Lovecraft Country: What are the Shoggoth, the Series’ First Monsters?
Ian Cardona
WARNING: The following article contains major spoilers for Lovecraft Country Season 1, Episode 1, "Sundown," which aired Sunday on HBO.
In the series premiere of Lovecraft Country, the HBO series introduces a mystery that drives the story of Atticus "Tic" Freeman forward. "Sundown" begins with Tic coming home from the army to search for his missing father, who disappeared under mysterious circumstances and left behind nothing but a letter to his son. Now, Atticus teams up with his uncle George and his friend Letitia to drive from Chicago to the county side of Massachusetts, where his father may be.
Once they near their destination, however, they attract the attention of a racist sheriff who insists on enforcing his county's "sundown" practice. The sheriff and fellow police officers drag Tic, George and Letitia into the forest after dark with the intent to kill them. But, fortunately for all three characters, something else attacks the policemen -- something frightening: monsters Atticus calls the Shoggoth.
In H.P. Lovecraft's mythology, the Shoggoth were first mentioned in the author's Fungi from Yuggoth, before playing a larger role in the famous novella At the Mountains of Madness. Lovecraft describes the Shoggoth as massive gelatinous-like creatures covered with multiple eyes. While the creatures don't have any specific shape, they are often depicted as amorphous blobs, although they could technically morph into different shapes.
In Lovecraft Country, the Shoggoth are the creatures that attack the policemen who are threatening the lives of Tic, George and Letitia. But this version of the mythological creatures is slightly different than in Lovecraft's mythology. On the HBO series, the Shoggoth are slightly larger than wolves and have four legs. They are incredibly fast and ravenous, and they bite and tear their way through all of their victims, leaving nothing behind but a bloody mess. What makes them unmistakably the Shoggoth, however, is that these creatures are covered in eyes, just like in the source material.
Lovecraft Country also treats the Shoggoth as creatures that are similar to vampires. They are frightened of the light, which means they only come out at night. What's more, their bite can actually transform a human into another Shoggoth -- and the process is both painful and rapid.
Atticus, Letitia and George thankfully escape the wrath and insatiable appetite of the Shoggoth. Once daylight arrives, they are safe from the creatures, who keep to the woods, waiting for the veil of darkness to strike again. We don't know if we'll see more of the Shoggoth in the first season of Lovecraft Country, but their introduction shows that the HBO series isn't holding back when it comes to H.P. Lovecraft's mythology.
Starring Jonathan Majors, Jurnee Smollett, Aunjanue Ellis, Abbey Lee, Jada Harris, Wunmi Mosaku and Michael K. Williams, Lovecraft Country airs Sundays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on HBO.