Gelflings were a sentient species native to Thra. They were a diminutive and peaceful race, which managed to colonise much of Thra during The Golden Age. After The Great Division, the Gelflings maintained amicable relations with the Skeksis, but the latter subsequently began to enslave them. The Skeksis later attempted to exterminate the Gelflings altogether, after discovering a prophecy revealing that a Gelfing would end their rule.
The name "Gelfling" is a transliteration of Ghel-lflainnk, which means "those who live without knowledge of the future".
Characteristics and biologyEdit
Gelflings had triangular faces, with wide cheek bones tapering to a pointed chin. They had large, wide eyes that were set apart on either side of a flattish nose. They had long hair, from which their large, pointed ears protruded. Female Gelflings had a pair of diaphonous wings. Accounts as to the origins of these wings differed greatly. Two popular accounts had it that a Gelfling girl once touched a cloud and knitted it to her shoulders, while another described how she had touched a rock, and wished for crystalline wings. A darker tale tells of how a Gelfling maiden, exhausted with having to take care of a large group of orphaned children, sought out Aughra for help. Aughra took a pair of Cragraptor feathers and stabbed them into the maiden's shoulders, fusing with her body and allowing her to keep track of the orphaned children more easily. These wings once allowed female Gelflings to fly, though by the time of Jen's quest, they could only act as parachutes.
Gelflings had the ability to meld their consciousness with each other through touch, a process known as "Dreamfasting". When two Gelflings touched, a torrent of images would give each participant a clear insight into the memories of the other. Other than Gelflings, Aughra was also a practitioner, and used it to teach them of the dangers of Thra. The Gelflings also had the ability to transfer their thoughts onto objects; when archeologists discovered The Wall of Destiny, much of it was deciphered through Dreamfasting.
With the exception of members of the Spriton clan, Gelflings were a peaceful race, whose greatest joy lay in song, dance and story-telling. The Gelfling's love for story-telling was expressed in a popular rhyme:
Wish not for treasures you can hold
No gleaming jewels, bright and cold
For finer still than pearl or gold
The treasure of a tale well told
Among these stories were the tales of the folk-hero Jarra-Jen, whose exploits were told around village fires for centuries. Most Gelflings possessed no weapons, but could display great ingenuity in making arms out of everyday objects when threatened. Gelfling rock carvings were made through using intense heat, rather than carving tools.
Gelflings lived in clan-based societies, with skekNa having recorded at least seven different clans spread throughout Thra. These clans were all dominated by matriarchal leaders, who in turn submitted to a single Queen who acted as both arbitrator and ritual guardian to all clans. The Queen was fiercely protected by her subjects, and her whereabouts during the Garthim Wars remained a mystery to the Skeksis.
The Woodland Gelflings were an ancient and proud people who dwelled in the fertile lands near Dark Wood. They were primarily farmers and cobblers, though they also acted as guards at the Castle of the Crystal, prior to the Garthim Wars.
The Spriton Gelflings were a warrior race, who were considered lifelong rivals to the Woodland Gelflings. They were characterised by their aggression and habit of being perpetually armed to the teeth. The Skeksis believed that drinking their essence would provide strength, as well as youth.
The Drenchen Gelflings inhabited the Swamps of Sog, and were noted to be good lizard hunters, but poor at maintaining their own personal hygiene. They were physically fatter and hairier than other Gelflings, and could be powerful in combat, though they generally avoided exerting the effort.
The Vapra Gelflings were characterised by their white hair, fair skin, and expertise in camouflage. The Skeksis prized their essence above all others.
The Grottan Gelflings dwelled in the dark Cave of Obscurity, and were uniquely adapted to their perpetually dark environment, having solid black eyes granting them night vision. SkekTek believed that drinking their essence could improve vision.
The Sifa Gelflings lived along the coastal villages of the Silver Sea, and were noted as very superstitious, but were acknowledged to be skilled fishermen and sailors. They excelled at survival, and their essence was thought to increase longevity.
The Dousan Gelflings were known for their elusiveness, and inhabited the Crystal Sea. The Dousans constructed their settlements on sandships, which could navigate the desert like ocean vessels. They rarely communicated verbally, as talking wastes moisture. They were rarely seen by other clans, as their crystalweave cloaks allowed them to vanish into the sands.
