Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997)
Elder Gods

Various Pantheons have elder and younger Gods – as with the Aesir and Vanir of Nordic mythology – but the phrase EG is most closely linked to the Cthulhu Mythos, where the EGs are portrayed as near immortal beings from a distant star, accessible via an alternate dimension. They are neither good nor evil, but different. Some were banished from their original home because of a rebellion, and these Great Old Ones came to Earth and established the earliest known civilizations (> Atlantis; Lemuria), whose ruins still survive. The Great Old Ones (of whom Cthulhu was the chief deity) are now in slumber awaiting the time to reawaken (> Malign Sleeper). The identities of the EGs are not always clear, though Azathoth and Yog-Sothoth are usually counted among them, as is Nodens, though he is also described as being of an opposing faction. Lovecraft's scenario was ideally suited to other works of fantasy set during the early days of Earth, and the concept of EGs was readily adopted by Lin Carter and, in particular, Brian Lumley, who developed the Pantheon to a considerable degree. [MA]

This entry is taken from the Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997) edited by John Clute and John Grant. It is provided as a reference and resource for users of the SF Encyclopedia, but apart from possible small corrections has not been updated.