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Becca's Chava Chat

A Jedi does not cling to the past. And Obi-Wan Kenobi knows, too, that to have lived his life without being Master to Anakin Skywalker would have left him a different man. A lesser man.Matthew Stover’s Revenge of the Sith

As I contemplate this tiny insert by Matthew Stover, I’m left to wonder how impactful Anakin’s training really was on Obi-Wan’s life. How often did he recall certain scenarios, wishing he would’ve acted instead of reacted? Did he fully come to terms with the death of his own Master, Qui-Gon Jinn? A Jedi does not cling to the past… or does he?

 

“Obi-Wan, promise….promise me you will train the boy. He is the chosen one. He will bring balance. Train him.”-Qui-Gon Jinn

With his dying words, Qui-Gon had sealed his pupils’ fate and all of the Jedi as well. My question to this is, was he ready? Apparently, Qui-Gon thought so, or was it something else that placed these two together? As a wise Jedi once said, “Nothing happens by accident.” The force does work in mysterious ways.

Placing them together did seem rather brash and well, hasty in fashion. Given the circumstances of the situation at the time, I guess what else was there to do, but to grant a well respected Jedi’s last hopeful request. And so, it was done.

What’s intriguing over this pairing, is the distinct mirroring of the newly founded padawan to the old Jedi Master. If you have never noticed this, then your previous point of view has blinded you. Anakin tends to have panache for the dramatics and an issue with authority or directive, sound familiar? Even more interesting, that after ten years being the mentor, Obi-Wan had learned to relax. The “Negotiator” loosened his unyielding ways on absolute correctness. Anakin unlocked the one flaw that kept him from becoming the great Jedi his Master, Qui-Gon always said he would be. He was, to some degree, the Ultimate Jedi.

kenobi

A great leap forward often requires taking two steps back.” This reminds me so much of the scene in ROTS, where Obi-Wan hands the infant Luke to his adoptive family; Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru. As he does this, he relinquishes his role as teacher and resumes his former place as the learner. After all, this is what he prefers, is it not? He’s an impeccable warrior, who’d rather not fight. A mediator that has remained unrivaled throughout the war and quite frankly, would be more inclined to sit alone in a quiet cave and meditate. Ironically enough, that is exactly what he does over the next twenty years of his life, hence the name; Jedi Hermit.

Ben in Hebrew means son, how befitting of the tutor returning to his place as a student. Even more coincidental, Obi in African means heart. Better yet, in Swahili it refers to the soul. Oddly enough, Wan is an Old English word representing or defining, “unnaturally pale from grief.” What am I implying with all of these origins? That once again, Mr. Lucas knew exactly what he was doing when crafting his characters for the GFFA.

To exist is to endure…

Throughout those years of solitude on Tatooine, I can’t imagine him not replaying those last moments on Mustafar and Polis Massa. The guilt, the defeat, both personal and unprejudiced had to be far greater than anything we can comprehend. Not saying I haven’t encountered either myself, but something on Obi-Wan’s magnitude of such galactic proportions, is highly unlikely.

Watching Luke, from a distance had to be disjointedly painful. No contact with the son of your best friend, the man you left dismembered and maimed to burn in his own idiosyncratic Hell. Yeah, how does one go on living….if you can call that living?

Honestly, I believe his soul died alongside Anakin’s. His spirit was broken, like Padme’s heart, he too slipped away. What remnants of his tattered life force survived took on the persona of Ben Kenobi, who Uncle Owen refers to as, “That wizard is just a crazy old man.”

Only Ben wasn’t crazy, a little rusted like the Tin Man, but that happens over time, especially on a sand planet like Tatooine. He found the inner strength to go on and complete one final mission, to come full circle. After two decades of separation Obi-Wan, unites the galaxy’s biggest and brightest secret; Luke and Leia. Talk about irony, what Anakin kept hidden and was forbidden to obtain, had become the very thing that would save the entire universe from darkness; Love.

