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 truly 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 once-renowned author of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, 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 together are regarded as an important early landmark in 'weird fiction'.
The opening stories of the book concentrate upon the mysterious, horrific play – or at least upon those characters who fall victim to it, and hence victim to the frightening and powerful entity of the same name that seems to stalk its pages...and maybe the world they inhabit too.
Chambers' writing style hinted at a great mythology behind his handful of tales. He seeded them with oblique allusions here and there, to shadowy figures, alien places, strange artifacts and terrible gods; to clouded lakes and dark stars; to death reanimated, an ancient implacable evil and madness pushing in through the walls of the world.
Yet the mysteries of Carcosa, the King and his Yellow Sign have faded from view even before the end of that collection of stories. And, for whatever reason, its author never returned to this imagined universe that he had created so economically and tantalisingly.
This did, however, leave the way open for numerous followers to revisit Chambers' sparsely sketched details and expand upon them in his stead. Over the century and a quarter since he published The King In Yellow, this has formed what has come to be known as the Yellow Mythos.
Not least are those writers who have co-opted some 'Yellow' elements into the Cthulhu Mythos, based upon the writings of celebrated 20th-century horror maestro H.P. Lovecraft: the incorporation of these into both further stories and into the Call of Cthulhu games has seen some of the Yellow Mythos' greatest expansion and definition.
...Have you seen The Yellow Sign?
For an overview of how this wiki is arranged as a whole see Wiki Overview.
Who or what is The King In Yellow?
'The King In Yellow' is a phrase that crops up again and again throughout this wiki, as he/it is the foundation of the Mythos. There are fundamentally three things that go by the title The King In Yellow:
- the fictional 'original' play (author unknown);
- the real book partly concerning this play; and
- the mysterious, terrifying entity that appears within the confines of the play and yet can be encountered outside of it too.
See also the disambiguation page covering these and other uses of the term.
What is the 'Mythos'?
The following are some very useful first ports of call:
- Defining the 'Mythos' describes what we're talking about in this wiki, and explores the notion of there being several varying but interdependent versions of the mythology.
- Introduction to the Mythos is a helpful primer on the overall story and the universe surrounding The King In Yellow and related texts.
- 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 Yellow
The pages for 'related topics' 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 The Yellow Sign, Carcosa, The Pallid Mask, the Hyades, The Lake of Hali and Hastur.
Source material for the Mythos
The source material on which the Mythos is founded 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) 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.
Film & TV
On the theatrical stage, live performances related to The King In Yellow have actually been attempted...despite the danger.
Works of music based on or inspired by the contents of The King in Yellow, or which have inspired addition to the Mythos.
Youtube videos, creepypasta and anything else in other media not fitting the above categories.
|Using this wiki
The category tags at the top and bottom of most pages are an excellent way to find related information – just click on the tag to be taken to a list of all the pages in that category. When adding or updating pages on this wiki please bear the following points in mind:
Theories on all things Yellow
Pages for Theories discussing various aspects of the Yellow Mythos and taking ideas in various directions.
Submissions Wanted and New Releases
An appeal for your help to clarify or find information we have so far been unable to provide, to further flesh out this wiki.
A collection of links to the full text of The King In Yellow, and to a variety of other sites discussing the Mythos in all its forms.
This site wouldn't exist if it wasn't for a lot of people. We would like to say thank you for their contributions to as many of those people as we can.