A Lethargian from the film.
|Level||Neutral (Novel). Villains (Movie)|
|Status||Alive (Novel). Unknown (Movie)|
Lethargarians are a race of irresponsible, lazy, and slimy little creatures that have the ability to divide and multiply themselves. They live deep in the Doldrums, a terrible swamp of laziness and dread. They sit around sleeping every full day and they have a law which includes no thinking or laughing allowed and smiling only permitted on alternate Thursdays. This law is called Local Ordinance 175389-J and Local Ordinance 574381-W. They also have a law against
They also believe that thinking, reasoning, meditating, presuming, and spectulating are unethical.
Lethargarians' Schedule[edit | edit source]
8 AM: eat
8 through 9:feat
9 through 9:30: dream
9:30 through 10:30: Dawdle and Delay
10:30 through 11:30: Take late early morning nap
11:30 through 12: Bide time and then eat lunch
1 PM to 2 PM: Linger and Loiter
2 through 2:30: Take early afternoon nap
2:30 to 3:30: Put off for tomorrow of what could've been done today
3:30 to 4: Take Early Late Afternoon nap
4 to 5: Loaf and Lounge until Dayley Evening Nap
8 to 9: Waste Time
9: Go to Sleep
Personalities[edit | edit source]
The Lethargians are lazy, sleepy, lethargic and irresponsible creatures who prefer to do nothing all day. They can get upset whenever someone uses the word "Think", laugh or question their ways.
In the movie, the Lethargians are given a villainous role as they sing Milo to sleep to prevent him from leaving and try and chase him and Tock down as they try to escape the Doldrums.
Appearance[edit | edit source]
In the original book, the Lethargians are portrayed as small grey human-like creatures who turn change color depending on the color of the surface like a chameleon.
In the 1970 Chuck Jones movie, the Lethargians appear as small, light yellow-green, slimy creatures that are almost see-through with three fingers on each hand, three toes on each foot, big noses, yellow lazy eyes with bags underneath, skinny arms and legs and strokes of hair sticking from the top of their heads.
Book[edit | edit source]
While driving down the roads of the Kingdom of Wisdom, Milo fails to pay attention and ends up in the Doldrums where his car comes to a stop. When Milo observes his surroundings wondering where he is, he receives his answer from a voice that he is in the Doldrums and then notices a Lethargian on his shoulder taking him by surprise before noticing dozens of them sitting on his car and around the Doldrums.
Milo (Unsure how to feel) asks the Lethargians for help only for them to react suddenly to him saying "Think" and demand him not to repeat it and explain to him that thinking is forbidden in the Doldrums.
When Milo pulls out a rule book from his pocket, he learns that it is against the law to think and those who do would be severely punished. When Milo objects to the rule saying that everyone thinks, the Lethargians shout their response by telling him that they don't and most of her time he doesn't and that he wasn't paying attention which is what led him into getting stuck in the Doldrums.
When Milo laughs at a Lethargian's mishap, they are quick to demand him not to laugh as it is also forbidden before proceeding to explain their ways.
Afterwards, the Lethargians offer Milo to stay and join them to which the boy accepts as he doesn't seem to be going anywhere and proceeds to rest with them. Milo then asks them if anyone else does nothing, the Lethargians answer that the "Terrible Watchdog" doesn't referring to him as an unpleasant character.
At that moment, the Watchdog arrives in the swamp barking furiously and scaring away the Lethargians and soon afterwards Milo and encourages him to think and not waste any time in the Doldrums and soon both Milo and Tock leave the Doldrums.
Afterwards, the Lethargians are never seen again for the rest of the novel.
Movie[edit | edit source]
In the 1970 Chuck Jones live-action/animated adaption, the Lethargians are portrayed as small, light yellow-green and slimy creatures who have the ability to melt, multiply and merge with each other. They also seem to be indestructible as when they are swatted by the Car's wiper. While the Lethargians are faithful to their roles in the book, they are portrayed as mischievous and sinister creatures who do everything they can to prevent anyone from leaving the Doldrums to make them one of them.
In the movie, after Milo's encounter with the Whether Man, he proceeds on his way on his journey and as he drives down the long stretch of road leading to Dictionopolis. Milo becomes tired and proceeds to lay back in his car taking advantage of travelling through the Tollbooth and proceeds to falls asleep at the and as his car approaches a fork in the road, he accidentally drives his car down the wrong road and into the Doldrums where his car soon becomes stuck in the slime and melts slightly (Possibly effected by Milo's lack of thinking). When Milo wakes up wondering where he is, he gets his answer from a Lethargian who falls onto his head and welcomes him to the Doldrums and introduces the Lethargians to Milo while demonstrating its ability to melt and multiply.
