Friday, June 17, 2011
41 BBY: Jedi Apprentice: The Death of Hope
With his love now dead, Qui-Gon is failing miserably at handling the emotional fallout. By the end of the book he is vowing revenge, a response which is a deeply human trait, but a trait not shared by the Jedi (a line more eloquently put at the back of The Call to Vengeance).
Those of you who have been reading my blog for a while probably know my stance on Jedi marriage. I’m not exactly against it, but I think it’s better if a Jedi were to remain unmarried (I use the term “unmarried” loosely here. I basically mean single and celibate). I feel that a life of celibacy is the highest call for the Jedi, and the highest ideal. To be a Jedi requires sacrifice. Jedi have been given a great gift, and they must share that gift with the universe devoting their life to peace and nonviolent conflict resolution. However, in our modern world sacrifice is a hard concept to sell. Admittedly I’m influenced by Christian scripture when I say this, and when I think of the idea of Jedi celibacy, I think of St. Paul’s words from his first letter to the Corinthians when he writes: “He who is unmarried cares for the things of the Lord-how he may please the Lord. But he who is married cares about the things of the world-how he may please his wife” (1 Cor 7: 32-33). I palimpsest this to mean that if a Jedi remains unmarried, he has unhindered devotion to the Force, and may concern himself with only the matters of the Force: the training of his padawan, the maintenance of peace in the galaxy, and meditating on the will of the Force. But if a Jedi is married, he may lose his “spiritual” focus, and forget things like his call to justice, his obedience to the Republic, or otherwise become too concerned with “earthly” matters, and interest himself with only “pleasing his wife”. Where would a Jedi’s first priority lie? With his vocation, or his family?
I know that in the past the Jedi Council never had an issue with Jedi marrying (I’m thinking around the time of Nomi Sunrider), but in my examination of Star Wars history to date it hasn’t been made clear exactly when the Jedi began to forbid this practice. (I may have missed something, so if you know when the Jedi as a collective put the kybosh of Jedi being married please let me know).
From what I do know of marriage, and I can say this with absolute certainty, is that love and marriage elicit powerful emotions, both positive and negative. The positive is fine, but what of the negative? How does an extremely powerful being, like Qui-Gon Jinn, deal with the negative side of unjustly losing the one he loves the most? Does he then get to decide the fate of the beings responsible for that death and fill the role of judge, jury, and executioner?
It evident throughout the text that Qui-Gon is barley maintaining his composure, almost falling to his dark emotions on numerous occasions: “Thinking of Tahl helpless, her mind active but her body deteriorating, made him want to rip the room apart” (19). And when faced with delay, his calm Jedi centre is nowhere to be found: “Another delay. Qui-Gon wanted to bellow his rage to the sky” (69). Finally, when the thing he is attached to the most (when compassionate detachment is a Jedi ideal), he begins to slip down the dark path: “He felt her breath go in, then out, soft against his cheek. Then it did not resume…Qui-Gon looked down at Tahl’s lifeless body. His hand still clasped hers. ‘There is only revenge’” (149,152).
There is no emotion, there is only peace. But peace is a lie.
My next post will take me to Qui-Gon’s revenge, and we’ll see if the Jedi Code will be able to return him to his senses in book 15 of the Jedi Apprentice series, The Call to Vengeance. Until then my friends, may the Force be with you.