Thursday, August 12, 2010

3653 BBY: The Treaty of Coruscant

The Treaty of Coruscant was the first galactic timeline produced by Bioware, and was a piece of Star Wars history which broke the mold. I’ve spoken in length about my feelings on these pieces, but just to briefly review, they are, by far, one of the most original forms of storytelling to be found in the collective Star Wars mythos.

Since I’ve gone on about these timelines, my post today will simply be to focus on what I found interesting in this first piece, namely, Master Gonst-Dural, the treaty itself, the perception of Jedi after the attack on Coruscant, and the Jedi’s retreat to Tython.

Firstly, the character of Master Gnost-Dural is a highly fascinating one. Even beginning with the first part of his name ‘Gnost’ harkens to the idea of Gnosticism, the Greek word for knowledge, and an ancient Christian sect which was destroyed in the late second century. Gnostics believed they held the ‘secret wisdom’ of reality and the nature of the universe, and felt that real understanding of the nature of reality could only be achieved by those who could see past the lies of reality, and indeed, understand the meaninglessness of the material realm. Gnostics were a select bunch.

Master Gnost-Dural is very much like a Gnostic – attempting to look past the ‘conventional’ wisdom of events and history, and looking to uncover ‘the truth’ of events which have brought him to his current position.

I identify with Master Gnost-Dural, because I like to think of myself as that academic, sitting alone in the archives pouring over texts and attempting to reach the truth of their meaning. Cross referencing material and coming to conclusions not otherwise thought of.

Turning our attention back to the piece itself, Master Gnost-Dural identifies the rational of the peace treaty proposed by the emperor. As he says: “Though he now controlled half the galaxy, the Sith emperor grew impatient. He had expected his triumph to come quickly.” The Republic was not in a position to reject the treaty, even though the Sith had just attacked Coruscant and sacked the capital planet of the Republic. The feeling in the Republic was one of despair. Senators and even the Jedi council felt that the war was unwinnable; peace was the only hope, so this reprieve offered by the emperor was a welcome respite from war. By holding Coruscant hostage, and offering the treaty, the Sith could force the Republic to agree to their terms, and consolidate their gains in the outer rim. Each side could collect themselves for the inevitable re-engagement that will occur.

Even though it has been the Jedi, along with the Republic military, staving off the relentless attack of the Empire since the beginning of the Great Galactic War, the Jedi never seem to get the thanks they deserve, and a part of me understands why. As Master Gnost-Dural says: “The Jedi returned to Coruscant to find their temple in ruins and irate senators blaming the Jedi for all the Republic’s troubles”. This was a major theme in KOTOR II, as regular folk viewed the Jedi suspiciously. And I think I would too. You have these super-powerful beings running around in the galaxy, not really beholden to anyone – not even the senate. The majority of Jedi appreciates and comprehends their power and move to a stance of altruism, humility, and service for the common person. But all too often in the history of the galaxy, all it takes is a few of these being to realize they can take what they want, and begin to abuse their power for their own benefit. What is more, it is usually the Jedi who have trained these individuals, and now they are using their power against the authority which gave it to them. If cries from the streets came for the mass killing for force users – being who cannot be trusted with their power – I could see how people would become swept up in the mania, threated by force-sensitives, wanting them destroyed. Order 66 would have looked good hundreds of years ago, before the emperor came knocking on the Republic’s door.

Maybe this is all the Jedi’s fault. If they had just silenced their gifts and refused to achieve the excellence they were blessed with, the galaxy wouldn’t be in this mess! If each individual Jedi had simply accepted mediocrity, peace would reign and everyone would be equal – not one being better than another. Damn those Jedi!

With their temple destroyed the Jedi had to relocate. They moved back to their ancient home world of Tython, a world not referenced since Master Sar Agorn in 18,000 BBY. While on Tython the Jedi must once again reconnect with their roots, and become “Ashla worshippers”. Master Gnost-Dural says the Jedi needed to relocate to Tython: “To rest, meditate, and seek guidance from the Force”.

Thus, in 3653 BBY began the enormous stalemate of the Great Galactic War. The Republic confined to the core worlds nursing its wounds, the Sith, pacing like caged tigers, waiting like barbarians at the gate.

A Galaxy divided by darkness and light.

For my next post I’ll be examining the novel Fatal Alliance by Sean Williams, and will be the first time in the Star Wars Chronology Project where I’ll engage with a source other than a comic, e-novella, short story, magazine journal, video game, or other such medium I’ve covered but haven’t mentioned here. Indeed, this history of Star Wars is not confined to what has been written in novels alone. Until then my friends, may the Force be with you

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