This post was intended to be my third article in my New Jedi Order series of posts. I didn’t have the chance to write it until February 2015, and quaintjeremy has not yet had time to review it and get it posted. With his permission to copy my series over to my own blog, I now present the third installment of my review and thoughts on the book series.
It has been a long time now since last you heard from me. Between an over-demanding schedule at work, and an increased apathy after getting home from said schedule, I’ve been negligent even to my own personal blog. But, I am resolved to reactivate myself in the blogosphere. To that end, I return to a topic I began in August of last year: the death of Chewbacca.
Having examined Han’s reaction to his best friend’s passing, I wish now to look at Anakin Solo’s life after Chewie’s death. If you need a quick reminder of what’s going on, you might want to check out my first and second sci-fi posts for the Thoughts. The short version, Anakin was the one who decided the needs of the many out-weighed the needs of the one and leaves Chewbacca on the doomed world of Sernpidal, despite Han’s vehement protests.
After his father outright blames him for Chewie’s death, Anakin withdraws almost as much as Han from the world around him. The loss of his protector and friend hardens the young Solo’s resolve to do anything in his power to prevent the loss of any more close friends or relatives. Anakin becomes so focused on this ideal that he devotes himself to finding ways to fight back against the Yuuzhan Vong. In this pursuit, Anakin rediscovers the lost Jedi art of the battle meditation. The battle meditation does play a pivotal part in the war at various battles, but I will examine that another time.
After a time, Anakin even develops a vague “Vong-sense” after some alterations to his lightsaber made during his captivity on Yavin IV. Anakin is able to take his lightsaber and attune it with a lambent crystal inside. Lambents are living crystal used by Yuuzhan Vong as sources of artificial light. Anakin struggles through a lot of mental turmoil before getting the weapon to work. When he finally ignites the now purple blade, he realizes that attuning the lambent to the lightsaber has provided a sense of the Yuuzhan Vong similar to Force sense of other people, but to a lesser degree. To get Anakin to Yavin IV, however, I must digress.
Upon learning that the Yuuzhan Vong have targeted Yavin IV as their next target, Anakin charges off to the planet, against the counsel of his uncle, Luke Skywalker, to warn the Jedi Praxeum. This is where Luke has established his training center and home for young Jedi-to-be. However, Anakin arrives to find that the Peace Brigade, a collection of dissidents who side with the Yuuzhan Vong thinking they will be allowed to survive the takeover of the galaxy, have already begun an invasion of the planet. Anakin stays to fight, along with Tahiri and Ikrit, buying time for many of the children to escape.
During the fighting, Anakin’s long time friend and classmate, Tahiri Veila, is captured. Anakin is still haunted by his decision at Sernpidal and decides to go after her in a poorly-planned rescue attempt. He manages to get himself captured and is put to work as a slave with the Shamed Ones, the lowest caste of the Yuuzhan Vong’s society. Shamed ones are without honor and deemed cursed by the gods. Often they are Shamed by an implant not taking hold properly, or in the case of warriors, perform some act that strips them of their honor. I will look more specifically at Tahiri’s story another time.
Anakin is eventually able to convince one Shamed One, Vua Rapuung, to assist him in freeing Tahiri, after Rapuung tells Anakin that she will be shaped into a Yuuzhan Vong. During the ensuing Shamed uprising, Anakin and Rapuung fight side by side, instilling an ideal in the Shamed Ones that greatly affects the latter months of the war. Anakin does eventually rescue Tahiri, but he still doesn’t feel that he has atoned for his perceived sins.
Several months later, the Yuuzhan Vong have created creatures that are part vornskr, part fero xyn: voxyn. Voxyn are shaped and cloned for one purpose and that purpose is to hunt down and kill Jedi. The voxyn combine the Force-sensitivity and hunting skills of a vornskr with the even-more ferocious hunting skills of the fero xyn. Voxyn could smell Jedi through the Force and track them over great distances, even from one sensing the Jedi on other ships through the void of space. They possessed 8 legs, a poisonous scorpion-like talk, and could spit acid and produce sonic blast-wave screeches. These creatures were truly one of the most deadly adversaries the Jedi Order ever faced.
The Order was able to learn that the voxyn were all being cloned from a queen, who was being kept at the Yuuzhan Vong worldship in orbit around Myrkr. After losing several Jedi to the creatures, something had to be done to stop them. Most of the ordained Knights and Masters were occupied with other war efforts. So, a strike team of young Jedi was assembled, despite Luke’s misgivings, and sent on a mission to kill the voxyn queen.
Anakin Solo lead the strike team including his twin siblings, Jacen and Jaina Solo, Tahiri Veila, Tenel Ka, Lowbacca, Alema Rarr, and several other young Jedi. The strike team also included several YVH droids, and eventually included to Dark Jedi the team encountered on the worldship. The mission was successful, but at a great cost. All of the YVH droids were destroyed, and roughly half of the Jedi were killed, including Anakin.
The strike team was trapped in a corridor and being hunted by several dozen warriors and a few voxyn. While the two Dark Jedi stole the ship the strike team intended for their escape, a severely-wounded Anakin took it upon himself to fight off the warriors and buy time for the strike team to escape. He was determined that no more of his team would die on the mission and began to draw heavily on the Force during his fight. As he drew more of the Force into himself, Anakin began to glow and emit a brighter and brighter light. Pulling a thermal detonator to himself with the Force, he was able to kill the remaining voxyn chasing the team. Ultimately, the amount of Force energy Anakin drew into himself was of such magnitude, that he became one with the living Force and vanished in a blinding white light of pure Force energy.
It is my firm belief that Anakin would not have felt compelled to meet his end in such a manor had Chewbacca not died on Sernpidal. The death of someone so close to Anakin, combined with the subsequent deaths of other Jedi and innocents at the hands of the Yuuzhan Vong, pushed Anakin, and indeed all the young Jedi of the mission, to grow up too fast. They formed in their minds a responsibility that would normally befall persons much older than them. However, the culmination in his death at Myrkr was set in motion by the events and actions of Sernpidal’s destruction.
Tell me your thoughts on Anakin’s life and death in the comments below. May the Force be with you.