Lit A Cynical Walk Through the NJO

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

  1. Trip Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 7, 2003
    star 4
    what are u talking about CT, obviously if Luke had just nutted up and force-pushed all the vong back where they came from as soon as they arrived instead sitting around philosophizing trillions of lives would have been saved

    posted from my phone
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  2. anakinfansince1983 Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Mar 4, 2011
    star 7
    I liked the NJO. I preferred Kyp's take-action methods above Luke's naval-gazing but I was never upset with Luke either. My attitude was a more annoyed, "Dude, shut up and get off your ass, there's a war on," as opposed to an angry, "YOU *******! YOU MADE TRILLIONS OF PEOPLE DIE!!!"

    Maybe I just don't get upset about trillions of fictional deaths? *shrug*
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  3. DigitalMessiah Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 17, 2004
    star 5
    It seems to be a leap to assume that I dunno 50 Jedi would have saved trillions of lives but then again, @Trip is probably right.
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  4. PCCViking Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jun 12, 2014
    star 4

    Luke was like Kyp compared to Jacen. Jacen's mindset drove me crazy.
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  5. anakinfansince1983 Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Mar 4, 2011
    star 7
    Oh don't even get me started.
  6. DigitalMessiah Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 17, 2004
    star 5
    Oh boy I'm having flashbacks to thirteen years ago now
  7. Jedi Ben Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jul 19, 1999
    star 6
    "You caused trillions of deaths by sitting on yer arse!" Does anyone really think a politician wouldn't play such a card? By the standards the NR politicians demonstrated in the EU that was I say of course they would.

    Of more interest to me though is this: If a story manages to engage you as a reader where you do care about what is an entirely fictional construct is that not a form of success? Or am I supposed to just sit back with a cool reserve, with a full wine glass, commenting on stuff as it unfolds: "Ah, inevitable collapse to brink of defeat followed by plucky fight-back"?

    In a lot of ways NJO's marketing was superb, but it also ratcheted my expectations to a level which the story could not possibly deliver to - so it over-egged it. Of course, I suppose I should have been far more cynical and not credited any of it! Still, that we're still talking about it, over a decade after it ended,says it must have done something right!

    EDIT: Something else I want to throw in....

    NJO clearly sets up a situation where the solving is beyond an individual or even a group of - due to the initial scale of the Vong invasion. (See DT1). So, if it is beyond individuals, then the story has to look to organisations, but the story also requires those fail too in the form of the NR, both the politicians that fracture, who in turn cripple the military. The result is a very muddy picture as to how much should be expected of any of the characters.
    Last edited by Jedi Ben, Jul 15, 2014
  8. DigitalMessiah Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 17, 2004
    star 5
    I'm rather bummed that Dash Rendar never showed up, especially after the New Essential Guide to Characters teased that he was fighting the Peace Brigade.
  9. Gamiel Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 16, 2012
    star 5
    but was he getting paid?
  10. GoingInside Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 31, 2013
    star 1
    It's not about Luke saving "trillions" of lives by making a decision earlier. I think he could've saved SOME lives, but that's not even the point. It's the worthless semantics of his hemming and hawing that I find irritating, and Jacen's even more so. I'll let Tolkien speak for me.


    How shall a man judge what to do in such times?'
    'As he ever has judged,' said Aragorn.
    'Good and ill have not changed since yesteryear; nor are they one thing among Elves and Dwarves, and another among Men. It is a man's part to discern them, as much in the Golden Wood as in his own house.'

    Evil is not one thing for regular people and something else for Jedi. The idea that a separate morality applies to Jedi is, quite honestly, repellant. Being pure of heart doesn't mean much when the galaxy is getting decimated by an enemy horde. If you're not going to fight, fine, but don't stop others from fighting if that's what they believe is right. The risk of fighting evil is the same whether the enemy is invisible to the Force or they're the most evil Sith ever spawned. Dark Jedi pop up even during peacetime. All it takes is a connection to the Force and a lust for power. You don't need to be fighting a war to have that.

    Furthermore, if I were a trained Jedi, and I was told, essentially, that fighting would almost certainly turn me "evil", I'd be offended. Are all the Jedi so incredibly weak-minded and susceptible, that turning dark is not seen just as a risk, but almost a certainty? It just doesn't jive. It's why the Jedi Code is garbage, and the idea of a monolothic Jedi Order, governed by one set of principles that is somehow supposed to cover dozens of species and cultures, is a joke. I definitely wouldn't want some distant bureaucracy deciding for me whether I was allowed to defend something I thought worth protecting. They're adults. Let them make the decision and take the risk themselves. And if they fall, take care of them, one way or another.
  11. DigitalMessiah Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 17, 2004
    star 5
    I find the idea of dropping the pretense of morality because you're dealing with someone outside your moral community to be repellent myself.

    Luke and Jacen stopped not a single person from fighting.
    Last edited by DigitalMessiah, Jul 15, 2014
  12. GoingInside Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 31, 2013
    star 1
    Choose and act.

    And who is dropping the pretense of morality? Does fighting against the invading force automatically involve killing the children and the elderly? Why would fighting against the Yuuzhan Vong instantly involve dropping the pretense of morality? Is every soldier on the battlefield fighting for the New Republic morally wrong?

