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EEEEEEEEEEVIL + Day 11

I've been pondering fantastic!evil for awhile, and finally collected my meandering thoughts together in a ... um, essay may be putting it strongly, but at least a post. I mostly just ended up confusing myself, but here it is.

The One Ring and the Dark Side (aka, the Problem of Evil)

[ETA: Warning! TV Tropes!]

[ETA2: I happened to check my f-list and found that irnan, who is pretty much a goddess of SW meta, just posted -- basically the same thing, only her version is coherent, concise, and has actual conclusions. Well, and there's no Middle-earth. Anyway, mine may be completely incomprehensible, so her post is here and is awesome and I wildly rec it to the ... uh, two or three of you who are SW fans.]

[ETA3: I use the generic 'we' a lot. I'm not saying that every single person reacts in this way, just that I do and I keep finding other people who do, too. So, for example, I do realise that Túrin Turambar does not inspire stabbity rage in everyone -- but it's not just me, either.]

I don't mean this to be a deep philosophical treatise on the nature of real evil. This is about the more fantastic kind, à la the Ring in Lord of the Rings and the Dark Side in Star Wars.

[The last ETA no really: I'm using these in particular because SW is what got me thinking about it in the first place, no discussion of trends in epic fantasy is complete without LOTR, and they're pretty much the ultimate examples anyway. However, I think the issue is, ah, applicable to any number of other works.]

The idea that evil is abroad in the world as an active, independent, supernatural force is not anything new. However, it's particularly ubiquitous in modern epic fantasy -- qualified by contemporary sensibilities, of course. Today's audiences aren't about to accept the raw version (evil is out there and it's out to get you). When presented with "demons made her do it" or "his doom caught up with him," we feel almost cheated.

Actually, take out the almost. We do feel cheated. Demons and dooms don't make satisfying character arcs. Often they don't even make satisfying characters.

(Note: I'm referring to modern, mainstream fantasy, not the tragic epics of yesteryear. They're the products of different times, written in completely different styles, and different rules apply.

Usually. Odysseus, you arrogant, smarmy, womanising asshole.)

Take Túrin from The Silmarillion (which, admittedly, is in a sort of no-man's land between "modern" and "tragic epic of yesteryear"). His life is pretty much one long string of disasters -- but not because of the numerous personal flaws that actually lead to his epic failures. It's because he's cursed. Um, did Morgoth curse him to be a self-absorbed, hot-tempered jerkass who refuses to learn from his errors or even accept the smallest responsibility for them? I don't think so.

No, Túrin isn't just a tragic hero with ultimately crippling failings that lead to destruction and despair and a long, long fall. No, the thing with Túrin is that even when his latest horrific misadventure is all his own fault, it isn't really. He's just that doomed.

Túrin Turambar: most frustrating character in Middle-earth, y/y?

Anyway, today's fantasy usually sanitises classic evil-is-out-there into something that doesn't make modern audiences want to stab our eyeballs out. Oh, it's still out there. It's still out to get you. It's still almost impossibly overwhelming, and it's still a source of ~absolute evil.~

Nevertheless, it's not the ultimate source of evil. It may be capable of turning a reasonably decent human being into something unimaginably awful with more haste than anything natural could possibly do, but it is not the root of all evil.

How do we know? Easy. While this source of evil (whatever it may be) always has an intense corrupting influence, that influence is sharply limited in some way.

Maybe the evil is tied to a magical force, like the Dark Side, and only affects those who can access it -- the verse's wizards. Sometimes it's limited even further, and only certain kinds of wizards can access it -- in The Wheel of Time books, for instance, only male "wizards" are exposed to the crazy-inducing taint on saidin.

Or maybe it's simply a matter of proximity, as with the Ring. Éowyn is never vulnerable to the lure of the Ring because she's never near the Ring. (This, I can't help but feel, is for the best.)

... In fact, even without the limitations of distance, the Ring can't possibly be the source of Middle-earth's evil. It's a relative newcomer, after all; people were quite capable of doing horrific things before it ever showed up (hi, Fëanor!).

So we've got evil represented, per tradition, as a malevolent, near-overpowering supernatural force -- but with an added caveat. It can only affect an infinitesimal fraction of the universe's population.

Yes, I understand that it's just a representation of evil, not a straightforward allegory, that it has to work this way to avoid epic Values Dissonance, blah blah blah. The problem is that nobody wants to write a story where maybe a dozen characters are innately susceptible to evil, regardless of their personal flaws or virtues, while millions of other people are blissfully invulnerable. So they don't.

Instead, these universes have normal, real world-style evil too. This leads to a peculiar situation, where people who are evil in ordinary ways come off as infinitely more horrifying than archvillains up to their ears in the POWERS OF DARKNESS.

Governor Tarkin from Star Wars is much worse than Vader and every bit as horrifying as the Emperor without the slightest influence from the Dark Side. Voldemort, sunk in the Dark Arts, pales in comparison to the genuinely chilling Umbridge. Gríma's betrayal is infinitely worse than Boromir's, and he doesn't have some eldritch artifact whispering in his ear and eroding his scruples.

Of course, for a particularly winning combination, there are also those characters who get the best (worst?) of all worlds. They're evil in the mundane sense, like the Tarkins and Wormtongues, but at some point they also get access to the eldritch Source of Evil. And what happens to them then?

(1) Nothing. They're so incredibly evil on their own, that the malevolent, evil-amplifying force of this thing has no effect whatsoever, except to give them the raw power needed to accomplish their evil, evil ambitions.

(2) They go off the deep end. They were evil in a calculating, practical way before, but now it's all UNLIMITED POWAH!!111! and maniacal laughter and, often, incredibly nonsensical mistakes.

It's not always clear to which category your local Big Bad belongs, since some scenery-chewing villains cultivate a veneer of sanity and competence, only to drop it when their plans come to fruition. Palpatine, of course, is the obvious example, particularly since he seems far more effective and competent in the prequels (as a raging OT purist, it hurts me to say it ... but he is: OT!Palpatine comes straight out of the Evil Overlord list). I suspect the same goes for most Big Bads in these kinds of universes.

Then there are people who are unpleasant and, at best, morally ambivalent before this thing comes along. Left to their own devices, they're unmitigated assholes, but they are not evil. Then the Source of Evil comes along and cranks their (comparatively minor) flaws up to eleven.

Thus Sméagol is an acquisitive, malicious snoop, but emphatically not a murderer. When he stumbles across the Ring, however, he almost immediately turns homicidal. Oddly, it's easier to blame him for his lesser crimes. He lies and sulks and cheats. He uses the Ring to sneak around and blackmail people. Later he's deceptive and untrustworthy. We quite easily blame him for these things.

