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Your Weekend Creature Comforts: The Kraken

Ahh the kraken, that infamous giant squid that gets your tentacles all in a bind. This weekend we venture in to the myths and stories about this amazing creature. But of course I can’t help it, this post just gives Lilith the opportunity to say something she has always wanted too. Wait for it, wait for it…RELEASE THE KRAKEN!!! Ok, sorry, couldn’t help myself, now on with the actual post for today.

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What is the kraken? Most of you probably know that it is a giant squid. The first stories of these colossal creatures emerged in the 13th century; myths of cephalopods of monstrous sizes arising from the depths off the coast of Norway or Greenland to single handedly drag down a ship. And technically this is one monster I am writing about that is a real creature, one that at one point actually existed (and hopefully still does in the deep unchartered oceans).

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Of course krakens have become more and more sparse, and whether or not this was because of us human’s annoying predilection for annihilating species right and left or because of the intelligence of the monster causing it to become more elusive we can’t really know. But myths about the monster developed more variation, and in the 18th and 19th centuries it’s hard to tell if the creature was a squid or an octopus, but it probably remained in that cephalopod class since they do tend to have quite a bit of intelligence. And nowadays popular culture has gone nuts with telling stories about this majestic beast.

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Several comics make references to or star krakens, but we probably are most familiar with the kraken from the big screen. Clash of the Titans was one of the first movies to star a kraken as one of the main monsters. Of course this kraken, in both the older 1981 film and the more recent adaptation, doesn’t look much like a squid. I personally prefer the 1981 version if I had to choose.

Then from the late 19th century in to the early 20th century there was a surge of novels featuring this epic creature. From Moby Dick and Twenty Leagues Under the Sea to The Call of the Cthulhu and the self titled The KrakenScreen-shot-2010-03-30-at-11.02.15

But probably my favorite recent depiction of this species comes from The Pirates of the Caribbean series. And that would be because it stays true to what I think this amazing creature would actually look like. The kraken in this series is a gigantic squid that serves Davy Jones. At his command the kraken can be summoned and can take down any ship far enough from the shoreline that Jones desires. The more tentacle spotlighting we see the better, and I loved the creepy appearances of this monster in Dead Man’s Chest. potc-dead-mans-chest-kraken

Enjoy the rest of the weekend geeks! Hope it’s full of Cthulhu!

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Posted on May 24, 2014, in Creature Comforts and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. “Single-handedly.” I see what you did there! But seriously, this is one of my favorite mythical creatures, mostly because it is so terrifying. Peter Dickinson wrote a fantastic short story about a Kraken in the anthology he did with Robin McKinley entitled “Water.” Definitely worth a read! -t

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