Discussion in 'Star Wars Saga In-Depth' started by darklordoftech, Aug 23, 2013.
Yoda says, "Misread, the prophecy could have been." Was it?
In Jedi vs Sith: The Essential Guide to the Force, the Jedi think that it probably was misread- given the number of Sith they've had to deal with since Anakin died.
However, with respect to the movie-continuity, it's less clear. Lucas at least has said that it was indeed fulfilled by Anakin, in interviews.
I suspect that it was misread in that they didn't expect the Chosen One to become a darksider along the way.
I agree. Perhaps also due partly to the dark veil cast by Sidious, which according to the leading Jedi Council members, had greatly reduced their ability to use the Force, leading maybe to their misinterpretation or assumption of how the fate of the Chosen One would play out in returning the balance. Lack of clarity in their collective premonitions?
Could the misreading also partially be due to the arrogance of the Jedi, which Sidious proclaims is blinding them?
Since Anakin does destroy the Sith at the end (which, presumably, brings balance to the Force), the prophesy was not misread.
To hear it from the horse's mouth, see here--relevant quote starts at 12:40:
Yes, it seems everyone here agrees with that... but was the execution of the prophecy wrongly assumed to follow a different course? Don't we assume that Obi-Wan, Mace & Yoda believe at the time of that conversation that if he is the Chosen One, he will bring balance to the Force as a Jedi?
Probably. But the comment appears specifically in response to a comment about the prophesy saying that the Chosen One will destroy the Sith and bring balance to the Force--and it wasn't misread in that regard.
Unless the ST recons that.
The "what" of the prophecy (the Chosen One will bring Balance to the Force) was clearly understood. It's the "how" of the prophecy (the Chosen One will reject Jedi teachings, father a son, turn to the Dark Side, then both father & son will destroy the Sith and bring Balance to the Force) that was misunderstood.
True, but GL might have been forshadowing.
It was not misread, Like all prophecies both real and fictional it was vague. The prophecies in the Torah, The New Testament, the Koran, and in ancient religions are all very vague and George was very smart about doing the same thing. George was a big Joseph Campbell fan and prophecies are important in any myth. This type of conversation has always interested me and thank you to Dark Lord of tech for bringing it up. I actually am a fan of having Anakin be a figure of prophecy though I know others here hate it. It is not as good as the use of prophecy in Dune though, were the Bene Gerrisert plant a prophecy among the fremen a few thousand years before on the off chance that the one of there order would be stranded on the planet with her children. Of course look how that turned out when the boy also turned out the be the figure of a real Bene Gesserit Prophecy. Unintentionally handing an army of Warrior fanatics to the a Super being.
Was it not a paradox?
True in its eventual outcome... just not as the Jedi Masters envisioned it.
The Jedi Council was unable to reconcile the fear and attachment they sensed in Anakin relative to their concept of the Chosen One...So they doubted the accuracy of the prophecy...
Thus... Enter Lord Vader.
Of course, there is the Vir interpretation:
"Prophecy is a guess that comes true. When it doesn't, it's a metaphor."
Not a Paradox, A paradox is an agreement that produces an inconsistency within logic or common sense. Most examples of paradoxes have do irony or contradiction. The prophecy of the Chosen one is never contradicted(except in the EU set after ROTJ were there are sith after Palpatine). From the snippets we have been shown in the EU and the movies(a chosen one will be born strong in the force. From a virgin mother, the chosen one will defeat the sith and bring balance) Nothing is ever stated on how he was supposed to do that therefore there is no paradox. The Jedi just made an assumption based on the vagueness of the prophecy that the Chosen one would do this as a Jedi rather than after spending 23 years as a Sith.
But I guess for me, it is ironic that the Chosen One first becomes a Sith Lord first before fulfilling his destiny. That is only my opinion.
In the ROTS novel Obi-Wan claims the prophecy doesn't say the Chosen One must be a Jedi.
What dark veil. I believe that the only dark veil that surrounded the Jedi came from their own shortcomings.
Nor were they able to sense their own fear and attachment to the Order. Because of this attachment, they feared - especially Yoda, I suspect - that Anakin's presence would doom them. Remember . . . when they first met Anakin, nothing was certain. Yet, they behaved as if Anakin's presence would led to a negative impact on the Order and the Force.
Like GL as well as other posters have said here, Anakin does bring balance to the Force, and bringing balance to the Force is explicitly stated as being equivalent to destroying the Sith. To get more specific, Anakin is fixing a particular imbalance created by Palpatine and Plagueis when they tried to impose their will upon the Force along with the some other behavior that the Force didn't apparently "approve of."
Similar to most fiction that involves prophecies, what makes the saga interesting is not that the prophecy is fulfilled, but that it is fulfilled in an unexpected way. Oedipus fulfills his prophecy in an unexpected way. In the LOTR, the prophecy that the Witch King can't be slain by man remains true because he is killed a woman along with a Hobbit, thus that prophecy remains to true but is thwarted in an unexpected way. In MacBeth, the prophecy that states that MacBeth can't be killed by anyone "borne of a woman" remains true because he is killed by MacDuff who was born via Caesarian section, thus that prophecy remains true and is thwarted in an unexpected way. So, the fact that Anakin fulfills the prophecy in an unexpected way is not the exception to the rule, but the way prophecies usually play out in great works of literature.
