anghraine: from the 2005 p&p: darcy standing at a piano while georgiana plays it (luke and leia)
[personal profile] anghraine
This is the next ... ten minutes, maybe? And five of those are pure exposition, so I didn't skip much.

Thank you, Obi-Wan Kenobi.

[TV Tropes warning, though only for one. I think.]

– rammoths are in fact called banthas (which I’d heard of before, but I couldn’t remember which horrific monster they referred to). Now I know, I guess.

And knowing is half the battle!

– The Sand People knock Luke unconscious, drag him over (while R2D2 watches nervously) and start scavenging his ship

– *loud creepy wail*

Enter old guy in a hooded robe. It’s Obi-Wan!

His robe looks pretty much exactly like the ones he and Qui-Gon wore in the prequels.

– Obi-Wan first checks Luke’s wrist for a pulse, which – whatever – and then puts his hand over the top half of Luke’s head. I’m guessing this is some kind of telepathic health-sensing Jedi thing?

– R2D2 gives this adorable sigh-beep. I’m not sure whether it’s “okay, the raiders have gone away but how am I going to deal with this new intruder?” or “phew, it’s going to be okay now!” or “this is all so CONFUSING” or “C-3PO? C-3PO? Where are you? C-3PO?

Anyway, it draws Obi-Wan’s attention, and he takes off his hood, revealing the face of ... a dignified old man.

– OBI-WAN: Hello, there. Come here, my little friend. Don’t be afraid.

For all my issues with Obi-Wan (and they are many), I also love him, and scenes like this are the reason why. He looks at this droid all but cowering in the cave, and in no way dismisses his fear as, I don’t know, faulty programming or something. He’s every bit as gentle and kindly towards R2D2 as he would be towards any frightened, skittish creature.

Obi-Wan rocks.

(And this, I suspect, is why people yammer on so much about the whole patricide thing. If he’d come across as a dispassionate, manipulating bastard, it’d be par for the course, but it’s kind of horrifying with the mentor who all but radiates virtue and compassion. [I suspect the same goes for Dumbledore hatred in HP fandom.])

– OBI-WAN: Don’t worry, he’ll be all right.

Definitely telepathic health-sensing Jedi thing.

– OBI-WAN: Rest easy, son.

I suspect Vader would have gladly killed him for that phrase alone. It’s kind of indicative of how Obi-Wan still regards him Anakin that he uses it, though.

– Once Luke wakes up (dazed but no worse for wear, apparently) Obi-Wan starts ... I don’t know. There’s this weird disconnect between what he says and how he says it. His words are perfectly normal -- “you’re lucky to be all in one piece” -- but spoken in this Deeply Enigmatic manner that gives us every impression that luck has nothing whatsoever to do with it and he’s quite possibly talking about something different altogether.

(I think we can safely assume it wasn’t luck. Exactly how close an eye does Obi-Wan keep on Luke?)

– LUKE: *rubs his head* *blinks* *looks up* Ben?!

Ha! He does know him: enough to be shocked/thrilled to see him there, anyway. He definitely recognises him on sight, which I honestly couldn’t do for most of my neighbours.

– OBI-WAN: *enigmatically* The Jundland Wastes are not to be travelled lightly.

Okay, so that’s what this place is.

– Another reason I like Obi-Wan: he says ‘young Luke’ instead of ‘young Skywalker.’ I’m not sure why this seems important, but it does. (Yoda and Palpatine do it, and even -- particularly? -- Vader at first.)

– The moment Luke points to R2D2 and says he’s looking for his former master, Obi-Wan’s expression goes from enigmatic to guarded. I’m not sure if he recognises him, but he’s definitely suspicious about something.

– LUKE: I’ve never seen such devotion in a droid before.
R2D2: *keening beep*

Aww. R2 is special!

We always knew it.

– LUKE: ... an Obi-Wan Kenobi. Do you know him? Is he a relative of yours?

