Friday, February 25, 2011

44 BBY: Jedi Apprentice: The Uncertain Path

Of all the Harry Potter books, The Chamber of Secrets was the one that irritated me the most.

Hogwarts has been invaded by a giant Basilisk and only the 11 year old students know how to handle the situation?!? What the hell was Dumbledore doing?!?

So let me get this straight: the most powerful wizards in the world are taking a back-seat to this problem so the students can figure out how to unravel this mystery?

HOLY CRIPES!!! Dumbledore, whatever it is that you’re doing, I don’t care how important you think it is, put down the hallows and horcruxes and collect the faculty of Hogwarts and deal with the giant Basilisk problem…now!

The Harry Potter syndrome grates me to no end (I’m not sure what else to call what I’m trying to talk about here – the idea that the adults in a fictional universe can’t deal with a problem but the children can. I get it. The books are written for kids and kids want to feel like adults, so the adolescent characters of the story go about behaving like adults and problem solving like adults). I’m not saying I don’t like Harry Potter – the books were fun reads, and I’m probably going to read them with my kids when they are old enough, and I know what I’m about to say is going to sound ridiculous, but I can only suspend my disbelief so much. I know Harry is the main character and all, but it’s still my expectation that when the students of a school begin being harmed by a giant mythological creature - on school property mind you! – the staff needs to step up their game and deal. I don’t care if Harry is the chosen one: Dumbledore, get your magic potions, get your magic books, recite whatever ancient languages you need to recite and get your ass in the halls and start figuring crap out!

It’s a little disappointing to say, but The Uncertain Path, book 6 of the Jedi Apprentice series, has a little bit of the Harry Potter syndrome. It’s not as bad as The Chamber of Secrets – Yoda did ask Qui-Gon to investigate the stolen items in the temple, and Qui-Gon is far from incapable. It’s obvious Yoda took the threat seriously to put a Jedi Knight on the case, but as soon as those fire crystals went missing, Yoda needed to get out of his meditation chamber and use all his Jediness to figure out what the hell was going on.

On page 62 Yoda tells Qui-Gon he must figure out why this is happening: ‘You must find why’ Yoda said urgently. ‘Fear I do in why the seed for our destruction lies’”. No Yoda, YOU need to figure out why, along with every other Jedi in the temple, don’t make Qui-Gon shoulder this.

OK, rant off.

Beyond the Harry Potter comparisons there were some scenes I did enjoy, namely, the opening scene between Yoda and Qui-Gon. Watson has done well with the characterization of Yoda, and has managed to maintain all of his wisdom and other-worldliness (my only complaint being that Yoda doesn’t always backward talk. Even in Empire he still strung together a few sentences which were grammatically correct). At the end of Defenders of the Dead I was completely convinced, like Qui-Gon, of his rightness. Obi-Wan was out of line – that much was evident. But after Qui-Gon’s meeting with Yoda, the sureness I felt was in question. Yoda hit the nail on the head: “Always willing to ignore my counsel you are, if suits you it does” (19). This is what Obi-Wan said, and both he and Yoda were right. I guess through this series it’s become evident to me that the character I’m identifying with the most is Qui-Gon. It makes sense.

Although Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon haven’t entirely reconciled, I’m glad they’re together again. It should be interesting to see how Qui-Gon deals with Obi-Wan’s betrayal, and what events will transpire for Qui-Gon to take his wayward apprentice back.

So I guess it’s Xanatos who has invaded the temple, and has collected Bruck as his new apprentice. This should make for a good Qui-Gon/Obi-Wan vs. Arch Enemies showdown.

For my next post I’ll be moving on the book 7 of the Jedi Apprentice series, The Captive Temple. Until then my friends, may the Force be with you.

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