Part 2: The Beginning of The End
The fall of the Jedi Order was as stunning as it was predictable. The swiftness with which the Jedi were eradicated was shocking, the scope of the tragedy devastating, however, the proverbial writing was on the wall regarding the Order. The seeds of that fall can be seen across the canon timeline, including The High Republic Era and the Fall of the Jedi Era. As I mentioned in part one of this series, I decided to go back and look at these cracks in the temple after finishing Into the Dark, because I was so struck by the differences in how the Jedi interact with each other and with the Force. The second part of this series will draw from Cavan Scott’s riveting audio drama Dooku: Jedi Lost and Claudia Gray’s fantastic novel Master and Apprentice. As such, there are spoilers for the aforementioned novels in this article, so proceed with care. The time between The High Republic and The Fall of the Republic is a largely a mystery, and these works make it clear that Dooku’s decisions, and the actions that prompted them, are instrumental in making some Jedi realize that something is very wrong.
In Dooku: Jedi Lost, the Jedi make some of their largest missteps. They decide to take Dooku back to Serenno in his pre-teen years, despite promising the current Count (Dooku’s father) that they would not do that. While on Serenno, Dooku not only has his first brush with the dark side of the Force, but also meets and becomes friends with his sister, Jenza. This is troublesome because he remains in contact with her for years—and keeps it a secret, of course, because we all know how attachment is frowned upon by the Jedi. Even more troubling is Dooku and Sifo-Dyas’s virtually unchecked interest in the dark side relics. Their exploration of the relics in the Temple, culminating in Sifo-Dyas’s injury and the introduction of Master Kostana, who specializes in these artifacts, changes both of the Padawans’ lives forever. In hindsight, the Council makes a completely short-sighted move in not supporting Master Kostana in her quest to uncover, study and secure dark side relics. If they had, the possibility is there that they could have discovered that there was a Sith in play and they could have been better prepared for Palpatine. Furthermore, Master Kostana’s undercover actions accidentally expose both Sifo-Dyas and Dooku to the dark side, and they struggle with the repercussions for years afterwards. They are collectively afraid to tell the Council of what happened because they are so strict and disapproving. They would rather risk falling to the dark side than get the assistance they all clearly need.
They do not explicitly state this in the audio drama, but they imply that Sifo-Dyas starts having visions as a side effect of his work with Master Kostana, recovering Sith artifacts. Sifo-Dyas has a vision of a planet burning, leading to Kostana, Dooku and a Republic official to figure out which planet is in peril. They bring this information to the Council and the Republic, whose reaction (or lack thereof, because Yoda does not want to act on a vision of the future) is a misstep on both parts and further alienates Dooku, as does the knowledge that there will be no help for Serenno from either group in her hour of greatest need. That is, until a rare mineral is found.
The best foreshadowing of Dooku and the Jedi’s fall comes from this passage, occurring after Dooku and Qui-Gon Jinn have uncovered that a Jedi Master and Council member has betrayed the Order in order to protect her son, a Jedi with a gambling problem:
“Yoda: No harm will come to him.
Dooku: Can we be sure? <laughs> Can we be sure of anything anymore?
Yoda: You are troubled old friend?
Dooku: I know what it’s like to keep a secret.
Yoda: Hmm. I remember.
Dooku: She never told anyone, Yoda. All these years and she kept it to herself.
Yoda: Yes, worrying it is.
Dooku: Worrying?! It’s tragic. One of our own makes a mistake and what happens? Does she come to us? NO. Does she confide in us? No. She’s afraid of what we might do to her. And her child.
Yoda: Help. That is what we would have done. What we have always done.
Dooku: That’s easy to say now.
Yoda: Monsters we are not. Feelings we have.
Dooku: Feelings we suppress.
Yoda: Trusted us Braylon should have. Different things would be. Learn from this we must. “
Spoiler alert: they did not learn from this. If they had, perhaps Anakin would not have fallen. The Council was clearly becoming an ever-growing part of the Republic and extending Republic control rather than remaining an independent body that kept the peace. They lost Dooku to the dark side as a result of their actions, or rather inaction, with catastrophic galactic repercussions.
