#writing #music: #DarkCrystal by @DANIELPEMBERTON

Good morning, all, from a wintry Wisconsin! At long last, snow’s found my corner of the Midwest. Biff, Bash, and Blondie had a blast sledding upon our wee hill. It’s the sort of blizzardy day that encourages one to tuck into a blanket and a book–not that I can, with my pile of student projects requiring grades and the kids now planning to convert the house into one giant Gotham City/Sodor hybrid because I was fool enough to leave those old toys out. Still, isn’t it a lovely thought to just wile away the day with a cozy mystery? Or, perhaps an epic adventure into the Elsewhere…

Dark Crystal is a film I’ve only watched a handful of times, and yet I can still remember the awe of my first encounter. Everything glowed, moved, lived. I knew these were puppets, and yet they felt real to me, so real that their torture under the Skeksis scared the pants off of me. Heck, I still have the occasional nightmare about that chair.


Dark Crystal is also one of the few creations by Jim Henson Disney doesn’t own, which is why Netflix was able to produce its own prequel series. I’ll be the first to admit I was skeptical, but the music alone has won me over.

To the lovers of fantasy, the lovers of adventure: here is a theme to call you over that threshold for a hero’s journey.

Oh, Daniel Pemberton, you do not disappoint. The mix of zither and medieval instruments atop a foundation of strings inspire the feeling of a dirt track beneath leather boots, of dusty wind whipping rain-washed hair. We close our eyes to a sun first rising over old forests and older mountains, the road lost in a valley of thorns and uncertainty.

I’m such a sucker for the medieval flair in this score. The feel of history, I think, and the simplicity in its emotional expression.

The score to Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance doesn’t just count on the medieval flavor, however. The moments of synthesized melodies seems to hearken back to the 80s while also remaining distinctly…distinctly itself. “Unnatural” would be my description, an antithesis for the skin drumheads and soft flutes of before. The result unsettles the imagination, cracking it as a clawed foot cracks the ice.

When winter turns our real world bleak with cold, music like Pemberton’s reminds us there’s magic both frightening and fragile beyond the snow. We’ve only to turn our writing eyes inward, and watch music awaken Story’s Landscape.

That, and there’s nothing quite so lovely as a fluttering solo violin. πŸ™‚

Someday, I hope to see the story actually paired with Pemberton’s music (Yes, I’m one of thooose people who has no streaming service of any kind.) Until then, I’m thrilled Pemberton’s found a way to bring the music of Henson’s original story together with his own, just as the writers of Age of Resistance found a way to create a new story in Henson’s universe.

May your own stories, whether unique to you or inspired by others, contain such magic as to enchant your readers and leave them breathless in a land of hope and shadows.


I’m keen to get back into my Star Wars series by studying some plot holes in The Force Awakens and how those holes affect the strength of the trilogy overall. I’ve also got some FANTASTIC interviews lined up, with the first to be posted in the next few weeks. Blondie’s also been pestering me to write on here, too, so you may be hearing from her soon. xxxxxx

Read on, share on, and write on, my friends!

34 thoughts on “#writing #music: #DarkCrystal by @DANIELPEMBERTON

  1. Afternoon Oh Great One. Not snowed yet this winter. We e just had to do the occasional mud slide. Really hope you got out for a while and enjoyed it as well. I seem strangely emasculated reading this. I’ve not seen The Dark Crystal yet. But I’m sure the composer did Into The Spider-verse – which was great work .Look after yourself. We can do this….. x

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hmmm–you know, I think Pemberton did! But of course the CD was all just artists and their songs and not an actual score. Very bummed about that.

      Honestly, I’m not sure your son will like the film–it’s not nearly as light-hearted as Labyrinth. But it’s such an achievement to me, it is worth trying.
      Uff, we will succeed, for we must! xxxxx

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Beautiful music, and so evocative — thanks for sharing! I, too, remember being shocked by the torture scene in the original Dark Crystal. I watched it again recently and I think it was even *worse* to watch as an adult! But wow, what a great movie. I hadn’t heard of this new Netflix series; interesting. I don’t have Netflix either, hmm. Well, add it to the long list of TV shows I’m missing that I hope to someday, somehow watch.

    Liked by 2 people

    • lol that’s how I feel about the streaming series stuff. There’s two so far I’d like to see–The Boys, and Dark Crystal. I think Bo wants to see the Star Wars series The Mandalorian. Hopefully they eventually put them on disk.
      I don’t remember the original score being all that memorable, but Pemberton’s got me HOOKED. Best of all–there’s a volume 2!!!!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I want this soundtrack! Lovely- thanks for sharing.
    They’re talking potential snow here this week so the PNW folks are caught between concern and skepticism (except the school kids, who are just hopeful… πŸ˜‰)

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Ooo… this has given me goosebumps – and not because of being cold, as I do have central heating… Thank you so much for sharing and I hope the children are enjoying the snow. Do you like snow? Or hate it?

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Do I detect a weather fest within the comments? I do, methinks. I’d like a drop of snow if you can manage to aim some this way. Save for Christmas day when the sun appeared its rained and rained day after day since mid November. Off to get the Artic raincoat. Best wishes, young Ms Lee. Regards, The Soaking Old Fool

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Ugh, snow, hate it!!! 7 hours to drive home 50 miles one day in winter 2009-10 before we left the UK. Today here though, it’s a super-hot 95F on the garden thermometer and that’s in the shade. It is summer, of course.
    What fantastic music though. I shall look out for The Dark Crystal – another good film I seem to have missed.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Snow sounds like fun, but that may be because we have Storm Brendon moving in, with high winds and more rain… just when we were beginning to hope the ground was draining…

    An interesting post, Jean. I haven’t seen The Dark Crystal for years, but as you suggest, there are scenes that embedded in my memory. The music certainly brings some of them back.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Totally missing out on the snow here in blah Central PA. It’s been as high as 61 degrees in the last week! I miss the snow and normal winter weather. I do love your writing, though, and as I’ve just finished Night Tooth I’ll be leaving a comment on Amazon sometime soon here. Can’t wait to see how this ties into the next Princeborn. xo

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Pingback: #writing #music: @maxrichtermusic | Jean Lee's World

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