Monster Madness

From: David Cake (davidc@cyllene.uwa.edu.au)
Date: Fri 23 Feb 1996 - 12:43:31 EET


        That Peter Metcalfe - once he gets an idea into his head you just
can't shake it. I realise that this discussion is getting dull, so I think
if Peter (or anyone else) wants to take it further, it should go to email.
I'll try and be brief and to the point.
I said
>Being God of the Dead is about ruling the Underworld, not at all
>about killing people (everyone dies in the end anyway, why bother hurrying
>it). I see the two roles as quite distinct, and I see ZZ and Monster Man
>both fitting clearly into the two different roles.

and he said
>I think this distinction is quite pedantic.
        
       My opinion is this - ZZ and Monster Man have many superficial
similarities (death, darkness, living in Hell), but have completely
different mythic roles (one is a War God, and the other an Underworld god).
That is the main point here. I don't think the distinction is pedantic at all!

        Their myths are completely different (the main Monster Man myth is
about his defeat at the hands of Lodril, I can't remember a single real
defeat for ZZ). They are from wildly different cultures. ZZ spends all his
time rushing about on the surface world killing things, Deshkorgos spends
most of his time chained in hell by Lodril. ZZ is the rebel who wants to
destroy or conquer all authority - Monster Man is the old bad king who
becomes the servant of the new good king. I really can't see WHY you want to
identify them, myself.

Dave Dunham enters the fray
>>Deshkorgos and Derdromus are both called Monster Man; I'm not convinced
>>that all gods who have this title are necessarily the same, given how
>>generic it is.

        The title is not enough to convince me alone. That the Monster Man
cult is associated with Lodril, that both are rulers of at least part of the
Underworld at some point, that Deshkorgos is subservient to Lodril while
Derdromus is defeated by him (thus giving a reason for his subservience),
that both rule over the worst parts of Hell, all this is much better
evidence for assuming that they are the same being than a mere shared title.
Their stories are a little different, but enough that it is the work of a
few minutes for a God Learner to combine them without the seams showing.

Peter further interestingly adds
>I really see the Monster Man Cults as one of those pre Lodril Earth
>cults who were forced into the Dark Places by the appearance of a
>Lodrilite Hero (with the beginning of volcanic activity in the area).

     I think that the myth can stand on its own as a Lodril myth of life
conquering death, rather than reflecting a societal change. Not all 'bad'
deities are demonised earlier religions, sometimes they are just demonised
representations of the unpleasant parts of life.
        I see the mythic pattern here as pretty classic. There is the old
king of the underworld, an old lifeless creature, and a fearsome and cruel
and horrible one, and he steals life away (the earth goddesses). Then the
hero comes, full of life/heat. The old king steals almost all of it away,
but does not break the heros spirit, and so the old kings wife decides to
aid the hero, because she wants life as well. He defeats the old king, and
takes his place. Now, we need no longer fear the afterlife without reason -
the hero has gone there and defeated its worst parts.

        A nice classic myth story, neatly following the heros journey,
without being a cliche. Why mess it up with identifying the old king with
the previous shamnic culture (the whole point of Monster Man is that he
rules the land of the dead, not this world), and why mess it up by
identifying the villain with a troll god of completely different mythic
position, and completely different in style?

        Cheers

                David

        
        The Gods only know how to compete or echo - Gilgamesh
        He whose face gives no light, shall never become a star.
                                        -William Blake

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