How do Jedi handle love?
If you’re Qui-Gon Jinn, you do so in the healthiest manner possible; by acknowledging the feeling and being honest with those that the feeling affects the most.
Yet, I can’t help but point out that it was Qui-Gon Jinn who warned Obi-Wan of the dangerous of love in Mythology. His story of the two brothers who inadvertently killed their master over the love of a woman was told to warn the boy that love, passionate love, can lead to no good.
Sometimes it’s hard to take our own advice.
But was it love Qui-Gon was talking about in that story, or Eros: passion? Passion I think, yet, I can’t help but ask: does the love Qui-Gon feel for Tahl not contain some of that dangerous passion the Master warned the pupil about? I think it might.
Love, passionate love, love that is filled with eros, philos, and agape, must be one of the greatest emotional crises a Jedi could face. And no doubt, Qui-Gon is struggling with the physical element of love: those deep bodily desires to express to the person you are in love with an intimate embrace meant only for the two of you. Qui-Gon’s sexual tension is evident: “In the days since Tahl had left, Qui-Gon’s restlessness had deepened. Obi-Wan could see it. His Master had already decided to follow their tracking and survival exercises with physical training at the Temple. Qui-Gon threw himself into this without a break. He studied with the Jedi Masters, perfecting his battle skills, his endurance, his strength” (26). Surely Qui-Gon must release that energy somewhere. But is this the Jedi thing to so? Practicing and honing skills meant for battle? Should he not meditate and release this energy in a more passive non-violent form?
Oh, the agony of being a Jedi AND that highly complicated, nuanced, and imperfect being called a Human. Finding balance – this is the Jedi way.
Qui-Gon’s dealing with his own emotional state has raised my opinion of him. He chose not to repress, ignore or otherwise hide and disguise his feelings. In a moment of enlightenment, he realized he was either not properly acknowledging what was going on between him and Tahl, or finally gave himself permission to be honest with himself: “At last he had come to see the truth. He touched it and marveled at it and laughed at himself for not seeing it earlier. He had done all this in the space of a moment” (122). Qui-Gon’s next step is truly remarkable, and it’s remarkable because he is a Jedi. He tells Tahl how he feels about her, honestly and directly. And also remarkable is Tahl’s response. She too acknowledges her feelings and shares her love with him.
Yet not once does the word love ever escape their lips. They “pledge” themselves to each other and declare they will have “one life together, filled with separations” (124). So I have to ask, are they being truly honest with each other, or are they purposely skirting this word because they don’t want to acknowledge the emotional ramifications such a word carries?
It’ll be interesting to see how this will play out, and how everyone on the periphery of these two will react. Will Qui-Gon and Tahl hide their pledge? Will they be open with it? Or will they fall somewhere in between, neither making it public knowledge, nor hiding from the truth if asked or questioned. I imagine it being the latter. Knowing what we know about Qui-Gon, I imagine it’ll only be a matter of time before the Jedi Council catch wind of this, and I also imagine that the advice or admonishment the Council will give will be for these two to abandon their pledge, telling them to realize that such strong emotions, emotions exclusive to couples, can be dangerous and lead to the darkside. I can also see Qui-Gon telling the Council that he is a Jedi, and an adult, and in love with Tahl, and as such, can balance all three of these things while still remaining on the side of light.
And what of Obi-Wan? Do what we know about his future adult relationships, namely Duchess Satine, give us any indication of how he will handle love? Does Qui-Gon’s poor example of honesty, though noble, lead to what the Jedi Council might predict: darkness, anger, and pain? Does Obi-Wan take Qui-Gon’s experience to heart, and decide that the best way for a Jedi to handle this strong emotion is to suppress it, and put fidelity to the Order above all?
Does Obi-Wan realize that much is asked of those who much is given, namely the power of the Force, and that such gifts require sacrifice somewhere else, whether wanted or not?
What ramifications are in store for these two lovers, for lovers they are, and I imagine, lovers they will always remain.
For my next post I'm going to look at book 15 in the Jedi Apprentice series, The Death of Hope. Until then my friends, may the Force be with you.