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Recap / Empath: The Luckiest Smurf (novel)

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This is the main story that introduces the character Empath. He returns from Psychelia to be with his fellow Smurfs for good on his 150th birthday and learns that not only are the Smurfs being terrorized by Gargamel, but also that Papa Smurf turns out to be his own biological father.


This story provides the following examples of:

  • Adaptational Backstory Change: The origin of the Smurfs being changed from them all being Papa Smurf's sons that were born by Delivery Stork to them being sons of Papa Smurf's fellow Smurfs, with the parents dying off from an Only Fatal to Adults plague and Papa Smurf being forced to adopt them all as his sons.
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  • Amnesia Missed a Spot: In the novel, the Psyche Master claims to have completely erased all of Empath's memories as an infant so that he would have no memory of ever being Papa Smurf's only biological son. However, the erasure procedure left only that memory of the infant Empath crying when he saw his father leave him in Psychelia just moments before the procedure started.
  • Beard of Sorrow: As the exact opposite of this trope, as seen in one of the fan arts, Papa Smurf shaved his beard in mourning for his son Empath after he (supposedly) died and a statue made of his would-have-been future self was made in his honor.
  • Bouquet Toss: In the novel and its companion story "Empath's Wedding", the bouquet toss is combined with the garter toss, and while Sassette gets the bouquet that Smurfette tosses, Snappy gets the garter (which he calls a "slingshot") that Empath tosses. Nat points that the one who catches the "slingshot" must marry the one who catches the bouquet, and both Snappy and Sassette stick out their tongues at the horrid thought that they must someday marry each other.
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  • Electric Torture: In the novel, Empath is subjected to this by the Psyche Master when he dares to give the Psyche Master a piece of his mind about what the Psyche Master calls Papa Smurf.
  • Fake Kill Scare: Papa Smurf thought the Psyche Master killed Empath when he brought his son to Psychelia as an infant in the novel and was locked out of the temple only to hear the child's screams. He doesn't find out until years later that the Psyche Master didn't kill Empath, but merely subjected him to a painful Mind Rape that erased his memory.
  • First Kiss: Empath and Smurfette had theirs near the end of the novel, which Papa Smurf saw as a sign that they would become soulmates...an event that takes place in the epilogue and in "Empath's Wedding".
  • Forgiven, but Not Forgotten: In the song "Of All The People" from the novel, the singer says in the final verse that someday he'll forgive the person who has subjected him to a past he never wanted to live, but he will never let go of what it did to him. The singer in this case is Empath, and the person that he will forgive but never forget what he did to him is Papa Smurf, his biological father.
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  • Going Commando: Played with. In the novel text, Empath tears apart his new suit until he is naked, suggesting that he isn't wearing any underpants. In some of the illustrations where Hefty mocks Empath appearing "in all his glory", though, Empath is clearly wearing underpants.
  • Goodbye, Cruel World!: Empath writes a suicide note for his fellow Smurfs in the novel, but also adds that he's taking Baby Smurf with him.
  • Groin Attack: Smurfette gives one to Hefty in the novel for his saying that Empath couldn't possibly feel a thing for her, with her retort being that Empath would feel more for her in his heart than he would in his private area (insinuating that is how Hefty feels for Smurfette).
  • The Hero's Birthday: The novel begins on the main character's 150th birthday, which turns out to be the day when he is finally released from being in Psychelia, and most of the Smurfs in the village are preparing for his birthday and his arrival home. 150 years for a Smurf (particularly a male Smurf) is basically the age of entering adulthood, as in The Smurfs cartoon show.
  • I Have You Now, My Pretty: Said by Jokey posing as Gargamel to Smurfette in the novel, while adding "and your little blue friend, too."
  • Insignia Ripoff Ritual: In the novel itself, Empath rips his own Smurf clothes to shreds (particularly his Star-Spangled Spandex suit that he just got for his birthday!) in front of every Smurf to show what he thought of the Smurfs for how they were treating him.
  • Instant Soprano: Hinted at in the novel in regards to Hefty and "the following action that would have left him hitting the high notes for the rest of his life".
  • Nocturnal Emission: Suggested to have happened to Empath in the novel.
