Obi-Wan is a Jerk

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Katie (StormyKat) created the topic: Obi-Wan is a Jerk

I was laying on my back in yoga class today when I started thinking of the below comic. Mainly the first panel. You can find the original here.


I would love to know what my fellow Jedi Realists feel about it. I never understood the final scene between Obi-Wan and Anikan. It didn't feel right. It didn't feel like a Jedi thing to do, and it certainly didn't feel like something Obi-Wan Kenobi would do, especially not the Obi-Wan we see in Episode V. It felt like Lucas writing in an ending that we knew had to happen but doing so in a very poor form. They were friends, and true Obi-Wan feels betrayed at that moment. However being a Jedi he should have worked past the emotions. Also, WHY THE HELL WOULD YOU LEAVE THE NEW SITH RECRUIT LIKE THAT!? I mean dude, you know Palpatine is gonna come get him.
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Kol Drake replied the topic: Obi-Wan is a Jerk

From a certain point of view... I suppose he comes across that way.

The final scene --
He had to battle his 'brother' to the nearly dead... not all the way dead... so Miracle Max, er... Emperor Palpatine could come along and have his 'Sith Phoenix' rise from the ashes.

Jedi don't kick a person when they are down (and have most of their limbs severed and cooking on a slow lava rotisserie). Obi Wan had to run back to help the ex-princess and soon to deliver two buns in the oven... so, looking at the aid and welfare of the 'unprotected' rather than commiserating over the toasty ex Jedi crispy critter.

But yes, one would have to say that Lucas kind of went 'Hollywood' and totally brain wiped Obi Wan for that scene and his actions immediately after... just to move the movie along. This and many other 'prequel' issues still make me say that a lot less thought went into them than the original trilogy... a lot less.
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Hunter replied the topic: Obi-Wan is a Jerk

there was nothing obi wan felt he could do at that point

do you remember the deep red of anakins eyes?

he was hate manifest

that was the moment when obi wan could really see fully that anakin chose, in REaction to his pain,
to embrace and express
and BECOME the dark side

obi wan ackowledged that he failed anakin
but even so; anakin made his choices

there are moments when a jedi has done all he or she can

it was not his place to kill a man who by all apearances is already doomed to death

i dont think obi wan knew at all that palpatine or anyone would or could prevent anakins death

an enemy is only an enemy when they have the power to harm

and i would say that l for a jedi there are no enemies, really, because that implies a personal attatchment -

a personal stake in the affair

i can tell you that as a jedi knight obi wan was able to destroy anakin ruthlessly and completely without ever once accepting at a personal level that anakin was his enemy

it was not, so far as ob wan could tell, necessary to kill anakin for the purposes of defending himself or anyone else

"putting him out of his misery" ?

to be the one who cuts the line or pulls the switch;

such a thing is murder even if it can be cloaked behind a facade of mercy

and ask; was it his place to save anakin from the fate that he brought upon himself?

for me i say no, that such a thing cannot be done

obi wans failure had happened long before this

in not being the influence that anakin needed i see the only instance where it can be considered that obi wan fell short

he even said as much

and obi wan had a pretty hard fate himself

it was not his decision to recruit anakin
but at a certain point it was his responsibility to see for anakins well being and his training

he truly was obligated to anakin
it would not have been proper for him to allow anakin to become "someone elses problem"

in fact "someone elses problem" is a mood antithetical to jedi philosophy

i dont want this to steer too far into semantic murk, suffice it to say jedi do not go around taking over everyone elses business and collecting every problem that happens along their view

in all things; balance

in circumstances such as obi and anakin,

the bonds of affection and loyalty
and personal responsibility

become forces unto themselves

this is what it means to cornered by fate

and in such moments a jedi has to fight with everything they have - and give everything they can - and acknowledge that in the end we are mortal humans, and we are surrounded by forces infinitely more powerful than ourselves

everyone has value
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Hunter replied the topic: Obi-Wan is a Jerk

also id like to highlight the impeccability of Obi Wan Kenobi, Jedi Knight in dealing with luke skywalker

obi wan acted when the force mandated that he act

you will find in your path that there will be times when the force just basically tells you what to