Obi-Wan’s expression immediately goes from ‘carefully neutral’ to ‘alarmed.’ He looks less surprised than freaked out, and actually has to sit down.

– OBI-WAN: Obi-Wan Kenobi. Obi-Wan . . . *calms* Now that’s a name I’ve not heard in a very. long. time. A long time.

Later he’ll specify that he hasn’t heard it since before Luke was born, which has to be between fifteen and twenty years. But if Qui-Gon were visiting him after Luke’s birth, wouldn’t – oh, never mind.

– LUKE: I think my uncle knows him. He said he was dead.
OBI-WAN, quickly: Oh, he’s not dead. Well, not yet.
LUKE: You know him?
OBI-WAN: *looks amused* Well, of course I know him! *touches his chest* He’s me.

There’s no ‘I was him’ claptrap here, and certainly nothing of the ‘but that was another life’ or ‘that man is dead’ kind of thing we’ll get with Anakin. While Obi-Wan is clearly taken aback to hear his real name, and worried about the implications, he nevertheless treats his past self and his present self as a single, wholly integrated individual. ‘Ben’ is not another self, it’s a pseudonym.

Also, I provide Luke’s reaction to the shocking revelation that his uncle blatantly lied to him.



“Hm, interesting. Tell me more.”

... Yeah.

– LUKE: So the droid does belong to you.
OBI-WAN, enigmatically: I don’t seem to recall ever owning a droid.
(He looks ... coy?)
R2D2: *depressed beep*
OBI-WAN: Ver-ry interesting.
(Assume that I’m adding ‘enigmatically’ to everything he says.)

Okay, at this point I don’t even follow. Was R2D2 his droid? His reply is certainly cagey enough to allow for it, but why would he lie at this point? Except for the Anakin = Vader (sort of) thing, Obi-Wan is the one who wants Luke to know about the past – why would he balk at ‘why yes, I do seem to recall owning a droid like this one,’ of all things? But if not, why is R2D2 so utterly convinced that Obi-Wan is his master?

– LOL, poor 3PO. He’s always getting dismembered.

– C-3PO: I’m done for!
LUKE: No, you’re not! What kind of talk is that?

Pure melodrama, of course. You’ll get used to it.

Reason #2742829248 that people were more willing to put up with teenage!Luke’s whining than teenage!Anakin’s: Luke is a genuinely sweet kid. It’s in the nature of his type to be compassionate, but even before Obi-Wan gets to him, our hero cares even for things generally treated with about as much respect and dignity as a Furby.

This may be a reason the prequels’ dark!Jesus thing didn’t bother me that much. The Messianic overtones were pretty much there from the get-go – it always seemed that Anakin and Luke were ... two halves of a Messiah, I guess. (Oh, look! Yet another reason to dislike Leia-as-a-Skywalker. How many ways can we subordinate her in her own family?)

– To Obi-Wan, C-3PO must be vastly insignificant, while Luke Skywalker is about the most important person in the galaxy. So naturally, his response to Luke’s heroics will be to keep him from risking his precious midichlorian-rich Force-sensitive blood for a mass-produced droid, yes?

No.

OBI-WAN: *picks up 3PO from the other side* Quickly, they’re on the move.

And that’s how Obi-Wan Kenobi rolls.

– LUKE: Oh, my father didn’t fight in the wars. He was a navigator on a spice freighter.

Spice again. It doesn’t come across as illegal here (you just know what kind of boringly respectable work Owen would come up with). Maybe it’s like chocolate in the YW-verse, where it’s insanely rare outside of one planet (Earth) and the characters can stop a battle with a Hershey’s bar.

Also: wars? what wars? I know what’s in the prequels, of course, but in the OT continuity? *curious*

Also: navigator on a spice freighter.

What.

– OBI-WAN: That’s what your uncle told you.

Enlightenment dawns.

– OBI-WAN: He didn’t hold with your father’s ideals. Thought he should have stayed here and not ‘gotten involved.’

Wait, wait, what?

