January 27, 2023
Star Wars Insider Review | Tales of Enlightenment: A Different Perspective

With Tales of Enlightenment George Mann captured the ambiguity of religious uncertainty that is so common in the real world in Star Wars. Star Wars Insider 215 here we come! 

Star Wars Insider 215 is out now and it delivers another short story in the Tales of Enlightenment series. Insider has been publishing the Starlight stories from Phase 1 of The High Republic. And now in Phase 2, we are getting stories from over 100 years before. But this time through the eyes of Kern, a young human male who works at the Temple of the Kyber.

Phase 1 of Insider focused on the administrator of Starlight Beacon. A brand-new space station designed to be a beacon of the Republic’s expansion into the Outer Rim. These tales document Kern’s time on Jedha, the holy world where he often visits a bar after work called eponymously, the Enlightenment. Kern is a likable, open-minded character who loves a good story. In this tale, he is witnessing the events of Convergences and Path of Deceits aftermath coming to play. The forever war treaty is due to be signed and the fanatic Path of the Open Hand has also come to Jedha.

Star Wars Jedha City

DESTINATION JEDHA

Kern doesn’t pay attention to what the latter is about. But during a speeder accident in town, he learns more than he would like to. A Jedi stops the runaway speeder with the Force and saves the life of an Abednedo male. The guy’s name is Whool. Weird name. And instead of being grateful to the Jedi for saving his life, he vehemently wants nothing to do with her.

This is probably Kern’s first time seeing a Jedi in action, and he quickly steps up to help the individual. The Jedi is very understanding of Abednedo’s distress, and I can’t help but admire Kern for being a good Samaritan. He takes the being to the Enlightenment bar and gets to hear another great story. Surely, Kern should record these tales and write a holo-book. Ha!

THE ABEDNEDO

The Abednedo tells his tale of living on a planet with a brother who was Force-sensitive. His brothers’ gifts were not encouraged, and it once again shows the distrust and ignorance of the Force that seems to proliferate the galaxy. One day, his brother Grael stopped a cave-in with the Force and saved himself and 10 other miners. Everyone wanted to celebrate Greal’s gift but then they learned of another cave-in that killed 30 miners. Coincidence? Apparently so.

Whool is a member of the Order of the Open Hand who believes in a kind of butterfly effect with the Force. Disturbing the currents of the Force by manipulating it (like the Jedi do regularly) can have large consequences elsewhere in the galaxy. Whool believes the second cave-in could have been avoided if his brother had not prevented the first. Now because of his actions, 3x the number of beings died, so was it worth it?

WHOOL

Whool did not care about his own life as well and would have rather died than have the Jedi save him and prevent someone else from getting hurt. Its religious fanaticism at its strongest and Kern seems uncertain if that is how the Force works. Yet, like a religion here on Earth, we don’t know the real answers and everyone’s interpretation is different. Yet who is “right”? We may never know. The Jedi help others and so it would seem on the surface that using the Force to intervene is the correct thing to do. Yet is the Path also right? Does manipulating the Force come with a price that can wreak worse than what it fixes?

Whool can see that Kern is uncertain and thanks him and leaves. Then Kern’s friend arrives at the bar and tells Kern about another speeder accident in town that occurred after the first one and involved the same speeder ta boot! Now Kern eerily feels like the Path of the Open Hand’s beliefs may be more than heresy. It appears that the Jedi’s actions DID set off a reaction that is just as bad if not worse. Will Kern forsake what he originally believed in favor of the Path due to this “coincidence”?

VERDICT

I was very impressed with the depth this story contained (despite its simplicity) and cannot wait for Insider 216 to show us a new tale with perhaps a more “enlightened” Kern. George Mann really captured the ambiguity of religious uncertainty that is so common in the real world in Star Wars. And it makes the reader wonder along with the main character. Is using the Force dangerous? We may never know but I certainly know I enjoyed this story!

Join me next time for Star Wars Insider 216 and be sure to subscribe if you haven’t already!

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