Tolkien meets Lovecraft

To quote Wired (2006) reviewing Charles Stross’s Jennifer Morgue, the James Bond meets Cthulhu novel,

Which raises the question: exactly what genre of fiction wouldn’t benefit from the addition of the Cthulhu Mythos? Cthulhu westerns! Cthulhu biographies! And I’d particularly like to see a reinterpretation of Tolkein [Grrrr. -MoE] incorporating Cthulhu’s influence on Middle Earth.

That is a great idea. Tolkien’s world has a God (Eru Iluvatar), a bunch of incarnate angels (the Valar), and a fallen-angel Satan (Melkor Morgoth). Take those away, and add into the howling godless void uncaring, immensely powerful, horribly different alien creatures.

And think what elves’ close relationship with those “gods” might mean…

* * *

Frodo woke up staring at the ceiling. It was of green wood, green like deep water or a pinewood twilight. The ceiling tiles were wood, patterned and fitted like the scales of some great green dragon. The ceiling beams were a lighter green, irregularly patterned and rayed, as if the spidery-slim fingers of some —

Frodo shivered and clutched at his suddenly burning shoulder. He did not think of the knife, or the chase, or the lack of face on the black-cowled thing; instead, he recalled a visible hand, and shivered.

“My dear boy”, a familiar voice gasped; Frodo turned his head and saw a withered old Hobbit by his bedside, waiting like a tame praying mantis. A familiar withered old Hobbit, though it sickened him to see his corpulent old surrogate father grown so thin, so like a bent skeleton wrapped in too much skin.

The old Hobbit’s eyes twinkled with feverish intensity, with care, love, and something much like fear. “My dear boy. Your body is made whole, but the mind’s hurt lingers. Do not fret; this is a place where the terrors of the outside hold no power.”

Behind Bilbo loomed a second figure, as if a shadow of him: taller, robed in midnight blue, gaunt, with the robe’s folds in distressing layers round his neck. This figure was a stranger — no Hobbit — not human, even — a pale-faced being whose alien features hinted at ancestries far beyond the short memories of Halflings and Men; a proud king with serpentine black locks curling round his white, cruel features: a pyramid of a nose, a gash of a mouth, together with the puffed blood-red lips as if the infected wound of an Orc-blade; and eyes.

Sweet oblivion, those eyes! Vast — luminous — featureless pools of black with no iris or any other feature — cold — ancient and ageless — emotionless — save, beholding these two broken, humble creatures, an unspeakable amusement! As if they had seen such meetings so often as to call them nothing but an echo, a cipher with no meaning, and less value.

“Welcome to the house of Elrond”, that place’s master intoned, and Frodo escaped back into unconscious oblivion and memory’s nightmare.

* * *

“There are dark things in the wells which are the foundation of the world”, the wizard whispered. “Can you unsee that which you might see? If you cannot, be not so eager to see. Your life is the only part given for you to play; and you, my ignorant Hobbit, may have a role to play before the end, as other than a screaming witless husk.”

“Oh”, Pippin breathed, and shrank back from the well and the wizard both, the well-testing rock falling from his fingers.

Round them the halls of the squat-men spread, quiet and dead; built for nameless centuries, built and made kingly; and in one dark night, left empty. Mor-Ia was their name; the Dark Emptiness; not for their uninhabitation, but because of that Unspeakable without description or name that had emptied them.

* * *

“The Witch of the Golden Wood!” the Steward’s son spat. “I trust these elves not.” He threw an angry glance at Strider’s direction. “And you, elf-friend, less. Why would you consort with those who have seen the Elder Days, the days when bright stars burned new in the skies, and darkness welled down from them? Why should I trust you, a friend of the race that is not of this dusty earth, but a crafting of some Dark God? Those that go to them do not return, and those are the fortunate ones; for those that return, come back wrong.”

Strider did not answer; and Frodo understood why.

Brave the ranger was, and strong, and noble; but he could not escape the facts of his heritage; the taint of his lineage; the mixing of dull human blood, and the night-wine that flowed in inhuman veins. For though he did not seem so, though there was no fey madness nor lust for the timeless life of a tomb in him — no, not yet — yet Aragorn’s, Arathorn’s son’s one greatly distant ancestor had been, in the dim mists of Beleriand, and maybe still in the unfamiliarly geometried hidden city of Eressea was… an immortal elf!

2 Responses to “Tolkien meets Lovecraft”

  1. MK Says:

    There is a short story “A Study in Emerald” by Neil Gaiman which combines the world of Sherlock Holmes with Cthulhu mythos: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Study_in_Emerald

  2. Rosie Says:

    This is brilliant! You did a magnificent job of writing this; if you ever were to write any more, I would be delighted!

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