Wednesday, June 22, 2011
41 BBY: Jedi Apprentice: The Call to Vengeance
In The Call to Vengeance, book 16 in the Jedi Apprentice series, Qui-Gon Jinn battled his most formidable enemy: himself.
In a scene reminiscent of Anakin and the sand people from AOTC, Qui-Gon Jinn, intrepid Jedi Knight and upholder of peace and justice in the galaxy, stood over his most hated enemy Balog to deliver a deathblow, when out of the silence of the Force came a voice.
For Anakin Skywalker, 19 years further along in history and long after the death of his Master’s Master, that voice was Qui-Gon Jinn. Turning his rage onto the Tusken Raider camp and those responsible for the murder of his mother Anakin begins to indiscriminately kill while Qui-Gon can be heard shouting to the enraged padawan through the Force “Anakin! Anakin no!”.
“At last, Qui-Gon’s enemy lay at his feet, just as he’d imagined. He stood over Balog, his lightsaber high, prepared for the stroke that would bring him so much satisfaction. ‘No, Qui-Gon’” (128). Hearing a voice call to him, one so close to his ear yet so far away, Qui-Gon at first mistook it for Obi-Wan’s. When Obi-Wan told Qui-Gon that he had not spoken a word to him as he stood over Balog, Qui-Gon realized the voice he heard – the one that pleaded with him – was the voice of Tahl, his love.
How fortunate for Qui-Gon to have listen to the voice which called from beyond. How unfortunate for Anakin that he did not.
Beyond Qui-Gon’s stepping back from the brink of the darkside, there were a few other scenes of interest that I’d like to comment on. Firstly, I’m enjoying more and more the character of Bant. As she progresses with Obi-Wan through the Jedi Apprentice story her characterization is beginning to be flushed out in more detail. In a particularly neat scene I found it humanizing how she struggled with emotionally handling the Jedi code in times of terrible distress: “The tears tumbled down her face. ‘It hurts so much, Obi-Wan. I can’t find peace in her death. I know I’m supposed to accept it. I can’t’” (58). In this scene Bant is nothing more than a 14-year-old girl, struggling desperately with powerful emotions of loss and emptiness, turning to her Jedi training for solace, and finding that philosophic words of wisdom, as wise as they may be, can do nothing to assuage the sublime feelings in her heart. It was one of the first times I actually felt and emotional connection with Bant.
Secondly, Watson has done well with handling the characterization of Mace Windu. Every so often, when multiple authors use an established character from Star Wars lore in their story, they really screw him or her up. Though I have yet to come across this in the literature I’ve read so far, it’s one of the complaints I’ve read about from other fans. I’ve come across more than a few internet posts about some author’s poor characterization of Jania Solo, and in some case, Luke Skywalker. Needless to say, I don’t have that complaint with Watson about Mace.
Watson handled the scene between Mace and Qui-Gon at the beginning of the story masterfully. Though Mace Windu is not the Grand Master of the Jedi Order, his presence on the planet seems more impactful than Yoda’s. He arrived on New Apsolon as the heavy – there to make sure everyone stays in line, or else. Yet even though he most likely knew Qui-Gon was reeling from Tahl’s death, he was still gentle yet firm with his college: “Qui-Gon saw that Mace was trying to be kind. There was a deep sympathy in his sober gaze” (19). Never once through the story did Watson have Windu do or say something which would be out of character for the stoic knight. She did well.
Lastly, like in the book Defenders of the Dead, Watson’s description of the Force as it surrounded Qui-Gon is interesting: “He couldn’t sense his Master and longer. There was only grayness and static between them” (117). Twice now has Obi-Wan’s description of the Force as it surrounds his master been described as “gray”. Maybe there is something to the notion of gray Jedi. We know there are other schools of thought on the Force beyond the Jedi and Sith. Maybe Qui-Gon has unknowingly tapped into an, as of yet unexplored, aspect of the Force.
For my next post I’ll be moving on to book 17 of the Jedi Apprentice series, The Only Witness. It’s looking like I’ll complete the Jedi Apprentice series by the end of the month, and then I’ll backtrack and cover all the sources that have come out since I started reading JA. Maybe I’ll get lucky and get in 8 posts this month. Until then my friends, may the Force be with you.