Revenge of the Sith, Part VII: Divided Loyalties

Revenge of the Sith by Matthew Stover (Legends) (Part 7)

Hello there, readers! Hear anything interesting about Star Wars lately? Nah, me either. (Incidentally, I’m only just now realizing that, if That Thing is actually really happening finally, my GOD, I am going to have new Snark Wars Recap Material the likes of which THIS BLOG HAS NEVER SEEN. The possibilities.)

I’m getting ahead of myself, clearly. Obi-Wan’s Glorious Mane and Anakin-Related Desert Tears will reveal themselves to us all in good time, if the Force wills it. For now, let’s occupy ourselves with a trip back to the joyful, happy-go-lucky romp that is Revenge of the Sith‘s novelization. It’s been a while!

When we last left the Order of the Hopelessly Screwed, Anakin had decided that the only way he was gonna get what he wanted (to the extent that Anakin ever even knows what he wants) was to find a way into the Jedi Master Super Secret Archive, where he’s positive that they’re storing the Secret to Immortality or whatever he thinks he needs to save Padme, who, I would like to point out, is not actually currently dying. Sure, Anakin, this premise definitely makes total sense: obviously the Order, which has seen the deaths of tons of valuable employees and innocent civilians since the start of the war, has been sitting on the recipe for Un-Death Juice all this time, and has just been opting not to use it because, I dunno, the recipe’s all the way in the back, and you have to really jam the key in the lock to get in there, and then you have to jiggle it a little and it’s just a whole big thing and they’d really all rather sit around playing Yahtzee in the Council room or whatever instead. Or — just a thought, Skywalker — it could be that they actually DON’T have the secret to immortality just laying around somewhere. And that Palpatine has been fucking with you for the last, oh, many years. Again: JUST A THOUGHT.

At the conclusion of our last recap, Anakin had sought out Obi-Wan, because of course he had (frankly I’m surprised he let him out of his sight to begin with), and had been struggling to find the words to ask Obi-Wan for what he wanted. (And NO, I don’t mean that. Not this time, anyways.) Will Anakin pop the question? Let’s find out!

Recurring Theme: Obi-Wan Loves Anakin

Anakin is all nervous and fidgety and while he’s trying to figure out how to beg Obi-Wan to help him get Colonel Yoda’s Secret Recipe for Saving Someone From Dying, Obi-Wan is like “hey, so, you missed a meeting. Again.”

Anakin is like “oh yeah, sorry, I got held up by my inner turmoil. Again.” He asks Obi-Wan if the shuttle he just saw had Palpatine on it as a way to change the subject. Obi-Wan ominously tells him that no, actually: the shuttle is here to bring Anakin to Palpatine.

Anakin, it goes without saying, has no idea what’s going on and also has possibly already not slept in like 10 days, which is absolutely the kind of accelerant this tire fire of a situation needed poured onto it. What? Why didn’t the Council tell him Palpatine wanted to see him? THIS IS ALL VERY ODD, ISN’T IT?

Obi-Wan admits that he doesn’t know WTF is going on either (LOL. Took us til the end of the war, but at least Team Handsome is finally ready to own up to the fact that they do, in fact, have no clue what’s going on.) He speculates that maybe Palpatine thought if he’d asked the Council to send Anakin, they wouldn’t have, because Palpatine is an evil monster with Dark Side Vapors basically forming a storm system over his head at all times. Or maybe it’s just like, they’re not getting along very well right now for regular, mundane reasons.

Anakin continues to quietly freak out and is like “something bad is going on, ISN’T IT, TELL ME”, and Obi-Wan can only tell him that he doesn’t know anything, he only suspects.

Hello! Oh, rats. This isn’t going to be about Anakin’s Butt, is it. Damn. Anakin is like WHAT CONVERSATION, DID YOU FORGET HOW DUMB I AM I DON’T UNDERSTAND WHAT’S GOING ON, to which Obi-Wan replies:

Yes, Obi-Wan wants to talk in private because he’s worried about Anakin’s Uncle Palpatine (as he has been for, oh, the entire time he has known Palpatine), and he wanted to warn Anakin to be wary. But also apparently this book wanted to throw me a bone by going out of its way for like 70th time already to make sure I knew Obes was once again touching Anakin and looking deeply into his eyes, I guess.

