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There is absolutely nothing in this world that does not bend to my will.

skekSo[1]

SkekSo was the first and penultimate Skeksis Emperor, and counterpart to urSu the Master. Ruling Thra for over a thousand trine, he was the principal architect of the Alliance of the Crystal, the formal segregation of the Gelfling Clans and their ultimate destruction during the Garthim War.

Personality Edit

In his youth, skekSo was a masterful schemer and opportunist who preferred to charm the Gelfling into submitting to him rather than crush them militarily.[2] He was also skilled at averting any threats to his rule by promoting his rivals, only to withdraw his favor just to enjoy the sight of their fall.[3] He applied these divisive tactics also on his Gelfling subjects, setting the clans against each other in order to prevent them from uniting and imperiling his rule. Nevertheless, when questioned openly, he was capable of displaying enough physical brutality to intimidate even the bravest challenger.[2]

As he aged, he became increasingly conscious of his own mortality and began to tire of elaborate schemes in favor of direct action. Considering his life as SoSu to have been a nightmare, he became obsessed with clinging onto life to the very end, to the point of experimenting on the Darkening, despite knowing it corroded his body and health. When pushed to extreme anger, he would go into paroxysms of rage which caused him to audibly wheeze and hyperventilate. Following such outbursts, he would be visibly exhausted and melancholy, making him especially vulnerable to the suggestions of self-serving subordinates like skekSil.

He was, however, still able to coordinate the other Skeksis into a somewhat stable community by keeping them busy in their respective roles. He ruled through fear by both verbally and physically abusing the Skeksis that displeased him, though he would at times give rallying speeches reminding his comrades of their superiority in order to motivate them further into doing his bidding.

Biography Edit

Rise to power Edit

Nothing is easier to manipulate than a cornered animal. Offer them the hand of friendship and they will do anything I say to save themselves.

skekSo[2]
SkekSo & skekShod

A young skekSo, after beating skekShod

Shortly after the Great Division, the Makraks emerged from their devastated underground home and began raiding Podling and Gelfling villages. SkekSo, hoping to win the loyalty of the panicked Gelflings, sent his ambassador, skekVar, to offer his protection. During the discussions, skekSo proclaimed himself Emperor and savagely beat skekShod for openly ridiculing him in court. After the Gelfling elder, Carn, arrived at the castle to swear fealty to the Skeksis, skekSo proclaimed the formation of the Alliance of the Crystal, reassuring his followers in private that his ultimate intentions were to enslave the races of Thra through offering them security. When the Makrak crisis was inadvertently resolved peacefully by the urRu, skekSo did not see the event as a failure, as the Gelfling had already provided the Skeksis with plentiful weapons and allowed them a seat on their council.[2]

Later reign Edit

SkekSo the Emperor

SkekSo before the outbreak of the Gelfling resistance.

SkekSo's reign was initially a benevolent one, inviting Gelflings into the Castle of the Crystal to serve as his Castle Guard, and holding tournaments, which he invariably won.[3] His character eventually changed as he became increasingly conscious of his own mortality and proceeded to secretly learn to harness the Darkening for his own use, causing his body to age faster than those of the other Skeksis.

SkekSo summons Darkening

SkekSo summoning the Darkening

A thousand years into his rule, skekTek the Scientist discovered a method of using the Dark Crystal to extract the essence from Gelflings, using it on Mira as he and his court partook in her essence to rejuvenate themselves.[4] While skekSil assured him that the Gelflings would remain in ignorance despite Rian witnessing Mira's death, skekSo replaced him with skekVar as his counsel[5] while deciding to label Rian a diseased fugitive who must not be dreamfasted with.[6]

However, when skekVar murdered All-Maudra Mayrin[7] when she learned the truth, skekSo saw it as justification to cease relations with the Gelfling, attempting to enter into an alliance with the Arathim.[1] When that failed, skekSo commissioned skekTek to create the Garthim when they were greatly outnumbered by the united Gelfling Clans, beginning the Garthim War after the ruinous Second Battle of Stone-in-the-Wood.[8] When skekSo learned of the prophecy that foretold that a Gelfling would end the Skeksis' rule, he ordered their complete extermination.