If we accept the prequel continuity, then – I don’t know. Owen thinks Anakin should have just stayed in slavery? Or that when he came back to find his mother he should have – what? Given up the whole Jedi thing, which he’d nearly finished, and mooched off of Owen’s father instead? And what does Owen even know of Anakin’s ideals, except ‘touch my family and die’?

It doesn’t really work. No, the implication here is that Anakin was living on Tatooine, presumably with his and Owen’s family, when the war came. In all probability, he and Owen were brought up together; for all we know, they may even have been literal brothers -- though I’ll admit I don’t get that impression.

Anyway, whatever the technicalities of their relationship and regardless of their personal differences, the brothers stuck together until the wars. Anakin the idealist went off to fight. Owen the dutiful pragmatist disapproved and stayed home.

Then – oh right, the movie.

*pushes play*

– LUKE: You fought in the Clone Wars?

They were actually called the Clone Wars! I thought they were, but I wasn’t sure, so hurrah.

I’m curious how they were originally conceived – for myself, I’d always imagined they were fought against clones, just from the name. Honestly, I’m still not sure why the prequel version would even be called the Clone Wars instead of, say, the Separatist Wars or even the Civil Wars. (Now I’m trying to imagine our Civil War being called War of the Ironclads because, y’know, it was a war, and there were ironclads in it.)

Because Yoda said so, I guess. But still: yay continuity!

– OBI-WAN: *laughs* Yes. I was once a Jedi Knight, the same as your father.

Once? Then he feels he isn’t one, any more?

*sob*

He breaks off, staring into the distance with an even more enigmatic expression than usual, if that is humanly possible. Why, it’s almost as if he were dwelling on some unrevealed, yet deeply significant detail, and trying to decide whether to tell Luke about it or not.

</conspiracy theorist>

– LUKE, sadly: I wish I’d known him.
OBI-WAN: He was the best starpilot in the galaxy ... and a cunning warrior.

Awesome. I wish we’d known him too.

Seriously, OT!Anakin sounds kickass. He was talented, clever, powerful, a dreamer, an idealist, a warrior, the best starpilot alive ... and all of this as a good guy.

I need hardly mention that prequel!Anakin doesn’t exactly match this description. Honestly, Vader seems more like this Anakin -- which, I suspect, is why we’re naturally shocked at the reveal, but not really surprised.

I mean, a twist can make you go ‘WTF?! But I don’t understand! How does that even work?’ But it can also be ‘OMG OMG I can’t believe this but wait, that’s why – holy shit, everything makes sense now MY BRAIN IS BREAKING FROM THE AWESOME.’ A good twist fits so well into the established facts that there’s a feeling of of course with it and not just what? what?! what?!

In this case, we know that Anakin Skywalker was a badass warrior-starpilot-Jedi. Darth Vader too is a badass warrior-starpilot-Jedi, but high on evil and crazy. When it turns out that Vader minus the cracktastic bits is in fact Anakin Skywalker, it’s shocking but makes a weird kind of sense, too. The math, it works!

Also, notice that Obi-Wan always speaks of Anakin as an adult and an equal – the suggestion here is that they were war buddies. When we add in the ESB continuity, this turns out to be a splendid bit of misdirection.

– OBI-WAN: I understand you’ve become quite a good pilot yourself.
LUKE: *smiles bashfully* *shrugs* *goes back to working on C-3PO*

Luke, poor kid, must be walking nostalgia for every single person who ever knew his father.

And Obi-Wan is keeping tabs on him, or somehow manages to hear about his racing prowess despite living as a hermit.  Maybe it's a random conversation with some disgruntled kid – ‘and damn Skywalker wins the damn race like EVERY SINGLE TIME’ and Obi-Wan being equally alarmed and thrilled.

Or maybe he skulks in the sagebrush or something, and that’s why he fortuitously shows up when Luke’s endangered, as here.

– OBI-WAN:*affectionate, wistful look* And he was a good friend.

