anghraine: vader and luke dueling in esb (anakin and luke)
[personal profile] anghraine
An anon at Tumblr asked:

Star wars questions: I've only seen the original trilogy and force awakens so far. And I was wondering - is it ever considered morally right for a Jedi to kill? I would think not, that murder is something only people on the dark side would use. Yet Obi Wan and Yoda seemed to imply that want Luke to kill his father for the greater good etc And I've always been surprised by this. Why do Jedi seem to approve of murder yet not associate it with dark or evil? Unless Jedi don't frown on murder?

My response:

Killing and murder are not the same thing, though I think the Jedi walk a pretty damn narrow line there.

In their own view, Jedi are essentially paladins locked into a holy war when it comes to the Sith. Anyone who uses the Dark Side is inherently fallen, dangerous, and in thrall to a destructively malevolent power–and I do accept this take on things. Darksiders do have to be fought. And the Jedi’s perspective is that they are called upon to do so.

By now, the customary form for that fight is “duel to the death.” It’s not simply an assassination–it’s a duel, conducted face to face and highly ritualized. Any time a Jedi and a Sith openly meet, they kick off the duel. So if/when they’re looking for each other to have it out, both sides are doing so with the expectation that it’ll end in death.

However, “killing Sith” is not actually why the Jedi are around or what they’re specifically trained to do. It’s more of an occupational hazard. So the situation with Obi-Wan and Yoda’s shenanigans with Luke is somewhat different.

They don’t regard Luke as an assassin, per se. But taking out the Sith is not a hazard of Luke’s training; it’s the point of Luke’s training. He’s being prepared for a duel with Anakin, ideally concluding in Anakin’s death. However, Luke himself would not voluntarily enter a duel to the death (or any duel) with his father. His teachers conceal that relationship from him, preventing him from making an informed choice in a matter of life and death.

If their plan had gone through, hm, I don’t think Luke would be a murderer. He and Vader would enter into a standard Jedi-Sith duel in good faith. But arranging for someone’s death by way of sending a misinformed third party after them is … pretty damn murdery in my books, can’t lie. Even more so as it’s the fruition of twenty years’ planning.

I don’t know if they rationalize it as just like the other cases, or they totally would have told him eventually (lol right), or if it’s justified by the urgency of the case. No matter what, that particular case is sketchy as fuck. I don’t think it’s typical, though. The ritual “oh hey a Jedi/Sith I CHALLENGE YOU” is more the order of the day.

(…..I don’t actually approve of duelling, in case anyone’s worrying about that. But I don’t think it can be considered in the same light as murder unless someone is exploiting the system. And Luke and Vader are the only ones not exploiting the system in the OT.)

I don’t think they have any issue with killing in general, though. They’re knights. It’s always going to be on the cards.

(The Light and Dark Sides are defined by morality to some extent, but morality is not defined by them. The Light Side is ultimately much more neutral than the Dark; using the Light Side doesn't mean people can't be pretty shitty in the end, but turning to the Dark Side prevents someone from being a good person. It's got ... higher entrance requirements, let's say.)

on 2016-07-23 03:59 am (UTC)
sathari: Rey and Kylo Ren in their duel on Starkiller Base with the caption "Force in Balance" (Rey and Kylo- Force in balance)
Posted by [personal profile] sathari
I'm cackling in concurrent glee at your assessment of Obi-wan and Yoda here. (Even though I am a little more comfortable that you with using the term "assassin" for what they made Luke into re: Vader, but you're right that the dueling piece does make it more of a fair shake than the backstabbing-in-the-night approach implied by the term "assassin".) (But then, usually when I'm writing about it in fic, I'm writing from Kylo's POV, and he, from his, ahem, certain point of view is perfectly happy to refer to his dear uncle as "Grandfather's very own patricidal assassin", not least because it makes it ever so much easier for him to swallow his own master's idea of a comprehensive exam before he can get down to the dissertation.) (Yes, I'm referring to Kylo killing Han there.) (Seriously, this whole thing with patricide as end-stage rite of passage for both sides of the force, I can't even.)

on 2016-07-23 04:53 am (UTC)
beatrice_otter: Jedi fighting against a blue background (blue Jedi)
Posted by [personal profile] beatrice_otter
I like that way of distinguishing the Light and Dark side.


anghraine: from the 2005 p&p: darcy standing at a piano while georgiana plays it (Default)

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