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When did we decide we needed a king?

skekShod[1]

SkekShod was the Skeksis' counterpart to urYod the Numerologist. He began his career as the court Treasurer, then assumed the role of Collector after the death of skekLach.

Biography[]

SkekSo & skekShod

A young skekShod, after being beaten by skekSo

Shortly after the Great Division, skekShod defied skekSo when the latter proclaimed himself Emperor, but was beaten over the head as a result.[1] He later twice attempted to dethrone the Emperor, but was held in such contempt that he was spared from torture. At one point, he promised the Gelfling that he would replace their barter economy with a fully functional currency system, but he proved too slothful to fulfill his obligation.[2]

Hup striking skekShod

SkekShod struck by Hup

A thousand trine later, he was made responsible for the collection of tithes from Sami Thicket. During his sojourn at a Spriton inn, he repeatedly complained about the quality of his swamp water soup, eventually provoking the Podling cook, Hup, to strike him, prompting the village to banish him in order to remain in the Treasurer's favor.[3]

After the Second Battle of Stone-in-the-Wood, skekShod was assigned the role of Collector in order to fill the role of skekLach, who had been killed during the skirmish.[2] In the trine following the Garthim War, skekShod formed a political alliance with skekZok the Ritual Master and skekAyuk the Gourmand. He supported the former in his failed bid to inherit skekSo's mantle as Emperor, and later plotted with him to overthrow the new Emperor, skekUng. His plot never materialized, and he was subsequently merged with his urRu other after Jen healed the Crystal.[4]

He was revived a century later alongside his seven other comrades and urRu counterparts after the Fireling Thurma took a shard from the Crystal in a misguided quest to restore her homeland's dying Mother Sun. He briefly fought against the Royal Guards, but was interrupted by Jen, who took control of the Garthim and had the Skeksis incarcerated.[5] After he was eventually released alongside his comrades by the Crystalline Eminence, he immediately began raiding the offerings left to the Crystal.[6] When Thurma returned with the Shard upon realizing the error of her ways, skekShod was once again merged with his urRu other after she healed the Crystal.[7]

Personality and traits[]

SkekShod portrait by Brian Froud

SkekShod bearing skekZok's scepter, obtained through bribery

In his youth, skekShod was an outspoken and rebellious individual, who scoffed at the logic behind the Alliance of the Crystal and questioned the very need for a Skeksis Empire.[1] He continued his opposition to the monarchical system of government throughout skekSo's reign,[8] but he lacked the courage of his convictions, as he supported skekZok's bid for the throne centuries later.[4]

By the late Age of Division, his powers of speech had deteriorated,[9] having developed an audible stutter which caused him to linger on sibilants[3] and repeat monosyllabic words.[10] He was capable of normal speech only when pushed to anger, and thus usually remained silent unless to complain about something or to insult someone.[3] This handicap developed to the point where he eventually could only get his way through bribery rather than dialogue.[9] His prior experience of being beaten had also left him with a habit of nervously wringing his hands,[11] and becoming catatonic when physically attacked.[3]

Finding no pleasure in conversing with others or listening to stories told by more well-spoken individuals,[3] skekShod became obsessively materialistic, keeping track of events through the gifts he received rather than by measuring time,[9] talking to other Skeksis only if they gave him offerings[9] and being easily distracted by jewelry, precious stones and coins,[6] which he would compulsively bite in order to test their gold content. Despite his wealth, skekShod was surprisingly frugal in his attire, sporting comparatively drab robes and very little ornamentation, other than an abacus shaped collar inlaid with colorless gems.[11]

SkekShod shared his comrades' sense of Skeksis superiority, feeling nothing but contempt for the Gelfling. His bigotry, however, surpassed that of his superiors, as he saw the Gelfling as worthless even as allies.[1] He was also openly derisive of Podlings, considering them to be congenitally stupid and believing that their lack of fluency in Modern Gelfling to be a sign of backwardness.[3]

Personal relationships[]

SkekShod, skekZok & skekAyuk

SkekShod encouraging skekZok's imperial ambitions

SkekShod was originally close to skekNa, as they both doubted skekSo's ability to lead and shared a mutual dislike over allying with the Gelfling. The two later distanced themselves from each other when skekNa did not defend skekShod during his beating,[1] and subsequently found themselves supporting different candidates for the throne a thousand trine later.[10] He was, overall, an unpopular figure in court, as evidenced by none of his comrades mentioning him among the Skeksis to be rallied in the buildup to the Second Battle of Stone-in-the-Wood.[12]

SkekSo himself considered the Treasurer to be so pathetic that he spared him from the agony of torture after two attempts to dethrone him.[8] Nevertheless, he never forgave skekShod's impudence, and had him collecting tithes from Sami Thicket, a relatively rustic area which the Treasurer detested for its unsophisticated cuisine and its Podling community.[3] SkekSil, for his part, did not view skekShod highly, believing that he knew nothing of executive responsibility, and looked down on his gold-biting habit.[4]

By the late Age of Division, the only Skeksis skekShod seemed to be close to was the Ritual Master skekZok, who would sometimes lend the Treasurer his scepter in exchange for bribes,[9] and entrusted him with a speaking role in certain rituals.[4] During the succession crisis following skekSo's death, skekShod openly voiced his support for skekZok's ascension,[10] and shared his ally's disattisfaction over skekUng's leadership.[4]

Background information[]

Behind the scenes[]

SkekShod by Brian Froud

Concept art by Brian Froud

The character's pre-production notes described him as the thinnest Skeksis, representing the sin of avarice, and sporting an abacus collar and robes decked with weights, locks, measures and purses. He was further described as testing everything for gold content and of having pupils shaped like pound signs.[13]

Appearances[]

Gallery[]

References[]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 B. Froud, M. Dow Smith, A. Sheikman & L. John (2015). The Dark Crystal: Creation Myths, Vol. III. Archaia. ISBN 978-1-60886-435-5.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Cesare, A. & Compiet, I. (2020), The Dark Crystal Bestiary: The Definitive Guide to the Creatures of Thra, Insight Editions, p. 50, ISBN 1683838211
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 Age of resistance logo – Cesare, Adam., Age of Resistance – The Ballad of Hup and Barfinnious, #5, Archaia, USA, January 2020
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 Smith, A. C. H., & Odell, D. (1982). The Dark Crystal. Holt, Rinehart and Winston. ISBN 0030624363
  5. Spurrier, S., The Power of the Dark Crystal, #3, Archaia, USA, May 2017
  6. 6.0 6.1 Spurrier, S. & Kennedy Johnson, P., The Power of the Dark Crystal, #8, Archaia, USA, October 2017
  7. Spurrier, S. & Kennedy Johnson, P., The Power of the Dark Crystal, #12, Archaia, USA, March 2018
  8. 8.0 8.1 Cesare, A. & Compiet, I. (2020), The Dark Crystal Bestiary: The Definitive Guide to the Creatures of Thra, Insight Editions, p. , ISBN 1683838211
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 9.4 Froud, B. & Llewellyn, J. J., (2003) The World of the Dark Crystal. Pavilion Books. ISBN 1-86205-624-2
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 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.
  11. 11.0 11.1 Dc Encylo logo SkekShod in The Dark Crystal - Encyclopedia
  12. "The Crystal Calls" The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance. Netflix. August 30, 2019
  13. Invader Zim (2010-06-08). "The Skeksis (one post from a messageboard thread)". Planet Irk. Retrieved 2019-09-28.

External Links[]

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