choice for the Lord of Light, Cthugha. But it is hard for us humans to understand the motives of these gods, so I can't be sure of why Moroqqo would be helping Victarion.
I do think that it is part of the plot to bring Dany and her dragons to Westeros for Euron. I don't believe that Moroqqo is helping Victarion for Victarion's sake. But there remains the possibility that different Outer Gods can invoke their own avatar of Nyarlathotep to do their bidding on Earth, and that Moroqqo is now an avatar of the Lord of Light who opposes the other, more important avatar of Nyarlathotep: Euron.
That is not dead which can eternal lie, And with strange aeons even death may die. - from the NecronomiconIt's clear that the Ironborn have the most direct relationship with the Cthulhu Mythos. Beyond just the similarities of the quotes above, the Greyjoy family name Dagon is directly taken from the Cthulhu Mythos. The Ironborn believe that they are the descendants of the Mer-people. In fact, in The World of Ice and Fire, the Deep Ones are directly referenced as the ancestors of the Ironborn (though Maester Yandal dismisses it). So is it a surprise that the worst Ironborn of all is now in the thrall of Nyarlathotep, or has even been replaced directly by the tall, swarthy man?
"What is dead may never die, but rises again, harder and stronger."
Who in the story is the seed of evil, the spreader of chaos and lies, who tricks men into following him to their doom using strange instruments of glass and metal? Who sees himself as both better than humans and the gods, but at the same time is performing the will of the gods using blood rituals?
Euron has returned from his banishment, but he is not fully human anymore, if he ever was. His visit to Valyria was his own doom, and he has become an avatar of Nyarlathotep. And he is here to torture, to kill, to drive men mad, as we see when he is alone with Aeron in The Winds of Winter sample chapter. But torturing and killing humans isn't the purpose of Nyarlathotep, nor of Euron: instead, he has come to start the process of awakening the Gods from their slumber to remake the world.
Leader of Men
"Since the Dawn Age, the ironborn have followed the Drowned God, who plucked fire from the sea, and made us to reave and sack, and carve our names in blood and song." ―Yara GreyjoyThough he is a terrible person, Euron inspires legions of followers by demonstrating great powers using strange and wonderful technologies. The dragon horn Dragonbinder, which he claims to have gotten from the ruins of Valyria, are used to establish his claim to the kingship of the Iron Islands. The suit of Valyrian armor he wears in "The Forsaken" serves to increase his stature.
But more than just the powerful instruments and armor that he controls is the ability to forgo any reward for himself when they capture castles and land. He gives out riches and titles like candy. He cares little for the earthly riches that others desire; instead, he
Tormentor of MenEuron's treatment of Aeron, and of the 4 warlocks of Qarth, are perfect examples of his ability to torture men to madness. He kills one of them, to show that he meant business, and then chained them up and made them eat the dead warlock (and probably themselves). In "The Forsaken", we see what's left of Pyat Pree: a man without legs, who has clearly been driven mad:
"Last were two warlocks of the east, with flesh as white as mushrooms, and lips the purplish?-blue of a bad bruise, all so gaunt and starved that only skin and bones remained. One had lost his legs. The mutes hung him from a rafter. 'Pree,' he cried as he swung back and forth. 'Pree, Pree!'"But his ultimate goal is not just to drive men mad and to spread chaos and fear. He is the harbinger of doom, Death, the Lion of Night, here to remake the world again. And he will do this by calling back from the dead the terrible Gods of Terror using blood sacrifices, and the collusion of a famous family in Westeros, which I will cover in part 2 of this essay.
Messenger of the Gods
"Godless? Why, Aeron, I am the godliest man ever to raise sail! You serve one god, Damphair, but I have served ten thousand. From Ib to Asshai, when men see my sails, they pray." - George RR Martin, A Feast For CrowsThis is a famous quote, which I have always loved. And at first I saw the "served ten thousand gods" line as only relating to the fear he inspires in his victims and their pleas for help from their gods. But in the light of the role that he is to play in the story, and the role of Nyarlathotep as the messenger of the gods, it's clear that it has two meanings.
It's clear that, while Euron has little respect for the gods, a la Nyarlathotep, he also is their messenger. He is the ultimate evil of A Song of Ice and Fire, and it's him and his minions that Job and Bran and Dany will be fighting, in a quest to save the world from Doom.
Harbinger of DoomEuron makes blood sacrifices to the Storm God (who I believe to be Hastur), according to the whispers of sailors, to receive favorable winds. At the end of The Forsaken, he is preparing to make an even greater sacrifice. This is the first part of his plan to bring back the Gods of Terror. For the banished gods cannot release themselves from their imprisonment.
My Conclusions:Nyarlathotep, the Faceless God, he of a thousand terrible forms, has been present throughout the stories in many forms - all representing death and despair. And currently he has taken over two humans and is using them to help bring back the banished Other Gods.
The Long Night was started by the Bloodstone Emperor, who worshiped the Shining Trapezohedron, and used it to call the Haunter of the Dark (Nyarlathotep), or the Lion of Night as the Yi Tish call him. This direct link between the horror of the Long Night, and the Church of Starry Wisdom, which was founded by the Bloodstone Emperor, spells ill omens for the future of the story, and especially Dany, who may be the return of the Amethyst Empress.
