You see it every once in a while, on of those charts identifying villains or whatever and how they map to the nine point alignment spectrum. And commonly, Darth Vader is listed as being Lawful Evil. I don’t believe that’s true.
First, why do people assign this alignment to this Sith Lord? I think a large part of it is he is the signature of Star War’s Galactic Empire, which I heartily accept as being Lawful Evil. A lot of Empires are. But Vader’s own alignment does not match the group he’s in. Here are some data points.
I kill my own men
He may not revel in it as Casanova Frankenstein, but Vader has an odd place in the very logical and orderly Empire. There are no recriminations when he holds out his hand and chokes a senior officer. If is punished for it, it happens off screen. If he gestured and a pair of fancy storm troopers took someone away for trial, it would be different. But Vader is judge, jury, and executioner.
It says a lot to your crew when you hire outside help. Sometimes, it means you’re team is swamped with work and bringing in a few extra hands is a relief. But when you make it plain that these contractors are there because your team is bad at its job, well, that’s a different story. Especially when they’re scum like bounty hunters.
Look I’m not saying its bad to hire experts, but to go outside side of your organization like that, and then bring them onto your flag ship? looks bad and its another data point against you.
Pray I don’t alter it further
Look, contracts are important. Following them to the letter is basically what it means to be Lawful, right?
Changing the contract on the fly to suit your new needs is not being Lawful, it is being Chaotic Powerful. No one being in a position to call your action to question is what CE dream about.
Betrayal at Endor
The Sith have a long history of betraying their master and taking over. How can such a system be considered Lawful? At the tail end of his Life, Vader betrayed 20 years of service, just for some whiney kid.
But, supposedly, that was because Luke had reached for the part of him that was buried ages ago. So let’s turn back the time and see if young Skywalker is in fact lawful.
Nine Years a Slave
Slavery tends to be an awkward topic for people, but that’s what protoVader started out as. I don’t want to hastily make calls about what alignment slavery has, although its definitely Evil. I think the rest depends on treatment and intent.
Anyway, no matter how bad it is, it was the system on Tattooine. I agree that it should be removed. But to deactivate tracking measures, escape, then return to free all the slaves is not Lawful Good, it is Chaotic good.
A History of Disobedience
Now that he’s a Padawan, he’s going to be all Lawful, obey his master, and learn the ways of the Jedi? Eh… no. He learned of the ways of the Jedi, sure, but he hasn’t mastered the other parts. He often ignores his master’s commands, and does highly illegal stuff like jumping out of aircars and the like. Not very orderly. Not very Lawful.
That’s the Power of Love
The Jedi Order has rules about personal attachments, and hey look, Anakin is breaking them. And, while he marries the girl, a nice Lawful thing to do, it’s in secret because it will get both of them in trouble. Which doesn’t sound Lawful. And hey look, we get to see why Attachments are a bad thing. Hooray! Way to demonstrate, Ani!
Murder Hobo Time!
(Wow, that heading gave me a fun power ranger parody idea…)
So… one of the best signs that a player is Chaotic is when they kill people for very little reason. And Vader has many instances of people he kills as he’s earing the name, but let us look at just a few.
1. The Sand People
While its a real tragedy, what with Shimi dying and all the Sand People being slaughtered, its probably one of my favorite memes:
Isn’t that quality? But yeah, butchering a bunch a sand people is Chaotic Evil Murder Hobo.
2. Count Dooku
Prisoners of war have specific ways of being dealt with. When a guy surrenders, especially when he’s one of the rare quality villains of the franchise, killing him out right is wrong. We’ve talked about being Judge Jury and Executioner before. Seems to be a familiar patterned.
Oh, it seems he did the same to the other leaders of the Separatist Movement. So Politics are working like that now, I see.
3. The Younglings.
Okay, there is evil, and then there is very evil. And killing the kiddies, that is very much evil. And he barely got XP for it.
Okay, he didn’t kill her, but including her on this list lets me add this from my meme arsenal.
But yeah, I don’t think we got to hear their vows, but “To Cherish and to Hold” is pretty standard and not really what happened.
This conclusion heading because I’m not sure how to escape the bold headings and end. Yeah.
Those are my data points for Darth Vader. I think he might not be a paragon of Chaos, but he ain’t no Saint Lawful. If you have some counter points, I’d love to hear them!