Life is my paint. Death is my canvas.

skekEkt[1]

SkekEkt was the Skeksis Ornamentalist, and counterpart to urUtt the Weaver. They were the originator of the Garthic style of clothing and architecture, used by the Skeksis throughout the Age of Division.

Biography

Age of Resistance

Although not present when the Skeksis drained their first Gelfling, skekEkt returned to the Castle of the Crystal, where they threw a banquet in their honour. Despite wanting the other Skeksis to talk about them, all they could think of was essence, so skekEkt demanded some, only to learn that there was none left and that skekTek's machine was damaged and unable to produce more.[2]

Their close ally, skekOk the Scroll Keeper, informed them that he had witnessed skekVar and skekZok return from an expedition without any Gelfling to drain. SkekEkt expressed their delight in seeing the Emperor get angry with skekVar.[3] After their first taste of Gelfling essence, skekEkt noticed it removed their wrinkles and yelled out their excitement at regaining beauty. When the Skeksis revealed their true evil nature to Seladon, skekEkt proceeded to mock the Vapra princess by stealing her crown and ripping her dress to shreds.[4] When skekMal returned with fatal injuries, skekEkt was the only of the skeksis to approach the Hunter to check his condition, before the Hunter toppled to the floor in the throne room. The possibility of a Gelfling wounding a skeksis was unthinkable to him, especially to the strongest among them. With the possibility of skekMal's death, skekEkt declared that he would take the somber task in arranging skekMal's trophies into a worthy funeral arrangement, confident in their skill to transform the grotesques trinkets into something beautiful by him.

After skekMal seemingly "died", skekEkt worked with skekZok to enshrine his body.[1]

Joining the Emperor and most of the Skeksis in the Second Battle of Stone-in-the-Wood, skekEkt laughed at the Gelfling's smaller swords. SkekEkt's confidence took a blow when Aughra resurrected during the battle, rhetorically asking if anything stays dead anymore. After retreating from the battle, skekEkt cried and hugged skekOk over the death of skekLach, he though soon cheered for skekTek when he unveiled his ultimate killing machine: the Garthim.[5]

Post-Garthim War

SkekEkt was in a political alliance with skekSil the Chamberlain and skekOk the Scroll Keeper.[6] SkekSil himself never considered the Ornamentalist a threat to his ascension to the Skeksis throne, as their depravity and perversity could never command obedience. However, after skekSil's banishment, the new Emperor skekUng planned to wean skekEkt from skekSil's party after the Great Conjunction and turn them into his ally. When skekSil returned to the Castle to present Kira, skekEkt wondered what kind of a decoration theyecould make with the Gelfling's head. They was subsequently merged with their urRu other after Jen healed the Crystal.[6]

They were revived a century later alongside their seven other comrades and urRu counterparts after the Fireling Thurma took a shard from the Crystal in a misguided quest to restore their homeland's dying Mother Sun. They briefly fought against the Crystal Guards, but was interrupted by Jen, who took control of the Garthim and had the Skeksis incarcerated.[7] After they werre eventually released alongside their comrades by the Crystalline Eminence, they immediately began raiding the Castle wardrobes for clothes.[8] When Thurma returned with the Shard upon realizing the error of her ways, skekEkt was once again merged with their urRu other after she healed the Crystal.[9]

Personality and traits

SkekEkt the Ornamentalist

SkekEkt had a genuine gift as a designer,[10] having been the inventor of the Garthic aesthetic which characterized both the Skeksis' architecture and clothing.[11] They were also the creator of several cosmetic products, including a paste consisting of clotted blood and diamond powder devised to "restore the sparkle of youth".[10] Their table manners were also relatively civilized when compared with those of their more rustic comrades, savoring their food rather than gorging themself.[12]

They were, nevertheless, a vain and callous individual who always favored garments made from furs, feathers and skins, considering them the most luxuriant,[11] and gladly sacrificed one hundred birds just to make one cloak.[10] They also had no qualms about testing their new cosmetic products on Podling slaves, even if the substances were toxic to them.[13] They were also in charge of the rehearsals of the Podling slave choir, incorporating those they liked and destroying the rest.[6] When served live food, their usually impeccable table manners would give way to infantile sadism, toying with their terrified meal before stabbing it to death.[2]

Highly self-absorbed, they would become irritated when not the center of attention,[2] and had a patronizing sense of humor centered around mocking others for their physical size[5] and choice of attire.[1] They also enjoyed observing palace intrigue, becoming particularly excited over the prospect of watching a fight.[2][12] When it came to physical combat, skekEkt would gladly take up arms at the prospect of fighting weaker opponents like Gelfling, opining at how "cute" their swords were.[5]