    Are there not weeds to be pulled? Jaina didn't need some Old Republic Jedi to tell her it was okay to fight the enemy. She fought because she thought it was the right thing to do.

    I really don't even understand what you're positing. So standing by and debating semantics was better... how? Because they didn't muddy their principles? I'm not advocating a lack of thought, but, as has been brought up multiple times on this thread, "Feel, don't think. Trust your instincts." I guess Qui-Gon really WAS a Sith.
  13. DigitalMessiah Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 17, 2004
    star 5
    Qui-Gon must have been a Sith since he talked about the will of the Force, which was part of the expansive view of the Force which the Jedi adopted after the Yuuzhan Vong War under the influence of Vergere, only for Luke to realize was completely incorrect and only later for it to be discovered that Vergere was a Sith herself. [face_mischief]

    I'm not entirely sure how the Yuuzhan Vong War would have gone different if Luke gave Kyp his blessing. Who didn't fight? The Jedi Order was about 100 strong and split evenly between Kyp and Luke, but all those Jedi in Luke's camp had free will, and if Kyp's camp were so steadfast in their beliefs that they would fight even without Luke's blessing, I'm not sure why anyone expects that those in Luke's camp would change their mind because Luke did. Jacen certainly wouldn't. And it's completely ambiguous what Luke's camp was even doing -- he just advocated caution over acting like a knight errant and attacking the Yuuzhan Vong without direction or purpose. Those that weren't fighting were aiding the war effort in other ways.

    I just find it funny that people attack Jacen for advising Anakin not to fire Centerpoint (which was purely Anakin's choice, which if anything he abrogated if you're really willing to forgive him of the sin of not firing it despite having free will), because if you view using Centerpoint Station against the Yuuzhan Vong fleet as a moral action, then you must view the Empire's attempted use of the Death Star against Yavin 4 as a moral action as well -- since they're both attacking military targets, and the only difference is who is pulling the trigger and on whom.

    I think philosophically you and I are mostly aligned, but I disagree with the facts you present concerning the early days of the Yuuzhan Vong War, when Luke and Jacen were on the frontlines at Dubrillion, Helska, Dantooine, and Ithor. And Jacen participated in the kickass strike team on Garqi. I've said it before, but people are too quick to paint Luke and Jacen with a broad stroke in the NJO. Luke was under de facto house arrest during part of the war, and Jacen participated quite a bit in the fighting for a pacifist. Even in the book when he did stop using the Force, he still somehow kicked Tsavong Lah's ass.
    Last edited by DigitalMessiah, Jul 15, 2014
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  14. Force Smuggler Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Sep 2, 2012
    star 6
    Even with all 100 Jedi doing something the galaxy is still in a hell of a lot of trouble. And they did more than the politicians did,
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  15. GoingInside Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 31, 2013
    star 1
    I think what we're looking at here is a microcosm of the very argument in the books themselves. People with different ideas about how the war should've been fought. Anakin should have made the decision himself one way or another instead of placing the burden on someone, ANYONE, else's shoulders. I don't blame Jacen for Centerpoint, though I admit, I think it should've been fired. Who is pulling the trigger is difference enough for me haha.

    And it's true that Luke and Jacen never shied away from fighting when they had to. I guess it's more conceptual, and it's easy for me to be blinded by the discussions rather than the actions, if only because it's exactly the kind of navel-gazing that I dislike.
  16. Riv_Shiel Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 12, 2014
    star 1
    Emphasis mine. I love this post. I have been for a long time trying to figure out if I read a different first half of the NJO than everyone else - apparently DM got the same copy I did. Luke and Jacen are involved with the war from start to finish - just because between battles they think discussing the possible moral implications of their actions is important (and many of the things they suggest seemed to be put out just to be considered, not actually argued for as facts) doesn't mean that they decided it would be EVIL to resist. The difference between Team Luke and Team Kyp is that Luke is doing things to help the war effort in a meaningful way - defending planets under attack by the Vong, evacuating and relocating refugees, striking back when the opportunity presents itself (Helska) - and what Kyp is doing is trying to blow stuff up to feel better. If the Jedi had adopted Kyp's stance of waging guerrilla warfare against the Vong how much faster would the worlds in their path have fallen? How many refugees would have never escaped? And as for Centerpoint, I never thought I would see the day when outrage was near universal that the heroes DIDN'T use a superweapon against their enemies.
  17. GoingInside Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 31, 2013
    star 1
    The use of the word "superweapon" muddles that argument. It is no better, from a moral perspective, to get in an X-wing and shoot down coralskippers than it is to use Centerpoint to blow away a fleet. Unless there's some concern about "honor" in combat, the only thing the former does is get more people killed in the meantime. Granted, even HAVING a "superweapon" is a big problem politically later down the line, but that's not what we're talking about here. We're talking about what could have been a surgical strike that would have saved thousands of lives, apparently without collateral damage (i.e. Alpha Red). Again, I don't blame Jacen for not advising Anakin to fire, and, in all honesty, if I was in Anakin's place, I don't know that I would have fired, either. It's a lot of responsibility. But I still think he should have.