*BAWL*

I would really have liked to see this; we got snippets, but mostly we were just told about it. (Also, again, the indication is that the relationship was primarily a friendship between equals, even if Obi-Wan was much older. More Han and Luke than Obi-Wan and Luke.)

– OBI-WAN: Which reminds me, I have something here for you. Your father wanted you to have this, when you were old enough, but your uncle wouldn’t allow it.

Obviously in the official continuity, Obi-Wan is lying through his teeth here. However, even if you only accept ANH and ESB, it’s ... challenging.

The implication here is not only that Anakin wanted his lightsabre to go to Luke, he told Obi-Wan so.

Therefore, (1) Anakin and Obi-Wan were on speaking terms at this point, and likely still BFFs, (2) Anakin knew about his child, (3) Obi-Wan knew about Anakin’s child, (4) Anakin didn’t expect that he’d need the lightsabre himself, and (5) Anakin didn’t expect that he’d be able to hand it over to Luke personally -- instead he gave it to Obi-Wan, for him to pass on to Luke.

So, Anakin didn’t think he’d need his lightsabre, and he didn’t think he’d be there to give it to Luke -- sacred deathbed promise, anyone? Except Anakin isn’t dead. So perhaps he just thought he was going to die on some uber-dangerous mission or something, made a new lightsabre, gave the old one to Obi-Wan, and survived to be evil. </fanwank>

Also, it seems that Luke hit the appropriate age for a lightsabre some time earlier. Obi-Wan wanted to get the lightsabre to him then, and presumably start his training, but Owen wouldn’t let him.

He really didn’t want Luke to be a Jedi. (We have no idea what Beru thought of all this -- she’s excised from the narrative, as it were -- but it’s quite possible that, if something had happened to Owen, she’d have been quite happy to join forces with Obi-Wan over Luke’s upbringing. I can only imagine how that would have turned out.)

-- OBI-WAN: He feared that you might follow old Obi-Wan on some damn fool idealistic crusade, like your father did.

Sooo ... back on the ranch moisture farm, Owen had settled down with Beru (given her affectionate, approving “he’s got too much of his father in him,” it seems that she knew her brother-in-law and liked him), while Anakin was dissatisfied and restless. And somehow, Obi-Wan was in the picture as well -- maybe to start Anakin’s training, since Owen seems to think that’s where the trouble started, maybe just as a friend. Anyway, he was there.

At some point, Obi-Wan became involved in whatever this ‘damn fool’ crusade was (I’m guessing the chances of success were rather less than sky-high), and his protégé followed him right into it. From Owen’s POV, sure, Anakin fulfilled all his dreams, just like Luke wants to do -- and, with the able assistance of Obi-Wan, they got him killed.

Then Luke got deposited at the moisture farm, and maybe he was never Owen’s son, but he was Owen’s nephew and, you know, people love their nephews too. You can bet the first decision he made was that what happened to his brother wasn’t going to happen to his brother’s son. No Jedi, no crusades, no starships, just a nice safe life on Tatooine.

Poor Owen.

-- OBI-WAN: Your father’s lightsabre. This is the weapon of a Jedi Knight. Not as clumsy or random as a blaster--
LIGHTSABRE: BZZT!

Nothing will ever make this less awesome.

-- OBI-WAN: For over a thousand generations, the Jedi Knights were the guardians of peace and justice in the Old Republic.

Wow.

To provide a little context, I am forty-one generations removed from Alfred the Great. A thousand generations is ... a seriously long time.

Also, I like to think that they really were guardians of peace and justice, and things were worse after they were gone. I mean, not just because of the tyrannical evil overlord. Because they weren’t there.

It’s fine if the entire order wasn’t sweetness and light. Really. But I would have liked to see them furthering peace or justice in any way at all.

-- OBI-WAN: Before the Dark Times. Before ... the Empire!

DUM DA DUM!