Recurring Theme: Anakin Skywalker, A Two-Person Job

Hahaha, OK. So Obi-Wan goes on for a bit about how Anakin should be careful about his friendship with Space Satan, because he’s getting a bad vibe about all of this, and Anakin is all “oh OBI-WAN, don’t WORRY, why would ANYONE worry about Me, Brave Anakin Skywalker?!” and THIS HAPPENS:

…please recall that the reason Anakin knew he was going to say this was not because Obi-Wan had already said it to him earlier in the book. It is because PADME had said this to him earlier in the book. There are MULTIPLE Star Wars books that just flat-out include Obi-Wan and Padme thinking and feeling the exact same things about Anakin, or Anakin thinking the same thing about both of them. Honestly, Obes and Padme really should have just had a frank conversation about everything, combined forces, set up a weekly schedule, and seen to it that Anakin was never left alone for any reason whatsoever. IT COULD HAVE WORKED. I fully believe Anakin was a two-person job, and we all know he wouldn’t have objected to even more attention.

Anyways, the Polyamory Solution all of us deserved notwithstanding, at all of this Anakin feels Concerned, and stares off into space:

Hey, Anakin? You wanna elaborate on that while your Obi-Wan is standing right there, buddy? Maybe open up about your impending mental breakdown? Hmm? No? Sigh. All right then. It was worth a shot.

Recurring Theme: We Were On the Verge of Greatness

Instead of hanging back and spilling his guts to Obi-Wan or going back to Padme’s for a nap or hell, just going and tattling about Palpatine’s Secret Meeting Request to Mace Windu or something, Anakin of course sets off for Palpatine’s Place. And hilariously, with Obi-Wan’s words of warning in mind, once he’s there, Anakin is deeply creeped out by Palpatine’s office for the first time ever. The decor seems oppressive. The lighting seems…off.

So I’m sure it’s intentional, because we are meant to understand that Anakin later chooses to join Palpatine knowing full damn well that the guy is evil, because to Anakin his selfish needs outweigh any evildoing that may take place as part of him getting what he wants, but it’s still morbidly amusing to me that already just in this book, on multiple occasions already he’s all but noted that Palpatine is shady as fuck, and yet is still gonna be down to join the Dark Side. Anakin, my guy: you were THIS CLOSE.

Recurring Theme: Anakin Skywalker, Space Satan’s Cabana Boy

Alas: Palpatine goes all in with the whole “oooh I TRUST you sooooooo much Anakin also you’re so great and handsome and GOSH I bet every Jedi is just super jealous of you that’s probably why anything bad has ever happened to you and also why they won’t put you on the Councillllllll” routine, and Anakin, to my great surprise and amusement, has this reaction:

  1. Whatever scramball is, it sounds hilarious.
  2. I’m going to assume that by “some preadolescent Padawan”, Anakin is absolutely thinking about something he personally did in the past.
  3. I’m legitimately shocked that there was a time when Anakin wasn’t down to do some whining.

Sheev’s having none of Anakin’s attempt to be a mature adult, though, and is like “nah, they’re the worst, and also they want to keep you off the Council forever because once you’re on it, they’ll never be able to control you again” — at which Anakin ACCURATELY points out that they don’t exactly do that very well already, hahahaha.

Anakin winces, because this hit close to home. Sensing a gold mine, Sidious keeps going on and on about how the Jedi are starting to frighten him! They want more autonomy! They care about that even more than they care about the war!

Anakin gently points out that, uh, some of them might say the same thing about you, Chancellor, and then immediately spirals into a series of thoughts:

  1. Maybe he shouldn’t have said that because Obi-Wan said that in confidence;
  2. Maybe Obi-Wan was right about being careful about Palpatine;
  3. Or MAYBE Palpatine is RIGHT, and OBI-WAN was trying to throw him off the Jedi’s Trail of Evil.
  4. The Chancellor is “the one man he can really trust”. Sure, Anakin. OK. Five minutes ago you were quietly terrified from just being in Palpatine’s office, but sure. He seems like the horse to back here.

Recurring Theme: No Collusion!

Sidious bitches: the JEDI only want me out of office because I’m onto their corruption! They’re afraid I’m gonna drain the swamp! They’re so busy wanting to chase after these faceless MADE-UP ENEMIES of theirs —

Anakin interjects that uh, well like, Dooku was a real person? You know, the guy who tried to kill me all those times? The Sith are hardly faceless enemies! Palpatine sneers back that Dooku was probably just some loser ex-Jedi who sucked and anyways he’s dead now. Anakin, who is in WAY OVER HIS HEAD IN THIS CONVERSATION and absolutely should have feigned food poisoning and called for his Obi-Wan to pick him up before we got to this point, stammers that there’s also that Sidious guy, though? What about him?

