I love a good slaughter like the next person, and I love Darth Vader as pictured in his slaughter at the end of Rogue One (that was amazing). However, this article is to examine the question of what makes a Sith a Sith. Does it mean you must be ruthless, a psychopathic killer, someone who slaughters indiscriminately? I say no, it does not. We do not have many examples of “fair” minded Sith Lords, but I can think of a few: Darth Marr; Darth Bane; Darth Caedus (in chronological order). I’m writing this in defense of the last one.
I have read articles on the failings of Darth Caedus and why he was a horrible sith. I disagree. I think he was one of the best we saw. However, I think he suffered from bad writers that fell into the old George Lucas trap of sith = evil = tragic = must be converted or must die. In fact, they felt this so much, they gave out force powers like candy just so he could be defeated instead of developing him and letting him become the great ruler he could have been.
Jacen surpassed the Jedi’s knowledge of the force in The New Jedi Order – The Unifying Force when he became one with the force and melted Onimi. He surpassed light and dark sides. Then they make him choose the dark side, which is all fine and good, however they make him back peddle so that by the end of LotF his powers are so diminished and he becomes almost a bumbling idiot. While he has logical uncertainties of his path, he remains steadfast in his decision. The Jedi also fall to old ways of we must murder him, he is Sith. I mean come on, have you all learned nothing…? How about let’s have a real conversation. Maybe he had good reason, maybe he is right, and after all he is our nephew, twin brother, son. But no, they get all murdery and decide his fate.
I liked most of Caedus’ decisions. I thought he made a decent ruler and would’ve been great for the galaxy. He made a conscious decision to not rule through fear. Not to just murder people who disappointed him. For me, he took after Darth Marr and Darth Bane by being pragmatic. One of the decisions that didn’t make sense, and was due to having multiple authors was Lumiya tells him Ben would make a horrible apprentice, and he relents. Then in the next book, he is steadfast in his determination to turn Ben and Lumiya says nothing. That was poor writing and one thing that led to his downfall.
People also say he was insane. I do not see that. I think his torture did not start him down any path to insanity. I think it gave him clarity and a new understanding of the force and life in general. Life is a struggle and is painful. It is only through struggle that we grow and through pain we learn. When we are comfy and happy, we tend to stagnate. I don’t know, perhaps most will disagree with me. However, for those out there that have known pain and struggle, I think they would agree with me. It is our reality as human beings to struggle to become better.
Also, if you have a good understanding of the Sith Code, I think it would point you in the same direction that I lean. Peace is a lie does not mean that there should be eternal war. In fact, it doesn’t have anything to do with war really. It’s more akin to what I was saying the previous paragraph.
Darth Caedus could’ve been so much more had his initial path been followed instead of limited by narrow minded authors stuck on the dichotomy of good & evil, light and dark and no in between. I have faith that people with experiences based in reality would agree that life is just so much more complex than that, and the old viewpoint of darkside/Sith must die is just plain ignorance and is what got the Jedi almost killed off more than once. And in 20,000 years or so, you would think those wizened, good people would learn that. It seems the only real learning and growth takes place on the darkside. Won’t you join me there?
P.S. I suppose I should answer my question, if it was not obvious… IMO, no, being a psychopath is not only not necessary/required, but will most likely be a short path to your demise. You can be ruthless and brutal when necessary, but a sith who is always this way will find a large rebel force around the corner ready to take you down. You must be many things to be a successful sith. Perhaps more on that later.
And, May The Force Serve You Always!