This page includes a series of notes on my novella, Through Glass, giving behind-the-scenes information on a variety of topics regarding what went into the story and why it went in. Also, since this is a subpage, I am able to write it in first-person and without the restrictions of any point-of-view rules, or any other such frivolous requirements. I'm basically going to skim through my own story here, and write about different aspects roughly as they appear in the story. Of course, these writings are subject to future revision.
Reason for the Story
Through Glass wasn't a story that I just set out to write. Instead, I set out with the intention of writing a novel (or possibly novella) set after The Sith Lords which would detail the fate of Revan, the Exile, and the rest of the cast after they go searching for the "True Sith". I'm not going to go into much more detail about it than that, but one of the focal characters of the story would, of course, be Revan. The problem was that I didn't really know what sort of person I thought Revan was; I didn't really know exactly what I think drives her and makes her do what she does (in my personal "vision", of course).
So I decided that the aforementioned long story could not be completed until I figured this out. The best way to figure out who a character is is to write them, so I decided to place the novel aside and make a short story starring Revan.
It would have been a challenge to come up with a specific premise, were it not for luck. All I had at first was that it would have to take place sometime after KotOR I, meaning it's Revan post-redemption. But I really, really didn't want to stifle the purpose of the story by having a complicated plot or wasting time with the party members. But the luck came in the fact that I already had an idea in mind.
The sequence in TSL where the Exile goes into the Tomb of Ludo Kressh is probably my favorite moment of the entire game. It really is a sort of character-defining or refining scene, because it's where the Exile explains herself/himself; that is, their reason for joining the Mandalorian War, what type of person they were back then, and whether they were still the same. I liked that part of the game a lot, and prior to writing this story, I actually had wondered what sort of things Revan would see if she went through the place. So, that soon enough became the setting of this story.
- So where had this ancient-looking stone door come from in the meantime?
This is one of (I think) a few instances in this story where I draw attention to something that doesn't quite make sense and then dismiss it without providing an explanation. This is called Lampshade Hanging, and it works. I hope it does, anyway. As soon as I started writing this story, I wondered why Ludo Kressh's tomb seemingly didn't exist when Revan first visited this cave. And because I'm a bit crazy like that, I decided to go out of my way to stress that the door leading to the place absolutely did not exist the first time, but does the second time, when most other authors would probably just say that Revan hadn't come across that door the first time.
So yes, my personal vision of the situation is officially that the door to Ludo Kressh's tomb appeared for no known reason between KotOR I and this story. The Force moves in mysterious ways, which is handy, because it means I don't have to explain things that I don't want to.
Her In-Story Reason for Being There
- Revan had been drawn to this planet in the first place by a series of visions of this cave.
The whole thing about Revan going to Korriban because she's been having visions of the cave was really just something I came up with because I needed to have some reason for her to be there, and have it be plausible. I figure that at some point after KotOR I, Revan completely dropped off the radar (except for with her friends) and started going all over the galaxy looking for places that would help trigger the return of more memories, among other things.
The implication that Revan might have been in this cave - and possibly in Ludo's tomb - during her previous time as a Sith Lord is something that I don't plan on ever elaborating on. The same goes for the question of why Revan had the visions that made her come to this place again (especially since her visit doesn't cause any important memories to resurface). The fact of the matter is that if there is an answer, then finding it really won't be worth it from an out-of-universe perspective. The reason this story exists is to establish Revan's character; hence, I put her in a situation that's nicely nestled into a long line of personal mini-adventures and expeditions that she went through before heading to the Unknown Regions.
Hopefully it's still some half-decent speculation fodder on the part of the reader.
I put this scene here in the beginning because I needed to give a brief but sufficient explanation for why Revan is going into the tomb, but I soon decided that there needed to be more to the beginning than an infodump (even if it's a small and necessary one). That's why I decided to throw T3 and HK into the scene; they're familiar parts of the KotOR mythos that most people like, and they provide some light humor - and I personally like the short banter between them and Revan.
Plus, the droids have some advantages over the other party members, since as droids, they aren't likely to do anything stupid like insist that they go with Revan into the tomb. And Korriban would be a somewhat controversial destination (on paper, anyway), so it makes sense to me that Revan would only take the droids with her when going to certain places.
