Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Las Vegas Nevada
Current Game: Dungeonseige series
The Jedi Implications
Some things to consider when you write your fan fic…
As your critic, I have seen some pretty weird ideas among the stories I have read, and I am going to address them by doing what is called pointing out implications. Part of the reason I am doing this is there are some very talented people on the three sites I review, and this is not common but has happened on all of them.
Any of you who have read Starlog magazine might have seen these articles. The things not said, but implied by what you see and hear. They started doing them back when the magazine began and have covered a lot of different movies in the process.
When I do this, I am using the canon as shown in the movies and books, and some of those writers will be dinged too, because frankly the situation is there as well.
Terry Brooks in his novelization of The Phantom menace stated that the Jedi only accept newborns. As a man who has been in several relationships, I can tell you that a child is formed from the very beginning by the way they are treated. However a child from newborn up until say three is not an easy creature to teach. They don’t call them the ‘terrible two’s for nothing. I have seen parents driven to distraction by a child at that age, and as someone who had to baby-sit four of my younger siblings, you would not have enough hours in the day to show them all of the nurturing they need if there are more than two, so let us for a moment agree with Brooks and set the number of actual newborns at two per monastery. But this is a constant. To maintain the number of Jedi at four or five thousand, you have to remember that older Jedi are retiring, dying, etc. Can we assume they will only lose two a year?
The first thing you would notice is that the Jedi are first, not very emotionally demonstrative. Their training precludes this. Even with that nurturing, you would have to have one person per temple just to handle this.
But that only handles the youngest of these nascent Jedi. You now have to teach the ones between two and about five.
Why did I pick that age?
The old Wonder Bread commercials called five to 12 the ‘formative years’. When a child reaches five, he is already expanding into the out world away from the mother’s apron strings. Most of his attitudes about the world are formed during this time, and along with that you have his body also going through the second or third of the growth spurts that takes young ‘Arnold’ of Austria to Mr. Universe then into acting, and finally into the California Governor’s mansion. Before five, a lot of what the adults around you say is background noise. At about late four to early five, you are now listening and being spoken to in a manner that suggests you do have a brain in that skull. Before that, parents talk at you not to you. If you don’t believe me, go to a park and watch a family with kids that age.
Yet when Obi Wan goes to Yoda about the missing Kamino system, we see not four or six kids learning to use a lightsaber, but there more than eight. All of them were young, but they were also in that five to eight group. Yet just by counting those years, you know there are more than the temple should have, and all of them were less than nine at least to my eyes.
As much as Brooks is canon, the age of four up to say seven is what I consider a more logical group to be choosing applicants from. They are old enough to begin to understand have found ways to amuse themselves without being constantly watched, and don’t need several hours a day of personal attention.
Oh they can use it, but it isn’t vital to their emotional well being, a very important point because considering what a Jedi can do in full cry, you want that kid to be as stable as possible.
David Weber in his book Path of the Fury gave a description of the selection process for a super elite unit. He explained that with everything an Imperial Cadre man could do, you needed someone extremely stable, but capable of unspeakable violence. The analogy he used was the men that command nuclear missile boat. Stable enough that you can trust them with millions of lives, knowing exactly what will happen if they are ordered to fire them, yet capable of mass murder on command.
The reason I set seven as the upper cut off is that if the kid has been taught in a manner that would make him unstable, it starts showing at this age. While that statement might appear to be supposition to some of our members, I noticed when acting in loco parentis that children are hardest to deal with if they did not get that high quality attention when they were younger. Around five to eight, they suddenly start acting the way they were taught, and a kid like my stepdaughter had pretty much run her own life during that period. When I met her at eight, her attitude was that if she wanted to do it, it was all right. If you disagreed, she pitched a fit. I can’t blame her mother; after all there were three other people between the ages of 18 and sixty in the house who could have helped. But when we parted the kid was into sex and drugs, with no good end in sight
At the earlier age above we are suddenly taught guilt. Our parents expect us to consider hitting or hurting someone else as bad. Theft is now bad, and the most important reason Yoda gave for not wanting to allow Anakin to be trained, fear is taught to them. Parents teach their child these by reacting either in fear or anger to something the child as yet doesn’t consider a danger or wrong.
In a book entitled Mall Purchase Night, a little boy plays with Faerie in a shopping center. He is floating in mid air when his mother sees him. She doesn’t react with the same childlike wonder; she begins screaming because the kid is in danger. Moments later the kid is also screaming, not because he was in danger, but because his mother is reacting to fear.