And I think it's because he's more culpable for them. These are all the sorts of things that Sméagol -- the nasty little hobbit he was under his own power -- would do. The Ring did not put these ideas in his head, it simply gave him the power to realise them – rather like the Big Bads. The murder of Déagol, however, is not the sort of thing that Sméagol would do. So we find ourselves blaming him more for the weakness and meanness of spirit that caused him to fall so quickly to the Ring's power than, you know, the murder.

Gollum and Sméagol are not split personalities à la the movies, of course, but nevertheless there is a distinction made between his "real self," a rather unpleasant little boy who nevertheless loves, pities, and so on, and the maddened, homicidal creature he is under the power of the Ring. Moreover, a real possibility is held out that the Ring's hold on him could be broken. In that case he would presumably be affected by his centuries of torment, but nevertheless he'd essentially revert to sneaky, selfish, not-at-all-murderous Sméagol.

Tolkien talks about this possibility in one of his letters -- interestingly, it wouldn't have changed the basic plot. Redeemed!Sméagol would have done almost the exact same thing he did in canon, but on purpose: so his death would have been a Heroic Sacrifice rather than an "accident." (If I recall correctly, Tolkien felt that that would have made it Sméagol's story -- just as Vader's redemption turned Star Wars into Anakin Skywalker's story, long before the prequels -- and decided against it.)

These characters (like those in the first group) are responsible for their actions to a significant degree, but (unlike their purely villainous counterparts) not wholly. They're much more divided than either the first or the next group, where the original personality is either unaffected or almost crushed into oblivion by the Source of Evil. They're not annoyingly cleared of all culpability -- a good part of it all is genuinely their fault -- but at the same time we can't blame them entirely when they're assaulted by this enormous supernatural power.

Tolkien is clear that nobody could have used the Ring without falling to it. If Frodo had stayed with the Fellowship, they all would have fallen eventually. Boromir was more vulnerable, yes, but how much of what he did was really Boromir? What does falling for a few minutes say about who Boromir is? What's the character, what's the Source of Evil? Are their real selves distinct from the effects of the SOE, preserved in their original states -- or have they become inextricably bound together? How culpable are these people, really? Would any of us have done any better in such a circumstance? Are they despicable or simply pitiable?

Then there are people who are genuinely heroic. They have flaws, often serious ones, but they're far too principled, too good, to fall to ordinary evil. Instead, they're trying to accomplish some noble goal, and becoming increasingly desperate. The scale of their desperation may be wholly their own, but more often it's fuelled by the Source of Evil as part of a really squicky kind of seduction. After considerable resistance (often exhausting every other option), these heroes finally despair, turn to the supernatural force--

--and go batshit insane.

Seriously. The moment they consciously attempt to use this thing, they lose some essential part of their identities. Again, think of Boromir, who straddles both categories -- what is it Gandalf says? If Boromir had taken the Ring, with every intention of bringing it to Minas Tirith for the good of Gondor, by the time he got there you would not have known your son. It's true. These people might retain some of their original abilities and quirks (or not), they might retain the original goal (or not!), but they're not the same. They'll mow down anyone who gets in their paths, regardless of what their previous feelings about (1) murder, and (2) their victims, were.

Within approximately thirty seconds of turning to the SOE (TM!), they're effectively gone. These people are not themselves.

Obviously they're prime candidates for redemption, since they never wanted this and whatever fragment of their original selves has survived the whole thing is in constant torment. Fatal redemption, usually, but usually that's the best thing they can hope for.

These characters tend to be really, really popular. Most of us have caved at some point and made a seriously wrong decision, in full knowledge that it was wrong, without the help of some malevolent psychically-intrusive evil thing screwing with our minds. These -- anti-villains? -- well, they're less responsible than either of the above. They would never, never, never have done anything like this, left to their own devices. Not only would they not have killed people, they wouldn't have stolen from the cookie jar either.

But. They make their choice. Maybe it's made under unimaginably high pressure, maybe they're all but crushed under the power of the Thing, but nevertheless they do make a choice. More often they make several choices. Frodo's surrender to the Ring was the final, irrevocable step, but it was only the culmination of a path he'd been on for a long time.

Yet nobody could have resisted it. In that place, Sauron himself couldn't have destroyed the Ring -- er, had he felt so inclined. Frodo is honoured and celebrated because he did what nobody else could have: he survived -- that is, he retained his essential Frodo-ness -- long enough for Fate/Eru/whatever to intervene. So what he did under the Ring's influence -- well, it's unquestionably a case of diminished responsibility. The only question is how diminished.

In other universes, there's slightly more responsibility -- that is, whereas it was not humanly possible for anyone to resist the Ring at the height of its power, it is possible to resist the Dark Side.

... Barely. Even a shining beacon of light like Luke Skywalker is on the very edge of falling, and every indication in the OT is that Anakin Skywalker was exactly like him and, in that split second, failed to turn back from the brink. After all, only the spectre of Darth Vader brought Luke to his senses.

(I suspect this is one of the many things that certain people, myself included, dislike about prequel!Anakin. The OT made it clear that he was Type 3, the shining hero fallen under the sway of this unimaginable evil, but in the PT it's very hard not to see him as at least borderline Type 2. Even without the Dark Side, he's kind of a jerk. Anyway.)

So: if Luke strikes down an Evil Overlord who can shoot lightning from his fingertips, he's doomed to everlasting darkness or whatever. If Han Solo shoots some asshole in the face, he's ... Han Solo. Luke -- no matter how pure he seems -- is inherently vulnerable to this thing in ways that Han never will be, because he is Force-sensitive and Han is not. Even the most morally ambiguous of Luke's compatriots aren't capable of falling anyway near as far as he very nearly does. Simply because he's using the Force and they're using blasters.

So it's not just ... raw power, neutral in itself but power corrupts, or killing people messes you up or whatever. It's something else. And we can tell because it exists alongside those other things and looks completely different.

In fact, it looks ... kind of bizarre, at this point, particularly when you try to find anything remotely like a real world analogue. Intentions don't appear to matter; the kind of person you are may influence your type of evil -- e.g., we're told that, as Ring-lord, Gandalf would have been self-righteously evil rather than merely controlling, like Sauron, or evil-for-the-sake-of-evil, like Morgoth -- but the best of intentions don't make you less evil, they just inform the shape of your evil.

Luke Skywalker (very briefly) falls to the Dark Side to protect his sister -- from falling to the Dark Side. This would not make dark!Luke any less evil than Vader, who appears to be driven by a desire for order, or the Emperor, who's just ... for the evulz. Dark!Galadriel would not be an improvement over Sauron, nor dark!Sam or dark!Faramir or whomever.

