Revenge of the Sith by Matthew Stover (Legends) (Part 2)
Hello, dear readers! I hope you’ve all had a pleasant holiday season so far, if you celebrate this time of year (and if you don’t, I hope you at least got a chance to swing by that new Star Wars movie that I heard came out recently, so that you can join your fellow nerds in the latest Star Wars Fandom Battle Royale currently underway.)
Today, we’re going to jump back to the gift that keeps on giving that is this novel, because it seems only fitting that my belated Christmas present to you all be to cover this particular piece of Star Wars content. If you don’t already know why, trust me: you will soon enough. (Nothing says “I love you” like Star Wars Pain and Misery and Betrayal, and also Anakin and Obi-Wan’s Wedding Vows.)
So! Last we left off, Team Handsome were en route to showdown with Dooku and Grievous, who have — gasp! — kidnapped Poor Defenseless Chancellor Palpatine on board the Invisible Hand. Anakin was all LET ME AT ‘EM, because he is juuuuust barely hanging on to his last lingering threads of sanity at this point, and Sidious was like a kid waiting to open that one particular item he just knows Sith Lord Santa brought him this year.
As with the last installment of this book, keep in mind that I may gloss over certain parts of the plot in favor of covering things that are in this book, but not the actual film, given that I have already recapped the entire film AND its deleted scenes over here. Settle in — we’re off!
Recurring Theme: Anakin Skywalker, Definitely Totally Not Interested In Killing Anything
As we open chapter 3, ominously entitled “The Way of the Sith”, Anakin is like…literally vibrating with excitement about going to this Sithly Showdown. Obi-Wan takes a moment to be like “…you OK there, buddy?”, to which Anakin replies “YES I AM FINE I WOULD JUST LIKE TO DISMANTLE THIS SHIP WITH MY BARE HANDS NOTHING WORRISOME GOING ON HERE.”
At this, Obes chides him, all “don’t get too distracted with your interest in murder and property destruction, Ahhhhnakin“, and the two have a Good Hearty Chuckle about how Old Habits Die Hard and that eventually Obi-Wan is going to have to stop bossing Anakin around. (Yeah, because Anakin totally hates THAT.)
Should Anyone Here Present Know of Any Reason That This Couple Should Not Be Joined in Matrimony
So the boys get to the door to the Room of the Fateful Throwdown, and just to make sure I am both confused, delighted, and utterly depressed, Obi-Wan decides now is the perfect moment for the boys to lock things down and make it official. Right here, on the Invisible Hand. I guess he figured that if the war really was about to end, this way he and Anakin could leave for their honeymoon immediately after they get back from saving Sheev.
…I just…THIS IS SO ROMANTIC??? WHY IS THIS SO ROMANTIC, STAR WARS. “NO OTHER MAN”?! Pure uncomplicated love, like a PROMISE FROM THE FORCE ITSELF?! I mean… wow. That is intense, guys. I’m super happy for them, of course, and God knows I think they make a lovely if incredibly dorky couple, but also, WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS TO ME STAR WARS. I KNOW HOW THIS BOOK ENDS OK I HAVE LITERALLY SEEN THIS MOVIE LIKE 7000 TIMES AND I AM STILL NOT DONE CRYING ABOUT IT. They should have just left right now to go look at reception halls and pick out some color swatches for Ahsoka’s bridesmaid dress. It would have saved us all a lot of grief. (Maybe. We all know Anakin would have been the worst bridezilla of all time.)
Dooku is preparing for Team Handsome’s arrival, and is honest-to-God smoothing out his robes and probably tidying up his beard and such. After he finishes up his last check-in call with Grievous, he finds an entryway that Obi-Wan and Anakin lightsabered open, and I laugh for ten thousand years because he for-real thinks to himself that the boys are, and I quote, a couple of “idiotic peasants“. LOL. PEASANTS?! I mean, I guess as Jedi they’re not like, wearing top hats and drinking champagne very often, but I hardly think of them as peasants. (I won’t fight him on the “idiotic” part, though.)
Anyways, he opens the wrecked entryway himself with the Force so that he doesn’t have to risk burning his clothes:
Sometimes I laugh a lot about the fact that grown adults partake in scholarly dissection of Star Wars at length. And I say this as someone who’s read (and enjoyed) a lot of said dissection.
