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Lit The Definitive Sinre Poll Series: Was Vergere as a Sith a good retcon?

Discussion in 'Literature' started by Sinrebirth , Sep 28, 2023.


Was Vergere as a Sith a good retcon?

  1. Yes

    11 vote(s)
  2. No

    54 vote(s)
  1. Zorrixor

    Zorrixor Chosen One star 6

    Sep 8, 2004
    @Darth Invictus I’d agree with that in the context of her Sith depiction in the novels themselves. As yeah, what she did or didn’t think she was in the books never changed who she was.

    The main time it bothered me was the Invasion comics where she was with Krayt as that made her just look like another generic Sith furthering the grand plan.
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2023
  2. Ackbar's Fishsticks

    Ackbar's Fishsticks Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Aug 25, 2013
    I could have sworn it started elsewhere. But that is indeed the book the witches came from, so nope. Correction accepted, thanks!
    darklordoftech likes this.
  3. RC-1991

    RC-1991 Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Dec 2, 2009
    "Vergere was a Sith, Actually" was the stupidest decision in EU history, admittedly a record to be broken by many subsequent moments in EU history
  4. Havac

    Havac Former Moderator star 7 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Sep 29, 2005
    “The truth is always greater than the words we use to describe it.”

    Vergere’s point, as explained in Traitor, is that Jacen shouldn’t get fixated on Vergere’s words, but on the ideas she is trying to lead him toward. The truth, reality, is too rich and complicated to be captured in a few words, ergo anything that’s said isn’t the truth, just a reductive attempt to render it (an idea rendered down into deliberately thought-provoking words as “Everything I tell you is a lie,” which of course does not capture the whole truth of the idea, and that’s the epistemological point). Her whole point was that Jacen shouldn’t rely on her words to find wisdom, to discover the truth. He had to reach inside himself and think, and stop waiting for something external to hit him over the head, for someone else to give him the truth or for some cosmic signal that he was right. Vergere’s method was essentially socratic; she asked the probing questions to get Jacen thinking, and let him arrive at the answers himself.

    Which is only part of the reason why the whole Sith retcon was moronic and borderline illiterate. There’s nothing in the NJO to suggest Vergere is a Sith, or anything other than a Jedi who’s been undercover for decades. She ultimately teaches Jacen less what to think than how to think, but his ultimate takeaway, endorsed by her, is to embrace universal love. She gives her life to save others. Jacen ends up leading the Jedi in redeeming the Yuuzhan Vong rather than destroying them. To go back and say that the whole point of Traitor was to somehow turn Jacen into a Sith, when he actually textually comes out of it as a loving, understanding, thoughtful Jedi hero, is to miss the entire point.

    The whole idiotic retcon is ultimately rooted in people who can neither read nor think being desperately confused by being presented a book with philosophy inside and characters who use words that you actually have to consider the meanings of. There’s zero basis for it in the text. It undermines and destroys the whole narrative arc of an entire nineteen-book series because a handful of people couldn’t grasp that when Vergere tells Jacen “There is no dark side,” it has to read in context — she doesn’t want him to go ahead and do evil, she wants him to stop blaming his brush with the dark side on some external manipulation and take responsibility for the fact that it emanates from his own worst impulses. There is no external boogeyman named “the dark side” making him do wrong — there is the dark side of his own fallible nature enabling him to make bad decisions that are his, not “the dark side’s.”

    It’s not just a stupid, illiterate, nonsensical retcon. It’s a retcon that absolutely destroyed the Expanded Universe. We can see the consequences that grew directly out of it. A book series that killed off the main hero of the next generation and left the setting bereft of a positive direction moving forward because it completely cut the legs out from under the previous series and the setting itself.

