Saturday, January 9, 2010

3963 BBY: Knights of the Old Republic Volume 6: Vindication

Volume six of the KOTOR series was filled with so many plot twists there’ll be no sense in me trying to explain them all. Suffice it to say volume six was awesome as it ended with the vindication of Zayne Carrick and the exposing the Jedi Covenant as a tool of Hazan, a “Sith” manipulator and mastermind.

I put Sith in quotes for a reason, as the character of Hazan is neither Jedi nor Sith. Hazan, as you recall, was the retainer of Barrison Draay – hero of the Sith war, and father of Lucien Draay. I made a post about the relationship between these two characters earlier at 4006 BBY, which then lead me to decide that I would no longer make posts about flashbacks in the SWCP. I’m now slightly regretting that decision, as at 3996 BBY (ten years later) there is a flashback in volume six that clarifies the Barrison/Hazan relationship even more, and explains Hazan’s current setting, and how it was he became the actual figure who was threatening the Jedi order. I decided to overlook that flashback, as I thought it was too confusing. But for the purposes of this post I wish I hadn’t.

As it is, Hazan, a retainer to the Draay estate, has been the one behind the scenes pulling the strings of the Jedi covenant. It was he who used the prophecy of the five proffered by Krynda Draay to initiate his plans of control over the Jedi order. As it turns out, Hazan is neither Jedi nor Sith, and holds himself apart from the dichotomies of the Force. He claims he is the one in the prophecy that is the “last one who stands apart from all”.

It is here, with the theme of failed prophecy that I want to delve into my reactions with KOTOR volume six. This is the second time I’ve come across the theme of prophecy in Star Wars (the prophecy of the chosen one referenced in episode one being the first time), and it seems that prophecies in Star Wars are almost always incorrectly interpreted – which makes for a good story.

The ‘prophecy of the five’ proffered by Krynda Draay goes something like this: “One for the Darkness, one for the Light. One from the Darkness stands in the Light – while one from the Light stands in the Darkness. The Last one stands apart from them all”. However the Jedi covenant interpreted this, they were wrong. At the end of this story arc, is turns out the prophecy referred to Q’anilia, who is for the Darkness, and Marn, who is for the light. While Lucien, who is for the Darkness stands in the light, and Zayne, who is for the Light, stands in the Darkness. Hazan is the last one who stands apart from them all. It was Hazan’s plan to do away with Krynda and take control (with the help of numerous ancient Sith artifacts) of the Jedi shadows (the dark) AND the Jedi order (the light). And he would have two apprentices, one for the light, who would be Zayne, and one for the dark, who would be Lucien. And in this way Hazan would be master of both the lightside and darkside of the Force. A novel approach to Force mastery if you ask me and I thought that this was a fairly neat and interesting plot twist – something rarely seen in Star Wars – mastery of both the light and the dark.

I found the physical representation of Hazan interesting to a small extent, but rather played out in Star Wars story telling. Hazan, suffering from disastrous injuries accrued during the Sith war, was outfitted with a robotic arm and leg – Vader syndrome I guess you could call it. I get why this human/machine motif comes up: when one is going to master the darkside, there are going to be sacrifices – mostly spiritual and emotional sacrifices, but sometimes physical as well. King Ommin, from the Beast Wars of Onderon, is an example of the human/machine mix. As one gets closer to mastery of the darkside of the Force, they slowly lose their humanity. This happened to King Ommin, to Hazan, to Anakin, and to a small extent, Luke. I’m sure there are going to be other Sith Lords in Star Wars history who will also have robotic prosthetics.

Hazan’s robotic parts are courtesy of Dossa, a twilek smuggler from the Sith war, and a character that left me scratching my head in mild confusion. In the flashback from 3996 BBY, which gave rationale for Hazan’s evil plans of revenge, we are introduced to Dossa – a smuggler “working for the Sith” during the Sith war. This character left me puzzled because I thought the Sith war was basically Exar Kun and his horde of Massassi warriors versus the Jedi order. There were no ‘evil underworld retainers’ working for the Sith during this conflict, because the “Sith’ as it was, was basically Exar Kun himself. There were some turned Jedi working for him, but hardly more than ten. Dossa, in her conversations with Hazan implies that there is a Sith army working for Kun who are not Massassi. I was never left with this impression after my dealings with the history of the Sith war. But that’s not to say that this isn’t the case. There might have been a “Sith army” of non-Massassi warriors at Kun’s disposal. That’s the great thing about Star Wars – there are millions of stories in this universe that still need to be told, and the history and working of this universe will never be fully explored, so in that respect, maybe Dossa was working for Kun - who’s to say?