“Who’s the more foolish, the fool or the fool that follows him?”-Obi-Wan

I wonder if young Luke or Han ever really thought this through while boarding the dreaded Death Star? Never the less, they did as instructed and rescued Princess Leia before she could be terminated. Upon doing so, set the stage for a prophecy to be fulfilled. Obi-Wan lets go of Ben and takes his rightful place within the force, allowing Vader to come head to head with his destiny. Yes, once again “The Negotiator” shows up unexpectedly and allows the old wounds to surface. “I sense something, a presence I’ve not felt since…”-Vader

Obi-Wan smiling at Anakin

Obi-Wan

He is modest, centered, and always kind. He is the ultimate Jedi. And he is proud to be Anakin Skywalker’s best friend. –Matthew Stover

As always, thanks so much for taking the time to read my musings on Star Wars. Feel free to leave a comment or contact me directly at beccab@coffeewithkenobi.com

Becca@thecantinacast.net

Also on Twitter @urangelb

Remember, this IS the Podcast you’re looking for!

 

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22 Comments

  1. Erica
    July 21, 2014 at 15:14 Reply

    I love the idea of Luke and Leia being the galaxy’s biggest and brightest secret 🙂

    We can learn so much from how Obi-wan handled tragedy. So great to highlight his journey.

    1. Becca Benjamin
      July 23, 2014 at 15:27 Reply

      Thank you, Erica 🙂
      How are you? Miss you!

  2. Aaron Harris
    July 21, 2014 at 18:53 Reply

    WOW! Becca, as always, you take me on a journey into the depths of the Star Wars soul. Obi-Wan has always been one of my favorite characters in the saga, and yet even after 6 movies, 6 seasons of The Clone Wars, I still feel I barely know the man. The years of self inflicted solidarity between Episode 3 and Episode 4 are crucial in the characters development, yet vastly unexplored. I loved the novel Kenobi, but still i felt i barely scratched the surface of what this crucial participant in the galaxy went through. How does one deal with knowing he trained the one who destroyed the known universe? Murdered his friends? “You were my brother Anakin! I loved you!” How does one deal with that loss? He truly endured life after that.Thanks for another great blog and for once again engaging my mind in thought!

    1. Becca Benjamin
      July 23, 2014 at 15:40 Reply

      Thanks, Aaron 🙂
      Wow! “A Journey into the depths of the SW soul.” Sounds like a funtastic title to a novel 😉 hmmmmm?
      I agree with you on the novel “Kenobi”….as much as I loved it, (which I truly did) there were/are still questions left unanswered. Hopefully that’ll be rectified in the near future 🙂
      Thanks so much for taking the time to stop by and read my musings….always appreciated.

  3. A Terrific Obi-Wan Essay |
    July 21, 2014 at 20:24 Reply

    […] long as we’re on an Obi-Wan kick today, Becca at Coffee With Kenobi posted To Exist Is To Endure, a look at Obi-Wan’s character […]

  4. Melinda
    July 22, 2014 at 08:03 Reply

    Becca, such a beautiful entry. I sat down with my cup of jawa 😉 within easy reach, got good and comfy in my chair here at my desk, and started reading.

    I have so much to say — yet, sadly, I must depart for physical therapy! Darn that clock!!! (maybe I just never should have taken a peek! 😉 )

    In any case, I shall return later. Maybe a little sore, but back I shall be. 🙂 I’ll open the floodgates, and let all my thoughts pour out. 🙂

    I love this blog! 🙂

    (p.s. before I scoot off, I love all the meanings behind Obi-Wan’s name you cited. 🙂 Thank you for expanding my idea of all of what Obi-Wan encompasses. I’ve always loved the fact that “obi” means “sash” or “belt” in Japanese — and that always has made me see Obi-Wan as the one who encompasses everything it means to be a Jedi. What you have added to the mix deepens that meaning. 🙂 Thank you!)

    1. Becca Benjamin
      July 26, 2014 at 08:17 Reply

      I look forward to your ideas, Melinda 🙂

  5. pambruchwalski
    July 22, 2014 at 10:25 Reply

    Everyone clings to the past in some small way, whether they admit it or not. Obi-Wan is no exception. How could he NOT relive some of his life’s more painful moments while spending all that time alone? It’s human, and Obi-Wan is wonderfully human. If anything about him facilitates the events that bring everyone together, it’s his humanity, his ability to care, to love. I’m not sure that’s what you’re going for here, Becca, but that’s how I feel about Obi-Wan.

