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Star Wars Read-Through #8: Prelude to The Phantom Menace, Part 1 of 3

By this time, I've read every Star Wars Legends story that was set centuries or more before any Star Wars film.  We covered the formation of the Jedi Order in Dawn of the Jedi, and we saw countless wars between the Jedi and the Sith in Tales of the Jedi, Knights of the Old Republic, The Old Republic, and Knight Errant.  We learned the history of the Lost Tribe of the Sith.  We saw the culmination of those wars, the end of the Sith as we knew them, and the start of a new period of Republic stability.  Now we move into stories set close to the Star Wars movies.

There are a lot of stories set in the years leading up to Star Wars: Episode I: The Phantom Menace.  In order to organize them effectively, I've separated them into three segments.  The first will deal with stories featuring Qui-Gon Jinn and Obi-Wan Kenobi, two of Episode I's protagonists.  Specifically, we will discuss the following:

Jedi: The Dark Side 1-5 (comic by Scott Allie, 2011)Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan: The Aurorien…
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Star Wars New Canon: The Clone Wars: Inconsistent Start but Fantastic End

I recently finished watching The Clone Wars TV series, and knowing what I do about the show, I opted to consume what other Canon material was available pertaining to the cartoon.



The Clone Wars began airing in 2008 following the theatrical release of a tie-in movie.  It aired for five seasons until Disney purchased Lucasfilm in 2012 (the deal was completed during the fifth season).  All Lucasfilm projects were stopped at that time, including work on The Clone Wars and several other TV shows in development.  At this time, a sixth season was partly completed, and seasons seven and eight were almost completely written.
Lucasfilm agreed to put the finishing touches on 13 season six episodes and release them on Netflix.  Furthermore, two four-episode arcs whose audio work had been completed but had only been loosely animated were put on Youtube.  Four unrecorded episodes were adapted into the Darth Maul: Son of Dathomir comic miniseries by Dark Horse Comics and eight episodes were adapted i…

Star Wars Read-Through #7: Darth Bane: The Start of the Sith's Eventual Victory

In the final moments of Episode I: The Phantom Menace, Yoda and Mace Windu discuss the fact that the enemy recently defeated by Obi-Wan Kenobi was a Sith, but that "Always two there are, no more, no less. A master and an apprentice."  But the Sith we had seen in stories set earlier (written both before and after) featured entire empires of Sith.  At some point, the Sith way changed from being empires of many down to only two individuals.  The stories I read for this post (below) chronicle that transition and the Sith Lords that brought it about.

Darth Bane: Path of Destruction (novel by Drew Karpyshyn, 2006)Jedi vs. Sith 1-6 (comic by Darko Macan, 2001)Darth Bane: Rule of Two (novel by Drew Karpyshyn, 2007)Darth Bane: Dynasty of Evil (novel by Drew Karpyshyn, 2009) I read Jedi vs. Sith in the Trade Paperback format.  Path of Destruction and Rule of Two I read as paperback novels, while Dynasty of Evil was read as a hardcover novel.  There is a short story, Bane of the Sith (K…

Star Wars New Canon: New Comics, Part 2

While on a recent holiday, in which there was a lot of air travel, downtime, and extended periods where my daughter went for walks with my parents, I was able to buckle down and read some New Canon Star Wars comics.  Specifically:
Star Wars 13-25 + Annual 2 (by Jason Aaron, 2015; Annual by Kelly Thompson)Darth Vader 13-25 + Annual 1 (by Kieron Gillen, 2015)Vader Down one-shot (by Jason Aaron and Kieron Gillen, 2015)This was the start of a crossover, which also included Star Wars 13-14 and Darth Vader 13-15)Chewbacca 1-5 (by Gerry Duggan, 2015)Obi-Wan and Anakin 1-5 (by Charles Soule, 2016) All of these comics were read in digital format on Comixology.


Story:Vader Down was a crossover in which the main casts of Star Wars and Darth Vader met on the planet Vrogas Vas. Vader tracked Luke Skywalker to an abandoned Jedi temple there, but did not anticipate the larger Rebel force scouting the planet for a new base. Vader was shot down, but held his own against an onslaught of Rebel troops unt…

Star Wars Read-Through #6: Knight Errant: Lone Jedi Fights Crazy Sith

As I continue my chronological read-through of Star Wars Legends books, I want to now discuss the Knight Errant series: the adventures of a lone Jedi, stuck fighting many insane Sith in their home territory.

For this write-up, I read the following material:

Knight Errant: Aflame 1-5 (comic by John Jackson Miller, 2010-2011)Knight Errant (novel by John Jackson Miller, 2011)Knight Errant: Deluge 1-5 (comic by John Jackson Miller, 2011)Knight Errant: Escape 1-5 (comic by John Jackson Miller, 2012)
I read the comics as issues and the novel in paperback.  There was a 0-issue distributed at the "Celebration V" convention in 2010, but it was not made widely available, and was essentially a condensed version of issue 1.  A short story, called Influx, was once posted online but has since become unavailable.


Story:Knight Errant follows the story of Kerra Holt, a Jedi Knight who has been trapped behind the lines in a war against many Sith.

Almost a millennium earlier, long after the fal…

Star Wars New Canon: Princess Leia books: Read Claudia Gray books!

The next items on my Star Wars read-through list were a pair of New Canon novels about the life and times of one character in particular: Princess Leia Organa.  Her history was largely over-written for the New Canon, and two novels help rebuild her story.

For this post, I read the following:

Bloodline (novel by Claudia Gray, 2016)Leia, Princess of Alderaan (novel by Claudia Gray, 2017)
I read both novels in the hardcover format.

Another appropriate story to have read would be the Princess Leia comic miniseries by Mark Waid, but I covered that in a previous post.  At any rate, its plot does not connect with either of these novels.


Story:Bloodline is set 24 years after the events of Return of the Jedi, 23 years after the Aftermath trilogy, but still six years before The Force Awakens.  The New Republic is well established.  The Empire is gone, and so the New Republic has no strong enemies to fight.  The Senate is deeply divided, and cannot resolve a new crisis but for the help of Senator…

How a Youtube maths educator showed me my blog needed a new focus

This past Saturday, I was sitting in our basement TV room watching Youtube while my wife was enjoying the latest show she found on Netflix in another room.  I decided to browse the video feed of Vi Hart, who usually makes videos about maths, music, and virtual reality.

In this one video, which I had seen years ago but not watched since, Vi Hart describes twelve tone music, also called atonal music.  She refers to the importance of shared context, and how context (for example, imagining a background piano accompaniment) helps interpret and understand the music.  She also compares it to strangers singing their favourite pop hit on the bus -- they head the background, but you don't and it sounds meaningless -- or coworkers telling you about TV or sports you don't watch.  Without the context of background music (or an understanding of the TV show or sport) being presented, it is literally meaningless.  
It's a long video, but the music and lessons in it are both quite beautifu…