Tuesday, March 24, 2009

The Proper Pronunciation of Cthulhu

^1. H.P. Lovecraft 2.Great Cthulhu

One of the greatest unsolved, and perhaps unsolvable, mysteries of all on the internet today is the correct pronunciation of one of the most famous names in all of horror and science fiction. That mystery is the correct pronunciation of "Cthulhu."

Let's start off with the basics. The first question one would most likely ask is this: "who or what the heck is Cthulhu?" And with that, we begin.

Cthulhu is a fictional being created by the writer Howard Phillips Lovecraft, a man widely considered by many readers to be the undisputed king of horror and the macabre. In the stories, Cthulhu is a high priest of an incredibly powerful alien race called the Great Old Ones, who, along with Cthulhu himself, are worshipped as gods by various cults around the world and beyond. They came from other planets and dimensions to Earth. Later, they went to sleep in the underwater city of R'lyeh. When Cthulhu and the Great Old Ones awaken from their slumber, a time when "the stars are right," they will rise to take their place as rulers of Earth, regardless of whether the human race will perish in the process.

Now that that is out of the way, we can concentrate on what really matters in the grand scheme of things: how to pronounce a fictional entity's name in the correct fashion. However, there is no simple, clear cut answer. According to H.P. Lovecraft, the correct way of pronouncing "Cthulhu" is in the language of the Great Old Ones, which is incompatible with the speech of humans. Therefore, the closest we can get to the correct is a mere approximation. According to Lovecraft, "Cthulhu" is pronounced Khlûl'-hloo. However, even this may not be correct, considering that Lovecraft was quite inconsistent with the pronounciation of the name of his most famous creation.
The mystery of the correct pronunciation of Cthulhu's name may never be solved, but that does not mean the mystery is bad or evil in any way. On the contrary, it provides nerds from all corners of the internet a topic to argue about with each other. It makes us... okay, you got me, that's pretty much all I can think of, and it's more neutral than good or bad. But at least some of you have learned something new, ay?