    1. Becca Benjamin
      July 26, 2014 at 08:23 Reply

      I agree, Pam 🙂
      He did love and care, but that is why I feel he endured so much over the years on Tatooine. The old saying, “To Live is to Suffer.” To survive is to find “meaning” in the suffering and I believe Obi-wan did just that. 🙂

      1. Pam Bruchwalski
        January 14, 2015 at 21:07 Reply

        Just remembering this post about Obi-Wan’s time on Tatooine…thought I’d tell you that since I mention it in my most recent entry.

  6. Jay Krebs
    July 22, 2014 at 14:54 Reply

    I was thinking about that “obi” reference in Japanese fashion as well, Melinda! 😉

    I loved the novelization of Kenobi. Not what I was expecting, exactly, but for me it reinforced Obi-Wan’s intense integrity and soul. Yes, soul. I don’t agree with you that his sould died with Anakin’s. I do agree that his death forever changed Obi-Wan in ways no person chould ever have to be changed, but his soul was never in question.

    I also disagree that watching Luke was painful for Obi-Wan. Knowing what I know about his character, I think Obi-Wan saw Luke as the hope for the future he was promised to be. Just like we should not look at a son and judge him by his father’s actions or any past connections we may have had with that father, Obi-Wan did not cloud his judgement of the hope that was Luke. I’m not saying it wasn’t difficult for Obi-Wan to watch Luke, and that he couldn’t help but think about his experiences with Anakin, but I truly believe Ob-Wan had better sense than to obscure the two.

    What I do agree with is Obi-Wan’s inner strength. To me, he is the epitome of not only inner strength, but of integrity, righteousness and honor. Oftentimes I say my favorite characters are those such as Tahiri Veila, Boba Fett, Thrawn…but when it comes right down to it, I think Obi-Wan is my favorite.

    Thank you for reminding me of that! 🙂

    1. Becca Benjamin
      July 26, 2014 at 08:36 Reply

      Great insights, Jay! And this is why I love doing what we do….there’s always a different angle/POV/hypothesis just waiting around the corner 😉 it is the only we grow as a fandom; community.

      As far as “Ben’s” soul goes, I do feel as though a piece of him died that fateful day on Mustafar/Polis Massa. The look on his face as he fled Mustafar with Padme in tow, it was sheer anguish, almost a look of dreadful regret and remorse. Not to mention the sadness and pain in his eyes when Padme lost her own fight to survive….he really portrayed “a broken man” on screen IMO.

      PS: I loved KENOBI 😉

  7. Jeff M
    July 22, 2014 at 23:26 Reply

    Another astounding entry for the great BB 🙂 Love the etymology of the name! I’ve often wondered what went through Obi-Wan’s mind when he saw the image of Leia pop up from R2’s projector. He clearly made a split-second decision that it was time to reunite the twins, so I sometimes wonder if he hadn’t had a vision of that happening before it happened. Had the Force prepared him for this moment, so that he knew exactly what to do?

    Knowing how things happened on Mustafar, it makes his sacrifice even more dramatic at the end of his battle with Vader on the Death Star. He’s spent the last 18 years in penance for failing to stop Vader when he had the chance, and now, in order to bring the will of the force to fruition, he is forced to once again let Vader walk away, but this time it required the ultimate sacrifice in full view of Luke. What a journey.

    Thanks Becca, I’ll be up all night thinking about this one. 🙂

    1. Becca Benjamin
      July 26, 2014 at 08:42 Reply

      You’re very welcome, Jeff 😉 lol

      Yes, I agree, the origins behind the name are freaking funtastic! That was so much fun to research, I was squeeing with excitement over every definition 🙂

      Happy you enjoyed my musings 🙂
      I’ll be reading yours shortly…. I hear it’s rather intriguing.

  8. Melinda
    July 24, 2014 at 08:15 Reply

    I have turned up again (albeit a bit later than I anticipated) … like a bad penny. 😉 I’ve been mulling over your musings, Becca, and have given your writings a second read. You have stirred the pot, and put forth quite a few ideas for consideration. 🙂

    (I won’t repeat what I’ve already said. You always can go back to reread my first comment if you like. I’ll just jump right in here! 🙂 )

    Obi-Wan always has been — and always will be (to my way of thinking) — the ultimate Jedi. Obi-Wan stands for everything noble, good — the desire to do the right thing. No, he didn’t want to have to kill Anakin, but he (Obi-Wan) knew what his duty was. Are there not times all of us must face unpleasant, even harsh tasks (some more so than others)? We do what must be done … and persevere.