    It’s indefensible. There is no possible argument for it that makes any sense. This shouldn’t even be a question.
    jSarek, Slater, xezene and 17 others like this.
  5. Darth Invictus

    Darth Invictus Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Aug 8, 2016
    Notably she really didn't think of much Krayt-in fact she disagreed with him on doctrinal grounds.
    Irredeemable Fanboy likes this.
  6. Force Smuggler

    Force Smuggler Force Ghost star 7

    Sep 2, 2012
  7. Gamiel

    Gamiel Chosen One star 9

    Dec 16, 2012

    Sorry. No that's a lie, I'm not sorry. And another one before a serious answer:

    With that out of my system do I want to say that to mark words: that is not what lying means and if that was what Verger was trying to say so should she have gone through her basic dictionary one more time before speaking to Jacon. A better wording would probably be something along the line of "I will tell you no truth". Lying means to tell a deliberate untruth, not that what you are saying is actually a metaphor or you lack the means to fully explain what you want to tell.
    DurararaFTW likes this.
  8. Dream-Thinker

    Dream-Thinker Jedi Master star 4

    May 20, 2020
    Oh, a philosophical argument over an inherently abstract concept. I certainty hope this won't just spiral endlessly due to irreconcilable definitions like every other philosophical argument over an inherently abstract concept seems to do. :p

    In all seriousness though, back in college I once accidently held up my philosophy class over a discussion/argument of the impact Kantian thought would have on theology. It's very easy to get lost in the sauce on these type of topics, so be careful y'all.
    Robimus and DurararaFTW like this.
  9. KirKanosForever

    KirKanosForever Jedi Master star 1

    Jan 19, 2008
    She's not writing a Philosophy 101 paper. She's trying to teach Jacen - an overly dogmatic, stubborn, idealist - how to think. Telling him, "Everything I tell you is a lie" makes him look for the trick, to think about what she says, to spot the "lie." And in doing so, he actually learns more about the world around him. If she said at the beginning, when he had no reason to trust her, something less provocative, he'd have stuck with his stubborn refusal to fight, to lead. She tailored her lesson to her student, and it worked. He didn't destroy Yuuhzan'tar, but came to an agreement with the Yammosk. He fixed his relationship with Ganner. He saved the New Republic to defeat the Yuuzhan Vong. Because she taught him how to think about life, about the Force, about existence.
    jSarek, Slater, Riv_Shiel and 4 others like this.
  10. Irredeemable Fanboy

    Irredeemable Fanboy Jedi Master star 4

    Mar 27, 2020
    I completely agree with this, while i do think that the intention from some authors (like Denning) was to make her wholly evil by creating this retcon (by misunderstanding the meaning of Traitor), in the end it was made in such a way that it doesn't detract from her unique perspective, and in fact it actually gives more credence to her philosophy.

    If she is someone who had experienced the worlds of the Jedi, the Sith, and the Yuuzhan Vong, it makes sense she would form her own worldview apart from all of them yet taking cues from them as well (the value of pain from the Yuuzhan Vong, treachery and deceit from the Sith, and love of all life and sacrifice for the greater good from the Jedi to name a few key values she proposes).

    The authors can think whatever they want, but the text itself is what matters, and we have to take in the whole of the EU as true, not just LOTF, or just NJO, just the way Vergere talks in Destiny's Way to Luke, or just the way Lumiya talks of her, Vergere is a character of masks, who molds her beliefs to reach different sides, when she proposes her ideals to Luke, she does it as a representative of the Old Jedi Order and throughout the book she reinforces this position in small but important ways (such as when she criticized the knighting ceremony comparing it to the "good old days" of Yoda declaring you a Knight with no public ceremony), when she proposes her ideals to A'sharad, she does it as someone who also trained in the Sith arts, when they see each other they establish common ground by feeling each other's darkness, and she reinforces this position as well, by contrasting Krayt's new One Sith philosophy with the Sith ways that were taught to her (the Rule of Two, the banite tradition).

    Her interactions with both Luke and Krayt exist, and both matter, both are part of who she is, both are half-truths of the true Vergere, which i think the closest to it is the Vergere who taught Jacen during Traitor, the Vergere who, when asked about if she is a Jedi or a Sith, she responds with "i am Vergere, what are you?", who considers Skywalker turning into Darth Vader a "waste", and who wants Jacen to identify as himself, rather than sticking to just being a "Jedi", note that the closest to a true emotional reaction to her was when she hugged Jacen at the end of the book, being proud of him, and that was prompted by Jacen using a combination of deceit and empathy for life to combat the Yuuzhan Vong (using the World Brain against them) and stating that he's working not for the Republic's side, but for their side.

