I noticed something while going through The Repairer of Reputations for part two of The King in Yellow mini-series. I had named the main character incorrectly. The main character of that short story was named Hildred Castaigne. Hildred was, however, the son of Hastur.
It may be interesting to note though, that a certain author (and a few others), while reworking the entire Lovecraft universe, called the King in Yellow an avatar of Hastur, who in turn was one of the Great Old Ones. It will also be of interest that Lovecraft was in turn inspired by the work of R. W. Chambers, and included symbolism from the King in Yellow in some of his stories.
Therefore I apologize for the mistake in part one. I will leave it as is for the time being, my main reason for that being that I would have never mentioned this little tidbit if the mistake were not made in the first place!
It is fascinating to see everything come around in full circle, however, If I may add.
Epilogue Turned Prologue:
While the thought of the King in Yellow as being Hastur, or a Hastur is not new it is still an interesting route. Doubtless, Hali and Carcarosa are not places that exist in our reality, not how they are depicted in the story anyway. Is this just another alien world? Or is it a symbolic Purgatory?
Perhaps Hastur was the King in Yellow. If we look at The Repairer of Reputations from that perspective then Hildred’s reasons for eliminating his cousin (the true heir) become clear. The fact still remains that Hildred misinterpreted how the ascension would work, casting him into doubt once more (the author’s intent no matter what angle you see the story at); to be the next king did not mean killing his own cousin, but to die himself. Only in death could Hildred truly be free, you see. Only then could he be rid of his physical trappings. It was also the only way to knock his cousin from the throne.
So, being the new King in Yellow, the book itself becomes the history of how he asserts his own rule. After all, is he not death and chaos? With this in mind we begin to see that nothing he does has to make sense; what he does, when he does it, and how he does it need not conform to human logic. He himself is no longer human now.
“Ah! I see it now!” I shrieked. “You have seized the throne and the empire. Woe! woe to you who are crowned with the crown of the King in Yellow!”
-The King in Yellow, by Robert W. Chambers.
One could say that Hildred saw things as they were; for his views and beliefs he was seen as mental, and as such chastised; something which he did not like very much. Because of who he was, he was the one. The throne was rightfully his. His cousin could not rule; he would fail. The legacy would either continue or end with Hildred Castaigne.
Ever one to have a romantic soul, the King in Yellow plays a joke of sorts in chapter two, one which makes and breaks fate. One could say that it is the alchemy of fate . . .
The Mask is connected with The Repairer of Reputations not just through The King in Yellow, but by something mentioned within The Repairer of Reputations: a statue. It was named the Fates, and was made by a certain Boris Yvain, a man who died in Paris at the age of twenty-three.
With every tragedy there comes a love-triangle. In The Mask it is between Boris, Alec (the narrator), and a young girl named Geneviève. Alec and Boris are both friends. Both love the same girl, and yet of the two that girl loves Boris the most.
A good incentive for murder, no?
No, not at all. Fool me once . . .
Boris the sculptor has discovered a solution which turns living organisms into exquisite marble figures. If found out the solution would be the bane of sculpture, as photography is the bane of painting.
A good incentive for murder, no?
No, not at all. Fool me twice . . .
What is the point if nothing is going to happen? Somebody do something, fast!
Geneviève, terribly sick, jumps into a pool of Boris’ solution turning at once into marble.
In the ensuing pandemonium Alec succumbs to sickness as well. He slips away into a delirious sleep, believing that Boris and Geneviève have gone away for a while. When he wakes he learns otherwise. Geneviève is still, well, dead. Boris, on seeing the terrible fate of the girl (with the knowledge that he was to blame for it) took his own life.
Alec awoke with only one friend left alive, and with the responsibility of putting the pieces back together. Cleaning up the mess, in other words.
Then something happens which no one could have foreseen—one by one the once living sculptures become alive again—from flower, to fish, to hare and finally Geneviève.
For Alec the return of the woman he loved was a joyful blessing.
Boris’ solution did not steal life, but preserved it, transforming the outside into a mask.
In between the lines it was a cruel twist of fate, almost a joke. For the sculptor it was just not meant to be.
Fool me three times . . .
When is a door not a door? When it’s ajar.
When do you not take off your mask? When it’s your face.
(Take that, Camilla.)
We shall meet next in the court of the dragon.