Sarkoja, as portrayed by David Burton
|Title||Retainer of Tal Hajus|
When John Carter arrived on Barsoom Sarkoja was over 900 years old, she'd seen countless Jeds and Jeddaks ascend and be assassinated, and the instability and hardships made her angry and bitter. She survived primarily by positioning herself as a guardian of Thark morals among the women.
In 1826, a rumor spread throughout Thark that one of the young officers had borne a child by a woman in the retinue of Jeddak Tal Hajus. Sarkoja tracked down the woman, Gozava, and had her brought before the Jeddak for torture and interrogation, hoping to learn the name of her lover. Gozava never gave up the name, and eventually died from her harsh treatment. The child, Sola, grew up hidden among a litter of young Tharks, with no one ever wondering about her parentage. Sarkoja, meanwhile, was given an unspecified position of authority, from which she frequently abused the young Sola, though whether or not she knew Sola was Gozava's daughter was unknown.
Forty years later, Sarkoja was given a new prisoner to abuse when the Tharks captured Dejah Thoris, the Princess of Helium. She delighted in hurting the Red Martian beauty, quitting only after John Carter threatened her with death. Humiliated by Carter's threat, she enlisted a dim young warrior named Zad to kill the Earthman. During the ensuing fight, she shined a mirror in Carter's eyes to blind him, but was foiled by Sola. Later that night, Sola told Carter her story, how she was born and how Sarkoja was responsible for her mother's death. She then revealed the name of her father - the Jed Tars Tarkas.
Sometime later, Carter told Tars Tarkus that Sola was his daughter, who he'd long thought killed. Only days before, Tal Hajus had tried to rape Sola, and thus Tars Tarkas was mad for revenge. But first he stopped to see Sarkoja. He told her that the officer whose name she had tried to wrench from Gozava's lips had heard of her foul deeds and was planning to strap her to a wild thoat, and suggested that she save herself by taking her final voyage down the River Iss (in effect, committing suicide) instead. That night, Sarkoja vanished and was never seen again.
Sarkoja is a typical female Green Martian in many respects, though her cruelty, jealousy and sadism are remarkable even for that heartless people. She hates Sola in particular, but she is cruel to any living creature that cannot defend itself from her. She takes her immunity from assault by males for granted, it seems, as she is outraged that John Carter would threaten her life.
Sarkoja is a female Thark guard who despises the weak and disobedient Sola more than anything. She also appears to be in the close counsel of Tal Hajus, as she supports him when he challenges Tars Tarkas. It is she who delights in branding Sola with a mark of shame after the young Thark gives John Carter the water which grants him the Voice of Barsoom, able to speak and understand the Martian language. She is the one who discovers Carter, Dejah Thoris, and Sola trespassing into the Temple of Iss. After the banishment of the three, she follows Tal Hajus as the Thark warrior challenges Tars Tarkas. She is angered when she sees Carter and Sola returning to Thark. When Carter and Tars Tarkas are sent into the arena, she keeps Sola prisoner. During the battle, Sola's outcry reveals that Tars Tarkas is the girl's father. Sarkoja takes great pleasure in restraining Sola, forcing her to watch her father's demise. Sola becomes enraged, grabbing hold of Sarkoja, and flinging them both into the arena. Sarkoja barely has time to scream before a white ape picks her up and rips her in half.