The Dark Crystal by A.C.H. Smith

Basic information:

The Dark Crystal
A Novel
A.C.H. Smith

A Spellbinding Novel of Fantasy and Adventure

An Owl Book
Henson Organization Publishing
Holt, Rinehart and Winston
New York
Copyright 1982 by Henson Associates, Inc.

This is the cover of Smith's novel. My copy is a bit beat up. Unfortunately, I purchased this one through the used book search before I discovered the wonders of the ABE Search search service where you can choose the condition of your book vs price with hundereds of different booksellers.

The Dark Crystal is based on the movie produced by Jim Henson and Gary Kurtz, directed by Jim Henson and Frank Oz, with David Lazer as executive producer, screenplay by David Odell, and conceptual design by Brian Froud.

Photographs by Murray Close and John Lawrence-Jones.
Cover Illustration by Brian Froud
ISBN 0-03-062436-3 (pbk)

186 pages
8 pages of color stills from the movie
7" x 4" x 0.25"

Chapter Headings

Under each of these headings in the book, there are progressive illustrations representing the three suns slowly combining to one. Nice touch! Shown below are portions of these headings from Chapters 1, 3, 5, 7, and 9.

Chapter 1 : In the Forge of Thunder

Chapter 2 : On Aughra's High Hill

Chapter 3 : With So Many Questions

Chapter 4 : In Country Mirth

Chapter 5 : At the Houses of the Old Ones

Chapter 6 : To the Castle

Chapter 7 : Into the Dark

Chapter 8 : The Fire Below

Chapter 9 : When Single Shines the Triple Sun

Interesting Quotes

I wanted to include these quotes because they provide information about the world of the dark crystal.

  • Jen and Aughra are talking about the Castle of the Skeksis:
    " 'They built it, them. Was a mountain, Crystal was inside mountain, down a shaft, in a cave, old cave, with a floor. That's where I was, on the floor, spirals I remember, when I saw it. Lost this." She tapped her empty socket again. "Then they came, after Great Conjunction done, they cut castle out of mountain rock.'"
    - - from the chapter "On Aughra's High Hill" page 61

  • Jen and Aughra discuss the origins of many crystal shards she has collected:
    " 'You know what I think? Skeksis scatter them all over place so right one don't get found.' "
    -- from the chapter "On Aughra's High Hill" page 64

  • Jen and Aughra speak some more about the origin of the Crystal shard and shed some light onto the nature of the Skeksis:
    "When Skeksis hit big Crystal -- Kakoi they call doing that -- bang, cracks, and bits, but this shard flies off, huh? Oh, such noise! Tone-deaf, Skeksis went then, that time. I think that sound still going on in castle. Must be. Too big to decay. On and on."
    -- from the chapter "On Aughra's High Hill" page 65

  • Jen makes the shard resonate:
    "As Jen gazed at the three shards an idea began to form. Aughra's talk about the sound of the crystal had reminded him of the high-pitched, double notes that had resounded in urSu's cave as the image of the shard was disappearing.
    Jen blew the notes he remembered. They hung shrill in the air for a long time, under the dome. And then, like an overtone, the same sound raised an octave became audible. It was a pure sound."
    -- from the chapter "On Aughra's High Hill" page 66

  • The nature of the urRu, Skeksis, Mystics, and the Crystal is described in this passage:
    "Since the division after the Great Conjunction eons ago, the Skeksis had left the urRu to themselves in their valley. They had to: the object and its mirror image could not be combined except in cancellation of both. In any case, the Skeksis never had needed the urRu: impractical, old, chanting visionaries, obsessed solely with their collective inner life, their values diametrically opposed to those to which the Skeksis ascribed.
    Shortly after the division, the Skeksis had discovered that by breaking the Crystal they could entrap malevolent energies that, on the molecular level, were visible as the dark coloring it took on. After some research, the Scientist had explained that the Crystal had a spiral linkage in its molecular structure from which it derived the property of rotating the plane of polarization of a beam of polarized light. When the three suns were conjoined directly overhead, such a polarized power emanated from them that it would untwist the spiral linkage, clear the crystal of color, and produce a focused beam of the most intense concentration. But once the Crystal had been broken, its spiral linkage could not be untwisted. The light of the Great Conjunction would irradiate the Skeksis with energy, but a left-handed energy only, darkly colored, rich in malevolence.
    The Skeksis had profited prodigiously from the knowledge and from their control of the Crystal within the fortress they had carved from the mountain that contained it. Along all the ley-lines of energy around the planet, they had continuously fed noxious pulses, fomenting misery and weakness throughout their world. And along the same ley-lines they had sucked in the geodynamic energies. The lightning Jen had seen was focused into the Standing Stones and transmitted to the castle. The Skeksis controlled the nodal points of the planet by terrestrial acupuncture.
    Thus it was that the Skeksis had always been able to ignore the urRu. The spy crystals had never monitored them, nor had they been visited by Garthim. Apart from the Standing Stones, nothing at all in that valley ever could have represented a threat to the empirical tyranny of the Skeksis. The valley of the urRu was an enclave of notions, the province of clouds, nothing more."
    -- from the chapter "The Fire Below" pages 163-164

  • The last page:
    " 'We are urSkeks. Long ago, in our folly and our ignorance, we almost destroyed this world. We entered the great Crystal, intending to purge ourselves of the imperfections within. Instead, we shattered the Crystal - and ourselves - into urRu and Skeksis. But the world we sundered has been made whole by your courage, your sacrifice. You have freed us from this world again, to return to the next world, rejoined in our original form. Now we make you again one. Hold her to you. She is part of you as we all are part of each other. You restored the true power of the Crystal. Make your world in its light.'
    The urSkek raised its translucent hand, deflecting the beam of light onto Kira, who moved in Jen's arms and opened her eyes, her wound healing. The chant reached a climax.
    Clasping each other, Jen and Kira watched as the urSkeks traveled up along the beams of light and, entering the Crystal, apocalyptically transformed, passed through it into another astral dimension.
    The chamber was silent. The three suns above the Crystal moved out of their Great Conjunction.

    THE END, at which the endless spinning world enjoins a new beginning . . . "
    -- from the chapter "When Single Shines the Triple Sun" page 186

    My Take on The Dark Crystal by A.C.H. Smith

    This is an excellent novelization. Reading this book really allows the reader to be immersed in the entire world of the Dark Crystal. I loved experiencing the events of the movie in this excellent adaptation. Smith adds many dimensions to presenting the world of the Dark Crystal. While providing wonderful visual descriptions, there is also a strong attention to the sounds of the world. Sounds, from the Mystics nine chord chant, to the tones of the Crystal, Jen's pipe, Kira's song, and the sounds of the environment, fill the pages as their interrelationships are subtly described. I really can't say enough about this book. It is a must for anyone that not only wants to relive the events of the movie, but see it all with so much more development. Much insight into the individual Skeksis, Mystics, and the nature of the Crystal and the urRu is presented within these pages. My only problem with it is that I want to know what happens after the Crystal is healed! But, this book ends in the same fashion as the movie with much left to the imagination.

    The color stills from the movie are much appreciated as well. There are fourteen different images. Twelve of the images are 3" x 4" and two (Jen on the Crystal and Aughra) are 4" x 6". As usual, as soon as I can get them scanned, I'll include them on this page. The images look like screen shots from the movie and cover the general action in the plot.

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    Page last updated: January 21, 1999.