The Dark Crystal Wiki
The Dark Crystal Wiki

Everything the Skeksis ever told us was a lie. But it's hard to recognize the light when you've spent your whole life in the dark.


Rian was a Gelfling Castle Guard of the Stonewood Clan who later led the Gelfling resistance.


Early life[]

Conceived in the aftermath of the First Battle of Stone-in-the-Wood, Rian's name, which was an Old Gelfling word meaning "a little solution to a big problem", was chosen by his mother in reference to Ordon's need to settle down and adapt to life outside battle.[4] Although Ordon raised Rian strictly,[3] father and son would bond by catching Fizzgigs together.[5]

Starting the resistance[]

Rian grew to become a guard in the Castle of the Crystal, serving the Skeksis with his lover Mira. When he noticed Arathim in the castle however, he sought to prove himself to Ordon by capturing it. However, having taken Mira and Gurjin with him, Mira pressed on ahead and was captured by skekTek the Scientist while trespassing in the Castle Catacombs. Rian watched helplessly as his girlfriend was drained of essence and killed in order to prolong the celebrating Skeksis' lives, and although the Skeksis became aware of him, he fled.[6]

Eventually, Rian caught up with Gurjin and explained the situation via dreamfasting, at which point he put into action a plan to recover the rest of Mira's essence (as proof, lest he die and be unable to share his memories with the Maudras). They stole into the Crystal Chamber and climbed down the volcanic shaft to skekTek's laboratory, but were unable to recover the essence due to a locksnake placed on the cabinet by skekTek. Hiding when skekSil entered, they watched as he ate the locksnake, took the essence and began to quarrel with skekTek, suspecting the theft until they began to smell Rian and Gurjin. Although they initially advanced toward the pair, they went back to fighting for the vial and dropped it in the process, allowing the pair to scoop it up and flee. However, as they attempted to leave, they became surrounded by skekTek and skekSil, with Gurjin being captured and stabbing skekSil to enable Rian to escape. Rian then jumped into the lake below and fled the castle.[7]

Traveling through the wood to the Stonewood Clan capital, Rian came upon a couple with child whose wagon had overturned and lost a wheel. He set about helping them, and although they were appreciative, they became enraged when Rian told them of the Skeksis' murder of Mira, deeming it "heresy" and sending him away. Rian then buried his castle guard garments and entered the capital, gaining an audience with Maudra Fara. Fara however had already been informed by Ordon that Rian was "ill" and that his madness would spread via dreamfasting. Rian's story fell on deaf ears, and as the guards and his own father surrounded him for capture, Rian brought down the lights above to entangle the guards, allowing him to use other ropes to reach the ceiling and escape. Dejected after his failure, he met Deet, who reassured him after he lamented his impotence. Deet left shortly after, taking inspiration from something Rian said, much to his confusion.[8]

Father & Son

Father and son duel skekMal together

Taking shelter from a storm in a Podling hut, Rian was ambushed by Naia and Kylan, intending to capture him and trade him to the Skeksis in return for Gurjin's release. Tavra also arrived seeking Rian, but Rian used the lull in the argument made by Kylan to show his would-be captors the last of Mira's essence, asking that they dreamfast with him, which they all reluctantly agreed to after Kylan decided to do so. After dreamfasting, Rian is shocked to see his father Ordon next to him, who joined after they began, and now knows the truth. Rian sets out with his father to Ha'rar, but Ordon explained to Rian that the Skeksis would be hunting them personally, at which point skekMal arrived and began pursuing them. Rian decided to be "bait", running ahead of Ordon and nearly falling in a pit of Gobbles, saving the vial of essence before it could fall in the pit either. SkekMal advanced on Rian, beginning to duel him until Ordon surprise attacked skekMal, breaking part of his mask off but doing seemingly little lasting harm. Together with his father, Rian began to duel once again, but skekMal handily defeated them both simultaneously with his four armed combat. Just as skekMal came to stab Rian, Ordon jumped on skekMal and sent them both into the Gobbles, consuming them both. Even as Rian sat distraught upon the ground with Deet however, it seemed his father's sacrifice was in vain, because skekMal somehow launched himself out of the Gobbles completely unscathed, snatching up Rian and fleeing with him prisoner.[5]

