Saturday, February 8, 2014

Obi Wan (Star Wars Character Thoughts)

More Thoughts: Intro, C3PO, R2D2, Qui-Gon, Obi Wan, Anakin, Padme, Han, Chewy, The Emperor, Yoda, Vader, Luke

Obi Wan is one of just four characters that appear in every one of the six Star Wars films, but he always seems to blend into the background. In the original films he was the archetypal “wise old man” but even there he was supplanted. In the earlier films he was one of the main characters, but seemed almost too normal for the epic events going on around him. And perhaps that is what led him to the wisdom so valuable for the events in the later films.

Obi Wan is not the larger than life character we are used to in these epic stories. When we first meet him he is just the student. But even then he makes a mark in little ways. He perceives danger before Qui-Gon. He also recognizes the danger the Anakin represents. And he manages to defeat the enemy that killed his master; becoming a master himself. When we see him in the next chapter he is a capable Knight, but not infallible. He manages to fulfill the tasks he is assigned with, but sometimes only just and usually with help from others. He is an everyman.

When the betrayal occurs and the Jedi order is wiped out, it falls to Obi Wan to face his friend and student. Once again he proves himself capable in battle, but it is the hardest task he has ever faced and he fails to complete the job himself. From that moment on, Obi Wan dedicates his life to protecting the future and bidding his time. And when the moment comes he is ready. He engages the enemy again and prepares others for the role they must play. Ultimately, he knows that the most heroic thing he has to offer in the fight is not his fighting skill, not is wisdom, but his sacrifice. More on that later.

Obi Wan is an inspiration for more than the “wise old advisor” role he plays to more active characters in the Star Wars myths. He is a reminder that normal people have important roles to play. That history does not depend on super heroic, prophesied personalities to stay on track. The greatest wisdom lies in doing one’s best at doing the right thing in every moment, success or fail.

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