If I sometimes imagine Argrath as a Bowie-like chameleon, I often imagine Arkat as a Colonel Kurtz figure, particularly in the last stages of the Gbaji Wars. I could imagine him giving Harmast this speech shortly before entering Dorastor:
Iin our version of Apocalypse Now, Willard goes off to find someone with sounder methods, Kurtz goes on to confront his Shadow, and then retires to a farm in Ralios, protected by his ferocious Zorak Zorani children, parceling out his wisdom and epigrams to any who will listen.
Unlike Hrestol, who slew his irrational unconsciousness and destroyed his shadow in order to bring forth the rule of reason and will, Arkat rationally embraced his unconscious and became his own shadow. In the end, Arkat fully embraced the Darkness in order to extinguish the Light of Nysalor.
Argrath is very similar to Teelo Estara, especially if you imagine Harrek, Broyan, Gunda, the Feathered Horse Queen, Kallyr, and Jaldon as his “”mothers”. But then again, Teelo Estara is more similar to Arkat than might be comfortable for good Lunars.
One might even view the Red Goddess as an attempt to create a synthesis of Nysalor AND Arkat. Of Nysalor AND Gbaji. Of the Full Moon and the Black Moon.
And perhaps Argrath creates a synthesis of the destroyer and the balancer.
These Liars and Liberators alternate, Light and Darkness, so fast that at some point the Light becomes Dark and the Dark Light.
Arkat is very much the Maimed Hero. Argrath does a better job at avoiding that, although I think that may more the result of the FHQ’s marriage.
Or perhaps it that early incorporation of the Dragon into his soul – something beyond Life and Death.
People forget that Glorantha is but the dream of the True Dragon.
The Dragonkiller carries the Cosmic Serpent. One of the strange things that makes up Orlanth.
The strangeness is only that in this case the entity he is the slayer and the wielder is a cosmic dragon. Which few gods have that relationship.
I see Argrath as every bit as loathsome as Shepelkirt/Sedenya. Definitely not – that’s the mask of the goddess as viewed by the victims of her Empire. But viewing Argrath as similar to Teelo Estara as she went about becoming the Red Goddess? Very likely correct.And I don’t view Teelo Estara as loathsome in the slightest.
and what of Teelo Estara’s victims? She brought terrible war upon the Carmanian Empire, drove even her allies insane and warped them with Chaos, and destroyed entire cities. Not to mention the countless peasants who no doubt died when the Red Moon rose into the sky? But the destroyer and the balancer bring death. That’s part of what they are. That’s part of the cosmic dance. It is worth keeping in mind that after Argrath becomes a god, Inkarne the Feathered Horse Queen rules “for a hundred years” to bring life to a shattered world (or at least what is left of Dragon Pass and Saird). The destroyer’s part is played and then it becomes the time of the Good Queen to restore Life.
As an aside, like the ancient Greeks, I don’t think most Gloranthans feel the need to bowdlerise the danger of heroes like us moderns. They know the divine is both terrible and wonderful.
It’s the Gods War again. The little fight between Argrath and the Red Emperor unravels the Compromise and only then does everyone see how useful it was.
Is it any wonder that Glorantha has gone through three terrible end of ages?
So let’s say that I wanted to learn everything i could about Arkat. Where would I go? best source is the Guide to Glorantha.