We’ve finally reached the prequel era! If you’ve only ever seen the actual Star Wars movies you’re going to start recognizing names now and to start with we have Count Dooku!
Wait a minute…what?
Welcome to Legends of the Hydian Way, the chronicle of my attempt to read through and review all the novels that make up mainline Legends canon in chronological order. May the Force be with me.
Legacy of The Jedi is a young adult novel by Jude Watson which, like Lost Tribe of the Sith is actually four short stories connected by a few threads. Our first short story takes place many years before The Phantom Menace and the last takes place just after the start of the Clone Wars. Just like with Tribe, we’re going to review the whole thing based off of the date of the first story, which happens to be about a 13 year old Dooku.
So, one of the weirdest things about Legends is that sometimes, authors had to go to very odd lengths to avoid giving out first names if a character didn’t have one in the films. For example, Emperor Palpatine wouldn’t get his first name (Sheev) until after Disney bought Star Wars because Lucas never named him and presumably never gave anyone else permission to name him either. Dooku is a similar case. Through this book, despite it starting when he is thirteen, everyone will only refer to him by his last name.
Name strangeness aside Legacy of the Jedi begins with Dooku and his friend and fellow trainee at the Jedi Temple, Lorian Nod, breaking into a room to learn more about Dooku’s new master. See, Dooku has been chosen to be the Padawan of a Jedi Knight and begin the next stage of his training. Problem is, that Jedi is off on a mission and Dooku hasn’t ever met him.
Lorian, meanwhile, hasn’t been chosen, and is very anxious that it won’t happen at all and he’ll be kicked out of the Order, which seems a harsh punishment for a thirteen year old raised in the Temple, but whatever. The two find a book that contains instructions on accessing “The Sith Holocron.” It isn’t mentioned whose holocron it is, but presumably that’s because we’re reading from the perspective of two people unlikely to know that each holocron is coded to a specific person who created it.
Lorian see this as a chance to get an edge, to impress people by learning about the ancient enemy of the Jedi. Dooku is more hesitant and finally decides he will not break the rules by looking at the holocron.
Later, the holocron is stolen, and Dooku knows exactly who did it. Lorian, terrified by what he’s seen, refuses to touch the holocron again and begs Dooku to cover for him. When the two are discovered by another Jedi, Lorian panics and blames Dooku.
Dooku feels betrayed and the next day his resentment leads him to injure Lorian during a practice duel. Before the Jedi Council, Dooku tells the truth about what happened to the holocron and Yoda rebukes him, saying that his pride leads him to take the right actions for the wrong reasons. Bristling, Dooku finds Lorian, who reaffirms Yoda’s assessment of Dooku before revealing that he’s been expelled from the Order for lying about what happened.
From here the story skips ahead several years, with Dooku now a full Jedi Knight training a 16 year old Qui-Gon Jinn as his Padawan. The pair are attempting to track down a pirate who’s been kidnapping senators in a certain area of space.
The senator they are currently protecting has them aboard his ship and when the group detects a distress signal, Qui-Gon is quick to urge they respond. Dooku notes to himself that Qui-Gon trusts too easily and lets his empathy for others cloud his judgement.
The distress signal turns out to be a trap, and the pirate is able to steal aboard and kidnap the senator. Dooku is shocked to realize the pirate is none other than Lorian Nod! He hides this fact, both from Qui-Gon and the Council, because he feels his reputation will be tarnished if it comes out that Nod has gotten the better of him.
The pair track Lorian to a factory making faulty ship security systems, which Lorian sells through a respected front company and exploits to kidnap victims for ransom. Dooku confronts Lorian, and it takes Qui-Gon’s pleas to get through Dooku’s anger and resentment to make him realize he’s fighting to kill, not capture. Ashamed, Dooku arrests Lorian and this story ends with Dooku advising Qui-Gon that he’s far too trusting and that it will cause him much pain one day.
