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The Lich King
250px-The Lich King
Gender: Male
Enemies: Finn, Jake, Princess Bubblegum, Billy
Location: Land of Ooo
Aliases: Billy (possessed)
First Appearance: His Hero
Portrayer: Ron Perlman

The Lich (formerly known as The Lich King) is a necrotic villain in Adventure Time. His first appearance is in "His Hero" during a flashback about the adventures of the great hero Billy. He plays the main villain in "Mortal Folly" and "Mortal Recoil," where he nearly kills Princess Bubblegum. The episode "His Hero" showed that Billy cast him down, and "Mortal Folly" shows that he was ultimately imprisoned in a large glob of amber in the ancient tree that serves as the castle of the Candy Kingdom. After being defeated again in "Mortal Recoil," the Lich apparently continued to inhabit the body of the waving Snail, which appears in every episode. In the episode "The Lich," he posed as Billy to trick Finn into helping him to unlock the true secret of the Enchiridion.

Appearance

His first design had a more flattened, simplified look with larger eyes, upward-pointing horns and a different crown and robe. The design used in the series has a helm with curled horns, one of which has broken off, horrific green lights as pupils peering out of his empty eye sockets, and pale undead skin pulled tight against his noseless skull. His skin is frayed away from his lips revealing a wicked and perpetual grin. His arms are bare bones with various decayed tissues, and his skeletal hands burn with an eerie fire when he casts fire spells. The Lich is also remarkably large. In the flashback in "His Hero," the Lich was shown to be almost as large as Billy. Before the Lich was struck down by Billy, both of his horns are intact, so it is possible that it got broken off sometime during or after the fight. He also has intact horns in Princess Bubblegum's vision.

Abilities

Aside from his immortality, the Lich has a medley of unholy powers, most prominently the flames he generates around his hands that he fires at his opponents. Early on in "Mortal Folly," it was revealed that the Lich has the power to control people's minds, either through telepathy or spoken commands. Later in the episode as he makes his way into his lair he has the power to decay anything he walks on. Moreover, he has the ability to possess other people, as seen in "Mortal Recoil" when he survived by possessing Princess Bubblegum. He also has the ability to fly, and can kill or destroy virtually anything he comes into contact with. When he tried to cross Iceberg Lake, he inadvertently killed all the fish in the lake, and when he fought Finn, he caught Billy's gauntlet bare handed and turned it to dust. He is also able to implement necromancy, as seen when Finn and Jake entered his lair. While the Lich was possessing Princess Bubblegum, he shows powers of pyrokinesis, when he sets her room on fire with his mind.

The Lich sustains his massive strength by drinking from his Well of Power, a noxious, magic pool of glowing green liquid (which after possessing Princess Bubblegum, was substituted with a mixture of toxic chemicals such as gasoline, lighter fluid, bleach, and plutonium). While his power is truly a force to be reckoned with, the Lich has a few known vulnerabilities. His main weakness is the Gauntlet of the Hero Billy, a magical weapon that fires intense energy blasts. This weakness is now moot, as the Lich destroyed Billy's gauntlet with ease when Finn used it as stated above. Another item able to work against the Lich is the sweater Princess Bubblegum gave to Finn. Imbued with the power of "Liking someone a lot," the sweater protected Finn from the Lich's flames, and was later used as a weapon. With it, Finn was able to attack the Lich and reduce his body to dust. However, the sweater doesn't seem to affect the Lich when he's possessing the monster-formed Princess Bubblegum. The Lich is also unable to control a person's mind if they are wearing a certain type of magical jewelry. While generally impervious to physical attack, traditional methods may have some limited effect on the Lich, as seen in the flashback where Billy cast him down with a kick to the face.

Personality

The Lich is rather taciturn and speaks only in brief statements. Because he seldom speaks, his words carry great gravity. In spite of his intractability, he is visibly shocked when Finn survives his fire attack, and he laughs heartily when Finn attacks him with his sweater.He mentions that the Ice King is a weak fool. He has only raised his voice once, when Finn asked the possessed Princess Bubblegum if everything was all right. He also has an apparent disdain for all living things, as Princess Bubblegum said that his only desire was to destroy life.

He is rather cunning, as he is cautious to protect himself from anything that has defeated him in the past, such as Billy's gauntlet and Finn's sweater. As shown in "The Lich" he is highly skilled at deception, as he was able to fool Finn and Jake into helping him while disguised as Billy. At the end of the episode, he tauntingly thanks Finn for opening the portal for him.

Possessed forms

Possessed Princess Bubblegum

When The Lich possesses Princess Bubblegum, she has pale blue/gray skin, dirty bubblegum pink hair, black eyes with green pupils and a frail voice. In "Mortal Recoil" she ask Finn to bring toxic chemicals to her (he didn't know what their purpose was), which she consumes to turn into a giant monster. Finn manages to destroy the monster with the Ice King's help, and the Candy Kingdom's doctors manage to save the uncorrupted parts of Princess Bubblegum, transforming her into her younger form.

Possessed Waving Snail

The Snail is used by the Lich in "Mortal Folly" to free himself from his amber prison. The Lich does so by taking control of Snail's mind and making him/her break open the prison. After the events of "Mortal Recoil" the Lich returns to the Snail's body. As of season 3, the Snail has continued to appear in every episode, now in possessed form. In "In Your Footsteps," the bear gives the possessed snail the Enchiridion. The Lich is no longer possessing the Snail.

Possessed Billy

The Lich possesses Billy in most of the episode "The Lich," and tricks Finn into giving him the secrets of the Enchiridion. The events surrounding this are unknown.

Original pitch document

He was first alluded to in the early series pitch, and was the only other character described in those documents in addition to the main six (Finn, Jake, Princess Bubblegum, Lady Rainicorn, Ice King and Marceline.) The pitch document states in all caps, "THE LICH KING IS NOT FUNNY," and states that The Lich had been imprisoned within his castle (although this was later contradicted in "Mortal Folly.") According to the pitch document, he uses a legion of undead skeletal knights to aid in his battles.

Quotes

See The Lich (character)/Quotes

Trivia

  • The Lich is still referred to by his old name, Lich King, in various official episode summaries and clip descriptions on Cartoon Network's site, indicating that the name change may have been done very late in production.
  • The original name, Lich King, was only changed because this name already belonged to a World Of Warcraft character, and Frederator Studios was afraid that they would be sued.
  • In fantasy fiction, a lich is a powerful magician who has transformed himself into an undead creature to achieve immortality.
  • The Lich is the first world threat that Finn and Jake have dealt with, the second being Flame Princess.
  • The Lich was redesigned at least once; the creators felt that his original design wasn't scary enough.
    • The Lich's final design is similar to that of the Horned King from the Disney film The Black Cauldron, which is an adaptation of the novel The Book of Three.
    • On CartoonNetwork.com, you can set your profile picture as the original Lich.
  • Pendleton Ward originally wanted to cast Tom Waits as the Lich.
  • In "King Worm," he makes his second normal body. He is also seen, as the snail, at the end of the episode behind Finn after defeating King Worm.
  • In France/Belgium, there was a translation problem with Lich King's name. During his appearance in "His Hero," he is called "Le Roi sangsue," which translates to "Leech King."