So this is something which (1) certain people are innately and arbitrarily vulnerable to, (2) exerts an intensely strong influence on those people, (3) impairs their general mental processes while they use it, and sometimes afterwards, (4) sharply diminishes their judgment and sense of self, leaving them culpable for using it in the first place but less so (to varying degrees) for what they do under its influence, (5) is incredibly addictive, and (6) is possible, but very difficult, to stop using -- however, if they successfully break free of it, they’re once again recognisable as themselves, though they remain highly vulnerable.

Oh, and gives thems superpowers.

Um. So they’re literally high on evil? Because this sounds like the bastard child of fanon!drugs and EEEEEEEEEEVIL (TM).

I'm so confused. :(

Day 11: What is your favourite weapon?


Lightsabres, of course.

My favourite one is the blue lightsabre Luke inherits from his father. He never does anything particularly badass with it -- okay, except when he pwns the AT-AT -- and even though he's hopelessly outmatched at Bespin, it's kind of hilarious that Vader's being attacked with his own sword -- but it's still my favourite.

Legacy weapon + first lightsabre EVER = awesome.

Comments

( 20 comments — Leave a comment )
phyloxena
Nov. 10th, 2010 06:13 am (UTC)
This is fascinating. I stay wondering what is it so unquestionably attractive about this fantasy EVIL with no parallels in anything like real world.
Re: Turin - I think the point of him being cursed is that same kinda guy could have pulled off every stunt Turin failed. He is larger than life heroic (self-possessed, annoying, etc. but who isn't?), but unlucky.
elizabeth_hoot
Nov. 10th, 2010 09:04 pm (UTC)
Thank you!

I'm guessing that it invokes the literal demons of cultural tradition and the present demon of DRUGS -- so it does resonate. But the diminished culpability can make it a bit confusing.

I don't know about Túrin, really. I mean, I guess I see a lot of things that happen as the consequence of what he himself did or failed to do. The curse makes it all worse, but ... I don't know.
irnan
Nov. 12th, 2010 09:57 pm (UTC)
So. Um. I confess to being one of those creepy people who searches for themselves on the Internet, and. Firstly, thank you very much for saying such things about my ramblings :)

And secondly, I love this meta, and agree with every word. I never thought before about comparing Sméagol with Anakin, but now I've got the urge to ;) And I've always thought that the true power of the One Ring is shown most completely in its destruction, which is why the Return of the King movie annoys me SO MUCH when Frodo gets back up and goes after the Ring. NO. NO. ACCIDENT ALONE can destroy the Ring. Not a petty squabble over its ownership.

So: if Luke strikes down an Evil Overlord who can shoot lightning from his fingertips, he's doomed to everlasting darkness or whatever. If Han Solo shoots some asshole in the face, he's ... Han Solo. Luke -- no matter how pure he seems -- is inherently vulnerable to this thing in ways that Han never will be, because he is Force-sensitive and Han is not.

ALthough you could also posit a theory that Han's story is the same as Vader's, and his redemption happens in a garbage chute. Vader killing Palpatine = Han coming back at Yavin.

Maybe in a way the 'extra susceptibility to evil' thing in fantasies like Star Wars or Wheel of Time is a narrative way of balancing out the susceptible characters' greater powers? It's a way of stopping them from being infallible supermen/-women. Or stopping them from being as insufferable as the majority of the female Aes Sedai? ;)

But as a total fangirl I have to at least try and defend PT!Anakin from accusations of jerk-hood, and argue that this is primarily a result of trauma rather than inherent less-than-niceness on Anakin's part, if that makes sense. (Mind you, I've never thought that his characterisation matches up with the demands of his plotline, as it were.)

*mems this*
elizabeth_hoot
Nov. 13th, 2010 10:20 pm (UTC)
*FLAIL*
Hi! Thanks! You're welcome!

I love this meta, and agree with every word.

Awesome.

I never thought before about comparing Sméagol with Anakin, but now I've got the urge to ;)

That would be pretty much the coolest thing ever. In terms of character, I think Anakin has more in common with Boromir -- or, OT-wise, maybe even dark!Gandalf -- but in a structural sense, redeemed!Sméagol would be ... very similar. There's an essay from the 80s, I think, that argues that Anakin is the protagonist of the trilogy, and it was -- I mean, I hadn't thought of it that way, but it made so much sense.

NO. NO. ACCIDENT ALONE can destroy the Ring. Not a petty squabble over its ownership.

Exactly! *flails some more*

ALthough you could also posit a theory that Han's story is the same as Vader's, and his redemption happens in a garbage chute. Vader killing Palpatine = Han coming back at Yavin.

You could, but -- honestly, I think it'd be stretching things. Han's arc in ANH is certainly a redemption plot of sorts, but I don't think there's any indication that Han is in any way 'fallen' or that the murder of Greedo affects him at all. (It's not even clear that it's the wrong thing to do, given the circumstances.)

Maybe in a way the 'extra susceptibility to evil' thing in fantasies like Star Wars or Wheel of Time is a narrative way of balancing out the susceptible characters' greater powers? It's a way of stopping them from being infallible supermen/-women. Or stopping them from being as insufferable as the majority of the female Aes Sedai? ;)

Heeeeh. Yeah, that could work.

For me, the Really Big Question is the diminished responsibility, I think. I do definitely think that it is diminished. I'm just not sure how much.

But as a total fangirl I have to at least try and defend PT!Anakin from accusations of jerk-hood, and argue that this is primarily a result of trauma rather than inherent less-than-niceness on Anakin's part, if that makes sense. (Mind you, I've never thought that his characterisation matches up with the demands of his plotline, as it were.)

I actually agree. Well, kind of. It's complicated.

My problem is more with the presentation of Anakin than with Anakin himself, if that makes sense. His fall seems to be simultaneously treated as (1) inevitable, and (2) quite easily avoidable. I mean, there are practically blinking warning signs that go off every time he enters a room -- INCIPIENT FASCIST DICTATOR HERE!!! -- but at the same time, he's put through enough trauma to drive anyone off the edge.

The thing is, TPM!Anakin is nice. At the end of the film, we leave him with the Jedi as a pleasant, reasonably spirited, generous, helpful, and generally well-adjusted and well-socialised child. (Despite having been a SLAVE for his entire life. Shmi Skywalker is the best parent ever.)

The next time we see him, he's smiling creepily, hoping for a fascist dictatorship, and fully capable of committing mass murder.

...What did they do to him?

And then, of course, he's put through even more trauma, because that obviously wasn't enough. So yes, in an in-story way I completely agree with you: Anakin is not inherently jerk-y -- rather, he's damaged, and his behaviour is a consequence of that.

My issue with PT!Anakin is more of a meta thing. Regardless of the reasons why he behaves that way, that's not how he was presented in the OT. The Anakin described in the OT sounds more like Vader than the Anakin we see in the PT. Simply making them fit into the same continuity takes incredibly elaborate fanwanking.

