Tuesday, December 08, 2009

The Jedi and the Farie

I just finished watching the six Star Wars movies in sequence. It was an interesting experience, especially since the first one to be filmed was the 4th in the series and Lucas didn't finish the series until 25 years later with vastly improved technology. It is certainly true that the the acting is, in most cases, atrocious. Carrie Fisher at least started out smiling, but, by the end she was on autopilot.

There are an infinite number of observations that can be made about the series. Having just read Dune, it is remarkable how close some of the symbolism comes and, in particular, the use of the feudal power structure (e.g. Lord Vader and Count Harkonnen). There is also the mystical aura and the quasi religious aspect of the Jedi and the Fremen. (That's why I wear a hoody at home; I pretend I'm a Jedi Knight.)

I don't know why, maybe because I am growing old and sometimes dwell on these things, but I was impressed by what usually happens when a Jedi knight dies (but not always). Both Obi-Wan and Yoda simply disappear into their robes. This is so excellent. There is nothing messy with their exit (and, trust me, I have seen messy). It reminds me of Flann O'Brien and his novel "The Third Policeman." At some point, in one of the totally fascinating footnotes concerning the scholar De Selby, there is a description of what happens to faries in their life. (I may be getting this a little wrong but I'll be damned if I am going to correct it because I like the way I remember it.) In any case, faires (and for a true explanation of these critters you have to read "At Swim To Birds") receive a color when they are born. The color depends on which way the wind is blowing at the time. I suspect that North is Blue but, in any case, there are a lot of gradations so no farie is the same. As a farie grows older, the color fades. And, more importantly, the farie fades from being seen by others (e.g. mundane people). Now this is something that one might think awful or great, depending on how you look a the world. I think it would be great to fade out. Frankly, as one gets older this tends to happen. Young people ignore you. It happens to me every day (this having a lot to do with cell phones, which are ever so much more interesting than a doctor telling you not to get an STD and how to do it.)

Think about it. Fading or disappearing is an age old desire. It certainly finds its place in religion (Christ is a good example). Somehow having the corpus delecti disappear has a sanctifying influence on the narrative. I think.


Felix said...

Yes ... I like the idea of fading away rather than cluttering up the corridor with my mortal remains :-)

Ray Girvan said...

Dune and Star Wars make an interesting contrast, in that in the book Dune (as opposed to the film) the whole thrust is that we should distrust visionaries and supermen ("The bottom line of the Dune trilogy is: beware of heroes" - Herbert, cited in Clareson, Thomas. Understanding Contemporary American Science Fiction: the Formative Period).

Star Wars, in contrast, takes the view that, as long as they haven't turned Evil, people with hereditary superpowers - since that's how you get high midichlorian levels - make appropriate and natural leaders.

Julie Heyward said...

Pffft. It's bad enough being bored in life without having a boring death. Where's the excitement in fading? What would Zeno say?

You guys probably get into (cold) water (the ocean in Maine for example) inch by inch. You're supposed to hold your nose and do the cannonball from the high dive.

What's happened to Dr. "Wheee!!!" C.? Where has he gone?

Ray Girvan said...

What would Zeno say?

I dunno. "First you half-die. Then you three-quarter die. Then you seven-eighths die. Then ... So as it takes an infinite number of steps, you can never die completely." ?

Or do you mean Zeno of Citium: "Ouch, my toe! Gluuuurgh!"