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Pure Vessels

I was recently reading Lois McMaster Bujold's The Curse of Chalion, and I paused at this passage:

I'd storm heaven for you, if I knew where it was.

He knew where it was. It was on the other side of every living person, every living creature, as close as the other side of a coin, the other side of a door. Every soul was a potential portal to the gods. I wonder what would happen if we all opened up at once? Would it flood the world with miracle, drain heaven? He had a sudden vision of saints as the gods' irrigation system, like the one around Zagosur; a rational and careful opening and closing of sluice gates to deliver each little soul-farm its just portion of benison. Except that this felt more like floodwaters backed up behind a cracking dam.



This passage reminds me of how the Force is described in Star Wars. ("On the other side of every living person, every living creature," seems to echo these words spoken by Obi-Wan: "The Force is what gives a Jedi his power. It's an energy field created by all living things. It surrounds us and penetrates us. It binds the galaxy together.") The distinction Bujold makes between those who call upon the gods and those who open themselves to the gods led me to think once again about the distinction made in the Star Wars universe between those Jedi attuned to the Unifying Force, who wish to harness and use its power for "big picture" good, and those Jedi attuned to the Living Force, who wish not to use it but instead to be used by it, to become vessels for the will and movement of the Force "in the moment." These metaphors are very interesting to me, as they underscore the difference between being a directing, acting will and choosing to surrender will and become an instrument. Both paths seek the Good, but they do so in very different ways.

So, of course, I go back to the Qui-Gon Jinn character, who to me symbolizes the "opening up" that Bujold describes. (And who continues to be a source of curiosity for me, since we only received a tantalizing glimpse of him in The Phantom Menace.) I've been thinking about his relationship to the Force, especially since reading randomalia's recent "Force Ghosts and Ep 3 Speculation" post. Following randomalia's argument, I find it a very appealing irony to think that Qui-Gon's selflessness, his willing to surrender himself and be used by the Force, in fact actually preserved his individuality, his existence as a self after death. By offering himself in the moment, he was granted himself in eternity.

I find randomalia's theory about why Qui-Gon's body didn't disappear upon his death to be more convincing and at harmony with canon than the theory advanced in "The Pure Vessel: A Character Analysis of Qui-Gon Jinn" by Dedalus (Paul). In this article, Dedalus writes "I like the idea that Qui-Gon couldn't survive past TPM because he was such a pure vessel. Lucas has hinted that the balance of the Force will slip even farther in the two episodes to come, and that everything will become 'gray.' It is no longer a galaxy for Jedi such as Qui-Gon. He couldn't survive the 'dark times.'" I think much of Dedalus's article is compelling, but I'm not as convinced by this. If Qui-Gon is a pure vessel, then he is, in a sense, the Force. How can times become too dark for a power that is everywhere, binding the galaxy together, and (I assume) seeking balance, even when -- or especially when -- that balance has been disturbed?

At any rate, the main idea of this ramble is that I find the metaphor of the gods (Bujold) and the Force (Star Wars) fascinating in their tensions and conclusions. In particular, Qui-Gon's relationship with the Force -- to use Bujold's terminology, his desire not to storm heaven, but to be stormed by it -- is intriguing, all the more so because his perspective appears to be the maverick, minority view among the Jedi (and, I suppose some would argue, ultimately a tragic one, as well -- that's another discussion).

In support of this ramble, I've compiled a short list of some texts about Qui-Gon (and, as you might expect, Obi-Wan Kenobi, as well) I have found thought-provoking. If you know of any I've missed, please let me know. Thanks!


* Already mentioned above are randomalia's recent "Force Ghosts and Ep 3 Speculation" post and "The Pure Vessel: A Character Analysis of Qui-Gon Jinn" by Dedalus (Paul).

* randomalia's "Qui-Gon Jinn/Obi-Wan Kenobi" essay

* I've already talked about my view on foreshadowing in the Jedi Apprentice novels here.

* On a related note, from the author of the Jedi Apprentice novels, there is "Young and Old Alike - An Interview With Jude Watson"

* "Jedi Knight of Infinite Faith" by Paul F. McDonald and the other "Phantom Heresies" Essays

* "The Naming of Jedi" by Elizabeth (Mistress Qui-Gon), "'Be Mindful of the Living Force': Or Training to Be a Terran Jedi" by Astra, and the other Qui-Gonline.org Features

* "Why We Love Qui-Gon" by the fans at Qui-Gonline.com

* "Just Who is Qui-Gon Jinn, Anyway?" by Purple Dragon

* "Duel of the Fates and funeral scene lyrics from The Phantom Menace" (more relevant than it may sound)

* "More Hindu Themes in the Star Wars Saga" by Cie Sharp

* The Tao of Star Wars by John M. Porter

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Comments

( 34 comments — Leave a comment )
karendreamer
Dec. 9th, 2004 03:45 pm (UTC)
Wow....I hope you don't mind if I print this off so I can give it more thought. Wow, fascinating.
eldritchhobbit
Dec. 9th, 2004 06:00 pm (UTC)
Wow - thank you! That's great! If you come to any conclusions, please let me know... I'm just thinking out loud here. :) Thanks for your reply.
eldritchhobbit
Dec. 9th, 2004 06:15 pm (UTC)
PS. Love your icon! :)
karendreamer
Dec. 9th, 2004 06:58 pm (UTC)
Thank you...that was made by my lovely friend frahulettaes, who is becoming a wondeful icon maker.
eldritchhobbit
Dec. 10th, 2004 03:38 am (UTC)
Oooh, thanks for letting me know... I am going to have to check out frahulettaes' LJ now. :) A wonderful icon maker, indeed!
(Deleted comment)
eldritchhobbit
Dec. 9th, 2004 06:15 pm (UTC)
Is it the force itself that is out of balance? or is it our perception and training that's out of balance?