  • Our Nudity Is Different: Due to the moral standards of dressing oneself in Psychelia, Empath during his first visit to the Smurf Village has a minor panic when he first sees himself dressed in just a hat and pants.
  • Parental Abandonment: Empath seems to think this about Papa Smurf when he reveals the true nature of their relationship in the novel. Empath is Papa Smurf's only son, but was brought to Psychelia in order to be trained in the use of his abilities.
  • Please Don't Leave Me: In the novel, young Empath cries this out when Papa Smurf finds him standing alone in the village in a crying trance, which, as it turns out, is Empath reliving the moment when his father, Papa Smurf, left him in Psychelia as an infant.
  • Present Peeking: In the novel, at Empath's 150th birthday party, Jokey presents Empath with what appears to be his normal exploding gift box surprise. Empath, being a telepath, ponders about using his abilities to get a sense of what's actually in the gift box, but then realizes that it would spoil the surprise and decides to hazard opening it. As it turns out, the gift box contains his new Star-Spangled Spandex suit.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Empath gives one to his fellow Smurfs in the novel, finishing it with the following:
    "YOU SMURFS ARE NOTHING BUT A GROUP OF BACKWARD BLUE-SKINNED SAVAGES...and what's worse, I happen to be born as one of you!"
  • Refusal of the Call: In the novel, Empath refuses to permanently deal with Gargamel once and for all when he angrily tells his fellow Smurfs to Stop Worshipping Me. Then Gargamel comes and nearly destroys the village and takes half the Smurfs with him to create his Philosopher's Stone, leading to the moment where he reluctantly accepts his role as their savior.
  • Rejected Apology: Played with in the novel, as after Papa Smurf saves himself, Empath, and Brainy from falling into the lava pool within the volcano, Empath apologizes to Papa Smurf for having nearly endangered Baby Smurf just to get Papa Smurf to feel sorry for leaving his only begotten son in Psychelia. At first Papa Smurf is too angry to forgive Empath, but when he sees Empath bowing down and humbling himself before the village leader as if he was the Psyche Master, Papa Smurf also bows down with Empath and forgives him, promising that he will never leave Empath like that ever again.
  • Rousing Speech: Empath gives one to his fellow Smurfs in the novel before they collectively take on Gargamel, with his speech being a Call-Back to Papa Smurf's when all his fellow Smurfs were just Smurflings that lost their parents to The Plague.
  • Shrine to the Fallen: In the novel, Papa Smurf has a statue erected of his son Empath as an adult when he was presumed dead by the hand of the Psyche Master when he was still an infant. Later on, though, when Papa Smurf found out Empath was still alive, the statue was converted to one promising hope that Empath would someday leave Psychelia, which in turn gets perverted into a shrine for Empath's fellow Smurfs to worship him as their hero who would someday deliver them from the greatest evil of all — namely, Gargamel.
  • Smash the Symbol: In the novel, Empath destroys a statue of himself when he realizes that it has been used as an object of worship by his fellow Smurfs, as his way of saying Stop Worshipping Me.
  • Smurfing: Empath notably doesn't speak in Smurf language in much of the story (and in his first visit to the Smurf Village claimed he could barely understand what the Smurfs were saying in it), though during his angry rant toward Papa Smurf he ends up speaking Smurf rather fluently.
  • Smurfling Wasteland: Notably averted in the novel, where The Plague wipes out all of the adult Smurfs except for Papa Smurf himself, setting up the situation where he becomes the sole parent figure and leader of a hundred young Smurfs, most of whom wouldn't know how to run an entire village by themselves.
  • Talking to the Dead: Near the end, Empath talks to his mother at her grave site while he was with Smurfette on a date.
  • Tell Me About My Mother: In the novel, Papa Smurf tells Empath about his mother in the revelation that Empath is Papa Smurf's only biological son.
  • They Do: Empath and Smurfette marry each other at the end of the novel.
  • Time Skip: Ten years pass between the final chapter and the epilogue, where Empath and Smurfette's wedding takes place.
  • You Are Not Alone: In the novel (and its companion side story "The Grouchiest Friendship"), when Empath is about to return to Psychelia after spending his first year visiting the Smurfs, Papa Smurf gives him a Smurf medallion and tells him that he as a Smurf is no longer alone in this world.
  • Your Little Dismissive Diminutive: Jokey-as-Gargamel's line in the novel, "I've got you now, my pretty, and your little blue friend too!"
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