    All the retcon firmly established was that she studied the Sith arts for some time under Darth Sidious, none of that changes what she does or says in the other books, none of that changes how she contributed to the salvation of the Yuuzhan Vong, or her stealing Alpha Red and becoming a criminal to prevent the genocide of the enemy, and it doesn't change her sacrificing her own life to save others, which is the definition of a selfless act.

    So, in the end, i think that it was a good retcon, it gives more depth to her character.
    Robimus and ColeFardreamer like this.
  11. Darth Invictus

    Darth Invictus Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Aug 8, 2016
    I think the reason for the decision was bad-it was done because Sue Rostoni and others at Lucasfilm thought Traitor “de mythologized” the force or something. And so they wanted to re externalize it, Thus Vergere lost her nuance and I think yes the intent was to make her evil-at least as far as most audiences were concerned.

    Especially because of the infamous “no dark side” comment, that people misunderstood. Intentionally or not,

    I think Vergere in all her mystique, power and beauty works fine with Lumiya’s backstory adding to it-whether that’s what the authors wanted or not. Both in an objective literary sense, and because I the reader choose to see it that way.

    But that’s a choice audiences have to make for themselves. Coincidentally the lesson of Traitor-you can choose what you wish to believe, but it’s up to you,
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2023
  12. Biel Ductavis

    Biel Ductavis Jedi Master star 4

    Aug 17, 2015
    It's funny to think about Traitor demythologizing the force, when Vergere and her philosophy made the entire concept of the force way more interesting and fascinating than almost everything Lucas and others did after the OT.

    Really wish she and her philosophy about the force will eventually become canon. This time without her being related to the Sith.

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  13. Dream-Thinker

    Dream-Thinker Jedi Master star 4

    May 20, 2020
    For what it's worth, her species the Fosh have showed up in some canon comics, albeit without being named.
    Darth Caliban likes this.
  14. Darth Invictus

    Darth Invictus Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Aug 8, 2016
    Ironically Luke in Crucible comes to basically the same conclusion-that the light and dark are both necessary and both within individuals as they are external to them.
  15. ViariSkywalker

    ViariSkywalker Chosen One star 4

    Aug 9, 2002
    I can understand why people feel this way, but I honestly don't think the ideas in Traitor are as divorced from the OT/PT as people tend to believe. Just look at the RotS novelization, which contains a lot of the same imagery and metaphorical language as Traitor (obviously, since both were written by Matt Stover). But what's really telling is that the book was essentially line edited by Lucas, and he made Stover change the dragon metaphor because he (Lucas) wanted it to be absolutely explicit that Anakin's turn to the dark side was not caused by some external force, but by the darkness in his own heart.

    Just some food for thought.

    And yeah, the Vergere retcon was bad. As a purely unofficial creative exercise that could have resulted in some interesting fanfic, I have nothing against it. I write AUs, that's the sort of stuff fanfic writers do all the time. But as an essential aspect of the official (at the time) canon, it did far more harm than good.
  16. Havoc123

    Havoc123 Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Jun 26, 2013
    Originally no, but now I'm leaning towards yes. Not in the sense of everything not Jedi dogma should be evil mcbadguy, but in the sense that her view of the Force being a unique one, while her being a Sith, actually adds more to the Sith than just them being evil mcbadguys every single time. If anything, Vergere as a Sith can add her, Lumiya and Caedus next to Darth Marr, Scourge and the Light Side Sith Warrior as reasonable Sith Lords. Sure, all of them were antagonists at one point, but they believed themselves to be in the right.
    Gamiel and Irredeemable Fanboy like this.
  17. ColeFardreamer

    ColeFardreamer Force Ghost star 5

    Nov 24, 2013
    Nice topic...

    Was Vergere a Sith or not?

    Well, you could as well ask was she a Jedi or not?
    Was she something else entirely by the time of the NJO or not? Potentium? Else entirely?

    The question, is it about her youth or her NJO self?

    But I think the entire question misses the point.

    Many traditions influenced her, and many spiked her interest for a huge variety of reasons not unlike the curiosity that sparked Jacen's sojourn through many Force Cults dark and light or anywhere on the spectrum.

    The question implies Vergere can be defined by any of these terms. Can she though?