Anakin’s mother now had a new fear; that her son might die. Her own nagging worry taught him that what he did was dangerous, and before he left home, his biggest fear wasn’t his own death, but being separated from her. A point driven home when he almost refuses to go with the Jedi.
They also do not know the fine art of rationalization at this age. That is something we create for ourselves much later in life, in our teen-age years. Just ask a kid who has misbehaved at age seven they either lie, or use the starting point of all rationalization; ‘he started it’. It is something someone else caused.
But the guilt is still there, and while he might think he has gotten away with something, all that means is that the kid will try it again. Because he has yet to be taught that what he did is wrong.
As an example, let’s step out of Star Wars into Star Trek. The Episode Charlie X. A boy raised by non-corporeal beings to his older teens is suddenly thrust into a normal human society and behaves like a child. Because no one was there to teach him right from wrong.
So here we have these kids working out with lightsabers. All as I said between five and 8 when you have a child really comfortable with his body for the first time since he was born. Unlike younger children, they aren’t falling down or tripping as much. In fact the next time a kid has to worry about falling flat on his or her face again is at puberty, when a lot more changes hit them out of no where.
This is why Yoda wanted to shoot down nine year old Anakin. Half of the learning time he must have to be a proficient Padawan has happened before the Order even knew he existed. He has to play catch up with kids half his age. Also a lot of a child’s emotional make up is created during this period. Yet Anakin was raised in a social position where he had little or no say in what he could or would do.
While a Jedi child is being taught to expand his horizons and learning how to be a Jedi, Anakin is being treated like property, and his only outlet is the Pod-races. Note that if you read the book, five is when young Anakin suddenly showed an aptitude for that sport.
Also, you have to consider that while the younglings are being taught, you have to avoid competition as must as possible. Nothing ticks off a seven year old faster than finding out a kid of say five is better at something than he is at something. So what you have to do with these kids is explain before any serious training that everyone achieves these goals at different ages. You don’t have Jedi coaches blowing a whistle and berating that seven year old for not keeping up. Instead you have him using himself as an example. ‘Padawan so and so is much better at (Insert skill) than I am, and he was a full fledged knight before I was’.
As you can tell, this is a very delicate balance. You can’t have their teachers reacting as if what they themselves do is less than the others. Knight is what they all aspire to. But these teachers must be as stable emotionally as the children they are training.
Sociopaths and pedophiles need not apply as either student or teacher because the first is an aberration that is easy to recognize if you catch them young enough, and adults around the child primarily cause the second. Neither would survive for long in a rigidly structured society, which the Jedi temple is. The first would try constantly to go his own way, the last would see a school as a hunting ground, and the usual technique of blaming the kid would cause emotional trauma that can be recognized. Yet I have seen everything from Revan committing patricide to mass murder before joining the order, and Mikal from TSL as a child molester when the ‘new’ Jedi Academy is formed.
While there has been a lot of furor in the Catholic Church in the last decades because of such people, the Buddhists who have had monasteries for a lot longer have very few problems with either variety of personality. And when you consider the difference in the teaching, where natural processes are not considered automatically evil, you can understand why.
The Jedi are the Shaolin monks of the Galaxy, with a large chunk of the Catholic Church Militant tossed in.
Around the age of about twelve is when the average apprentice would be chosen as a Padawan. They have had between four and seven years to learn how to touch and manipulate the force. Being given that rank at eight or nine however can’t be too odd, because no one protested too violently when Anakin jumped past the regular apprenticeship to that rank.
But this is the biggest step in their career. They are no longer trapped in a completely structured societal group. They have to deal with the world in general, and the worst parts of it directly. They also have one thing those younger students did not have. One hands-on teacher who is responsible for their further training. Everything they have learned is tested, and that base is expanded on.
I think the reason Obi Wan failed with Anakin started here. The boy he is handed had no training. Any instability is already there, and like any building with a weak foundation, he can fail. Like the Leaning tower of Pisa was built without taking the soft substrate into account, an unstable beginning can cause disaster.
I am not saying it was a foregone conclusion; only that instability could cause the boy to be less stable. In either case, there can be problems. Up until the incidents that occurred on Tatooine in Attack of the clones, Anakin was considered a stereo typical Padawan learner. When Kenobi comments that his pupil tends to take risks, Yoda is not surprised.
Take me as an example. I had problems emotionally thanks to two of my stepfathers. I didn’t get my feet under me emotionally before I was 30. It has been almost 25 years since I did, and the man you deal with right now is a lot calmer and more laid back than I was. If I had been given the power of someone like Anakin Skywalker at 13, I would have left a swath of dead bodies that makes the slaughter of the younglings look like a picnic. At 20 I would have rivaled Ted Bundy. Yet you will notice except for a few characters, all of my Jedi cleave so tightly to the light that they sound sanctimonious. Because I know right from wrong, and don’t think the world is what I want it to be.
