Saga The Saga is not a historical document (the Mortis "problem" resolved)

Discussion in 'Star Wars Saga In-Depth' started by Anakin Starkiller, Aug 25, 2014.

  1. Anakin Starkiller Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 13, 1999
    star 1
    Way back, even before Star Wars came out in theaters in 1977, and soon after many read the novelization of the first film "From the Further Adventures of Luke Skywalker" and there was reference to a document known as "The Journal of the Whills".

    Many of us made the association that the Journal of the Whills was a (fictional) historical document from which the Saga of Star Wars was originally recorded, much like the Red Book of Westmarch, which was written by Bilbo Baggins, and from which Tolkien "translated" the tales within to give us the history of Middle-Earth.

    I have treated the films, and later the television shows, as presentation of historical events of the fictional universe in which Star Wars takes place -- that is that within the fictional universe, the films and television shows depict events as they happened within the fictional reality. That is, the events were being related dispassionately, and that the author of the Journal of the Whills was a historian.

    I love, love, love the Mortis Arc in The Clone Wars, while so many other fans really dislike it. I can see why, it is so out of step with the rest of what we have, and the events depicted do not seem to fit the way we understand that things work in Star Wars media. But I loved it for the allegorical aspect of the story, and the look into the metaphysics of the Star Wars Universe. But -- there I saw it on the screen -- within the fictional narrative, these things DID INDEED HAPPEN... or did they?

    Then, it came to me, what if the (fictional) author of the Journal of the Whills, was not a historian, but like Lucas himself, a storyteller.

    Lucas has always insisted that Star Wars was a modern myth, a fairy tale.

    The Journal of the Whills does not come to us from a character like, Herodotus of Halicarnassus, but more like Homer.

    So within the fictional narrative, there perhaps were historical events of the Clone Wars, The Fall of the Republic, the Rise and Fall of the Empire, the Battle of Yavin, and so on, however how they are being related to us, the audience, is by the way of a mythic narrative, and as such, there are certain embellishments.

    Homer may have recorded about the siege of Illum during the Trojan War, which was an actual historical event, but he also recorded the intervention of (and discussions among) the Olympian Deities, which clearly came from the poet's imagination, but are necessary to the tale, for the symbology, and the lessons these things teach.

    In the same way, Lucas and his collaborators gave us the Mortis Trilogy -- perhaps some of the most mythic (or more accurately described as mythically presented) that was nearly pure analogy, pure lesson told in symbols.

    When you realize that ALL of it has been a myth all along, the fantastic. unbelievable nature (even within the scope of Star Wars) actually fits into the narrative perfectly.
  2. Cael-Fenton Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 22, 2006
    star 2
    T've thought this a long time. Especially about the elements some find extremely objectionable, such as the prophecy of the Chosen One, the Will of the Force, the AotC love story, Padmé's death, etc.

    They are much easier to swallow if you accept that the Saga employs narrative devices at different "levels" of storytelling language, rather than all of its elements having the same type of "reality" (ie fictitious history, as you say). Some elements of the narrative maybe weren't intended to have "happened" in the same way as others, but are storytelling devices to introduce thematic problems such as free will vs predestination (eg, the prophecy), or because the characters involved operate as symbols and not just persons in the (relatively recent) tradition of naturalistic drama (especially apparent with Anakin and Padmé).

    The prophecy is a great example of this. It's often thought of as being something like a scientific hypothesis: a factual prediction that can be "true" or "false" (or "misread") depending on how historical events actually pan out. IMO that isn't what it's meant to be. It's straight out of Sophocles. It's more like the parameters against which the depth of Anakin's tragedy can be measured (hence Obi-Wan anguishedly bringing it up at the immolation scene), as well as a thematic motif.
    Last edited by Cael-Fenton, Aug 25, 2014
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  3. Arawn_Fenn Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jul 2, 2004
    star 7
    I don't see how the above statement is true. How is it out of step with the rest of what we have? At most I would say it is out of step with a small fraction of the ( now Legends ) Expanded Universe books. But it is consistent with most of them.
    Jarren_Lee-Saber likes this.