Tuesday, May 24, 2011

love. pride. star wars.

song in my head: "all i ask of you" from phantom of the opera ....... (i'm in like...a *really* phantom-ish mood right now :P)


Star Wars.  When you hear this title a "redemptive value", a life lesson if you will, is not the first thing that comes to mind.  But we are of the opinion that everything has a lesson that we can apply.  It may be hidden deep beneath the surface, but if we are diligent enough in searching you will be surprised at how many come to the light (no pun intended).  

The first thing that comes to mind is the battle between the dark side, and the light side ie. the battle between good and evil.  While it is not as noticeable in the original three films (A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back, and The Return of the Jedi), it is clearly seen in the three newer films (The Phantom Menace, The Attack of the Clones, and The Revenge of the Sith).  Light vs Dark (Good vs Evil) is a war that is very much a reality and something that should by no means be taken lightly (no pun intended).  

As Episode II unfolds we see Anakin falling in love with Padme Amidala.  Love (or any emotion) is against the order of the Jedi, as they believe that it leads to hate which leads to the dark side. Now we do not agree with this statement about all emotion being evil. Granted, some emotions (such as hate and pride) d0 lead us away from the Father but Love is not one of them. While the relationship between man and woman is beautiful, it is far too often abused so rather let us observe the love of God as our example. That is the most beautiful love in that he loved us as sinners, and sent his son to redeem us, that emotion is not at all evil. It is a wonderful emotion, that we should all feel and should be so full of the enormous love of God that it flows back through us to all around. 

Here, in the relationship between Padme and Anikan, I believe the emotion of love was being abused. Obi-Wan was a "father" to Anakin. It was understood that he was not to "love". So weather or not it is wrong to feel emotion or love, he had a command from his elder "father figure" not to. In Hebrews 13:17 we are clearly instructed to obey our elders. Further more we are told that we don't do it for their benefit but for our own. So that they, as the guardians of our souls, may be able to give a joyful account to our Lord.  So maybe Obi-Wan was over stepping his bounds. Maybe he was wrong. But that was not for Anakin to decide. 

Fast forward a few years. As Revenge of the Sith opens and we see that now Anakin is a accomplished Jedi.  Or at least he appears to be. The truth is that he has failed as a Jedi since he has broken the code by taking Padme Amidala as his wife.  Anakin starts having dreams in which Padme is dying. He wakes up determined to save her. After all he is the "chosen one" and the force runs stronger through his blood then any other Jedi. 

Hold the phone. Second downfall. Pride. Pride is something that while, because of it, we will not admit it but in reality it is something that we all struggle with.  Allow us to relate to relate to the downfall of someone else through pride.  Does the name "Lucifer" ring a bell? What happened in his story? "I WILL ASCEND UNTO THE THRONE OF THE MOST HIGH! I WILL BE LIKE THE MOST HIGH! I WILL BE LIKE GOD!" [roughly paraphrased]. Lucifer went from being one of the most powerful and beautiful angels to being the arch enemy of God, and the one who "seeks to destroy" us all.  Once we are started into pride -spoken from experience- it is very hard to come back. Only when we have acknowledge that without God we are nothing and that anything above hell is a gift to us, only then will we conquer pride.  And we see it played out in Anakins life as well. Not until Anakin realized his wrong and how he ruined his and his family's lives did he acknowledge that he was nothing. Sometimes it takes a great change of circumstance -even, as in this case, to the point of death- for us to finally realize how insignificant we really are.  

Yes, love and pride were the downfall of Anakin Skywalker. But, by contrast, we see love as the force overcoming pride that pulled Han Solo into a different, better life in the original trilogy. Unlike Anakin, Han is not fighting a parental figure (Obi-Wan) or a code of conduct (the Jedi Order) about this emotion. You can tell by his actions and words that his biggest fight is against himself, his own self-love. 