- HK paused for a few seconds, and then made an addition without bothering to announce its grammatical function.
Because HK actually does that several times in the games (especially the first one), that's why.
The First Vision
Anyone who played through this section of TSL and payed attention can probably spot the parallels between the Exile's visions and Revan's. For the Exile, the first one asked why she/he joined the Jedi Crusaders in the Mandalorian Wars. For Revan, it asks why she led the Crusade in the first place.
The astute nerd who keeps up with the times will here observe that the scene that Revan revisits from her past in this first vision appeared in a comic, Knights of the Old Republic 42: Masks. I never actually read that comic (and think the series as a whole is generally lame), so that's one of the reasons why this loose adaptation likely only has a few things in common with the canon event. Considering what I do know of the comic series, however, my interpretation is guaranteed to be better in any case, simply by virtue of it being my interpretation.
KotOR 42: Masks also seems to raise a significant continuity error with the two games: the latter say that the Jedi who followed Revan were the only ones in the war while those agreeing with the Council stayed home, whereas the former says that after Cathar's atrocity was discovered, the Council "gave Revan their sanction". Granted, I'm going off of what Wookieepedia says, but I got that fact from multiple articles, so it's obviously true.
I decided to combine the two here in my story, by establishing that Revan made herself into an unofficial leader among the Jedi who still held almost as much authority (by virtue of popularity) as the Council - thus keeping the whole "those who followed Revan were not like those who didn't" dynamic from the games - and that the Council and the Jedi who followed them took only secondary strategic roles in the war - thus preserving the fact of them giving Revan their sanction established by the comic, and I do think it is a much better explanation than the canon one (which is basically just whichever one you feel like believing, and no one believes the comic to any degree).
- painted black and red – their colors for justice and vengeance.
Yes, I know that canonically, red Mandalorian armor actually signifies "Honoring a Father", but that's from Traviss, therefore I am required by my sense of common decency to ignore any facts she has established which are not convenient for me. Besides, this is about 4,000 years before Mandalorian Fett-style armor came about anyway.
- It represented the Jedi who Revan would prefer being to the Prodigal Knight she was called now.
I suppose that's one of the defining traits of Revan's character here: longing for the distant past, for a time when she didn't have anything to atone for. She is driven by the need to atone and wants to set everything right, but she'd rather not have such a burden (even though said burden is arguably self-inflicted).
Intermission: Shyracks and Whatnot
Unusual Lightsaber Color
Revan's lightsaber is indeed turquoise, that is to say, blue-green, and for some reason I don't think that any other Jedi or Sith should ever have a lightsaber color outside the proper spectrum. The reason she has this is just a weird string of coincidences from years ago. Years ago, I saw that image of Revan from the comics where he's just killed Malak, and everything is tinted lightish-blue (I can't be arsed to link to this image), and some weirdo on Wookieepedia apparently took that to imply that Revan's saber canonically had the "Mantle of the Force" crystal from the game in it, which gave him a cyan blade. Meanwhile, I played Jedi Academy religiously (I excommunicated myself from the game later, though), and using one of those nifty feature-adding multiplayer mods, used a lightsaber that was turquoise instead of a regular color, since I figured turquoise and cyan were the same thing. In either case, turquoise inevitably got tied in my head to Revan, and that's where this comes from.
There was absolutely no point in writing that above paragraph whatsoever. I certainly hope you didn't waste time reading it.
The Second Vision
When the Exile reaches this point in the tomb in TSL, she/he is put in an old battle from the war and made to choose whether to value the troops' lives or not. Revan's dilemma is, I suppose, just about the same, except that she's seeing the whole thing unfold from the top of the chain of command, with the pressure on her coming from one of her subordinates instead of orders from above.
The character of Darth Voren is actually from the canon, from some RPG scenario or something. For some reason I took a bit of a liking to him after reading his Wookieepedia article, so I decided to include him here. His canon self ain't perfect, though - in canon, he's just a guy who was trained by a Sith Knight who was under Revan's command, which is lame - why would someone like that have the "Darth" title? So I upgraded him to an apprentice and high-level follower of Revan approximately on par with Malak.