Rian chooses to stay

Rian's choice

Waking up upside down hanging from a tree, Rian made feeble protests as skekMal drew nearer, intending to cut out his tongue for a trophy. SkekSil interrupted skekMal before he could however, and took Rian custody. Despite Rian's protestations, skekSil took the last vial of Mira's essence from him and drank and smashed it, traumatizing Rian. Rian was then placed in skekSil's carriage and set out toward the Castle of the Crystal, where Rian insisted skekSil not "play with your food" and kill him, to which skekSil replied that he was worth more alive as a Skeksis puppet. When Rian argued that the Skeksis were evil, and that he would never lie for them, skekSil replied that they killed only to survive as any animal does, and that Gelfling would do the same. Although Rian hotly protested that they were nothing alike, skekSil brought up that Rian ran when Mira was being drained, and when Gurjin was captured, preserving his own life at every opportunity to the point of even allowing his own father to sacrifice himself so that he might live. Rian then began to doubt himself and their argument continued, with skekSil contesting that unless Rian quelled the rebellion by being their puppet, the entire Gelfling race would be annihilated; better to be happy pets and unknowing slaves than dead. Rian rejected these arguments as skekSil would not guarantee that they would stop draining Gelfling, insisting that they would actually win a war with the Skeksis, until skekSil stopped the carriage and invited Rian to leave and "[choose] to run. Again." Shamed, Rian stayed, but was soon freed by Gurjin and Naia, who escaped on the carriage's Armaligs. After meeting up with Kylan, the four began dreamfasting at Naia's request to see skekMal, resulting in them all entering the Dream Space with Aughra, Deet, and others. Originally thinking it the Castle of the Crystal, Aughra explained its purpose as a zone where the Crystal of Truth could ask him and other Gelfling for help to defeat the Skeksis. Rian was then brought before the Crystal, and came to know of Brea and Deet's role in their struggle, at which point he pledged to heed Thra's call. Aughra ordered him to go to Ha'rar to join Brea and Deet, and to follow Lore to the Circle of the Suns, and then returned Rian to his body.[9]

Arriving in Ha'rar, Rian, Gurjin, Naia, and Kylan noticed Brea and Deet locked in the Skeksis' carriage, and so the band pursued. After pulling ahead of the Skeksis, Rian blocked the carriage's path, forcing the Armaligs to stop while Lore freed the prisoners from their cage and frightened the Skeksis away. Rian was then hugged by Brea and Deet before he dreamfasted with the suspicious paladins, allaying their doubts and joining them into the resistance. After sending them away to spread word, Rian accompanied Lore into the Crystal Desert and participated in the dirge for Mayrin, helping Brea to speak about her mother by sharing his thoughts about his own father, Ordon. When Rek'yr arrived to take them across the desert however, Rian was confused that Brea would accept help from a Dousan, who're "obsessed with death", but Brea accepted anyway and they went underway.[3]

Arrival at the Circle of the Suns[]

Rian recovers the journal

Rian recovers Brea's journal

Parting ways with Rek'yr, Rian reached the base of the Circle of the Suns with his companions and was carried by Lore to its summit. There he met skekGra and urGoh, comforted a homesick Deet, and impatiently suffered through their theatrical performance before the pair finally explained the history of the urSkeks, how they split into the urRu and Skeksis, and that the Dual Glaive hidden within the Caves of Grot could be used by Gelfling to the unite the seven clans and defeat the Skeksis. Rian gladly volunteered to wield the Glaive, but when he made to shake skekGra's hand before departing, skekMal arrived and threw a knife through skekGra's outstretched hand. Rian drew a sword to fend skekMal off, but skekMal sliced it in half. He prepared to strike Rian himself, only for an arrow shot by urVa the Archer, his urRu counterpart, to lodge itself in skekMal's chest. Unable to kill urVa without killing himself, skekMal retreated on Bennu and took Brea with him, who screamed for Rian to "find the glaive!" Rian recovered Brea's journal, but could not save her.[10]

Rian carries Deet out

"I've got you"

