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Sunday, February 13, 2011


What do krakens look like? I had this discussion with my sister, who is very literal minded as well as a friend of mine…both felt my kraken seemed more like a giant octopus. I snorted. I mean, we don’t know what a kraken looks like. We’ve all seen what the movies show us, but come on! Since when has the movies ever really got it right?

Legend shows them as giant squid. Greek mythology (and the movies) show them standing on two feet, with horns… pshaw!

The real clues about kraken lie in real world cephalopods. Which are fascinating!

Cephalopods are known for the flexibility of their behavior. They exist in every ocean of earth. And are very social creatures, will shoal with fish if isolated from their own kind. They are true masters of disguise.

For example, cuttlefish are sneaky. Males protect their females from other males so some males have learned to camouflage themselves as females in order to sneak past the guardians. And the females don’t object to mating with these clever guys…because they are so smart? I think so!

Octopus are brainy, they figure out how to unscrew jars, use tools, and are masters at survival.

Squid are predatory and quite ferocious!

Well, if you put all of this together, you may have the real character and building blocks of the kraken. The Great Albino Kraken is a character in my book…a sort of guardian to the pirate world, the center of which is Tortuga.

It is the great Albino Kraken that brings Emily to this place, by using a portal through time and space. When Emily finds this portal she doesn’t realize what it is…but it still intrigues her!

She turned the frame over to examine the intricate pattern she’d felt there. It was fascinating, a bright white, like bleached bone. Carved or molded, she wasn’t sure which, into a nest of tentacles. After a moment, she figured it out. A great ocean monster wrapped about the frame. On the front, suckers lined the circlet. The backside was bumpy, yet it seemed like a real sea creature, slick and smooth. Touching it reminded her of stroking a starfish at the aquarium.

Long tentacles wound down the handle, ending in a loop where a leather strip would easily attach. She turned the dainty once more to notice that at the top were two shiny, black eyes, with a knob between them she assumed was a forehead of sorts.

With a grin, she stroked the head. “You’re a Kraken, aren’t you? Caught a pirate in your maw, you clever thing!”

She dug into her leather sack for a slender strap. Usually, she carried a few—never knew when she might find something to use one on. She secured the frame to her belt, quite pleased at her little five-dollar trinket.

excerpt from The Kraken's Mirror, available from Decadent Publishing

That is my sort of kraken!

Maureen O. Betita


Maureen said...

I'll also be chatting about my love of Krakens at the Daily Dose of Decadence on Saturday!

Cathy M said...

Great fun facts, Maureen.

caity_mack at yahoo dot com

Maureen said...

I do adore cepholapods! And to watch the cuttlefish sneak in to mate with a guarded female was hilarious! And very impressive!

heavy hedonist said...

I think there are two musts for any Kraken-- fish breath and a bad attitude. After that, it's all good!

Elie said...

I have never heard of a Kracken. Interesting idea, I am curious how you worked your world building elements.

Maureen said...

Well, I'll give ya the fish breath, HH, but not sure I agree about the bad attitude! ;-)

Maureen said...

Elie - The Kraken is a mythical beast, said to haunt ancient mariners by rising from the ocean depths to wrap tentacles around their ships and haul them down into the dark and briny sea!

Bwah ha ha!

There are many different aspects shown by hollywood...but all agree that they are likely the result of sighting of giant squids and the finding of fighting marks on giant whales...marks that resemble sucker marks...

The Kraken is a fearsome beast. Though in my book he's a bit of a match maker! ;-)

Shauna said...

I love it when people bend mythology successfully to create a great book. Looks great!

Jean P said...

I liked reading all the information you gave us. When I hear the word Kraken, I think of the line from the movie "release the Kraken"

skpetal at hotmail dot com

Maria said...

Interesting post...I've read several books where Kraken where characters and each has had a different


Maureen said...

Shauna - Aw shucks! A great book? Well I hope so! ;-)

Jean P - Yup, most people do hear that phrase. I decided no one holds my Kraken, so no one 'releases' him... He's his old Kraken!

Maureen said...

Maria - I'm not the first!? ;-(

Hee, hee...well, they are fascinating creatures!

desitheblonde said...

so what re they do you really know
or just think they might take form of something you do not now

Maureen said...

What you said, Desi!

Crystal Dee said...

Oh,Johnny Depp fought a Kraken in Pirates of the Carribean didn't he?

Interesting facts,thanks for sharing.

Maureen said...

Crystal - Yup, Jack fought Davy Jone's Kraken, and lost.

heavy hedonist said...

Krakens, of any stripe, have been a favorite mythical creature of mine for a long time. Along with the Gryphon.
And the Cheshire cat, LOL.

Maureen said...

HH - I'd love to see something like a wyvern...I actually have a story with wyverns... A gyrphon would be cool and a cheshire cat!