So -- maybe we actually agree?
irnan
Nov. 16th, 2010 11:59 am (UTC)
Re: *FLAIL*
but in a structural sense, redeemed!Sméagol would be ... very similar.

Especially in terms of what you mentioned about Tolkien's belief that redeemed!Sméagol would have (attempted to) destroy the Ring - Vader, after all, is just as likely to have saved Luke in order to gain an apprentice and have an excuse for finally getting rid of the crazy old buzzard running the Empire.

NO. NO. ACCIDENT ALONE can destroy the Ring. Not a petty squabble over its ownership.

Exactly! *flails some more*


I swear every time I watch that movie I find more fail in it. I still enjoy the first two but Return of the King just keeps on Missing The Point.

Han's arc in ANH is certainly a redemption plot of sorts, but I don't think there's any indication that Han is in any way 'fallen' or that the murder of Greedo affects him at all. (It's not even clear that it's the wrong thing to do, given the circumstances.)

That's a really good point. *nods* I guess the theory is mostly born out of my belief that Han - in his more sentimental moments - kind of thinks of the twins as having 'saved' him (which is why he agrees to name his and Leia's youngest "Anakin": he thinks he understands the guy. To an extent, anyway).

I do definitely think that it is diminished. I'm just not sure how much.

Neither am I, really. For example, the extreme of that is that Anakin can't be blamed for anything because of Dark Side Influence and Palpatine and the Council being jerks etc, and that's not something I'm comfortable with either. He did wrong. There comes a point where the most devoted fangirl has to agree that he needs to accept responsibility for that. It's the same in Real Life: diminshed capacity doesn't mean someone wasn't responsible for a crime. It just means they can't be punished for it, because it wouldn't be right to do so.

My issue with PT!Anakin is more of a meta thing. Regardless of the reasons why he behaves that way, that's not how he was presented in the OT. The Anakin described in the OT sounds more like Vader than the Anakin we see in the PT. Simply making them fit into the same continuity takes incredibly elaborate fanwanking.

You're right, we do agree :) I think it's because the OT is such a fairy tale, whereas when they made the PT they suddenly added an element of Psychological Realism - it's like reading the story of Aladdin and the Lamp and having a subplot appear about how he's dealing with severe claustrophobia from being trapped in the cave while he's trying to woo the Princess. It makes sense, but it doesn't belong.

OMG the fanwanking. I mean, in my head, 23 year old Anakin is a Military Genius/Charismatic Leader of EPICALLY Gary Stu-like proportions, because there's no other way I can reconcile him with the Lord Darth Vader, Supreme Commander of the Imperial Fleet.
elizabeth_hoot
Nov. 16th, 2010 10:03 pm (UTC)
Re: *FLAIL*
Vader, after all, is just as likely to have saved Luke in order to gain an apprentice and have an excuse for finally getting rid of the crazy old buzzard running the Empire.

Um. Do you mean that this is just as likely to be his motivation (he never turned from the Dark Side at all!), or that it could have been his motivation/interpreted as his motivation if he hadn't given his life to do it? Or simply that turning from the Dark Side =/= saving Luke, since he easily could have done it without turning?

But yes, the parallels would be very close. Sméagol breaking free of the Ring's influence = Anakin breaking free of the Dark Side's grip on him; Sméagol consciously choosing to give his life to destroy the Ring = Anakin consciously deciding to give his life to destroy the Emperor. Even the motivations could arguably parallel -- loyalty (Sméagol would be saving Frodo, who he loves; same for Anakin) and principle (saving Middle-earth/the galaxy by destroying an embodiment of purest evil).

I swear every time I watch that movie I find more fail in it.

Me too -- though as a Faramir fan I can't really say I'm cool with TTT, either.

That's a really good point. *nods* I guess the theory is mostly born out of my belief that Han - in his more sentimental moments - kind of thinks of the twins as having 'saved' him (which is why he agrees to name his and Leia's youngest "Anakin": he thinks he understands the guy. To an extent, anyway).

Well, Han has a redemption plot. It's just not Anakin's redemption plot (arguably for no other reason than that Han can't fall to the Dark Side). And I can definitely see parallels, particularly in Luke's role. He makes a direct appeal; appears to fail; actually inspires the redemption; is personally endangered, giving the redemptee an opportunity to act on it.

In my EU-twisting/ignoring headcanon, it's Luke's son who's named Anakin (though he's actually a clone of Luke himself, who Luke discovered, rescued and adopted and -- it's complicated), but going with at least part of the EU for a moment, I could easily see that. Otherwise it's kind of weird -- on the face of it, neither Leia nor Han have much reason to be sympathetic to Anakin.

For example, the extreme of that is that Anakin can't be blamed for anything because of Dark Side Influence and Palpatine and the Council being jerks etc, and that's not something I'm comfortable with either.

Yeah, that basically undercuts the entire moral fabric of the SWverse, I think. And I do think that turning to the Dark Side is presented as his great -- well, sin, really. The thing he did wrong. What he's done since then? Not so much.

it's like reading the story of Aladdin and the Lamp and having a subplot appear about how he's dealing with severe claustrophobia from being trapped in the cave while he's trying to woo the Princess.

That is pretty much the best analogy ever. Yes, it's exactly like that. And for me, SW really is a fairy-tale (which is why seeing it go from the IN SPACE-ified fairy tale beginning to blah blah taxation routes blah blah was such a WTF?! moment).

Honestly, OT!Anakin sounds like he was basically the GFFA's own Ace Rimmer. I mean, really. Anyone for whom 'best starpilot in the galaxy' was the less kickass phase is a Gary Stu just waiting to happen.
irnan
Nov. 17th, 2010 02:18 pm (UTC)
Re: *FLAIL*
Or simply that turning from the Dark Side =/= saving Luke, since he easily could have done it without turning?

This one, yeah - sorry I wasn't too clear. I think Vader's decision to reject the Dark Side was made independently of what was happening to Luke at the time; the fact that he saved Luke takes a backseat to his motivation in doing so in terms of his redemption.

If that makes sense.

Me too -- though as a Faramir fan I can't really say I'm cool with TTT, either.

omg. I'd successfully repressed that, apparently! What part of "not if I found it by the wayside would I take it" did they not understand?

In my EU-twisting/ignoring headcanon, it's Luke's son who's named Anakin (though he's actually a clone of Luke himself, who Luke discovered, rescued and adopted and -- it's complicated)

That's awesomely adorable. ;) I have reams and reams of post-ROTJ headcanon, but I really enjoy hearing other people's...