    It's not about advocating "superweapons", it's about advocating victory against an enemy force and saving lives. Going back to the Death Star argument, in a purely military sense, yes, it was justified. It was a military target. It's a bit fuzzier because there was collateral damage... an entire moon, thousands of species of flora and fauna, and archaelogically, historically important ruins, but it was still a military target. More justifiable than Alderaan, certainly. Of course, at the same time, if you think about it, the "superweapon" aspect of that battle was superfluous. There was enough firepower on that station to wipe out the Rebels, regardless. Would it have been better if the Empire had just sent a Star Destroyer and bombarded the planet from orbit?
  18. DigitalMessiah Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 17, 2004
    star 5
    Ethical debates like this will never be resolved. I could go into explicit details about all the variables associated with using either weapon and the various ethical snags that crop up, but I'm posting from my phone currently and I also suspect no one is going to change their mind.

    If this is a discussion people want to have, do you think Yoda, Mace, and the Jedi council of that time would have approved using the weapon? Why or why not?

    Edit: BTW - does anyone appreciate the disconnect here in which something like Centerpoint is a metaphor for the dark side, where the same people that claim Vergere is telling Jacen to use the dark side for good or whatever (with disapproval) are likely also saying to use Centerpoint for good? Not referring to anyone in this discussion.
    Last edited by DigitalMessiah, Jul 16, 2014
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  19. GoingInside Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 31, 2013
    star 1
    Oh I think most people in and out of universe would advocate against using the weapon or a weapon like it. And they're not necessarily wrong.

    Again, it's just a difference in attitudes, and it shows that I would make the worst Jedi ever. It is, admittedly, short-sighted of me to hold these views. If a Jedi turns dark because they're fighting in a war, deal with it when it happens, don't agonize over it today. If the use of a superweapon might cause problems down the line, but saves thousands of lives today, cross that bridge when you come to it.

    Sufficient unto the day are the problems thereof.
  20. anakinfansince1983 Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Mar 4, 2011
    star 7
    I just thought Luke and Jacen sitting around discussing the moral implications of their actions was ****ing boring.

    "Would a Jedi do this? What does it mean for future Jedi if we do this?"

    *yawn* Who cares, just go fly an X-Wing or throw a hydro spanner at the Falcon or something.
  21. DigitalMessiah Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 17, 2004
    star 5
  22. Arawn_Fenn Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jul 2, 2004
    star 7
    Clearly the Jedi believed in the will of the Force during the PT era.
  23. anakinfansince1983 Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Mar 4, 2011
    star 7
    I can't remember specific conversations and I don't have my Kindle with me right now, but it seems that there were a lot of conversations among Luke, Jacen, Anakin, Kyp and maybe some other characters about how principled they should be and "What would a Jedi do?" topics.

    Not saying that doesn't belong in the books or the saga, not saying that other people shouldn't like it, and I'm definitely not saying that it's OK to invoke immoral/collateral damage type behavior just because there's a war on.

    I just felt like there was a sense of urgency and practicality missing from the discussions, almost as if Luke didn't care if he died as long as Yoda would find him principled-Jedi enough to let him Force-ghost later. (My perception, not what was actually said.) And I think there is a line between sacrificing basic morals and becoming a martyr for causes and principles. I don't believe in martyrdom and I don't think Luke and Jacen were trying hard enough to reach that line.
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  24. DigitalMessiah Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 17, 2004
    star 5
    I just feel like it is generalizing when I tend to hear it as a criticism. Off the top of my head, the only moral discussions are between Luke and Vergere and Jacen and Vergere. It sounds to me like complaining about the OT being boring because all Luke does is whine about how he can't kill his father. Well, yeah, that happens and it's an important scene and it is important to Luke's character, but you're making it sound like it is bigger than it is with that sort of criticism.

    And I frankly find it disturbing that some people (not anyone in this conversation) views the ethics of the situation through the "rules" of the setting. Vergere is an evil Sith because she tells Jacen there's no dark side once and using the dark side, even for a good cause, is wrong, but using a superweapon capable of killing millions at the push of a button isn't, because if you're using it for military purposes or self defense it's all good, and not against the rules.
    Last edited by DigitalMessiah, Jul 16, 2014
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  25. GoingInside Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 31, 2013
    star 1
    My own Jedi bias may be on display when I try and have discussions like this, as well. I will admit I was wrong in one regard: When the chips are down, Luke and Jacen WILL act. They will do what needs to be done, regardless of whatever hang-ups they may or may not have, which is the way it should be.

    I guess one thing I wonder is... does Wedge ever have these discussions with Tycho? Wedge razed a planet, he rammed a ship with a Super Star Destroyer full of explosives. If there is a risk inherent in aggressive action, that should apply to everyone, not just to Jedi. It's the "I'm special, so it's more dangerous for me" attitude that it implies. Yes, you have power. So does a general. So does a politician. So does a person with a gun. Everyone takes those risks, not just Jedi.

    It's personal bias, it doesn't even necessarily apply to what happens in the books, but it's what it makes me think of.