I was happy to come up with a way to work Voren into this vision, since I had previously planned on writing a novel set during the Jedi Civil War which would feature him as one of the main antagonists and have since put that on indefinite hold.
- It was stupid, completely illogical, but Revan didn't care. She wouldn't just tell the men to pull back. In reality, every last one of them had died here, sacrificed on the altar of war. In this return to that day, she would put herself on that altar alongside them. They deserved whatever shred of honor it would provide.
I suppose this means that Revan's sense of duty to atone and unrelenting nature can override reason at times. Then again, she knows the situation isn't real, so it might not be as heavy as it appears.
Intermission: The Lightsaber
The abandoned, bloodstained lightsaber that Revan finds doesn't really serve any purpose except to add to the atmosphere. I'm saying this right up front just in case somebody decides to re-read this story four times or something in the hopes of finding a hint of deeper significance; I never had within my mind an idea of who the lightsaber belonged to or where it came from, and I never intend to explain at any point in the future, either.
It is a very loose match to the room in TSL where the Exile finds Nebelish's body. It's a room where there's something mysterious and barely if at all explained in it, so the lightsaber makes sense to be found there.
Actually, there is one more thing to the lightsaber; if you'll notice, when the Exile fights the vision of Revan in the final room in TSL, Revan has a second lightsaber, which is purple like this one.
The Third Vision
The "Apathy is Death" vision from TSL is probably my #1 favorite moment of the entire game. It's atmospheric, creepy, and rather powerful. It's another character-defining moment for the Exile, because she/he is made to decide what to believe about Kreia (a very ambiguous person from her/his point of view), as well as how she/he would respond if the crew actually turned against itself in such a manner. Would the Exile try to help Kreia, or simply kill her because her past as a Sith and questionable nature is enough of a justification?
I've read several fanfics with this scene in them, and every single one of them pissed me off because they missed the whole point of the vision, just blasting right through it without even thinking about how it would affect the Exile (not to mention ignoring how the tomb is supposed to screw with her/his head and try to convince her/him that the visions are real). I actually wrote a fanfic of that scene myself a little while ago, giving the care I thought the scene deserved; I lifted many of the details of this scene from that story - the walls starting to ripple, Revan's headache, and (most importantly) her initial inability to realize that the visions aren't real because they keep interrupting and weakening her train of thought. I really wanted to capture the malevolent, mind-screwing nature of the tomb in this scene, and Revan's reaction upon breaking the illusion is probably close to what a normal person's would be: ultra-pissed off.
Apathy is Death
The truth is, I actually spent a relatively long time trying to think of something to make out of this scene other than what it eventually turned out being, which in effect is mostly the same thing as the corresponding scene from TSL with characters swapped out. I was afraid of not being able to make it actually relevant to Revan's character, reducing it to just a clumsy tribute to a favorite scene of mine from the game.
In the end, I think I was able to make it just different enough to save the scene, partly by changing it so that Revan is the one in the hypothetical situation who the crew thinks is evil, rather than the character in Kreia's place (Bastila), but much more than that by including Revan's confrontation with the vision of Bastila at the end of the fight. The scene may initially appear to ask Revan the same question - What would you do if your friends started to turn on you/you and your friend? - but in the end I think I manage to put a different enough spin on it.
I have a personal theory that Kreia herself once visited Ludo's tomb many years before TSL and had some kind of epiphany inside, and that her being there is the reason that both Revan and the Exile get the "apathy is death" treatment in Vision #3. Phony Bastila quotes Kreia's lesson from TSL word for word, and Revan's personal reaction - that they probably aren't Bastila's words in any shape or form - is a hint at this. As you might or might not notice, later on in the story I drop another hint that whenever someone goes through the tomb - or at least, anyone important - they leave a kind of imprint of themselves that affects the visions of later visitors to a certain degree.
One piece of evidence from the game itself that I take as support for my theory is the fact that after the Exile reaches the end of the tomb in TSL, Kreia tells her/him about the shortcut passage that leads out. How would she know about it unless she's gone through this place herself?
