If it's crap ... We'll tell you
Recently, Netflix has come into my life and I must say, it's pretty awesome. It's helped me through many a boring night at college when it just seems to be a dull weekend. It's also great because it gave me the chance to watch Jim Henson's fantasy epic The Dark Crystal again.
A favorite movie of my childhood, it truly shows Jim Henson's ability as a storyteller when he puts aside his usual assortment of Muppets and shapes a truly original fantasy world with strange unique creatures (although one may argue that Gelflings are just a ripoff of elves).
Since The Dark Crystal is one of my favorite movies, I"ve watched it a few times since getting Netflix, and while watching this amazing fantasy movie, I began to notice strange things with some of the characters. Follow me as I walk you through this interesting theory to an even more interesting movie.
WARNNG!!!! This blog will contain lots of spoilers since it is a rather thorough analysis of the movie. If you haven't seen the movie yet (I strongly suggest you do) and don't want anythng ruined, stop reading now. The movie can be instantly watched on Netflix, so if you want watch it there and come back.
They all gone.........good.
The Story takes place in an unnamed fantasy world that has three suns, in which a thousand years before the movie takes place, the great Crystal of Truth breaks. After which two new races appear in the world: the benevolent and gentle Mystics (the four armed dinosaur creature pictured below) and the cruel, malicious Skeksis (the demonic vulture also pictured below). Now, a thousand years after this incident, two members of the all but extinct Gelfling race (Elfin looking things pictured below for a third time) must go on a quest to reunite the crystal because of the following prophecy:
When single shines the triple sun
What was sundered and undone
shall be whole again, the two made one
by Gelfling hand, or else by none.
Now, the twist in this movie (last chance to look away if you don't want spoilers) is that the Mystics and the Skeksis are two halves of the same being: an extradimensional, seemingly omnipotent fourth race called the urSkeks (unnamed in the film). When the Crystal cracked, they were split between their good and evil selves and reuniting the crystal would return them to their
orginal forms. The Skeksis are constantly trying to prevent the crystal from being reunited, so one can only assume that in their lesser forms, they do not know the purpose of the crystal. They only know that it would be the end of Skeksis if the Crystal was ever mended.
Throughout the film, Jen and Kira (the two main Gelflings pictured to the right) are constantly being attacked by the servants of the Skeksis, but are also confronted by the Chamberlain (Also pictured above), an exiled Skeksi who challenged the Skeksis Emperor and lost. When watching this movie, most people just think that the Chamberlain is trying to trick the two Gelfling into coming with him so the Crystal can never be mended. However, I have another theory.
My theory is that the Chamberlain is actually a good guy secretly working to help Jen and Kira fix the Crystal. The following is a walkthrough of scenes with the Chamberlain that prove he was actually working to mend the crystal the whole time.
The first time we notice the Chamberlain is shortly after the first Skeksis Emperor dies. The remaining nine are all wondering who will become the next Emperor when both the Chamberlain and the General make a grab for the throne. For the General, this is simply a grab for power, but the Chamberlain has ulterior motives. He knows about the prophecy's true meaning and that he is only one half of a broken being. The Chamberlain wishes to become Emperor not to gain power, but to allow the Gelflings safe passage to the Crystal. However, the two Skeksis must solve their conflict through Trial by Stone, a contest involving taking turns hitting a rock with a sword, the winner being whoever breaks the rock first (Why they don't just fight each other with the swords, I don't know). The General, obviously being the more battle hardened creature, wins the Trial and becomes Emperor.
The Chamberlain is then stripped of his robes, dressed in rags and exiled from the Skeksis' Castle. He has been inconvenienced terribly, but in order for the prophecy to come true he needs to get the Gelflings to reunite the crystal by the time the three suns have eclipsed each other (When single shines the triple sun). As he's leaving, the other Skeksis see via the Crystal that Jen is heading to restore the crystal. So the new Emperor sends his soldiers, a beetle-like race called the Garthim, to find the Gelfling. The Chamberlain sees the Garthim leave and follows them in order to find the Gelfling, and we know he succeeded when he is seen following Jen after the Garthim destroy the tower of the witch Aughra.
We don't see the Chamberlain again in the movie for quite some time. When he does show up, Jen had been invited to the village of podlings (a small peaceful race) where Kira was raised. However, the village is soon attacked by the Garthim, who begin gathering up the podlings. Jen and Kira are almost caught themselves, but the Chamberlain comes out of nowhere to order the Garthim not to pursue them. If they're caught, the Skeksis will kill them and the Crystal will never be united, so the Chamberlain allows them to escape.