Rian wanted to immediately go after her, but skekGra and urGoh counseled him to find the Glaive first, under the assumption that a hostage used as bait would not be harmed. Agreeing, Rian and Deet left Hup behind, and Deet flew Rian through the Breath of Thra; a series of underground volcanic vents that lead to Domrak. There, they find the village under attack by Arathim Silk Spitters and Threaders. Rian accompanied Deet into her home, comforting her over its destruction, until Bobb'N arrived and began calling the Silk Spitters. Darkened Nurlocs soon arrived and attacked Arathim and Gelfling indiscriminately, so Rian held one off until Deet could ensure Bobb'N's safety and pull Rian into a tunnel. Rian was then briefly possessed by a Threader, joining the Ascendancy hive mind and holding Deet so that she could be possessed too, until Bobb'N arrived and waived the Threaders off, freeing them both. Bobb'N brought them before the Ascendancy, and Rian brokered an alliance between the Arathim and the Gelfling. The Arathim then released the Grottan Clan, and together everyone ascended to the surface via the Sanctuary Tree. Rian attempted to stay behind to search for the Dual Glaive, but Darkened Nurlocs arrived and attacked the Sanctuary Tree, prompting it to give its power to Deet. Deet used it to heal a Nurloc, but then passed out, forcing Rian to carry her to the surface.[11]

SkekSo speaks through the Crystal

"Your lives are but a speck, waiting to be swept away!"

Atop the mountain, Rian helped Deet to recover and received the Dual Glaive from Maudra Argot, who had been safekeeping half of the Glaive in her walking stick. Argot gave Rian the Glaive, and told him that the other half was still in Stone-in-the-Wood from when Ordon wielded in during the First Battle of Stone-in-the-Wood. After dreamfasting to confirm it, Argot summoned a landstrider for Rian and Deet to ride to Stone-in-the-Wood. There, Rian recovered the other half of the Glaive and reformed it, causing fires all around Thra to launch into the sky. From it, Rian could speak to all Gelfling, and although he called them to action, to unite at Stone-in-the-Wood, the Lords of the Crystal wrested control of the communication from him. Emperor skekSo then spoke, assuring all Gelfling that anyone who joined Rian in battle would join him "in the grave", only for Rian to drive the Dual Glaive through the Crucible, severing the connection.[12]

Second Battle of Stone-in-the-Wood[]

Rian & Deet

Rian and Deet in Brea's journal

Rian noticed two pages in Brea's journal. One, a drawing of the dream stitch ceremony they had in honor of the All-Maudra. Two, a sketch of two Gelfling, looking very much like himself and Deet. Tentatively, Rian tried to hold Deet's hand and reassure her about the future, but unbeknownst to Rian, Deet's hands contained the Darkening she absorbed from a Nurloc, and they were stiff with pain, so she pulled away and left Rian confused. Eventually Brea arrived with the remaining Stonewood warriors and other Castle prisoners, Maudra Fara apologizing to Rian for not believing him from the beginning, and Rian forgave her.

As the fight began, Rian challenged Emperor skekSo to single combat, but skekSo allowed skekVar to be his champion instead. Although skekVar immediately had the upper hand, crashing through the scenery around Rian, kicking him aside, and sending him sprawling with his sword, Rian somehow righted himself, flipped over skekVar's next strike, landing on skekVar's right side inside his guard, and then drove the Dual Glaive through skekVar's armored flank. Rian then drew it out, saying he was no killer, and skekVar retreated in shame and defeat.

Battle then commenced in earnest, with the Gelfling women providing air support and Rian leading the Gelfling men to charge the Skeksis. Rian dueled with skekZok until skekSo sought Rian out, so Rian ran up skekZok's blade and jumped into a flying kick to skekSo's jaw. Eventually skekMal arrived, snatching Rian up and attempting to kill him, until urVa, skekMal's urRu counterpart, killed himself. SkekMal then died, and Aughra was reborn from it. That, along with the arrival of the other Gelfling Clans, and Deet redirecting the Darkening from skekSo back into skekLach, routed the Skeksis and left Rian victorious. Despite his joy, Rian noticed that Deet was gone, and ran after her, only for her to wall him away using the Darkening.[13]

Personality and traits[]

Age of Resistance 9 artwork 3

Rian of Stone-in-the-Wood

Like his lover, Mira, Rian was initially immature, stealing food from the Skeksis' servants and generally not taking his duty as a Castle Guard seriously, to the point that Ordon deemed him unfit for command. Although eager for his father's approval, he acted recklessly to obtain it, neglecting to inform him of a Silk Spitter within the castle walls in order to gain the credit for finding it.

After witnessing the Skeksis' deception and their killing of Mira, Rian learned of the danger they posed to his people and made it his goal to expose them. When in the presence of SkekSil during his captivity and the other Skeksis during the Second Battle of Stone-in-the-Wood, Rian displayed little fear of them, and was impervious to their taunts or bribes.

