Lit Why did the Tusken Raiders torture Shmi?

Discussion in 'Literature' started by cthugha, Oct 7, 2012.

  1. cthugha Jedi Grand Master

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    Is there any satisfying explanation anywhere in the EU for why the Sand People would keep Shmi alone in a tent and torture her for I don't know how long, while keeping her just barely alive?
    The Wook says they were "fascinated by her resilience" which prompted them to try new methods of torture on her (where's that from? the AotC novelization?) -- but why torture her in the first place? What did they want from her?

    Without knowing if anything has been said on this in the EU, I see three possibilities:

    -- either the Tusken Raiders are just cruel for cruelty's sake, taking random prisoners to experiment on them (this is what the info in the Wook makes it look like, and it's by far the least satisfying explanation I can think of);

    -- alternatively, Palpatine could have been behind it in some way, planning the whole episode to get Anakin further on the path towards the Dark Side (that would be a lot better IMO, even if it's just the same copout retcon that's been used for every other inconsistency in the PT era: something's weird? Sidious did it);

    -- or there's an untold story there: maybe the Sand People actually wanted something from Shmi; maybe it's something to do with the Hetts (or is that later?)...

    Anyone know anything?
  2. Havac Some Guy Who Moderates Lit

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    Because they're jerks.

    Honestly, Palpatine behind it would be ridiculous. And it's hard to think of what they might want from Shmi, but more importantly, the Tuskens seem to place a lot of emphasis on looking down on outsiders. They hold themselves above the barbarian, infidel intruders on the land, and I don't think we've ever seen a Sand Person speak Basic. There's no way they'd lower themselves to speak Basic, if they'd even lower themselves to learn it, and I doubt they're bringing translation droids around with them. I just don't think they could communicate with Shmi.

    I think the best answer is that it's just an element of their culture. They could ritually torture prisoners. They could just torture infidels as a form of entertainment, since it's not like there's anything else to do in the desert. They could torture victims religiously, to summon spirits (and it worked -- they summoned one hell of a demon) or propitiate the desert. They could employ torture as a punishment for prisoners who resist -- perhaps Shmi tried to escape, or killed or maimed a Tusken while being taken. There are a lot of plausible explanations in there, and I don't think it diminishes anything or renders it random or just brings it down to "they do bad things because they're bad guys." There's a lot of room to craft a satisfying explanation in there.
  3. Gorefiend Chosen One

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    Oct 23, 2004
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    The Tusken and the Settlers have a genocide war going, with them wiping out whole settlements and the Settlers killing whole tribes. Not much space left for pleasant encounters.
  4. LAJ_FETT Tech Admin and Collecting/Games Mod

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    Could also be that she was just a slave to them, and the injuries were from beatings rather than actual torture. Between that and scarce rations of food and water that mistreated slaves usually get she probably wouldn't have lasted very long.
    Jedi Merkurian likes this.
  5. cthugha Jedi Grand Master

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    That would make a great short story, told from a Tusken perspective.
    And yes, I guess it really isn't necessary to tie every plot element into the grander scheme of things. Still I hope this will be explored some way or other one day -- after all it is a pretty important plot point in the Skywalker story. Questions like, why was she apparently the only prisoner, why did they put her in a tent of her own -- I think these need to be answered eventually.
  6. Zorrixor Chosen One

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    I agree, that'd make for one awesome story.

    I guess this is just one of the many other untold events between TPM and AOTC... it's a shame we haven't had any new stories in between the 3D re-releases, instead of just focusing on Maul and things that happen after AOTC, when this past year has been a great opportunity to explore an otherwise neglected period.
    Last edited by Zorrixor, Oct 7, 2012
  7. Team Padme Jedi Grand Master

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    Wasn't Dooku behind it?
  8. Manisphere Force Ghost

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    Oddly enough I was listening to the AOTC audiobook yesterday and according to R.A. Salvatore and Lucas' script, the whole point in torturing Shmi was to test of the resilience of the Tuscan's enemies. It was no more complicated than that. They kept whipping and beating her to see how long she'd hold on. Which is stupid for a multitude of reasons. First of which is the fact that the Tuscans have been cohabiting Tatooine with humans for thousands of years. What could be new to learn?
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  9. GrandAdmiralJello Community and Lit moderator person

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    Because they're animals? Thinking beings don't torture.
  10. MistrX Force Ghost

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    I think you're overestimating the morality of thinking beings.

