The Podlings of Kira's village.

The Podlings, also known as Pod People,[1][2] were a sentient race native to Skarith. In their own language, they referred to themselves as apopiapoiopidiappididiapipob, which translated as "master gardeners who live in bulging plants."[1] They were a rural and hedonistic race, who lived only to sing, dance and tend to their plants.

They frequently cohabited with the Gelfling, in particular the Spriton in Sami Thicket, building their homes between Gelfling habitations, working side by side in the fields and raising their young in shared nurseries.[3]

Description[edit | edit source]

The Podlings were a diminutive people, who were a full head shorter than Gelfling, with potato-shaped heads.[2] Their hands and feet were tridactyle, and they lacked external ears.

Their voices were alto in their natural state, though skekTek the Scientist experimented on captured Pod slaves over hundreds of trine in order to create baritones for the Pod choir.[2]

Culture[edit | edit source]

The Podlings were an agrarian people who grew many different kinds of crops, especially the Pod plants, from whose giant seeds they made their homes.[1] Like the Gelfling, their society was clan-based, though gender was not a factor in deciding leadership.[4] They had a currency system and brewed intoxicating beverages.[5] The Podlings had domesticated the Nebrie, from which they collected milk. When a Nebrie died, its skin was used for making drums, and the fur around its ears and face was used to fashion clothes for young Podlings.[2] They had also domesticated the Fizzgig, which served to guard the Podlings' plant tendrils.[1] Their ease with taming animals stemmed from their skill in Animal Soul Speaking.[4]

They were pacifists by nature, and would not kill anything other than Crystal Bats, which they dispatched with bolas.[2] Unlike the Gelfling, the Podlings left no records of their own, as they had no system of writing.[1] Their concept of time was so deeply rooted to the immutable cycle of the seasons that they found change, and the hunger for it, to be incomprehensible.[2] Thus, unlike the Gelfling, their way of life changed little during the rule of the Skeksis. Their rural lifestyle made them revel in their lack of cleanliness, and had minimal concern for their personal hygiene.[6]

The Podlings were skilled musicians, who used a variety of different instruments, including reed pipes and gourd drums. Being a jovial race, the Podlings frequently held banquets and celebrations, even outside important events.[2]

According to Podling folklore, the Three Suns were brothers who once fought over the daughter of the moon. When she drowned herself out of grief, the three brothers would do battle every thousand trine.[2]

History[edit | edit source]

The Podlings first appeared during the Age of Harmony[4] and lived in peace with the Gelfling for centuries, with both races knowing each other's languages.[2] At one point, an expedition of Podling pioneers sought to colonize land beyond the Silver Sea, but were swallowed by the Mondo Levidian, in whose intestinal tract they developed into a new race called Boblings.[7] Aside from the destruction of Noy,[4] the Podlings were initially unaffected by the rule of the Skeksis, and continued with their idyllic lives,[1] with some being taken into the Castle of the Crystal as slaves.

During the late Age of Division, Podlings were seen as uncivilized and uncultured by the Gelfling, particularly the Vapra Clan, who considered them the filthiest creatures of Thra. In some areas, there was a tolerance for Podlings but it often came from a sense of pity, particularly in the eyes of the Order of Lesser Service who used the act of cleaning Podlings as an act of atonement.[6] By the end of the Garthim War, Podlings became the main targets of Garthim raids, being taken to the Castle to be drained of their essence and turned into mindless slaves. After exposure to the rays of the Crystal, the lively Podlings became feeble, listless and obedient.

During the Age of Power, the Podlings began speaking the Gelfling language and were frequent pilgrims to the Castle.[8]

Notable Podlings[edit | edit source]

Behind the scenes[edit | edit source]

The Podlings first appeared in Jim Henson's The Mithra Treatment, where they were portrayed as servants to the Skeksis, though subsequent revisions made them take increasingly more prominent roles in the film's plot. Initially conceived as anthropomorphic potatoes, Brian Froud's original Podling designs had multiple eyes positioned randomly on their faces, though the concept was scrapped.[9]

Their clothes were hand sewn by costume designers Polly Smith and Ellis Flyte, who used a large amount of Indian cottons and raw silks, which were aged artificially. Flyte designed the clothing of the Podling slaves, giving it a tattered and soiled look evocative of their Skeksis masters.[9]

The Podlings were portrayed via rod puppets, with some being mechanized for more complex actions.[9]

In an interview with The Verge, The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance's executive producer Jeffrey Addiss revealed how the performances of the Podling puppets were meant to be more comical than realistic:

[A] Podling can run in, scream, fall down, jump up, be drunk, and run out the door, and you’re having a great time. A Gelfling doing that doesn’t feel right; a Skeksis doing that doesn’t feel right. So Podlings are really fun and freeing because they’re just physical comedy.

Jeffrey Addis[10]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 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. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 2.8 Smith, A. C. H., & Odell, D. (1982). The Dark Crystal. Holt, Rinehart and Winston . ISBN 0030624363
  3. Lee, J.M (2020), Songs of the Seven Gelfling Clans, Penguin Young Readers Licenses, pp. 36-37, ISBN 0593095596
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 Froud, B., Dysart, J., Sheikman, A. & John, L. (2012). The Dark Crystal: Creation Myths, Vol. II. Archaia. ISBN 978-1-936393-80-0
  5. Age of resistance logo.jpg – Cesare, Adam., Age of Resistance – The Ballad of Hup and Barfinnious, #5, Archaia, USA, January 2020
  6. 6.0 6.1 Age of resistance logo.jpg Age of Resistance – "What Was Sundered and Undone". Netflix. August 30, 2019
  7. Age of resistance logo.jpg – Erman, Matthew., Age of Resistance – The Journey into the Mondo Levidian, #10, Archaia, USA, August 2020
  8. Smith, A., Beneath the Dark Crystal, #1, Archaia, USA, July 2018
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 C. Gaines, The Dark Crystal: The Ultimate Visual History, Titan Books, 2017, pp. 108-109, ISBN 1-78565-592-2.

External Links[edit | edit source]

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