PT The Star Wars Heresies

Discussion in 'Prequel Trilogy' started by PiettsHat, Feb 2, 2013.

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  1. PiettsHat Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 1, 2011
    star 4
    I'm sure many of you have already heard of this, but Paul F. McDonald is releasing a book:

    The Star Wars Heresies: Interpreting the Themes, Symbols, and Philosophies of Episodes I, II, and III

    http://www.amazon.com/The-Star-Wars...1359870682&sr=8-1&keywords=star wars heresies

    Paul runs one of my favorite blogs

    http://thestarwarsheresies.blogspot.com

    So, needless to say, I'm quite excited about the book and plan to get it. I think Paul is a member here, but has anyone heard any additional information about the book besides the release date of June 30th? Page length? Format?

    Anyway, let's just say I'm a happy camper. It's nice to have some good news, especially after the "postponement" of AOTC and ROTS in 3D.
  2. Alexrd Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 7, 2009
    star 5
    Well, unfortunately I can't buy it since it becomes too expensive for someone who lives in Europe. Still, I wish him good luck.
  3. Adrian the Cool Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Sep 3, 2012
    star 3
    Hm... I thought this thread's about in-universe religious heresies when reading the title, like Pius Dei.
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  4. DarthBoba Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 29, 2000
    star 9
    Sounds interesting, if pretty pricey.
  5. Cryogenic Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jul 20, 2005
    star 5
    I think it'll be worth it.

    I'm a great fan of Paul: the man and his writings.

    He's a very thoughtful, intelligent, articulate, and most importantly, well-humoured guy, and I think all those qualities show in his work.

    I'm really looking forward to getting this in my hands -- and if he's done a good job with it (which I'm sure he has), I'll do my best to spread the word and net him some extra sales.

    I haven't really asked Paul for any detailed info. I rather like surprises, actually. Whatever format, length, style, etc., the book takes, I'm sure it'll be a keeper. :)
    Last edited by Cryogenic, Feb 3, 2013
  6. Iron_lord Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Sep 2, 2012
    star 7
    After a read through of the blog- I am impressed. I wonder when that book will come out in Europe?
  7. Seagoat Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 25, 2013
    star 4
    I don't quite understand - he is picking apart the prequels, that much I get, but is he just another ranter, or is he actually appreciating all the good parts of them?
  8. PiettsHat Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 1, 2011
    star 4
    Don't worry. Paul is most definitely not a ranter. He's written some fantastic essays about all of the Saga, including one of my favorites about Jar Jar, analyzing hist role and importance in the story. I might actually link to a couple that I particularly like, just as an example.

    Here's the Jar Jar one, for instance:

    http://thestarwarsheresies.blogspot.com/2010/11/case-for-jar-jar.html

    And I adore this "photo-essay" by him as well:

    http://thestarwarsheresies.blogspot.com/2011/10/saga-in-paragraph.html

    His essay on Qui-Gon is also top-notch:

    http://thestarwarsheresies.blogspot.com/2011/05/qui-gon-jinn-jedi-knight-of-infinite.html
    Last edited by PiettsHat, Feb 3, 2013
  9. Arawn_Fenn Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jul 2, 2004
    star 7
    Unfortunately the Qui-Gon one falls into ( and even goes beyond ) a lot of the typical misrepresentations and exaggerations regarding Qui-Gon's character. Once again we are treated to the popular assertion that Qui-Gon has a Force philosophy which is completely different from that of the Council, even though TPM says no such thing. The author even goes so far as to suggest that Qui-Gon doesn't believe in the sides of the Force, simply because he doesn't mention them ( even though he does in EU ). :rolleyes: Lucas believes in the sides of the Force, and so do his Jedi characters. The only people who don't believe in the sides of the Force are certain revisionist franchise authors and like-minded fans. It's important to not confuse the beliefs of the fanbase with the beliefs of the characters.
    Last edited by Arawn_Fenn, Feb 3, 2013
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  10. PiettsHat Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 1, 2011
    star 4
    I do think Paul's analysis does tend to be a bit biased towards Qui-Gon (for example, he doesn't note how Obi-Wan was correct in sensing something elusive) but I also think he makes some great points as well. When Qui-Gon says that they must focus their attention on the here and now where it belongs, I believe that does demonstrate some of the issues with the Council, especially in regards to Anakin. They're so focused on his "clouded future" that they can't see that, right now, he's just a child with an uncertain future, not dangerous in the moment. In my estimation, there's always been a bit of self-fulfilling prophecy inherent in the Council's thinking.