When Milo asks for their help, thinking he is lost, the Lethargians suddenly react to the word "Think" and tell Milo not to say it as it's against the law to think in the Doldrums which to Milo sounds ridiculous as everybody thinks. The Lethargians explain to Milo that they don't and that most of the time he doesn't and tell him that he wasn't thinking nor paying attention which is how he got stuck in the Doldrums as most people who don't pay attention often get stuck in the Doldrums.
The Lethargians proceed to demand to Milo that he stop laughing is also against the law and adding that smiling is also permitted on "Alternate Thursdays". When Milo asks "If you can't laugh, or think, what can you do in the Doldrums?" a Lethargian answers by singing "Don't Say There's Nothing to Do in the Doldrums" where the Lethargians of the Doldrums soon sing along to while explaining their ways to Milo who becomes tired and sleepy from the song that he eventually decides that the Lethargians lead a "Rich productive life" and proceeds to sing along with the Lethargians unaware of the Lethargians showing their devious grins as their true nature is revealed.
Seeing Milo adjust to their ways, the Lethargians grin and cackle as one of them force the indecision gauge of Milo's car from "Going?" to "Staying" possibly to prevent Milo from leaving.
As Milo sleepily waves the Lethargians towards him, the Lethargians in the swamp all seize the opportunity as the slime proceeds to swarm Milo's car, engulfing it as it melts more with Milo finishing the song with the Lethargians as he falls into a deep slumber.
However, seconds later, Tock arrives and scares away the Lethargians who leave the sleeping Milo in the progress. As Tock scares off the Lethargians, they scatter to their hiding places. Tock having found Milo, learns that he is killing time and tries to convince the boy not to spend the rest of his life in the Doldrums and tries to get him to leave. Unfortunately, Milo sleepily refuses having adjusted to the Lethargians' ways wanting to sleep.
Seeing Tock trying to help Milo, the Lethargians emerge from their hiding places and with angry looks proceed to creep their way towards the two. Noticing this, Tock tries once again to convince Milo to start thinking to no avail as Milo sleepily insists that he would rather not do anything. Tock explains that the Lethargians don't want Milo to do anything such as eating or breathing. Upon hearing this, Milo comes to his senses as Tock helps Milo with his escape getting him to think all sorts of things like "Birds that swim and fish that fly". As Milo does this, his thought manages to get the car out of its melted shape and start its engine.
By then, the Lethargians proceed to crawl faster and faster determined to stop Milo and Tock from escaping until they form giant tidal waves. Luckily Milo's car gains enough power as both he and Tock jump a ravine out of the Doldrums as the unfortunate Lethargians fall into a cliff while trying to capture them.
It is unknown what became of the Lethargians after that. It can be assumed they survived as Milo asks Tock if it is alright to leave the Lethargians alone.
Relationships[edit | edit source]
Milo[edit | edit source]
When the Lethargians meet Milo, they welcome him to their home. However, they did get snappy at Milo for questioning their ways, laughing and using the word "Think" which the Lethargians didn't like as they preferred not to do anything. Since Milo was always bored with life, he soon adjusted to the Lethargians ways after they offered him to stay for a while.
In the movie, the Lethargians welcome Milo into the Doldrums and explain their ways to him while demonstrating their melting, merging and multiplying abilities. When Milo asks what they do in the Doldrums since they don't laugh or think which results them to sing their song to Milo causing him to become sleepy and sing along with them, unaware of their true nature as the Lethargians seize the opportunity to engulf his car in their slime and prevent him from leaving so they can stop him from doing anything, even eating and breathing.
In the movie, it is unknown what the Lethargians would've planned to do with Milo. It can be assumed that they had planned to make him one of them.
Tock[edit | edit source]
The Lethargians are terrified of Tock who they call "The Terrible Watchdog" as he is always barking at them and chasing them away.
In the movie, the relationship between Tock and the Lethargians are still the same, however, when Tock tries to help Milo escape, the Lethargians show more courage as they prepare to chase after the two.
Trivia[edit | edit source]
- Thurl Ravenscroft, the former voice of Lethargians, Captain from 101 Dalmatians and the Kirby from The Brave Little Toaster trilogy.
- In the film, the scene featuring the Local Ordinance is adapted out.
- The Lethargians in the 1970 movie share some similarities with Kaa the Python from Walt Disney's The Jungle Book. Both characters where featured in books that where adapted into movies where they received villainous roles. Another similarity is that they sing a song to the main hero to make him fall asleep, in Kaa's case its the song "Trust in Me" where he hypnotizes Mowgli while singing to him about trusting him so he can eat him, while in the Lethargians' case its "Don't Say There's Nothing to do in the Doldrums" where they sing about their ways while lulling Milo to sleep.