"help us obi wan kenobi, youre our only hope"
that is a mandate from the force
thats how theforce tells us "its time"

i would like to suggest that there was never a day of luke skywalkers life that obi wans tutelage was uninvolved

in fact i would go so far as to say that the real truth is that obi wan kenobi had been training luke skywalker from at latest the day they sailed tatatooine

i mean think about it
after what happened with anakin
would obiwan leave the development and training of luke to ANYONE?
not on your life

anakin had been strong as luke was strong
but anakin had not had the necessary fortification at the necessary age

remember yodas words?
much fear in him

at every step in lukes growth obi wan was guiding and teaching and he did so with such a flare of subtle impeccability that luke had no idea

never once did luke suspect he was being trained as a jedi, much less that "ben kenobi, the desert hermit" was the one behind it all

a jedi is not motivated by personal importance

calling, vocation, commitment, responsibility, duty, love - yes to all
and the force

individual feelings of ones importance relative to others is the very least important issue of all

and so obiwan had no compulsion or longing to be noticed or recognised, or if he did he handled them as a warrior jedi

keeping perspective and using as light a touch as was necessary

not to mention that being unobtrusive was the appropriate warrior strategy for the circumstances

(im betting that yoda even from dagoba was doing much the same with leia)

can there be any doubt that the skywalkers were family to obi wan
along with qi gon jin?

i have no doubt

but when the force mandated that it was time to go, obi wan obeyed the force and moved with ruthless and relentless purpose

what was obi wan supposed to do?
he knew what was happening to owen and beru
so did luke eventually and that was when he insisted going to see them
he probably had forseen some of it as a jedi

and anyway being a seasoned warrior he knew the empire wasnt far behind when the droids showed up

but what were his options? he had to find han - or chewbacca anyway
i would suspect he kept quiet but well informed tab on who was who in the smuggling business

as a warrior he left very little to chance and was as ready as was possible as soon as was possible but time was the first ma date

was he supposed to take on a battalion of storm troopers and reveal the entire hope of the rebel alliance so that vader could take virtualy every single relevant piece of the board in a single play?

for obi wans part of the board thats what was at stake

consider that at every stage of obi wans path he had to watch as the ones he loved were hurt and destroyed by the agents if the dark side

and in every case he was confronted with the appearance of having the power to prevent it, but this truly was power in appearance only

because it was just enough so that he could look back and second guess himself
and regret his decisions
yet at every turn you see that he makes the best choices he knew how to make
and really he exerted himself to the fullest extent of his considerable ability
only to find that the most ruthless player of all in this great drama

was the force itself

everyone has value
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Aslyn replied the topic: Obi-Wan is a Jerk

James Luceno made the whole situation pretty clear in his novelisation: at the end of that fight, Obi-Wan very clearly had Anakin down and out, disarmed (literally) and unable to fight. Did you expect him to draw his lightsaber and finish the job? Since he'd stopped Anakin from causing him (and supposedly anyone else) from further harm, he wasn't about to commit murder, even if a coup d'grace might have been appropriate and expected at that point in time. More to the point, we're not talking about an abstract here: as Obi-Wan said, Anakin was his brother. Even if your brother becomes your enemy, you'd find it truly the hardest thing in the world to kill them, because you'd have to live with the fact that you and you alone were responsible for his death. That's a very hard thing to live with, particularly when you'd eventually have to explain that to the guy's children. If it was a moment of cowardice on Obi-Wan's part, that's a moment everybody could understand.