We next jump forward to just before the events of The Phantom Menace. Qui-Gon and his Padawan, Obi-Wan Kenobi, stop over on a planet called Junction 5 during a journey. They learn that Junction 5 is a planet that lives under a repressive government due to fears that spies from the planet’s moon are among them and that the moon possesses a city destroying weapon called The Annihilator.
Qui-Gon, always one to get involved when he sees people in need, meets with resistance members and learns that none other than Lorian Nod is in charge of the planet’s security forces. Qui-Gon’s team of resistance members infiltrate a base on the moon and discover that the Annihilator is a ruse, a rumor started on Junction 5 which the moon latched onto to prevent the planet from feeling safe enough to colonize them.
Sure that Lorian is in on the ruse, Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan plan to unveil him by slicing into a public address he’s giving and displaying the information they have about the hoax. Obi-Wan, at the last minute, orders one of the resistance to leave Lorian’s mic on. Qui-Gon notes that Obi-Wan is beginning to have confidence in himself, and feels satisfied as his teacher .
Obi-Wan’s instincts are correct, as Lorian incriminates himself before the entire planet and the pair arrest him. Qui-Gon ends this chapter of the book by telling Obi-Wan he will be a great Jedi, but that he worries too much what Qui-Gon thinks.
Finally, we jump ahead to just after the start of the Clone Wars. Obi-Wan and Anakin Skywalker are called to meet Yoda. Surprisingly, none other than Lorian Nod is there as well, claiming that he’s turned over a new leaf and now works for the government of Junction 5. He’s been approached by Count Dooku and the Separatists, but wants to protect Junction 5 and so he’s come to help the Jedi prevent Dooku from taking over.
Obi-Wan doesn’t trust him, but he and Anakin go along with the plan, meeting up with Nod on the planet Null to help protect the delegates attending a meeting with Dooku. Things go awry almost immediately when someone shoots the governor of Junction 5. Obi-Wan suspects Nod, but has no proof. As they investigate, however, it becomes more and more clear that Dooku is the one who hired the assassin. Even more, the governor survived and Lorian kept that secret to protect him even though he knew revealing it would clear his name.
At the meeting, Nod stands up and declares his loyalty to the Republic and that he will not help Dooku. Betrayed again, Dooku unleashes battle droids to kill everyone but Obi-Wan and Anakin are able to prevent any deaths. Lorian chases Dooku, wanting to make up for the pain he’s caused and prevent Dooku from threatening others. Ultimately, he can’t stop Dooku, but he gives his life trying.
Obi-Wan is sobered by the realization the Nod really had turned his life around. He and Anakin depart back to the Temple, and Obi-Wan is left to wonder if his trust of Qui-Gon has led him to overlook things about Anakin that should be worrying him.
I was actually quite surprised by how much I liked this book. Going into it, I was expecting a very dumbed down Star Wars book for kids, but what I got was a surprisingly thoughtful look at how people’s flaws affect those they teach. Dooku’s pride and distrustfulness only spurred Qui-Gon to realize the importance of trust and friendship. Qui-Gon’s desire for Obi-Wan to have confidence in himself leads Obi-Wan to mistake Anakin’s recklessness for confidence. It’s fascinating to see this explored and surprising to see it done in a book aimed at young teenagers.
If there’s a flaw in the book itself (ha ha) it’s that sometimes characters call out things explicitly that really should be left to the reader. For example, it’s absolutely hammered into us in the first story that Dooku is proud and pride is his major flaw. This is easily understood from the story and his actions, and we really don’t need both Yoda and Lorian to tell him about it for us to understand.
It’s not a lengthy read, I finished it in less than two days, so if you’re looking for a quick read or have an interest in the early days of many of the prequel era’s famous Jedi, check out Legacy of the Jedi! Next week we return to the Sith to see culmination of the line of Dark Lords Darth Bane got going back in Path of Destruction .