Best Moths in Pop Culture

Posted by Rose Moore

Summer is well and truly here, and that means that the nights are filled with barbeques and patio drinks…and of course, moths, who just can’t stay away from those party vibes! As well as being an uninvited guest at summer gatherings, moths are the underrated cousin to the butterfly in the world of pop culture. They aren't as flashy or as colorful, and there are far fewer moth characters to be found in the pages of books or on the screen, but there are a few. This month, we are celebrating the dark and fuzzy winged ones that appear across fictional world and in pop culture, whether they're the star of the show or just a helpful little friend.


Strange The Dreamer by Laini Taylor

In this wonderfully complex fantasy novel, there isn’t one specific moth that draws focus. Instead, a whole whisper of moths lives inside one of the characters, flying out at night to allow her to wander through the dreams of others. Sarai’s gift is one that allows her to meet another, in his dreams, and fall in love. Not only are the moths a huge part of the book (and symbolic of Sarai’s own soul, fragile and in pieces), but one is featured on the cover itself.



Not all moths are tiny. Mothra is a kaiju, and as such, is absolutely enormous! A famous part of the Godzilla franchise, Mothra is an immortal goddess (far more impressive than being a giant lizard), and hatches anew from an egg every time that she is killed in battle. As well as being a giant moth, Mothra has laser-antennae and reflective scales that protect her from attack. Over the years, she’s gone from being a klunky ‘60s kaiju into the epic moth that we are seeing in the new Godzilla franchise today.



The Moth in Lord Of The Rings

This unnamed moth is one of the most underrated characters in the Lord of the Rings and the one who essentially saves Middle Earth! Yes, of course, Gandalf did some saving…but he wouldn’t have been able to escape Saruman if not for the moth that he used to call the giant eagles. This little moth appears again when calling the eagles to save Frodo and Sam after they have destroyed the ring. He may not be big enough to rescue either the wizard or the Hobbits himself, but this little moth does as much for Middle Earth as the rest of the fellowship.



Killer Moth from DC Comics

What would comics be without some slightly ridiculous characters? Killer Moth, aka Drury Walker, aka Cameron Van Cleer, is a little known DC villain who is essentially the anti-Batman. The criminal was, in fact, inspired by Batman, and has a hilarious number of moth-related parallels. Like the Moth-Cave, the Mothmobile, and of course, his belt of Moth-related gadgetry. Also like Batman, Killer Moth has a playboy alter-ego (Cameron Van Cleer), and no actual superpowers—just a big ol’ brain and some determination.



"The Moth And The Star" by James Thurber

Back to slightly more realistic moths, "The Moth And The Star" is one of Thurber’s Fables For Our Time, and is a story that preaches living a different kind of life. In this fable, the Moth is one that wishes to reach a star, despite his parent’s protests that he should stick to the street lamps and house lamps that the rest of his family does. And despite never reaching the star itself, the moth is fulfilled by his pursuit and lives to old age, unlike his family, who are burned on the street lights. It is a slightly sad fable, but one that is still encouraging!



Moth Meme

And last but not least, it's time to celebrate a moth meme! On July 14th, 2018, a close up photo of a moth at a window was posted to Reddit, and the internet exploded! Moth memes started popping up everywhere, and not just from the original moth photo. Other photos and videos started doing the rounds, keeping everyone in moth-related hilarity for weeks. Like most of the other moths on this list, this little guy is unnamed, but we thank him for keeping us laughing.


Who are your favorite moth characters? Tweet @quirkbooks and let us know!