Tuesday, September 1, 2009

3998 BBY - 3996 BBY: The Saga of Nomi Sunrider.

The Saga of Nomi Sunrider.

In the rush and excitement of my last post regarding Ulic Qel-dorma and the Beast Wars of Onderon, there were a couple of things I wanted to mention but forgot to. I’ll do so here, but after I provide a brief synopsis of the Saga of Nomi Sunrider, and my reactions to this story.

I remember reading this story when it was first published and sort-of enjoying it then. Upon a second read, I enjoyed it a little more. I discovered some subtleties in the artwork that I had overlooked earlier. Before I get there allow me to summarize the story.

The Saga of Nomi Sunrider begins with her husband, Andur Sunrider – a Jedi Knight who is off to meet his new Master. He is on a mission to deliver some rare lightsaber crystal to his new Master who goes by the name of Thon. The crystals are a gift from Andur’s former Master, and Thon lives on a distant world. Andur packs himself and his family, Nomi and daughter Vima, on their starship, and they are off on a little holiday. However, tragedy strikes, and Andur Sunrider is killed in a lecherous star-port by thieves trying to steal his lightsaber crystals. Upon his death, Nomi picks up her husband’s lightsaber, and kills one of the attackers. The others flee in fear. The spirit of Andur tells his wife to continue on the journey to meet Master Thon, and deliver the lightsaber crystals to him. Nomi does as her husband asks.

When Nomi reaches the planet she first comes across Oss Wilum, Master Thon’s apprentice. He welcomes her into his cabin, and she tells him about the death of her husband. He is saddened by the news. When Nomi first meets Oss Wilum, he is riding upon the back of a large beast. We learn later that this beast is Master Thon, and are reminded of the lesson that looks can be deceiving.

Conflict quickly finds the Jedi, as the robbers from the star-port have tracked Nomi, and are looking to steal the lightsaber crystals one more. Master Thon quickly intervenes, sending the bad guys fleeing.

Master Thon echoes the sentiments of Nomi’s late husband, and recognizes the force is strong with Nomi and her daughter, and that one day both will be great Jedi Knights. He does not take Nomi as his apprentice right away though. He gives her time to mourn the loss of her husband.

After several months, Tott Doneeta, a student of Master Jeth, arrives on the planet to collect Oss Wilum and Master Thon. Tott is from our other story Ulic Qel-Dorma and the Beast Wars of Onderon. Apparently the city of Iziz needs Jedi help with putting down the Freedon Nadd uprising, and battling the followers of the darkside of the force. Oss Wilum goes, but Master Thon stays behind to begin Nomi’s training.

The story ends with Nomi and Master Thon battling off the thieves once more, and Nomi reluctantly accepting her fate that she will indeed become a Jedi Knight.

I liked this story because it was simple. Once again, Tom Veitch gives his readers organized story-telling with sensible dialogue. The artwork wasn’t the best I’ve ever seen, but there were some good scenes that were depicted quite nicely by Janine Johnston. Once scene I really liked was at the beginning. On the first page on the fourth panel there is a touching scene between Andur and Nomi. As Andur is telling his wife that she is strong with the force, and Nomi is shyly telling him she’d be too timid to be a Jedi Knight, the two have their fingers interlaced. I found this little bit of intimacy between the two quite touching, and gave weight to Andur’s death later. Maybe I enjoyed this story more now because I myself am married. I read this story long ago when I was single. Now that I’m married, I appreciate the relationship between Andur and Nomi a little more.

This scene also broached upon a point of Jedi history that interests me, specifically the idea of married Jedi. I remember in Attack of the Clones Obi-Wan telling Anakin that attachment is forbidden for a Jedi (very Buddhist BTW), and that human attachment is expressidly forbidden. I wonder when this was added to the Jedi Code. I look forward to discovering the answer. But what is more, I think that married Jedi is indeed a bad idea.

I’m reminded of an assignment I did in one of my world religions courses. On the subject of Christianity, my students read an article that I presented them with defending the practice of a non-married clergy. Before I read the article, I was a proponent for priests being able to marry, but after reading it, I understood, and in fact, agreed, with the stance that they should not. Though the article was somewhat problematic in some areas, I thought the author made some very good points. If you are interested you can read the article for yourself here.

Anyway, I think given the nature of what it means to be a Jedi Knight, that it is best for a Jedi to remain single. Referring back to our text, the Saga of Nomi Sunrider, there were scenes at the end where Nomi expressed her deep sadness at Andur shipping off on another Jedi mission, and wondering if he’d return. Perhaps it’s best if Jedi keep their attachments to a minimum.

Another thing which interested me in this story, as well as our last, was the advancement of lightsaber technology. I didn’t mention it in Ulic Qel-Dorma and the Beast Wars of Onderon, but I’ll mention it here. No longer are Jedi restricted to powering their lightsabers with power packs and cords attached to their belts. Instead we have free-wheeling lightsabers, powered by some other source. The lightsabers also look very cool – almost more organic and deadly in nature.

For my next post I’ll be moving on to the Freedon Nadd Uprising, found in Tales of the Jedi volume 2. Until then, may the force be with you.

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