Prior to the arrival of the Fallen urSkeks, the Gelflings were a primitive race, who relied on Aughra to teach them of the dangers of Thra. When the urSkeks arrived and began The Golden Age, the Gelflings learned how to tame nature and advance technologically. In the years before The Great Division, the Gelflings had colonised much of Thra. The Gelflings soon began to venerate the urSkeks, giving them credit for having given them culture and language. Aughra's son Raunip, who despised the urSkeks, resented the Gelflings for having forgotten that they had these traits long before the arrival of the urSkeks, and attempted to incite them into attacking The Castle of the Crystal, but they were stopped by Aughra.When the time came for the urSkeks to return to their homeworld, delegations representing all of Thra's sentient races were invited to witness the event. The Gelfling delegation consisted of Lady Kel and song-teller Gyr. However, when the second Great Conjunction arrived, the urSkeks, rather than being transported home, were divided into Skeksis and urRu.
In the early years of skekSo's rule, the Gelflings and Skeksis lived in peace, with some Gelflings taking residence in the Castle. However, 800 trine later, the Skeksis became increasingly more violent, and began keeping Gelflings as slaves, as well as draining them of essence in order to rejuvinate themselves. Thinking in the long term for the first time, they took council from prophecy. Seven circles of seven Gelflings sat on the hilltops and looked up to the stars. The resulting vision they recieved was etched onto The Wall of Destiny, which revealed that the rule of the Skeksis would end once a Gelfling found The Shard of the Division and use it to heal The Crystal. When the Skeksis learned of this, they first sought to confuse the search for the shard by creating fakes, which they scattered around the mountain where the original fell. Next, they created the Garthim, which they used to exterminate the Gelfling, thus initiating the Garthim Wars. Although one Gelfling community managed to hold off the Garthim in the Namopo Valley, and even attacked the Castle itself, resistance proved useless, and soon only two Gelflings remained; Jen, who was adopted by the urRu, and Kira, who took refuge with the Podlings. Although Jen found the Shard, and eventually managed to meet Kira, the two of them remained largely ignorant of its function, until they discovered the Wall of Destiny. Eventually, they would ride to the Castle, and heal the Crystal, with the urSkeks leaving it in their care.
Behind the scenesEdit
The Gelflings were the hardest characters to perform in the film, as they were meant to be the most human creatures in the film, and thus their movements, particularly their gait, had to be as realistic as possible. During scenes when the Gelflings' legs were off-camera, the performers walked on their knees in order to make the character's movements more life-like. According to Odell, the character Jen was Henson's way of projecting himself into the film.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 Froud, B. & Llewellyn, J. J., The World of the Dark Crystal. Pavilion Books. ISBN 1-86205-624-2
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 Smith, A. C. H., & Odell, D. (1982). The Dark Crystal. Holt, Rinehart and Winston . ISBN 0030624363
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Froud, B., Holguin , B., Sheikman, A. & John, L. (2011). The Dark Crystal: Creation Myths, Vol. I. Archaia. ISBN 978-1-936393-80-0
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 4.6 4.7 4.8 The Dark Crystal Author Quest: The Gelfling Gathering, The Jim Henson Company (2013)
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 5.2 Kessel, B. R. & Arnhold, H. (2007) Legends of the Dark Crystal Volume 1: The Garthim Wars. TokyoPop. ISBN 1598167014
- ↑ Froud, B., Dysart, J., Sheikman, A. & John, L. (2012). The Dark Crystal: Creation Myths, Vol. II. Archaia. ISBN 978-1-936393-80-0
- ↑ Kessel, B. R. & Arnhold, H. (2010) Legends of the Dark Crystal Volume 2: Trial by Fire. TokyoPop. ISBN 1598167022
- ↑ Henson, J. & Oz, F. (dir.); Henson, J., Kurtz, G. & Lazer, D. (prod.); Henson, J. & Odell, D. (writ.) (December 17, 1982). The Dark Crystal (Motion picture). New York City, NY: Jim Henson Productions.
- ↑ Making-of. Reflections of the Dark Crystal: Shard of Illusion. Dir. Michael Gillis. Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, 2007. DVD.
- ↑ Making-of. Reflections of the Dark Crystal: Light on the Path of Creation. Dir. Michael Gillis. Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, 2007. DVD.