In Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic 2: The Sith Lords, once you travel to Telos station, you can tell Kreia that you want to build a lightsaber. She asks why you would want one. But before she does, she succinctly makes the distinction between the Jedi and Sith ideologies.

She says a whole lot with only two sentences. The Jedi believe that you shouldn’t kill anyone unless it’s absolutely necessary, and you never perform executions. To them, the lightsaber is not a weapon. From their perspective, even if they end up using it to kill someone, it was for the greater good. Jedi often use the lightsaber to incapacitate individuals but not kill them. They may take off a limb, and It’ll hurt but they won’t die.

To the sith, a lightsaber is a weapon, and often times there are many Sith who also believe that they do what they do for the greater good. Or they believe that they kill people, even each other, because it’s the natural thing to do. Survival of the fittest, not in the sense of adaptability, but in the idea that might makes right.

As usual, both the Jedi and the Sith are right and wrong. As Kreia would say: “There isn’t enough truth in their teachings.” The truth is that the lightsaber is a weapon. But it can be used for good. What truly matters is not the weapon, but the wielder.

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In the DC animated film Green Lantern: First Flight, we see Sinestro become the first yellow lantern. The weaponers who produce his ring tell him that the weapon has one slight imperfection, an imperfection that all weapons have; the user. Now in this case they were talking about the power output of the weapon. The lantern rings are the most powerful weapons in the universe. But they are limited by the ability of their users, and that’s the point.

Even if a lightsaber was the most powerful weapon in the galaxy, what can be accomplished with it depends on its user. It’s not really an imperfection, because without it’s user, a lightsaber is just metal housing, a crystal, and plasma. A sword is just a hunk of sharpened metal and a gun is just metal, polymers, and gunpowder. The user makes all the difference.

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Kreia questions the desire to possess this one specific weapon in particular. Jedi limit themselves to lightsabers and I always found that to be weird. Obi-Wan called it: “an elegant weapon for a more civilized age.” But that’s the Jedi in him talking. A weapon is a weapon, no matter when it was used or what it was used for. Some Jedi throughout history have been known to use blasters, but most didn’t. Since they didn’t receive any training in it and their teachings actively discourage it. They elevate the lightsaber to an absolute power, and if the chips are down, they have nothing to fall back on.

This is an area that the Jedi can use some improvement. The students should receive some training in all forms of weaponry and martial arts, and allow them to use whichever allows them to achieve their goals. I like to imagine a blaster wielding force user who can use the force to manipulate the blaster bolts. Speed some up, slow some down, bend them, twist them, change trajectories, or even make them fly behind their opponents and flank them. Basically make them more unpredictable. That way even lightsaber wielding foes have a difficult time deflecting them.

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Once Kreia questions the Exile, she can give several answers.

  1. To defend my allies.
  2. Because I feel naked without it.
  3. It represents power - and it can help me slaughter enemies quicker, faster.
  4. The lightsaber is a symbol of the Jedi. It inspires others, gives them hope.

The first one is questionable because like we’ve been discussing, you can use pretty much any weapon to achieve your goals, including the goal of protecting people. But this could tie in with the second option.

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Meetra Surik was trained as a Jedi. Even if she happens to be more naturally talented with blasters or vibroswords, the lightsaber is what she’s grown accustomed to.

In the third option, she talks about what a particular weapon can represent. When people see it they assume you know how to use it, and if you know how to use it then you’re probably a Jedi or a Sith. Either way, you’re not to be trifled with. But she goes on to say that it can help her kill people. More on that in a bit.

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In the final option, she talks about another thing that a lightsaber can represent. It can be a symbol, and symbols can make people feel all kinds of emotions. In certain cases, depending on the definition attached to the symbol, it can inspire others. But in the current era in the galaxy, you’re kind of rolling the dice. There’s a bounty on Jedi, so you’re attracting attention. And after the Jedi civil war, opinions on Jedi are mixed. If you show up on Dantooine carrying a lightsaber, the reception is not positive.

During my current playthrough, I picked the second option and received lightside points for it. I found that rather odd. So I decided to go through them and see what each one does and how many points you gain. It turns out that they all net you points, one way or another, and it’s all just one point. Now what is the justification for this?

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Number 1 and number 4 are pretty straight forward. Good guy Jedi exile, taking care of her friends and symbol of the Jedi to give people hope. The light side has a well known Jedi bias. Number 3 is also easy to understand why you get dark side points for it. “I wanna kill people.” That’s generally seen as something a dark sider would say.

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It was option number 2 that kinda confused me. It doesn’t seem like something that warrants light side points. A sith could say the same thing. But maybe it has to do with the Jedi/Light side bias, and she used to be a Jedi. But that seems flimsy. What does the force have to do with lightsabers? Force users can imbibe their own force energy into the weapon, but there’s no lightsaber involved in this scenario. Although in order to tell Kreia that you want to build a lightsaber, you specifically have to ask her to teach you about the force.

The force reacts to feelings. The emotions presented in options 1, 3, and 4 speak for themselves. But number 2? I don’t know. Worry? She’s worried that without a lightsaber she’s vulnerable? That still doesn’t explain the light side points.

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No matter what you say, Kreia gives the same advice, and echoes what I’ve been saying.

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That last part is very interesting. A weapon alone doesn’t make you believe in the teachings of the Jedi or the Sith. Carrying some religious symbol doesn’t mean you believe in it’s doctrines. But she continues by saying that at times it makes them lesser. I’m fairly certain she’s referring to how they become over reliant on it. And like I mentioned before, their nothing without their weapons.

In my current playthrough I’m trying the “Radical Centrist” approach. I’m doing everything I can to remain centered in the force. So for me the solution here is to leave the topic be. Don’t ask her about it, and use whatever you have to. If it’s a lightsaber, fine, their useful. But a blaster combined with rapid fire and master speed is also quite effective. It’s not about the weapon, it’s the goal.

Papito Qinn is into the whole YouTube thing, is the winner of the 2016 SpookTAYcular Scary Story Contest, and a twitter incompetent. “Some religious trinket doesn’t make you adherent to its teachings.”