From snakes that kill you with one look, to spirits that suck all the happiness from you.
Who doesn't love to cuddle up with a good book about a scary monster? Although you might associate monsters with children's books, there's actually a whole literary tradition of stories with scary creatures that goes back thousands of years. You've probably even read some of these stories at some point. They play with our deepest fears and desires, featuring characters that disturb us because of the way they are monstrous but also a little human.
Here are 8 of the best monsters in literature, from the ancient Greeks to J.K. Rowling:
The Basilisk is what people in show business like to call a triple-threat: it’s a huge, scary snake, with venomous fangs that can also kill you with one look. The first time you read about basilisks was probably in Harry Potter and The Chamber of Secrets, but this monster has been part of mythology for thousands of years. In fact, they used to be depicted as half snake, half chicken creatures whose main weakness was the odor of weasels.
Fairy Tale Fanon Wiki
2. The Kraken
The Kraken is an ancient sea monster from Scandinavian mythology that lives close to Norway. It appears in Jules Verne’s Twenty Thousand Leagues Under The Sea, and it basically looks like a giant octopus. The Kraken waits on the sea floor for ships to pass over it and then attacks, destroying and killing everything in its path.
3. The Minotaur
A character from Greek mythology, the minotaur is different from other monsters on this list because he’s half-man and half-bull. He’s the son of King Minos’ wife, Pasiphae, and a bull she fell in love with. Because he was neither a man nor a bull, he didn’t have a “natural” diet, so he ate people. Minos had to build a labyrinth to keep the monstrous creature trapped.
Cyclops are a race of one-eyed giants from Greek mythology. The most famous of them all is from Homer’s The Odyssey. In the epic, Odysseus encounters a Cyclops named Polyphemus, son of Poseidon, that kills and eats people in his cave. However, the hero manages to trick and defeat him.
Fenris is a giant wolf from Viking mythology. He eats people and gets bigger and bigger with every person he kills. As the story goes, he will continue eating people until the end of the world. By that time, he should be as big as the entire planet.
Odin and Fenris (1909) by Dorothy Hardy
One of my personal favorites, Medusa is the only female monster on this list. She comes from Greek mythology too, but her backstory in Ovid’s Metamorphoses is much more interesting. As his version goes, she was so beautiful Poseidon raped her, which made Athena super jealous and led her to curse Medusa, giving her snakes for hair. Her new appearance was so ugly people would turn to stone just from looking at her.
Medusa by Caravaggio
H.P. Lovecraft is loved by fans around the world for the way he created a whole new universe and mythology. Cthulhu is one of his most famous creations, a gigantic entity that looks like an octopus, a dragon, but also human, with wings on its back. According to the Lovecraftian universe, this creature sleeps in its palace at the bottom of the sea, waiting for the moment to wake up and rule Earth.
How could I leave out the most disturbing monsters from the Harry Potter universe? Dementors are dark, flying spirits that suck the joy from everyone around them. In order to resist them, you have to focus on your happiest memories. Otherwise, they’ll get close, kiss you, and suck all your happiness from you for good, leaving you like a shell of a person with no emotions.
Harry Potter Wiki
Next time you feel like getting scared for an hour or two, forget about watching a movie or a series, and read about one of these guys. You won't regret it. You can also check out these interesting and creepy reads: