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Villain Overview

Strongest of all for brute force -after the Emperor- was skekUng the Garthim-Master. Torment was his pleasure, though his urSkeks original had been a healer and continued so in his urRu form. Hidden in that tall, shining urSkeks was one who, ages later, could find pleasure in tearing apart the gentle Gelfling.
~ The World of the Dark Crystal.

SkekUng is the general of the Skeksis and one of the two main antagonists in The Dark Crystal (The other being SkekSil). He commands the Garthim which fight and hunt for the decadent Skeksis, so he is better known as the Garthim-Master. SkekUng's alter ego amongst the gentle and wise Mystics is UrIm the Healer.

He was performed by Dave Goelz, with Michael Kilgarriff providing his voice.

Appearance

SkekUng wears a dark blue robe with a small red-filled collar bearing a jewel on top and black lamellar armour rimmed with gold edges. He also wears a bone necklace with a large thin stone charm. According to the film's novelization, SkekUng was said to have spurs behind his heel; this is apparently evident whenever he is walking in the movie, as sounds of clanking metal can be heard.

Personality

SkekUng is a stern, heartless, manipulative and sneering presence, a natural leader who values anger and brute strength. SkekUng is also shown to be loud whenever he's angry or annoyed, especially with the Chamberlain SkekSil's constant whimpering.

Biography

The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance

While SkekUng did not make an appearance in the first season of the prequel, he was mentioned by SkekZok on the idea of bringing the other Skeksis who were absent for help in battling against the Gelfling. The Ritual Master opinionated that SkekUng is a “strong warrior”, which is true to the nature of the latter. He is later made the new General after the death of SkekVar and led the Garthim as they massacred the majority of the Gelflings.

The Dark Crystal

SkekUng was the Skeksis General (sometimes called the Garthim Master). He was the strongest and most violent of the Skeksis since their creation. He created the Garthim and used them as his soldiers to enforce the Emperor's will throughout Thra.

When the Emperor took ill days before the Great Conjunction, the General plotted to usurp the throne. His one and only challenger was the Chamberlain. The Chamberlain challenged him to Trial by Stone, a contest the General won using his tremendous strength. As his first official act as emperor, he banished the Chamberlain.

The General-Emperor's reign would last mere days. He grew increasingly impatient with the Scientist's inability to extract viable life essence from captured Podlings, and, when the former Chamberlain captured Kira, an act for which the General rewarded him with his old position back, the Scientist listed to SkekUng that they should drain Kira's essence. The High Priest insisted they kill her instead. The General compromised: they would drain Kira's essence, and then kill her.

After sending the Scientist away with Kira, the General convened the Skeksis in their temple to await the Great Conjunction. In the meantime, Kira escaped and the Scientist was killed. The Skeksis' were never able to successfully attain immortality from the Conjunction, both because Jen restored the shard to the Dark Crystal, restoring it, and also because the Mystics appeared.

When the light from Thra's three suns shone through the Crystal of Truth, the Skeksis and the Mystics combined once more into their original, natural states. The General was combined with his Mystic counterpart to form the UrSkek UngIm.

The Power of the Dark Crystal

SkekUng, still remaining as emperor, returns along with the other Skeksis in the non-canon sequel series. After the Skeksis returned in a thousand trine, the Emperor held SkekSil responsible for their imprisonment and then have him banished again, with the Ritual Master summoning the Crystal Bats to make the Chamberlain leave.

Quotes

(SkekSil: Hmmm... Trial by stone?) Trial BY STONE!!
~ SkekUng declaring the challenge.
Find that Gelfling NOW!!
~ SkekUng
(SkekTek: But sire, you could drink the essence.) (SkekZok: Because of the prophecy, we must kill the Gelfling!) No! First we take her essence, then kill!
~ SkekUng agreeing first to SkekTek's proposition and then to SkekZok's.
As for the whimpering Chamberlain, return his robes to him.
~ SkekUng reinstating SkekSil to the latter's position as chamberlain.
[seeing the crystal shard] The shard! [starts going towards the object] The shard is mine!
~ SkekUng as he attempts to take the crystal shard, shortly before Fizzgig bites his hand.

Trivia

  • In the pre-production notes for the film, SkekUng is "identified by the sound of his spurs striking on the castle floors and his complete lack of subtlety. The Garthim-Master enjoys tearing apart soft Gelflings for sport".
  • Unused concept art for SkekUng implies that he was originally intended to appear in The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance, but was scrapped for unknown reasons and was instead only mentioned, as his predecessor SkekVar took his place as the first General.
    • In addition, old and new fans initially mistake the latter for SkekUng due to the two Skeksis sharing the mantle of general and nearly having similar appearances.

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The Dark Crystal (1982)
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