*hinthint*

The PT really is a whole different set-up. I think the reason I like ROTS more than the first two is precisely because once Anakin has made his choice, the movie reverts to an extent to the fairy tale/fantasy novel way of storytelling, with the imagery, the duel on Mustafar and the hiding of the babies. The overt symbolism with Mustafar as Hell and the intercutting between Padmé's death and Vader's birth really works for me; I think it fits with the OT.

ARTOO IS HOLLY AND OBI-WAN IS THE CAT AND YODA IS KRYTEN. (Qui-Gon's force ghost is Lister, who's been trying to teach Yoda to break out of his Jedi programming.)

*coughs*

ok, I'm going to back away from the laptop and go to class now.
elizabeth_hoot
Nov. 17th, 2010 05:59 pm (UTC)
Re: *FLAIL*
If that makes sense.

Yes, it does, and is exactly what I think XD Seriously, though, I think it's important that it happens that way. That he breaks free of the Dark Side and is wholly Anakin when he consciously chooses to give his life for the greater good. If it's just about saving the person he loves, then -- what's changed, really?

(Random thought: it might be interesting if he didn't succeed in saving Luke, to see how his reformation would actually look without Luke as a morality pet. [Depressing as hell, of course. And I'm pretty sure he'd tear the Empire apart and, OMG, Leia.])

What part of "not if I found it by the wayside would I take it" did they not understand?

I DON'T KNOW. If he's just like Boromir, what is the point of him even being there? And they had the perfect opportunity for rehabilitation in ROTK, in the (utterly kickass!) scene where he's leading his men across the Pelennor and the Ringwraiths are after them and, when he realises some of his men have fallen off their horses, he RIDES BACK TO GET THEM. I mean, you could forgive someone just about anything for that. But NO, they had to mess with that too ... *ranty mcrant rant*

That's awesomely adorable. ;)

Heeeeh, thank you! I thought the idea of cloned!obedient!Luke could be interesting, but the execution was gaaaaaaah. (This is true of so many things.)

I have reams and reams of post-ROTJ headcanon, but I really enjoy hearing other people's...

*hinthint*


Heh. Well, my headcanon is kind of this composite of how I imagined the backstory when I first watched the OT, and some parts of the prequels, and the occasional idea from the EU. So, I always imagined the Clone Wars as wars against</u> clones, and it was horrific and bloody and afterwards the entire galaxy was virulently prejudiced against them. Even Palpatine didn't dare (openly) dirty his hands with cloning.


The cloners at Kamino, oblivious to the rest of the galaxy, finally accomplish the orders given to them eight years prior: to create an obedient but otherwise neurotypical Skywalker clone.

One of the Imperial factions discovers the existence of the cloning facilities at Kamino. Clones are still regarded with loathing and horror by the galaxy at large and were absolutely illegal under Imperial law; they decide one of the rival factions must have done the unthinkable and created a clone army, and immediately decide to bomb the facilities.

Meanwhile, Luke Skywalker follows the promptings of the Force to (gasp, shock) Kamino, mind-tricking his way into the facility. He discovers the Emperor’s last creations – a massive clone army and the Skywalker clone (there was an earlier one who survived, but they'd made too many mistakes -- it was a girl, the obedience chip modification didn't take -- so she was slated for termination once they achieved full success).

Before Luke can make any decisions (or figure out what the hell he’s supposed to be doing here anyway), his father appears to warn him of the imminent attack (...and drag him back to the starship, if necessary). Luke impulsively rescues the clone(s?) and escapes shortly before the place is nuked.

Of course he can't let people know where the poor kid came from -- he'd be reviled from infancy -- so Luke, being Luke, decides that the baby's his son, names him after his father (who is less than thrilled) and lies through his teeth to everyone but Han and Leia. They're kind of iffy, but they come around and the three of them concoct a story to give out (mostly Han, who thoroughly enjoys coming up with Luke's imaginary girlfriend/wife).

So Luke does his best to combat little Anakin's ingrained obedience, which is -- kind of bizarre, and little Anakin and little Jaina have this hilarious Odd Couple friendship and ... yeah. Stuff.

I'm totally with you on the end of ROTS. It went back to the epic and the symbolic and it was kind of... 'YAY my epic fantasy fairy tale is baaack!' I think it's the only time I cried during the entire PT, because it's the only time I really cared.

RD/SW crossover = awesome.
irnan
Nov. 22nd, 2010 02:16 pm (UTC)
Re: *FLAIL*
(Random thought: it might be interesting if he didn't succeed in saving Luke, to see how his reformation would actually look without Luke as a morality pet. [Depressing as hell, of course. And I'm pretty sure he'd tear the Empire apart and, OMG, Leia.])

OMG NO. Oh, Leia. She'd be totally broken - finding her twin and losing him on the same day. And Han too! And Anakin - I can really see him saying something like "if you want his death to have any meaning at all you'll let me train you" and shouting at Obi-Wan's Force ghost a lot.

If he's just like Boromir, what is the point of him even being there?

TO PROVE THAT ARAGORN IS BETTER THAN EITHER OF THEM, OBVS. Which, not really the point. If Faramir's there to play off anyone, it's Denethor, showing the path the Men of Gondor shouldn't take.

But then it always sort of annoyed me that they wouldn't let Aragorn want the Kingship, either. Or be completely confident in his love for Arwen. Ah well.

OMG. I love your headcanon. Han inventing a girlfriend for Luke! ghost!Anakin sr.! (I have a serious thing for ghost!Anakin sr. Come on EU, he's the Chosen One and he's completely devoted to his family but he never comes to visit?) And Jaina befriending her uncle's clone is too cute for words.

I'd give a lot to see Obi-Wan vs. Polymorph ;)
elizabeth_hoot
Nov. 29th, 2010 02:19 am (UTC)
Re: *FLAIL*
There would definitely be a lot of shouting at Obi-Wan's ghost. Ghost!Luke would probably spend a lot of time mediating between Leia and Yoda and Anakin and Obi-Wan and everyone. (... I have the sneaking suspicion this is what he'd end up doing anyway, death or no death.)

TO PROVE THAT ARAGORN IS BETTER THAN EITHER OF THEM, OBVS.

Yeah. Apparently the idea is that Aragorn should rule Men because he's the only halfway decent one EVER. Which is rather an odd position for Elrond, of all people, to take. (What about his twin brother? Or his grandfather? Or Beren?)

OMG. I love your headcanon.

Thank you! I've mostly just kept it in my head, so it's been kind of fun to poke around the fandom and see what people come up with. Especially people who aren't licensed by LucasArts or whoever it is.

*cough*

Han inventing a girlfriend for Luke!

