The mythology of the Kraken

So in honor of The Klockwerk Kraken being named a finalist for a Prism Award, I’ve decided to have a little Throwback Thursday of my own. This was a guest post I wrote when it first came out:

The Mythology of the Kraken
by Aidee Ladnier

In my novel, TheKlockwerk Kraken, I have a tentacled bartender—don’t laugh, a few extra arms come in handy on a busy Friday night. But the novel is actually named after the bar—The Klockwerk Kraken. It’s a place that Teo (the bartender with
tentacles) has built as an homage to the mythological idea of the kraken.

And what is a kraken?

Well, in Norse mythology krakens were sea monsters that lived off the coast of Norway, Greenland, and Iceland. In fact, the word kraken is Germanic in origin and refers specifically to octopuses. The kraken of mythology was so enormous it could wrap its arms around a ship and then physically drag it under water.

The first written account of the kraken was in the 13th century, in the Icelandic saga Örvar-Oddr. It referred to the monster as Hafgufa (or sea mist). I can only imagine the terror of seeing a gigantic tentacle
rising out of the mist late at night on the sea.

Of course, today we believe the kraken myth refers to the Colossal Squid which can grow to a size of 60 feet and has been known to wrestle with sperm whales. There are even accounts of colossal squid attacking ships in the modern era, however most end up badly injured by the boats’ propellers.

And recently there’s been speculation about a really large octopus that might have roamed the prehistoric seas. The bones from aquatic dinosaurs have been found in strange patterns accompanied by fossilized beaks of enormous cephalopods.

Maybe the kraken isn’t so mythological at all…

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Aidee Ladnier

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