Dark Rival, book two of the Jedi Apprentice series written by Jude Watson, continues the story of Qui-Gon Jinn and Obi-Wan Kenobi.
The aspects of this book I’m going to focus on today are Obi-Wan’s enlightenment, the truth and lies of the Jedi Masters, and the character of Guerra.
It seems that Obi-Wan’s enlightenment did not last long. His long strides towards the rank of Jedi Knight took a few steps back once he began to ponder, in more reflective terms, why he was rejected by Qui-Gon as an apprentice. It seems Qui-Gon’s rejection ran deeper than Obi-wan thought, and upon reaching Bandomeer with the enigmatic Knight Obi-Wan fully felt the cut of that father-figure denial: “Obi-wan had thought he had begun to accept this (his life as a farmer), but it was hard” (11).
Can enlightenment be lost?
I get Obi-Wan’s feelings here. There are times I feel so completely sure about something – like belief in God – and other times when the idea seems absolutely insane to me. Obi-Wan thought he had made his peace with being a farmer, but after going through all the adventures with Qui-Gon, and receiving a little taste of what it means to be a Padawan learner and righting the wrongs of the universe, Obi-Was no longer complacent with his fate. He wanted more. But maybe this moment of clarity did not necessarily preclude the possibility of him still being a Jedi Knight.
Upon reaching Bandomeer, and thinking about his future, Obi-Wan figured out he still wanted to be a Knight, but maybe the difference here was that he didn’t desire it as passionately as before. Maybe Obi-Wan’s feeling of contentment and clarity killed the feelings of ego which were fueling his desire to be a Knight. Maybe the feelings of pride and superiority – superiority over Bruck and others at the temple – were finally quenched. Maybe he realized that being a farmer was not a bad thing, but that he we made for something else – his skills were better suited to serve the justice of the galaxy not as a farmer, but as a Padawan learner under the tutelage of Qui-Gon Jinn.
Obi-Wan’s enlightenment was not lost, simply refocused into a truer understanding of his future self. Obi-wan realized the truth of who he is – and it was this truth he needed to present to Qui-Gon Jinn. This brings me to my next point – the idea of truth.
Obi-Wan wanted desperately to ask Qui-Gon why he was still being rejected, to questions the Master’s wisdom, but he knew he could not: “But one of the Jedi’s most serious rules was not to cross-examine a Master. Truth can hold great power. Therefore the decision to share it must be weighed. Only the Master could decide on revelation or concealment, according to the greater good” (12). The line ‘truth can hold great power’ reminded me of one of Abel Pena’s essays titled Lies of the Jedi Masters. In this essay Pena expertly deconstructs many of the lies told by the Jedi Master’s in the films, and reveals for his reader the deeper wisdom contained in their half-truths and ‘points-of-view’.
Sometimes the teacher needs to hide the truth from their student, so as to help them along the path of enlightenment. As Pena explains in terms of Star Wars what the great Jewish thinker Maimonides means in his work The Guide of the Perplexed when he explains that a teacher must sometimes deceive their student: “In plain English, that means that sometimes your Padawans aren't yet smart enough or experienced enough to absorb certain facts. So, you tell 'em the half of the truth they are ready to accept, letting it seep in so that they start deriving the logical conclusions from that fact themselves, thus helping them to prepare themselves for the second half of the truth.” It’s remarkable that Obi-Wan was able, in some capacity, to realize the wisdom of not challenging your Master at every turn at such a young age. It took Luke a while to realize that the half-truths spoken to him by Obi-Wan and Yoda were for the greater good.
If you’ve got a few moments take the time to read Pena’s essay. It’s awesome.
Finally, one of the lighter aspects of The Dark Rival was the character of Guerra. This Phindian made me laugh out loud. In one of the more funnier lines of the book, Guerra declares: “I like you, Obawan. So! I’ll watch out for you – ha! Not so, I lie again! I trust nobody and nobody trusts me.”
Guerra: master of the “not” joke.
For my next post I’m going to look at the third book of the Jedi Apprentice series The Hidden Past. Until then my friends, may the Force be with you.