As I read through The King in Yellow myself, which I highly recommend as enjoyable reading, I was amazed and astounded by the stories and how they related to the Old Entity Hastorr in Yu-Gi-Oh. In fact, when I first sat down to research Old Entity Hastorr, I wasn't expecting what I found out about this card. I felt like I was entering a Lovecraftian tale beholding the awesome and shocking secrets this card held in the form of allegory.
The flavor of Old Entity Hastorr between its art and effect were mind blowing in relation to the original tales. Each story and image is hidden subtly in the card's details. The original book itself consists of ten stories, three of which specifically pertain to the study of this monster: "The Repairer of Reputations," "The Yellow Sign" and "The Mask." Those three narratives feature imagery which I believe served as the basis for the creation and design of Old Entity Hastorr.Hide It But Your Friends Know...
The ten stories collected there all reference a mysterious play or book also named The King in Yellow. The book you're physically reading is also the name of a fictitious narrative found within the stories. Each of the ten stories, in their own subtle way, refer to the King in Yellow as both an entity and as a work of literature. The first mention of the King in Yellow as a story is found in the first of the ten stories, "The Repairer of Reputations," wherein a brief description of the play and book are given along with the introduction of Hastur, and the reason for the fictional work's supposed banning.
Hastur, the King in Yellow himself, is said to be an actual living entity and interacts with the characters found within the pages of these stories. The characters all try to disregard Hastur as fiction, rationalizing and ignoring their interactions with Hastur until it's too late. In the universe of the stories, to read the book or watch the play is said to be enough to drive the viewer mad and unhinge them, and in a worst case scenario even draws the attention of Hastur, hence the book and play being forbidden from publication.
Much like the images associated with Hastur, both mentioned and shown, Yu-Gi-Oh's Old Entity Hastorr is wearing a yellow cloak and robe similar to the modern mentions and references associated with the King in Yellow. Many book covers, this being one of the first, and accompanying art also further the established image we've come to recognize as the literary figure of Hastur. Gleaning what we know from the few fragments of the play scattered throughout the book, the play sounds oddly familiar. I've drawn the parallel that in someway, the book reminds me of "The Masque of the Red Death," a classic story written by Edgar Allen Poe which was adapted into a movie with the main character, Prince Prospero, played by Vincent Price.Even Better Than The Photos...
Amongst the relevant stories in The King in Yellow, the most important may be "The Mask." A sculptor, Boris; the sculptor's lover, Genevieve; and a painter, the narrator, are all friends, and each are affected by the fictional book in different ways. In short, the sculptor had found a way to turn living beings into marble through the use of a strange liquid which he discovers through reading The King in Yellow. Anything living that is submerged in the translucent, opalescent liquid will be turned into a marble statue with faint lines of blue detailing veins, and the heart visibly encased in the marbled form upon close Inspection.
As the story progresses, Genevieve contracts a mysterious fever and becomes delirious, declaring her love for the narrator over her lover Boris. The narrator also develops a mysterious fever and becomes delusional. It's mentioned that his face is extremely pale and it reminds the narrator of something known as "The Pallid Mask."
Genevieve, suspected of reading The King in Yellow, becomes mentally unhinged from both medication and the book, and throws herself into the liquid pool in an attempt to commit suicide. She's instantly turned to marble. Boris finds her the next day, and he's so emotionally distraught that he himself commits suicide with a gunshot to the head. As the story begins to wrap up, we find out that Boris leaves the sculptor all of his statues in his will, with Genevieve amongst them. By the end of the story, Genevieve is revived as the effects of the liquid seem to be temporary and the narrator's fever breaks, with both sharing a happy finish.
The images are what's important here. We're told about the opalescent pool of liquid used to transform living things into marble statues. Keep in mind that opalescence isn't the play of colors we see in opals, but rather the milky, colorless aspects of the opal. Old Entity Hastorr's effect actually mimics the effects of the liquid, equipping itself to the opposing monster, turning it into nothing more than a statue by negating its effects and preventing the monster from attacking.
In the art of Old Entity Hastorr, its face is a strange white mask. The "Pallid Mask" mentioned in the story is a reference to the same mask found in other stories, a face worn by The Stranger in the fictional play, "The King in Yellow." In fact, pale-faced characters are numerous in the stories and anyone who becomes pale has usually had some form of contact with Hastur, even if indirectly. Becoming pale-faced, seeing pale skies, or seeing pale colors is a common recurring theme within the book.