I bet he'd think it was hilarious. Luke and Leia would be fine with a name and home planet, but Han's all 'she was a dancer -- and a smuggler -- and an assassin! With the Force! ... And she was totally hot.'

ghost!Anakin sr.! (I have a serious thing for ghost!Anakin sr. Come on EU, he's the Chosen One and he's completely devoted to his family but he never comes to visit?)

I have never understood this! I mean, even Obi-Wan hung around and eavesdropped and materialised on things. (And was exactly like he'd been when he was alive, so it doesn't seem thta they automatically cross into some state of transcendental enlightenment where the ghost's loved ones lack cosmic significance or something like that.) And Obi-Wan's poking around would be nothing to what Anakin would get up to as a Force-ghost.

I can easily imagine that, as Luke gets more control/skill/in tune with the Force yadi yada, dead Jedi start yammering at him 24/7. (Especially when he starts changing things.) And he's like, "Father, who are these people? Can I trust them?"

... Cue awkward silence.
irnan
Nov. 29th, 2010 01:58 pm (UTC)
Re: *FLAIL*
(... I have the sneaking suspicion this is what he'd end up doing anyway, death or no death.)

Oh, absolutely. Especially between Anakin and Leia ;)

Which is rather an odd position for Elrond, of all people, to take. (What about his twin brother? Or his grandfather? Or Beren?)

But. But that would be consistant characterisation and true to the books to boot! I think film!Elrond annoys me almost as much as film!Faramir, coming over all "wicked stepmother" on Aragorn like that. *shakes head*

so it's been kind of fun to poke around the fandom and see what people come up with. Especially people who aren't licensed by LucasArts or whoever it is.

Absolutely. I've been reading your other posts, though RL is fairly busy right now, but I really enjoy your perspective - it's made me realise how much my own headcanon is influenced by the PT and the ramifications that I think those events would have on the twins later on, which is an endlessly interesting thing to ponder. ;)

but Han's all 'she was a dancer -- and a smuggler -- and an assassin! With the Force! ... And she was totally hot.'

And then he meets Mara Jade.

Well, realistically, it's because they had no idea what Anakin Skywalker was actually LIKE before the PT came out ;) But they don't seem to have come up with a decent in-universe explanation, which bugs me. And GAH, I have seen so many ghost!Anakins who are all wise and enlightened, and every time it happens I find myself wanting to scream. Dead or not, the man has issues! Fatal electrocution is not a cure for that!

LOL yes that silence would be epic. I'm really not a fan of the Jedi in the PT, and I don't think Luke would be either, once he realises how they actually worked, as opposed to how they saw themselves/thought they worked.
elizabeth_hoot
Dec. 2nd, 2010 03:38 am (UTC)
Re: *FLAIL*
Especially between Anakin and Leia ;)

Anakin and Leia, definitely. I bet it's years before they can even speak to each other without Luke running interference. (And that the resistance is not all on Leia's side.)

In some happy fluffy Palpatine-less universe where Anakin never fell, I suspect Anakin and Leia would still have a very difficult relationship. Even -- especially -- if Anakin and Luke's was all rainbows and bunny rabbits. I don't even know how Leia would deal with Padmé.

I've been reading your other posts, though RL is fairly busy right now, but I really enjoy your perspective - it's made me realise how much my own headcanon is influenced by the PT and the ramifications that I think those events would have on the twins later on

Oh, thanks! Yes, it's -- I think for a lot of people, when the trilogies conflict the PT takes precedence and the inconsistencies are put down to Obi-Wan, or whomever, being a lying liar who lies. Which is a valid perspective (...especially re: Obi-Wan) and certainly required for continuity.

It's just that the PT, and to a much greater degree the EU, are a very different kind of story than the OT was, and they retroactively made the OT a different kind of story, too. (This is probably my biggest problem with them.) In fact, I think that's why I started following your lj -- you managed to weld them together without dumping entire chunks of the PT into discontinuity (*innocent whistle*), but it ended up feeling more OT-ish.

So yes, totally valid and I suspect it takes a lot more work than 'meh, screw it, Yoda did personally train Obi-Wan and fully intended to train Anakin too, but Obi-Wan's hubris got in the way.' It definitely yields very different results.

*rambling*

And then he meets Mara Jade.

Wellllll ... I'd imagined that "Mara Jade" was the name Han came up with on the spot, probably while staring at a jade figurine on Leia's desk or something. For maximum EU lulz. But I suppose she could be out there, instead.

Well, realistically, it's because they had no idea what Anakin Skywalker was actually LIKE before the PT came out ;)

[purist mode]

Um. Um. But of course we know what he's like from the OT. I mean, for one, there's Luke -- who is constantly presented as SKYWALKER MARK II -- and then there's Anakin himself stalking around all three movies, obsessively fixated on his son for two of them.

We even hear what he was like before (restless, talented, impatient, idealistic, clever, loyal) from different people -- Owen, Beru, Obi-Wan, Yoda. I know that the lack of Force ghost!Anakin was one of the first things that put me off the EU, before I ever saw the PT, because it seemed ridiculous that Obi-Wan would involve himself more with Anakin's son than Anakin himself would.

[/purist mode]

And GAH, I have seen so many ghost!Anakins who are all wise and enlightened, and every time it happens I find myself wanting to scream. Dead or not, the man has issues! Fatal electrocution is not a cure for that!

ahahahahahahaha. No. I mean, he was very zen when he died, but he was DYING. (Even though it works dramatically, I was always kind of disappointed that he died. Nobody has to actually deal with what he's really like and Leia's undoubtedly epic issues are just left hanging and... *sigh*.) He has issues and he has an incredibly difficult personality -- if he'd lived, he'd have been less 'woe, I have been high on evil for half my life, where does the time go' and more 'so, TAKING DOWN THE EMPIRE. This is how it's going to work.'

I'm really not a fan of the Jedi in the PT, and I don't think Luke would be either, once he realises how they actually worked, as opposed to how they saw themselves/thought they worked.

Yeah. This is kind of what makes me sad about the PT, since I loved the Jedi before that, but it also kind of works? IDK. I would be curious to see how Luke deals with that reality, though.

*hint*
irnan
Dec. 2nd, 2010 11:30 pm (UTC)
Re: *FLAIL*
suspect Anakin and Leia would still have a very difficult relationship. Even -- especially -- if Anakin and Luke's was all rainbows and bunny rabbits. I don't even know how Leia would deal with Padmé.

I... don't know. I think a lot of Anakin and Leia's differences are created out of nurture rather than nature, if that makes sense? As in, I think if Anakin had actually raised his daughter, I think they would have understood each other in fundamental ways that Luke might not have. Luke the gentle one, the more composed one, more open with his quieter feelings than the other two, who are, first and foremost, fierce. I can see them both connecting well with Anakin in different ways, I guess.
(Leia deals with Padmé by alternately feeling sorry for her and coming quite close to despising her, I think. Leia just doesn't do well with people who lie to themselves all the time.)

