Tid Bits

I thought I'd include a list of little things about the world of the Dark Crystal that I didn't pick up on or just hadn't thought enough about after watching the movie, but learned about from this new material. Even though many of these things are probably obvious to many people, I'm including them on this page in case others missed them too.

  • Just from watching the movie, I never knew how Aughra lost her eye. Both in the A.C.H. Smith novelization of The Dark Crystal and in 'Aughra's Song' included in the re- released Dark Crystal graphical computer adventure game in the Roberta Williams CD-ROM anthology, it is directly stated that she lost her one eye by starring at the Great Conjunction a millennium ago.
    In response to Jen's query about her missing eye, Aughra replies:
    " 'Eye? Burned out.'
    Jen gasped, 'How horrible.'
    'Worth it.' She tapped the empty socket. 'I saw the Great Conjunction. ...' "
    -- A.C.H. Smith from The Dark Crystal page 57

    "I lay on the mountain above the Crystal and saw the three suns move closer together. I lay under the rocks with one eye open to the light, and for one moment I saw the joint splendor of the Three Suns shining down on me. From that light my open eye became blinded, and in that moment of light, the urSkeks opened the door in the crystal and entered our world."
    -- from "Aughra's Song" in the Sierra 1982 Hi-Res Computer Game booklet

  • When I had watched the movie, I had always wondered why the UrSkeks left after being rejoined and what became of them. Reading both 'Aughra's Song' from the Anthology booklet and the novelization by A.C.H. Smith helps to explain about the nature of the Dark Crystal universe. The UrSkeks are basically alien to the planet upon which the Gelflings, Pod People, and the Crystal reside. According to the novelization, the UrSkeks apparently came to the planet because of the crystal and its powers during the Great Conjunction in which the combined light of the three suns is powerful enough to realign the lattice within the crystal. During the last Great Conjunction, the UrSkeks came to the Gelfling planet and shattered a part of the crystal. By removing the shard from the crystal during the Great Conjunction, the lattices within the crystal could not be properly aligned thus causing the mayhem that followed. When the full crystal is restored during the Great Conjunction in the movie, the UrSkeks' split selves are rejoined and they return to the land from whence they came. Up until now, I did not know that the UrSkeks were basically foreigners to the planet of the Dark Crystal.

  • I had not realized the extent of the politics going on behind the Skeksis. From reading the novelization by A.C.H. Smith, it is made clear all of the factions vying for power after the original Emperor died. Each of the Skeksis has a name and a purpose to go along with their distinctly unique characters. I hadn't realized the extent to which each of the factions were still vying for power even after the Garthim Master won the Trial by the Stone. Of course, I knew about the Chamberlain's interest in the throne, but hadn't realized how much the Ritual-Master wanted in on it too. In the novel, he was rather cold and calculating in his endeavor to snatch the throne from the Garthim-Master. The use of his Crystal Bats to help find the Gelflings was not only an attempt to thwart the prophecy, but mainly as a political ploy to undermine the position of the Garthim-Master in light of his recently failed attempts to capture the Gelflings with his Garthim.

  • I hadn't realized that skekTek the Scientist Skeksis amputated parts of his own body and supplemented others with mechanical parts to learn more about the Skeksis anatomy and augment his own abilities. Indeed, looking at the movie, he is quite a bit mutilated. That it was at his own hand deliberately, adds a lot to enriching his character. Ghastly, but a nice touch for the movie!

  • The novelization reveals that the Garthim-Master, Slave-Master, and skekTek the Scientist were a very close-knit faction. But, when the Scientist is killed by falling into the fire-pit below the Crystal unbeknownst to all, the Garthim-Master assumes that the Scientist has turned on him, set his animals free as a distraction, and has joined forces with the obsequious Chamberlain.