    Yeah, I don't think there's any grander explanation than the settlers and raiders hated each other, were basically at war, and it was one of likely many atrocities committed by both sides. Palpatine didn't plan it, but ever the opportunist he certainly exploited it.
  11. Reveen Jedi Grand Master

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    I feel kinda bad for them in a way; of all the settlers on Tatooine they could have some family friendly (by their standards) fun with they chose the one, count em, ONE that's related to a Jedi.
  12. GrandAdmiralJello Community and Lit moderator person

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    No, I'm making a very particular point.
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  13. anakinfansince1983 Chosen One

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    I accept the Wook explanation: that as a "blood rite" for adolescent Tusken boys to prove their manhood, they must kidnap a living being an slowly torture it to death. They get more manhood points if the being is sentient, and even more manhood points if the sentient being resists death as Shmi did.

    IOW, as the PP said, they're jerks. The fact that they maimed Cliegg Lars and murdered the other 26 farmers who tried to rescue Shmi, just corroborates this point. I have sympathy for the women and children in the tribe for being trapped in such a disgusting and evil environment from which they probably had no escape, but I have no sympathy whatsoever for the men. NONE. The ones who were not involved in Shmi's torture, had the option of untying her; they chose to listen to her scream in pain instead. I believe that humans (and the Tuskens were humanoid) are innately wired for compassion and we must turn that instinct off; IOW, we are born compassionate and if we become uncompassionate, we are either taught not to be, or we lose our sense of compassion due to being hurt ourselves.

    A "war with the settlers" is nowhere near a good enough excuse for me to believe that every single Tusken in that tribe lost his or her sense of compassion, or that Shmi's torture was somehow justifiable in anyone's mind other than the mind of the most heartless jerks alive.

    I definitely don't think either Palpatine or Dooku was behind it. It was just an unhappy coincidence for everyone that, as Han Solo said in Tatooine Ghost, they picked the wrong woman to torture. Palpatine used the situation to his advantage but I don't think he had anything to do with it beforehand.
  14. MistrX Force Ghost

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    And that is?
  15. MercenaryAce Force Ghost

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    That there are no thinking beings in the Empire obviously.
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  16. instantdeath Force Ghost

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    The Empire is certainly above torture. Not like they need to make an entire droid model dedicated to the purpose, or anything O:)

    To be serious, one could argue that only thinking beings are capable of torture, which of course makes it all the more disgusting.
    Last edited by instantdeath, Oct 7, 2012
  17. GrandAdmiralJello Community and Lit moderator person

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    Sure, everybody gang up on the poor patriot. :(
  18. StarWarsFan91 Force Ghost

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    Yes because the humans that torture there fellow man in RL are not thinking beings at all.

    All humans are thinking beings, whether they are evil or good. Just because a man can do horrible monstrous things, does not mean he is an animal, but simply an evil man.

    PS: Tuskens aren't animals either.
    Last edited by StarWarsFan91, Oct 7, 2012
  19. Havac Some Guy Who Moderates Lit

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    Of course they're animals. Unless you're suggesting that they're actually minerals?
  20. Dawud786 Force Ghost

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    Nope. Vegetables.
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  21. MercenaryAce Force Ghost

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    I was going to say this exact thing.

    Then I remembered that cats love to torture small animals to death, so not so much. Dolphins are also known to torture but they are kind of a borderline case in their intelligence.
  22. Havac Some Guy Who Moderates Lit

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    Dolphins are just jerks.
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  23. GrandAdmiralJello Community and Lit moderator person

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    Gosh, it's almost as if that was the point I was trying to make.

    Let's not confuse sentience with rationality. My point is Aristotlelian.
    Last edited by GrandAdmiralJello, Oct 7, 2012
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  24. instantdeath Force Ghost

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    Animals do cause pain, indeed, but as far as I'm aware (I don't claim anything close to expertise on the subject), humans are the only living beings who choose to inflict pain to fulfill a specific purpose beyond survival.

    But yes, I have also heard that dolphins are known to kill for enjoyment as well, so perhaps we're not as unique as we think.
    anakinfansince1983 likes this.
  25. Guinastasia Force Ghost

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    I feel sympathy for the children, at least somewhat. The women -- they're adults as well, and quite frankly, according to most background information, just as brutal as the men. Also, I think it's sexist to say, "oh, those poor, helpless women". The adults are all responsible.

    Tuskens are said to have a very violent, hateful, viscious culture. They don't believe in mercy, or compassion. They slaughter their own at times. According to the link, if a person messed up even one word while telling a story, it was consider to be blasphemy, and the storyteller would be put to death.

    Also, when one reaches adolescence, their rite of passage is essentially a "bloodrite": they must capture a being and torture it to death. It doesn't just say the male children.
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