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Singin' "Soon I'm gonna be a Jedi..."

Today is the 15th anniversary of Star Wars: The Phantom Menace. Say what you will about that film (there's certainly more than enough to criticize), it did provide us with Qui-Gon Jinn. So there.

In the mood for a bit of nostalgic wallowing, I thought I'd dust off a few of my related past posts from the vault:
* "Violently in Battle, In Shock and Despair"
(A study of passages from Jude Watson's Jedi Apprentice novel series that foreshadow Qui-Gon's untimely death before Obi-Wan reaches knighthood.)
* "One Destiny"
(The five tone poems from Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace.)
* "Pure Vessels"
(My discussion of Qui-Gon Jinn and the metaphors of the Force in Star Wars. With links to non-fiction texts.)
* "When Qui-Gon Went Under the Microscope"
(Reviews of Qui-Gon-related fan fiction. With links. A companion post to "Pure Vessels.")
* "The End of Star Wars, But Not Its Fans"
(A post about my NPR interview on the "Talk of the Nation" program about the Star Wars phenomenon and the nature of fandom.)

Sing it with me, people:
"And in the end, some Gungans died,/ Some ships blew up, and some pilots fried./ A lot of folks were croakin'./ The battle droids were broken./ And the Jedi I admire most/ Met up with Darth Maul, and now he's toast./ Well, I'm still here, and he's a ghost..."

Last, here's a relevant quote for your day. The chant from the Star Wars theme "Duel of the Fates," which is heard during the climactic Darth Maul fight with Qui-Gon Jinn and Obi-Wan Kenobi in The Phantom Menace, is a Sanskrit translation of two lines from the archaic Celtic poem "Cad Goddeu" (or "Battle of the Trees"):

Under the tongue root a fight most dread,
And another raging behind, in the head.

In English:

"The Battle of the Trees"
as translated by Robert Graves

The tops of the beech tree have sprouted of late,
Are changed and renewed from their withered state.

When the beech prospers, though spells and litanies
The oak tops entangle, there is hope for trees.

I have plundered the fern, through all secrets I spy,
Old Math ap Mathonwy knew no more than I.

For with nine sorts of faculty God has gifted me,
I am fruit of fruits gathered from nine sorts of tree--

Plum, quince, whortle, mulberry, respberry, pear,
Black cherry and white, with the sorb in me share.

From my seat at Fefynedd, a city that is strong,
I watched the trees and green things hastening along.

Retreating from happiness they would fein be set
In forms of the chief letters of the alphabet.

Wayfarers wandered, warriors were dismayed
At renewal of conflicts such as Gwydion made;

Under the tongue root a fight most dread,
And another raging, behind, in the head.

The alders in the front line began the affray.
Willow and rowan-tree were tardy in array.

The holly, dark green, made a resolute stand;
He is armed with many spear-points wounding the hand.

With foot-beat of the swift oak heaven and earth rung;
"Stout Guardian of the Door", his name in every tongue.

Great was the gorse in battle, and the ivy at his prime;
The hazel was arbiter at this charmed time.

Uncouth and savage was the fir, cruel the ash tree--
Turns not aside a foot-breadth, straight at the heart runs he.

The birch, though very noble, armed himself but late:
A sign not of cowardice but of high estate.

The heath gave consolation to the toil-spent folk,
The long-enduring poplars in battle much broke.

Some of them were cast away on the field of fight
Because of holes torn in them by the enemy's might.

Very wrathful was the vine whose henchmen are the elms;
I exalt him mightily to rulers of realms.

Strong chieftains were the blackthorn with his ill fruit,
The unbeloved whitethorn who wears the same suit.

The swift-pursuing reed, the broom with his brood,
And the furse but ill-behaved until he is subdued.

The dower-scattering yew stood glum at the fight's fringe,
With the elder slow to burn amid fires that singe.

And the blessed wild apple laughing in pride
From the Gorchan of Maeldrew, by the rock side.

In shelter linger privet and woodbine,
Inexperienced in warfare, and the courtly pine.

But I, although slighted because I was not big,
Fought, trees, in your array on the field of Goddeu Brig.


( 22 comments — Leave a comment )
May. 19th, 2014 01:38 pm (UTC)
All my SW icons are gone!
I'll have to go through all of this when I have more time, but:

Today is the 15th anniversary of Star Wars: The Phantom Menace.

YEGADS, way to make me feel more ancient than I already do. I remember being SO EXCITED to relive my childhood, and standing in line for tix and everything!