We next see the Chamberlain at the ruins of the Gelfling civilization, where he tries to convince the two Gelfling that he is a friend and that they should come to the castle to "make peace" with the Skeksis. Most people watching this would think this is a bold faced lie, but in actuality the Chamberlain is being sincere. He wants Jen and Kira to get to the castle and restore the crystal, he might have even been willing to get them inside. However, the two protagonists do not trust him and run away.
He tries this again when he sees the two Gelfling in the caverns underneath the castle. He promises them that Skeksis and Gelfling will live in peace if he just went with them. However, seeing that they are not buying it, the Chamberlain attempts to grab them, thinking that if they won't listen, he will get them to the Crystal by force. In the struggle that ensues, Jen takes the shard of the Crystal and stabs the Chamberlain in the hand. After which, the Chamberlain attempts to kill Jen via a rock slide.
Now, you may think that this completely pokes a hole in my theory, but it is still sound for three reasons:
1) Even if Jen had died, the Chamberlain still has Kira. As long as one of them lives, the Crystal can be restored.
2) He may have left behind the shard, but he doesn't know he needs it. The Chamberlain is going only by what the Prophecy says, and it doesn't say he needs any crystal shard. Only that a Gelfling will restore the Crystal to it's former glory. He is walking away from the key to his plan and doesn't even know it.
3) The Chamberlain may be trying to help the Gelflings and restore himself to his true form, but he is still a Skeksis. Skeksis are, by nature, a cruel, sadistic and short tempered race. This wasn't a attempt at murder in cold blood, this was an example of the Chamberlain's nature getting the best of him.
The Chamberlain is now dragging Kira to the Crystal, where she will hopefully restore it. Things are going well until two other Skeksis spot the Chamberlain with the Gelfling. Fearful of Kira because of the prophecy, these two run off screaming to tell the Emperor. The Chamberlain realizes that he needs to think fast or he's screwed. If the Emperor sees that the Chamberlain not only defied his rule of exile, but brought their most feared enemy right to their doorstep, he will have the Chamberlain executed along with the last remaining Gelfling. Thinking fast, the Chamberlain quickly brings Kira to the throne room, where he says he brought the Gelfling as tribute to the Emperor. The Chamberlain's true intentions, however, are shown when another Skeksis suggests that they kill Kira. He responds to this suggestion by saying, "No! She's mine!", showing that for reasons unknown to the other Skeksis (but known to you, dearest reader), he doesn't want her to die. Another Skeksis suggests that they instead drain her living essence (A process that would turn Kira into a mindless slave and produce a potion to make the Emperor young again). The Chamberlain does not fight this decision because he can still get the Gelfling to restore the Crystal. He doesn't care what happens to Kira (once again showing his cruel Skeksis nature), just so long as the crystal is restored and he returns to his complete form. Kira is taken to have her essence drained and the Chamberlain is taken back into the Castle. Everything is going well for him.
Kira is able to escape and the Skeksis scientist who was going to drain her essence falls to his death. During the aligning of the three suns, the other eight Skeksis gather around the Crystal. Seeing that the Scientist is absent, the Chamberlain knows that the Gefling has escaped, but also knows that his best bet is to play along like he's none the wiser.
During this point, the Chamberlain discovers that both Jen and Kira are hiding in the same room, but he never openly reveals them to the other Skeksis. He doesn't say, "Look, Gelflings! Let's kill them!!", he cries out in surprise, which gets the attention of the other Skeksis. Thanks to this slip up, there is a risk that the Crystal may never be restored. Finally, when Jen drops the Crystal, the Chamberlain gives the Emperor a "look". Once again, not necessarily to say "Go for it, man!" It's more like he's saying "Oh shit.....we're screwed....". You can also see the Chamberlains true colors through the entire climax of the film. He's not really making any attempt to catch Kira or Jen, he's just kind of hanging out in the back, waiting for a chance to make his move. A move he never gets the chance to make because Kira is able to throw the shard to Jen, who restores the Crystal just as the three sun's shine down upon it, returning it to it's normal state and once again making the Mystics and the Skeksis one being.
So there you go. One of the villain's in an amazing fantasy movie is actually working behind the scenes to help the protagonists. Maybe this shows what a genius Jim Henson was with his creation of The Dark Crystal, or maybe it just shows how bored I am over Christmas Break.
Take from it what you will, that's my crazy movie theory on The Dark Crystal.