Sunday, July 8, 2012

32 BBY: Tales # 3: The Death of Captain Tarpals

The title of this tale “The Death of Captain Tarpals” had me worried.  I shouldn’t have worried though, because with Windham behind the wheel I know his contributions to Star Wars canonicity are orthodox, but I was thinking, ‘How does Tarpals die when he’s in The Phantom Menace?’ Anyway, I should’ve known better than to judge a story’s contents by its title.
The Death of Captain Tarpals is a partial origin story behind Jar Jar’s banishment from Otoh Gunga.  Though it doesn’t tell us how Jar Jar upset Boss Nass (Jar Jar blathers something about that in the film) it does provide some history behind the background between Jar Jar and Tarpals’ familiar relationship.

I learned two things from this comic short: firstly, nobody likes Jar Jar Binks, and secondly, Tarpals is a champion, a class-act the whole way.
As it turns out, I wasn`t the only one annoyed by Jar Jar Binks in TPM, apparently every other Gungan from Otoh Gunga dislikes him as much I do, especially General Marshoo.  General Marshoo, a former general in the Gungan Grand Army, was sick of Jar Jar stealing food from his restaurant, and was about to manhandle the clumsy Binks before Tarpals stepped in and saved Jar Jar.  As Tarpals escorts Jar Jar out of the restaurant, it’s evident that most denizens of Marshoo’s place really do not like him.

But it’s not Jar Jar that’s the star of the story here, it is Captain Tarpals.  Who knew Captain Tarpals was such a dedicated law-man, and especially tough to boot?  Before Marshoo beats up Binks, Tarpals steps in and shows that he’s not simply a Captain with a strange accent, even among Gungans, but a law-man not to be messed with.  He quickly subdues General Marshoo, and takes Jar Jar, the Gungan he is there to arrest, into custody.
Marshoo, attacks the duo a second time, and here it is Jar Jar who saves the day through his clumsiness and stupidity.

The story ends with Tarpals exiling the pitiable Jar Jar:

“Un know what dey callen yous down at da station?  Dey callen yous ‘da death of Captain Tarpals”
Tarpals leaves Jar Jar on a lonely shore outside of the city and says to the Gungan no one likes (except Tarpals of course):

               “Mesa no can let yous be da death of my”
Tarpals is visibly upset with the task he had to perform, as it’s obvious he likes Jar Jar.  It’s a surprisingly sad ending, and one that had me re-evaluating my opinions of Jar Jar Binks.  The Death of Captain Tarpals, though not dealing with Tarpals’ actual death, now makes his sacrifice at the hands of General Grievous even more heroic.

For my next post I’m going to examine A Queen’s Diary.  It’s a short little children’s story.  I’m going to skip over Thank the Maker, and look at it at its in-universe date, sometime around The Empire Strikes Back.  Until then my friends, may the Force be with you.


  1. I really liked this story. I already thought that Tarpals was one great Gungan, but this made him an even better character. I didn't like his death at the hands of Grievous, because that episode felt like a filler, especially the quick return to status quo at the end.

    Tomorrow I'll start my military service (6 months, weekends off, in a country that hasn't seen war for 70 years, so it won't be that hard). I can read your blog from a phone but commenting doesn't work for some reason. So I will listen but not talk that much.

  2. I think the fact that nothing came from Tarpal's sacrifice makes it that much more tragic. That episode left me feeling melancholic. Truly, he's one great Gungan.

    Good luck and stay safe in your military service. Here's to hoping it's 70 years + 6 months without war. Is it mandatory service?

  3. I'll try. It's mandatory in a sense that every male in Finland has to go through either military or civil service. Females can volunteer, and there's some hundred every year. Civil service is a two-week training period about home front and then a year of working in a civil building. In military service you get off with 6 months, or 12 if you pursue a career as officer (I won't, it's enough to get through it in one piece).

    All of this is to have enough trained troops (350 000) to discourage any neighbor (Russia). Since our first rule of politics is to not make any reason for anyone to attack us, no one has since World War II.

  4. Those pesky Russians ;) As it is, I look forward to your return. Your comments will be missed.

  5. I remember liking this comic story, too. Tarpals is definitely my favorite Gungan.