I admit, the way Yoda and Obi-Wan set up Luke during the original trilogy didn't always sit well with me, but I also felt that it was very much a question of setting him on his path and letting him learn from the situations. Neither of them expected him to attempt to redeem Vader, but they'd both given up hope of that years ago - you would, if you'd seen such a 'promising' Jedi go forth and slaughter every Jedi he crossed paths with thereafter. It's only to be expected that Obi-Wan assumed there was nothing left of Anakin Skywalker in Vader's mind after he left him to die on Mustafar. For Luke to have done what he did was remarkable - but the movies suggested that this was always their fate, so Obi-Wan and Yoda were just playing their parts.

It's also worth noting that it's very doubtful that Luke would have followed Obi-Wan to Alderaan had he known the whole truth - if you were a parochial farmboy living with your Aunt and Uncle, never having known your mother or father, chances are when you find out that your father is alive, your first inclination would be to go to him. The fact that he's the right-hand man of the Emperor is pretty irrelevant - Luke had intended to join the Imperial Academy, remember, so his first understanding of the Empire not being what he thought only came after 'Ben' told him that Stormtroopers were responsible for Owen and Beru's death. Thus, Luke would never have gone down the path of the Jedi: he'd have ended up supplanting Vader at the Emperor's side, just as Palpatine intended in RotJ. That Luke had gone so far down that path with Obi-Wan and Yoda ensured that this didn't happen, but the potential for it was considerable, and moreso dangerous given that Luke was many times stronger than his father by the time RotJ happened. Not a risk you'd take, under the circumstances.

That, by the by, is taking the long view, which is very Jedi :P I don't think Obi-Wan acted inappropriately, given the possibilities available at the time. He gave Luke a lightsaber, instilled the desire to become a Jedi into his mind, and did his best to guide his student (bearing in mind that the lad's age was very much more advanced than that of the standard Jedi Initiate, and Obi-Wan hadn't trained anybody in nearly 20 years), even though he was ultimately preparing a weapon to direct at Vader and the Emperor.
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Kol Drake replied the topic: Obi-Wan is a Jerk

Well presented Aslyn.
It made me think about the 'standard' myth stories of the Hero's journey... and how many times the 'one day hero' was typically manipulated -- by the Gods or 'wise mentor' to set out on their wanderings. It is not so 'off the beaten track' for this to happen (again) in Star Wars / Yoda & old Obi Won.

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Anirac Morgan replied the topic: Obi-Wan is a Jerk

There's a book in the EU, I can't quite recall if the title was "Obi Wan" or something else. In any case, it deals with Obi Wan after the second triology, when he's on Tattooine to deliver Luke to his aunt and uncle, and some events happening during this. It gives a good view of what's going on in Obi Wan's mind and heart at the time, the incredible guilt he feels over failing Anakin, and also his old master. Imagine training the apprentice who if not single handedly, destroyed the Jedi Order, and being the only out of two known survivors left to simply sit and wait in the aftermath. Obi Wan wasn't perfect, he made mistakes. Like pretty much everyone would once or twice during their lifetime. Was it right for him to leave Anakin to die? Should he have killed him? Brought him in? In where? The Jedi order was pretty much destroyed at that point. I am not sure what the ethically correct option was in that situation, though the actor didn't really play the role as well as he ought to have at that point.

Ewan Macgregor and Nathalie Portman did talk about how unhappy they were with the scriptwriting and some of the lines they had to say, and in one scene you'll see Portman nearly cracking up in laughter, despite it being a serious and supposed sad scene. So, the acting definitely was off.

That aside, I am not sure there was a 100 % right option for Obi Wan in that moment, when he had defeated Anakin. How do you kill someone you've practically raised since childhood? Someone you consider your younger brother? Even a Jedi Knight, or perhaps particularly a Jedi Knight would have trouble killing someone defenceless, despite of the tragedy that person had caused. Walking away might have been the wrong choice, but it was a human choice. A human mistake. And I am not even sure I think it was a mistake. Considering future events, perhaps so in a practical sense, but there and then?

Training Luke was their only hope, and I agree with the reasoning above from Aslyn that telling Luke off the bat that Vader was his father would have likely resulted in a negative outcome. At least it's not really possible to say that it would have definitely led to a better outcome.