    I’m not sure Obi-Wan’s soul died with Anakin’s, but I definitely think it was wounded … and maybe reshaped after that momentous event on Mustafar. (I think Obi-Wan was much too much a staunch individual to allow even something as horrific as what he was tasked with doing affect him in such a way.) I know the chain of events on Mustafar had to play out the way they did (Anakin/Darth Vader HAD to survive … otherwise, how would DV exist to torment the galaxy? 😉 ). However…

    IF events could have played out differently, wouldn’t Obi-Wan deliver the fatal blow — making sure Anakin/DV was dead rather than leaving the fires of Mustafar to consume the new Sith Lord’s broken body? The depth of Obi-Wan’s pain is written all over his face, is conveyed in his voice as he turns on Anakin: “You were my brother…” Strange — or not so strange — that Obi-Wan could NOT make sure Anakin/DV would die. The revered Jedi Master thought that would be the ultimate goal (Anakin dying). How could he have known Palpatine would show up “to save” his protégé?

    more…

  9. Melinda
    July 24, 2014 at 08:35 Reply

    But I’ve gone a bit afield of where I was headed. (Like that never happens to me. lol 😉 )

    Like I was offering … Obi-Wan’s soul was wounded. With all those years living as a hermit, I can well imagine him reconsidering the events leading up to Anakin’s fall, how things could have played out differently ONLY IF — going all the way back to Obi-Wan agreeing to take on Anakin as his apprentice. Who doesn’t like to be told (even if it is inferred): “I think you’re ready to …”? It’s heady! Then, reality sinks in. “Have I bitten off more than I can chew?” one might admit quietly to oneself. Sink or swim, then. Might there be a few bumps along the way? Sure … but it’s important to persevere. Just like Obi-Wan. He always took his duty seriously — and accepted what had to be done. I just don’t think he let the chain of events send him so deep into a well that his soul died. That would be rather uncharacteristic of him.

    Yes, it must have been hard to watch Owen and Beru raise Luke. Again, keeping his distance was what Obi-Wan HAD to do to protect the lad. But Obi-Wan ALWAYS was aware of what was going on, and was ready to help Luke out whenever need be. (I know it isn’t considered canon, but that doesn’t stop me from citing events from the EU. 😉 In one youth novel, Luke gets into trouble while swooping around the Jundland Wastes [I believe], and can’t get home before nightfall. Who is on hand to make sure The Last Hope is safe? Obi-Wan! 🙂 He perseveres. As always. 🙂 ) When Obi-Wan watched Luke — from afar — how could he not see Anakin in the growing lad? But you know what? Obi-Wan knew there was PADME in Luke as well. 🙂 Could that one fact not have tempered Obi-Wan’s sadness?

    more…

  10. Melinda
    July 24, 2014 at 09:01 Reply

    When you say, “To exist …” which meaning of the word ‘exist’ do you choose — (a) to have being in a specified place or with respect to understood limitations or conditions OR (b) to live at an inferior level or under adverse circumstances? (Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary)

    The connotations of each are far-reaching.

    My hope is you mean the former rather than the latter, but that’s just me interjecting here. 😉

    The same tome defines “endure” as “to remain firm under suffering or misfortune without yielding.” Obi-Wan to a tee. 🙂 Although I don’t think of Obi-Wan as suffering on Tatooine. He certainly had a great deal to contemplate (regarding Anakin/Darth Vader), yes. But all his ruminating about the past did not stop him from (a) keeping a watchful eye on Luke, and (b) delving deeper into the ways of the Force. 🙂

    Once again, Becca, you have inspired the wheels in my noggin to turn, to do some ruminating of my own. 😉 I thank you for that. Luke may be my favorite character, but as I grow older, I see myself connecting with Obi-Wan more and more. We — including Obi-Wan — cannot live in the past. Not if we want a future. 🙂 It’s important to realize from where we came … what got us to this particular point in time … but it is just as important to put those events/facts into their proper perspective. Otherwise, they will consume us, and keep us from moving forward. THAT is why I don’t think Obi-Wan’s soul died. He endured more than he existed.

