“Hastur was a Duke of Hell. Crowley wasn’t even a local councillor.” (213)
Hastur is introduced as “A Fallen Angel and Duke of Hell” in the Dramatis Personae (xv). His physical form is described as lean (3) and tall (5), with teeth that are too sharp, a flickering tongue (214), and a guttural voice (212). His earthly attire is a grubby mackintosh (7). Crowley includes Hastur among the demons “who took such a dark delight in unpleasantness you might even have mistaken them for human” (212).
Hastur is first encountered lurking in the ruined cemetery, waiting for hours with the demon Ligur to deliver the Antichrist to Crowley. Like Ligur, Hastur is described as “a world class lurker” (3). Unlike Ligur, Hastur has a basic grasp of modern technology (5), although he doesn’t know how to drive (210). He regards Crowley as a poseur, memorably calling him a “flash bastard” (5).
Hastur is a bit of a traditionalist in dealing with his subordinates. When he and Ligur meet Crowley, he requires a recounting of The Deeds of the Day — a recitation of the day’s temptations performed by all demons present — and insists that Crowley sign his name with a sigil rather than his signature (6). Hastur’s deed that day was to put Doubt into the mind of a priest as he walked down the street and looked at pretty girls (6).
Hastur delivers the baby, maliciously enjoying Crowley’s obvious discomfiture. After Crowley drives away, Hastur admits to Ligur that he doesn’t trust Crowley (9).
When the Infernal Authorities discover that the boy, Warlock, is not the Antichrist, Hastur and Ligur are sent to “collect” Crowley (210). The two Dukes of Hell crash through the door of Crowley’s apartment building, terrifying the little old lady on the floor below his flat (211). When Ligur pushes open the door to Crowley’s office, a bucket Crowley had filled with holy water falls on his head and destroys him (212). Hastur, who had been walking behind Ligur, is outraged by the unthinkable depths to which Crowley has stooped. “Your fate will be whispered by mothers in dark places to frighten their young,” he informs Crowley, and then, feeling the language of Hell isn’t up to the job, adds: “You’re going to get taken to the bloody cleaners, pal” (213).
Crowley tries to bluff him with his plastic plant-mister, sloshing it around threateningly to imply that it, too, contains holy water. But Hastur is unimpressed, noting Crowley’s lack of concern about a drop of water sliding down the side of the mister toward his hand. “Hastur gestured, and the plastic bulb dissolved like rice paper, spilling water all over Crowley’s desk, and all over Crowley’s suit” (214). To buy time, Crowley plays on Hastur’s paranoia, telling him that “this was a test. The Lords of Hell had to know that you were trustworthy before we gave you command of the Legions of the Damned, in the War ahead.”
Crowley then dials a number and vanishes down the telephone line. Hastur immediately follows in pursuit. After an exciting chase, Crowley escapes back to his lounge and traps Hastur on the incoming message tape in his ansaphone (217).
Hastur spends half an hour trapped on the ansaphone with only Aziraphale’s message for company. At that point a telephone salesperson, Lisa Morrow, phones Crowley, and inadvertently releases Hastur (262).
Hastur climbs out of the earpiece of the phone, looking “a little like a maggot. A huge, angry maggot made out of thousands and thousands of tiny little maggots, all writhing and screaming, millions of little maggot mouths opening and shutting in fury, and every one of them was screaming ‘Crowley'” (262).
Hastur devours the salesperson and her nine colleagues. Bolstered by the information he has gained from Aziraphale’s message, he leaves with a full stomach to meet with the Dark Council.
As a result of his destruction of the telephone salespersons, “a wave of low-grade goodness started to spread exponentially through the population, and millions of people who ultimately would have suffered minor bruises of the soul did not in fact do so” (263), proving that evil contains the seeds of its own destruction.
Hastur (The Unspeakable One, Him Who Is Not to be Named) appears as a Great Old one in tales of the Cthulhu Mythos. August Derleth depicted him as the spawn of Yog-Sothoth, and the half-brother of Cthulhu. In Neil Gaiman’s short story ‘I, Cthulhu’, Hastur is Cthulhu’s uncle.
“Hastur”. Wikipedia. Accessed 11 October 2012. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hastur>.
Gaiman, Neil. “I, Cthulhu”. Accessed 11 October 2012. <http://www.neilgaiman.com/p/Cool_St