Monday, June 27, 2011

40 BBY: Jedi Apprentice: The Threat Within

The Threat Within was just terrible. I’m glad the Jedi Apprentice series is not ending with this particular title as I would be highly disappointed.

What upset me most about this book was Qui-Gon’s total lack of judgment and perspective. Putting aside that this story was a re-hashing of the Melida/Daan narrative (and I get Watson made the overt comparison for a reason), I found Qui-Gon’s characterization just plain silly.

After Obi-Wan lays out his infiltration plan to his Master,(this just after revealing to Qui-Gon that Vorzyd 5 is not responsible for the sabotaging of Vorzyd 4’s production) Qui-Gon disagrees with his Padawan’s scheme: “Qui-Gon disagreed. They had not been summoned by the Council to infiltrate the Vorzydiaks. They should simply explain that Vorzyd 5 was not to blame and leave Vorzyd 4 to sort out its own troubles. The Jedi were keepers of the peace, not politicians or spies” (43). This was a wise and prudent assessment of the situation on the part of Qui-Gon here. What is more, Qui-Gon was also aware that should he let this situation continue, there was the potential for the pranks to go too far and for lives to be lost: “’Someone will be hurt just the same,’ Qui-Gon said when he finally spoke. ‘People were almost hurt today’” (70).

Yet, the Master does not want to stop his Padawan’s failing plan, because he wants him to ‘trust his instincts’: “Qui-Gon stood up and paced the room. Wasn’t he constantly telling Obi-Wan to trust his instincts? How could he give the boy such guidance and then never let him act on it? (43). I don ‘t know Qui-Gon, maybe because Obi-Wan’s instincts might be wrong? I also found it terribly ironic that in order to let Obi-Wan trust his instincts, he had to ignore his own: “Qui-Gon nodded. He was not at all certain that he’d made the right decision” (44).

As it turns out, Obi-Wan eventually realized he picked the wrong course of action, but it was too late, people had already died. What is worse, the Master – the teacher and the adult in this situation – should have used his proper judgment and initial “instincts” to realize this was a terrible plan. What is sad about this whole story is that I get the impression that Qui-Gon is mildly upset that lives were lost, but hey, at least his Padawan trusts him and he didn’t have to hurt his feelings, so no biggie.

Man-o-man, Qui-Gon comes off terribly in this story.

Qui-Gon should have taken a page out of the book of Master Dooku, told his apprentice that his plan was needlessly reckless and would ultimately endanger lives, went to the leaders of the planet and explained to them the situation, booked passage for the Jedi Temple and gotten the hell outta there, leaving his Padawan to work out his teenaged angst on the ride home – I think that that’s a more interesting story.

But no, Jedi arrogance got in the way, and since the culture of the Vorzydiaks was not to their liking (they were not demonstrative enough with their emotions for the Jedi) they felt the need to change it for the better. Also, it’s never explained why the Vorzydiaks were so uptight, but really, I didn’t care. I just thought that they were different and that was the way they did things. As it turns out, there was not malevolent force making them emotionally cold. Turns out, that’s just the way they liked doing things – the adults anyway.

Anyway, I’m getting more riled-up as I type. I’m just going leave my dissatisfaction with this story on this internet page and bequeath this narrative to where it is – in the rear-view mirror of the Star Wars Chronology Project.

On a completely unrelated side note, I have an interesting RPG story to share with you all. I run the Star Wars RPG club at my school (which I’ve mentioned before) and I was mulling over some campaign ideas in my head for next year. One of them had to do with the Fairwind, Farfalla’s ship from the Jedi vs. Sith TBP (a spaceship I’ve found endlessly fascinating BTW). I thought it would be cool if the characters were to find a derelict ship, repair it, and start some kind of pirate campaign. Then I got to wondering what the fate of that particular ship may have been, so I e-mailed a few people and asked them, namely Drew Karpyshyn and Draco Macan (writer of the Jedi vs. Sith TBP) and asked them what they thought. I prompted their responses with some ideas I had of my own: was it sitting on the planet Russan rotting away, or polished and on display in some navel museum on Farfalla’s home planet, or somewhere in between?

Interesting, each author went in the opposite direct of the other. Macan thought it would be rotting on the planet’s surface: “I presume that it was left to rot on Ruusan after the final battle sucked all the participants into the thought bomb? God, it was so long ago ...”, and Karpyshyn thought it would be on display in some navel museum: “I like the idea that Farfalla at some point retired it to a museum for its historical significance... seems like the kind of thing he'd do. It's generous, but it also helps bring attention to him and his accomplishments; that seems to fit his character. Of course, this is all very unofficial. Down the road someone at Luca might want to do something with the ship, and I don't have any control over that. Drew”.

Pretty neat. Thanks to the two of them for responding to my question and entertaining my Star Wars notions.

What do you think the fate of the Fairwind may have been?  I'm interested in reading your thoughts.

For my next post I’m going to travel back into Star Wars history, and read, watch, and listen to, new Star Wars sources which have come out in the last few months. My back-tracking will bring me all the way to 5000 BBY and the Great Hyperspace War to examine Bioware’s timeline #12, titled, appropriately, The Great Hyperspace War. From there I’ll make my way to the Lost Tribe of the Sith series by our familiar friend JJM, and then to some pre-Deceived sources before I get to the novel Deceived itself. I’m actually very excited about getting to these sources. So until then my friends, may the Force be with you.


  1. As an official finale to the Jedi Apprentice series (if we don't count specials) this book was very disappointing. That's about everything I can say about it.

    I'm glad that both authors gave you a response, that's always nice. Their different responses can be explained with a notion that in Jedi vs. Sith Farfalla actually died (you can see him getting sucked into the thought bomb) but Drew let him survive in Path of Destruction.

    I'll go with Drew's version, because it's more likely with Farfalla surviving and gives us an interesting notion of the Jedi Master.

    About sources before Deceived, The Third Lesson doesn't yet have a date, but it's clearly set just after Hope trailer and sometime before Deceived (which is 3653 BBY). Some time ago you said that you are uncertain with what to do with cinematical trailers. If you'd like to give your impressions of them when dealing with other pre-Deceived sources, their order is like this:

    Trailer: Return (3681 BBY)
    Trailer: Hope (just before The Third Lesson)
    Short Story: The Third Lesson (before Deceived)
    Trailer: Deceived (during the novel Deceived, 3653 BBY)
    Novel: Deceived (3653 BBY)

    But do as you like, I just like to do lists :)

  2. I don't remember Farfalla being sucked into the thought bomb, but now that you mention it it sounds familiar.

    I'll probably look at all three trailers and give them their own post. Keep posting those lists, I need them :)

  3. Yeah, this book was a lousy way to end the JA series. I barely even remember the story, it was so forgettable.
    Regarding Farfalla, he seems to be shown being sucked into the thought bomb in JvS. However, Karpyshyn has him surviving. When fans complained, Karpyshyn replied that LFL told him their records said he survived, so that's what he went with. As for the ship, I agree with Karpyshyn, he likely would have had it preserved, since he loves to draw attention to himself.

  4. What is the in-universe date of the Hope cinematic?

  5. I'm mildly disappointed at LFL misstep here. You guys are right, at the end of the TBP there's Farfalla being sucked into the bomb. I can’t really blame them as I myself saw past this, but I'm only one dude writing a blog. You'd hope there would be more people at LFL fact checking. I wonder if they turn to the actual sources themselves, or only look at the databank they've created.

    Though I'm glad Farfalla "survived", I'd rather the reality be he hadn't, simply to prevent another crack in continuity.