The creatures of Lovecraft's design have NO rational or otherwise "normal" human-like emotions, machinations, relations or spawn. The only reason we view the beings in terms that fit our own view of life and the universe is because that is the only realistic way in which to portray them to fellow human beings. In such ways Lovecraft was able to speak to us all more effectively in his writings. Therefore, we cannot debate the issues of race, relation, strengths, weaknesses, and other "mortal" trappings concerning beings that are (for lack of a better term) unearthly. Unnatural and inhuman beings should not be given human-like characteristics, motives, and feelings. At least not in the ways that we should see them at any rate. I see this misunderstanding as the "Men in Black" effect. The movie Men in Black (for those who have not seen it) portrays alien beings with everyday human emotions and lifestyles. Do you honestly believe that beings from millions of light years and millennia ago should act and behave like us humans? Or that they would have normal offspring and mental processes that enact simple feelings such as happiness and sadness? You must understand that only a sordid few aspects of the creatures of the Mythos have anything close to human-like behavior.
Let's list such behaviors and human-like attributes:
1. War -- The ideas behind war (in the case of the Great Old Ones) was self-preservation and the needs of conquest, the acquisition of lands for the prosperity of one's own race. Essentially these ideas are the only human-like answers to the motivations of the Earth Wars between the various Mythos races upon their first arrival on this planet millions of years ago.
2. Domination of the Earth -- Now that the beings have gone into a more-or-less "hibernative"-like state of semi-suspended animation, why attempt to take over Earth? Why not go off and find greener pastures when the "stars come right"? We have no clear answer, but supposedly the Great Old Ones on earth wish to have this planet again for their own self-preservation needs, but again I ask why? Don't the various entities have a good enough time of it in their various current non-hibernative situations? (Not all Mythos entities went into suspended animation.)
Well, the only human-like motive one could ascribe to the quest for domination of Earth (even after the stars went wrong in the first place) is simple greed and a subconscious need to be the only inhabitants of earth. Apparently the various entities do not show a hatred towards each other or else they would be more inclined to battle each other in (or during as the case may be) their current hibernative state and we would have seen more to this end in Lovecraft's fiction. Currently humanity is the only "nuisance" that the Great Old Ones sometimes must contend and consort with.
3. The Manipulations and Uses of Humanity -- The Great Old Ones have been, in some way or another, in contact with our species since we first came into being. The Great Old Ones have had more than enough time to use various cult worshippers to summon themselves into this world permanently or else at least to stop another opposing Great Old One from doing the same. But something has always stopped them from accomplishing this task, most probably because the predetermined celestial "star alignment" has not "come right" yet to allow a Great Old One to walk this planet indefinitely. So why continue to use humanity to continually summon themselves up to walk the earth if they know that they must return to their hibernative state?
Greed must again come into the picture. The beings wish to walk if not for a little while upon the earth just to wreak havoc upon humanity and induce glorification in themselves to their various worshippers (why is unknown, for it is well known that the Great Old Ones do not care about their human worshippers). And why humanity anyway? Do they actually need mortals to worship and act upon their whim and behalf? Probably not, but because of the powers that be, some entities need help from mortals to wake up and be released upon the earth. This, to a point, shows co-dependence, another human-like trait.
4. Why Earth? -- Is there something about our planet that made the Great Old Ones come from all of the millions of planets in the universe to this little blue-green planet? Well, you could say that this planet has to be pretty important to the Great Old Ones to inhabit. What is here that the various entities need from it? The Mi-go need its various wealth of minerals and ore deposits, but these items could most probably be acquired elsewhere in the universe. Maybe the environment here is more hospitable than other planets, but you could also say that the beings need something here that they cannot get elsewhere or else they wouldn't have come here in the first place. And what about the Dreamlands? There is plenty of room for all sorts of species to coexist in peace on the various Dream-worlds. So why us? It is the destiny for the Great Old Ones and their ilk to eventually destroy our species and that the "greater powers" of fate must give way to this fact. Or else why would they be here? It seems for whatever the reason they're here to stay. Persistence - one of the more human traits.
5. Hatred -- Why do the Great Old Ones (who seem clearly a benevolent collection of species) seemingly hate humanity so? Granted, they could see us as a mild threat to their existence now, but why fight us? The beings WILL eventually destroy us all when the "stars go right" so why continue to attack us whenever we humans get too close to the physical forms of the various beings or their plans? Why sow the seeds of madness and destruction now? Does that action in some way "allow" for the eventual rising of the beings? You probably could say that this one human-like prospect of the Great Old Ones (and other entities) is the most defining and mysterious of the beings existence: why destroy our civilization? Why us? Did WE help put them in their current hibernation state somehow? Did we help bring the "stars right" in the first place? How? Are we that in the way of their kind?
Lastly, we must look at Nyarlathotep, clearly the most human-like Mythos entity (besides Nodens). So human-like that it prefers to interact with humanity personally and frequently takes the appearance of human physical forms. "His" (its usual appearance is in a male form) apparent motive is personal entertainment while watching humanity deal with his malign evil interventions from afar. Therefore you could classify Nyarlathotep not only with a human-like "personality" (how else would he be able to interact directly with humanity in the form of a human without being noticed as at least "odd" sounding or unusual) which is a defined sadist that wishes to use humanity for its own amusement. As opposed to Nodens who seems really uninterested in the fate of humanity but wishes to do harm to the plans of any Great Old One and knows that using humanity is the easiest way to do this. Therefore Nodens (who also has the semi-characteristicts of humanity, he even looks human) is interpreted as some sort of human protector, on the basis of his kinship to humanity's depiction of him as King Neptune of myth (if you wish to make that relation). Bast, the cat "goddess," also comes to mind, a being who has the human body of a woman with a cat's head and forearms. Clearly this god seems to have affinity not only to female humanity but to the earth's population of felines.
In conclusion, the various beings of Lovecraft, in my opinion, and most likely in the original spirit of Lovecraft's writings, are depicted as clearly having no or very little human-like qualities or connections. They are totally alien to our planet and any relationship to our species (or attempting to categorize them in terms of "elementals" of earth) can be explained as a self-induced "copying" or "adaption" of our earth ways and life-forms through totally alien viewpoints and perceptions. Otherwise they do not care about our race or this planet at all, except to quench their own mysterious needs. Who knows, maybe Cthulhu himself adapted tentacles while underwater in his "sleep." He could have known what was coming and could have thought that the whole planet was about to be submerged. Tentacles are a preferred way to capture water creatures. It is a wonder whether Cthulhu may have looked very different millions of years ago when it originally came to this planet, the same could be said of all Mythos alien beings.
Created: March 12, 1999; Updated: August 9, 2004