What I think is also interesting about the Chosen One prophecy is that it includes both elements of previous prophecy storylines that I mention above: 1) it has the prophecy fulfilled in a surprising way AND 2) it has a character trying to thwart it in an unexpected way. 1st, most of the Jedi don't think that Anakin's fulfilling the prophecy involves turning to the dark side, Obi-Wan and Mace especially. Obi-Wan's dialogue at the end of ROTS makes this most clear: "You were supposed to destroy the Sith, not join them! You were supposed to bring balance to the Force, not leave it in darkness!" Also, his insistence 20 years later that Vader is not redeemable shows that he still does not think that Anakin can fulfill the prophecy in this way. (It seems Yoda is the only one who might allow for it being fulfilled in an unexpected way, as he tells Obi-Wan before he lets him train Anakin, "The Chosen One the boy may be. Nevertheless, grave danger I see in his training." In other words: "It doesn't matter what we do. If he's the Chosen One, he'll fulfill the prophecy, but if we train him, then he might fulfill the prophecy in a way that causes us a lot of pain.")
In my opinion, what makes the prophecy storyline especially rich is that GL also includes the plot twist seen in MacBeth and LOTR. Those works have plot twists where a character tries to thwart a prophecy and succeeds by finding a loophole in it. This is exactly what Palpatine is trying to do when he tries to make Anakin his apprentice, and at first seems like an odd thing to do when that prophecy involves killing Palpatine, but that's very clearly why Palpatine yells--'Unlimited Power!"--the instant after Anakin chooses to "save" his life and chop off Mace's hand, because Anakin's act makes it so that Anakin can't really turn back.
Even though it might seem counter-intuitive to have your prophecized killer as your apprentice, but here's Palpatine's thinking: Palpatine's end goal is that Sith rule continues even after his death (if that should ever happen). That's why he says to Yoda: "You will not defeat me. Darth Vader will become more powerful than either of us." So, Palpatine is basically saying, "Even if you kill me, it doesn't matter because Vader will take up right where I left off." So, that's Palpatine's motivation -- gaining and continuing Sith rule forever. And this is how he tries to thwart the prophecy: Once Anakin has turned to the dark side, Anakin's acceptance of the dark side seems as though it has created a paradox. Palpatine is really not in any greater jeopardy with Anakin as his apprentice because sooner or later all Sith apprentices try to kill their masters. So, like any other Sith apprentice, Vader will try to kill his master, and there will be 2 possible outcomes of this duel. If Palpatine kills Vader, then Palpatine will continue Sith rule and beat the prophecy, but here's the clever "paradoxical' part: if Vader kills Palpatine, then Sith rule will also be continued because Vader is a Sith and he will keep ruling on as a Sith, thus again "beating" the prophecy. So, either way, Palpatine wins. At that time, it was accepted wisdom that once you turn Sith, you're not turning back. Obi-Wan believed it, Yoda believed it, even Vader believed it: "It is too late for me, Son." If I'm remembering right, since the rule of two was begun no Sith apprentice ever fully returned to the light side (one almost succeeded, but went insane in the process). Since it was accepted wisdom that you don't turn back from being a Sith, Palpatine had every reason to think that his plan would work, and making your prophesized killer your apprentice might not immmediately seem to make sense, but once you consider all the possible outcomes, it actually seems like a genius move on Palpatine's part, and while Palpatine's plan did ultimately fail, it did give him an extra 23 years in power, so in my book, that's still pretty good as evil genius plans go .
I doubt Palpatine actually expected Vader to kill him. If anything, Palpatine feared that the prophecy made it Anakin's destiny to kill Palpatine and one of the reasons for turning Anakin to the dark side was to save himself from the prophecy.
Anakin was the Chosen One, it was not misread
The story makes no sense. If Palpatine fears Anakin is destined to kill him, you don't keep Anakin at your side. You certainly don't use medical resources to save his life. You let him die on Mustafar, and you find some other apprentice.
That whole prophesy storyline was a mess from the start
As to the question of whether or not the prophesy was misread in the story, I would say the answer would have to be yes. Anakin does eventually bring balance to the Force by destroying the Sith, but that's only half of what he actually does. He destroys the Jedi too. If he is the chosen one, surely all of his actions throughout his life are to be accounted for.
I think it does make sense.
If you don't have Anakin at your side, then he would remain a Jedi plus you can't control him. Then, when he becomes more powerful than Palpatine and Palpatine admits this will happen, a still Jedi Anakin will certainly kill Palpatine and Anakin is improving quickly, so that day was not far off.
