Cassilda is one of the key characters from The King In Yellow, who is quoted by Robert W. Chambers in the original collection of stories. She is one of only three characters known for certain to be in the play. Appears in Act 1, Scene 2 of the play.
Origin of the Name
Interpretation of Cassilda
In the texts of James Blish and Lin Carter Cassilda is clearly made into the mother figure of the royal line (possibly the widow of Aldones), an apathetic and sad queen to the city in which they all live. In other sources this role is not so clearly defined, if at all. She is sometimes the sister of Camilla. In More Light she is the grandmother of The Child. In The King In Yellow by Thom Ryng she is the Queen of Yhtill.
The Encyclopedia Cthulhiana says...
Under her own name, the Encyclopedia Cthulhiana only states: Character from 'The King in Yellow'.
Under the entry for the play, two alternatives are suggested. Either she is simply one of several claimants to the throne of Yhtill or she is the ruling queen of the city of Hastur, which has been at war with its neighbor Alar for countless years.
Cassilda is first brought to our attention through her song at the beginning of the Chambers' book, as she sings a song that hints of mysterious Carcosa, in particular the multiple suns and moons, the black stars, the lake and the Hyades:
- Along the shore the cloud waves break,
- The twin suns sink behind the lake,
- The shadows lengthen
- In Carcosa.
- Strange is the night where black stars rise,
- And strange moons circle through the skies
- But stranger still is
- Lost Carcosa.
- Songs that the Hyades shall sing,
- Where flap the tatters of the King,
- Must die unheard in
- Dim Carcosa.
- Song of my soul, my voice is dead;
- Die thou, unsung, as tears unshed
- Shall dry and die in
- Lost Carcosa.
Cassilda, Camilla and Carcosa
It's worth noting, perhaps, that both Cassilda and Camilla, two characters created and defined through their quotes by Chambers, both have names that look as if they might be based upon the name Carcosa, almost as if it is as much part of them as they are of it.
Cassilda Beyond The Play
In The River of Night's Dreaming, one of the characters is called Cassilda, just as one is called Camilla. These characters, whilst distinct from their counterparts in the play, do seem to echo those that are in the play. Might their actions hint at those unexplored in the terrible Second Act of the play?
She features with Camilla in the Yellow Dresses poetry sequence.
Outside The Mythos
A character named Cassilda (quite probably named in honour of this character) appears, wearing a mask, in the short story Second Wish by Brian Lumley (loosely part of the Cthulhu Mythos, but with no other indications of a link to the Yellow Mythos).