Peace is a lie, there is only passion. Through passion, I gain strength. Through strength, I gain power. Through power, I gain victory. Through victory, my chains are broken. The Force shall free me.
-The Sith Code
There is no emotion, there is peace. There is no ignorance, there is knowledge.There is no passion, there is serenity.There is no chaos, there is harmony.There is no death, there is the Force.
–The Jedi Code
Revan’s search for his identity while strung between the polarizing dictates of the Jedi, and the Sith order, is at the crux of the plot of Star Wars: The Old Republic: Revan.
“Hero, traitor, conqueror, villain, savior-the man called Revan has been all of these.”
Revan left Coruscant as a Jedi, sent on a mission to defeat the Mandalorians, a warrior race immersed in a great tradition for war, and inhabiting the planet of Mandalore. He would prove to be successful, gaining the mask of Mandalore, a ceremonial war mask worn by the leader of the Mandalorians. The mask would become an enduring symbol of Revan’s power, and conquest. But with his rise, Revan fell, returning instead as a Sith Lord bent on destroying the Republic.
The man behind the mask would find his redemption through the love of a young, and promising Jedi named Bastila Shan,
but paid the price for his crimes with the loss of his memories. Guiding the Republic once again through the ravages of his past actions, Revan would assist the Jedi Order to reassert peace in the galaxy.
“At the start, they were not much of a threat to speak of, but once the Jedi Revan had taken charge, things began to turn against us. The Republic fleets began to use more than just basic tactics. Feints, counterattacks, mass deceptions. Revan was a genius on the field. Revan abandoned worlds of their defenders so that others would be too fortified to strike, and was willing to make sacrifices in order to advance goals. And in the end, Revan proved too much for us.” – Canderous Ordo, a Mandalorian.
Now, an exile of the Jedi order, Revan lives a secretive, but comfortable life with his wife Bastila. Nevertheless, he remains tormented by nightmares that seek his return to the past, foreshadowing a growing threat that bodes its time in the dark. In order to recover his memories, and discover the source of the threat, Revan embarks on a journey that would culminate in his struggle against a powerful, and diabolic enemy. His failure could mean the end of the Republic, “but only death can stop him from” succeeding.
And that’s basically it.
Revan is an excellent book that draws the reader into the world of the Old Republic; a definite recommendation for both Stars Wars, and non-Star Wars fans alike. Though on the outset it may seem to be a story modeled around the journey of Anakin Skywalker, by the end of the book, Revan seals his place as a unique, and powerful character in his own right, within the Star Wars mythology.
What personally drew me to the book, and Revan’s character, was his enduring struggle against a very human desire for power. It is a concept that is at the heart of the central dichotomy of the Jedi, and the Sith, about which several plot lines revolve in the Star Wars universe.
I remember once walking past a blackboard at the university. The board had the message “Peace is …” with an abundance of scrawls, and notes left by other students with their opinions on peace. Their statements were food for thought. I eventually found some empty space at the corner of the board, and felt compelled to write, peace is what power defines. A few months later, I found myself reading Star Wars: The Old Republic: Revan. By the end of the book, I felt compelled once again to believe that peace is nothing more than compromised power.
I’m a fan of the Star Wars universe, and thus I couldn’t help myself in finding analogies to the politics of its worlds with the history of humanity. The current generation of youngsters face a world rapid in its growth, and unraveling in the myriad changes of modern-day society. Strife, inequality, ostracism, and tyranny still seem to echo in this hall of democracy, and unity that humanity seems to believe it represents. I’ve never been a fan of politics, yet I do not shun knowledge of its principles, and also understand its contribution to society.
What is peace? It is a difficult question, and a unique answer is nigh impossible. I personally believe peace is a phase, somewhat like a smaller gear, in a larger system that defines society. While it may be revered, and glorified as an ideal of the highest standard, along with justice, and morality, peace is still very much a concept that adheres to the beliefs, and feelings of an individual as it would as a social contract to a greater populace.
In the Star Wars mythology, the Jedi Council, and the Sith seem to be two sides of the same coin, vying for power, though the Jedi distinguish themselves in their motivation towards peace, and harmony. While the Sith are open in their passion for power, the Jedi stand their ground as their counterpart, proclaiming themselves as protectors of the Republic. Revan, having been a hero of the Jedi, and a dark lord of the Sith, illustrates the illusions surrounding the motivations of both “cults.”
“Is that what he was? Or was he always true to himself, no matter what personality he wore? And there is something that the Council may never understand. That perhaps Revan never fell. The difference between a fall and a sacrifice is sometimes difficult, but I feel that Revan understood that difference, more than anyone knew. The galaxy would have fallen if Revan had not gone to war. Perhaps he became the dark lord out of necessity, to prevent a greater evil.” – Sith Lord Kreia
As time passes, the Jedi grow stronger, unified in their purpose, while the Sith dwindle, succumbing to their lust for power that results in inner strife, and ultimately their demise. But after a millenia, the roles are reversed, and the Jedi are overthrown by the Sith. Having reached the status as peacekeepers of the Republic, the Jedi removed themselves from society, preferring the solace of their temples, and archives. In their rule, we see a shadow of Plato’s vision of a “Republic” ruled by philosophical warriors.
But by throwing away their identity as peace-keepers (or social workers), the Jedi council’s disjunct views clash with societal, and communal paradigms, resulting in peace becoming a tool used to maintain the Republic that is now the foundation of the Jedi council’s political power, and authority. Consequently, the Jedi fall victim to their own vanity. Meanwhile, the Sith’s ability to reassess, manipulate, and even become subservient to the current state of affairs, over generations, helps in their recovery, and victory over the Jedi.
Revan, Anakin Skywalker, and other popular characters of the Star Wars lore symbolize this contest between the two factions, often defined as an eternal conflict towards balance in the force. Taken in the context of the Republic, and its citizens, this could also define the efforts toward a stable government. Revan’s position as an exile, and his dual personality as a Sith Lord, and a Jedi Master, help him succeed when he may be doomed to fail. By the end of the book, Revan doesn’t necessarily find answers to all his questions. Instead, he finds his peace in the hope that the future of his loved ones is safe.
Peace is an ideal, and may never be achieved completely. It is a notion that requires us to address our own failures, individually, and as a species. While its results may be temporary, it is in the hope of such an ideal that our wars are waged, our beliefs are found, and our lives are balanced. In conclusion, peace is a question without an answer. Revan is a metaphor of this truth.
“Who I am is not important, my message is.” – Darth Revan