| A wiki dedicated to The King In Yellow, the Yellow Mythos and all things related|
to the dark mysteries of Carcosa, Hastur and the Yellow Sign...
Welcome to The Yellow Site
Anyone with more than a passing familiarity with The King in Yellow will know that the character and the play of this name are not supposed to exist. They are fictional creations from the pages of a real book of the same name. This "real" version of The King In Yellow was written by Robert W. Chambers, a renowned author of a century ago, whose work has, on the whole, faded into obscurity. The King In Yellow is his most popular and recognised work, published in 1895, featuring a series of short stories (and poems) that are hard to categorise but are together regarded as an important early landmark in 'weird fiction'. The opening stories of the book concentrate upon the aforementioned mysterious, horrific play and those that fall victim to it, and hence to the titular entity that seems to stalk its pages and maybe the world the characters inhabit too. Although Chambers was an American writer, most of the stories are set in and around France, particularly Paris, where he had spent many years as an artist: this served as the inspiration for some of the tales, particularly the final stories of the book, which appear unrelated to its title. The ones in between these latter tales and those directly linking to the play vary in theme and content, but arguably touch on subjects related to the play. These will all be discussed at greater length elsewhere...
Who or what is The King In Yellow?Edit
These pages look at the various items that go by the title The King In Yellow: in particular the 'original' play (author unknown); the book (partly concerning this play) written by Robert W. Chambers; and the entity that appears within the confines of the play and yet can be encountered outside of it too. Finally there is a page devoted to Kings in Yellow that have appeared in other mythologies and un-related tales.
What is the 'Mythos'?Edit
Over time a great mass of created fiction can build up around the core canon of an invented universe, into a collection of very many elements, characters, settings and themes, often disparate and sometimes contrary – a "mythos", whose various parts may be weaved together in different prose stories, poetry, games, films and so on into an interconnected, quasi-real folklore (there is, after all, a close linguistic association with mythology), although not necessarily an unambiguous or unchanging one.
The King In Yellow's mythos is based in greater part upon just a handful of century-old tales and only a small number of (often highly vague) in-universe 'facts', on which there is no definitive living authority whom we may question or appeal to. So there is in fact very little that is 'hard' canon, and as a result the book is unusual in being the basis of what can be thought of as several largely overlapping, frequently muddied – the names are often used interchangeably – yet in some areas distinct variants on one mythos, which have built upon these slender foundations in slightly differing ways:
- The Yellow Mythos – the most useful 'umbrella' term, this can mean either or both of the following two, but fundamentally draws upon the concepts derived from Robert Chambers' writing, particularly things associated with the eponymous colour;
- The Carcosa Mythos – which takes a relatively narrow path, the lineage focusing upon the mysterious city of Carcosa, including its earliest incarnation as set down by Ambrose Bierce, and those fictions that regard the King in Yellow as a terrible god in his own right rather than an avatar of some other eldritch abomination;
- The Hastur Mythos – which in contrast places the King and all things related firmly within a larger (though later-established) continuity, which The King In Yellow in fact helped to influence, known as
The following are some very useful first ports of call:
- Introduction to the Mythos is a helpful primer on the overall story and the universe surrounding The King In Yellow and related texts.
- Defining the 'Mythos' explores more fully the above-mentioned notion of there being multiple, varying but interdependent versions of the mythology.
- What counts as Mythos canon? This is a guide to what (if anything) must be regarded as necessary, sacrosanct and inviolate components of the Mythos.
Related topics to The King In YellowEdit
These pages look at those elements in the fiction that are almost always mentioned in relationship to The King In Yellow – sometimes they are more important to the stories than the King himself. They include:
Much of the fiction, including that involving the wider Hastur Mythos, refers to cults and inhuman servitors in thrall to the King and the Yellow Sign. There is also a strong history of referring to certain features in the Mythos' cosmology, notably the Hyades and Aldebaran.
Source material for the MythosEdit
This includes published written material where the Play, the King, the Sign or Carcosa play an important part, including significant texts such as:
- 'An Inhabitant of Carcosa' and 'Haita the Shepherd' by Ambrose Bierce – the very first stories in the evolving Carcosa Mythos and Hastur Mythos.
- The King In Yellow – 1895 collection of short stories by Robert W. Chambers, in which he took names from Bierce's two tales and used them to hint at a broader mythos. This collection defines much of the fiction.
- 'The Whisperer in Darkness' by H.P. Lovecraft – brought the concept of Hastur into the Cthulhu Mythos.
- 'The Return of Hastur' by August Derleth – did much to define the Cthulhu Mythos version of Hastur.
Various games (especially role-playing) that mention the Yellow Mythos, such as Call of Cthulhu and Trail of Cthulhu. These are an important source for the Hastur Mythos version of the continuity in particular.
Appearances of the Yellow Mythos in moving pictures.
Musical works based on or inspired by the contents of The King in Yellow, or which have inspired addition to the Mythos.
Pages discussing various aspects of The Yellow Mythos and taking ideas in various directions.
A chance for writers and readers to keep abreast of new projects related to The Yellow Mythos that are open to submissions or which are newly available for purchase.
Information that is required to further flesh out this wiki.
- Taint of Yellow: A Mythos in the Making? An article looking at the possibility of Chambers' work spawning a wide spanning mythology.
- Simon Bucher-Jones's pantechnicon extravaganza Blog including King In Yellow and Cthulhu Mythos-related pieces.
- The King in Yellow full text at Project Gutenberg
- The King in Yellow at yankeeclassic.com
- The King in Yellow at sff.net
- The King in Yellow publication history at the Internet Speculative Fiction Database
- "The King in Yellow": An Introduction by Christophe Thill
- The Carcosa Collection – another site dedicated to the same Mythos, with an interesting alternative version of The Yellow Sign (the symbol)
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