Monday, November 3, 2014

101 Star Wars Variations 101: In a Galaxy Far, Far Away...

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away...

He was a little boy, growing up in slavery.  His mother had been a slave before him, and he was born into it.  It was an insidious kind of slavery, in that for all intents and purposes he was little more than an employee, who reported to work every day, was free to live with his mother in their own home, and he could even pursue his own interests, for instance once he'd convinced his master of the possibilities in podracing, which wasn't all that difficult, he could devote all his spare time to it, and even use what was left over building his own protocol droid.

But he couldn't leave and he wasn't free and all his dreams were confined to a dead world filled with people watching their lives waste away, whose only visitors were opportunists looking to bleed whatever remained.  The worst part was that these visitors brought with them the stories of an entire galaxy, and a boy thrives on stories.  If he's not careful, they can become his whole reality.

His mother said the worst thing was that no one ever helped each other.  Very quickly he learned that she was right.

How do you help the helpless?  How do you fulfill the dreams of dreamers?  With magic?  Ideas, he learned, could be dangerous.  He had friends, like any other boy, and he valued them very much, often enjoying just listening to them chatter, letting his cares slip away, but he knew, somehow, what they thought even when they didn't vocalize it.  He knew on a certain level that he wasn't like them, and that this created a barrier between them.  They scoffed at his dreams.  Because he was a boy, most of the time he didn't really think much of it.  They didn't share the same dreams, but they did with fantasies.  This was how he first heard about the Jedi.

It's easy to have faith when you're young.  You don't have any real experience.  It's when you're older and you think you know everything, instead of merely accepting it, that faith becomes difficult.  There's probably a little of that in the practice the Jedi had in taking their recruits at the youngest possible age, not out of a sense of indoctrination but in the hope that the threshold of faith could be circumvented.  The longer you believe in something, the more you think about it, if given the proper support.  Without it, you begin formulating your own ideas, and ideas can be dangerous.

His idea was the belief that a Jedi couldn't die, that no one could defeat one of them.  This is far more than hero worship.  On a world such as his, there were no such things as heroes, only family.  You put your faith in dreams and family, and that was all.

The more he thought about the Jedi, the more he hoped.  He dreamed about a man who couldn't die, who had all the answers, all the solutions.  Such a man was instantly a part of the boy's family.  How could it be any different?  For the boy, to have formed a connection at all with another person, a real one, nothing trivial like what he shared with his friends, would infinitely improve his life.

The trouble was, he couldn't reconcile his ideal of what a Jedi was supposed to be with that man who couldn't die.  He didn't believe his own fantasy.  He had spent so much time thinking about it, he no longer thought of it as something he shared with his friends, but as something private, something they couldn't understand, like the rest of his life.

An isolated life takes pains to protect that status, as difficult as that may be to comprehend.

The boy was very much alone.  He was a boy in every conventional sense.  To all outward appearances he seemed perfectly normal.  He was not.  He harbored dark thoughts, out of fear, because his life was out of his control.

The fantasy of the Jedi grew to occupy his every waking thought.  He imagined a man who could give him guidance, but this was not the pure Jedi.  This was the man who couldn't die.  The corruption.  The perversion.  The Jedi was the one who represented the contradiction, the thing he couldn't reconcile.

He thought about both a great deal.  In the fantasy, one of them came to rescue him from his plight, but it wasn't the man who couldn't die, the man of guidance, but rather the more generalized image of the Jedi, the idea of the hero, whose only function was to give him a different set of circumstances.  He'd begun to blend the idea of the hero with the image of the angels he'd heard of, who reminded him so much of his mother, the only source of support he had ever trusted, the one he feared on a daily basis would be taken away, if his master ever decided to send him somewhere else.  He began to fear the Jedi would not be able to help him, that a hero was someone who only intervened.  In other words, just another master.  Would the man who couldn't die, the man of guidance, be the same?  That was why he needed the angel, the one who would always support him, who would be there when he finally became free.  She, and he could not think of the angel in any other term, would be the necessary link, perhaps between all of them, the support he would need above all else.

The fantasy began to frighten him.  The more he thought about it, the more it seemed destined to end in disaster.  He had been left in a terrible situation, which he was keenly aware of, which was why he had the fantasy in the first place.  It was a fatal trap.  Even his great hope was pointless, self-defeating, destined for a bad end.

By the way, there are no fairy tales on Tatooine, only cautionary ones...


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