I recently read a short story by Stirling (in Turtledoves alternate universe collection) set in The Peshawar Lancers universe. In the very beginning, he mentions Chernobog cult.

This kind of threw me for a loop, since I only associated Chernobog with Mercedes Lackey Heirs of Alexandria series.

Upon further research, the use of Chernobog seems to be pretty popular in fantasy - in my impression, way more popular than is warranted given that the entity was a minor, virtually unknown power in an obscure part of Slavic pantheon (there were a lot more well known and popular deities if one wants to borrow from ancient Slavs).

Is there any explanation for Chernobog's popularity?

Is there some known influence that people copy? Did any of the creators using Chernobog in their work explain WHY they picked Chernobog specifically?

I'm looking for facts/evidence, not guesses.

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    This is interesting. So far I've only found Chernobog in Neil Gaiman's American Gods, and I couldn't figure him out without the internet. It puzzles me too. – Andres F. Feb 3 '14 at 2:57
  • @AndresF. - I saw at least 9 uses in non-Russian fantasy on the Wiki. – DVK-on-Ahch-To Feb 3 '14 at 3:00
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    Well, it sounds like Chernobyl, which I'm sure a lot more people have heard of... – Izkata Feb 3 '14 at 4:35
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    Is this asking for the origin of popularity of the use of the name? Regardless of its initial "importance" in the Slavic pantheon, the idea of a "Dark Lord" is very useful to Fantasy themes. Why not use an existing historic name that doesn't have the repetition of "Satan" behind it? – Gorchestopher H Feb 3 '14 at 18:44
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    @Izkata The two words sound alike because they both begin with "black" in russian. There are hundreds of other words that start with black – Andrey Feb 3 '14 at 20:56

I think I may have a not-so-speculative answer. According to wikipedia article you've cited chernobog is a deity "...about whom much has been speculated but little can be said definitively." Since little is known about him, that gives writers the freedom to make him into anything they want.

Tolkien did this in his fiction. He would take an obscure Anglo-Saxon word whose meaning was unclear, and simply give it a meaning of his own invention. For example the orks were inspired by the Anlgo-Saxon word "orcneas" used in Beowulf, and whose exact meaning is uncertain.

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    This is as non-speculative an answer as this question is going to get. Nice tidbit about orcneas. – Gorchestopher H Feb 4 '14 at 12:37
  • You left out the part about swearing, goddamnit! – Peter Wone May 7 '16 at 9:22

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