Tuesday, June 14, 2011

41 BBY: Jedi Apprentice: Special Edition: Deceptions

The first half of Deceptions, a special edition issue of the Jedi Apprentice series, was a great little narrative in the story of Obi-wan Kenobi’s life. In this story Obi-Wan had to face Vox Chun, the father of Bruck Chun, the young Jedi he inadvertently killed when the wayward padawan and Xanatos attacked the Jedi Temple. In riveting courtroom drama fashion, Obi-Wan, along with Qui-Gon and Bant, were crossed examined by Vox Chun’s lawyer, a mean spirited prosecutor looking to blame Obi-Wan for Bruck’s death in order to lay criminal charges.

At the end of the story Obi-Wan was exonerated of any wrong doing, but he is still left with the guilt of Bruck’s death. But what I think Obi-Wan is dealing with most is not that Bruck died because he was unable to save him, but that maybe deep down he’s happy Bruck is dead. This, I think, is where the real struggle lies. How does a young Jedi reconcile the fact that he’s not supposed to celebrate death, yet know and feel that justice WAS served that night, perhaps even poetically, when Bruck slipped from that precipice? If Obi-Wan could only let go of the guilt of not feeling guilt over Bruck’s death, or maybe acknowledge the fact that he was creating the feeling of guilt when none actually existed to convince himself he’s not a horrible human being, could he truly be able to let the events of that night quietly move into the past.

Or maybe I’m just really projecting myself into the action, since there is absolutely zero evidence in the text to support the claim I’ve made. I guess what’s really going on is I think Obi-Wan should feel zero guilt over Bruck’s death and somehow I think that that makes me a horrible human being. If I were Obi-Wan I don’t think I’d be agonizing over his death too much, and I’d be more worried that this would call into question my Jediness.

Bruck was a jerk, he deserved to die, there, I said it. His whole family are jerks too. I hope they all slip off precipices.

There, I feel better, but now I feel like my own Jediness should be called into question.

Anyway, I’m glad Obi-Wan was exonerated because he did nothing wrong, but outside of this little courtroom drama, there were two other elements of this story that caught my attention, the first being how some people in the universe are becoming suspicious of the Jedi, and the second being the tacit move to Jedi militarization, surprisingly, on the part of the Jedi themselves.

When talking to Qui-Gon about Tahl’s investigation, Yoda references the growing distrust of the Jedi in the Senate: “Some there are in the Senate who resent the Jedi. Whispers there are about our taking advantage” (12). I imagine that the backstory to Yoda’s observation must lie somewhere with Darth Sidious and his alter ego senator Palpatine. Palpatine, the consummate politician, must be planting seeds of doubt among some in the Senate, but disguising it as support for the Jedi. Referencing The Clone Wars episode Lightsaber lost again, there was this fantastic scene where Ahsoka, caught upon a huge holovid of Chancellor Palpatine giving speech, wherein that speech one could faintly hear the dialogue coming from it where the chancellor is rededicating his support for the Jedi in a time of war, presumably openly combating negative public opinion regarding their role in the Republic; negative opinion, one can bet, that he himself started many years prior as Darth Sidious.

Also, what is interesting about this growing resentment of the Jedi in the Senate is the fact that the Jedi could be bringing this umbrage upon themselves. Yoda says that the decision for the Jedi Council to OK the development of a starfighter fleet has split them: “Aware you are that this project does not have the full support of the Council. Clee Rhara believes that the Jedi should have a squad of starfighter pilots. Some agree. Some do not” (11). Even as rag-tag as this fleet is, its existence could, and presumably should, be perceived as the Jedi growing increasingly militant. If I were a regular citizen in the Republic, and was beginning to hear negative press about the Jedi, and then learn that they are developing their own military weapons “for peace” I think I would rightfully be suspicious.

Vox Chun, Kad Chun, and Sano Sauro all represent a growing extreme in the galaxy at this time; an extreme that will one day herald the execution of Order 66 as good government on the part of Emperor Palpatine, and be celebrated as the unshackling of centuries old oppression of the Republic by the Jedi Order.

For my next post I’ll be examining book 14 in the Jedi Apprentice series, The Ties that Bind. Until then my friends, may the Force be with you.


  1. This was the first time I read this book (or half of it). Reading the summary at the back, I was thrilled to finally read about Obi-Wan's hearing (which is mentioned later). But while reading, my attention was actually more in the starting of the Jedi starfighter fleet. Around the time of Episode I the Jedi are seen to use Republic's and civil ships, but in Episode II and later they have their shiny starfighters, and there are even Jedi Aces like Saesee Tiin, Adi Gallia and Plo Koon.

    Conspiracy theories of Jedi are also interesting. And just think how well they are spread when the Chancellor talks about them everywhere on Coruscant and other worlds.

  2. I loved that scene in "Lightsaber Lost."

  3. I've been mulling over this story for the last 24 hours, and I'm marvelling more and more at Palpatine's genius. Yoda’s one line about “whispers” against the Jedi carries so much sub-text with it.

    I think the word Conspiracy Theory used by Lugija is fitting. Basically at this point in time all negative talk about the Jedi, things like (I imagine there existing): their move to militarism, they're stance on peace is a ploy, they really want to take control of the Republic themselves, their seemingly world renouncing philosophy is false, is slowly being put out there as truth.

    This is how conspiracy theory begins: a small group of individuals believe they have "the truth" and "the real version of what's going on" and convince others that they are fools for believing what the government tells them. They then string together these coincidences to prove their points, and remarkably, they begin to make some sense.

    Then Palpatine enters the issue, defends the Jedi, tells the Republic they are, in fact, defenders of the peace, are servants of the Republic, and are there to defend the Republic with their lives. He beats this drum for years. He is their great defender in the public realm.

    Then, at the moment when the Jedi were supposed to defend life: Mace Windu cocking back his saber to execute Palpatine - no trial, no jury, just one man's judgment, every single conspiracy theory surrounding the Jedi rings true. And then the kicker, Palpatine, now "deformed" by the Jedi says "I WAS WRONG ABOUT THEM! THEY TRIED TO KILL ME!! THEY WANT POWER FOR THEMSELVES!!!" Only validates the opinions of all the Jedi's detractors. Here was their champion in the Senate, the Great Chancellor Palpatine, who at every turn defended them now declare they need to be stopped.

    Palpatine has to be the most dangerous Sith Lord who ever lived.