I like Obi Wan's character. More so for his flaws, because that makes him more human, more realistic. What kind of hero never makes mistakes? I do recommend the book I mentioned above, it was really interesting. His issues dealing with guilt, loneliness and regrets... It's a fascinating part of Obi Wan's life that I haven't really seen in written anywhere else.

Qui-Gon Jinn: "There's always a bigger fish."
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Baru replied the topic: Obi-Wan is a Jerk

Interesting topic

Anything can be interpreted out of context. The context and point of view is crucial for understanding something. And I like the perspective, that "I was not there, so how can I judge it".

And then, there is the truth that this is someone's interpretation about someone elses actions. I would need to know that "third party's" intentions and reason for presenting that "take" or perspective.

Now, where I would agree that Obi-Wan is a jerk is in the Clone Wars.

Does anyone remember the episode where Obi-Wan met with the Hive Queen of the bugs on a specific planet? As I recall Obi-Wan walked up to the ruler of a planet and said, "Either join the Republic or Die!" Wow, who would ever think that Obi-Wan would say that to an other living being. Why did the creators of that show portray Obi-Wan like that? Was that simply to show how corrupt the Jedi have become?

So the bugs react in self defense. The queen puts worms in peoples noses that turn them into Zombies. Now the Jedi retaliated and defended themselves. All of this because Obi-Wan threatened them. Now that is a Jerk move based on the perspectives of creators.

I could never imagine the Obi-Wan of the original series saying that. I feel that it was out of character. However, it does demonstrate that people can act out of character or have a bad moment. Is he a jerk for life because of this, or was that just a bad day in the life of Obi-Wan?

We are the Force.
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Aslyn replied the topic: Obi-Wan is a Jerk

That's a question that ultimately must be answered in context. I remember watching an episode of House a few years back - they were treating a guy who was on Death Row for murder, and he said something that's stuck with me: "Imagine your whole life being about the worst thing you ever did". In truth, this is exactly how society functions (and certainly the more sensationalist media) - oftentimes, the judgements people form revolve around that sole moment when you act out of character, do something slightly sensational or, of course, when you act in a manner considered as being 'outside the box', or the confines of socially-expected 'normal' behaviour. This isn't always bad: you rescue a person from drowning, and suddenly you're thought of as a morally-upstanding citizen who always goes out of their way, even if, in reality, you'd barely offer someone the time of day most of the time!

Humans have a tendency of taking snapshots - it's our habit to form immediate judgements about people based on particular actions. "Dont judge a book by it's cover" is a wise philosophy - it argues against this notion of judging someone based on outward appearance or, as is often the case, on the first impression they offer. As you've said, it could be an off-day for that individual. Does it make them a jerk? At that particular moment, yes, but in no wider context, possibly (even probably!) not.

It's also worth noting that a lot of things aren't exactly as they appear on huge face of it. Perhaps someone says a cruel thing not to cause harm, but to provoke a reaction - imagine, I turn around and call you a lazy student. Mean on the face of it, but you take offense and seek to prove me wrong, and thus work even harder than you did before, as a means of overtly demonstrating that. You benefit from this - you might get better grades, improve your performance at work and be in line for promotion, and so on. The action was mean, but the benefit to you was considerable - all because of the right word at the right time that may well have provoked a response that a kinder one would failed to supply. Best always to consider the deeper motivations, I think!
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Baru replied the topic: Obi-Wan is a Jerk

I do like that quote.

I like to be eternally present with people. I use the past as a gauge but I do not "hold" a person to it. I do not limit anyone to their past. I only know someone as much as a I know them right now. This way I am "never" surprised and they are allowed to evolve as needed. I welcome people's evolution and transformation. That means accepting that they will be different in earthly matters, but more of their divine true self comes through. Our "core" being is eternal. Its our humanity that has aspects, personality, challenges and such. Living as a Jedi, I like to see the divine and the humanity simultaneously.

We are the Force.
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