Great questions! I also really like your point about separation from the Force: how can we be separate from the very thing that holds us together? I guess my particular interest is in the question of free will. The Force is there, but the Jedi (and other creatures too, of course) have the choice to listen to it, and even to decide how to listen to it. If they all "opened up" to it in the same way, to the same degree, I'm guessing there would never be any dissent in the Jedi Council. But there is. And one reason for that, I gather, is that some seem to see the Force as a tool, and others seem to see themselves as the Force's tool. Of course, to quote Ben Kenobi, surely both perspectives get at the truth from a certain point of view. :)

I guess I'm intrigued by how and to what degree individuals choose to interact with, and be open to, that which is already surrounding them, penetrating them, and binding them together. To go back to the Qui-Gon example, he's an unusual kind of Jedi, with an intimate and immediate relationship to the Force, and yet instead of that greater power wiping out his "Qui-Gonness," it seems to me that Qui-Gon is one of the most individualistic Jedi Masters we have seen. Bujold writes her saints -- these characters who give themselves up to be portals of the gods -- as likewise remarkable and unusual personalities. That paradox of abandoning self/gaining self fascinates me.

I'm still thinking about your final questions, because they have a lot of implications for the Star Wars universe -- if the Chosen One was meant to bring balance to the Force, what does that even mean? -- but I have this instinct that you've put your finger on a truly key point. Very exciting! Thanks so much for sharing your insights with me. I appreciate it, and I'm going to give this more thought.
childermass
Dec. 9th, 2004 07:30 pm (UTC)
Wow, this list is awesome! Some of the things you said are really beautiful - "By offering himself in the moment, he was granted himself in eternity." :) I'm going off to read all the things on the list now!
eldritchhobbit
Dec. 10th, 2004 03:42 am (UTC)
Thank you so much for your kind words! I really appreciate it. As I said, your beautiful artwork with the icons was a major inspiration. :) I hope you enjoy the articles. If you happen to run across any good material I haven't mentioned, I'd be grateful if you'd let me know about it. Thanks again!
randomalia
Dec. 9th, 2004 09:35 pm (UTC)
Great ramble! Now you're making my mind tick over...I especially like your description of those who follow the Living Force as opposed to the Unifying Force - little wonder there would be tension between Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan!

The idea of Qui-Gon's individuality and self being found (or freed?) in dedicating himself to the Force is especially interesting. By offering himself in the moment, he was granted himself in eternity. -- that is such a beautiful and amazing way of putting it. Guh.

I was reading a short discussion of Taoism fairly recently that seems relevant to this. It was talking about self-realisation, and how it 'follows the flow of energy'.
The more one attempts to control other people and control nonhuman Nature, the more disorder results, and the greater the degree of chaos. For the Taoist, sponteneity is not the opposite of order but identical with it because it flows from the unfolding of the inherent order.

I can see Qui-Gon's approach in the sponteneity aspect, and Obi-Wan's approach in the search for control. Obi-Wan, I think, likes to fix things, whereas Qui-Gon wants things to develop according to the will of the Force. By focusing so much on the moment and not the distant future, he is removed from worrying over the consequences in a way that Obi-Wan is not. To me it seems to suggest that Obi-Wan's sense of himself would naturally be limited by a dwarfing context of the future; Qui-Gon, on the other hand, is (must be?) very aware of himself as an immediate and key actor. Would this perspective also go with him into the Force?

Perhaps in following the 'unfolding of the inherent order', Qui-Gon similarly 'unfolds' (develops?) to a place of self-realisation, one so strong it persists even within the Force. He is a part of the Force without being subsumed by it. Those funeral scene lyrics you have linked to seem to tie in here! acquire...self-control...sleep. Very clever.

I also agree with your thoughts about the idea of Qui-Gon as the Pure Vessel, now that you mention it. I think Qui-Gon's personality is very much a force of its own! Even if the Force needed greater darkness to be in balance, for example, I don't think Qui-Gon would move in that direction because he is too good a man. His freer, more maverick style can be seen in Luke and the new Jedi, also.

Anyway, thank you for including me in the list *blush* I'm glad to be involved in discussion! I will have to check out the rest. Thanks also for the very interesting thoughts.
eldritchhobbit
Dec. 10th, 2004 04:58 am (UTC)
Thanks so much for the kind words and terrific reply! :)

little wonder there would be tension between Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan!

Yes, indeed! On the one hand, I think that's what makes them such a formidable pair when they're together: they really complement each other's strengths and views. But there's real tension there. And I can see Obi-Wan's influence on Luke, later, when I think of how Luke understands the Force.

...that is such a beautiful and amazing way of putting it. Guh.

*blush* Thank you! That struck me when I read your post, though, about Qui-Gon actually being the first to retain his individuality in the Force and eventually showing Obi-Wan (and, later, Yoda) the way. The more I think on that theory, the better it fits.

