By Joshua Madden
Whether or not McMenamin is right about the reality of a Kraken, the Kraken has a very real history in a very unlikely place: fiction.
The Kraken has become a motif in literary fiction, with a great number of examples throughout artistic history, giving the monster an impact that outshines many creatures — or at least unquestionably real creates — in its scope.
The most prominent recent examples of the Kraken in popular culture are in film. “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest” features a Kraken-like creature that shows up to wreak havoc under the command of Davy Jones.
Even more prominent, however, is the Kraken’s insanely quotable appearance in 2010’s “Clash of the Titans” in which Liam Neeson’s Zeus has the opportunity to yell, “Release the Kraken!”
Spoiler alert: it gets released.
The legendary Kraken, a giant squid that supposedly killed people, has long been thought to simply be a myth. New evidence, however, has led one scientist to claim that the Kraken might have actually been real.
In an Oct. 11 National Geographic article titled “Kraken Sea Monster Account ‘Bizarre and Miraculous’,” journalist Ken Than explains that Mark McMenamin, a paleontologist, found some bones he believed were arranged artistically.
His explanation for this is that the bones may have been collected and arranged by the legendary Kraken. So basically, there may or may not have been artistic,
The Kraken’s appearances in fiction go back much further than that. You probably have to jump all the way back to 1870. Jules Verne’s famous novel “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea” features characters being attacked by Kraken-like creatures. Even H.P. Lovecraft’s most famous creation, Cthulhu, is similar to the Kraken of legend.
So despite the lack of evidence for the existence of a real Kraken — except for McMenamin’s evidence and unidentified sounds periodically picked up by U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration that have been theorized to possibly be coming from a Kraken-like creature — it has made a pretty large impact on popular culture.
So whether or not McMenamin is actually right about the Kraken’s existence may not matter that much. Until someone explains “the Bloop” to my satisfaction (Wikipedia it), I can’t rule out the Kraken’s reality, but I’m happy enough with its presence in fiction.
Please send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org, but please actually do look up “Bloop” on Wikipedia before you do.