Headscratchers / Jedi Academy Trilogy

  • I just wondered about something for the first time ever. People like Michael A. Stackpole seem to despise Kyp Durron because he used the Sun Crusher. To the point where, instead of trying to maybe save the character, they write him as a total Jerk Ass. But why is there so much animosity towards Kyp...when everybody he killed was an Imperial? Luke killed a ton of people when he blew up the Death Star, but nobody cared because—presumably—they thought "Oh, they were all with the Empire, so it was okay." Well, as I recall Carida was a planet-sized military academy. Everybody there was either training others to go to battle for the Empire, or being trained to do so. So what makes Kyp's actions so much more unforgivable than Luke's? That there wasn't an imminent threat from them? The fact that the guys on the planet weren't stormtroopers yet? That some of them were there against their will (which was the case on the first Death Star too)? That he killed more people at once than Luke did, even though both of them killed thousands at the very least? Help me out here.
    • Most of the planet's inhabitants were actually civilians; aside from being the homeworld of the Caridan species, which lived pretty much exclusively on Carida, only about 150,000 of the inhabitants were associated with the Imperial Academy. You might still think it was an acceptable target, but the fact that Kyp murdered almost 25 million civilians is undeniable, and in terms of the effect on the Caridans it likely qualifies as genocide.
      • Plus, the Death Star was about to fire. It was a them or us situation. Carida was not sitting on a prepped superweapon about to fire.
      • Also, Luke was following the order of his commanding officer. The Rebel leadership decided to destroy the Death Star, to the deaths of its crew are ultimately on their heads as well. That doesn't completely absolve Luke of responsibility, but it does mean that he shares the blame. And as pointed out, the Death Star had already destroyed Alderaan and everyone on it, was about to do the same to Yavin IV, and would have gone on to do it to other worlds. Destroying it (and killing everyone aboard) saved countless other lives. Kyp blew up Carida completely on his own authority, essentially in a fit of pique.
      • Ah, I see, thank you. Not having read this series in a long time apart from I, Jedi, I'd forgotten any mention of civilians being on the planet. In which case no, I don't think it was an acceptable target any more than Coruscant would have been an acceptable target back when it was "Imperial Center". Still, for all the problems I have with Anderson's writing I liked the Kyp character, and considering that Han was able to talk him down and get him to reform it makes me wonder why Stackpole writes him as a complete bastard in his contributions to the New Jedi Order series rather than writing him as The Atoner like Chris Cassidy and Tish Pahl did in a short story they wrote set in 12 ABY. Don't get me wrong, I like a lot of Stackpole's writing, but it seems that as far as Kyp is concerned he simply can't conceive that it's possible to come back from the dark side and be a good person, despite that kind of redemption being a major theme in Star Wars. Vader, Mara, Luke...those are just some examples of people who've gone dark and come back from it. And then there's Pellaeon, who helped Thrawn almost destroy the entire New Republic before he changed his ways. I don't think that Pellaeon should be written as a mustache-twirling villain and I'm glad that Stackpole didn't do that with him, but it puzzles me that Stackpole can wrap his head around the idea that Thrawn's second-in-command can redeem himself, and that Palpatine's personal assassin can redeem herself, but can't bring himself to believe the same about Kyp Durron. (And bear in mind that we have no idea how many people Jade and Pellaeon killed, how many of them were civilians, etc.) Inconsistency like that just bugs me.
      • Stackpole does see Kyp Durron as a Karma Houdini, but Kyp's characterization in the NJO is mainly because the authors had a whole idea of creating an internal conflict between Luke and the younger generation of Jedi, and needed a recognizable spokesman for them. Of course, this plot gets resolved/dropped early on in the series.
      • Even in NJO, Kyp isn't really so much of a Jerk Ass. He has his own way of doing things, sure, and the audience is clearly intended to see his point of view as wrong (or at least deeply flawed), but he's still doing what he honestly believes is the right thing for everyone. The real objection, I think, is less that Kyp did something horrible, and more that he wasn't punished for it at all. Even if it was a case of "temporary Dark Side insanity," the fact that he was never made to officially answer for what amounts to war crimes at all rightly sticks in a lot of people's craws.
    • What gets me is how many people, both in-universe and out, seem to forget that Kyp was to at least some degree under Exar Kun's mental control. Exactly how much is up for debate, but once Kun is banished for good Kyp instantly stops being evil.
      • The issue there is that (as Stackpole has Corran point out in I, Jedi, that if Kun was controlling Kyp he could have just had Kyp kill Luke, instead of Kyp leaving and Kun spending weeks trying to find other ways to finish Luke off. Exar Kun influenced Kyp to indulge his darker side, but he didn't make him do anything.
      • I second that, Exar definitely just erased some barriers, but Kyp himself wanted to use the Sun Crusher.
    • Also one minor point: Luke has not been completely absolved of what he did to the first Death Star, either by himself (he had plenty of guilt once he found out how many people were onboard) or by the galaxy at large. (I forget which book this happened in—Shadows of Mindor, maybe?) It's just not been brought up as much, and/or it was dealt with/resolved fairly quickly. It could be argued this is due to Luke being The Hero and thus given a "Get out of Jail Free" Card, except for the civilian/military, imminent threat/distant threat divide. But anyway, at least Luke and some other characters has acknowledged the OP's original point.
  • Why do people think Admiral Daala is a tactical genius? She starts off with a fairly substantial force (4 Star Destroyers) and gradually loses them all. She seems to think tactical brilliance is "copying what we did last time" and expecting the enemy not to notice. Sure, connections (being Tarquin's lover) can get her there in the first place, but who's going to keep following somebody who leads her forces to a string of defeats. What's worse, she later becomes President of the New New Galactic Republic!
    • Whether it's intentional or not is unclear, but the tactical genius strategies which got Tarkin to notice her were for ground assaults. If Daala was commanding stormtroopers on the ground, she might do well, but in space combat she's out of her element. Death Star also implies that Daala suffered brain damage due to a head injury, which might also explain why her strategies here are so inept. This doesn't explain why her troops still follow her admittedly.
    • The Doylist answer is that Kevin J. Anderson is just a bad writer, and wanted to one-up Timothy Zhan's Grand Admiral Thrawn but had no clue how to actually write a competent (let alone brilliant) commanding officer. Her soldiers follow her because the plot says so. From a Watsonian perspective, Daala is a combination of out-of-her-element and having slept her way to the top, and her soldiers follow her because those were there last standing orders, and there really isn't an Imperial authority left (that the novels make mention of) to give them new orders once the Maw group comes out of hiding. As for why they don't just say "Well, the Rebels won, lets go home" Daala may have very strongly implied that anyone under her command would be tried and executed for war crimes if they turned themselves over to the New Republic.