The quote on Taoism is wonderful and right on point. Thanks! And your elaboration on it here:

Obi-Wan, I think, likes to fix things, whereas Qui-Gon wants things to develop according to the will of the Force. By focusing so much on the moment and not the distant future, he is removed from worrying over the consequences in a way that Obi-Wan is not. To me it seems to suggest that Obi-Wan's sense of himself would naturally be limited by a dwarfing context of the future; Qui-Gon, on the other hand, is (must be?) very aware of himself as an immediate and key actor.

Yes! I can see that exactly. The "removed from worrying" seems to be a repeated theme (and point of contention between them), whether it's with adopting new "pathetic life forms" or gambling for ship parts. At times Qui-Gon seems to adopt almost amoral courses of action -- using the Jedi mind trick, etc. -- if you look at it from Obi-Wan's perspective, and from some critics' perspective, as well. But Qui-Gon wouldn't see it that way. He's going with the flow, as it were, and trusting in it. And as for being an "immediate and key actor," that seems to be a theme, too, since much of his diplomatic prowess seems built on personal relationships and one-to-one interactions. He's not a dispassionate clockmaker, winding something up and then stepping aside to let the machinations work; he's personally involved, orchestrating what happens, hands-on.

Would this perspective also go with him into the Force?

Wow. Great question.

Perhaps in following the 'unfolding of the inherent order', Qui-Gon similarly 'unfolds' (develops?) to a place of self-realisation, one so strong it persists even within the Force. He is a part of the Force without being subsumed by it.

Yes! I will buy that. And I just love how you tie that into the funeral lyrics. Yes yes yes! It's reasonable and it's also so very aesthetically pleasing at the same time, beautiful from both directions.

Even if the Force needed greater darkness to be in balance, for example, I don't think Qui-Gon would move in that direction because he is too good a man. His freer, more maverick style can be seen in Luke and the new Jedi, also.

Great point! And I definitely agree. I wish I knew more about Dooku, actually. Is Qui-Gon's path a reaction against Dooku's training, or was Dooku similarly inclined, but just not strong enough to resist that darkness? He seems to have had a strong sense of self -- perhaps too strong, perhaps that's the pride that the darkness played off of and into. (One of the things that fascinates me about Qui-Gon is that he can have that sense of himself as a key player, immediate actor, and yet still have an almost tangible humility.) I guess Dooku's another whole ramble, though, isn't he? ;)

Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts with me. Once again, your insights are proving very helpful to and influential on my own thinking, and I'm really grateful for them. It's a joy to get the chance to share ideas with someone like you! :)
randomalia
Dec. 11th, 2004 02:36 pm (UTC)
On the one hand, I think that's what makes them such a formidable pair when they're together: they really complement each other's strengths and views. But there's real tension there.

Yes, exactly. It seems to sort of hover at some threshold, where the difference aids them in their work (and as people, I believe), and yet is something that has to be constantly negotiated between them.

The "removed from worrying" seems to be a repeated theme (and point of contention between them), whether it's with adopting new "pathetic life forms" or gambling for ship parts. At times Qui-Gon seems to adopt almost amoral courses of action -- using the Jedi mind trick, etc. -- if you look at it from Obi-Wan's perspective, and from some critics' perspective, as well. But Qui-Gon wouldn't see it that way. He's going with the flow, as it were, and trusting in it.

Because I suppose to Qui-Gon, the things that help him follow the will of the Force in that moment are necessary, and if you take care of the moment, the rest will unfold as it should. That's a perspective that seems to require a lot of faith and trust, as you say. Obi-Wan, on the other hand, may have to weigh the actions of the moment against possible future repercussions, which would be a bit of a minefield if you paid it *too much* attention - you could never be sure of the outcomes! Which is where Qui-Gon would perhaps act as a balancing force.

I wish I knew more about Dooku, actually. Is Qui-Gon's path a reaction against Dooku's training, or was Dooku similarly inclined, but just not strong enough to resist that darkness? He seems to have had a strong sense of self -- perhaps too strong, perhaps that's the pride that the darkness played off of and into.

Me too! The exchange between Obi-Wan and Dooku in AotC is interesting in that Dooku suggests Qui-Gon would have joined him. I don't believe that, but I wonder if Dooku did? Do we know when Dooku left the Order? Qui-Gon spoke to him about Obi-Wan, so it can't have been too many years prior to TPM.

The sense of Dooku I receievd from the Clones novel was one of great dissatisfaction - that he wanted to do more, have more control, have things the way he thought they should be. I'm not sure how accurate a reading that is, but it certainly contrasts with Qui-Gon who, as you say, has such humility. He has his ideas on how things should be, but he is constantly open to serving the Force, and not have it serve him, and that makes a big difference. I find that all the more significant due to the fact that he cares so very much, and yet dedicating himself to the Force in that way must limit what he will do, and cause him some heartache.

Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts with me. It's a joy to get the chance to share ideas with someone like you! :)

And the same to you! I really enjoy these discussions, and they raise issues and ideas I would not have otherwise thought of, as well as helping me refine my own thoughts! So thank you! :)
eldritchhobbit
Dec. 12th, 2004 06:57 pm (UTC)
Thanks again for another great reply! :)

yet is something that has to be constantly negotiated between them

Well put indeed.

That's a perspective that seems to require a lot of faith and trust, as you say.

Yes - and one that could lead to tremendous misfortune if an individual mistook the will of the Force.

The exchange between Obi-Wan and Dooku in AotC is interesting in that Dooku suggests Qui-Gon would have joined him. I don't believe that, but I wonder if Dooku did?