  • The relationship between the Gelflings and their environment is elaborated upon in the novelization. I hadn't realized just how close the Gelflings are to the natural world around them. When Jen and Kira are riding in the boat while she is singing and he is playing his flute, they are also harmonizing with all of the sounds of the river and bog around them. They are simply contributing to the 'music' that is already there. This is evident in this piece on the sound track. The music for this piece begins with the sounds of the bog alone, then Kira's voice accompanies these ambient sounds, and then Jen accompanies both. The music ends with the sounds of nature once again. There is also a wonderful description in the book of Jen trying to dance like some insects he comes across early in his journey:

    "From the top of the grassy knoll he saw a shimmer of movement far ahead of him, beside the stream that wriggled across the plain. It looked like a line of shadows flickering first one way, then the other, back and forth. Coming closer, he saw that the shimmering was caused by a crowd of insects, nearly as large as himself. Each of them had ten long and sticklike legs. Their small bodies, high above the ground, were the color of silver gilt. As though obeying an invisible director, they were performing a curious dance, taking a few awkward steps together in one direction, and then all together reversing their movement.
    . . .
    A playful impulse prompted Jen to join their dance. He took up a position at the end of the line and stepped sideways with them and back again. Each time the movement was completed, he found that he was a little closer to the stream; and the moment came when he had to put one foot on the surface of the water if he was to maintain his position in the line. He did so with confidence and found that his foot, unlike theirs, broke the surface and sank into the soft, silty mud.

    This appeared to alarm the insects. At once they abandoned their stately prancing. Each of them folded its ten legs together, and from its body spread a pair of deep-damasked wings, striped red and gray-green. In a pack, they buzzed up into the sky and circled above Jen, who stood, one foot in the mud, craning his neck to watch them."

    --The Dark Crystal by A.C.H. Smith

  • I read into the book, that if there were two Gelflings left alive after the genocide, there might be more hidden away in the far reaches of the planet. I prefer this explanation in the abrupt way in which the movie ends where that issue isn't directly addressed. After all, if there are only two Gelflings left on the planet, it isn't such a happy ending for the Gelfling race.

  • I had always thought of the Mystics as very powerful in their sorcerers ways. The book does address the issue, however, that these Mystics are rather pathetic characters in contrast to the Skeksis which dominate the world of the Dark Crystal. I suppose, if the Mystics were indeed as powerful and they were wise and good, they would have defeated the Skeksis themselves and not let them torture the planet. That they did nothing of the kind and instead stayed in their sheltered valley speaks a different tale. Kind of a shame, but it does add some dimension to their character and their plight.

  • Differing from the movie, the Skeksis actually speak an entirely different language from any other creature in the world.

  • The Mystics were originally known as the urRu. Looking back at the ending sequence of the movie, I think one of the Skeksis utters this word "urRu" in horror when he sees the Mystics entering the Crystal Chamber. I had always wondered why he said this; now it makes sense!

    Dark Crystal Chapters in 'In-Print' Books

    The following books include some pages about the making of the Dark Crystal in the form of sketches, movie photos, behind-the-scenes images, and written information. These books are still in print and can also be found at Amazon.com

  • Jim Henson: The Works: The Art, The Magic, The Imagination
    --Christopher Finch

  • No Strings Attached: The Inside Story of Jim Henson's Creature Shop
    --Matt Bacon

    The Dark Crystal
    BOOKS: The World of the Dark Crystal
    --Brian Froud
    eBay Auction
    The Dark Crystal
    --A.C.H. Smith

    The Tale of the Dark Crystal
    --Donna Bass

    The Dark Crystal: The Official Comics Adaptation of the Jim Henson Epic Adventure Film
    --David Anthony Kraft

    ABE Books
    MUSIC: The Original Soundtrack: The Dark Crystal
    --Trevor Jones
    Keith Zinkham
    Dark Crystal Bootleg CD
    --Trevor Jones

    The Dark Crystal Book and Record

    eBay Auction
    GAMES: The Dark Crystal Card Game Heathside Collectibles
    The Dark Crystal (1982)
    This game is now on CD-ROM and includes 6 pages of 'Aughra's Song' in the anthology booklet.
    --Sierra Anthology (Roberta Williams)
    Still in Print
    The CD-ROM Shop
    MISC: The Dark Crystal Lunchbox

    The Dark Crystal Trading Card Set (78 cards by Donruss)

    The Dark Crystal Adventures Collection (miniature pewter statues)
    Pinnacle Products

    eBay Auction
    French Dark Crystal PosterPix Posters

    Dark Crystal Links

  • The Unofficial Dark Crystal Homepage by Monica J. Roxburgh
  • Catherine Varenne's Dark Crystal Page
  • Lost World Productions Dark Crystal Merchandise Page (some items are for sale at a high price)
  • Internet Movie Database entry for the Dark Crystal
  • Official Dark Crystal Page from the Jim Henson Company

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    Page last updated: March 16th, 1999.