THE THING IS, OBI-WAN ISN’T WRONG ABOUT THIS.
It’s Anakin’s inability to let go, that he’ll engage in reckless and foolhardy behavior to save someone he cares about, that will lead directly to his fall, his loyalty to those he cares about over the safety of the rest of the galaxy is exactly what leads to the death of the Jedi and the rise of the Empire.
This is why I love TCW so much–in pretty much any other story I’ve seen, the high-risk-high-reward type of behavior from the hero ultimately always pays off, that minor set-backs are eventually overcome and we’re meant to think that it’s the right thing to do. In and of itself, maybe we even should think that about Anakin’s style–I mean, who doesn’t want to get R2 back?? I love R2! Of course we should risk everything for him!
But TCW doesn’t exist in a vaccuum, we’re aware that we’re watching Future Darth Vader here and knowing that changes a whole lot about the context of Anakin being willing to risk the safety of everyone else for the one he wants to save. And Obi-Wan’s definitely not wrong to try to get him to see the danger that lies in that kind of thinking–usually, the one who tries to hold the hero back is wrong, ultimately risking everything for friendship saves the day!! And it will this time. But one day….
One day Darth Vader’s going to do the same and it’s going to fuck everything up.
I’m usually wary with the hardcore utilitarian ethics that the fandom usually asociates with Jedi (because that makes sense in the most of the cases; the good of the majority outweighs the good of the few)…
But I’ve got to agree with you here; Anakin’s set of ethics is okay for someone who isn’t directly responsible for more than his own life. But when it comes to large groups, he’s nuts.
His mindset, from the very beginning, is ‘The only people who matter are my people”. His family, his friends, people who are exceptionally nice to him belong to that group. For them, he would gladly offer anything. His early experiences only cemented him in that stance, that you should focus all your care and attention to those few whose lives directly affected yours, because you just don’t have enough to care for everyone. His world was narrow before - and it remained narrow, despite Obi-Wan’s effort. And like I say, it’s not a necessary bad thing on its own.But when its left unchecked and when you give that sort of person that level of authority and power…
So, of course it makes total sense to him that he should risk everyone’s life for his droid. a) It always worked before! (And Anakin has no real sense of his own mortality, the dunderhead), b) R2D2 is his therefore important. His choice is purely emotional, there was no rational reason to jump into such action. For fucks sake, if I were in Ahsoka’s place, I’m ditching him right on the spot. It’s all fun and games until it’s not.
We’re so accustomed to this type of hero that we tend to forget how fucking dangerous that way of thinking is.
The first lesson on ethics often opens with the question “here is a group of people with various characteristics. decide who should get the heart transplant.”
The “right” answer, if you’re a medic, should be “the one with the highest chance of survival.” You’ve got only one heart to save one life and logically you know you’ve got to ensure that this one chance must not be ruined.
Anakin’s answer would always be “The one I love the most.” Evem if they were doomed, he’d waste everyone else’s chance of survival, because that one person matters to him the most. Damn the others. That’s his first impulse. (And often the only.)
This is a really good look at Anakin’s character and I do believe that ideals shape a lot of his path in life (especially in terms of who he gravitates to or comes to love) but they always get overwritten by that dangerous level of being loyal to a person over morals and ideals. That’s pretty much the entire plot of Revenge of the Sith.