Great question! I hadn't thought about that, because I just assumed he was going for the argument he thought would move Obi-Wan, regardless of its truthfulness. But in some ways it's rather scary to think that Dooku might have been capable of convincing himself of such a thing. I agree that Qui-Gon wouldn't have joined him.

Since reading your reply, I've gone back and discovered there are some interesting passages in Jude Watson's Legacy of the Jedi that suggest several things about their Master-Padawan relationship. The way I read them, Dooku is extremely proud, and Qui-Gon, as an exceptional Padawan many Masters sought, is an accessory to his ensemble, as it were. (Dooku knew that a Master would be judged by the prowess of his Padawan, and he wanted the best of the best.) He is pleased when Qui-Gon excels, but frustrated when he cannot control or understand Qui-Gon fully. And he is clearly capable of using Qui-Gon and abusing Qui-Gon's trust when necessary, even lying to him outright. When Qui-Gon tries to make sense of this, Dooku coolly tells him "Betrayal should never take you by surprise. It will come from friends and enemies alike." Ouch!

(Aside: I wonder if some of Qui-Gon's own insecurities and missteps as a Master don't stem from his early experience with Dooku: not wanting to repeat those mistakes, and yet lacking an alternative role model. It makes me more understanding of how the Xanatos situation might have happened. If he did not feel trust from his own Master, then he might become a Master who, at first anyway, trusted too much?)

eldritchhobbit
Dec. 12th, 2004 06:58 pm (UTC)
At any rate, here are a couple of nifty quotes from the book that jumped out at me after mulling over your comments:

Qui-Gon looked at his Master. The long, elegant nose, the dark hooded eyes, the pale skin. It was a face he knew intimately, but he also knew, and had known for some time, that it was a face he did not love. At first this had bothered him -- until he realized he did not need to love his Master, merely learn from him. (Interjection: How lonely that must have been for Qui-Gon!)

And in two places, about approach to the Force:
Dooku raised an eyebrow at him. "I did not ask what you felt, but what you thought." The Jedi insistence on feeling was all well and good, but Dooku preferred analysis. (Aside: So Qui-Gon would later instruct Obi-Wan using the teaching that was exactly opposite of what Dooku had taught him!)

Dooku later thinks "Curse him and his empathy" about Qui-Gon.

So Qui-Gon probably wouldn't be moved to join Dooku either out of similar approaches or personal loyalty, since this book suggests Dooku frowned on Qui-Gon's tie to the Living Force and also cultivated him more as a trophy than as a trusted student and friend. At least that's my first impression after rethinking this book as canon. I'm oversimplifying some, but I think as a whole that's what this particular story tries to get across.

Do we know when Dooku left the Order?

I don't know! That would help a lot, because, as you point out, Dooku had talked to Qui-Gon since Obi-Wan became a Padawan, so there was some contact there, somehow.

The sense of Dooku I receievd from the Clones novel was one of great dissatisfaction - that he wanted to do more, have more control, have things the way he thought they should be.

Yes! That's my take on him, as well. And that impatience moves him to ever more radical action. Even with some of the unflattering text about him that makes him very cold and Machiavellian as a Jedi, I don't get the sense that his original motivations were truly evil. If that's the case, it makes everything all the more tragic.

I find that all the more significant due to the fact that he cares so very much, and yet dedicating himself to the Force in that way must limit what he will do, and cause him some heartache.

Excellent point! I hadn't thought of that in quite that way, but it's so true. Yes!

And thanks yet again, for sending me back to rethink and reread, and for your terrific insights! :)
randomalia
Dec. 14th, 2004 04:05 pm (UTC)
Wow, that's fantastic information on Dooku, and his impact on Qui-Gon! It all rings true for me, also.

And he is clearly capable of using Qui-Gon and abusing Qui-Gon's trust when necessary, even lying to him outright. When Qui-Gon tries to make sense of this, Dooku coolly tells him "Betrayal should never take you by surprise. It will come from friends and enemies alike." Ouch!

Ouch indeed. And yet betrayal does seem to take Qui-Gon by surprise, and he takes it very much to heart: both with Xanatos and later with Obi-Wan (when he left the Jedi). Moreover, he takes it as being partly his fault, which is a perspective Dooku would perhaps never hold. As you say, Qui-Gon may have determined to be as different a Master from Dooku as possible (I like that idea a lot): echoing his implicit trust in the Force in his trust in his Padawan - until Xanatos turned. How different the situation becomes for Obi-Wan, not only compared to that of Xanatos as a Padawan, but that of Qui-Gon himself! By the time Obi-Wan was an apprentice, Qui-Gon had learned to be more cautious, and more distant - a true shame considering Obi-Wan's devotion to him.

So Qui-Gon probably wouldn't be moved to join Dooku either out of similar approaches or personal loyalty, since this book suggests Dooku frowned on Qui-Gon's tie to the Living Force and also cultivated him more as a trophy than as a trusted student and friend.

Yes, I agree. And it says a great deal for Qui-Gon's humility even as a Padawan, I think, that he *was* such a gifted student, that he was treated poorly and yet remained open to learning from Dooku. And he used those lessons extremely well: not just to become such a powerful Jedi but also in not repeating Dooku's actions when he had the chance to be in control of such things with his own apprentices. I wonder if that extended to Qui-Gon's approach to the Force also.

