Star Wars: "The Secret Journal of Doctor Demagol"
The story of the Knights of the Old Republic comics series as seen by its most dastardly villain. Read it for free!
My third Star Wars short story appeared first on Hyperspace, and is now available again here.
In February 2010, the main Knights of the Old Republic comic series concluded after a 50-issue run. One of the fun things that we had managed to pull off over the course of the series was hiding a traitor in the cast for more than three years of publishing time. The traitor, Demagol, was hidden behind the mask of Rohlan, the Mandalorian thought to be a friend by Zayne Carrick.
Now, in the old days of comics, when we had thought balloons, it would have been difficult to hide Demagol for very long. We would've seen what he was thinking. The comic series we never actually said what he was thinking, of course, although the artists were always aware that the character's body language needed to be different from Rohlan's.
But what if we actually been able to show what he was thinking?
As the series concluded, I spoke with Pablo Hidalgo, editor of starwars.com, about doing a short story depicting what was going on in Demagol's twisted mind. So was born The Secret Journal of Dr. Demagol, an appropriately creepy title. The Journal takes place over the course of two years, including that large amount of time during which Demagol was pretending to be Rohlan.
I had actually gotten the notion of a journal with various numbered entries from the early appearances of The Punisher, the Marvel character. It struck me that Demagol was like the Punisher — just the sort to want to record his self-important history for himself. Demagol was able to speak inside his helmet without broadcasting to the outside world, so a sound recording was possible. This story visualized that the true Rohlan would have found the recording after he got his helmet back.
The entry numbers provide a clue as to where in the series the episodes being described take place. The second two digits of every entry number correspond to the issue during which the narration fits (sometimes before, sometimes after). So, for example, we had no idea what Demagol was up to during the first issue of Commencement, because he wouldn't appear for several issues. But now, here, we can see. Some of the various timeline keepers caught on to the nomenclature, I noticed. (You're welcome!)
Beyond simply saying what Demagol thought about what was happening on the page, this story allowed us the chance to fill in some blanks as far as his plans for Jarael. It also gave us the chance to flesh out something that we hadn't really seen any of: his relationship with the mother of Chantique.
We also see more of his dealings with his assistant Pulsipher, who would figure later in Vector. Demagol and Pulsipher both misunderstand the nature of Jedi powers in very different ways. In that sense, this story is a non-linear sequel to my previous story, Interference, which was about the Republic not really understanding the Mandalorians.
And we see that Demagol doesn't really understand the Mandalorians, either. He truly stands alone. Alone, with his dark thoughts.
The final note is from Rohlan himself, who understands both Mandalorians and Jedi much better. Not surprisingly, the Questioner has more of the answers.
- Again, the issue numbers from the regular series during which the episodes take place are to be found by looking at the middle two numbers in the entry number. (Demagol doesn't read comic books, but we do.)
For those approaching the stories without the individual issue numbers – that is to say, reading the trade paperbacks – here is where the individual entries that fit:
#6130: Labor Pains
#6144: Days of Fear
#6168-6181: Nights of Anger
#6208-6213: Daze of Hate
#6235: Knights of Suffering
#6378: Prophet Motive
#6447: Cold Harvest
#6477-Final Entry: Demon
One is even during another short story, Labor Pains!
- We learn of the existence of the Wyrick Index, Demagol's guide to how well creatures use the Force. Naturally, he named it after himself.
- The difficulty of the game Demagol is playing is perhaps greatest when he's on the Arkanian Legacy; we get a good sense of it, now.
- Some of my favorite lines from all of KOTOR are in this story, so I am glad it is available again. Demagol assumes that Zayne is Gryph's henchman, for real. "I have always wondered what happens to Jedi who fail to reach knighthood. It appears they are made to become orderlies for smugglers. A strange practice."
This story is available for free on Unbound Worlds.