I had a few things I could do with today's blog post. I had, of course, the Paladin Playlist from yesterday that should've run, but before I posted it, I realized it's Valentine's Day. Oh beloved V-day. Arizona's birthday! Whatever you choose to think of it, it's hard to find someplace that isn't talking about love and romance today. So, I asked some Facebook friends if this was inevitable or if I should try to buck the trend. This blog post shall reflect their answer.
Cthulu. Sacrifice. Sacrifice to Cthulu? No, that wouldn't be right. The Elder Ones seemed to care little for human life, much less the expenditure of it. Still, themes of sacrifice (for Lent) and Cthulu (because why not?) were asked for and so, here I am. Ritual and religion. Sacrifice, either in a spiritual way or in a more traditional altar and knife way. These are elements that your world will have to deal with at some point or another. Eyes are rolling. I can see it through your monitors. Hear me out.
Perhaps you're writing high fantasy, something like Lord of the Rings or whatnot. The parallels are obvious here, but what if you decide to set your story in Pennsylvania? Well, the spiritual beliefs (or even lack thereof) are defining traits for your character. If they don't engage in them, you have to believe others around them will. Even if it's not the central theme of your novel or story, it's part of who your character is and needs to be addressed. It's something that can and should influence their decisions throughout the story, regardless of whether or not it is plainly stated to the reader.
Now, Cthulu, and by extension, HP Lovecraft, is a strange case of modern mythos. Nothing the author wrote really took off in his day, but his creations weren't just set in stone invocations. His contemporaries, proteges, and friends all drew from his work, added and altered, and he took those back and reincorporated them. In essence, he did in one lifetime what civilization tends to do with religions over generations. It adapted, traveled, changed, and returned, eventually creating something greater than it's initial inception. After Lovecraft's death, his universe only expanded with more gods, more monsters, and more lore. It's hard to nail down what is "cannon" in Lovecraft like it's hard to nail down what is "cannon" in the legend of King Arthur or the trials of Heracles.
A good world needs these elements. What motivations beyond your character move them, what do they sacrifice for? Obviously in Lovecraft, there's little point in attempting to appease or sate Elder Gods that carry nothing but contempt for humans and life in general, but in your mythos, this doesn't have to be the case. Are there gods in your story? Are they benevolent? Look at Lord of the Rings and the intense, extensive hierarchy of beings that exist above the world. I say LOTR, I suppose what I mean is The Silmarillion. The creation mythos in that universe is crazy, but so intriguing. It's beautiful and inspiring, though, again, that doesn't mean yours has to be.
Full disclosure here: I think a few people might have some misconceptions about my novel when it comes to this aspect. My story revolves heavily around Catholic dogma and Christian mythos in general. This might lead one to believe that this is the kind of the novel that would end up in a Christian bookstore. It is decidedly not. I want to be clear that I am using these points as a setting. It's something much closer to The Exorcist or Hellsing. Heck, there's some Supernatural in there too for fans of Sam and Dean. Still, these elements are drawn from Catholic and Christian lore at large. It's appropriate and it's central, but I would not say that this is what the story is about. Like Lovecraft, I've looked at what I had to work with and have remodeled it, reformed it, and adjusted it to work with what I need. It's dark, it's intense, and I really hope you'll all love it as much as I do.
That is not dead which can eternal lie, and with strange aeons, even death may die.
Keep your eyes open for my debut novel, The Paladin.