Sunday, April 10, 2016

Star Wars Ring Theory (Mike Klimo)


Well, this is a hell of a theory. I used to hear all the Star Wars theories because I was on all the Star Wars theorizers' groups - but they are on Yahoo, and nobody goes there any more. (And not because it's too crowded.) So I came to Star Wars Ring Theory a little late. 

You have to read it to really get the full impact of it, and it's 8 chapters long. I had to put it aside until I had an hour to read it, and even so I was getting punchy by the end and will have to read it again. But in a nutshell, he says that the prequels match the original series almost scene by scene, but not in a straightforward order. They form a ring, with the middle two inverted against each other. (It's called a chiasmus, which I'm familiar with from genetics - and it's fascinatingly so!) All those points where you think, hang on, hasn't someone else had a hand chopped off? Or, wait, is that the third time somebody's had a bad feeling about this? Or, didn't the last one open on a shot of a giant space vehicle approaching a planet from above, not below? And so on, and so on... They all fit together in a complex pattern, which he explains and illustrates with screen shots that make you wonder why you didn't think of this yourself. 

One of my theories (what is mine) is every sufficiently large text is like the Bible, by which I mean that if you have a big enough corpus - Lord of the Rings, or Shakespeare, or Harry Potter - there is enough STUFF in there to make any random theory sound good because you can always find something that matches your thesis. I mean, I’ve read Shakespeare and the Goddess of Complete Being. I’ve read The White Goddess. I’ve read the Golden Bough. I started reading this in the same light, but he managed to convince me that there’s a single path through all of the films that makes sense as a ring/crossing over structure. 

One sticking point for me was the discussion of good versus evil in the Star Wars universe as I'd gotten used to thinking of evil as a privation of good, a la St. Augustine, rather than a thing in itself. This theory seems to involve evil as a separate and equal force in, Force. But if so, why does bringing balance to the Force involve the death of ALL the Sith but only SOME of the Jedi? That was always my sticking point with it, but he brings out several quotes from Lucas that not only support this view but actually state it in so many words. Yeah, I have to read it again.
What do you think?

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