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Head Scratchers / The Dark Crystal

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  • The Podlings taught Kira to call the animals, and she uses the ability to get them to break out of their cages, attack the Scientist, and free her before she gets her essence completely sucked out. Couldn't the countless Podling captives before her have done it themselves?
    • Because they didn't have a cheerleader like Kira did.
    • As the Scientist's own words state that Gelfling essence is more potent than Podling, she may be the only victim of the device who lasted long enough even to make the attempt.
    • Maybe they didn't understand that it could be done. Animals aren't always clever.
    • Actually it was Aughra who told her to do so since she was captive too.
    • Maybe the podlings couldn't speak to animals the same way Kira did.
  • If the Mystics are supposed to be so supremely benevolent, and they knew about their link to the Skeksis and about the horrors their counterparts were perpetrating, why didn't they just selflessly commit suicide a thousand years ago to spare the Gelflings from genocide and the Podlings from enslavement?
    • Note that the split gave the Skeksis the lion's share of the intelligence and the urRu have wisdom but not the knowledge of how to apply it — they may not be capable of this level of forethought.
    • Word of God says that the Mystics lacked the will to act, above all else. The Skeksis represent the power of will and the desire to act; the mystics represent the wisdom and understanding of right action, but have no will to accomplish it.
    • Or perhaps the Crystal is an artifact that is necessary for the continued existence of the world. If the urSkeks were to all die, the Crystal may shatter completely, plunging the world into a cataclysm. We've all seen the effects that screwing around with the crystal has had on the rest of the world.
    • At the very least, the mystics did represent some balance against the Skeksis. Even assuming the mystics were willing to commit suicide, they'd essentially just be removing both factions from Thra, but still leaving the after-effects of the Skeksis' rampage. They'd just be committing the same sin that created them all over again: Inflicting their will upon the world, heedless of the costs.
  • So, the Skeksis and the Mystics are very similar anatomically because as we find out, they are two split parts of a single being. Why then, when we finally see the two made one, the creature we are shown looks ABSOLUTELY NOTHING like either species? If one hadn't seen the movie, you would never peg the two-armed crystalline humanoids becoming long-shouted, four-armed, avian/reptilian creatures with tails. Is there some explanation/symbolism, or is this just a design error?
    • Would you ever peg a caterpillar to become a butterfly? Besides, these are aliens. With magic. One can chalk it up to Rule of Symbolism or Bizarre Alien Biology.
    • The urSkeks do have some features that are a blend of the two, like their hair being composed of long strands like a Mystic's mane, yet sticking up like Skeksis quills. But their erect stance and flat faces, being so different from both, are probably intended to make them look more "noble" and impressive to a human audience, not to be a perfect compromise between the two fragment-species.
  • So to determine the Emperor's successor the General and Chamberlain have a duel to see who can cut through a stone pillar. That's by the Chamberlain's choice. The Chamberlain shows no signs of combat prowess or skill with weapons, so why did he choose that kind of contest against a general whose very job would require some kind of military experience?
    • More than likely it's senility. The Skeksis are shadows of their former selves and are dying of old age that they have artificially prolonged. Their species, in the past, was able to destroy whole civilizations whereas now they can barely take down two Gelfings. The Chamberlain is arrogant and proud, but his lack of foresight is very, very clear as the movie progresses as is the other Skeksis who are often seen rambling.
    • The Stone was already pretty badly carved up from previous Trials. Possibly the Chamberlain believed that he, being more agile than the bulky General, could place his cuts more precisely than his rival, potentially felling the Stone by hitting it where it was already weakened. Who knows? It might even have worked, had the General's brute force not exceeded the Stone's limits in fewer blows than the Chamberlain's precision would've required.
    • The General-cum-Emperor is awfully excited at the prospect of being made young again by drinking Essence. Perhaps he's been grousing about his aches and pains so much in the last few years that the Chamberlain believed his opponent was becoming too aged to exert himself fully?
    • For all we know, the alternative to the Trial by Stone might've been an actual Trial by Combat. The Chamberlain might simply prefer losing and being exiled to losing by getting cut to pieces.
  • What animal are the Mystics meant to resemble? The Skeksis are like a combination of bird and reptile but the Mystics are a lot harder to pin down.
    • In general body shape, they most closely resemble pangolins, or the early (flawed) depictions of hadrosaurs. Some early concept art and test puppets depicted them with beaks rather like a sea turtle's, which made them look more like their Skeksis counterparts, but this was softened to a snout to make them more aesthetically appealing.
    • Since it's a wholly alien planet, they don't have to resemble anything we're familiar with. They only do because they were designed by human beings, and designed to be less horrifying than the Skeksis.
  • In the Crystal Chamber, why didn't Jen and Kira sneak to each other once they saw each other, give Kira the shard so that she could fly on the Dark Crystal?
    • Kira can't actually fly. Both times she uses her wings, she merely glides (confirmed in the supplementary material; Gelfling girls could once fly, but not any more).
  • Why couldn't Jen have taken all three of the shards he'd identified as likely candidates, figuring out which one was needed later, rather than stick around trying to choose just one? Aughra didn't have any apparent use for the others, and the Garthim might not have trashed her place or taken her prisoner if Jen had already moved on when they arrived.
    • Possible answer: They might have thought it was safer to figure out the right one in the peaceful, quiet environment, rather then waiting until the vital moment, deep in enemy territory, when he might have been found out by that point.
    • Narrowing it down to three was the time-consuming part in any case. From there he solved it almost instantly.
  • Why does The Scientist put up with the other Skeksis? Why haven't they left long ago, with them having a Ape Shall Not Kill Ape norm?
    • The Scientist probably would have been killed by Thra's other creatures if they left.
    • Also, they are still getting the occasional recharge from the Crystal, which they couldn't do if they left the palace.
  • Why does the Ritual Master resent the Garthim Master / New Emperor when the latter is shown to be loyal to the first emperor and respectful to their rules by not leaping at the scepter?
    • They have all been locked into a dwindling group of royal socialites in a decaying castle for the past thousand years. By now, each of them resents all of the other ones.
    • ...Also, he's only respectful to the rules because HE makes them...and he might have just not wanted the Chamberlain to get the scepter. Or he was angry because he was pondering if HE should make a move. And he wasn't GENUINELY much as terrified beyond all rational thought.
  • Viewed in light of the prequel Series, the Narrator in the film never actually says that Jen (and Kira) are the only Gelfling left in the world. He merely says that the Skeksis killed Jen's family and Clan. All the statements about how 'all the gelfling are gone' are by Aughra, the Skeksis, and Jen/Kira themselves. Fallible characters who are working off limited information of their own experiences, with no omniscient way of determining whether Gelfling survive. (In Jen and Kira's case, their belief they are the last is based mainly on the fact they had met no others in their lives, and seeing the ruins of the old Gelfling civilization.) Making it very possible that some Gelfling from the 7 clans may have survived in remote places of the world where the Skeksis and Aughra were unable to find them, and offering a chance for the Gelfling species and Gelfling Society to be rebuilt.
  • Why was skekUng (the Garthim master/later emperor) so shocked when the podling essence didn't work? Surely that couldn't have been the only time they drained podlings for essence. So they had to have known that it didn't work, at least not as well as gelfling essence.