I find thinking about this creates a lovely thread of influence and legacy all the way through to Obi-Wan.

Even with some of the unflattering text about him that makes him very cold and Machiavellian as a Jedi, I don't get the sense that his original motivations were truly evil. If that's the case, it makes everything all the more tragic.

Yes, I think there is likely to be a great deal of grey in his motivations. After all, he trained under Yoda, who would surely have known of any evil intent... which makes me wonder about Dooku's impatience and Yoda's love of being cryptic! *g* But certainly, once he started making compromises it would have been a bit of a slippery slope to ending up an associate (pawn?) of Palpatine. The power of his speech to Obi-Wan in AotC lies not just in his appeal regarding Qui-Gon, but that he is correct in his criticisms of the Republic. Perhaps the difference with Qui-Gon - once again - is his humble devotion to the Force, because he also makes compromises when it seems necessary.

Thanks for the great quotes and thoughts! I really must get some more of the books, there's a great deal of information there. :)
eldritchhobbit
Dec. 15th, 2004 09:22 am (UTC)
- a true shame considering Obi-Wan's devotion to him.


Yes! It's a credit to Qui-Gon that he is different than Dooku, but it's Qui-Gon's tragedy that he is so trusting of a Padawan who does not deserve that trust, and thus so reserved with a Padawan who so deserves that openness. You have to wonder how Obi-Wan's experience would have differed if he had come before Xanatos.

I find thinking about this creates a lovely thread of influence and legacy all the way through to Obi-Wan.

Yes indeed!

After all, he trained under Yoda, who would surely have known of any evil intent... which makes me wonder about Dooku's impatience and Yoda's love of being cryptic! *g*

Ha! I hadn't thought of that, but how funny! And you're right about the fact that Yoda would have sensed it if Dooku had harbored dark tendencies so young. Your slippery slope theory fits very well.

The power of his speech to Obi-Wan in AotC lies not just in his appeal regarding Qui-Gon, but that he is correct in his criticisms of the Republic.

Excellent point! You're so right about this.

I really must get some more of the books, there's a great deal of information there. :)

Well, obviously I hadn't read that Dooku-n-Qui-Gon section well before I started posting. Thanks to you, I went back to the text. So thank you for that! :)
fungus_files
Dec. 10th, 2004 09:26 pm (UTC)
in a completely inadequate response to your fantastic, thoughtful post, I just wanted to say: you're listening to Neil Finn?? :) Is this the NZ Neil Finn?

if so: a few yrs ago, I sat two rows back from Neil on a flight between Melbourne and Canberra...my only claim to Finn brothers fame. my sister, however, has had Tim in her flat (he came to a party she had!).

if not: return to your regular programming and I'll just slink off quietly...
eldritchhobbit
Dec. 11th, 2004 08:09 am (UTC)
There's no slinking here! No slinking, I say!

And you bet it is the NZ Neil Finn! :)

That's so wild that you sat behind him on a flight, and your sister's actually had Tim at her party! You would definitely be the ace up my sleeve in any game of "Six Degrees to the Finn Brothers." ;) That's so cool! Are they extremely popular there, or are they considered "locals" to the point that their fame doesn't matter? Either way, I'm impressed. Yet another export we should thank you for!
fungus_files
Dec. 11th, 2004 08:34 pm (UTC)
Crowded House were a popular band but, since they broke up, the Finn Bros have had a fairly low profile (which I think they prefer). They have a very dedicated fan-base, tho, so their solo outings have been moderately successful (better than most Oz artists...I know they're technically NZ'ers but, y'know, the Oz assimilative impulse. Sam Neil is 'ours' too...). No-one was mobbing Neil F. for an autograph when I saw him and his buddies - but he seemed chatty and was talking to his seat-mate on the plane all the way.

My only other claim to brush with fame was knowing someone who got Hugo "Elrond" Weaving to sign their McHappy Meal box in Sydney when they saw him at a bar...tenuous to say the most!
eldritchhobbit
Dec. 12th, 2004 05:00 pm (UTC)
Very cool! Thanks for the fun Finn facts. ;)
thrihyrne
Dec. 13th, 2004 07:47 am (UTC)
You sat on the same flight at Neil Finn??!!
*does fangirl squee*

Wow. And Fooi had Tim Finn at her house?! Goodness. I do love them so.

You and eldritchhobbit have such great taste in music. Sorry to spam you guys!!
eldritchhobbit
Dec. 13th, 2004 06:03 pm (UTC)
Re: You sat on the same flight at Neil Finn??!!
But your kind of spam is the only kind of spam I like! So don't apologize for it! :) And thanks for the kind compliment. ((hugs))
thrihyrne
Dec. 13th, 2004 07:51 am (UTC)
Well, you know that I'm not nearly as articulate about this particular fandom, in fact, I'm woefully ignorant. Regardless, I wanted to tell you how gorgeous this sentence was:

I'd storm heaven for you, if I knew where it was.

I don't know that I've heard anything so heartachingly romantic in ages. In the best angst-ridden way, of course.

and I'm sorry I don't have an epilogue update for you yet; had an incredibly busy weekend with the kids though I got sidetracked and was reading Sirius/Severus last night until 11:30. One particular author, whose writing is brilliant and the juxtaposition of those two just really works for me for some reason.

(((massive hugs, o thoughtful one)))
eldritchhobbit
Dec. 13th, 2004 06:06 pm (UTC)
I don't know that I've heard anything so heartachingly romantic in ages. In the best angst-ridden way, of course.

