Lit A Cynical Walk Through the NJO

Discussion in 'Literature' started by Cynical_Ben, Aug 17, 2013.

  1. DigitalMessiah Chosen One

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    Feb 17, 2004
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    Man, I wrote a long post and accidentally lost it.

    Kyle had a flashy side to himself though with his quips, though I suppose that was somewhat burned out of him by the traumatic event that the Dark Temple on Dromund Kaas was.

    Regarding Destiny's Way being the TURNING POINT, I will point out an amusing quote from the prologue of The Joiner King:

    The beginning of revisionist history!

    Um, regarding Vergere, it would seem that the primary or first stumbling block people have with her is that she's trying to break Jacen out of a hedonist worldview in which pleasure is an intrinsic good and pain an intrinsic evil. Most readers evidently find a non-hedonist worldview to be alien, but I think it's rather well summed up by the story of the shadow-moth. Those two sentences will have to suffice for the lost longer post. Although I guess I'll note that "Who is Jacen Solo?" is just a rephrasing of Nietzsche's quoting of Pindar: "Become what you are." Vergere is taking the philosophical premise of dialectical monism as is essentially the underlying premise of Taoism's Taiji, Buddhism's Śūnyatā, and the principle of "Atman is Brahman" to Advaita Vedanta, and which is equally true of the Force itself, and using that to justify Perspectivism, thus being -- as Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan are -- what the Jedi Path calls a Jedi relativist. "This is often taken to imply that no way of seeing the world can be taken as definitively "true", but does not necessarily entail that all perspectives are equally valid." Which is cutting to the root of Jacen's problem, that he's looking outside himself for reinforcement of existing beliefs or the truth, and she's telling him to look within himself.

    AS FOR VERGERE IN DESTINY'S WAY, interestingly her speech about anger to Luke is basically paraphrasing Vietnamese Buddhist monk Thicht Nhat Hahn regarding anger and how to use its energy productively.
    Last edited by DigitalMessiah, Nov 1, 2013
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  2. Cynical_Ben Force Ghost

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    Aug 12, 2013
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    Vergere is, if anything, easier to understand in DW, simply because she's explaining the basics of her philosophies and beliefs about the Force to Luke, whose thought process isn't the same as Jacen's. Since we're getting the same ideas coming to two different people, it makes them a bit easier to sort through. And I noted that Luke never outright rejected any of her ideas, he just didn't really have time on page to mull them over.

    Also, I noted that Vergere called the Potentium, the idea that evil is an illusion, unorthodox and borderline heretical in her discussion of Zonama Sekot. And she's talking to Jacen when she says it, not Luke. Didn't people accuse Vergere of teaching Jacen and the others Potentium philosophy, thus explaining their actions in Dark Nest and beyond? I remember that being a thing at one point, but it's been a long time.
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  3. DigitalMessiah Chosen One

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    People confused their interpretation of Vergere with the Potentium.
  4. anakinfansince1983 Chosen One

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    Skipped a bunch of posts but...

    Damn. Well done, Stover. The prologue for Traitor has me in tears.
  5. Revanfan1 Chosen One

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    You are so going to love it.
  6. Cynical_Ben Force Ghost

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    Aug 12, 2013
    star 4
    Oh yeah. :D Traitor is one of the five books in the series thus far that I thoroughly, unabashedly love regardless of their attachment to this series, the others being Onslaught, Conquest and Allston's Enemy Lines duology.
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  7. Ackbar's Fishsticks Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 25, 2013
    star 2
    We have similar tastes.

    It's funny, but I realized today that the three high points of the NJO for me are all continuations of previous works that I'd read and enjoyed. That would be the Dark Tide duology (continuation of Stackpole's Rogue Squadron and I, Jedi books), the Edge of Victory duology (continuation of the YJK/JJK books - never read JJK, but YJK was one of the first series that got me into the EU as a kid) and the Enemy Lines duology (continuation of Allston's X-wing books).

    The glories of having a big crossover/galaxy-altering-event, when it's done right. All the different corners of the EU you'd gotten to know and love get their moment in the sun. Plus, since I discovered/appreciated different parts of the EU depending on my age, it kind of doubles as a callback to my childhood, to my teenage years, to my college years... all in the same series.
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  8. DigitalMessiah Chosen One

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    Traitor is a continuation of The Empire Strikes Back.
  9. anakinfansince1983 Chosen One

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    I read the first chapter and already saw a repeat of "They never even asked me any questions."