In Master and Apprentice, Qui-Gon Jinn and Rael Averross, who are both former Padawans of Dooku, each find themselves at a crossroads. Qui-Gon has been offered a seat on the Jedi Council, though he is unsure of what path the Force wishes him to take. Qui-Gon is not a color inside the lines Jedi, much like Orla of the High Republic Era. He is cut from a similar cloth to Dooku (in his later years) and questions the strictures placed upon the Jedi by the Council. Additionally, he is consistently at odds with a by-the-book Obi-Wan. Qui-Gon questions himself, his skills as Master to Obi-Wan, and his path in the Force throughout Master and Apprentice. At the time of its publication, it was one of the only canon novels to include such questioning, which I found very enjoyable. The depiction of a very by-the-book Obi-Wan was an interesting choice and foreshadows the difficulty he must have had with a VERY unconventional Padawan in Anakin.
Speaking of unconventional Jedi, Rael Averross could probably be called the problem child of the Order. He was essentially exiled to Pijal, as protector of Crown Princess Fanry and regent of the system until her coming of age. He is NOT a typical Jedi. He has sex, he admits to attachment to both Fanry and to his fallen Padawan, as well as the people to whom he is close. Rael even gives Qui-Gon pause, but he is the most self-aware Jedi I can think of during The Fall of the Jedi era—he sees the shortcomings in the way the Jedi teach and deal with emotion and attachment. Unfortunately, his own attachments end up blinding him to a looming danger on Pijal, with galactic repercussions. This foreshadows how attachment really can be detrimental in the role of Jedi, and highlights that the Jedi have not been taught the coping mechanisms nor given a set of skills to help them process their emotions.
On the political side, the relationship between the Republic and the Jedi has clearly led the Council away from their original mandate, to serve as the guardians of peace and justice in the galaxy. This immersion in politics and lack of independence from the will of the Republic is best summed up here by Kyle Larson:
“While Jedi are expected to uphold just morals, they are also expected to reconcile injustices for the greater good. When Qui-Gon objects to the treaty, Yoda reminds him that the jurisdiction of the Republic does not extend to the legal loophole slavery Czerka employs. The good that will come from the treaty the Czerka sign will supposedly outweigh the injustice of the many beings they have enslaved aboard their vessel. To Qui-Gon, there’s no equivalency between necessary slavery (evil) and greater good, as well as the disenfranchisement of the population on Pijal’s moon the Opposition is fighting for…”
Obi-Wan eventually takes over as Republic Representative and makes a very heroic move at the end, but it is HIGHLY disturbing that the Jedi Council is siding against the people and with a corporation that utilizes slavery.
In the few hundred years between The High Republic and the dawn of The Fall of the Jedi, the Order has clearly changed a lot. Gone are the Wayseekers, now Jedi are seemingly afraid to question the decisions of the Council, and scared to ask for help when they really need it for fear of being harshly disciplined—or worse, exiled. The consequences of the Council’s stances are clear. The Order has lost Dooku. Rael has been exiled over the death of his Padawan rather than helped. My biggest question after examining these works is how Yoda has become so blinded. How have the Jedi become so enmeshed with the will of the Republic, rather than serving as part of an independent body? Yoda must know by now that the Force is sick, so at the very least he is guilty of turning a blind eye to this catastrophic issue. Worse, he is complicit in the failings of both the Republic and the Senate, as he is the leader of the Council. For a being that is so powerful, I do not understand how he missed the GLARING SIGNS that things were going terribly awry. We will talk about that more next time, when we tackle the increasingly clear signs that Anakin, and the Jedi Order, are doomed.
 Cavan Scott, Dooku: Jedi Lost, narrated by Eulan Morton as Dooku and Marc Thompson as Yoda, et al. (New York: Random House Audio, 2019), audiobook, 6 hrs 21 min. Scenes 96-98, starting 4:58:23
 Kyle Larson, “Spoiler Review – The Fragility of the Jedi Gives Strength In Claudia Gray’s Master & Apprentice,” Star Wars News Net, April 23, 2019, https://www.starwarsnewsnet.com/2019/04/spoiler-review-the-fragility-of-the-jedi-gives-strength-in-claudia-grays-master-apprentice.html.