Few lines make my hackles rise more than hearing, “It is your destiny,” particularly if it is said by some old guy in a black robe. I have some serious issues with the concepts of prophecy, destiny, fate, and Chosen Ones. From a practical standpoint, they are overused tropes and cliches in works of fantasy. Predestination is a lazy cock-and-bull story made to justify plot threads or character motivations. But on a deeper level, the concept is actually rather disturbing. I’m a big believer in free will, so the idea of having everything I have done, am doing, or will do laid out for me with no ability to change it is both creepy and frightening. Continue reading “The Wyrding Way”→
Whenever I get into a fictional universe, be it books, movies, TV shows, or video games, I dig deep. Those characters with shady or mysterious pasts are the most intriguing; we want to know how they became the person we know now. If you’ve read (and enjoyed) The Symphony of Ages series by Elizabeth Haydon, you probably want to know Achmed’s full backstory more than anything else. We get tantalizing hints, but no more. Tolkien’s book The Silmarillion explores the history of the elves and Middle-Earth in almost excruciating detail. People clamored so much for more stories about Drizzt Do’Urden that R.A. Salvatore gave them the drow ranger’s backstory in the form of The Dark Elf Trilogy. Amazing RPGs like Mass Effect and Dragon Age cover the history of their worlds, the aspects of the places explored there, and the characters you encounter. And isn’t that what a lot of modern RPGs are all about? Exploration? How was this world created? What happened before the story that we see? A good origin story is a fascinating and rewarding journey.
Of course, the key word here is “good.” Not knowing parts of a universe’s history or the origins of a character leads to all kinds of juicy speculation, head canon, and fan fiction. Sometimes the creators even deign to answer those burning questions for us. That’s fine and dandy, but there is a dark side to it. No matter how much I may want to know, “What happened?!” a part of me is always a bit wary when official works drop in to fill the gaps.
I’m sure many folks are tired of seeing Star Wars-related posts, videos, pictures, sales, and general internet celebrations by now… but I don’t think I’ve ever shared my own formative experience with these films. I’m not old enough to have seen the Original Trilogy in theaters (Episodes IV, V, and VI), but I was one of the young people who went to see the Prequel Trilogy on the big screen (Episodes I, II, and III). Children growing up after the release of the Prequel Trilogy will never experience a time, like I did, when there were only three Star Wars films.
I don’t remember exactly how old I was when I first watched Star Wars. Probably seven or eight years old at a guess, maybe even six. I don’t remember my very first viewing or my initial reaction to them. I don’t recall ever hearing or seeing anything about Star Wars before this point. (I was shy, home-schooled, and far more interested in My Little Pony and Grand Champions than with space ships.) One of the earliest memories I do have is of holding the VHS tape of The Empire Strikes Back, entranced by the cover. I’m not sure if this took place before I actually watched the movies or after; I was fond of sneaking peeks at films and books that were outside my age range. (I used to slink over to the Adult Fiction section of the library like a little wanna-be ninja. It felt so… illicit; I always expected to be caught and booted back to the children’s area by a librarian.) In any case, I must have liked A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back, and Return of the Jedi, because I watched them again.