Do we have any idea how long the Empire’s been around? It seems kind of ridiculous to see open scepticism of the Force from people old enough to remember the Jedi. But if Anakin lived openly as a Jedi (namely, under the Republic) until his ‘death,’ which was twenty years earlier at the most --

*thinks*

Well, I guess we're not actually told that Anakin lived openly as a Jedi, just that he was one. Perhaps the Order scattered after the foundation of the Empire. In fact, they may have been more like the Sith in the prequels, living spotless public lives under one identity (General Kenobi!), while continuing in the faith, training apprentices, and generally carrying on the Jedi objectives as much as possible in secret.

They could very well have gone underground for generations, becoming little more than a myth to most of the galaxy (hence the scene where what’s-his-name dismisses the still-devout Vader’s faith as pathetic -- a stupid move, yes, but to him it must have seemed like the Secretary of State arguing that nuclear power is nothing to the might of ATHENA!!). This would necessitate fewer lightsabre duels, obviously.

And hey, if Obi-Wan’s damn fool crusade was distinct from the Clone Wars, it could actually have been against the Empire -- the Jedi finally making a concerted attack on the Empire (or at least forming some kind of resistance). If he had actually been training Anakin as a Jedi on Tatooine, of course they went together. Jedi duty calls! (And the present day Rebellion could be the successor to the old Jedi Resistance.)

</ultra fanwank>

-- LUKE: How did my father die?

I’m mildly curious how Owen answered this question, if he did at all (if so, Luke obviously doesn’t believe him -- with good reason, sadly).

Obi-Wan, for his part, looks physically ill, glances away, and then back at Luke--

-- OBI-WAN: A young Jedi named Darth Vader, who was a pupil of mine until he turned to evil, helped the Empire hunt down and destroy the Jedi Knights.

So the implication here is that Vader’s mum really did name him Darth (... which would explain why he turned evil Obi-Wan actually calls him that, later on), that he was a Jedi as Vader, and that he was still Obi-Wan’s student when he turned (again, their later conversation backs this up). Only the latter will turn out to be true, because Obi-Wan, much as I like him, is a lying son of a bitch master of misdirection (though not, in turns out, of blatant falsehood).

Also, IMO the implication here isn’t that Vader singlehandedly destroyed the Jedi, or even that he was in charge of the effort, but that the Empire was already hunting them (... explaining Anakin’s expectation of death). Vader assisted the effort when he turned; as a traitor, his information may have been of even more service than his lightsabre.

-- OBI-WAN: *stares ahead, then eyes Luke shiftily* He betrayed and murdered your father.

Obi-Wan, you’re a dick. You’re also not much of a liar.

Seriously, he glances at him out of the corners of his eyes, then gives him this creepy stare and speaks in a Very. Emphatic. Voice. I don’t even know what Alec Guinness was going for here, but it comes across as deeply suspicious. I’m not sure he’s telling the truth even in the ANH continuity.

If he is, I guess Vader was originally supposed to be Anakin’s friend? Well, Anakin was Obi-Wan’s friend/war-buddy and Vader was his student, so they’d have been in a position to know each other. Theoretically, little!Darth (...hee) might have found the adventurous young Anakin a lot more approachable than Obi-Wan, while also admiring him as an older, cooler Jedi, and so developed a sort of camaraderie with him. Thus when Vader personally hunted him down and killed him, it would have been a betrayal of Anakin specifically, and not just part of his general treason.

Of course it’s all academic after ESB. (Personally, I find Vader both more badass and less despicable as evil!Anakin then as Anakin’s own Peter Pettigrew. *shudder*)

-- LUKE: *looks horrified, in a restrained way*
OBI-WAN: Now, the Jedi are all but extinct.

I wonder what ‘all but’ means? He doesn’t specifically say which ones survived, but IIRC it’s pretty strongly implied in ESB that he and Yoda, and then Luke, are the only ones left.

-- OBI-WAN: *stares ahead* Vader was seduced by the Dark Side of the Force.