As I mentioned above, I think the confrontation at the end of Vision #3 is really what saves it, because Not-Bastila is specifically calling Revan out on the fact that not only is her reaction not in line with what a Jedi is supposed to be, but she's also being internally inconsistent. Years before when the real Bastila turned evil, Revan went the extra mile to bring her back. Plus, Revan's justification for killing Not-Bastila - "You're just a vision. [...] A trick. [...] It doesn't matter what I do to you." - is also inconsistent with Vision #2, where even though she knew the situation wasn't real, she acted like it was. Here, Revan is letting her outrage at the vision guide her actions rather than trying to learn from it, because it hits her in a place she really doesn't want to be hit.
I suppose that's the one way to get Revan to take off the Jedi gloves; threatening or screwing with her friends is her weakness, her one Berserk Button. They stuck with her even after finding out who she really was - even Carth, who could easily have decided to blame her for his life being miserable - and they're almost certainly the only personal friends she's got (bar a few Jedi here and there). They're her weakness and she knows it, but seems unable to let go of it.
I guess Revan's got some Anakin in her.
I suppose at this point you probably want to know why Revan's a she. The simple answer is to add some variety, especially since I personally consider the Exile to be a guy. I initially considered including (in this story or the novel that it's planned to someday lead up to) mention of a F!Revan/Bastila romance, but I ended up dropping that on the grounds of a common sense upgrade. While it is true that it would be far more believable (the premise, that is) and less disgusting than a F!Revan/Carth romance, it didn't take long for me to realize something that should have been obvious from the beginning, a fact so obvious that it could be renamed "The Law of Grass Being Green": Fan fiction writers cannot write romances and should not attempt to, ever.
Not only that, I personally cannot write romances, so any attempt to do so would be screwed from the start, even if that rule above was not true, which it is. Furthermore, I really don't think that romance is actually a necessary element of Revan's (or the Exile's) character at all. Revan's arc from the game and beyond is about finding out who she really is and what she decides to do about it. What does Carth have to do with it? Nothing. Even Bastila, whose character actually has something to do with the plot of KotOR (and whom it would actually almost make sense for Revan to start shagging for no reason, since their Force bond thingy is a good excuse), is only sort of connected on account of being with Revan when she got her head screwed up and keeping an eye on her during the mission in KotOR. As far as the actual story is concerned, having them just be very close friends is superior to having them share a bed, if only because that type of relationship is something that a sufficiently not-awful fanfic writer could actually be expected by a sane person to pull off properly. I resent the ubiquitous fanfic writer's Romantic Plot Tumor-inducing stance that if two characters are of opposite gender (or are regularly shipped together in the fandom) then they have to get together, regardless of if it actually makes sense, or drags down the enjoyable parts of the story kicking and screaming.
If you want to get the gist of the above paragraph in a few hundred fewer words, then suffice to say that Revan being a she has nothing to do with romance "options".
Who Revan bangs and/or sits with in a tree k-i-s-s-i-n-g has nothing to do with her character. She's a she in this continuity because I wanted a bit of variety, and writing her as a she would probably make me more conscious of her character traits as I write (since she's the first female character I've written, to my recollection).
The Fourth Vision
This last vision is probably a "Wtf" moment for the reader, but there is a method to the madness (at least, in my own mind there is). But it not making sense actually fits with its equivalent in TSL, I think; at this point in TSL, the Exile fights a vision of Revan for seemingly no reason. There is no dialogue with the vision, there is no real difference whether you win or not (except some XP or some other negligible gameplay thing), and even Kreia offers no explanation at all. However, since the nature of the previous visions seems to go through chronological time - the first two being past memories, and the third of the present - some people take this to mean that the third vision shows the future in some way, and that therefore, Revan and the Exile are fated to fight eventually. Others figure that it's a possible future, showing what would've "happened" if the Exile had followed Revan all the way after Malachor, what with the evil copy of the Exile standing behind Revan who promptly disappears.
The sword that Vision-Jorus stabs Revan with is not just a random thing; it's an item of reasonably high importance to the plot of the novel that this story, ideally, will eventually lead into. Since it's all supposed to be a seeeeeecret, I'm not going to say anything else except that the sword is something that exists in the canon; it's not an original creation of mine.