    The element of faith, I think, is also an important aspect of Qui-Gon's character in that he is a precursor (or maybe spiritual successor, given the release order) to Luke in that he does not follow all the mandates of the Jedi of old and also has unyielding faith in Anakin.

    Nonetheless, while I don't think that Qui-Gon has a Force philosophy completely different from that of the Council, I do think it's fair to say that he differs in significant ways -- as evidenced by Obi-Wan's plea for Qui-Gon not to go against the Council again and his lamentation that if Qui-Gon would just follow the Code he would be on the Council. This indicates, at least to me, that Qui-Gon doesn't embrace all aspects of the Code and while he serves the Council, he's also pretty stubborn when it comes to following his own path.

    I do think Paul is correct though in that Qui-Gon acts as foil for the Council, in many ways, though I don't perhaps agree with him on all the details.
    Last edited by PiettsHat, Feb 3, 2013
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  11. Cryogenic Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jul 20, 2005
    star 5
    The Jar Jar one is riveting and filled with tremendous insights.

    The photo-essay is a neat idea and beautifully executed.

    The Qui-Gon is cool, though probably the weakest (I think Paul has developed as a thinker/writer since he wrote it).

    And then there's this terrific one on Vader that I think is both enlightening and moving:

    http://www.forcecast.net/story/blog..._Vader_A_Portrait_of_the_Dark_Side_137131.asp

    Y'see, what you've done, there, is to slam the essay without a moment's deeper thought. While it's true -- as PiettsHat has well conceded -- that Paul seems to be a bit biased towards Qui-Gon and is guilty of overly-simplifying, perhaps, there are some nice insights there all the same. What's more, that essay goes back a long way (to 2000), and Paul admits underneath, in a multi-parapraph addendum, that his thoughts may have been a bit premature/simplistic, including on the very thing you slight him for. It sounds, therefore, like you didn't read it in full.

    Anyway, there is a neat moment in TPM when Yoda says that the Dark Side is "hard to see", and Qui-Gon nods in sympathy. So, it seems that the Qui-Gon character MAY acknowledge the Dark Side, and the more conventional thinking on the Force, but he doesn't unduly concern himself with it. Thinking in terms of "light" and "dark", I propose, would actually be a major stigma if you're more at the forest-floor level of nature, concerned with living organisms and life -- the free-flowing Force -- as a sinuous, ever-shifting weave; which Qui-Gon does appear to be.

    If anything -- another proposition of mine, you've been warned -- Qui-Gon clings a little too closely to his personal conception of the Force (look how he grips his lightsaber -- very firmly, at his side, which makes him look powerful and assured; but there's a hint of inflexibility there, too), doing a dodgy deal with Watto, wrenching Anakin from his mother under the illusion of choice (he's lit in shadow, as well, when he says he "tried" freeing Shmi, but "Watto wouldn't have it", and when he hangs back in quiet gloom as Anakin objects to leaving his mother behind), and having this tinge of arrogance here and there that makes him a little cold and dismissive at times (the opening scene between he and Obi-Wan contains some evidence of this, IMO).

    He's not a perfect guy, but he *is* that little bit removed from the other Jedi; or so it seems, to me. I think Paul's essay is meant to pay tribute to that and get a few ideas into the open in the spirit of reflection and debate. I wouldn't be so hasty to condemn the essay or the writer, personally.
    Last edited by Cryogenic, Feb 3, 2013
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  12. Arawn_Fenn Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jul 2, 2004
    star 7
    Not at all ( IMO ). In my view the living Force is the component of the living/unifying dichotomy which most clearly aligns with the light/dark breakdown, but then again that's just an opinion. In the above you seem to express the same views as the "premature/simplistic" approach of the author: namely, that Qui-Gon has a deeper understanding of the Force than the other Jedi, and that this deeper understanding involves not thinking in terms of light and dark. But none of this is established anywhere in the films. In a sense, both of these ideas can be traced to the EU ( which doesn't preclude fans from having thought of them independently ). There doesn't seem to be any evidence that they match up with Lucas' intent.