    The passage about pain being the primary motivator in life was a good one.
  10. DigitalMessiah Chosen One

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    Vergere is challenging the hedonist worldview in which life is spent seeking pleasure and avoiding pain, and one is intrinsically good and the other intrinsically bad.
  11. Cynical_Ben Force Ghost

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    Aug 12, 2013
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    So, I've taken a break from the NJO now that I've reached Force Heretic. I'm six chapters into Kenobi and absolutely loving it, there's no way I'm putting it down until I finish it. I'll pick up Remnant some time next week, after I've finished Kenobi.
  12. Havac Former Moderator

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    Sep 29, 2005
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    Destiny's Way is a bit slow to get going, but I don't think that makes it boring. After all the events of SBS and DJ and EL and Traitor, I think the audience can use a little breathing room to relax and enjoy the fact that the heroes are pausing to sort things out and get back on track. There's also the spy drama and political drama going, along with the military plotlines, to keep the pace up, and I found that that stuff fascinating. The book definitely does really kick into high gear once Jacen gets off Mon Calamari and Ackbar's plan gets moving, but I don't think it's boring before that. It's just a more considered, less flashy sort of drama.
  13. anakinfansince1983 Chosen One

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    I can't say I agree with her at all, seeking pleasure and avoiding pain is normal, not bad. But I did like her explanation.

    I normally don't like it know too much ahead of time but I'm glad I know that Jacen gets out of this alive.
  14. DigitalMessiah Chosen One

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    Keep in mind that the Jedi have never been hedonists and are much more in line with the stoics. Mace Windu -- who is obviously a secret Sith Lord -- gives Anakin Skywalker a similar lecture regarding pain in Rogue Planet (not written by Matt Stover), with the same repudiation of the hedonist mindset of avoiding and fearing pain.

    "Pain can be our greatest teacher," Mace said, barely above a whisper. "Why turn away from pain?"

    Interestingly, he instructs "Look inward, Anakin."

    I don't think that Stover was intending Vergere to be proposing stoicism since she's operating with a different definition of passion than stoics, which is notable in Destiny's Way when she begins referring to the stoic passions as "dark passions," in contrast to her earlier inclusion of emotions such as joy and love as passion. But I don't think that the Jedi are strictly stoics, either -- though some can be -- and I think everything which she teaches is perfectly in line with what we already know.
    Last edited by DigitalMessiah, Nov 2, 2013
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  15. Revanfan1 Chosen One

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    While it is true that it is completely normal to seek pleasure and avoid pain, I think Vergere's point is that you can learn a lot from pain, and someone who focuses their whole life on pleasure might miss things that they could've learned through a tough trial.
  16. Iron_lord Chosen One

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    I recall in older children's books, like What Katy Did, pain being depicted as "the wise teacher" rather than "the enemy".
  17. DigitalMessiah Chosen One

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    "And why do we fall, Bruce? So we can learn to pick ourselves up."
  18. Gamiel Force Ghost

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    Dec 16, 2012
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    To answer a stupid question: Because it is painful! :p

    It is there to tell us not to do whatever we did again or not to use the damaged body part
    Last edited by Gamiel, Nov 2, 2013
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  19. Cynical_Ben Force Ghost

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    Aug 12, 2013
    star 4
    I don't disagree, I do enjoy books that are a bit slower paced, like Balance Point. I don't mind the politics at all, and the spy stuff was a good change of pace for Mara. I just feel like a lot of the good scenes are bogged down by a lot of exposition and recaps of the events of other books, and that drags the already deliberate pace down to glacial levels.
  20. Gamiel Force Ghost

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    Dec 16, 2012
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    What is your pleasure sir?
    Last edited by Gamiel, Nov 2, 2013
  21. DigitalMessiah Chosen One

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    I suspect both Mace and Vergere are talking about nonphysical pain.
  22. Gamiel Force Ghost

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    Oh, I did not realise that, you were all talking about pain without specifying what kind of pain
  23. CT-867-5309 Chosen One

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    Jan 5, 2011
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    I had a chuckle thinking about what other EU writers, like Troy Denning, think and feel about their own work after reading Matthew Stover's work.

    I don't know that Denning ever actually read Traitor, but if he did I have an amusing idea as to how and why certain aspects of Denning's post-NJO work came to pass.
  24. anakinfansince1983 Chosen One

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    Mar 4, 2011
    star 7
    Jacen sort of welcomed the physical pain because it kept him from thinking about Anakin. That's really sad.

    I'm on the fourth chapter; it's reading like a really good horror novel. I'm still trying to wrap my brain around the Vong seeding an entire planet.
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  25. DigitalMessiah Chosen One

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    Feb 17, 2004
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    What influence do you think it might have had?
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