While open-minded enough to befriend Gelfling of the Drenchen Clan and develop romantic feelings for Vaprans and Grottans, he was nevertheless distrustful of Dousans, having been lead by his former Skeksis masters to view their beliefs with suspicion.[3]

He was comfortable in both a Landstrider saddle and a Skeksis carriage, and was a moderately skilled lute player. A skilled warrior, Rian favored swords and spears in battle,[14] and was proficient enough to best skekVar in single combat.[13]

Behind the scenes[]

Rian was first conceived by Halle Stanford during the pre-production of the ultimately scrapped animated series Great Conjunction in 2012.[15] According to Will Matthews, Rian received a lot of attention from the writers out of the Gelfling protagonists. They thought a Castle Guard who really believed the Skeksis to be good but stopped believing that was interesting. Matthews described him has having a "pretty good job and he wants to move up in the world" and "he's kind of like the small-town quarterback.". He also described everything going "pretty good for Rian until it falls apart and he has to build his own life instead of settling into one that was handled to him.".[16] According to Jeffrey Addiss, Rian was meant to be "the castle and the Skeksis".[17]

Rian's puppeteer Neil Sterenberg recalled "It was a demanding job for me to step into, and there were moments of shock as we got closer to production where you felt like the weight was all on your shoulders," and Rian's story being one of "death, love, and responsiblity and a journey that led to growth.". Sterenberg was particularly daunted when Rian was restoring the Crystal in a dream sequence was shot because it mirrored Jen restoring the Crystal in the original film. He said "That was where I felt the pressure: not in the big moments, but in dealing with the legacy of what I had been tasked to look after.". Sterenberg opted not to use technology to control the Rian's facial expressions due to Rian being expressly physical. He had a team of assistants to help create Rian's performance.[17]



  1. Dc Encylo logo Rian in The Dark Crystal - Encyclopedia
  2. Age of resistance logo Age of Resistance – J.M. Lee., Heroes of the Resistance, Penguin Young Readers, November 12, 2019, p.10, [[Special:BookSources/{{{ISBN}}}|ISBN {{{ISBN}}}]].
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Age of resistance logo Age of Resistance – "By Gelfling Hand...". Netflix. August 30, 2019
  4. Age of resistance logo – Andelfinger, Nicole., Age of Resistance – The Quest for the Dual Glaive, #4, Archaia, USA, December 2019
  5. 5.0 5.1 Age of resistance logo Age of Resistance – "The First Thing I Remember Is Fire". Netflix. August 30, 2019
  6. Age of resistance logo Age of Resistance – "End. Begin. All the Same.". Netflix. August 30, 2019
  7. Age of resistance logo Age of Resistance – "Nothing Is Simple Anymore". Netflix. August 30, 2019
  8. Age of resistance logo Age of Resistance – "What Was Sundered and Undone". Netflix. August 30, 2019
  9. Age of resistance logo Age of Resistance – "She Knows All the Secrets". Netflix. August 30, 2019
  10. Age of resistance logo Age of Resistance – "Time to Make...My Move". Netflix. August 30, 2019
  11. Age of resistance logo Age of Resistance – "Prophets Don't Know Everything". Netflix. August 30, 2019
  12. Age of resistance logo Age of Resistance – "The Crystal Calls". Netflix. August 30, 2019
  13. 13.0 13.1 Age of resistance logo Age of Resistance – "A Single Piece Was Lost". Netflix. August 30, 2019
  14. Lee, J.M (2019), Heroes of the Resistance, Penguin Young Readers Licences, ISBN 978-0.593-09539-3
  15. Age of resistance logo Age of ResistanceWallace, D.., Inside the Epic Return to Thra, Titan Books, November 5, 2019, p.15, ISBN 978-1-78909-387-2.
  16. Age of resistance logo Age of Resistance – Daniel Wallace., Inside the Epic Return to Thra, Titan Books, November 5, 2019, p.60, ISBN 978-1-78909-387-2.
  17. 17.0 17.1 Age of resistance logo Age of Resistance – Daniel Wallace., Inside the Epic Return to Thra, Titan Books, November 5, 2019, p.20, ISBN 978-1-78909-387-2. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "wallace60-61" defined multiple times with different content

External Links[]

Guards of the Castle of The Crystal
Ordon RianMiraGurjinTolyn