We are back from a week in Spain, some time with J and T and A and L at Villa Limone, now it is Friday night, Owain and I, having destroyed the Deathstar and even the Deathstar replacement in Return of the Jedi, are now at the most powerful part of the saga – when Anakin turns into Darth Vader. That horrible long fight between Anakin and Obi-wan and the death of Padme. Owain and I are narrative addicts and we have mostly sat around shooting up narrative this summer in movie, book and video game injections. Sure I drag my ass to the tennis court and the park in the name of parenting but right in front of the screen is where the mutual joy - hence the real parenting action - is.
At the end of the school year, Owain's teacher suggested working on fine motor skills and math over the summer. Well, in Lego Star Wars, one collects studs - a form of cash. You can use studs to buy characters. Owain loves saving up studs and it leads to all these wonderful practical problems, i.e.: If I have 18,000 studs and I need 60,000 studs to buy Mace Windu, then how many studs do I need to get? And the remotes, forget it. Eight different buttons and a joystick in two hands. So that's pretty good, right?
Then there is the two-player phenomenon. The creators of Lego Star Wars saw fit to force cooperation when two people are playing the game. If you wander apart and pursue different things, you become incapacitated. So in Defense of Kashyyk (just go with me here)if I am Yoda and Owain is Chewbacca and we go in different directions to kill off the clones, then eventually we are paralyzed. Hey, to me this is a pretty good life lesson: when you are a team, you have to constantly think about the fact that you are a team and work together. This summer will serve Owain well if he marries.
Plus I love everything about the story of Star Wars. To me it really does sort of replace Christianity. Look, one sacrifice and redemption narrative is all you need - it doesn't really matter if it happens in Jerusalem or Hogwarts or Narnia.
And as a matter of fact, in just a few moments I will be playing out a very dramatic moment - Anakin turning to the dark side. And to me Lucas's vocabulary for why that happens - fear turns to anger turns to hate - is actually a little more useful than the competing vocabulary of Christianity which harbors such a bizarre concept - original sin -- wherein people are naturally evil.
I still have to make some mint pesto and some ratatouille for a lunch tomorrow as well as experiencing the darkest hour in the life of Anakin Skywalker so this post is of necessity short.