Death Edit

SkekSo death

SkekSo dying

In the aftermath of the Garthim War, having decreed Gelfling essence reserved for himself, skekSo's health nonetheless began to rapidly deteriorate with no more Gelflings left. In desperation, he sought to prolong his life with elixirs and enchantments, but to no avail.[3] His fate was sealed when, in his weakened state, he failed to attend a Ceremony of the Sun which would have given him enough power to live up to the Great Conjunction, which would have granted him a further nine hundred and ninety-nine and one trine of life. He died surrounded by his followers, all eagerly awaiting his death as he clung to his scepter.[9]

4K The Dark Crystal - The Emperor's Death

4K The Dark Crystal - The Emperor's Death

His remains were gathered by skekOk the Scroll-Keeper then wound into cerements and placed into a black casket. The three highest-ranking Skeksis, skekSil, skekZok and skekUng, carried the casket to the mausoleum, with the other Skeksis following in single file. The three had previously argued over who should take the foremost corner of the casket, and managed to come to a compromise which all knew would not outlast the funeral. The casket was placed onto a catafalque, and its contents were cremated.[9]

Other appearances Edit

Force cannot always gain what you want. There are times when stealth and skill triumph!

skekSo to skekVar, [10]
During the Garthim War depicted in Legends of the Dark Crystal, skekSo elevated skekLach the Collector to the position of court favourite, in light of his successful Gelfling acquisition strategies, not knowing that the Collector intended to eventually depose him. SkekLach began to secretly withhold the Emperor's Gelfling essence, and blamed the shortage on his rival, skekVar the General, whom skekSo ordered to cooperate with the Collector completely.[10] SkekSo's favouritism of skekLach caused skekSil the Chamberlain, a former court favourite, to plot against skekLach. The Chamberlain discovered skekLach's secret, and openly accused him in front of the Emperor during the Battle of Bah-Lem Valley, and challenged the Collector to Trial by Fire. SkekSo presided over the Trial, which the Collector won. Despite skekSil's protests, skekSo refused to listen to his accusations, and ordered him to keep quiet or face the consequences.[11]

Behind the scenesEdit

SkekSo by Brian Froud

Concept art by Brian Froud

The character of the Emperor first appeared in Jim Henson's 1978 draft outline The Crystal, where he is named Nacht and dies early in the story alongside Oo-ur-zay, the precursor of urSu.[12]

Jason Isaacs, who voiced skekSo in The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance, described his introduction and approach to the character in the following terms:

I looked at the creature, at his kind of amazing, long, alligator snout and the fact that he doesn’t have a real nose, and he’s got teeth that need some very advanced orthodontistry, and I thought, “What kind of sound would come out from that? I [don’t] want to copy the voices from the original”. [...] I just came up with something that I thought might come out of that body, and that’s what we went with. He’s often very angry and loud, and you’re right, they’re a big crowd with lots of shouting, and I don’t think there was a single day of recording where I didn’t lose my voice by the end.

Jason Isaacs[13]

When asked by Collider how the character views himself, Isaacs responded:

Is a lion eating a wildebeest at a watering hole villainous? These creatures are surviving and dominating, and they want to continue to dominate and survive. [...] The Emperor has only known dominance. He’s only known control, and what it’s like to rule. The Skeksis have ruled forever. That is the order of things, on this planet. He’s not going to be the one with his hand on the wheel, when the bus goes off the cliff.

Jason Isaacs[14]

Gallery Edit

References Edit

  1. 1.0 1.1 Age of resistance logo The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance – "Time to Make...My Move". Netflix. August 30, 2019
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 B. Froud, M. Dow Smith, A. Sheikman & L. John (2015). The Dark Crystal: Creation Myths, Vol. III. Archaia. ISBN 978-1-60886-435-5.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Froud, B. & Llewellyn, J. J., (2003) The World of the Dark Crystal. Pavilion Books. ISBN 1-86205-624-2
  4. Age of resistance logo The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance – "End. Begin. All the Same." Netflix. August 30, 2019
  5. Age of resistance logo The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance – "The First Thing I Remember Is Fire". Netflix. August 30, 2019
  6. Age of resistance logo The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance – "Nothing Is Simple Anymore". Netflix. August 30, 2019
  7. Age of resistance logo The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance – "She Knows All the Secrets". Netflix. August 30, 2019
  8. Age of resistance logo The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance – "A Single Piece Was Lost". Netflix. August 30, 2019
  9. 9.0 9.1 Smith, A. C. H., & Odell, D. (1982). The Dark Crystal. Holt, Rinehart and Winston . ISBN 0030624363
  10. 10.0 10.1 Kessel, B. R. & Arnhold, H. (2007) Legends of the Dark Crystal Volume 1: The Garthim Wars. TokyoPop. ISBN 1598167014
  11. Kessel, B. R. & Arnhold, H. (2010) Legends of the Dark Crystal Volume 2: Trial by Fire. TokyoPop. ISBN 1598167022
  12. C. Gaines, The Dark Crystal: The Ultimate Visual History, Titan Books, 2017, p. 30, ISBN 1-78565-592-2.
  13. K. Ricci, Jason Isaacs On Why Netflix’s Stunning And Complex ‘The Dark Crystal’ Could Be A Relaxing Binge-Watch, Uproxx.com, August 28, 2019
  14. C. Radish, Jason Isaacs on ‘The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance’ and the Original Five-Season Plan for ‘The OA’, Collider.com, September 6, 2019

External Links Edit

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