The Mythology Behind La Mulana’s Bosses #4: Bahamut

La Mulana contains a tricky fight on a tiny boat against a monstrous fish-like being. That fish is from one of the oldest stories still in publication. We’re digging into the history of a name most gamers have heard before: Bahamut.

Bahamut:

By Thy honour and glory, O Lord, I saw no fish; but there passed me by a great bull, whose length was three days’ journey…

-From The Aventures of Bulukiya in the Arabian Nights stories by Benares.

Bahamut

Bahamut in La Mulana.

Image Source: The La Mulana Remake Wiki

I know what you’re probably thinking: That can’t be Bahamut. It looks nothing like the fearsome blue dragon from the PlayStation game which taught millions of gamers to revere the name Bahamut: Chocobo Racing. What if I told you that this is one of the most faithful representations of Bahamut in a video game?

In Arabian mythology Bahamut is a fish of incomprehensible size that holds up the Earth. In the legend, even seeing some of the fish is enough to make powerful men and deities faint from beholding its indescribable, Lovecraftian existence. Stories vary, and many describe Bahamut as having a head like a hippo, bull, or elephant, which are all represented in La Mulana‘s interpretation in its maw, horns, and tusks.

Marine_Life_Hall,_American_Museum_of_Natural_History_(7356570628)

Bahamut in the American Museum of Natural History?

Image Source: Wikipedia

Outside of a blue whale, there’s nothing on Earth that resembles anything like Bahamut. If you’re a fan of the Discworld series of books, however, there is definitely a resemblance in A’Tuin, the turtle and his elephants. Terry Pratchett may have read another description of Bahamut from the ancient cosmologist, Ibn al-Wardi, who describes Bahamut as… I’m not even kidding here but feel free to sing along: “The Earth on an angel on a mountain on a bull on a fish at the bottom of the sea.”