|“||Step into my lair, said the dreth to the chorkant...||„|
|~ Ellimist, welcoming a challenger to his game|
The Ellimist is a recurring character in the late 90s book series Animorphs and the main character of the novel The Ellimist Chronicles. A mysterious and seemingly all-powerful trickster renowned in Andalite mythology, he appears throughout the series as both an obstacle and a backer to the main characters, challenging them with confusing scenarios while also secretly rewarding them with information, powers and resources that they need - all while maintaining a strict policy of non-interference.
His motives remain unknown for most of the storyline, and often remain highly suspect in the eyes of the Animorphs, particularly given his habit of keeping them deliberately uninformed. However, it is eventually established that he is trying to outwit the entity known as Crayak, another seemingly-omnipotent being determined to wipe out all life in the galaxy except for his chosen race of worshipers. In order to stymie the all-powerful menace, the Ellimist has elected to use the Animorphs as his representative in their endless game against one another, pitting them against opponents that Crayak has decided to support. However, the Ellimist's true origins and the full extent of his goals are not revealed until The Ellimist Chronicles...
In the much-maligned television adaptation of the series, he was played by Peter Messaline.
|“||<Don't be a fool.That's not his body. He has no body. He is ... everywhere at once. Inside your head. Inside this planet. Inside the fabric of space and time. >||„|
|~ Ax in book #7: The Stranger|
As The Ellimist Chronicles reveals, the Ellimist was originally a typical Ketran: sporting four wings, two arms, four eyes, and two pod-like feet - along with talons that would allow him to dock at his home crystal. Overall, he had little to distinguish him until he began building his first synthetic body: this form, a vast crystal spaceship built to house his developing consciousness and the memories he had stolen from Father, was one of the most advanced ships built in the galaxy at the time of its manufacture. For a while, the Ellimist's now-ancient original Ketran body is still visible within the ship, inextricably interwoven with shipboard mechanisms. Eventually, he upgrades to an entire fleet of ships, spreading his consciousness across the flotilla as a whole until his original body becomes irrelevant. Beginning with a fleet of three dozen, by the end of his time as a corporeal being, he had increased his fleet's numbers to four thousand two hundred and twenty ships.
For good measure, it's also revealed that the Ellimist also briefly incorporated his consciousness into a secondary body during a visit to the Andalite homeworld, during which he appeared to be nothing more than an ordinary Andalite - an impression he encouraged until he finally abandoned the body and left the planet.
Powers And Abilities
|“||Marco looked more abashed than proud. The smart remark had just popped out of him. I don't think he'd consciously planned to poke fun at a being who could not only annihilate Marco, but all memory of him, his family, and his ancestors, going back through a thousand generations.||„|
|~ Jake, upon witnessing Marco cracking wise around the Ellimist in book #26 The Attack|
Though stopping time remains his favorite trick, the Ellimist also demonstrates numerous other impossible powers over the course of the series: he can apparently read thoughts, restore a Nothlit's ability to morph, create areas and landmasses psychically protected from detection by unfriendly sensors, teleport groups across entire galaxies, alter history while preserving the results of actions performed in the original timeline, manipulate disparate groups of individuals to join together through imperceptible means, create temporal anomalies that can cause unwanted alterations to history to become unstable, pause a living being at the moment of his or her death, and even predict possible futures by reading the threads of space-time - allowing him a considerable degree of omniscience.
However, the Ellimist freely admits that there are limits to his abilities: though unimaginably powerful by the standards of most sentient life-forms, he is not truly omnipotent - and there are supposedly beings in distant galaxies that can overpower even him. Likewise, he cannot use the full scope of his abilities against Crayak, lest the ensuing melee between them destroy the entire universe and take them with it.
As The Ellimist Chronicles reveals, the Ellimist also possesses the memories and combined intellects of every individual ensnared by Father during "his" lifespan, allowing him a vast database of knowledge to work from. Combined with his own impressive intellect, this made him a deadly opponent even before he gained power over time and space, especially once he upgraded his initial starship body into an entire fleet.
|“||Who is to say who is piece and who is player? How often had I wondered whether I myself was just a game piece in a still larger game whose players laughed at my pretensions?||„|
|~ The Ellimist reflecting on his role in events|
Even during his early days as a simple Ketran gamer, Ellimist was an idealist: in gaming challenges, he would always choose the most moral development path, steering his chosen civilization towards more benevolent courses of action and away from paths that could lead to war and genocide. Though he was often beaten by players who chose to use more underhanded tactics, he stubbornly refused to change his ways and continued upholding his more righteous style of play. As a result, his friend and neighbor Lackofa dubbed him a "brilliant loser." This, along with his intelligence and creativity, was one of the few character traits from his first life that was to survive his eventual metamorphosis.
As is made abundantly clear, the Ellimist is also secretly quite lonely: as the last of the Ketrans, he has nobody left from his old life except for the collected memories he downloaded from father, and as one of the few godlike beings active within the galaxy, he has nobody he can relate to except for Crayak - who wants to kill him. Indeed, his initial impetus towards the role of galactic do-gooder was simple loneliness, a desire to make himself a part of things after years of isolation. Later, demoralized by his fight against Crayak, the Ellimist goes so far as to create a second body and live among the primitive Andalites in a desperate attempt to escape the sense of solitude - even going so far as to marry and start a family. It's perhaps telling that, when the two realize they cannot fight directly without annihilating the universe, Ellimist offers Crayak the opportunity to simply watch the course of evolution with him - perhaps genuinely hoping that he'd accept the offer. And though he remains distant from the Animorphs for most of the series, he ultimately chooses to unburden himself to Rachel, letting her know that despite all his otherworldly powers, he started out as a child with adult responsibilities thrust upon him - just like her.
In the present, the Ellimist readily plays the role of the trickster: though he rarely lies maliciously, he is unafraid to make use of elaborate fictions, cover-ups, pretexts, lies of omission and out-and-out falsehoods in order to motivate his allies. In his first appearance, he claims to be creating a sanctuary world for humanity and trying to convince the Animorphs to spend their lives there - when in reality, he's secretly trying to give them clues that will allow them to achieve a major victory against the Yeerks. In another book, he claims that he will make Tobias human again, but instead restores his power to morph and allows him to acquire his past self's DNA. Though he reveals his game against Crayak in The Attack, he does not explain why the Iskoort are so important or what might happen if the Animorphs succeed in this battle. Even his initial claims concerning his true nature are often lies: at several points, he claims to be a Ellimist - as if he were a species - even referring to himself as "I" and "we" interchangeably (though given that he holds the memories of the entire Ketran race and previously existed as a hive-minded fleet, this isn't necessarily a total lie). And in the end, the only Animorph to learn the truth about him is Rachel, who the Ellimist believed deserved answers in her dying moments.
- Out of all the characters that appear in the series, the Ellimist is likely one of the oldest and most powerful, having possibly reached an even greater age than Father had at the time of his death.