The Kid Who Loved The Dark – Gmork

The other day, I was reflecting on my favourite childhood films, and my favourite scenes and characters from said films. I made a list and it didn’t come as a surprise to find it was terror packed. It was always the unnerving elements that delighted me most of all.

All of the films on my list, mar two, happened to be adapted from books I still cherish today, which includes The Neverending Story by Michael Ende. (It’s due for a re-read actually.) Today’s entry is going to be about Gmork – or ‘that fucking scary wolf’ as quoted on Urban Dictionary – my second favourite character from the Neverending Story. (My very favourite was lost in the Swamp Of Sadness. RIP Artax, we all love you.)

I am the servant of the power behind the Nothing. I was sent to kill the only one who could have stopped the Nothing. I lost him in the Swamps of Sadness. His name… was Atreyu.

Gmork
I used to rewind and re-watch this scene over and over and over. It drove my siblings to despair.

When I started listing the characters I wanted to talk to you about, Gmork was an easy first. I can’t remember how old I was when I first watched The Neverending Story (it’s a bit worrying how so much of my memory is going hazy…) but it left me changed.

I can remember random details from the film though. Like, at the beginning when Bastian’s dad cracked an egg into a glass of orange juice and drank it up. I wanted to try that for myself, just for the heck of it. I can also remember the handle on the door to the school attic where Bastian went to read The Neverending Story, and how different it was to English door handles. I was so intrigued by that. But the thing I remember most vividly, the scene I’d keep wanting to go back to, was when Atreyu met Gmork, a servant of The Nothing.

I was petrified and simultaneously enthralled by this sinister-as-hell monster. Little me was spellbound and scared shitless by those fangs – they’re something else, aren’t they – those faintly glowing, catlike eyes and deeply ominous voice. Even now, I get a satisfying little shiver when I watch his encounter with Atreyu.

Poster design by John Brute

Something I hadn’t considered before – but which I really should have, shame on me – is Gmork being tied up with chains (his punishment for failing to find Atreyu) is reminiscent to Fenrir Wolf in Norse Mythology. I think I’m going to do a little bit of digging into Ende’s inspiration for the character. Also, for anyone who’s interested, there’s a Black/Death band from Russia called Gmork. The cover of their 2006 demo is quite special.

What I Listened To While Writing This Post

Well, I had to, didn’t I.

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