Something I learned early, but only applied to my own life afterward.
To quote myself, war shows humanity at it’s best and worst. Acts of heroism become commonplace, acts of sheer brutality unfortunately are also commonplace. Every Jedi that survived that war would have been so brutalized by it, that they might never have recovered, and the younger they were, the more likely they would be among the devastated. Yet it is the young who always end up doing the most of the fighting. Older wiser heads would have been the ones who tried to put the order back together.
Here is where I ding yet another writer within the EU, Stephen Barnes. The reason is this; two Jedi are sent to the Planet Cestus. Obi Wan Kenobi, and Kitt Fisto.
But while Obi Wan is sent to negotiate for the Republic, Fisto is sent secretly. His mission; to organize and lead a guerilla movement that will destabilize the government. There is a name for it in modern Intelligence circles. It’s called a ‘false flag operation. As one tries to convince the government to accede, the other is pushing them to do so from the other side.
While this is a tried and true method of such operations, sending the Jedi to do so is what I challenge. The Jedi stand for truth decency self determination and freedom. The method denies all of these to the people you are negotiating with. It is defined in the modern day as a black op, because even decades later, the consequences of disclosure is too great. The fact that the US used such ops in nations like Honduras Haiti the Dominican Republic and Iran, talking of freedom and self-determination while at the same time arranging the overthrow of legitimate governments does not make them right.
When it is discovered, it backfires badly, though not completely. The people of the planet are so ticked off they go for full neutrality. Neither side in the war can be trusted.
In Attack of the clones Anakin slips big time. His fear of losing his mother makes him rush to Tatooine, and he finds her tortured and dying. But how is he able to conceal this?
He does because of three things. First Padme holds him afterward, gets him to release all of his anger and grief. If they had not had to rush to rescue Obi Wan, I think he would have admitted what he had done, and been dealt with.
But a war intervened. He is thrust into a crucible, and he must protect those he loves, Padme and the other Jedi. The middle of a fight for survival is not the time to start making confessions like this.
So he rationalizes. The Raiders were vermin that deserved to die. He can’t resign or be removed, because the Jedi need every warrior. He can wait conceal it until that day…
We also see the reason for Count Dooku’s fall. He sees a corrupt government propped up by the Order. He leaves because of that. During his conversations with Obi Wan and later before the Jedi that came to deal with the problem, he doesn’t immediately say ‘kill them all’. He tries to get them to agree.
Revealing that a Sith Lord is highly placed in the government is part ploy, part truth. The government needs to be repaired, and while the Jedi cannot interfere too much, a war will remove the power from those corrupt men. That is why Palpatine pushed Jar-Jar so hard. He could not propose giving himself broad emergency powers. Nor could his supporters. It would look like a power grab. So he mentions this to Jar-Jar, ‘if only’.
If you look in history, it wasn’t the Nazis that advocated emergency powers. It was one of the small parties, the Social Democrats if I remember correctly. But once those powers are in place, WWII was pretty much guaranteed to occur, and with Palpatine in charge, we’re on the road to Empire.
But as The Revenge of the Sith shows us the last prop of his house of cards was Palpatine. Like a pedophile, he recognizes that flinch, and uses it. He makes it right, giving the young man more and more rationalizations. He rationalizes why Dooku must die, and makes sure that Obi Wan is not there to see the now increasing instability. When he ‘suggests’ that Anakin be made his personal representative to the Jedi Council, it gives all of those masters something else to explain these problems. Anakin wanting to push ahead, which is a standard trait of a Padawan or young knight, and being put into that position regardless of their own decisions any acrimony is explained.
Anakin’s fear now for Padme is the final linchpin. When Master Windu finally confronts Palpatine, whom does he try to convince? He uses that fear to get Anakin to attack the Jedi Master. He convinces the young man that the Jedi will not or cannot protect the woman he loves. Only Palpatine, who admits he is the Sith lord (At least in the books) but also tells him that the Sith have the power to save Padme, something he claims the Jedi will not or cannot help with. To protect her, Anakin leads the destruction of the Jedi on Coruscant. Because even with General Order 66, there are more than enough Jedi still there to defeat one Sith lord.
The final nail in the dark side coffin that surrounds Anakin now Vader, is the idea that he was the cause of Padme’s death. His grief completes the cycle. It needed someone who was willing to risk his life, Luke, to break him out of that coffin so he died in the light.