    Vergere showed she can be both, depending on who you ask, and that she adapts well to new surroundings and cultures. She integrates herself so well, Mammoth Hoole would be proud! She can mirror them, she finds ways to survive them, study them and maybe even try to influence them.

    In the end, Vergere sought answers, like Jacen later. And Vergere knew the best way to get them was to not impose a wanted result or outcome, not go in predetermined or judging. Vergere knew that the best answers come from questions without anything implied or forced.

    What Vergere was and became after many versions of her younger self, was simply 'tge perfect Question'! She was a question personified.

    So how can she be an answer or any answer really?

    She asked and people answered for themselves, not for her. For everyone must find his or her own answer ans way. Sometimes it is different for different people. Often people forget to look, to ask or believe. Vergere gave them that back, made them look, ask and find their own answers.

    Thus Jacen found his way to freedom.
    The Vong began to question their way and in many ways questioned their gods, cortex, leadership etc. and found back to redemption and the Force.

    What others found thx to her? That is for another discussion. What did Lumiya find after their talks? Nom Anor? Luke? Palpatine?

    What one finds needn't always be good, but personally maybe neccessary. Or lead to good via a darker detour. But that is each ones life's road. Not Vergere's.

    Vergere is the Question.

    And in that she is like V in V for Vendetta. He became an idea, not a question but like her, he influenced and changed people. Not to be like him or walk his path but to understand and become themselves.

    And something fun, if a question or a riddle like a "?" can turn one into a Riddler... is that always a villain?

    Hope you like my answer!

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  18. iFrankenstein

    iFrankenstein Jedi Knight star 1

    Apr 24, 2020
    And her appearances in Legacy and The Essential Guide to Warfare, which took the LOTF retcon at face value, as Denning intended it to be. Even Supernatural Encounters, which does everything from creatively tweaking small continuity discrepancies to blatantly overwriting major established lore on a whim, comes down firmly on the side of Lumiya telling the truth. As far as the broader EU was concerned, it wasn't a matter of context or interpretation, it was new, worse story trumps old, better story. Again.
    darklordoftech likes this.
  19. ColeFardreamer

    ColeFardreamer Force Ghost star 5

    Nov 24, 2013
    I wonder, did Stover in part take inspiration for Vergere from the Neverending Story 2's bird character?

    That one was evil or served evil as a familiar pet pretending to be a friend of the hero.

    Or was Denning etc. inspired by that merely?

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  20. Gamiel

    Gamiel Chosen One star 9

    Dec 16, 2012
    Two things: A) that don't give her a free pass to misuse terminologies. Or maybe she was telling the truth when she said that she was a lier and we are the suckers that believed that what she told later was not just more lies? [face_thinking] Not likley I admitt, but feel like a crazy possebility.

    B) how did she know that? As in how did she know enough about Jacon to know how to tailor her lessons around him? And along those lines, how did she know that he would reach "enlightenment" and not just break under the torture?

    Also, was Jacons thing in NJO that he was the not dogmatic one?
    DurararaFTW and ColeFardreamer like this.
  21. ColeFardreamer

    ColeFardreamer Force Ghost star 5

    Nov 24, 2013
    Did she even care about Jacen? Or how to tailor to him? What if she just tried with everyone and anybody because her nature is to be the Question? Some surprise her, some refuse her, some reject her, some find answers that do not matter to her. But Jacen surprised her, and only then in the process later she got interested, attached maybe, to see where he will lead, not to steer him. And he found the Force... and more but that was his path. Not hers.

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  22. Ghost

    Ghost Chosen One star 8

    Oct 13, 2003
    Horrible retcon... especially in the way it was done.
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  23. Biel Ductavis

    Biel Ductavis Jedi Master star 4

    Aug 17, 2015
    Really wonder why bad and unpopular retcons like that most of the times weren't reversed or at least changed to something better

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  24. Jedi Ben

    Jedi Ben Chosen One star 9

    Jul 19, 1999
    Reverse? You mean give into the fans? Are you insane? [face_devil]
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2023
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  25. Golbolco

    Golbolco Jedi Master star 4

    Jan 20, 2016
    We’ve had a whole movie trilogy based around this concept… I wish it were that simple.
    Darth Caliban and Jedi Ben like this.