From: Dungeons and Dragons
Classification: The villainous and vile self-proclaimed Prince of Demons.
With Stranger Things 2 still fresh on my mind and wanting to watch it again, I wanted to honor this great show in some way. My first thought was to cover the Mind Flayer from D&D, which is one of my favorite monstrous races – but I thought Dustin did a fine job of that in the show. So I decided to go back to the first season and the Demogorgon.
The Demogorgon in the show Stranger Things bears little resemblance to the monster in the Dungeons and Dragon game, but even the D&D version bears little resemblance to the creature first mentioned in the works of Christian Scholars discussing Pagan deities. The creature from the Upside Down has a lot more in common with the original creature from ancient texts simply because the Demogorgon came to mean any demonic creature of power.
The term became very popular in Christian propaganda and became a “boogeyman” when discussing evil deities and demons in works of literature. Any real description of the demon became hidden behind the term “taboo”, as Demogorgon was so evil its name shouldn’t even be written or spoken. So as an author just saying his name once was enough for the reader to get the point and not dwell on the subject to long.
In the role playing game Dungeons and Dragons the Demogorgon made its first appearance in the third supplement book Eldritch Wizardry which was published in 1976. The book Eldritch Wizardry introduced players to many new concepts in the Dungeons and Dragons game. It was first appearance of Druids being a playable class and psionics as a form of “magic”. It also introduced the D&D world to demons, demonic lords Orcus and Demogorgon, and psionic creatures such as the Mind Flayer (what a strange coincidence both of these monsters made their debut in Eldritch Wizardry AND are in Stranger Things.)
The first version of the Demogorgon was a 18-foot-tall reptilian hermaphroditic tanar’ri with a somewhat humanoid form. The Demogorgon’s arms and legs are tentacles and has two snake like necks with two mandrill heads perched atop. Each head has its own individual minds, called Aameul (the left head) and Hethradiah (the right head). One of Demogorgon’s best-kept secrets, even from its cultists and minions, is that its two personas strive to dominate (and even kill) each other, but are unable to because they are connected to one another, not just physically. Despite this duality, many of Demogorgon’s plots revolve around either permanently separating or uniting these two personas. According to legends, Demogorgon has two mothers, which account for his twin personas. His blue-green skin is plated with snake-like scales, his body and legs are those of a giant lizard, and his thick tail is forked. His appearance testifies to his command of cold-blooded things such as serpents, reptiles, and octopods.
Demogorgon’s appearance has been unchanged over the years, but in the 3rd Edition sourcebook, Book of Vile Darkness, Demogorgon is described as having two hyena heads instead of mandrill heads. Other than that change, the only other changes have been to shrink the snake like necks and to make the Demogorgon even bigger in size.
By the time 4th Edition came out the origins of the Demogorgon changed slightly. It states that at one time the Demogorgon only had one head. After a horrible war against the god Amoth in the divine dominion of Kalandurren, Demogorgon was almost cut it two and out of the wound grew his second head and mind.
Demogorgon can charm enemies or drive enemies insane with his gaze, depending on which head’s eyes are met. If both heads lock their gazes on a single target simultaneously, Demogorgon can hypnotize the foe. His whip-like tail has the ability to drain the life energy right out of a living foe. His tentacles cause living creatures to rot away.
The title of Price of the Demons was a title that Demogorgon gave itself. With the chaotic nature of the Abyss, no demon has a title. He holds this title through sheer power and the fact no other demon has been able to prove themselves his superior and wrest the name from him. Demogorgon is also known as Lord of All That Swims in Darkness.
Demogorgon lives on the 88th layer of the Abyss, known as Abysm, the Brine Flats, or Gaping Maw. This layer consists of a great sea of briny water broken by tall, sharp, and ugly rocks rising out of the endless murky water into a sky of yellow mist. Demogorgon’s palace is two twin towers shaped very roughly like tightly coiled serpents that are covered with sharp, fin-like features and spines, and crowned at the top with skull-shaped minarets. The two towers are linked by a bridge near the top. Beneath the fortress are reefs and caverns where many large and dangerous underwater monsters dwell, constantly warring with each other and worshipping Demogorgon in his palace above. His towers are said to extend so far beneath the sea that they connect to the layer beneath him where he speaks with the obyrith lord Dagon.
Numerous isles dot the layer, but they all resemble Demogorgon’s palace: twin spirals rising straight out of the sea and into the sky. The only significant landmass of the layer is a vast jungle-covered continent. Here, Demogorgon’s capital city of Lemoriax is located.