I freakin’ love The Dark Crystal! Let’s watch it. Time to meet one of the main characters, 34:32-38:00 on the Blu-ray.
When we last left Jen, Fizzgig jumped out and scared him, forcing backward into some mud. Then a mysterious hooded stranger approached. As she approaches, we see enough of her face that she doesn’t need to remove her hood. She’s a blonde female Gelfling. This is Kira. Then there’s a closeup, and she pulls back the hood for reveal anyway. She addresses Fizzgig in a strange language, and then addresses Jen in that same language, trying several times to reach him. At first, I thought she was trying a bunch of different languages on him, but DarkCrystal.com informs us that she’s speaking the Podling language to him. The site has translations for all of her other language sayings, but they’re not anything you can’t already glean from watching the movie.
Jen says in (let’s face it) English that she’s a Gelfling like him, and that he thought he was the only one. Kira responds in (might as well face it) English saying that she too through she was only one. But wait, are these the last two left? Both the Skeksis and Aughra believe that all the Gelflings are dead, but if these two are still alive, what if there are others that survived? We don’t know, of course, and are only left to speculate. For now, let’s go with that the movie tell us and assume there are just these two left.
Kira offers to help Jen out of the mud. Their hands touch and… ooohh boy, now we’re into it. What happens next is a series of images flashing across screen as Jen and Kira see each other’s memories. They’re also hearing each other’s thoughts as this happens, for some additional exposition. This, as we’ll soon learn, is called “dream-fasting.” It’s basically information overload.
Here’s what happens:
Young Kira surrounded by fire, referencing a war. A Garthim can be seen running around in the background.
Kira’s mother hiding her inside a hollow tree. Then Mom gets taken away by a Garthim. This is the only other time in the movie we see another Gelfling, but it goes by so fast that we can’t really get a sense of who Mom is. You don’t suppose they just re-used the Kira puppet for this scene, do you?
Jen remembers being found by one of the Mystics (the “big one” he says). He describes the Mystics as being able to “make the monsters disappear.”
Young Kira wandering into the Podling village, and a Podling greeting her with a huge smile.
Jen recalls the Mystic master giving him a bath. It’s during this shot that Kira informs him what dream-fasting is.
The podlings feeding young Kira. She says her “new mum” among the Podlings named her Kira.
Jen among the Mystics, saying that he thought the Mystics’ valley stretched on forever.
Kira hiding from Garthim, as she exposits that Garthim raiding parties capture the Podlings.
Jen and the Mystic Master, saying the Master was at once family, mentor, and friend.
Kira picking flowers, with her saying she’s able to speak to flowers and all living things.
Jen being educated by the Mystics, saying he learned numbers, words, and “the shapes of kindness.”
There are few other quick images of Jen and Kira’s respective educations as the dream-fast fades, ending with both them revealing a desire to find someone else. Their hands part and the dream-fast ends. OK, what is going on with this dream-fasting business? Is it a too convenient of way to get across a lot of information at once, dare I say a cheat? You could make that case, especially since dream-fasting won’t be mentioned again. Now that it is a part of the movie, though, what can we make of it? In the tie-in graphic novels, we see dream-fasting used a courtship ritual, and it’s done with one Gelfling asking permission of the other first. Because Jen and Kira don’t have much experience with being around their own kind, they can probably be forgiven for not knowing this stuff. But Kira does know dream-fasting, so either the Podlings or her mother taught her about it, but the Mystics, trapped in their peaceful routines, never mentioned it to Jen. In a “bigger picture” sense, think about what dream-fasting means for a society on the whole. When they can open their memories to one another at any time, that means Gelflings have no secrets among each other, they must not lie to each other, and they must be comfortable enough with embarrassing memories not to hide them.
Jen starts sinking father into the mud, and Kira tells him to hold still. Kira calls a song-like command to the water surrounding Jen, and a giant beetle-like creature rises up from under Jen. Kira tells him this is a Nebrie. Learning this is something of a rarity, in that a lot of the background animals throughout the world don’t get their names specified. Kira reintroduces herself, and repeats that they were dream-fasted. Remember that the voiceovers were a late addition to the movie to make it less confusing for audiences, which is why characters sometimes repeat themselves.
Fizzgig reenters the scene, reminding he that he’s the plucky animal sidekick. Kira picks him up and properly introduces him to Jen. Jen reaches to pet Fizzgig, but Fizzgig growls at him. Kira chides him, and Fizzgig looks sad. So, what’s the deal with Fizzgig. First, know that the name is only two syllables, Fizz-gig. Too many people over the years have pronounced it with three syllables, like Fizz-i-gig, but that’s just wrong. We saw earlier that Fizzgig has a second row of teeth in the back of his mouth, helpful for both attacking and chewing, I suppose. Finally, know that Fizzgig is not just his name, but also the name of his species, so it’s like naming your dog “Dog.”
Kira says Jen seems strange to Fizzgig, and Jen shows he has some sense of humor as he says Fizzgig is the one who seems strange. Kira says he’s just nervous and that the Skeksis are always watching. Here we see the first of many instances of her knowing a lot more about the world than he does, as she’s already aware of who the Skeksis are and why they’re a threat. She invites Jen to come with her. As they walk off, there’s a comedy bit where Fizzgig growls at the Nebrie, only to have it roar back at him, scaring Fizzgig off. Then, in a moment of extreme cuteness, two lil’ baby Nebries emerge from the water for some sweet Nebrie parent/child bonding. Remember this moment of cuteness, because it’s about to be destroyed in the next scene.
Next: It’s suppertime!
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