Euron is no longer the brother of Aeron and Balon. He has been taken over by the Crawling Chaos, the god of a thousand faces, the tall, swarthy pharaoh-like man who brings chaos and wins legions of followers through demonstrations of terrible, magical technology. And it is Euron, who serves the Gods, who will awaken them from their slumber.
When the Ghost of High Heart sees a man without a face on a bridge, with a crow on his shoulder, she's not describing a Faceless Man. She is talking about the Faceless God.
She is describing Nyarlathotep, who has become Euron. And its through Euron that Nyarlathotep will fulfill his role of harbinger of doom, and awaken the sleeping Outer Gods. While Euron denies his direct involvement in "The Forsaken", Nyarlathotep, in one of his forms, was responsible.
Moroqqo, after he was washed into the sea and taken on board the Iron Fleet, is no longer human (if he ever was), but has instead become one with Nyarlathotep. His power and visions are derived from his new association with the god of death.
Nyarlathotep is directly associated with masks, and has himself many faces and forms. While they call him the Many-Faced God, the Faceless Men serve Nyarlathotep, the Faceless God, and are working to hasten the return of the gods and the end of the world. All men must serve, they say.... and all men must die.
Challenger Cup Week 5 update
2 weeks have passed and I have an update on the Challenger Cup for you. Please be aware that not all teams have played equal amount of games, so it still has some effect on the standings. We can already see teams that are competing for the leading positions.Just reminding you all that the winner of each category will receive 10€ Steam Card at the end of the season.
Will Score For Food Award
|3||School of Dance||Morka||14|
|6||Not An Anime Sports Team||ArchXL||12|
|6||One Cheese||Rex Longbone||12|
|6||Davo's Dark Delights||AndyDavo||12|
|6||Ready Lizard One||Hoyleyboy||12|
Ravens Claws (Skaven) scored just 4 touchdowns in their last 2 matches. Despite that they were able to retain the leading position for Gaudi-Kun (Gaudi) with 17 touchdowns. The 2nd and 3rd place was swapped between Ratfuckers United (Skaven) and Doomed Witches (Dark Elf), though the later has 1 game more. The last 2 weeks rained touchdowns for Viajero and Morka. This placed them both on the 3rd position, where previously they were not even close to leader position. On the other hand AndyDavo and Munkey Chunks dropped but Andy remains still in sight. We have mostly Skaven and Elf team in leading position with sprinkle of Lizards.
Sharpest Claw Award
|3||Buff Men With Short Legs||Huztler||22|
|3||Royal Rumble Boys||AGrain||22|
|6||Warc Machine III||Lyskaris||21|
|8||Rocky Road Warriors||Deathmaker2000||20|
|9||Cenobite the Curb||TheDrunkernaut||19|
We had quite shuffle in CAS department. Both previous leaders, Ace Trucking Co. (Chaos Dwarf) and Brazzerz (Orc), dropped significantly and did not even make the table. While /uy/mir_is_here ’s (Holes) Film Flayers (Necro) and SuperGroverMonst ‘s (Saace) AnimalFarm (Chaos) made a jump from 4th to 1st position with 23 casualties. The remaining teams breathing up their necks are new to the leaderboard as well. The leaderboard is very close so we can expect another shuffle in next 2 weeks.
Golden Boot Award
|2||Here goes Nothing!||Atomex||9|
|2||New Year Norse||Ornan||9|
|2||Jogo Bonito BB Club||Quim||9|
|7||Da Waagh Tigerz||Manus Atra||8|
|9||Monty's Tosspots||Skyblue Monty||7|
|9||BioWare for Life||DireSickFish||7|
|9||SMOCKER ROCKERS||NIKES WINGS||7|
This leaderboard finally looks like lawyer company Goblin&Goblin&Goblin&Goblin. And this time around the Goblins are even on first position. Ravenpoe121 with GADS Gobstoppers made an unbelievable jump from 5 to 13 expulsions in 2 weeks. Looks like they bribed the referee to actually sent them off. All the 2nd teams are 4 expulsions behind and while there is plenty of time of catch up with the leader this is rather strong position for Ravenpoe.
Crowd Favourite Award
|1||ez big ez necro||Cryticalh1T||8|
|4||Davo's Dark Delights||AndyDavo||7|
|4||Death Then Dishonour||Barmution||7|
|4||United Scarab Khemirates||Harringzord||7|
|4||Cold Blooded Exes||Larkstar||7|
|4||Warc Machine III||Lyskaris||7|
Previous leader AndyDavo is slacking in this category as well and no surf in 2 games means he lost his leading position. However the leaderboard is very close and absolutely everything can change. Jimmy_Fantastic with TEAM FANTASTIC (Chaos)made a fantastic jump to 1st place which he shares with Miraskadu ‘s TARDIS (Lizards) and Crytical_ ‘s ez big ez necro (Necro), all causing 8 crowd surfs. Jimmy is putting all the frenzy teams to shame.
It is clear that week 5 is too soon to be able to tell who will win. It is likely that some of the categories will have completely different leaders next time. Stay tuned.