1/09/2011. Contributed by Geoff Willmetts
pub: Titan Books. 160 page small enlarged hardback. Price: GBP18.99 (UK). ISBN: 978-0-85768-587-2.
check out website: www.titanbooks.com and www.starwars.com
‘Star Wars: The Jedi Path’ is a guide written in a galaxy far, far away to train you as a Jedi Knight, annotated with comments from previous owners of this book. Really, this only goes from Yoda to Luke Skywalker, but considering how old the former is that amounts to seven people with at least three of these who became Sith and at least half of them human. One puzzle for me is why the typical Jedi is shown as a human when with all the abundant sentient life in their galaxy is far more diverse than that. There is also a reference to Skywalker’s wife so obviously some thought suggests that this book extends beyond the films for his comments.
In many respects, George Lucas’ Jedi was based on a combination of Buddist outlook – check their clothes as a physical connection – and Japanese disciplines like Shinto, Kendo and Samurai. As such, Jedi beliefs is more grounded in our reality than any other galaxy. Whether it can be seen as a means to promote peace depends on how much you enjoy waving a light-sabre around. I should point out that there are major sections of this book devoted to the light-sabre, both in building and using it. Before you get too carried away with the former, the availability of focusing crystals might be a problem.
One thing I do find odd is that of the large number of junior Jedi Initiates, Jedi Knights only choose one apprentice or padawan at a time. Even if they are long-lived, a considerable amount of time is spent teaching each one so it’s no wonder that there were so few of them overall, especially when you combine this with celibacy so they can’t develop more people with their ability to feel the Force. One of the latter chapters in the book points out that the reason why Jedi don’t breed is to prevent powerful dynasties rising in their ranks. Unfortunately, it also points out how their recruitment plans for picking up youngsters with the potential to control the Force isn’t perfect, which probably explains how the Emperor Palpatine was missed. Saying that, you would have thought that the Jedi would have vetted anyone rising through the political ranks for mind-bending abilities.
Something that did come out from the book was the Sith Lords, who use the dark side of the Force, used to be larger in numbers than the two, master and apprentice, that we normally recognise in the film series. Something that is only hinted is that the Jedi also believe that those taken by the dark side of the Force could be redeemed but there is no indication about how to go about doing so in the book. You would have thought that would have been a topic in itself but bearing in mind this book has been in the hands of people who turned to the dark side, maybe their ripped those chapters out.
If you thought there were only Jedi Knights, then you would be surprised to discover that there were eight other categories who had their own specialities and often different colour crystals in their light-sabres. The Jedi Sentinel practically reminds me of a Japanese Ronin. I guess everyone wants to be a knight but at least there are other types out there for you to contemplate.
For such a small book, there is a wealth of information in here that should find it of use to any ‘Star Wars’ fan. If I have to be critical after the fact, I wish there had more on the philosophical end of things and even mental exercises for sharpening the powers of those who use the Force but as commented in a previous paragraph, I wouldn’t be surprised if those possessed by the dark side, conveniently removed these. In the meantime, you can practice levitating this book yourself off your bookshelf whenever you want to look up something.
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