Once Order 66 is committed, there are virtually no Force-users left to become Palpatine's apprentice, and there's no guarantee that those Force-users would want to turn to the dark side. In fact, most wouldn't. So, at the point, Palpatine has Anakin, who has embraced the dark side, who is apparently not a threat to him because Sith apprentices never turn back to the light (a fact accepted by Yoda, Obi-Wan, and even Vader himself), and if Palpatine is concerned that Anakin might kill him, that threat's been greatly diminished because now Anakin has been severely injured.
Plus, if Palpatine were only interested in not being killed, then he wouldn't take on any apprentice after order 66. Sith apprentices always try to take out their masters, so it's clear that Palpatine is willing to risk his life by having the best apprentice possible. Selecting the best apprentice possible makes most likely is that the Sith will continue to rule even after Palpatine's death. That's what the rule of two is all about.
So, it all does make sense to me. You just have to think through each scenario and think about what choices a rational Palpatine would make in that situation and how Palpatine would plan each step to lead to the next step. Palpatine's greatest trait is ability plan and manipulate, so it's understandable that some of his plans get somewhat complicated. That's what makes them cool.
Maybe I didn't make my point clearly. I say this because I agree with you. You write: "If anything, Palpatine feared that the prophecy made it Anakin's destiny to kill Palpatine and one of the reasons for turning Anakin to the dark side was to save himself from the prophecy." That's exactly what I think too.
I don't mean that Palpatine expected an injured Vader to be able to kill him. At that point, Palpatine must feel pretty secure that the prophecy can't be fulfilled because the Chosen One is now a Sith and that Sith will never become powerful enough to kill him.
What I meant is that this is the way of the Sith master-apprentice relationship. At some point, when the apprentice becomes powerful enough and he learns all he can from his master, he'll try to kill his master. Palpatine doesn't expect that an injured Vader will ever to be able to do this because Vader's injuries have diminished his potential. However, it seems clear that Palpatine does accept the basic concept behind the Sith master-apprentice relationship. That's why he's always searching for the most powerful apprentice he can find. At some point, Palpatine will die from old age (unless he learns how to cheat death), so when he dies, he wants the most powerful apprentice possible to continue on his legacy. If that apprentice takes him out at an earlier point, then that's a risk Palpatine seems willing to accept to guarantee that Sith rule will continue after his death.
IF the Jedi Council Forum keeps a holocron of its most richly satisfying answers, I hereby nominate Darth Ladnar's posts in this thread. With such articulate precision he has illuminated nearly every piece of Palpatine's plan to perfection pertaining to the destiny of the Chosen One. Even allowing space for those who don't buy fully into the intricate layered complexity to opt out whenever works best for them and to still enjoy the saga. And for those of us who find it so richly intellectually stimulating to peel back the layers piece by piece of Palpatine's nearly omniscient cunning brilliance, these posts will serve as a valuable reference.
And I fully agree with Ladnar's assessment that that is what makes it cool. A plan that within the saga and within our own lives has taken 30+ years to come to fruition and for us to experience, and of course could still be in motion as we await to see what the next trilogy may bring!
Much appreciation and kudos to Darth Landar for sharing his insights and reflections.
Ananta Chetan, thanks for the compliments. I really appreciate the positive feedback.
Part of why I really like to post about Palpatine's schemes is because they are so clever and complex that I can't help but love them! But I also like to post on this topic because I think Lucas really outdid himself with this respect in the saga. It bugs me that people are always knocking Lucas, especially in snark-filled internet posts. Even in these fourms, a lot of people sort of have the opinion that while Lucas is very creative, he is still really kind of a light-weight. Because of this preconceived bias against Lucas, I think most people overlook some of the real complexity and nuance in the films, especially in ROTJ and ROTS.
Lucas has always been a student of mythology, and mythology is fulfilled with prophecy storylines. So, not only is Lucas going back to some of the earliest concepts in fiction he is also taking them in new directions, which I also find to be really impressive. I mean, you wouldn't think that there'd be much to add to prophecy literature after 5,000 years of it, and so it kind of amazes me that in the 21st century Lucas is able to come up with new wrinkles, twists, and ideas that have never before been explored in this genre. In the end, we have to recognize that it is not Palpatine who is the one who thought up these elaborate ways to manipulate those around him. In reality, it is really Lucas who is the genius who came up with all of Palpatine's incredibly complex schemes.
If you have a lot of free time and you're interested in how I think the prophecy storyline becomes central to the entire saga, you may want to have a look at this thread I posted a while back: http://boards.theforce.net/threads/...to-escape-it-why-mace-lost-the-duel.50011344/
For about 2 years I wanted to join here because I wanted to add to a few discussions, but Jedi Council Forum wasn't accepting new members then because it was in the middle of switching from an old format, to a temporary format, to its present format. Consequently, everytime I watched the films, new things would come to me about what I wanted to say, and I ended up having tons of points to make. So, when I finally joined the boards, I put up a totally massive post with all I had to say.
You may find it interesting, and while it is long, it's not as long as it seems. The second half of it is really just a sub-argument that I knew I'd get a lot of pushback about if I didn't address it.
Again, thanks for your feedback!
Hope to see you around the forums more