Oh, then you must read the rest of the novel! Sooooo good. :)

nd I'm sorry I don't have an epilogue update for you yet

For heaven's sake, I'm days behind on my regular email. No worries! For genius, I always can wait. :):):)

(((massive hugs back)))
galadhir
Dec. 22nd, 2004 09:16 am (UTC)
I've always felt that there was a distinct possibility that Qui-Gon *would* join Dooku. (Would Qui-Gon really be happy in a Jedi Order working *for* a Sith Lord?) But then I find there's so much moral polarization going on in the SW universe. Dooku is a Sith by the time of Ep2 *therefore* he must always have been an evil man, *therefore* there must have been no real training bond between him and Qui-Gon...

It's all so predestined and simplistic. If Dooku was always a bad egg, why didn't Yoda sense it? Why didn't Qui-Gon sense it?

Admittedly, I haven't read any of Jude Watson's books on the subject, because she's a prime culprit in the whole over-simplification of the characters IMO, but I could see easily that these two maverick Jedi (Dooku and Qui-Gon) could be made more fond of each other, more emotionally attached, more dedicated to their own heterodox views of the Force etc, by the fact that they were such misfits in the rest of the Order.

Dooku, in the film, speaks of Qui-gon with affection and something bordering on reverence. He could be play acting for Obi-Wan's benefit, or he could actually be showing the truth. Do we really know when Dooku's drift to the dark side started? Do we know that - had Qui-Gon lived - it would still have happened? Or perhaps it was his Master's disgust with the Jedi Order at having sent a beloved Padawan to battle a Sith alone which was the last straw for Dooku?
eldritchhobbit
Dec. 26th, 2004 02:03 pm (UTC)
Hi there!

I've always felt that there was a distinct possibility that Qui-Gon *would* join Dooku. (Would Qui-Gon really be happy in a Jedi Order working *for* a Sith Lord?)

Very interesting! I definitely don't see Qui-Gon as happy working under Valorum/Sidious, and it's no big stretch for me to imagine Qui-Gon leaving the Jedi Order. He seems on the verge of that several times, in fact. So I'm with you so far. But joining Dooku? I'm not sure he'd agree that Dooku's means justified his ends. And I guess I still see Dooku's approach to the Force as being quite different than Qui-Gon's, which would play itself out in both men's plans, values, etc. Though I'm willing to be convinced otherwise. ;)

so much moral polarization going on in the SW universe

I think that's one reason I find Qui-Gon so interesting. He's at odds with the Council, and often his padawan, and yet in the end who's right? Qui-Gon? Yoda? Mace? Obi-Wan? All of them are right in a way, and they are all certainly well-intentioned, but they disagree at a fundamental level about the Force, the prophecies, even policy. Anakin is the Chosen One, but he certainly doesn't bring about balance in the way Qui-Gon imagined, and he proves the Council right in its worries about him. And the Council itself failed to see a rising evil to which Qui-Gon, perhaps, was more sensitive. I think he, as a discordant voice, offers a much-needed dash of grey into the black and white. But perhaps, as you imply, not enough.

If Dooku was always a bad egg, why didn't Yoda sense it? Why didn't Qui-Gon sense it?

That's the rub, isn't it? But I'm not sure he was always a bad egg. (Did his pride grow because he was such a successful Jedi, for example? Did his frustrations over the injustices and evils that he could not remedy as a Jedi simply push him too far?) Many of his criticisms are justified. Even though he goes off the deep end, he is still correct in many of his concerns and frustrations about the state of affairs in the galaxy: so even "bad," he is in part still wise, and definitely able. Maybe his road to hell, if it was such, really was paved with the best of intentions.

(Dooku and Qui-Gon) could be made more fond of each other, more emotionally attached, more dedicated to their own heterodox views of the Force etc, by the fact that they were such misfits in the rest of the Order.

I'd love to see a portrayal of this and how it would play out. (I'm not disagreeing with you - I'm just trying to picture it. As I said, I'm willing to be convinced. ;) Certainly both are called idealists at different times by the council.) In particular, I'd like to see how Qui-Gon's relationship with Dooku influenced his own style as master to a padawan (because, as it is, I have the instinct that his reserve comes from more than just his personality), and how Dooku related, if at all, to Obi-Wan during Qui-Gon's life, assuming he and Qui-Gon weren't already estranged.

I'd be interested in knowing what specifically you disagree with in Jude Watson's books. I know some of the plots are simplistic, but I actually thought the Xanatos storyline, and Obi-Wan's background as nearly passed over/almost not readmitted to the order, both add some texture to the back stories. And I'll admit I loved the foreshadowing about Qui-Gon's death. I'm not wed to them - and I can always hold to two "universes" simultaneously, even if they aren't compatible - but I was curious, because my first impression was that Watson, even as a "young readers'" author, is much better about developing three-dimensional characterization than George Lucas is. Since I really respect and enjoy your approach to the characters, I'm interested to know your opinion.
galadhir
Dec. 29th, 2004 03:56 am (UTC)
(Dooku and Qui-Gon) could be made more fond of each other, more emotionally attached, more dedicated to their own heterodox views of the Force etc, by the fact that they were such misfits in the rest of the Order.