Sidious himself replies that OH YEAH. THAT GUY. As if some mysterious conspiracy where evil people have infiltrated the government and helped rig the election and whatever is even real:

This dude is like, 5 minutes away from reminding Anakin about the Jedi Order’s emails and then trying to change the subject by complaining about what a shame it is that no one respects the Republic flag anymore. For fuck’s sake, I need a drink.

This conversation, and my yearslong migraine with it, gets worse: Sheev goes on, rambling about how there could be Fine People on Both Sides! Maybe you only THINK evil Dark Wizards are evil because you’ve been taught to believe that evil people are evil, Anakin! HMM?? EVER THINK ABOUT IT THAT WAY?????

Anakin is just sort of standing there, flabbergasted, and before he can even really respond, Sidious — in a move both comedic and upsetting — is like you know what, Skywalker? If I met this horrible, wicked Sidious guy? I’d sit down and rap with him. Find out if he has the power to end this war. It’s OK to pal up to an evil person if you think they might be able to do something for you!

OK, this entire scene was depressing the hell out of me, but Star Wars pulled me out of my tailspin by semi-canonically including a bit where Sheev fantasizes about taking himself out for a nice brandy.

Recurring Theme: Dramatic Irony is Our Way of Life

Anakin is just kind of standing there like “um OK, wow” and Sidious, perhaps sensing he’s been laying it on thick even by HIS standards, laughs it off and is like “I mean OBVIOUSLY that’s just a RIDICULOUS HYPOTHETICAL, I totally don’t even know what kind of brandy Sidious prefers! If he exists, that is! And furthermore, what are the chances a SITH LORD is gonna walk through my door anyways that’d be WILD, hahahahahahahahahahahahahaha.”

Imagine! The Jedi Council, accusing gentle Palpatine of wrongdoing! The mind reels. At any rate, Palpatine continues, the real reason he brought Anakin over here definitely wasn’t to take a blowtorch to all of his confidence in the Jedi Order or anything, it was just to let him know that from now on, the Order will be directly reporting to him on the Republic org chart. Anakin is taken aback, and before his exhausted, doofus brain can even finish talking about how THAT’S gonna play out, Palpatine drops the bombshell that he is appointing Anakin to be his personal representative on the Council.

Recurring Theme: Anakin Skywalker, Receiver of Special Treatment

At first, Anakin basically bluescreens at this information, and then, after rebooting, begins to daydream about how he and Obi-Wan can hold hands and pass notes at work even more than they already do!

He is overwhelmed, and says so, just like he does in the movie that I have seen 55 billion times. And now? Now he doesn’t even NEED Obi-Wan to slip him his library card!

So, obviously the novelization went way harder on the whole “Anakin specifically wanted the title in order to get into the vault” thing than the movie, but either way I’m just cracking up (and crying) that if Palpatine hadn’t summoned Anakin at the exact moment he did, maybe the whole thing would have gone down like this:

Anakin: Obi-Wan, I need to ask you for a favor.
Obi-Wan: I would do basically anything for you, so OK.
Anakin: I need you to sneak me into the Master archives so that I can find out how to save someone from dying.
Obi-Wan: Anakin, you idiot, that’s not a thing.
Anakin: Yes it is.
Obi-Wan: [sighing] Fine, let’s go there right now and I’ll show you myself.
[five hours later, in the Archives, when all Anakin has found is old cookbooks, a bunch of filthy limericks written by Quinlan Vos, Yoda’s scrapbook of Jedi Order baby pictures and an old couch that no one’s bothered to drag out to the curb for the last 500 years]Anakin: OK FINE, I guess the secret to stopping death isn’t in here. Fuck! Now my wife’s gonna die!
Obi-Wan: Your wife? You and Padme are married?
Anakin: How’d you guess it was Padme?!
Obi-Wan: …I’m not an idiot?

And then they could have TALKED MORE about ALL THE THINGS and they could have worked it all out! I’m JUST SAYING.

Recurring Theme: Sheev Palpatine, Just Wants What’s Worst For You

This chapter concludes with Anakin expressing his concern that the Jedi probably won’t like Palpatine taking over their private club and then also shoehorning an exhausted dumbass onto their Council without asking first, and Sheev is like “LOL as if any of that matters”:

“Properly explain it to them”, or, y’know, if that doesn’t take we can always just wipe them out of existence. Either/or.

That’s it for this installment of Anakin Skywalker, Please Go To Sleep I Am Begging You. Make sure to swing by for our next installment, when things will once again go from bad to worse, and Star Wars will throw things like this gem at us:

What’s that drama queen angry about this time? You’ll just have to join me later to find out! See you then, and thanks for reading!

Previously

ROTS Novel Title
Revenge of the Sith, Part VI: Land of Confusion

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