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Author Topic: Stupid Lovecraft characters  (Read 30945 times)
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« on: April 18, 2011, 01:10:50 PM »

Sometimes HPL needed his characters to behave in stupid ways in order to move the story along. These idiots usually come to ugly ends, or at the very least get an eyeful of something that leaves them scarred for life.

This thread is for commemorating those poor hapless doofuses, and attempting to understand why they made such incredibly poor decisions.

I'll start with...

Walter Gilman ("The Dreams in the Witch-House")
Dude, you're being stalked by a witch. Get out of the damn house already. Even if Walter G is trying not to believe in the witch and her freaky little familiar, one of the rationalizations he comes up with, upon waking up with blood on his wrist, is that rats must have bitten him in his sleep. That's the best-case scenario. That's what he comes up with to counter the idea that he's being stalked by an evil witch. I don't care how cheap the room is, if the best case scenario is being bitten by rats in your sleep, you need to find a different fucking house. Or at the very least, just don't sleep in the crazily-angled witch room. That would probably help too.
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« Reply #1 on: April 18, 2011, 02:32:35 PM »

Unnamed Narrator of "The Lurking Fear"

Do I really need to address this moron's lack of motivation when he is DIGGING FURTHER DOWN INTO A GRAVE WHILE A TORRENTIAL RAIN IS FILLING IT IN? I mean, damn! Yes, I get it that your companions suffered horrible, unexplainable fates. Yes I get it that you simply MUST know what happened to the Martense family. And, yes, I get it that you fell you must do it yourself. But COME ON! At the VERY least, tell someone where you are and what you are going to do. Leave a record. A scrap of paper with your objectives. Hell, leave a message with whoever the hell is on the party line at the moment. But just tell someone so if you dissapear, they may be able to figure things out.

Oh and by the way, WAIT UNTIL A SUNNY F%$#ING DAY TO DO IT, STUPID!!!!!!

Bob
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« Reply #2 on: April 18, 2011, 02:55:52 PM »

That guy at least has temporary insanity as an excuse. Walter Gilman is just a dumbshit. As Chad has pointed out a couple of times, lots of Lovecraft characters know all about the horrible secrets behind reality, but have a hard time navigating the mundane world. Gilman fits this role, not by knowing all about the Cthulhu Mythos, but by being a student of advanced theoretical mathematics, and then getting killed because he doesn't have the good sense to leave the damn house when it's clearly full of monsters.
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« Reply #3 on: April 19, 2011, 12:49:30 AM »

Carter's buddy Harley Warren never really impressed me much. I mean the guy is suppose to be knowledgeable in terms of occult lore, yet still insists on descending into the tome of a dead sorcerer...alone...without weapons, a spell book or even at least a trusty swiss army knife. No, instead Warren chooses to bring a phone, so he can tell Randolph all about the unspeakable horrors he finds down there. At least Randolph was smart enough to stay topside...although in the Dreamlands RC makes some pretty amateurish mistakes himself, like trusting weird looking merchant sailors. 
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'Civilized men are more discourteous than savages because they know they can be impolite without having their skulls split, as a general thing.'

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« Reply #4 on: April 19, 2011, 03:26:03 AM »



You guys have already listed some top numskulls in the HPL corpus, so I won't reiterate. Just wanted to add that HPL always has the "out" that these guys were "obsessed" with whatever it was that led them on to their sticky ends. He picks this up, naturally enough, from Poe. The Tell-Tale Heart, Berenice, The Imp of the Perverse, and a host of other tales, come readily to mind. 

In one sense, Poe is the originator of the unstable, modern anti-hero, and this idea is picked up and developed to new depth by HPL.

But if you really want the apotheosis of a complete jerk protagonist, I elect good old Holden Caufield.
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« Reply #5 on: April 19, 2011, 01:18:26 PM »

But Holden Caulfield wasn't a Lovecraft character*.

Returning to the subject of brick-stupid Lovecraft characters, there's a special level of Dumbass Hell reserved for Albert Wilmarth from "The Whisperer in Darkness." Nobody with two brain cells to rub together would have been fooled by "Akeley's" last letter. After everything that's come before, everything Wilmarth has come to learn and accept, and everything he's heard from Akeley, his first reaction on getting a typed, misspelled letter saying "hey, ignore what I said before, everything's cool, come on over" should have been to throw the letter in the trash, take out his handy map of the United States, and black out the entire state of Vermont with a permanent marker. Instead, he scratches his precious little head and goes "gee, wonder what made Akely change his mind? Better go find out!" No! Bad protagonist! What the hell are you thinking?!

And while we're at it, my comments on Walter Gilman above go double for Akeley. Gilman, at least, must have thought he was just going crazy right up to the end. Akeley knew exactly what was going on, and despite saying "I should really leave this place" in every letter, the jackass just hung around, practically begging to get his brain stolen by space lobsters (which is not an accusation I make often). I imagine his Mi-Go brain cylinder must have contained a handful of cobwebs and at least one moth.

*Quick, someone get to work on a Salinger/Lovecraft crossover fanfic! "The Cultist in the Rye," perhaps.
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Bob Lovecraft
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« Reply #6 on: April 19, 2011, 01:53:51 PM »

I have to agree wholeheartedly with your characterization of Albert Wilmarth. To say the man was duped would be insulting innocent victims the world over. This man was simply an idiot. I wish his brain was on its way to Yuggoth as we speak.

Bob
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« Reply #7 on: April 23, 2011, 02:28:23 AM »

I think the one who takes the cake for Lovecraft's Stupidest Character is Barzai the Wise, if for no other reason than because he so soundly and ridiculously fails to live up to his name.
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« Reply #8 on: April 24, 2011, 12:19:50 PM »

Damn it! I forgot all about Barzai the "Wise"! I think you may have topped us both on this one Yumegari.

Bob
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« Reply #9 on: April 24, 2011, 12:21:13 PM »

Should have changed his name to "Barzai the Arrogant"
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« Reply #10 on: April 24, 2011, 08:01:39 PM »

Yeah, I also forgot about Barzai, he definitely goes at the top of the list!
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'Civilized men are more discourteous than savages because they know they can be impolite without having their skulls split, as a general thing.'

Robert E. Howard, "The Tower of the Elephant"
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« Reply #11 on: May 13, 2011, 02:17:35 PM »

I always thought the unnamed narrator of 'Herbert West' was a ripe slice of dumb.  I mean, his insane friend keeps making progressively more dangerous monsters and yet, does the guy call the cops?  Get Herbert committed to the Arkham laughing academy?  No!  The guy keeps helping him!   How many times do you have to be nearly killed by the un-dead horrors your friend creates before you say: "Herbert, I want my record albums back."  Sheesh!
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« Reply #12 on: May 13, 2011, 03:10:49 PM »

In unnamed-Reanimator-narrator's defense, he was heavily implicated in Herbert West's experiments. He couldn't go to the police without turning himself in for grave robbing and some serious medical malpractice (to say the very least), and maybe a charge of accessory to murder.
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« Reply #13 on: May 13, 2011, 03:46:59 PM »

Well, okay, that's a good point.  But which is worse - 6 months county time for grave robbing or being ripped apart by the cannibal undead?  I mean, friends don't let friends get dismembered, ya know?
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« Reply #14 on: May 13, 2011, 05:10:36 PM »

Yeah, considering how much West had done by the end, and how devious to boot, the least he could do is distance himself and perhaps stop associating with him. Friend or no friend, at some point West crosses the line with more people ad at that point one just need to walk away.
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