A race of gentle “earth-people” native to Thra and affiliated with the Gelflings. They are called so because they tend all things that grow, above all the giant Pod plants in whose vast seed-pods they made their villages. The Podlings are dwarf-like in stature yet with very rounded, circular-shaped, bulbous heads and small round eyes. They have a love of music and parties. In tune with nature, they can speak to animals and beasts and teach the female Gelfling Kira this trait. One of the most important Podlings is Ydra, the adoptive mother of Kira.
Many of the Podlings have been either killed, or have been kidnapped by the Skeksis by whom they are used as slaves. The Skeksis rejuvenate their decaying bodies by draining vitality from the Podlings, and have kept themselves alive for a thousand years by doing so, although it does not stop the constant deterioration. This process reduces the Podlings to weakened and zombie-like states which also helps the Skeksis use them as slaves. The Podling slaves of the Skeksis appear withered, and their hair has turned white or fallen away. At the end of the film, the Podlings regain most of their youth and knowledge. According to The World of The Dark Crystal by Brian Froud, many Podlings were lured to the Castle of the Crystal by the Skeksis.
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