Despite their love of carnage, skekEkt was ironically very prudish, being easily flustered upon hearing bad language.[12] Furthermore, their enthusiasm in battle diminished after the Skeksis' defeat at the Second Battle of Stone-in-the-Wood, developing a phobia of Gelfling.[12]

Personal relationships

SkekAyuk and skekOk

Despite having completely contrasting table manners, skekEkt seemed to be close friends with the Gourmand, who made the effort to organize a sumptuous banquet in their honor upon their return to the Castle.[2] The two would occasionally isolate themselves from their comrades and casually exchange recipes with each other.[12]

They were also close to skekOk, with whom they would gossip about court intrigue[3] and would comfort him in his grief over the death of skekLach.[5]

SkekSil

SkekEkt was one of the few Skeksis to support skekSil's proposal for a sustainable harvest of Gelfling for their essence, but was overruled by the faction lead by skekVar, who advocated draining the entire population.[11] After the death of skekSo, skekEkt joined skekOk in supporting skekSil's bid for the throne, but was quick to turn on him after his defeat, leading the charge in stripping him of his regalia.[12]

Behind the scenes

Concept art by Brian Froud

We've never known whether these Skeksis were male or female. We always kind of liked the idea of them being some uncomfortable mixture in between, but the [Ornamentalist] is certainly the most feminine or effeminate.

Jim Henson[14]

The character's pre-production notes described them as "[d]ecadent, perverted sexually, sensual[,] hedonistic, vain, theatrical" and as being accompanied everywhere by slaves carrying makeup pots and powder puffs.[15]

In The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance, the Ornamentalist was intended to be voiced by a professional voice actor. However, Will Matthews liked Alice Dinnean's performance so much that he decided not to overdub it.[16]

Gender

The character is never referred to in either The Dark Crystal or The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance with gender-specific pronouns, and the various official literary sources often contradict each other. The Ornamentalist is identified as a male in The World of the Dark Crystal, the movie novelization and The Dark Crystal Bestiary: The Definitive Guide to the Creatures of Thra, while being referred to with female pronouns in The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance: Inside the Epic Return to Thra and Heroes of the Resistance.

Gallery

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Age of resistance logo.jpg Age of Resistance – "The Crystal Calls". Netflix. August 30, 2019
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 Age of resistance logo.jpg Age of Resistance – "The First Thing I Remember Is Fire". Netflix. August 30, 2019
  3. 3.0 3.1 Age of resistance logo.jpg Age of Resistance – "By Gelfling Hand...". Netflix. August 30, 2019 Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "S01EP06" defined multiple times with different content
  4. Age of resistance logo.jpg Age of Resistance – "Prophets Don't Know Everything". Netflix. August 30, 2019
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 Age of resistance logo.jpg Age of Resistance – "A Single Piece Was Lost". Netflix. August 30, 2019
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 Smith, A. C. H., & Odell, D. (1982). The Dark Crystal. Holt, Rinehart and Winston . ISBN 0030624363
  7. Spurrier, S., The Power of the Dark Crystal, #3, Archaia, USA, May 2017
  8. Spurrier, S. & Kennedy Johnson, P., The Power of the Dark Crystal, #8, Archaia, USA, October 2017
  9. Spurrier, S. & Kennedy Johnson, P., The Power of the Dark Crystal, #12, Archaia, USA, March 2018
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 Froud, B. & Llewellyn, J. J., The World of the Dark Crystal. Pavilion Books. ISBN 1-86205-624-2
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 Age of resistance logo.jpg Age of ResistanceLee, J. M.., Heroes of the Resistance, Penguin Young Readers Licences, November 12, 2019, p.64, ISBN ISBN 978-0.593-09539-3.
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 12.3 12.4 12.5 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.
  13. Cesare, A. & Compiet, I. (2020), The Dark Crystal Bestiary: The Definitive Guide to the Creatures of Thra, Insight Editions, p. , ISBN 1683838211
  14. Making-of. The World of the Dark Crystal. Dir. Jim Henson & Frank Oz. 1982. Colombia Tristar Home video, 1999. DVD.
  15. Invader Zim (2010-06-08). "The Skeksis (one post from a messageboard thread)". Planet Irk. Retrieved 2019-09-28.
  16. E. Douglas, INTERVIEW: THE DARK CRYSTAL: THE AGE OF RESISTANCE writers on creation myths, character deaths, and more, Comicsbeat.com, August 28 2019

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