Monday, November 13, 2006

The Secret of Vergere!

"You each have the tools inside you to master yourselves, and to master the Force," the tranquil, confident voice said. "And to draw on the strength of the Force, you must learn to draw on what is strongest in you: strong emotions, deep desires, fear, aggression, hate, anger."
Do you know who said that? Do you know which book it came from?

How many of you thought Vergere and Traitor respectively?

How many of you know that that's wrong?

Vergere said very similar things. In Traitor it was:
"Light and dark are no more than nomenclature: words that describe how little we understand." She seemed to draw strength from his weakness, slowly managing to sit up. "What you call the dark side is the raw, unrestrained Force itself: you call the dark side what you find when you give yourself over wholly to the Force. To be a Jedi is to control your passion...but Jedi control limits your power. Greatness--true greatness of any kind--requires the surrender of control. Passion that is guided, not walled away. Leave your limits behind."
And Lumiya herself says that Vergere was a pseudo-Sith. Within fandom, it has become a relatively accepted concept that Vergere was a Sith. That her teachings were a stepping stone to the Dark Side for Jacen.

Personally, I think this is only half-right.

I don't think that Vergere was ever Sith. I don't think that she was anything BUT a regular, run-of-the-mill Jedi of the Old Republic.

What proof do I offer? Basically her actions and words in later NJO, most specifically Destiny's Way:
"A rage rose in me, an anger so complete that I almost attacked them then and there in the hope that I could obliterate them all from the face of the universe. Never had I been so close to surrendering to darkness."
While that does not make her not-dark, we also have to consider the simple fact that nothing she does is explicitly dark. Cruel? Painful? Most definitely. Misguided? Somewhat. But go read why she did it. Her reasons for pushing Jacen the way she did.

She wanted to bring Jacen to the same point that Luke reached while being electrocuted by the Emperor. To the point where he had to act not as a Jedi, not as the son of a former chief of state and most definitely not as the grandson of the Chosen One. She took him to the point where he had to act empathically as himself.

Of course, what Vergere did not, could not know, has to deal with the quote at the start of the blog entry, and why her teachings DID lead Jacen to the Sith and the Dark Side.

Just so everyone knows, the quote at top came from Brakiss in The Shadow Academy. You know, when Jacen, Jaina and Lowie were captured and taught to be Dark Jedi.

While I don't think what Vergere believed is truly Jedi teachings, I don't think she's that far off. Rather she's slightly misguided, after all she elevated herself to Mastery while being stuck in Yuuzhan Vong society. So of course she's going to be a bit misguided.

Yet nothing that she says, directly contradicts anything Luke was taught.

The same cannot be said about the lessons Jacen learned though. He and his actions in Dark Nest are definitely dark and getting darker. Topped with the story which Lumiya spinned for him about our favorite Jedi-fried Chicken, it's no wonder he went Sith.

1 comment:

Charles said...

I have to agree with the substance of your argument if not with each individual point. We look at the actions of Vergere herself and also of Jacen while he was most under her influence in the books immediately after 'Traitor', and we see two deeply moral people, who work to preserve life. It's only after the real-life decision to turn Jacen into the next Sith Lord that it gets twisted. The Vergere of Traitor and Destiny's Way shows us not a different way to understand the Force, but what I feel was probably the way the Jedi of old did things. It's not only useful to accept one's own emotions, it's necessary! It is neither possible nor desirable to squelch all feeling. If someone hurts someone you care for/about, you will naturally feel angry. What a Jedi must be able to do is A: Understand the real cause of that anger and B: refuse to let it guide her actions. In short, the Jedi must be the author of her own decisions, not pulled by the vague winds of every urge she has, BUT MUST ACCEPT THE FACT THAT SHE HAS EMOTIONS. We all have feelings we're sort of ashamed of. This person might be jealous with their mate, that person might have a loose definition of 'truth' when it gets in the way of what they want. If we are honest with ourselves, we can more easily see where these natural traits are helpful and where they are hurtful, and steer our OWN lives accordingly. This is consistent with several philosophical schools, among them Friedrich Nietzssche (whom Matthew Stover is a proponent of) and American Transcendentalism.
I think most of the fan base who is so rabid to support the Vergere/Sith connection really hated Traitor. Certainly we know such people exist in large numbers, it's frequently touted as everyone's least favorite NJO book (and, of course, my favorite). This is because it presents something Star Wars fans do not often face in that universe; moral uncertainty. The light is the light, the dark is the dark, end of story. As the authors helming the new series have expressed, they want to move the series along more mature lines; one would hope that moral ambiguity would lie along that spectrum but sadly orders from on high (the great GL) make any Vergere-friendly interpretation of the Force impossible.
So, the canon is absolutely clear. Vergere was at some point trained by Palpatine. She did study the ways of the Sith. I choose to beleieve that in the end, she was Vergere. Not Jedi, not Sith, just Vergere. And I am her disciple.

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