Recurring Theme: Anakin Loves Palpatine
The boys walk into that weirdass throne room thing, which for your reference is the one with that not-at-all-subtle spiderweb window, because Sidious understandably has long ago realized how dumb everyone around him is and now he just likes showing off while luring them all to their doom.
The Daaaahk Lord is sitting handcuffed to a chair, and Anakin is like OH NO POOR PALPATINE NOOOOO, because Anakin is a doofus:
Man, either Palps is a great actor, or Anakin is really bad at reading people’s emotions. Or both. Both are entirely possible.
Recurring Theme: Count Dooku, King of the Withering Put-Down
The boys approach Palpatine and then he’s like “Anakin, LOOK OUT!” and that’s Dooku’s cue to pop up behind them. Anakin immediately goes into a whole big “THAT’S IT YOU’RE GOING DOWN OLD MAN” thing, and Dooku makes a hilarious proclamation:
…Dooku is such an asshole, you guys, but also I am living for his disdain for these two. Like, I am legitimately sad that he showed his true colors as a racist genocidal Sith Lord because if he’d stayed a Jedi and spent the entire war dragging Obi-Wan and Anakin via holo-Skype from the Council Room it’d have been really excellent.
Recurring Theme: Obi-Wan Kenobi, Favorite Grandson
The point of view now switches to Dooku, who is taking all this in with delight: he wishes Mace could be here right now to see how thoroughly he and his Master are about to own two of the Jedi’s finest. He looks over at Obi-Wan, and appreciates that he’s a Total Classic Jedi, barely registering any kind of anger or interest on his face. He also pauses and wonders if Anakin, idiot that he is, will ever truly appreciate all the hard work Dooku and Sidious have put into this plan to kidnap his soul.
He ruminates on all of this a little more, and really, I hope Dooku wrote down this first line somewhere so that Luke could run it as part of Old Ben’s obituary:
I? Love all of this. Obes: luminous portal to a sunlit meadow! Anakin: Crazypants Tornado! And Sidious? Just. Pure. EVIL. I would like to, once again, reiterate that I do not ever want a Tragic Backstory for Sidious. If they ever make a new-canon backstory for him, I want it to be spiritually similar to what the old EU had for him: he’s not evil because Tragedy Struck, or because He Never Knew True Love, or because of a misunderstanding, or because he was a moron who got duped by an old man into thinking he could cheat death when his boyfriend left him alone for 4 hours. He’s just evil because he’s evil. I love that the new canon has also gone into this idea that Sidious pretty much just wanted the universe to self-destruct if anything happened to him/the Empire, because if he wasn’t going to rule the galaxy, then it didn’t deserve to exist anymore. HE IS THE ABSOLUTE GODDAMN WORST AND IT’S THE BEST.
Anyways Sidious starts in with that whole “you’re no match for him, he’s a Sith Lord!” thing, and in this flavor of this scene, it’s Anakin who gets the now-extremely-entertaining retort to this, which this time is “Tell that to the one Obi-Wan left in pieces on Naboo.” LOL. MAUL IS STILL CANONICALLY ALIVE AT THIS POINT IN THE STORY NOW. HE IS PART ROBOT AND IS FIGHTING AHSOKA AND REX POSSIBLY AT THIS EXACT SECOND IN THE STORY. God bless Star Wars. Some people would dismiss this with logic, all “well back then no one would have ever believed they’d ever do something as insane as bring Maul back to life, and of course had they known that Anakin would never have said this line,” but you know what? It’s so much BETTER if Anakin says this knowing full well that RoboMaul is still out there. He didn’t say Obi-Wan killed him. Just left him in pieces. I can just hear Anakin being like “Sith Lords are probably hard to kill OK?! THAT’S STILL PRETTY GOOD OBI-WAN IS STILL AMAZING ALSO SNIPS HAS TOTALLY GOT THIS SHE’LL FINISH THE JOB.”
…my apologies. Sometimes I just love this shit so much.
