The Kraken is a legendary sea monster of giant proportions said to dwell off the coasts of Norway and Greenland. The legend may have originated from sightings of giant squid that are estimated to grow to 13–15 m (40–50 ft) in length, including the tentacles. The sheer size and fearsome appearance attributed to the Kraken have made it a common ocean-dwelling monster in various fictional works.
Since the late 18th century, Kraken have been depicted in a number of ways, primarily as large octopus-like creatures, and it has often been alleged that Pontoppidan’s Kraken might have been based on sailors’ observations of the giant squid. In the earliest descriptions, however, the creatures were more crab-like than octopus-like, and generally possessed traits that are associated with large whales rather than with giant squid. Some traits of Kraken resemble undersea volcanic activity occurring in the Iceland region, including bubbles of water; sudden, dangerous currents; and the appearance of new islets.
Although fictional and the subject of myth, the legend of the Kraken continues to the present day, with numerous references existing in popular culture, including film, literature, television, video games and other miscellaneous examples:
The Kraken appears in the 1981 film Clash of the Titans as a giant, four-armed humanoid with scales and a fishtail.
A 2006 telemovie called Kraken: Tentacles of the Deep featured a different variation, while the film Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest included a more cephalopod-like creature. In the 2010 version of Clash of the Titans, the Kraken featured as a servant of the Olympian Gods.
The television series Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea featured an episode called The Village of Guilt, in which a failed experiment creates a giant octopus which then terrorizes the population of a Norwegian fjord.
In 1830 Alfred Tennyson published the irregular sonnet The Kraken, which described a massive creature that dwelled at the bottom of the sea.
John Wyndham’s 1953 novel The Kraken Wakes features the sonnet written by Alfred Tennyson; the story itself refers to an invasion by sea-dwelling aliens. The title is a play on Tennyson’s line “The Kraken sleepeth”.
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Versions of the Kraken appear in the video games Final Fantasy (1987), EarthBound (1994), The Ocean Hunter (1998), Fable: The Lost Chapters (2004), Age of Mythology (2002), Marvel: Ultimate Alliance (2006), God of War II (2007), Tomb Raider: Underworld (2008), Darkfall Online (2009), Heroes of Newerth (2010), Darkfall: Unholy Wars (2013) and Smite (2013).
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