Gelfling are two to three feet tall. Female Gelfling have gossamer wings; males do not. Gelfling can "dreamfast," or share memories through touch.



Gelfling were the people of Thra. Aughra described them as innocent, naive and forgetful. Their society was composed of clans during the Age of Harmony and they created a high civilization of seven great tribes, centered around a palace and a matriarch.

Matriarchal Society

A single queen was known as arbitrator and ritual guardian of all Gelfling clans. The seven clans are known to be:

The Woodland Clan

This clan was a proud and ancient people who dwelled on the fertile lands near Dark Wood. Many Woodland clan Gelfling were valuable guards at the Castle of the Crystal. They were farmers and cobblers and makers of tools. They were inventive, but pastoral; peaceful, but fierce when threatened.

The Spriton Clan

Age-old rivals of the Woodland clan, the Spritons were a warrior race. They were hostile in peacetime, ferocious in combat and perpetually armed to the teeth. According to the Skeksis, drinking their essence provided not just youth, but additional strength.

The Drenchen Clan

The Drenchen clan was a race of amphibious Gelfling who wallowed in the putrid Swamps of Sog. Good at catching lizards; bad at personal hygiene. Fatter and hairier than the rest of their race, the Drenchen were powerful in combat, but generally preferred to avoid exerting effort.

The Vapra Clan

The Vapra clan was a beautiful race with white hair, fair skin, and gossamer-winged women. Experts at camouflage, the Vapra could virtually disappear into their surroundings. Their essence was prized above all by the Skeksis for its restorative effects.

The Grottan Clan

A mysterious, secretive breed who dwelled in perpetual darkness in the Cave of Obscurity. Generations in the shadows left them with an extreme sensitivity to light – and solid black eyes that could see in the dark. Drinking their essence may have improved vision.

The Sifa Clan

Found in coastal villages along the Silver Sea, the Sifa were skilled fisherman and sailors, but very superstitious. Explorers by nature, the Sifa were competent in battle – but they truly excelled at survival, a trait they attributed to the magic charms they carried with them at all times. It is said that one could drop a lone Sifa on a deserted rock in the middle of the ocean, and return a year later to find that he not only survived, but had built a home and started a family. According to the Skeksis, essence of the Sifa was known to aid in longevity.

The Dousan Clan

Difficult to find, the Dousan clan lived in an enormous desert made of tiny crystals (instead of sand) called the Crystal Sea. This clan made their settlements on sandships – amazing constructs of bone and crystal that navigated the sea like ocean vessels. The Gelfling that made a life there are shrouded and unsettlingly quiet, supplementing whispered words with complex gestures. Talking wasted moisture, so the Dousan learned other ways of speaking. They were rarely seen by other Gelfling – their crystalweave cloaks allowed them to vanish into the sparkling sand currents.

Gelfling Gathering

Over time, the Gelfling learned the truth that the Skeksis were draining Gelfling of their essence and drinking it to slow the Skeksis' aging process. In a time known as "The Gelfling Gathering," the Gelfling clans aimed to form a united front to defeat the Skeksis and heal their divided world.

"Before the Darkness, when I placed my hand on the carved rocks, the rocks sang to me and I shared their song with the Gelfling. I watched the Gelfling as they traveled through their lives; I made dwellings in the rocks for their empty bodies, and the rocks will care for them as long as the World remains. But then the Skeksis stole the Gelfling with force and fear. For from the Castle and the darkened Crystal within it there spread out evil like a cloud, power that no longer led to Harmony. The light of the Suns lost its brilliance, the song of the Crystal was deadened. And as one standing in a mist on a mountainside forgets the sunlight, forgets the path and the world and all outside the shifting grayness, so in all creatures that cloud of evil led their hearts to confusion." - Aughra

The Prophecy

The Gelfling sought to know if the Crystal might be healed and if the Skeksis rule must continue. They lit the fires of prophecy and took counsel from the flames. Seven circles of seven Gelfling lay on the hilltops all night; their faces to the stars. Their dreams were made of stone; the Wall of Destiny still stands. There the Gelfling were shown the quest for the lost shard, and they were shown the healing of the Crystal by the hand of a Gelfling, replacing the Shard by the light of a Great Conjunction. And there, too, they were shown the ruin of the Gelfling and the fall of their houses. And the Wall stood for all to see.