Recurring Theme: So Close Yet So Far
So they do this whole big Villain Faceoff Conversation where Dooku says something about Padme, and then Anakin almost kills him right then just for acknowledging her existence because he’s totally chill like that, and then Dooku declares “…OK well, anyways, I will totally kill you guys, just because there’s two of you doesn’t mean I can’t kick your asses eight ways from Sunday” and Anakin is like “PFFT, yeah, and we also know there are two of you, too!” and for a split second Dooku almost has a heart attack, before Anakin shows his hand:
Oof! Oh my God. Sidious must have had to call on his Force Superpowers to keep from expiring from laughter. Dooku, for his part, actually IN THE BOOK has to resist the temptation to WINK at his Sidious here. I am dying.
Anakin is still all “I’ll take you! I’ll take everyone! Look at me I AM READY TO FIGHT AAAAAGGGGGGHHHH” and Dooku pretty much just thinks to himself about how this is going to be like, the easiest conversion to the Dark Side that has ever happened in the history of time:
…with that, the three launch into Fight Mode. Cue the Boss Battle music!
Recurring Theme: You Wouldn’t Like Me When I’m Angry
Dooku is pretty handily throwing The Team around as this fight commences, going after Obi-Wan with ease and throwing chairs around the room and fending off Anakin’s attempts to save his boyfriend like he’s swatting a fly. Anakin, thrown to the floor, huffs:
LOL. Uh oh! I am seriously cracking up at how this segment is written, because honestly? Obi-Wan and Anakin sound HILARIOUSLY bad at their jobs. Which, you know, kind of makes sense here because Dooku IS supposed to be a formidable foe, AND this is the guy who completely handed them their own asses in the last saga movie just a handful of years ago, BUT STILL. Like, Dooku is easily dominating them here, and the book makes it sound like Team Handsome is just sort of haphazardly swinging lightsabers around and HURLING FURNITURE AT HIM. It sounds like someone describing my CHILDREN fighting a Sith Lord.
SAME, Dooku. Same.
This Deal Is Getting Worse All The Time
Fortunately (or unfortunately — I guess this is yet another one of those things where it really depends on your point of view,) the boys aren’t actually THAT bad, and as Anakin’s Rage Mode Meter keeps charging up, they start to prove to be a challenge for Wicked Old Uncle Dooku:
Deciding that he’s done messing around, Dooku starts throwing his all into the fight, only to notice that, as the battle continues on, Anakin’s not wearing out. He’s getting stronger. Well, that’s a risk you take when you try to kill Obi-Wan, buddy!
Recurring Theme: When There’s Just a Touch Of Satan In Your Heart
On and on it goes, and eventually of course Dooku knocks Obi-Wan out, only to be thrown back to the floor by Anakin. And it’s at this moment that something suddenly becomes clear to Dooku: ah, that’s why Sidious was so sure about him. Anakin doesn’t need to be led to the Dark Side, per se: at least a part of him is already there:
At this sudden realization that it’s not going to take quite as much to push Anakin over the edge as he previously thought, Dooku continues to fight back, taunting him: Hero With No Fear indeed! You’re FULL of fear! Aren’t you too old to be afraid of the dark?
Recurring Theme: Dark Side Bait-and-Switch
Sensing that this would provide a GREAT lead-in for his Dramatic Revelations, Sidious now shouts out from the spectator section: Don’t be afraid of Rage Mode, Anakin! Go for it! Use that Ceaseless Pit of Darkness within and kill that guy!
Kill me?! Dooku thinks. NOW WAIT JUST A DAMN MINUTE:
…womp womp! So sorry, Uncle Dooku, but I’m afraid you’ve been had! Thanks for playing, though!
As Dooku comes to terms with this turn of events, Anakin is having what is entertainingly described as a moment of clarity, which is funny because A) I don’t know if “I’ve finally decided to lean into my murderous rage” should be considered a clear-headed decision, and B) as if I’m ever going to believe Anakin had a moment of his life that didn’t involve at LEAST 10% confusion and befuddlement. He is in constant need of supervision.
Sidious continues to egg Anakin on, and Dooku is like HOLD UP I THOUGHT WE HAD A DEAL, to which Sidious smirkily replies that Oh, the Poor Chancellor was only offering you immunity if you let him go, not if you tried to kill his Brave Jedi Friends!
