And when skekSil's lies do not work, the Emperor turns to his General for a more forceful solution. A master of martial skill and strategy, skekVar is perhaps the most honest of his dishonest brethren, but not above using dirty tricks.
The Evil Skeksis, Excerpted from a Gelfling journal
Entry Date: Rosunday, 14th Moon, 96 Years A.G.C.
SkekVar was the Skeksis' Ambassador and later General during the late Age of Division, and counterpart to urMa the Peacemaker. Along with skekSo the Emperor, he was one of the primary architects of the Alliance of the Crystal which would break down during the Gelfling resistance, and was responsible for the near-extinction of the Gruenak civilization. He was an aggressive, though not overly intelligent individual who vied for the Emperor's favor with skekSil.
Biography[edit | edit source]
Ambassador[edit | edit source]
During the Makrak raids, skekVar, under orders from the newly proclaimed Emperor, skekSo, acted as an intermediary between the Skeksis and the Gelfling. Together with elder Carn, skekVar offered the Gelfling protection, in exchange for weapons to be used in their defence.
When the Makraks were sighted interacting with Raunip and Thall, skekVar ordered the other Skeksis to take arms and exterminate them, but his plan was thwarted by the urRu, who negotiated a peace settlement with them.
Military career[edit | edit source]
After being assigned the role of General, skekVar initiated a campaign of conquest which, over the course of 800 trine, expanded the Skeksis Empire's reach to encompass most of Skarith. He crushed the Arathim during their initial rebellion and largely exterminated the peaceful Gruenaks.
Centuries later, skekVar took an active role in the Arathim Wars, feeding intelligence to his Stonewood allies and apparently exterminating the Arathim caste of poison Spitters. During the war, he took notice of Ordon's skill and offered him the position of Castle Guard captain.
Age of Resistance[edit | edit source]
Thirty trine later, skekVar, like his compatriots, drew energy from the Crystal in order to prolong his longevity, until eventually it began to fail. Although concerned, he readily agreed with Emperor skekSo's speech about the Skeksis being eternal, and was overjoyed when skekTek the Scientist revealed the use of essence for rejuvenation.
When Rian escaped, skekVar increased security throughout the castle and began sweeping the place for him. To skekSo's fear that the Gelfling would ask questions, skekVar suggested simply breaking the teeth of those who questioned, but was overruled when skekSo agreed with skekSil's suggestion of spreading lies instead. SkekVar later supported punishing skekSil for his crimes, but quickly switched to supporting punishment for skekTek when the Emperor decided the blame lay with him. SkekSil then snapped at skekVar for his spot closest to the Emperor, until they were interrupted by Ordon's arrival, who skekVar initially berated for requesting an audience with the Emperor until skekSo allowed it. SkekVar then participated in the punishment ceremony for skekTek.
During the next Skeksis banquet, skekVar and skekSil got into a heated argument over how to best process essence, with skekVar stating they should take as many Gelfling as they wanted, no matter who they were and how the race would react. SkekSil however suggested they should take a sustainable amount in secret, slowly harvesting those that won't be missed and keep the majority of Gelfling alive to use as soldiers and servants. When skekSo noticed his body was still decaying rapidly he agreed with skekVar's more upfront methods and thus demoted skekSil, denying him a seat at the banquet table while promoting skekVar as his right hand counsellor and allowing him a seat next to the Emperor. SkekVar later went to interrogate Gurjin, partially draining him as a form of torture, until skekSo arrived with a new assignment for skekVar; gather seven Gelfling "volunteers" from each clan to be drained.
Arriving in Ha'rar, capital of the Vapra Clan, skekVar requested seven volunteers from the All-Maudra Mayrin, ostensibly to deal with an uprising of Arathim, absentmindedly eating several sacred unamoth chrysalises in the process. When volunteers were brought forward, skekVar became oddly choosy with the Gelfling he selected, even complaining about how disappointing one's teeth were and sending another away for being old. After deciding, skekVar sent the volunteers to his carriage, only to be interrupted by Seladon (whom skekVar didn't recognize), reporting on her mother Mayrin's treachery. When Mayrin herself arrived, skekVar stomached her rebellious speech only briefly before lashing out with his sabre, fatally wounding Mayrin. Following skekZok's example, skekVar then recognized Seladon as All-Maudra.
