Friday Favourites: Animals of the Zodiac

By The Hodderscape Team

Posted on January 31, 2014 in Friday Favourites with tags Animals, Friday Favourites

To celebrate Chinese New Year, we looked up our Zodiac animal and picked out our favourite literary versions of those animals!

Year of the Goat: Shub-Niggurath from the Cthuhlu mythos


I was born in the year of the goat (the year of the earth goat, if you’re curious), which is fantastic, because goats are adorable and admirable. I have nothing but respect for an animal with a hard head and a strong stomach; they’re traits I like in others and seek to cultivate in myself. Of course, that said, there’s some discussion about whether the year of the goat is, truly, the year of the goat – or whether instead it’s the sheep, or the ram. (It’s kind of all of them.)

I, too, seek to sow confusion.

Anyway, my favourite goat has to be Shub-Niggurath, who may or may not be the Black Goat of the Woods with a Thousand Young. (Confusing!) Shub-Niggurath is a Lovecraftian Elder God who came into her own in the works of August Derleth and Ramsay Campbell, among others. She’s described as being a black cloud with hundreds of cloven-hooved feet and, also, because this is Lovecraft we’re talking about, tentacles. Lots of tentacles. Sure, she may not be a goat in the most traditional sense of the word, but, you know. Close enough!

– Anne

 Year of the Rat: Ratty from The Wind in the Willows

rattyI was born in the year of the rat – as were, so Wikipedia tells me, an array of famous others ranging from Alexander the Great to Prince Charles to Katy Perry. And also Mozart, which I find particularly pleasing. I have also learnt from Wikipedia that I am, specifically, a water rat. I have no idea what this means for my personality or my destiny, BUT it ties in incredibly nicely with my favourite literary rat, who is… Ratty, from The Wind in the Willows, of course. As a child I assumed that Ratty was a rat pure and simple, but in actual fact he is a vole, also known as a water rat.

Look at Ratty, so refined and cultured, with such great taste in jackets and hats. What’s not to love? #ProudToBeRatty

– Naomi

Year of the Horse: Shadofax from The Lord of the Rings


This one was a no-brainer: Shadofax is the lord of all horses! Shadofax is a descendent of the race of Mearas (only the greatest horses in all Middle-earth) and is gifted with superior strength, the ability to understand human speech, and, of course, speed. Shadofax frequently shows us the meaning of haste, performing a number flashy feats throughout the trilogy, including crossing the wilderness between Rohan and the Shire in six days!


Shadofax is also a formidable war horse and plays an important role in many of the battles. He is instrumental in the Battle for Helm’s Deep and the Siege of Gondor, and when Shadofax comes face-to-face with the Lord of the Nazgûl, he handles it like a boss: “alone among the free horses of the earth endured the terror, unmoving, steadfast as a graven image in Rath Dínen”.

– Fleur

Year of the Horse: Pegasus


I was born in the year of the horse. In life, however, I have little interaction with horses. Except for a horseback ride through the Troodos Mountains, though I didn’t venture that far, the highest peak of Troodos is Mount Olympus. This leads so beautifully into my favourite ‘literary’ horse…


Though obviously not a real ‘horse’, Pegasus is winged horse that was born from the mating of Medusa and Poseidon. Pegasus is captured by Bellerophon and rides with his to defeat the Chimera. Bellerophon attempts to ride Pegasus to Mount Olympus but is thrown off. Pegasus is then taken in as lightening-bearer by Zeus, and for his noble services was honoured by becoming a constellation.

Now if that isn’t a legend of a horse, I really don’t know what is.

– Sharan

Year of the Rooster: Alan-a-Dale


It turns out I’m a rooster and I’m hard pressed to think of many heroic roosters in fiction or in the movies for that matter. There are heroic hens in Animal Farm who oppose the tyrannical Napoleon, but the cockerel is a stooge. So I’ll go for the utterly daft  Alan-a-Dale, in Disney’s Robin Hood. At least he has catchy tunes even if a slightly weird, lispy voice.

– Oliver


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