Recurring Theme: Make Your Choice
Oh man, this part is heavy. So Anakin first cutds off Dooku’s hands, then beheads him as Dooku begs for mercy, and Anakin has this really frankly pretty disturbing sequence of thoughts. Who IS he, anyways? IS he a Jedi? Padme’s husband? Obi-Wan’s student? Could he be these things and still do something like this? And just when you have a moment of “oh good, Anakin is reflecting on this terrible thing and feeling bad about it”, Anakin is hit with a wave of Dark Side that is practically making him high:
Importantly, Anakin stammers out loud that it was almost as though…he couldn’t stop himself! Like he had no control over what just happened! But of course, as Star Wars likes to remind us now and again, THAT AIN’T TRUE, SKYWALKER.
Anakin Skywalker, Gonna Be Chewing On This One For a While
Anakin starts to completely freak out: OK OK, so, it’s not like he couldn’t stop himself. But he still knows enough to know it was wrong, doesn’t he?
Sidious, naturally, is on hand to be like “there there, obviously he was evil and of course YOU AND I ARE TOTALLY NOT, so that was the right thing to do”. Anakin, to his credit, is having a hard time coming around to this: this is not something a Jedi should do! You don’t understand, Uncle Chancellor! Palpatine helpfully assures him that the Jedi way is not always the right way. Yeah, they’re not right about everything all the time and also they got swindled into a war I orchestrated so clearly they’re wrong about everything, Skywalker! And you’re blameless for committing a cold-blooded murder of an unarmed prisoner! THOSE GUYS AND ALL THOSE KIDS AT THE TEMPLE TOTALLY HAVE IT COMING AMIRITE? Don’t even sweat this a little bit, Anakin.
UGH. OK. So, as we already knew, Sidious is the fucking worst and Anakin is Very Confused.
Sidious assures him that, just like That Whole Business With The Tuskens, he’ll keep this secret about Anakin murdering someone under wraps. I shouldn’t laugh, because this is a decidedly unfunny topic, but also I can’t help but crack up that Anakin has MULTIPLE MURDERS FOR SIDIOUS TO KEEP A SECRET ALREADY. SKYWALKER. OH MY GOD. As Sheev is all “now we’ve gotta get out of here, let’s all just move on with our lives,” Anakin frets to himself that if everything around him would just stop being insane and confusing for like 45 seconds, maybe he could get his shit together. Awww.
Recurring Theme: Anakin Loves Obi-Wan
Anakin rushes over to Obi-Wan’s side and determines that he’s not dead, just concussed:
LOL. This seems ENTIRELY plausible.
Sheev bitches that they can’t wait for Obi-Wan or take him with them, because he’ll just be a great big load and also Obi-Wan dying was a BIG PART OF HIS PLAN SO JUST LEAVE HIM OK YOU DOPE?
Importantly, and thoroughly unsurprisingly, Anakin insists that they must stay together, even if it means that they end up adrift in space together and die. And as Sheev persists that Obi-Wan be left to his fate, Anakin — for the first time possibly ever — HAS A BAD FEELING ABOUT THIS GUY. Oh. Oh! ANAKIN FOR THE LOVE OF GOD PLEASE CULTIVATE THESE FEELINGS. HE TRIED TO GET YOU TO LEAVE YOUR OBI-WAN BEHIND. WHAT KIND OF A MONSTER WOULD DO THAT.
Unfortunately, Anakin chalks Sheev’s willingness to leave Obes behind up to his not being a soldier, and not that he is a being of unremitting terror and darkness who wants to break them up because he wants Anakin to fulfill the role of The Dragon in the Original Trilogy portion of our program.
As we all know, Anakin throws Obi-Wan over his shoulder, and Sidious is like “oh good, I’m super glad you can carry him. Now what?”
Ah, good: I sense some Elevator Antics in our future. I’m on the edge of my seat — and yet, sadly, that’s where I’ll have to remain for now, because that’s it for this edition of Snark Wars! I’ll catch you all next time — thank you for reading, and — as this might be the last new post of 2017, I’m not 100% sure — thank you for your patronage over the past year. I wish you and yours many more moments of Star Wars Lunacy in the new year