Sunday, September 20, 2009

3998 BBY - 3996 BBY: Dark Lords of the Sith Audio Drama

I’m finding that audio dramas are highly entertaining. I really enjoyed the first one I listened to, which was the Tales of the Jedi series. Likewise, I enjoyed the Dark Lords of the Sith audio drama. They’re only 2 hours in length, and I listen to them whenever I’m able to catch a little downtime.

What I found most remarkable about the Dark Lords of the Sith audio drama was how little it deviated from the original story. In the Tales of the Jedi audio drama, there were many deviations from the original comic, all of them welcome because they added depth and detail to the story. Here, very little was added, except some minor pieces of dialogue. Like the last Star Wars audio drama I listened too, this one had strong voice actors, and typical Star Wars sound effects which were lifted straight from the movie soundtrack which made the listening experience very entertaining.

Since very little was added in the way of detail in this particular source, I’ll comment on aspects of the story I overlooked for brevity’s sake in my last post.

There are only two things I really want to address in this post. The first is the nature of the darkside of the force. I know I’ve talked a lot about this before, but I have some additional thoughts about this that I’ve gleaned from this story. The second is that lack of name changes for darkside characters. I’ll explain what I mean by this a little later on.

Many times throughout the story the “Force” becomes blocked off to the characters of Exar Kun and Ulic Qel-Droma. I find this intriguing for several reasons. Firstly, I’ve come to understand that when these characters refer to the “Force” what they mean is the “lightside” of the Force. When the “darkside” of the Force is referenced, it’s never called “the darkside of the Force”, rather, simply “the darkside”. But by calling it “the darkside”, ‘of the force’ is implied in its meaning. Which makes me ask, if it’s not “the Force” giving a dark Jedi his or her ability, should it not then be called something else?

If the darkside is not being referenced in this manner, Jedi always seem to refer to it as “magic”, and the practitioners of the darkside as “magicians” and “sorcerers”. I commented on this a few posts back, and I found this puzzling since it was my impression that light and dark Jedi alike pulled their power from the same well of energy. By the end of that post, I came to the conclusion that indeed, the light and darkside of the force did originate from the same well of power; it was simply that each was so irreconcilable to the other that either side found the other untranslatable. Yet here, in this story, when Ulic and Exar strayed too far from the light, all of their Jedi abilities were cut off. They were unable to use “The Force”, but instead had to rely on “The Darkside”. This makes me question whether “The Force” is responsible for darkside abilities. What I’m trying to get at here is this: is there a dualism here that is not accounted for? Should the darkside be called something else, rather than “the darkside”, since “the Force” is cut off to those who no longer hold to the tenants of the Force proffered by the Jedi Knights?

What I’m struggling to understand is why these characters couldn’t call upon “The Force” in general, whether is be for good intentions or bad ones. Intentionality seems to play a large role in one’s ability to use the power of the Force. If my intentions are good, I can call upon “The Force” to help me. But if my intentions are bad, “The Force” no longer recognizes me, and I must call upon “the Darkside” to help me out. This is what seems to have occurred in these stories, which makes me wonder if this means that there are two powers in this galaxy, each offering a small percentage of sentient beings the ability to use their abilities. For lack of a better comparison, do we have a Zoroastrian good deity / evil deity set up here, or are we still using the Taoist ying-yang in our understanding of the nature of the force?

I don’t know. I was under the impression that the Force operated like a Taoist ying-yang. Light cannot exist without the dark, and the dark cannot exist without the light. But now I’m not so sure.

I think in the Star Wars Universe, the nearly unanimous understanding is that “The Force” is responsible for both the lightside and the darkside. So then why couldn’t Ulic and Exar use “The Force” to help them? I guess the most obvious answer is that they had turned their back on the “ying” and had to rely on the “yang”, and since they had turned their backs to the “light” the only option open to them was the “dark”.

Ultimately, the nature of the Force seems hard to grasp. I guess understanding the force relies on how one chooses to interface with it. Am I doing something for the good of others (agape love) or am I doing something for the sole benefit of myself (erotic love).

Moving on to my second point, I find it interesting that in the Star Wars stories I’ve examined so far, a name changed has not accompanied the characters who went from the light to the dark. Anakin Skywalker ceased to be Anakin Skywalker and was instead Darth Vader when he moved from the light to the dark. We’ve yet to encounter this particular literary trope. Exar Kun was still Exar Kun after his transformation, and Ulic was still Ulic after his. I’m looking forward to when the name change occurs in one who has made a dramatic shift in personal philosophy, and when the “Darth” moniker is used for the first time.

For my next post I’ll be examining a short story titled Light and Shadow from Star Wars Adventure Journal # 18. Until then my friends, may the Force be with you.


  1. Hello again!
    I am the formerly Anonymous user you spoke to recently in the Doctor Demagol comments. I felt a stirring of inspiration when I read your light-dark duality questions. Seeing as this is 3 years old, you may have addressed this again and found an answer yourself. But after reading your observation I have come to believe something along the following:

    The Jedi draw their power from the "lightside" of the force, a force that binds all life together. They also tend to wield their power for the good of the many.

    The Sith draw their power from the "darkside" of the force, and they use it to serve only their ambitions. What I presume from this, is that they are only drawing the living force from themselves. That they are so utterly consumed with their own power that they block out the rest of the force in the process.

    An analogy drawn from the real world is the light of stars. When you look into the sky at night you see a vast array of stars, a world much greater than yourself. It's colder, and less passionate but it is true. However, when you look into the sky during the day you see only one star. It is warm, and comforting, but also dangerous as it can burn and blinds you to the other stars in the sky. In that way it lies about the nature of the world, and makes you feel it is smaller than it actually is.

    Put another way, the Sith draw from depths of one point, themselves, while the Jedi draw from breadth of many/all points.

  2. Dal Rown,

    Thanks for your continued reading! I've reflected on your analogy for the past few days and I think it's fantastic. When I ruminate upon it, I think it speaks to the truth that the lightside really is greater than the darkside. The Jedi pull their power from many suns, that when combined, are all more powerful than the centre of one point – one sun – regardless of how close and destructive that point can be.

    Over time in this blog I've talked a lot about the Sever Force ability, which I've come to believe is the most powerful attack any force user can use, and it's no mistake that it's a power that is only available to the light. To read what I mean by this type "sever force" into the search blog option and a few of my posts where I talk about this power will pop up.

    As it is, I'm very pleased that you have decided to stay and comment. There are a few regular posters here who comment on my material and I deeply appreciate their contributions to this journey. Another voice, another perspective, is always welcome.