Han loves his independence. He is his own person, unconcerned with the welfare of others. Being a smuggler, he has to be watching out constantly for himself - seemingly untouchable. He's learned to close himself off, not to get emotionally attached to people or things. (haha...except Chewie and the Falcon, right?) 

We see Han resisting Luke's emotion-driven actions, reluctantly following only for the promise of material gain. His initial response to the news that Princess Leia was "scheduled to be terminated" was "Better her than me!" Not exactly friendly - far from loving, even if he didn't know her at all then. But trouble draws true friends together, and we see Han is touched by the frank friendship offered him by Luke, and begins to let himself open up a little. At the end of episode IV, our suspicions that Han just *might* stick around for good are justified as he jumps in to save Luke in a self-sacrificial gesture of friendship. After his interference, he's allied himself permanently with the Rebels and gives up temporarily his mission of paying off his debt. He's finally beginning to think of others first....

Episode V shows the main part of Han's "transformation" from his self-centered pride and conceit to friendship, love and sacrifice. Probably a little confused by unfamiliar emotions, Han doesn't quite know how to handle his new friends. He can be rough with his words, blunt with his opinions and conceited in his manner, but deep down he is willing to risk his life for those he cares about. Braving the cold, darkness, unknown dangers as well as possible death, Han sets out to save Luke from the snow. Here we see how much Han really has changed from when we first met him in the bar on Tatooine. Love is triumphing pride and conceit...mostly. :D "That's two you owe me, junior." *wink* The steadfast love that comes with friendship is what Han is experiencing here - but there's more than that in store for him. :D

Friendship helped break down one of Han's barriers, but opened the way to a new one. Here is the main change of Han's character - his relationship with Leia. Nearly every conversation they have starts with a problem, ends with some kind of sarcastic remark, yet breaks a little bit more off of Han's stiff barrier against love. He comes to see how love can heal, it's not threatening to his security, and is more rewarding in the long run. At the end of Episode V, we see Han basically give up his life for his friends - the greatest love (remember that Bible verse, "Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends." - John 15:13 ) - and orders his oldest friend Chewbacca to "take care of the princess!" Yes, the very same princess he was reluctant to save at the beginning of the saga. The story could just stop there. Han has learned to love, he's come in a full circle, then he dies. But it doesn't.

When Leia, Leia, Lando, and the droids in turn risk their lives to save Han in Episode VI, it seems like the final barrier Han has built up has disintegrated. He has a whole crowd of strong, real friends who risked their safety for him ("Luke, thanks for coming after me. Now I owe you one."), a princess who loves him, the Rebels winning the war, his debts non-existent, and no more foreseeable financial troubles at all. Yes, he's still got a little arrogant ("Hey, it's me."), but you have to admit, he's a changed man. But there's one more sacrifice that he's willing to make - even in the midst of all this. We know something about Luke and Leia that he doesn't. At the end of Episode VI, he realizes that Leia loves Luke very much and decides to put aside his own new-found happiness and love to make her happy. His forced resignation is apparent, his sacrifice sweet. ("When he comes back, I won't get the way.") Fortunately, Leia's able to set him straight one more time....and things works out better than Han had envisioned :) *sentimental sniff* Love triumphs over pride. Light triumphs over Darkness. Good triumphs over Evil. And Star Wars is just insanely awesome. *happy grin*

-----
This post was written by Jo and Näna for Star Wars week. Click on the header to join in the fun!

2 comments:

  1. Very well-written!

    I haven't seen Star Wars, but the way you describe Han reminds me of the character Sawyer in the TV show "Lost". He starts out self-centered, and most people don't like him, but he ends up friends with most of the people around him. *second sentimental sniff* Ah, the parallels of TV/movies! ;)

    ReplyDelete
  2. A note to Jo and Nana:

    Because of some serious non-Star Wars-expert qualities, I'm afraid I'm forced to refrain from joining this popular event. (I don't know enough about SW to think deeply about it. :P I'm enjoying watching-from-afar, though. ;) )

    ReplyDelete