Friday, May 23, 2014

101 Star Wars Variations 14: Tarkin and the Empire

The man who died at the beginning of the end for the Galactic Empire, variously referred to as Governor and Grand Moff but commonly known by his given name, Tarkin, is actually responsible for all the things that were worst about it.

I know, you've heard differently.  You heard things about the "evil" Emperor, his connection to the Sith.  Lies spread by Tarkin's apologists, passed down through history.

The truth is, Tarkin's reign of terror was of his own making.  Originally a loyal soldier in the Grand Army of the Republic (initiated, incidentally, by Palpatine, the erstwhile "Emperor," puppet of Tarkin's machinations), which as history does record was developed as a series of clones rather than recruits, the true enemy of freedom in the galaxy saw his opportunity to seize power at the end of the Clone Wars, installing the figure known as Darth Vader below him.

Vader, as you should understand, was a bogeyman, originally known as Anakin Skywalker, a Jedi knight mortally injured in an epic clash with his former master Obi-Wan Kenobi.  All three served in the clone army as generals, naturally.  It was Tarkin's constant goading that led to the split between them.  He won Skywalker's undying favor by giving him the life support apparatus he would wear until dying aboard the second Death Star.  It should come as no surprise that Kenobi was the other famous casualty of the first one.

Tarkin's lust for power was his own undoing.  He refused to step aside and give control of the Empire to anyone else, and foolishly installed himself as commander of the original Death Star.  With his death, Palpatine's ineffectiveness was exposed, and the Empire quickly crumbled around him.

I doubt the Sith ever existed.  The Jedi certainly did.  Their numbers are their peak were sufficient to protect the whole galaxy.  It was their decline that forced the creation of the clone army, the barbarians at the gate suddenly too much to control without one.  The opportunist Tarkin warped the idea and used it to his own ends.  I urge those seeking the truth about the old times to reconsider the need for such an army now.  Tarkin is a cautionary tale.  That's why I want the truth to be known now.

Well, what do you say?  The price of freedom is great.  Sometimes the cost is freedom itself.  But not always.

[Read another version of the Tarkin narrative here.]

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