I'd love to see a portrayal of this and how it would play out. (I'm not disagreeing with you - I'm just trying to picture it. As I said, I'm willing to be convinced. ;)


LOL! Well, actually this relationship was the one thing that interested me about AotC. (And about the only thing - I agree it was the worst SW film yet). I'm a historical re-enactor and have some experience of swordfighting, and the one moment in AotC which made my heart swell was seeing Dooku's fighting style - clean, elegant, grounded and economic in movement. I gasped in delighted recognition; *he fights like Qui-Gon!*, I thought to myself. (Though more accurately I suppose, QJ fights like Dooku).

Anyway, what with them both being mavericks, Qui-Gon continuing to fight recognisably like his master to the end of his life, and Dooku being the only person to mention Qui with some kind of fondness in AotC, I formed the theory that it might have been an affectionate relationship.

My take on it is probably better summarized in my stories than I can do in a post:

http://www.elfringham.dsl.pipex.com/StolenOnes/cominghome.html

That's 'Coming Home' where Yoda realizes he and Qui just do not get on as a Master/Padawan team, and passes Qui on to Dooku.

I suppose my theory is that the Jedi Order has become far far more restrictive by the time of the Republic than it was in the chaotic early days when Jedi like Ulic Quel-droma were out there, doing great and terrible things. They've refined things, they're far more careful now, they're a little (very) hidebound and repressive, unwilling to take a risk. And that therefore (whether deliberately or not) they are sidelining, squeezing out the more creative, uncontrollable Jedi, like Dooku, Qui-Gon and Anakin - the ones who will go their own way. The Jedi have learned to value safety and control over inspiration, even when that inspiration is the will of the Force.

Their policies of narrow paths, rejection of emotion, perfection etc, are actually damaging and in some cases even *turning* the unorthodox Jedi among them.

Luke's later Jedi Academy is very much more like the chaotic early modle of the Jedi, and much less like the over-refined Jedi we see in AotC, and I see that freedom as a result of the balancing of the Force.

Did that make sense?
eldritchhobbit
Dec. 29th, 2004 02:27 pm (UTC)
I'm a historical re-enactor and have some experience of swordfighting, and the one moment in AotC which made my heart swell was seeing Dooku's fighting style - clean, elegant, grounded and economic in movement. I gasped in delighted recognition; *he fights like Qui-Gon!*, I thought to myself. (Though more accurately I suppose, QJ fights like Dooku).

Okay, first, as an historian, let me say: you are cool. :) I'm psyched to hear that you're a re-enactor! And second, I am fascinated to hear about the link between the sword-fighting techniques. What a great insight! Thanks so much for sharing this information with me. I wouldn't have known what to look for in comparing the two.

And that therefore (whether deliberately or not) they are sidelining, squeezing out the more creative, uncontrollable Jedi, like Dooku, Qui-Gon and Anakin ... ::snip::... Luke's later Jedi Academy is very much more like the chaotic early modle of the Jedi, and much less like the over-refined Jedi we see in AotC, and I see that freedom as a result of the balancing of the Force. Did that make sense?

Yes, it does! And I see what you mean about the Jedi choosing safety and control, alienating the most dynamic and creative minds of the order.

And thank you so much for pointing me in the direction of your "Coming Home" story. I will read that ASAP. Some time ago, when I discovered your work, I read your stories voraciously, but these particular questions weren't on my mind as clearly then, and much of my rereading has centered around "The Stolen Ones" (which is amazing) and, of course, "Magic Lamp." So I need your pointers on what to reread now that my particular focus at the moment has narrowed to some particular questions. I owe you one! :)
galadhir
Dec. 30th, 2004 03:40 am (UTC)
Wow, thanks! It's nice to be appreciated :) Yes, I do Saxon re-enacting with Regia Anglorum; who are well known for being humourless and anal on the point of historical accuracy. (Which is a pain sometimes, as I now find I have to re-embroider one of my dresses; new research having indicated that the embroidery didn't go around the hems after all, it went down the seams. Sheesh!)

I went away and tried to find the Lightsabre site, which had an analysis of all the Jedi's fighting styles from the standpoint of people who do Kendo. It was a great site and supported the contention that Qui-Gon was technically a far better swordsman than Obi-Wan. Sadly it doesn't seem to be there any more. Elements of it remain here though:

http://www.angelfire.com/ks/TheBlackHand/combat.html

It's a shame, but people will praise the more showy style of fighting just because it looks more impressive. That was one of the things I wanted to talk about in 'Coming Home'; the fact that a style which doesn't waste energy, is grounded and controlled, is actually superior in terms of real life survivability. Yoda has to fight like a flea because he's so small, but he's going to wear himself out in no time. Watch Qui-Gon in the corridor against the droidekas and he's barely moving his hands - he can keep that up all day...

But now I'm waffling. Sorry - I used to do karate before my back gave out, and I do have a tendancy to overanalyse fight scenes :) I've forgotten why it was relevant now.
eldritchhobbit
Dec. 31st, 2004 07:37 am (UTC)
Fantastic! Thanks so much for the link. And happy embroidering... :) Hope you have a great New Year's!
galadhir
Dec. 29th, 2004 04:55 am (UTC)
I'd be interested in knowing what specifically you disagree with in Jude Watson's books. I know some of the plots are simplistic, but I actually thought the Xanatos storyline, and Obi-Wan's background as nearly passed over/almost not readmitted to the order, both add some texture to the back stories.

Ooh, it's a long time since I read the books, and they made me so angry that I gave them all away. Basically my feeling was that she had started out with the assumption that Obi-Wan was perfect, so everything which was amiss in their relationship was the fault of Qui-Gon.

