Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Miscellaneous Missings: 3951 BBY: Jedi vs Sith: The Essential guide to the Force

Jedi vs. Sith: The Essential Guide to the Force is a Star Wars text that weaves itself through the entirety of Star Wars history. I have not read it cover-to-cover, which is why I have a tendency to miss important sections from this book. Plaristes was good enough to highlight such readings for me before I exited this era of Star Wars history and begin a new one. For my post today I’m going to back-track to 3651 BBY, and examine the fallout of Revan’s conversion to the darkside, and study his wisdom for future Dark Lords of the Sith.

Pages 131-133 in JvS are the words of Jedi Historian Deesra Luur Jada, the twi’lek Jedi Knight we met at the Jedi enclave on Dantooine, and provided for Revan the account of The Great Hunt. In his historical account Deesra goes into detail over Revan’s reformation into a warrior of the light, and recounts for the reader the destruction of the enclave at the hands of Darth Malak. In this short piece of history, Deesra says many things which caught my attention.

Firstly, I thought it interesting how the locals of Dantooine remember the enclave’s destruction: “I found myself correcting a young Padawan and some locals who were speaking of ‘the day the Sith Lords Malak and Revan assaulted Dantooine’. Perhaps it doesn’t really matter to the locals whether only Malak was responsible, but it should matter to the Jedi” (JvS 131). In this passage we see Deesra lamenting the inaccurate remember of the event, and how the idea that Revan’s fall may not be so forgivable by those who were at the receiving end of events he initiated. What is more, this passage could speak to the deeper prejudice of Revan by the Jedi themselves, seeing as how a Padawan carried this notion. A notion he may have picked up from his Master, which is perhaps a tacit feeling echoing through the Order.

Secondly, I thought the comparison Dessra made between Exar Kun, Revan, and Malak’s training grounds telling as well. All three were trained on Dantooine. Dessra doesn’t pay too much attention to this, but perhaps there is something darker occurring on Dantooine than what we know of. Dessra accounts for this similarity as serendipitous happenstance, but maybe there is something more here?

Dessra also reveals that Bastila Shan was the only Jedi to survive the assault on Darth Revan’s ship. I’m not sure if in the source text that this is explicitly mentioned or not, but I was surprised by this fact, which made me think that perhaps I was under the impression that some other Jedi did survive the assault.

Fourthly, Dessra talks about the death of Master Vandar Tokare (which is misspelled in this text as Dokar). He says that he was killed on Katar, at the Jedi conclave. This saddened me, as Master Tokare was a Jedi Master I really liked – probably because I like Yoda so much. I hope that nothing is revealed of his species, and that this is kept shrouded in mystery. Star Wars literature, in the past 5 years, has really taken a dislike to the idea of mystery. I remember a time when Boba Fett was an absolute enigma. His Mandalorian armor was something rare and feared in the galaxy. Now it seems every Tom, Dick, and Harry has a set of Mandalorian armor in their closet. Boba Fett’s backstory has been filled, and filled, and filled some more. The species of Vandar, Yoda, and Yaddle is one of the unexplored areas of Star Wars, and I hope it stays that way. Thankfully Lucas adheres to this sentiment, not wanting to delve into the backstory of Yoda’s species.

Lastly, I want to finish my examinations of this section with the words of hope from Deesra Luur Jada. He says at the end of his historical recording: “We will never be able to restore the Jedi enclave that was on Dantooine, but Revan’s example encourages me to rebuild” (JvS 133). This reminds me of one of my favorite prayers by Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta:
People are often unreasonable, irrational, and self-centered. Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives. Be kind anyway.
If you are successful, you will win some unfaithful friends and some genuine enemies. Succeed anyway.
If you are honest and sincere people may deceive you. Be honest and sincere anyway.
What you spend years creating, others could destroy overnight. Create anyway.
If you find serenity and happiness, some may be jealous. Be happy anyway.
The good you do today, will often be forgotten. Do good anyway.
Give the best you have, and it will never be enough. Give your best anyway.
In the final analysis, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway.
Deesra, like Mother Theresa, believes that ‘What you spend years creating, other could destroy overnight. Create anyway’. The Jedi do ‘create anyway’, knowing that it is better to build than to tear down.

Pages 163-164 delineate the contents of Darth Revan’s holocron, as remembered and transcribed by Darth Bane. This of course puts the authenticity of what is written into question. Since it is Darth Bane relating through one of his own holocrons what Revan said, and not Revan himself, from a strictly historic and academic perspective, what Darth Bane presents should be understood that this source should always be examined with an asterisk beside it – it may not, after all, be an authentic Darth Revan revelation.

Anyway, I’m being pedantic.

It’s Revan who really began the institutionalization of the doctrine of the ‘rule of two’, although it’s Darth Bane who is credited with this. Although Revan and Malak began the Sith academy on Korriban, at the heart of his teaching it seems that Revan was a believer in keeping the numbers of the Sith to a minimum: “Any Master who instructs more than one apprentice in the ways of the darkside is a fool. In time, the apprentices will unite their strength and overthrow the Master” (JvS 164). It seems here that Revan was contradicting his own philosophies. Darth Bane brought Revan’s teachings to its logical conclusion, and sought to do away with all Sith minus himself and his student.

Darth Revan also disparages the idea of Grey Jedi: “Those who try to walk the path of moderation – will fail, dragged down by their own weakness” (JvS 164). On this notion, I happen to agree with Revan.

It’s fitting that Darth Revan’s words lead us to Darth Bane, as after a short jaunt into 3032 BBY and 2000 BBY we’ll move ahead another thousand years and into the era of Darth Bane.

It may be a while before I post on the next source, Battlegrounds. I bought Battlefront weeks ago, and realized after playing for an hour that I had purchased the wrong game. I’m now just waiting for the game to come in the mail. Until then my friends, may the Force be with you.


  1. This is a heads up. I thought I'd point out a few items that aren't on Joe's timeline yet that you'll be coming up on soon.
    First, there's Knight Errant. The comic is supposed to start later this year, but the 0 issue from Celebration V is already out. Will you cover that (since it takes place in 1032 BBY) or will you wait until the first issue arrives?
    Second, there are three portions of Jedi vs. Sith: The Essential Guide to the Force. At 1010 BBY is a recording from Pernicar (pages 108-9). Then, sometime before the final Battle of Ruusaan in 1000 BBY (I'd guess the dates on these are sometime between 1010 and 1000 BBY) are two recordings from Qordis and Seviss Vaa (158 and 158-160, respectively).

  2. The Knight Errant source is the million dollar question rattling around in my mind right now. I'd love to cover the issue #0 source if I can get my hands on it. I think I'll check out e-bay, but as for covering the series I'm not sure what to do. It'll most likely run a few years like the KOTOR series, and I'm not sure I want to post about each issue as it comes out monthly. I think I might ignore it for the time being - get through the Darth Bane material - and see where I stand at that point.

    Ultimately, I might just cover the entire series when it has reached completion, which could potentially happen after I myself have completed the SWCP.

    I already have an idea of what I'm going to do, blogging wise, when the SWCP is complete, so I might examine the Knight Errant source in that project.

    As for the JvS sources: I think I'll cover them after I have gone through the Bane novels, thereby making only one post about the 1000 BBY era covered in that text.

    Thanks for the heads up on the JvS stuff though. Did you get to Celebration V yourself?

  3. I wish! I'm a poor grad student, so I don't have money to spend on traveling to conventions. Keeping up with new SW comics and books is expensive enough!

  4. Grad student eh? Whaddya in for?