On Poetry, Prose, and Videogames

JLawrence Kenny

Maniacal Monday: Darth Tyranus, from Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones

on September 26, 2011

While all villains terrify us, not every villain is of the sort that haunts the deepest, darkest corner of your nightmares. Some bad guys are more refined, possessing elegance about them, a certain presence that changes who they are. More often than not, these villains are of noble background, corrupted by the world around them into doing evil things in order to fix what they see as flaws in society. Sometimes they are aware of their Evilness, sometimes they aren’t, but the way they act about their actions, one would think that they were playing nothing more than a game, where the pieces are people, and the rules are undetermined. It is into this niche of villain that this week’s character, Darth Tyranus, finds himself.

Look at that smug grin. He loves being evil.

Dooku, Count of the planet Serenno, and later dubbed Darth Tyranus, was a fallen Jedi Master who lived during the Clone Wars. For the majority of his life, Dooku was a member of the Jedi Order, one of the greatest Jedi in their ranks. But as he grew up, he witnessed firsthand the many corruptions of the Republic, and the ease in which good people were manipulated by evil people, where no one did anything to stop evil in its tracks. He became so disillusioned with the government and the Jedi Order, he actually resigned from the Order, something only 19 others had ever done. Shortly after this, however, he was approached by Darth Sidious, who successfully and easily convinced him to join the Dark Side, so that he could fix the failures present in the universe. He played a critical role in the establishment of the Confederacy of Independent Systems, seceding from the Galactic Republic, and brought the entire galaxy into a massive civil war. He was also crucial in turning young Anakin Skywalker to the Dark Side, at the expense of his own life, furthering his Master’s plot even in death.

Dooku's elegant Makashi vs. Yoda's spastic Ataru.

Dooku had always reflected his noble heritage, even as a child. Growing up in the Jedi Temple, Dooku had always remained in relative isolation from his peers, cemented by a betrayal from a supposed friend. He was prideful in his accomplishments, but not overly so. Even his lightsaber technique mirrored his nobility, as he mastered in Makashi, a style often described as elegant, and suitable mainly for duels against single opponents. (So great was his skill, he was considered the 3rd best swordsman in the entire Order) However, this nobility and pride that defined him was also the tool used for his downfall, as Lord Sidious appealed to these traits of his. He was convinced that he could bring order to the universe, and stop all the evil that he had witnessed over the years. And so was born Darth Tyranus, a villain quite reminiscent of the typical James Bond antagonist.

"Oh, I totally get it no-*snick*"

This sophistication makes Dooku a much deeper villain, not shallow like Maul, and his sharpness makes him more deadly as well. Whereas Maul was almost a force of nature, Dooku is a calm and calculating individual, with plans spanning years into the future. While not as threatening, Dooku is certainly a much stronger and more engaging villain, who pushes the story forward rather than allowing the story to come to him. Unfortunately for him, he turns out to be nothing more than a pawn to Darth Sidious, whose own plans spanned even further into the future than Dooku. Despite his cunning, his own hubris is his downfall; simultaneously his greatest strength and weakness.

Insert punny "lost his head" joke here.

Overall, Dooku is a great villain, but his role is overshadowed by an even greater character than himself. He exemplifies the value of intelligence and cunning over instinct and brawn, for the most part outsourcing the true evil to his underlings rather than dirty his own hands, as is befitting of a nobleman. His true strength as a character comes from his initiative, rallying the numerous seceding star systems of the universe under a common goal, gathering the resources necessary to mount a resistance of any value. Sadly, he loses much of his potential when one realizes that he was nothing more than a puppet for the true mastermind of evil to hide behind so that he might take the fall and pave the way for an era of darkness under a new villain…

Next Week: Dr. Nefarious, from Ratchet and Clank 3: Up Your Arsenal

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