It's just that the PT, and to a much greater degree the EU, are a very different kind of story than the OT was, and they retroactively made the OT a different kind of story, too.

Oh, YES. There comes a point in the post-ROTJ EU where I just... yeah. And I haven't even read anything beyond the Thrawn Trilogy. The PT I can bend into shape (I'm glad you like my version, btw :)) but the EU? Never. The whole point of ROTJ was that they all lived happily ever after! Maybe not everything was perfect, but in order for the saga to work, there has to be a baseline of "things are better now, and they're staying that way".

Wellllll ... I'd imagined that "Mara Jade" was the name Han came up with on the spot, probably while staring at a jade figurine on Leia's desk or something. For maximum EU lulz. But I suppose she could be out there, instead.

*grins*

I kinda like her, I gotta admit. At least, in the books she's introduced in, which I don't think are really big on characterisation even of the canon characters. I sort of squinted and tilted my head and read them like that ;) But she started out OK.

Um. Um. But of course we know what he's like from the OT. I mean, for one, there's Luke -- who is constantly presented as SKYWALKER MARK II -- and then there's Anakin himself stalking around all three movies, obsessively fixated on his son for two of them.

*headdesks at self* You're right, of course! Damn, I'm even more annoyed at the EU people now.

He has issues and he has an incredibly difficult personality -- if he'd lived, he'd have been less 'woe, I have been high on evil for half my life, where does the time go' and more 'so, TAKING DOWN THE EMPIRE. This is how it's going to work.'

YES. YES. THAT LAST BIT. YES. And it gives Mon Mothma, like, heart attacks or something because convincing the entire Rebellion that DARTH VADER is now on their side is not the easiest thing in the world and Anakin is like "it's a Jedi thing. CAN'T YOU JUST ACCEPT IT'S A JEDI THING? No I will not apologise. Apologising never does anyone any good."

Erm. Yeah, I've... given this some thought.

This is kind of what makes me sad about the PT, since I loved the Jedi before that, but it also kind of works?

Oh, thinking about the PT too hard has made me hate Yoda. Which, :(, but I do think it works. Luke is so clearly shown to be the Right Kind of Jedi, and it's my theory that Anakin was Chosen to, well, produce the Right Kind of Jedi. Only they believed it would involve more teaching/killing of Sith and less baby-making. As it were.
elizabeth_hoot
Dec. 3rd, 2010 11:43 pm (UTC)
Re: *FLAIL*
I think a lot of Anakin and Leia's differences are created out of nurture rather than nature, if that makes sense?

Oh, I agree! Well, sort of. I don't think they're very different even as it is. I think I talked about that in... I don't remember when, but they've both got the NEVER GIVE UP, NEVER GIVE IN thing and -- well, lots of things really. Aside of the fact that he's on Dark Side crack and she's a Rebel, of course.

I just think that their similarities -- their fierceness, their refusal to back down, their sheer difficult-ness -- is what would always make their relationship a bit rocky. Not in the destructively dysfunctional sense, just the 'CAUTION: flammable' one. In a way, it's kind of like how Han and Leia's relationship is much rockier than the one either has with Luke -- it's not that they're necessarily closer to him, it's just easier to get along with him.

As for Luke, I actually think he's also fairly similar by nature -- restless, impatient, passionately idealistic, with a hair-trigger temper until he takes that final level in Zen -- while obviously gentler and more easy-going. (Though this may be my personal rebellion against the Luke = Padmé thing. If Luke ever reminded Anakin of anyone besides himself, I suspect it was Shmi.) I think that's why things are so easy with him and Leia -- they're similar enough to intuitively understand each other, but different enough that their personalities mesh pretty smoothly.

Leia deals with Padmé by alternately feeling sorry for her and coming quite close to despising her, I think. Leia just doesn't do well with people who lie to themselves all the time.

Yeah, that's pretty much how I see it. In ROTS, I ended up with a nasty feeling that the 'tell me what's bothering you EXCEPT THE BAD THINGS' conversation was by no means the first time it had happened. Once Leia found out about the whole backstory (er, that particular backstory *eyes Discontinuity Bin*), I suspect she'd be royally pissed. And of course she couldn't just go and rail at Padmé herself. (Unless it was a 'Father, Leia wants me to ask you to tell Mother...' thing, which would be lulzy but not particularly helpful.)

*headdesks at self* You're right, of course! Damn, I'm even more annoyed at the EU people now.

Heh, thank you. I aim to displease. ;) ... Particularly when it comes to my mad love for OT!Anakin.

convincing the entire Rebellion that DARTH VADER is now on their side is not the easiest thing in the world and Anakin is like "it's a Jedi thing. CAN'T YOU JUST ACCEPT IT'S A JEDI THING? No I will not apologise. Apologising never does anyone any good."

*glee*

I'm sure "it's a Jedi thing" covers a multitude of sins. But you can see why Luke was more "come with me and we can leave the Empire and the Rebellion and go fight crime together!" (which would be awesome) and less "come with me and join the Rebellion!" Free agents don't really have to explain themselves.

Erm. Yeah, I've... given this some thought.

I'd like to mention that I support these thoughts in every possible way and there should be more of them.

Oh, thinking about the PT too hard has made me hate Yoda.

OMG YES. I recently watched Empire and it was ... kind of disconcerting? He was so adorable. But at the same time, that's one of the strangely plausible retcons.

it's my theory that Anakin was Chosen to, well, produce the Right Kind of Jedi. Only they believed it would involve more teaching/killing of Sith and less baby-making. As it were.

ahahahahahaha. That is officially my favourite theory ever. Though I personally think that Anakin himself was supposed to be the right kind of Jedi, and if the Order hadn't, y'know, damaged him worse than slavery ever did, and/or Palpatine wasn't muddying things up, he quite easily could have been. And since the OT tells us he was an idealistic dreamer too, he wouldn't be content to just be that Jedi, he'd enact change from within.

(... And now I want Grandmaster!Anakin.)

Instead, of course, he got blocked at every turn and started going off the deep end, so the Force had to hit the reboot button. Cue the twins!
irnan
Dec. 4th, 2010 07:10 pm (UTC)
Re: *FLAIL*
I just think that their similarities -- their fierceness, their refusal to back down, their sheer difficult-ness -- is what would always make their relationship a bit rocky.

Hmm, yeah. I guess I could see it realistically going either way. Sometimes similarities with parents are the things that keep you going with them; other times... not so much.

Though this may be my personal rebellion against the Luke = Padmé thing. If Luke ever reminded Anakin of anyone besides himself, I suspect it was Shmi.