Say what you will about that film (there's certainly more than enough to criticize), it did provide us with Qui-Gon Jinn.

So say we all!

And how had I never even heard about this Weird Al song before? I've only listened to part of it so far and it's already BRILLIANT! How did I miss it?!

Edited at 2014-05-19 01:39 pm (UTC)
May. 19th, 2014 02:45 pm (UTC)
"Soon I'm gonna be a Jedi" absolutely brilliant. I never saw this before.Thanks for sharing it and "The Battle of the Trees"
May. 20th, 2014 08:20 pm (UTC)
Oh, my pleasure! I'm so tickled you liked them!

My sister and I can sing that Weird Al anthem backwards and forwards. It crawls into your head and never leaves, LOL. Good thing that it's brilliant! ;)
May. 20th, 2014 08:25 pm (UTC)
I think I'm going to learn it for when the new movie comes out and I go to see it. I always go with my friend Judy to these sorts of movies as she's the only one I know who 'gets it.' (her daughter is the successful author Holly Black and was a tremenous influence on her daughter)
May. 24th, 2014 01:01 pm (UTC)
Perfect! You couldn't ask for a better song - or a more appropriate movie companion! (I think it's brilliant that you know her. It's good to hear that Holly Black inherited her awesomeness from her mom!)
May. 24th, 2014 01:36 pm (UTC)
Holly had a very ecclectic upbringing, surrounded by ghosts (as their house was haunted) and her mother's tales of the world of faeirie. Her mom is amazing and quite a talented artist. She's always a joy to be around as she 'gets' me with my love of fantasy etc.
May. 21st, 2014 05:45 pm (UTC)
Hey just saw this and though you'd be interested! A contest to win a part in the new Star Wars movie!

May. 24th, 2014 01:02 pm (UTC)
Oooh! Oooh! AWESOME! Thank you.
May. 19th, 2014 06:50 pm (UTC)
1) I MISS STAR WARS FANDOM 2) I love that song so much I have it on CD
May. 20th, 2014 08:21 pm (UTC)
1) YES! I do, too!!!!! 2) That is awesome. I think it was my go-to sing-in-the-shower song for something like 18 straight months, LOL. Once it's in your head, it stays there!
May. 20th, 2014 02:31 am (UTC)
tee hee, love it!! xx
May. 20th, 2014 08:22 pm (UTC)
Yay! :D
May. 20th, 2014 08:39 pm (UTC)
I saw your post on tumblr and then remembered you from QOsuport lj. I'm the mod there. I'm also the Knights of Twilight blog on tumblr lol I adore Qui-Gon Jinn. I'm guessing you too?
May. 24th, 2014 01:05 pm (UTC)
Fantastic! Thanks for tracking me down (and for all you do for the SW community). You're right: I adore him to bits. He's my favorite Jedi (and that's really saying something), and one of my favorite SF characters, period.
May. 24th, 2014 01:31 pm (UTC)
oh me too! imo the ultimate Jedi. xx
May. 20th, 2014 09:51 am (UTC)
You're so interesting! I don't think I have read anything like this before. So wonderful to discover somebody with some unique thoughts on this subject matter. Seriously.. thank you for starting this up. This website is one thing that is needed on the internet, someone with a bit of originality! afegddddbfcbkdea
May. 20th, 2014 08:22 pm (UTC)
Re: John
Thank you so much! And may the Force be with you.
May. 20th, 2014 10:18 am (UTC)
The books sound interesting. So little of Qui-Gon was presented in the movie.
May. 20th, 2014 08:28 pm (UTC)
It's a YA series, quite well done. I really appreciated the background given for Qui-Gon and the development Watson portrayed in the maturing Obi-Wan and his influence on his Master (and vice-versa). Very poignant with just the right amount of bleakness - I wish we'd seen more of Qui-Gon in the film!
May. 20th, 2014 08:45 pm (UTC)
Well you know I agree! *waves to Gilda* The books are good! While they are not Lucas canon, much of JA is used in fandom.
May. 20th, 2014 10:05 pm (UTC)
"My, my this here Anakin guy. Maybe Vader someday later, now he's just a small fry". I remember when all of these came out.

The entire poem sounds like an Ent battle.
May. 24th, 2014 01:00 pm (UTC)
The entire poem sounds like an Ent battle.

Oh wow, you're RIGHT!!!! How cool is that?!?!?
( 22 comments — Leave a comment )

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