For example. In the JA books, it's Obi-Wan who is always making friends amongst the locals, and QJ who advises him to keep his distance and remember his duty to the Jedi. But in the films it's Qui who picks up strays, turns from his path to show compassion or rescue people who are apparently useless to the mission, and Obi-Wan nags him not to. In the films, Qui-Gon is a tranquil person, who can find peace even in the middle of a battle; in the books he's a mass of raging negative emotions. In the films, Qui-Gon is a warm, humble person who will nevertheless not be prevented from following the will of the Force. In the books he's cold, arrogant and has no apparent relationship with the Force at all; he goes his own way only because he's selfish and messed-up...

And this is not mentioning the whole 'I'm going to have a massive strop and go on a revenge kick, despite having 40-odd years of non-agression training, but hey, never mind, my perfect Padawan will argue me out of it, because clearly he's so much stronger, wiser and more mature than me at his age. Goodness knows why he's so loyal to me when he's so wonderful and I'm such a bastard' plot, which boggled my mind for its sheer awfulness.

Just remembering the books is making me angry!
eldritchhobbit
Dec. 29th, 2004 02:41 pm (UTC)
::blush:: Sorry for bringing up such bad memories! I admit the "avenge Tahl" thing was pretty much over the top, but then again Qui-Gon had finally opened his reserved soul, so I think he was pretty much meant to seem off-kelter. I must admit that I didn't always get the "Obi-Wan is perfect" vibe. To be honest, I was horrified by his bad choices on Melida/Daan -- especially terrible considering the fact that he knew what it had cost Qui-Gon to trust again after Xanatos, and yet he still chose to betray Qui-Gon's faith -- and I was ready to kick the ingrate out of the order forever. :) It also seems to me that Qui-Gon had patience with local informants and past acquaintances that Obi-Wan did not. But since these books were supposedly for young readers, I guess Watson felt a certain need to make the younger character more easy to identify with, leaving Qui-Gon at times more of a mystery. Fair enough. Part of my reaction may be fueled by my disappointment in the so-called adult novels. I thought Watson did more characterization work in a "youth series" than other authors did in novels for adults. So I'd set the bar pretty low to begin with, I think.

But I can see how Watson's POV may have played into what you have accurately called "Obi-Wan worship," which tends to skew much of the fannish perspective on TPM. (Not to knock Obi-Wan: he was my favorite character of the first three films, Eps 4-6. And I commend Ewan McGregor for his performances, which remind me a great deal of Sir Alec's, as I'm sure they are intended to do. But you know what I mean. Lucas himself said that Qui-Gon was the centerpiece of TPM.)

Just because I think JA had its moments, though, doesn't mean that I can't "shelve" them in favor of competing and potentially more complex and persuasive back stories. So lead on! :)
eldritchhobbit
Dec. 26th, 2004 02:04 pm (UTC)
could be play acting for Obi-Wan's benefit, or he could actually be showing the truth. Do we really know when Dooku's drift to the dark side started? Do we know that - had Qui-Gon lived - it would still have happened? Or perhaps it was his Master's disgust with the Jedi Order at having sent a beloved Padawan to battle a Sith alone which was the last straw for Dooku?

Great questions!!! That would put a whole new spin on things, wouldn't it? And I do have to admit, I much prefer such greys to the blacks and whites, and this would certainly put a deeper complexion on a lot of the prequel action. Hmmm. What do you think? I don't suppose you could be bullied into writing the definitive fanfic account of this, could you? LOL! Because, as you may have guessed from my review, I certainly trust your hand with the characters.

You've given me a lot to think about. I may have to -- ::gasp:: -- watch AotC again to help me out (my least favorite of the SW series, ugh! *wink*). Thank you so much for this wonderful reply!
galadhir
Dec. 29th, 2004 04:07 am (UTC)
No! There can never be any need to watch AotC (well, except for the parts with Dooku in - Christopher Lee is fabulous in it :) ) I suspect that it was AotC which drove me into Tolkien fan fiction.

I did write what I considered to be *my* definitive version. I can't claim to be any more definitive than that :) It's a time travel story set just after AotC, in which Obi-Wan tries to stop the Geonosis incident from happening by going back in time to kill Dooku before any of it starts. Naturally this is complicated by the presence of Padawans Anakin and Qui-Gon.

http://www.elfringham.dsl.pipex.com/StolenOnes/redeemed.html

I hope you like it, and I'm sorry that I seem to do nothing but pimp my own stories :) It's just that most of my thoughts about these matters went into the stories and are easier to get at there, than trying to put them in some sense in plain prose.

This is really interesting stuff, and I'm glad to find the discussion is still going on.
eldritchhobbit
Dec. 29th, 2004 02:46 pm (UTC)
No! There can never be any need to watch AotC

ROFLOL! Too funny!

(well, except for the parts with Dooku in - Christopher Lee is fabulous in it :) )

You're right, he was! Though I kept fighting the urge to yell "Don't trust him, Obi-Wan! He breeds Uruk-Hai! He has a palantir!" ::wink:: Seriously, though, he did do a terrific job.

And please pimp away! I'm grateful that you're willing to point me in the direction of specific stories. Thank you so much!

his is really interesting stuff, and I'm glad to find the discussion is still going on.

I couldn't agree more, and I'm grateful for your wonderful responses! Thanks again!
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