Escorting Deet, Hup, Brea, and the "volunteers" to their carriage for transport to the Castle of the Crystal, skekVar ordered Brea to be silent when she accused him of killing her mother. When she openly defied him, skekVar became impressed and allowed two of the volunteers to remain, intending to replace them with Brea and Deet to be drained. He had them all placed in a cage attached to the carriage and then set off with skekZok, fending off skekZok's criticisms until they were ambushed en route by Rian and his allies. Although skekVar tried to run Rian over, the Armaligs refused to move forward until after Lore freed the prisoners and prepared to attack them, frightening them enough that they complied with skekVar's hasty orders to retreat, going around Rian and taking the Skeksis back to the Castle of the Crystal.
Trusting the General, skekSo brought skekVar to the lair of the Arathim to forge an alliance and showed him his experiments on the Darkening. After selecting Tavra for the Arathim, skekVar lead the Arathim swarms of Silk Spitters and Threaders to Stone-in-the-Wood, where they captured the resident Gelfling and forced them to enter the Castle of the Crystal. However, several Gelfling managed to escape into the catacombs, so skekVar and skekLach followed them, only for Tavra to stab the General. Finding skekVar wounded, skekSil gave the General some essence to revive him, convincing skekVar to form an alliance with his old rival.
Preparing for battle against the Gelfling rebellion, skekSo asked skekVar if he had dreams while he slept, and although skekVar denied this, both remembered their time as urSkeks, considering it a torture to be joined with their Mystic counterparts. SkekTek gave skekVar and skekSo an update on their new armor and weapons, expressing a desire to fight alongside them, only for skekVar to laugh in skekTek's face, claiming the Scientist was too weak for combat.
Defeat and Downfall[edit | edit source]
Arriving for a second time in Stone-in-the-Wood, skekVar considered it an honor to fight Rian in single combat for the Emperor. Despite his fighting skills, skekVar was stabbed by Rian's Dual Glaive, which drained the General of all the essence he consumed and reduced him to an extremely weakened state. Realising he was vulnerable, skekVar retreated, begging skekSil for assistance. But with no other Skeksis watching, skekSil betrayed skekVar and stabbed him in the chest so that he could regain his seat next to the Emperor. SkekVar crumbled to dust, making him the first Skeksis to die in over 900 trine since skekHak and skekYi, who died very soon after the Great Division.
After his death, the role of General was passed on to SkekUng.
Other continuities[edit | edit source]
In the continuity established by Legends of the Dark Crystal, skekVar survived long enough to fight in the Garthim War and had a rivalry with skekLach the Collector, as both Skeksis secretly had their eyes on the throne. However, skekLach began to undermine the General's position by insinuating to Emperor skekSo that there was a shortage of Gelfling essence, contrary to skekVar's claims that supplies were still plentiful. SkekVar's plans were temporarily thwarted when the Emperor ordered him to give skekLach his enthusiastic support.
Personality and traits[edit | edit source]
Why waste our time with talk when we have talons?
SkekVar was the most impatient of the Skeksis, preferring violent action instead of scheming plots. In his youth, he advocated immediately crushing the Gelfling militarily, and later proposed harvesting the entire Gelfling population for essence without any thought of such a plan's long-term sustainability.
While well-spoken and capable of dissimulation in his youth, his characteristic bluntness worsened as he aged. Unlike his comrades, he made no effort to hide his disgust over the Gelfling, ignoring decorum even when in the presence of the All-Maudra and bragging in her presence that she owed her position to the Skeksis. His disdain for the Gelfling was only surpassed by his visceral hatred of the Arathim, which he considered a "plague" to be exterminated. A shallow individual, skekVar always judged by appearances, disliking Gelflings he deemed undersized or had faces he considered even remotely imperfect. This scorn extended to his fellow Skeksis, dismissing physically weaker and mutilated comrades like skekTek as "weaklings". This was in marked contrast to his successor as general, skekUng, who was capable of fostering the loyalty of inferior and crippled comrades skekVar had previously brutalized.
Out of all the Skeksis, skekVar was the most loyal to Emperor skekSo, though he was not above taking his own initiative when he felt it served the interest of all Skeksis, such as partially draining Gurjin, despite the Emperor wanting him alive, and murdering the All-Maudra, something he was not instructed to do. Though lacking in tact, skekvar was not without intelligence, as he was the first Skeksis to realize that skeksil was behind the return of skekMal. He was also capable of gratitude and honesty, being genuinely grateful to skekSil for saving him from Tavra, and thus did not argue with skekSo when the Emperor replaced him with skekSil as his counsel.
Ultimately, his grandstanding masked a deeply insecure individual, displaying extreme sensitivity to having his orders questioned or his bravery put into doubt, and made lamentable excuses when defeated in fair combat. He was also visibly unnerved during skekTek's initial essence draining demonstration, and exposed his cowardice by refusing to do battle with Lore, as well as begging Tavra for mercy after she had wounded him.