Happily, there’s no indication that Vader had some innate vulnerability to the Dark Side, that he was already a self-absorbed jerkass, or that he had perfectly legitimate concerns which drove him to desperation and eventually to despair. These are, of course, all true in the prequels, which bizarrely manages to treat his fall as both inevitable and a tragedy which might easily have been averted at any number of points by any number of people.

In ANH, it doesn’t seem that Vader was drawn to the Dark Side for any secondary benefits it could provide him. Rather, he was simply a student who became interested in the Dark Side itself.

This could be Obi-Wan’s hindsight bias, of course, but I don’t think so. While his understanding of Vader’s psyche is shown to be ... somewhat less than perfect, I don’t think we can accuse him of being too understanding. Yet here he clearly frames Vader as a victim of the Dark Side -- passive voice and all.

Huh.

------------------------------

(1) Jedi, or at least Obi-Wan, are able to determine the state of someone’s health telepathically, though it seems to require touch.

(2) Luke recognises Obi-Wan on sight.

(3) Luke & Co are in the Jundland Wastes.

(4) Obi-Wan freely admits to being Obi-Wan, but not to owning R2D2 (or any other droid). It’s not clear whether he’s lying or R2D2 is just confused/lying.

(5) While other astrodroids are similarly recalcitrant (per the last post), R2D2’s extreme devotion is not typical.

(6) Obi-Wan has not been addressed as Obi-Wan since before Luke’s birth, 15-20 years prior. By anyone. Yes, apparently including Qui-Gon. No, I don’t know either.

(7) ‘Ben’ was simply a pseudonym, not a persona. Obi-Wan makes no distinction between his present and past selves, instead regarding himself as a whole, unified person.

How strangely healthy.

(8) Owen told Luke that his father was a navigator on a spice freighter (and, of course, that he and Obi-Wan died at the same time). Luke is not remotely surprised to find that neither of these things are true: Anakin and Obi-Wan were in fact Jedi Knights who fought together in the Clone Wars.

(9) Anakin left Tatooine for the wars, following his friend and/or teacher Obi-Wan; practical Owen disapproved of Anakin's ideals, thinking he should have stayed home and out of other people’s wars, and blamed Obi-Wan for leading him astray. It’s not clear why Obi-Wan was there in the first place, but likely it had something to do with Anakin’s Jedi training (he was obviously a fully-fledged warrior by the Clone Wars).

(10) Anakin was a cunning warrior, a good friend, and the best starpilot in the galaxy (!).

Quite the CV. Also, Luke seems to have inherited the latter talent, and Obi-Wan has heard about it somehow. Just like he ‘somehow’ knew that Luke was in danger.

(11) Supposedly, Anakin wanted Luke to have his (first?) lightsabre and gave it to Obi-Wan (who must then have known of Luke’s existence) to pass on to him at the appropriate age, obviously not expecting he’d live to do it himself.

When Luke hit this age, whatever it was, Obi-Wan tried to keep his promise, but was forestalled by Owen, who feared this would drag Luke into Obi-Wan’s ‘damned fool idealistic crusade’ as it did Anakin. Obi-Wan nevertheless gives it to him at the first available opportunity.

(12) For a thousand generations, the Jedi Knights were ‘guardians of peace and justice’ (no, really) within the Old Republic. Apparently the Republic was around that long, too -- which, by the way, is an almost inconceivably large period of time. This came to an end with the Dark Times aka the Empire.

We don’t know how long the Empire has been around, but given the general scepticism of the Force outside of Force-sensitive circles, it must be awhile. I have my own fanwank on this above.

(13) As a young Jedi, and Obi-Wan’s student, Anakin became interested in the Dark Side (for its own sake, as far as we can tell). His hubris led him to meddle too deeply in A Thing Man Was Not Meant To Know, and he fell prey to its allure and was lost.

Classic stuff.

(14) Upon switching sides, Vader helped the Empire find and slaughter his fellow Jedi. This assistance was apparently sufficient to nearly wipe out the entire Order.

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