When the Skeksis learned of this prophecy, they immediately sought to thwart it. In their madness and paranoia, they created the Garthim soldiers and Crystal Bat spies, dispatching them to hunt down and exterminate the Gelfling. They even manufactured false shards to hinder the Gelfling in their quest to heal the Crystal.

Only two Gelfling, Jen and Kira, are known to have survived the Garthim attacks.

Some Known Gelfling, in Alphabetical Order:

All-Maudra Mayrin

Mayrin, of the Vapra clan, was the All-Maudra (queen) at the beginning of the time known as The Gelfling Gathering.


Leader of the Spriton clan of Gelfling and mother to Thall.


Gurjin was an friend of Rian's and a member of the Drenchen clan. He is the twin brother of Naia, and one of the first Gelfling to uncover the Skeksis’ plan to drain Gelfling essence.


Gyr was a traveler and a minstrel. He wandered the lands of Thra, roaming from tribe to tribe, learning their songs and sharing his own.


Jarra-Jen was a legendary figure in Thra. They say that lightning raged when he was born. As he grew to be a man, lightning was the only force that could match his intensity. He was fearless, curious, and overwhelmingly charming.


Raised by the urRu in their valley, Jen believed he was the last survivor of the Gelfling. But when his dying master sent him on a quest, he discovered he was not alone. The Dark Crystal is the story of the terrors and final triumphs of Jen's quest.


Jul was an ally of Rian's and a member of the Spriton clan.

Katavra of Ha’rar (Tavra)

“Tavra” was a Vapra warrior and daughter of the Gelfling All-Maudra. Tavra was originally sent by her mother to find the Gelfling traitors Rian and Gurjin, but later came to realize the truth of the situation and tried to protect them instead. She was named after a Gelfling of myth who was said to be a friend of Raunip.


Like Jen, Kira survived the attacks of the Garthim on the Gelfling. Rescued by the Pod People, she learned to live in harmony with the woodland creatures who inhabited the swamps and forests surrounding the Podling village. When fate brought Kira and Jen together, she joined him on his quest. They gave each other strength, encouragement, and the will to succeed.


Kylan was a Spriton Song-Teller and friend to Naia of the Drenchen.


Lahr was a shepherd and music maker. He was the first Gelfling to have ever killed a Garthim. He was strong and compassionate, and regarded as brave by the other Gelfling. He has a small, dog-like pet named Whouf, as well as a herd of large Mounders, large apelike creatures that resemble grassy hills with trees growing out of them when they sleep. When his village is destroyed by Garthim, he set out to save others from the same fate. He and Neffi aided villagers in fighting off Garthim attacks, and journeyed to the Castle of the Crystal to free the Gelfling prisoners. Lahr married Neffi.


A Maudra-in-Training of the Drenchen Clan, with the special ability to dreamfast with creatures other than Gelfling. She left her home in the Swamp of Sog in search of her missing twin brother, Gurjin. After traveling all the way to the Castle of the Crystal, Naia was one of the only Gelfling to discover the darkened Crystal and survive to sing the tale.


Neffi was a weaver from the village of Greengrove. She was kind and playful, and loved children. She was also very resourceful and courageous. She and Lahr, both victims of the Garthim Wars, ventured together to warn the other villages of the danger. With Lahr, she aided villagers in fighting off Garthim attacks, and journeyed to the Castle of the Crystal to free the Gelfling prisoners. Neffi married Lahr.


Once a loyal palace guard serving with his father, Rian was a skilled fighter and a member of the Woodland clan. It was Rian who discovered that the Skeksis drained Gelfling for essence.


Daughter of Garn, loves spending her time in the forest. Is the first Gelfling to encounter the urRu UrSu. UrSu, Thall and Raunip help the underground dwelling creatures find their way back underground.

See Also