Personal relationships[edit | edit source]
SkekLach[edit | edit source]
While irritated by the Collector's habit of trying to take food from him, and disgust over the Collector's massive pustules he still respected her thirst for battle, and would summon her when needing assistance in crushing uprisings.
SkekSil[edit | edit source]
You are reckless! Lead us into war!
The General loathed skekSil for his patronizing attitude and smugness, believing that his arrogance was only due to his proximity to the Emperor, and finding his cerebral rather than brutish solutions to crises frustrating. The pair were further at odds when it came to processing Gelfling essence, with skekVar advocating taking all Gelfling by force as opposed to harvesting them sustainably. The General was however easily manipulated into trusting the Chamberlain after he had saved his life, and grew to consider him a friend before being murdered by him.
SkekSo[edit | edit source]
I need a new counsel. A counselor who understands how to wield power.
SkekVar was devoted to the Emperor out of genuine respect rather than self interest, refusing to plot against him even when popular enough to pose a real threat to him. He obeyed skekSo's orders usually without question, assisting the Emperor in forging the Alliance of the Crystal despite his wish to simply subjugate the Gelfling, and did not argue when dismissed in favor of his hated rival skekSil. He was, however, willing to exploit loopholes in his ruler's instructions, sometimes torturing or murdering enemies simply because his orders did not contain explicit prohibitions against such acts, dismissing fears of punishment by citing the Emperor's "forgiving" nature. SkekSo subsequently promoted skekVar to act as his new counsel, and approved of all his actions, considering his unauthorized murder of All-Maudra Mayrin to be a liberation from the "burden" of the Alliance they had created a thousand trine earlier. The General's steadfast loyalty was such that skekSo grew to trust him enough to reveal his deepest fears and admit to lying to the other Skeksis about the existence of the Darkening. However, SkekSo ultimately viewed SkekVar as a mere minion rather than a friend, as he rudely stated he didn't care that skekVar felt honoured to be his new counsel and later callously dismissed him after he lost the duel against Rian.
Behind the scenes[edit | edit source]
In The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance, the General was conceived by the writers as a foil to skekSil, setting the background to the latter's future conflict with skekUng. Javier Grillo-Marxuach explained that skekVar represents "the conflict of militarism", possessing power but being restrained by the Emperor. Being a military character, skekVar's design was influenced by that of a four-star general, having much more showy and self-aggrandizing robes showing off his prowess. Kevin Clash, who played skekVar, was inspired by Colin Powell and John Wayne in performing the character's movements and posture.
Gallery[edit | edit source]
References[edit | edit source]
- The Dark Crystal Author Quest: The Gelfling Gathering, The Jim Henson Company (2013)
- B. Froud, M. Dow Smith, A. Sheikman & L. John (2015). The Dark Crystal: Creation Myths, Vol. III. Archaia. ISBN 978-1-60886-435-5.
- Cesare, A. & Compiet, I. (2020), The Dark Crystal Bestiary: The Definitive Guide to the Creatures of Thra, Insight Editions, p. 38, ISBN 1683838211
- – Andelfinger, Nicole., Age of Resistance – The Quest for the Dual Glaive, #1, Archaia, USA, September 25, 2019
- Age of Resistance – "End. Begin. All the Same.". Netflix. August 30, 2019
- Age of Resistance – "Nothing Is Simple Anymore". Netflix. August 30, 2019
- Age of Resistance – "The First Thing I Remember Is Fire". Netflix. August 30, 2019
- Age of Resistance – "She Knows All the Secrets". Netflix. August 30, 2019
- Age of Resistance – "By Gelfling Hand...". Netflix. August 30, 2019
- Age of Resistance – "Time to Make...My Move". Netflix. August 30, 2019
- Age of Resistance – "A Single Piece Was Lost". Netflix. August 30, 2019
- Kessel, B. R. & Arnhold, H. (2010) Legends of the Dark Crystal Volume 2: Trial by Fire. TokyoPop. ISBN 1598167022
- Kessel, B. R. & Arnhold, H. (2007) Legends of the Dark Crystal Volume 1: The Garthim Wars. TokyoPop. ISBN 1598167014
- Age of Resistance – "The Crystal Calls". Netflix. August 30, 2019
- Wallace, D. (2019), The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance - Inside the Epic Return to Thra, Titan Books, p. 95, ISBN 978-1-78909-387-2.