    Also, I don't care about the author being biased toward Qui-Gon. I like Qui-Gon. Being biased toward Qui-Gon is fine. But one can be biased toward Qui-Gon without making hyperbolic and unsupported claims about Qui-Gon's beliefs ( some of which can be challenged by in-film evidence, as seen in your post ).
  13. Count Yubnub Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 1, 2012
    star 4
    I've enjoyed his blog, so I'll most likely enjoy his book, but $40? That's, like, whoa.
  14. Cryogenic Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jul 20, 2005
    star 5
    I did slightly re-word that part, but yeah -- it's speculation. So is my "in-film" evidence. So are the claims made in the essay. Very little of anything can be seen to be established in the films; most of it requires interpretation. That's the value of Paul's essays, his blog, and his book (in the order that they sprang forth): he's offering speculation and encouraging further thinking. He doesn't really talk in terms of absolutes: he's approaching the saga as poetry, not prose. Paul's a gifted writer and a big fan of Alan Watts, so I think he understands that ideas are often tentative and that perspectives are contextual and ever open to modification.
    Last edited by Cryogenic, Feb 3, 2013
  15. DRush76 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 25, 2008
    star 4
    I've been reading his essays since AOTC was in theaters. His book sounds interesting.
  16. Alexrd Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 7, 2009
    star 5
    Sometimes I think (and wish) that Lucasfilm should release a book with Lucas' views on each movie and respective characters and relationships. I don't care about how the EU interprets X or Y, I care about Lucas' views and original intents. After all, he was the one who created these universe and its characters.

    It's also one of the reasons for why I'm not 100% excited for the sequel trilogy: not enough Lucas involvement.
  17. PiettsHat Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 1, 2011
    star 4
    I largely feel this way as well. That's not to say that I don't think fans should be able to interpret the films the way they want since, in the end, I do think the films should stand on their own, but I think it would be very helpful to know Lucas' intention behind the different aspects he put together.

    Like you, I'm also not 100% excited for the sequel trilogy because one of the things I've always been most excited about was George Lucas' vision and what he was trying to get across with the films. The less involved he is, the more it risks getting muddled, in my opinion.

    I'm largely excited about Paul's book, though, because it's a serious examination of what Lucas was trying to say with the PT. And there's not nearly enough of that, in my opinion.
    FRAGWAGON likes this.
  18. Alexrd Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 7, 2009
    star 5
    Yes, I don't have a problem if something is left open for interpretation on purpose. But many things aren't, and I would love to know more about it.

    And as a visual artist, he was always very specific about designs of characters, vehicles, worlds, props, etc... Apparently his involvement will be limited to the story, which is a shame. I would love to hear that Abrams had asked for George's input on concept art and the like.
  19. Count Yubnub Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 1, 2012
    star 4

    Yeah, this. On all counts.

    I'm guessing that Lucas is more interested in having people come up with their own interpretation of his work, though... But maybe he could publish it under a pseudonym. I recall reading somewhere that one of the great composers wrote an analysis of his own works and published it under a pseudonym, but I forget who (Schubert?). But yeah I'd love to read some more of Lucas' thoughts on his own work.
  20. Jedi-Hippie Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Feb 24, 2005
    star 1
    Thank you all. PFM here. I too would love to read some more of Lucas' thoughts on his own work. Robert Frost once said he had to listen to other people's commentaries on his poetry to find out all he put in there, but I personally always enjoy the input of the actual author.

    Just had to chime in on the Qui-Gon essay. I wrote that for Space.com well over a dozen years ago, though it is certainly one of the most heavily circulated pieces I've done. Still, it was drawing a lot disparate elements together. A little overreaching, to be sure. Certain things I don't agree with. This was one of my first attempts at doing this sort of work. I can promise the Qui-Gon chapter in the book is light years ahead of this one. Light years. In point of fact, my TPM chapters on Qui-Gon and Amidala were the ones that essentially "sold" the book.

    As for the title, it derives in part from The Phantom Heresies back at Space.com, which some may remember. I was also enormously fond of Robert Bakker's The Dinosaur Heresies. In both senses, heretical in the sense of deviating from perhaps mainstream opinion and then following it up with an unexpected point of view. This is really illustrated with my last post on my blog, courtesy of Camille Paglia -

    http://thestarwarsheresies.blogspot.com/2013/02/heretic-of-year.html

    As for the price of the book ... yeah, I know. McFarland deals with a lot of colleges and universities, so their prices are borderline textbook expensive. Sorry. However, their books are of a really, really high quality.

    Thanks again for the mention. :)
  21. DarthBreezy Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jun 4, 2002
    star 6
    Added to my 'Wish List' and spreading the word - loved the essays so far and can't wait for the book.
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