Not so long ago there was a discussion of Destiny and Free Will, and then the kids watched Episode I again, and so thoughts about Anakin’s character came up for me, and whether the role of teacher—fulfilled by Obi–Wan—would have (or should have) had a major impact on how the little scamp turned out.
Surprisingly, I don’t know anymore if it would have made a difference. For years I contended that Qui–Gon would have known better how to handle Anakin. Or possibly, if Yoda had stepped in, Anakin would have chosen a better path.
The Path of My Reasoning
In the original trilogy, Obi–Wan’s spirit confesses to Luke, “I thought that I could teach him just as well as Yoda. I was wrong.”
So before the prequels, with no lens on the actual structure of Jedi life, we viewed it as a learned–too–late humility on the part of Obi–Wan. After all, the Jedi were heroes and it we didn’t have the perspective to lay the blame at the foot of the endemic flaws within the system.
But here’s the overlooked problem with Obi–Wan’s belated humility in light of what was revealed in Attack of the Clones: Yoda’s own star pupil, Dooku, turned to the Sith as well.
Let that sink in. Let it sink in if only for the fact that I think a lot of people watched that film and missed the significance of it.
While we all held Yoda in highest esteem as a character and Jedi (and still do), Obi–Wan’s belief that Yoda directly teaching Anakin would have produced a better and more stable result is now immeasurably flawed.
In fact, if you really want to argue the point, it would have been worse if Yoda had taught Anakin. Dooku was not as powerful as Anakin, and had spent the large part of his life in the service of the Jedi Order, and he still fell. Dooku’s own pupil, Qui–Gon, was so incapable of following the Jedi Code that he was denied a seat on the Council; Obi–Wan says as much in Episode I.
Dooku’s good friend and fellow Jedi, Sifo–Dyas, was murdered as part of the intrigue to create the Clone Army. (Hint: Dooku did the killing, as well as the recruitment of Jango Fett as the clone template.)
So what’s the basis for thinking now that Anakin would have taken a different path? If anything, it supports the theory that Qui–Gon inappropriately and arrogantly screwed with Fate and took the boy away from his mother too soon. If the Jedi truly believed in destiny, they would have watched the boy from a distance since technically, his destiny would always have found him.
The Up Side
The “up side” is that Obi–Wan and Yoda learned from their mistakes and instead of pushing Luke too hard down a path they wanted, even when they had the opportunity, they let that moment be chosen by Luke; or at least until (arguably) Fate reduced his choices to “living alone in the desert” and “answering the call.”
The added maturity and exercise of free will within the framework of destiny obviously led to a person more able to handle the burden of difficult choices.
Well, I think that’s my point of view on it now at least.