Back in my post on the short story called Labor Pains, I made a comment that Zayne’s sense of morality was inconsistent. Then I was the one who became inconsistent because in my last post I comment that one of the things I liked about Zayne was his consistent ethic of life, in that he realizes the sanctity of life in all its forms, and does his utmost to protect it. What I was critiquing was Zayne’s death threat to his Masters in volume one, and his actions in helping Marn con the gallery curators. As it turns out, Zayne’s death threat to his Master’s were Marn’s words, not Zayne’s, as Marn thought that they needed to put the Master’s on the defensive to buy themselves some time to escape, and strong words from Zayne was the means to buy that time. I’m not sure that this fully acquits Zayne of the death threats, but I think it partially does. As it is, Zayne Carrick, in my eyes, is a highly moral person who understands what it means to be a Jedi.

What shocked me at the end of this story the most was that Zayne chose not to become a Knight, and left the Jedi order completely. As I was reading I thought ‘you have a choice?’ Then I thought ‘well, of course you do’. If Zayne, or any Jedi for that matter, is not allowed to leave the Jedi order when they want, then it’s not an ‘order’ but a cult. Then I wondered how many padawans have made that choice before. I wonder how many ‘Jedi’ are out there in the universe, unbeholden to the Jedi order. With the constant threat of falling to the darkside, it must be a hard and disciplined life they lead. It’s a scary thought actually – Force users not answerable to anyone – and one I feel ripe for storytelling.

It was nice to see Lucien Draay come back to the light after falling, if only for a short while, to the allure of the darkside. There needs to be more stories of redemption in Star Wars.

For my next post I’ll be examining KOTOR volume seven. I’ll be glad when I’m finished with this series, as I am looking forward to moving on in Star Wars chronology. I actually thought that the vindication of Zayne and the gang would be dragged out to issue 50, so I’m interested in seeing where the story line goes from here as Zayne is now Marn’s hired hand, but for real this time. I don’t know how far in issues the KOTOR series is going to go, but for the purposes of this project I think I’m going to stop at issue 50 and move on. Until next time my friends, may the Force be with you.


  1. #50 will be the final issue.

    see here:,_Part_4

  2. That's a relief; I'm looking forward to moving on. Have you been following my blog for long?

  3. It seems that for the last few years, LFL has been trying to expand the old Sith Wars into larger conflicts than they appear in the comics. The Great Hyperspace War from "Golden Age of the Sith," as you know, is being retconned into something like a ten year conflict in the "Lost Tribe of the Sith" e-books. The Exar Kun conflict has also been explanded, although I think not as drastically. In the game The Clone Wars (the one from a few years ago, not a spin-off of the current cartoon), there is backstory about a superweapon that Kun used during the war and the battles fought over it. None of that appeared in the Tales of the Jedi comics.

  4. That makes sense. These conflicts would occur over a period of time that the medium of comics may have some difficulty in relaying. Like I said in the post, that's the great thing about this universe, there is still so much we do not know. I don’t mean to be hyperbolic when I say I think it's a universe writers and artists will be adding to for centuries to come.

    Yet with that being said it’s still sometimes hard to keep up with this ever changing alternate reality of ours.

  5. I'm kicking myself for dropping off the comic bandwagon now. Some of the stories were too distant at the start so I never followed along... now that I know KOTOR at least would have been worth the effort being full of war, new organizations, and possibly the great^n grandfather of the Skywalkers.

    On another point:
    It’s a scary thought actually – Force users not answerable to anyone – and one I feel ripe for storytelling.

    People are falling to the darkside all over the place and you decide several months into a multi-year endeavor that it would be good storytelling? :p

    I think in context you meant something different bu that's how it struck me first.

    Only 3 years to go until I'm caught up.

  6. This story is defiantly worth picking up. I'd suggest getting back on the comic bandwagon.

    I'm still not sure of Zayne Carrick is the ancestor the Skywalkers at all...those were just musings and observations on my part.