Not at all your personal thing. It's true there are a lot of superficial similarties between Padmé and Luke - particularly their compassion and their ability to believe that Anakin (still) loves them. But I think superficial is the key word there. The more I try and understand Padmé, the more I object to the idea that Luke "is his mother's son" in some mystical way. I should probably admit up-front that I really, really, REALLY don't like her. If I met her in Real Life, I'd probably hate her outright. The way she deals with her personal life, the way she treats her marriage, the way she takes her husband's mental health for granted PLAINLY PTSD DOESN'T EXIST ON NABOO... no. Just no. (And this is without factoring in my distrust of overly idealistic politicians.)

But you can see why Luke was more "come with me and we can leave the Empire and the Rebellion and go fight crime together!" (which would be awesome) and less "come with me and join the Rebellion!" Free agents don't really have to explain themselves.

They'd make Bast Castle their base of operations and the first thing Luke would do is insist on redecorating. ;) He'd guilt Leia into helping him clean up, and slowly but surely she comes around to the idea of being a Jedi/having Anakin for a father etc.

OMG YES. I recently watched Empire and it was ... kind of disconcerting? He was so adorable. But at the same time, that's one of the strangely plausible retcons.

I think so, too. It's easy to imagine a Yoda who spends 22 years in the swamps slowly changing his attitude and coming to regret what happened, and yet still being so indoctrinated/set in his ways/damaged by grief that he can't truly see how else he could have handled it. He's sorry, but... it was necessary, there was no way around it. (And that genuine regret and compassion for the victims of his former mentality is enough to let him fade into the Force the way Obi-Wan did, instead of his corpse sticking around like the Jedi at the Temple.)

Instead, of course, he got blocked at every turn and started going off the deep end, so the Force had to hit the reboot button. Cue the twins!

This, yeah. He could have been a demonstration: look, he grew up with a mother and he loves and feels and even gets angry and IT'S OK HE'S STILL AN AWESOME JEDI. And he could have and would have passed that on if they'd let him. But Yoda interrogated the text from the wrong perspective and ended up with Vader. ;)

(... And now I want Grandmaster!Anakin.)

SO DO I. Kind of desperately. I think he'd be more of a Grey Jedi than a Jedi-Jedi, with a sort of ambiguity that would allow the Order to develop and change in its own time and on its own terms, thus preventing schisms and infighting and lots of ugliness.
elizabeth_hoot
Dec. 8th, 2010 10:59 pm (UTC)
Re: *FLAIL*
The more I try and understand Padmé, the more I object to the idea that Luke "is his mother's son" in some mystical way. I should probably admit up-front that I really, really, REALLY don't like her.

Oh good, it's not just me. It's not just that Luke is fiercer -- I see the compassion thing, but ... it's actually kind of problematic with Padmé. Her compassion is very -- impersonal? There's this sort of disconnect between being a compassionate leader and feeling compassion for people she actually interacts with in a meaningful way. (Also, her attitude towards nonhumans is kind of skeevy. If Anakin had confined his slaughters to alien children, would she have been nearly as horrified?)

Luke is personally kind, and intensely loyal, but while he's an idealist, he doesn't seem -- I can't see him in politics. Like, ever. His compassion for his father springs less out of a general, impersonal compassion for people in general, and more from understanding him. I'm not sure Padmé ever really understood Anakin or even had any particular interest in doing so.

They'd make Bast Castle their base of operations and...

That would be so cool. I'd been thinking they'd hide out on Tatooine for awhile (first order of business: free the slaves), but that would work out too. Though I think Leia would find it much harder to break with the Rebellion; she'd definitely have some difficult explanations to provide. (Han would be totally onboard with the free agent thing, I think, though he'd stay where Leia stays and go where she goes.)

I think he'd be more of a Grey Jedi than a Jedi-Jedi, with a sort of ambiguity that would allow the Order to develop and change in its own time and on its own terms, thus preventing schisms and infighting and lots of ugliness.

Yes! I'm kind of wondering when it no longer became possible. When his mother died (and would have lived, if they'd listened to him)? Obi-Wan making him party to their duplicity? Or even if it was possible right up to the end, when Palpatine, and therefore Padmé, was threatened?
irnan
Dec. 9th, 2010 04:27 pm (UTC)
Re: *FLAIL*
Her compassion is very -- impersonal? There's this sort of disconnect between being a compassionate leader and feeling compassion for people she actually interacts with in a meaningful way. [...] I'm not sure Padmé ever really understood Anakin or even had any particular interest in doing so.

Exactly, yeah. I think Padmé's compassion and understanding is all intellectual, all in her head. There's no part of her that understands what Anakin, for example, has (most likely) been through in the war beyond a distanced idea of "war is Terrible And Bad". Part of the reason I don't like her is because her compassion seems to stem from ideals more than experience, or direct, intimate knowledge of other people's troubles. That makes her politics seem patronising to me, and the way she handles her personal life hypocritical. Worst of all is that she doesn't even notice there's that disconnect; she assumes she knows everything, and when her gut instinct or her sunconscious is telling her she's got no clue, she doesn't know how to deal with that (viz: the scene in ROTS where she's all TELL ME EVERYTHING NOW - WAIT NO JUST HOLD ME AND PRETEND NOTHING'S WRONG.)

Though I think Leia would find it much harder to break with the Rebellion; she'd definitely have some difficult explanations to provide.

Absolutely. And in my headcanon, she also feels a certain sense of obligation towards her dead foster-parents. I think they did the best for her that they could do under the circumstances, and she feels that she owes it to them to acknowledge that and help build the New Republic - at least for a while.

I'm kind of wondering when it no longer became possible.

In the office, I think. After Mace was all "I'll trust you if you turn out to be right", thereby PROVING finally that the Council hasn't ever trusted Anakin since he first set foot on Coruscant, and then spouting Sith beliefs by saying Palpatine was too dangerous to let live... I think that was when Anakin gave up believing that the Jedi were better than Palpatine, and that he owed them loyalty, or should strive to be like them.

(But then, I struggle with the popular idea that Padmé or Obi-Wan could have redeemed him at Mustafar, too. On the one hand... he loves Padmé and he'd do anything for her. On the other, the whole two hours of ROTS was spent setting up his total isolation from and undermining of his trust in the both of them, culminating in proof that neither of them really love him because they won't do for him what he'd do for them. Whereas Luke is the one who saves him because Anakin never doubts how much his son loves him.)
ladyhadhafang
Aug. 9th, 2011 07:25 pm (UTC)
Very interesting! :D Loved it. :)
elizabeth_hoot
Aug. 9th, 2011 10:25 pm (UTC)
Thank you!
ladyhadhafang
Aug. 9th, 2011 11:10 pm (UTC)
You're very welcome. :)
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