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Tuesday, October 7, 2014

H.P. Lovecraft's Dreamland and the Third Arc

Wizard101 Old Cob

Things inside Wizard101 or Pirate101 that reference outside culture are called "Easter Eggs." Oftentimes, it's cool to look at the source for certain material that we're all very familiar with, but it does more than just amaze. KingsIsle may be tight-lipped about future content, but these sources of inspiration are wide open for our research - and my 500th post!

H.P. Lovecraft's Influence on KingsIsle Games

If you've never heard of H.P. Lovecraft, you're missing out. He's an author famous for his horror stories. You see his work referenced a lot here and there in various games. One that alerted Katherine Light, Paige Moonshade, and I with the release of Khrysalis Part 2 was a quote from one of the sea creatures: "That is not dead which can eternal lie. And with strange aeons even death may die."

Strangely enough, this is a quote ascribed to Abdul Alhazred (Balance Teacher - ring a bell?). Even stranger is that these worlds are from the Necronomicon, a book appearing in Death's puppet show in Pirate101's Cool Ranch and also a fictional grimoire included in Lovecraft's works. IT is closely associated with the Krokonomicon, the book Malistaire was after in Krokotopia, where Alhazred resides in the Balance School. And if you think that's weird, we're just getting started.

Reference Material

There are a lot more noticeable references from Lovecraft in both games. Some of the smaller references include the boss Cuthalla to the Cthulu Mythos (a shared fictional universe, not all of which is Lovecraft's), or Zadok in dealing with the Ancient Ones in a cave outside Xol Akmul - he's also a character of Lovecraft's - one of the few remaining humans of Innsmouth who is eventually sacrificed to the Deep Ones. Then you also see a nod to Cthulu in just about every Pirate101 puppet show, a major creature of Lovecraft's. But it gets even weirder.

If you've not yet read THIS post, I strongly suggest doing so, as this will essentially be a sequel to that. As mentioned there, there's a lot we can learn about the Spiral based on Lovecraft's work. Atlach-Zath and Atlach-Leng are two Before Time spiders we know of already:

Wizard101 Dreamland"A dream of Light comes here, to these plumbless depths. A Light in the dark. A child under an endless, starless sky. I was here before the First World was broken. Ever since Grandmother Raven locked the shadows away. I am named Atlach-Leng: Web Maker, Light Drink, Ghost Spider. Is it time to shake off the chains of sleep, to stretch my web to the world above, to drink deep of the hot, salty blood?"

The name, as I mentioned in that post, comes from Atlach-Nacha, the spider god from Lovecraft's Cthulu Mythos.

Atlach-Nacha resembles a huge spider with an almost-human face. It dwells in a huge cavern deep beneath Mount Voormithadreth, a mountain in the now vanished kingdom of Hyperborea in the Arctic. There it spins a gigantic web, bridging a massive chasm between the Dreamlands and the waking world. Some believe that when the web is complete, the end of the world will come, because it will create a permanent junction with the Dreamlands allowing monsters to move freely into the waking world. 
Atlach-Nacha probably came to Earth from the planet Cykranosh (or Saturn as we know it today) with Tsathoggua. Because of its appearance, Atlach-Nacha is often referred to as the Spider-God(dess) and is believed to be the regent of all spiders. Furthermore, the giant, bloated purple spiders of Leng are thought to be its children and servitors.

Remember walking across that bridge to fight Atlach-Leng in the Abyssal Cave (shown above)? We may have just witnessed the bridging of the Spiral to the Dreamlands.

The Dreamlands and Old Cob's Hint

This other dimension of Lovecraft's - the Dreamland - is really quite something. While the Dreamworld is never mapped out in any of Lovecraft's works, maps have been created by a variety of artists and illustrators based on the locations and travels detailed in his stories.

Wizard101 Dreamland

Here's where things get interesting - the Dreamlands are associated with what's called the "Dream Cycle." (Rember the areas we entered as Morganthe's memories? The music themes were labeled "Dreamworld.") This cycle is mentioned or encountered in a serious of works written by Lovecraft. Before we learn about those, however, we need to hear Old Cob's hint at the end of Khrysalis Part 2 during his last scene.

"You have restored Life and Light to the land. Hrum. Well done. I am pleased I was able to see Khrysalis restored. The Arachna will suffer for a time, but they will get over it. And now, it is time for us to see the Spiral and all its glory. To see what we have missed for being locked away for so long. Fly free, my Children! Marry and make war! Build fleeting empires and towers of cards and beautiful disasters! Fly through the Spiral, to Polaris, Empyrea, and Mirage, to the Hidden Lands and Broken Shores. Dear Wizard, say goodbye to Khrysalis and hello to Merle Ambrose and Bartleby for me. It is time to write a new prophecy."
Most people immediately took that to mean that Old Cob will be the new enemy in the next arc. I'm not so sure, but I DO think he gave us a hint as to where we'll be going in the next arc. He purposely reveals the first three worlds - Polaris, Mirage, and Empyrea. Wizard has always taken us to new worlds, never ones we've really heard of before, so visiting these ought to be a nice change. Then, they purposely left out the final two, mentioning only Hidden Lands and Broken Shores. What those two worlds are is unknown... for the most part.