In the background, standing behind Old Entity Hastorr, you'll notice a monster ascending from a pool of liquid. Its form is grey, marbleized and its body translucent with only the blue highlights similar to something mentioned in the story. Whether it's a statuized monster or something enthralled to Old Entity Hastorr is up for debate. In fact, it could be an enthralled monster succumbing to Hastorr's will. But while we're on the topic of things becoming enthralled by both Old Entity Hastorr and Hastur, we'll segue into our next topic.I Only Call When You Have My Sign...
Standing inside a churchyard is the visually terrifying pale-faced figure of a watchman, positioned in view of a Mr. Scott's window, a painter. The painter's perturbed by this gentleman and while painting a piece of his model, Tessie, the painting begins to bleed green as if a stain emanates from within the canvas. No matter what the painter does to remove the green stains, even working with a knife and turpentine, the stain continues to grow across the skin of the painted figure until, to the horror of the model and the painter, the painting is ruined. Tessie explains how she'd had a dream of this very street and house and the sounding arrival of a hearse with the body of the painter inside the casket. In her dreams, the driver of the hearse is the pallid watchman outside. She's terrified to the core.
As the story progresses we learn that the watchman in the churchyard instills fear in all who see him. His skin is said to be sickly, comparable to slugs, and he's missing a middle finger. As the story progresses, a figure sitting in the churchyard with a white puffy face mutters something to Mr. Scott under his breath. The words haunt the painter, keeping him up at night: "Have you found the Yellow Sign?"
The next morning Tessie, who shared an intimate moment with Mr. Scott, brings him a gift. Inside the box is a clasp of black onyx inlaid with a symbol in gold, not of any known language, which is promptly fastened to his coat's lapel. This turns out to in fact be the titular Yellow Sign, unbeknownst to the characters. Tessie had found it whilst at an aquarium, and tried to find the owner to no avail. Even more perturbing is that she found it the same day she had the dream.
The next day, Mr. Scott sprains his wrists and he and Tessie are forced to sit idle. He notices a pale yellow book sitting in the corner of the room and Tessie remarks that the book is called The King in Yellow. Mr. Scott knows of its power and warns Tessie not to read from the book, but she disobeys and runs off with it. Mr. Scott eventually finds Tessie, pale and in shock, almost as if a trance. Here we're reminded of the "Pallid Mask" again. Mr. Scott grows curious himself and reads the entire book.
Both characters discuss the book and its words, which seem to describe a beautiful death. They finally discover that the gold and onyx pin is the same "Yellow Sign" from the story. Though Tessie begs for Mr. Scott to remove the pin, he hasn't the will to do so. The two sit entranced, and talk continuously about the book, almost as if they're waiting for something.
Eventually the King In Yellow comes for them in the form of an unseeable thing, playing out just like in Tessie's dream. Nothing can stop the entity from entering the house and it rots everything it touches. After it claims the Sign in Yellow, Tessie softly cries out and dies, and the body of the watchman is seen rotting nearby, presumably the form taken by Hastur. It rots away into a heap whilst Mr. Scott is mentally alive but lays dying on the floor.
Anyone who comes into possession of the Yellow Sign or even sees it becomes enthralled to the Yellow King. This is also mentioned in the story The Repairer of Reputations. Just like the abilities of the King in Yellow itself, Old Entity Hastorr shares the ability to possess others.
Unlike most monster effects, Old Entity Hastorr doesn't need to be physically on the field to enact its ability, mirroring the power of The King in Yellow. Instead, Hastorr only needs to leave the field when equipped to take the opposing monster for itself. A very powerful ability for a powerful monster. Look closely: in the palm of Old Entity Hastorr's hand you can see an eye shape with yellow wisps emanating from it, mimicking the alleged "shape" of the Yellow Sign. It's very plain to see that this monster's heavily influenced by the source material.
Why Old Entity Hastorr's a Reptile-type, I'm not quite sure. The typing could be a conglomeration of many things, including old images associated with the King in Yellow as a scaly skinned or reptilian being. Since it had many forms, it's hard to give it a concrete visage beneath the yellow robes that encircle its form. Keep in mind that since 1895, Hastur has gone through many literary portrayals and has been included in a multitude of stories.
That concludes our analysis of Old Entity Hastorr. I hope you enjoyed the stories from "The King in Yellow" and the allusions created by Konami to create such a fascinating card. Hopefully, within the new year, we'll see the rest of the Outer, Elder and Old Entities make their appearance in the TCG.