Are Sith Lords made, or are they born? I think in the case of Count Dooku, the latter is true.
After thousands of years of galactic Star Wars history I have finally broken into the century of the prequel trilogy and now find myself at the year 89 BBY. I’m excited to flush out the nitty gritty details of this era and explore in detail the stories of the great Jedi knights and masters of this period.
Legacy of the Jedi is a great little book written by Jude Watson that explores some of the backstory of Count Dooku, Qui-Gon Jinn, and Obi-Wan Kenobi. With children as his intended audience, Watson does well keeping his narrative simple and easy to follow.
For the purposes of this post I’m going to ignore my own advice and only deal with the first two narratives of this book; namely, the story of Dooku as a boy and the master/apprentice relationship of Dooku and Qui-Gon. I know I said I was going to comment on Legacy of the Jedi in its entirety, but after reading the third part of this book and the story of Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan I decided I wanted to deal with that story in its proper context – between Jedi Apprentice #8 and the trade paperback The Stark Hyperspace War. It’s a meaty enough story over 100 pages that probably deserves its own post anyway.
Looking at the first story in this book, I enjoyed Watson’s characterization of Dooku as a boy. At first I thought that he had dropped the ball with Dooku’s characterization because I felt that the 13 year old padawan Dooku was no different from the Dooku we first meet in Attack of the Clones. After reading the story I thought ‘Where was the child here? Where was the young boy?’. Minus a few tales of mischief between Dooku and Lorian, it seemed like Dooku was 13 going on 45. However, after thinking about this I realized that Watson’s sketch of Dooku was spot on. Dooku was never a child; he was an adult trapped in a child’s body, carrying the ‘wisdom’ of Jedi Master, all the while maintaining an almost constant control of his emotions – that is, or course, until he doesn’t.
This is a great story which gives us an indication of the workings of Dooku’s mind. What’s interesting about Dooku as a boy is that when we first meet him he’s already working without a moral framework. It seems Dooku’s actions are not defined by what is “right” or “wrong”, but by the perceived rewards or punishments such actions would produce. When talking about the plot to steal the Sith holocron, Dooku’s ‘frienemy’ Lorian rightly points out to the star padawan: “ ‘If you could do it without the risk of getting caught, you would do it’. Lorian said. ‘So the fact that it’s wrong isn’t really the reason you won’t. Maybe you’re not the true Jedi you think you are’” (pg 7).
Additionally, although it was not directly stated in the book, it’s apparent that Dooku bought-in to the mentality of Jedi elitism – even if the Jedi reject such a notion themselves. Dooku always believed because he was strong with the Force he should be treated differently. It also seemed he enjoyed being on Senator Blix Annon’s luxury cruiser as a Jedi Knight – even if such a mission was “beneath him”. He was not impressed with luxury, but did “appreciate elegance”. I verily picture Dooku moving regally through the ship, his cloak flowing with his movements.
As I said at the beginning of this post, it seems to me Sith Lords are born, not made – at least in the case of Dooku. Even going through the teachings of the Jedi Order, which place humility and servitude as virtues, Dooku cannot help but respect strength and power, while distaining those who are feeble. When speaking of the Alains and their current political situation, Dooku says: “ Then they are also weak, which is worse” (79). It’s a testimony to the strength and abilities of Qui-Gon to be able to filter out the teachings of his wayward master, even dismissing his master’s final words to him: “You are always alone, and betrayal is inevitable”(98).
The story of Qui-Gon’s tutelage under Dooku was noteworthy, as at times it seemed like Qui-Gon was the master, while Dooku was the apprentice. If not for his student, Dooku would have easily given into his temptation to kill his old enemy Lorian when he had the chance: “His Padawan had revealed to him what he should have known already. He could not go down this road” (94). Qui-Gon also had no hesitation taking his master to task: “ ‘So what did you learn from the mission Padawan?’ he asked Qui-Gon… ‘That you will withhold facts from me that I need to know’” (95).
For my next post I’m going to look at Tales #13: Stones found in Star Wars Tales volume 4. I know Joe has listed the first chapters of the novels Order 66 and Millennium Falcon, along with some flashbacks from Prelude to Rebellion and the story of Jango Fett in his timeline between these sources, but I think I’m going to engage with Order 66 at the end of 36 ABG – the last source before 37 ABG, and Millennium Falcon at 42 ABY as a retrospective on the ship we all know and love (I’m probably going to the same with the Chewbacca TBP as well). As for the flashbacks in Prelude to Rebellion and Open Seasons, I’ll deal with those at their proper dates, and comment on the flashbacks if need be. Until then my friends, may the Force be with you.