Everything is Connected

To fully grasp how intertwined everything is with H.P. Lovecraft, let's look at this chart. Keep in mind these are just a few of the references we've caught.

H.P. Lovecraft Connections

Everything related ONLY to H.P. Lovecraft or directly to his works or that is not in-game is Red, though you'll find the bottom quote in Wizard, and the Necronomicon and such are his works. What you see in Wizard is in blue (some speculation included). Pirate is green, and both are games are orange. There are plenty more references to discover, so let's keep an eye out!

Third Arc Hints from H.P. Lovecraft

H.P. Lovecraft Connections Remember Old Cob's world hints? Here's something to consider - not just the titles of the works included in the Dream Cycle, but also their order. Pay close attention. The titles are as follows:

"Polaris" (1918), "The White Ship" (1919), "The Doom That Came to Sarnath" (1919), "The Cats of Ulthar" (1920), "Celepha├»s" (1920), "Ex Oblivione" (1920), "From Beyond" (1920), "Nyarlathotep" (1920), "The Quest of Iranon" (1921), "The Nameless City" (reference only) (1921), "The Other Gods" (1921), "Azathoth" (1922), "The Hound" (1922), "Hypnos" (1922), "What the Moon Brings" (1922), The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath (1926), "The Outsider" (1926), "The Silver Key" (1926), "The Strange High House in the Mist" (1926), "The Case of Charles Dexter Ward" (1927), "The Thing in the Moonlight" (1927), "At the Mountains of Madness" (1931), "The Dreams in the Witch House" (1932), and "Through the Gates of the Silver Key." You might want to start looking some of these up, specifically The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath. They may hold the keys to the third arc.

As to what sort of creatures this new arc may contain, we've got endless possibilities, but until we have further confirmation of H.P. Lovecraft's influence on the third arc, I'll hold off on those.

Hidden Lands and Broken Shores: The Dreamland

The real mysteries in the third arc are the "Hidden Lands" and "Broken Shores." And yes, I split them up. Based on the current pattern, I'd say the third arc will contain five worlds. Polaris, Mirage, and Empyrea account for three, and these final two are the unknown ones. If you ask me, the Dreamland (perhaps renamed) would be a perfect fit.

Wizard101 Dreamland
"Your range of sight is limited by what you have already seen or imagined. Your confusion lies in the fact that what is before you is only fragments having already been passed and processed through your mind. But have no doubt - here in the Dreamland, they are just as real as anything."

Oops, almost slipped into some Swordroll storytelling there.

Old Cob's Not-So-Evil Plot

The confusion I think everyone is having with Old Cob involved his motives. Most people seem to think he's evil, and when someone else posts something similar, that idea is reinforced. However, I don't believe that. I believe Old Cob is instead a symbol of Balance. He sends his children to marry and make war, not because he intends to bring destruction to the Spiral but because the course of beings within the Spiral is already known to him or perhaps controlled (at least in part) by him. He makes note of "beautiful disasters" not because he wishes it upon the worlds, but because the beauty is in seeing the Spiral run its natural course... a course that may not be so natural after all.

Perhaps, in the Before Time, Grandmother Raven was seeking only light in the First World. Old Cob himself reflected a balance of all things, and his dark turn led to his imprisonment in the Black Hole. There, he had some influence on the outside world and the Arachna, but his direct intervention was never necessary. After all, he'd planned the whole thing from the beginning of time.


The Future Lies This Way

There are a lot of questions yet unanswered, and I'm sure there are many references we've not yet discovered or noticed. However, one thing is certain - H.P. Lovecraft's influence on KingsIsle games is extensive, and the possibilities of the Dreamland coming to life within them - and of Lovecraft's works predicting future events - remain to be likely.

Thanks for reading and see you in the Spiral! Hope to see you around for the next 500 posts!

3 comments:

  1. Love your in-depth connection to Lovecraft, and I think you definitely have something there. However, I seriously doubt that just because old Cob mentions Polaris, Empyrea, and Mirage means that we'll actually be going there. After all, there have never been hints of new worlds at the end of any other story arcs Kingsisle has released.

    My far less thought-provoking theory is that we will eventually learn more about these "Hidden Lands" and "Broken Shores," but we won't know where we're actually going until we get there.

    ReplyDelete
  2. You are in fact correct, the new death spell, Call of Khrulhu is based off Call of Cuthulu :D

    ReplyDelete

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