    I love reading what you have to share about the Saga — whether it’s making connections to your/our lives or delving deeper into the nuances of a character, a scene, etc. Thank you! 🙂 Until next time, MTFBWY 🙂

    1. Becca Benjamin
      July 26, 2014 at 09:01 Reply

      Exist: live, especially under adverse conditions.

      My meaning was more in comparison to the phrase, “To live is to suffer” by Friedrich Nietzsche.

      It is just my opinion (after watching the movies (over and over) and reading Kenobi) that Obi-wan endured a lot of emotional sacrifices/distresses/ and pain throughout those years on Tatooine, especially in the beginning….maybe that played a part in the new persona as “Ben.” Quite possibly it was his way of enabling him to go on, to “exist.” Then again, that’s just another opinion 😉

  11. ladylavinia1932
    July 24, 2014 at 12:21 Reply

    [“With his dying words, Qui-Gon had sealed his pupils’ fate and all of the Jedi as well. My question to this is, was he ready? Apparently, Qui-Gon thought so, or was it something else that placed these two together? As a wise Jedi once said, “Nothing happens by accident.” The force does work in mysterious ways.

    Placing them together did seem rather brash and well, hasty in fashion. Given the circumstances of the situation at the time, I guess what else was there to do, but to grant a well respected Jedi’s last hopeful request. And so, it was done.”]

    I have a problem with this. I think Qui-Gon was right that Anakin required training. I also feel that the only reason he turned to Obi-Wan because . . . who else was there? Obi-Wan did not have to volunteer to become Anakin’s Jedi Master, especially after the Council finally agreed that the former slave should be trained. He could have suggested that a more experienced Jedi Knight or Master should served as Anakin’s mentor. Or . . . the Council could have realized that a more experienced Jedi should have trained Anakin. But no one bothered to realize this. Instead, Obi-Wan made the choice to serve as Anakin’s mentor . . . even if he wasn’t truly ready to assume the role. And the Jedi Council (other than Yoda, who didn’t want Anakin trained) did not oppose.

    1. Becca Benjamin
      July 26, 2014 at 08:52 Reply

      You’re right, the Council did not oppose, well, Yoda did at first…but then he hastily appointed/dubbed both parties; padawan and master.

      On whether or not it was right to train Anakin, that’ll forever be in debate IMO. Which is why we do what we do, the discussions are endless; timeless. There’s always another angle/POV and that is so refreshing to me. No matter how many times we watch the movies, read the novels, or dissect the stories…..there’s always something new to explore, an avenue we have yet to consider.

      Thanks for the read and insightful comment 🙂

  12. lovelucas
    July 29, 2014 at 12:23 Reply

    Another terrific entry. You have sent focused Becca-spotlight on exactly what makes Obi-Wan the Jedi he became and why he’s such a favorite. Heroic but never choosing to fight, the Negotiator, the one who is actually seeking peace without conflict but becoming the learner again when those ideals become relegated to the dustbin of “old wizard and outdated religion”. Ironically the path that seeks goodness and peace is really only opened to travel when the Force isn’t acting on its on behalf, blinding the Jedi to see the future and more importantly blinding them to their own arrogance and weaknesses. With this entry and the discussion it has fostered I am again perplexed that those who criticize the prequels, who label them lacking depth and character. Talking about being blind…and arrogant.

  13. Ryan Loesch
    August 19, 2014 at 19:26 Reply

    A great article Becca. I never knew the origins of the name “Obi-Wan”. I had always taken a more simplistic view of Kenobi taking on the name “Ben” once he was living on Tatooine – that he “Had Been” Obi Wan Kenobi and perhaps that was a way for him to symbolically hide from his past, only to reveal his true name once the time was right – meeting the young man he had only held as a newborn.

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Blogger for Coffee With Kenobi, Personal Author for Steve Anderson Lucasfilm Illustrator & Artist, & Featured Blogger, Administrative Consultant, Copy Editor for The Cantina Cast. * I'm just a simple girl, trying to make my way in the universe. *

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