The Exile's Name
All I've got on the Exile's name so far is that it's Jorus, no surname yet, though I did initially have it as "Jorus Kuun" even though I already have a character elsewhere in my stuff with that name. So it's just "Jorus" for now. If you have any suggestions, I'd appreciate hearing them.
The Point of the Fourth Vision?
I do view this room in Ludo Kressh's tomb as - for whatever reason, which means because I say so and the Force moves in mysterious ways - being a place where the "boundary" between the present, past, and especially the future is somewhat indistinct. This scene is what I was referring to when I said earlier that people leave imprints of themselves in the tomb when they visit it. When the Exile fights Not-Revan in this room years later, Not-Revan has a purple lightsaber because when the real Revan visited and fought the vision of him, she had one with her as well. So because people's imprints do modify visions and the future is always in motion anyway, the visions seen in this room are probably not perfect reproductions of what will happen in the future.
In the end, because this story was created to answer my own question, "What sort of person is Revan?", no other questions are deliberately answered. Revan doesn't know why she came here and she doesn't recall anything important. The only thing she accomplishes is two more important leads, and we don't really know how they'll turn out. In the end, I suppose the story could be taken to mean that real answers to life's persistent questions - in reality and sometimes even in fiction, as well - are seldom easy to find. In other words, "Yeah, Revan doesn't actually find anything. Welcome to reality. In a fan fiction."
Revan's Next Move
At the end, it is directly stated that Revan's next move will probably do one of two things: Go on a search for the Exile to try and discover his significance, or go to Malachor V and presumably find the Trayus Academy again. I deliberately make no real indication in favor of one or the other, but it kind of goes without saying that if Revan ever gets around to looking for the Exile, she's not going to succeed in finding him, for whatever reason.
As with her reason for being there, Revan's next move really doesn't have much to do with the point of the story, and I only put it in there out of necessity, and to add a bit of speculation fodder (in case a reader is into that sort of thing).
The Lightsaber, Again
The whole point of the real lightsaber that Revan found getting cut in half by Not-Jorus is just something to add emphasis to the mind-screwing nature of the tomb. It's not supposed to make sense, it's supposed to emphasize that Revan's no less confused than the reader is. Hell, the narrative even says at the end that it's not worth examining closely.
- ↑ Not only is "Jedi Crusader" far cooler-sounding, but it also has the advantage over "Revanchists" of not absolutely sucking.
- ↑ It is perhaps worth noting that if you bring up this whole "Council supported Revan to some degree or another" thing in a debate on a forum somewhere, then it will be ignored by whoever you are
torturing yourselfarguing with.
- ↑ Of course, this policy goes for all fanfic, but especially in the case of official writers as awful as Traviss.
- ↑ Blue, Green, Purple, Red, Orange, Yellow, White/Silver. And no "almost" colors. Red is red, there's not a separate "crimson".
- ↑ The opening crawl of KotOR establishes that Revan had multiple apprentices, so this particular part actually fits better with the game's canon.
- ↑ ...or in the cut content, an insane Dustil Onasi, which was far better. I once actually wrote a fic about the Exile, detailing his encounter with Dustil, which of course ends with the latter man attacking the Exile, getting maimed in self-defense, and then mercy-killed. That was a while ago, however, and I do not intend to link to that story or host it here on SWF.
- ↑ Not that that would be justified, since Carth by his very definition is a miserable character.
- ↑ I've said this before and I'll say it again: Spending as much time with Carth as Revan did just getting off Taris would turn any straight woman gay and any gay man straight. This is not an opinion, it's an irrefutable fact.
- ↑ A while back I wrote one short fic that sorta had romance in it; it was basically the scene from TSL where Visas kills herself so that the Exile could defeat Darth Nihilus. The relatively primitive quality of the prose was only the icing on that cake of badness, so much so that I actually PMed an administrator of the site that I submitted it to and insisted that they permanently delete it.
- ↑ "AWWWWW CARTHY HE IZ SO KWUUUUUUUTE!!!!! <3 <3 <3 <3 :D"