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|“||In the coldest regions of space, the monstrous entities Ogdru Jahad - the Seven Gods of Chaos - slumber in their crystal prison, waiting to reclaim Earth... and burn the heavens.||„|
|~ De Vermis Mytsteriis, Page 87 (about the Ogdru Jahad).|
The Ogdru Jahad, also known as the Ogdru eb Jurhad, The Serpents (the Serpent in plural), The Beasts (The Beast in plural) the Seven Who Are One and the Seven Gods of Chaos, are monstrous supernatural entities and main antagonists in Mike Mignola's Hellboy comic book series. They are the seven-headed Dragon of Revelation in a Biblical sense, and are destined to bring about the end of the world. They were imprisoned in their Golden Cocoons by the Right Hand of Doom shortly after the creation of Earth, but not before they spawned 369 children, known as the Ogdru Hem.
OverviewMostly inspired by the Great Old Ones of H. P. Lovecraft's Cthulhu Mythos (with some ancient Egyptian influences as well), the Ogdru Jahad are serpentine/crustacean entities which once resided on, and presided over Earth. They are pitiless, chaotic, bent on destruction and subjugation and often so horrific in appearance that the mere sight of one of them sometimes induced madness.
The names of the Seven Gods of Chaos are listed as follows:
In the beginning of time, God created an order of spirits. Of these, many of the Greater Spirits were sent to newborn Earth to oversee it as Watchers. One of these spirits created the Ogdru Jahad out of fire and mud. The other spirits proceeded to set spells and wards about the Dragon, and even infused it with fire once again, but still the being remained lifeless. However, when night-time came, the Ogdru Jahad awoke and was instilled with purpose and function, giving birth to the Ogdru Hem who become Earth's first lifeforms.
The watchful spirits, upon seeing the creation of these abominations, went to war with them. The Ogdru Hem were eventually all disposed of, with many of them barely clinging to existence in some fashion, with the Ogdru Jahad sealed by their creator Anum in a prison of crystal and placed in the heart of the abyss. The other Watchers, however, no longer trusted the one spirit, and so they struck him down and destroyed all his remnants, save for one: his right hand. After that, God looked down in fury on what had happened, and exacted his retribution on the Watchers for botching their task: some were cast down into the Drake, while others were stranded on the Earth to breed monsters.
Of the original spirits, many of the lesser ones were now given substance by God and took up residence on Earth as the first men, the Golden People, the pre-humans. They dwelled in the land of Hyperboria, and they took the right hand of that one spirit as their holy object, and at the request of Thoth, their greatest king, attached the hand to a great statue. The statue stood for ten thousand years, until finally Hyperboria became corrupted. Thoth began to worship Heca-Emem-Ra, the Black Goddess, and as a result the statue left its place in Thoth's garden and destroyed the city, before finally hurling itself over a cliff. The only remnant of the statue was the original right hand. As for Hyperboria, it was crushed by the Ice Age, which triggered the second race of men (humanity) to come forward.
After that, the hand was somehow recovered, and later grafted onto Hellboy's arm before he was summoned by Rasputin. The arm is the key to freeing the Ogdru Jahad from their prison and thus triggering the apocalypse (hence the moniker "the Right Hand of Doom"). Hellboy is aware that he must keep the hand, as it would be more dangerous to try to rid himself of it. Attempts have already been made to separate Hellboy from his arm, both to protect the world and to hasten its destruction. Hellboy believes he is the best protection the arm can have.
While certain events have made it clear that the Right Hand of Doom is the Key to releasing the Ogdru Jahad, the actions of Herman von Klempt and the frog monsters suggest that there may be other means to the same end. The summoning of the Conqueror Worm and Katha-Hem were meant to lead to the Ogdru Jahad's freedom, yet Hellboy's right hand had no role in these schemes. Whether there are numerous ways to unlock the Dragon's prison, or whether Von Klempt and the frogs were simply doomed to failure without possession of the Right Hand, remains a mystery.
Plans of the Ogdru Jahad
From the varied attempts of the comic's villains to free the Ogdru Jahad, it is readily apparent that the release of the Ogdru Jahad is closely tied to the fall of mankind. Whether the fall of man causes the release or quickly follows it is not known with any certainty. All the characters attempting to liberate it agree that the Ogdru Jahad will do something akin to "burning the earth to a cinder" so it is possible they are all referring to some common vision of the dragon's release but are guessing at how the prophecy is fulfilled.
As an immortal and vastly powerful entity whose true nature defies description (even the simple issue of whether it is one creature or a plurality of creatures is ambiguous), the motivations of the Ogdru Jahad may not be possible to represent in human terms. As such, the human and quasi-human inhabitants of the Hellboy universe have expressed a variety of opinions on what the Ogdru Jahad wants beyond freedom, which it desires above all other things.
Beyond the basic premise of seeking freedom and then burning the earth, there is much dissent as to precisely what the Ogdru Jahad will do upon release. The aliens that watch the cosmic prison of the Ogdru Jahad apparently perceive Earth as a focal point necessary to maintaining the prison. If the Ogdru Jahad are released, they will destroy Earth and then the entire Universe. Herman von Klempt believes that once man has been destroyed, the 369 Ogdru Hem will rise up from their prisons, free the Ogdru Jahad and burn the Earth to ashes. Similarly, the Bog Roosh was plagued with dreams in which Hellboy's hand is taken and used to free the Ogdru Jahad, who then burn the earth to cinders. Rasputin, on the other hand, seems convinced that the desire of the Ogdru Jahad is to create a new, perfect world out of the ashes of the old one, where the final race of man will live. He tells Inger von Klempt that her grandfather was unable to see beyond the destruction of the human race, and that a new Eden does indeed await the final race of man. Hecate also strongly implies that there will be a "new world to come" during a conversation with Rasputin in the Conqueror Worm epilogue, but mentions that she cannot see that far ahead, and that death could await them just as easily. In The Third Wish, the Daoine Sidhe explicitly state that it is prophesied that a new world shall rise from the old due to the Right Hand of Doom.
Appearances in other media
FilmIn the film Hellboy, the Ogdru Jahad were mentioned by name only once by Rasputin. They were portrayed as amorphous, tentacled creatures encased in crystal shells. At the conclusion of the film, their prisons were shattered and the Ogdru Jahad began their assault on Earth. Before the final lock could be unsealed by Hellboy, he regained his senses and the Ogdru Jahad dissipated.
In Hellboy: Sword of Storms, the Ogdru Jahad (or possibly Ogdru Hem) made a cameo as the brothers of Thunder and Lightning. Though not mentioned by name, they were referred to as the "Dragons".