Know your lore: Jolee Bindo

Jolee Bindo was a Human Jedi who participated in the Rimward missions, fought in the Great Sith War against Exar Kun, and went into self-imposed exile on Kashyyyk soon afterwards. Near the close of the Jedi Civil War, he joined Revan against Darth Malak and was awarded the Cross of Glory for his part in the triumph of the Galactic Republic over the Sith Empire.

Biography

 

Life as a Padawan
During his days as a Jedi Padawan, Jolee was considered brash and reckless, often defying the will of the Jedi Council in order to do what he felt was right, as exemplified by his actions during the blockade of the Ukatis system.

Cut off from the rest of the galaxy by its own king, the Ukatis system was unable to receive food and supplies, and no help from the Senate was forthcoming. Jolee decided to help the people himself. He acquired a ship and was joined by a friend. Together they stole from the rich, considering it a “tax on the greedy,” and ran the supplies through the blockade to the planet.

Eventually, his craft was shot down on the planet by no less than his future wife, Nayama, and the two were married, although marriage was frowned upon by many Jedi of the time. He discovered her to be strong in the Force, and he took to training her personally despite the advice of the Jedi Council and his Padawan status.

During the war with Exar Kun, his wife, like many other Jedi, fell to the dark side. She attempted to turn Jolee, who resisted, culminating in a vicious lightsaber duel which brought her to her knees. Jolee was unable to kill his own wife, and let her go. To his shame, she went on to kill many Jedi in the war. Eventually, she was killed in the last battle. This was an extremely sensitive topic for Jolee, who believed that he was unlucky in his life and just had, “So many bad memories, some you never want to think about ever again.” In fact, it took much prodding and questioning by Revan to extract any information about his wife at all, much less the entire story.

The Council did not punish Jolee for his actions, though, stating he had learned his lesson the hard way. When instead they wished to promote him to the status of Jedi Knight, Jolee lost faith in the wisdom of the Council, and went into self-exile.

Exile on Kashyyyk
After spending a year in the home of his good friend Sunry, Jolee took to wandering the stars. He drifted for years, keeping employed when necessary. For a time he even took up smuggling, and he was not above using a Jedi mind trick to get past customs.

Jolee Bindo using Beast Control on a creature on Kashyyyk.

Eventually he crashed on Kashyyyk, and remained exploring the Shadowlands for the next twenty years. At first, the Wookiees believed him to be a benevolent forest spirit, calling him “the hairless one”, and so left gifts and fruits outside of his dwelling, until the old hermit explained the truth to them, albeit with some embarrassment, as he was knocked out cold by Freyyr. Still, Jolee remained a friend of the Wookiees, helping them protect the Shadowlands and its wildlife from poachers. He often wandered through the forest, ready to defend himself from predators, sentient or not, with his lightsaber.

Late during his wandering, he discovered an ancient computer guarding a Star Map, and ended up making 152 attempts to communicate with it; however, the computer had been secretly reprogrammed by Revan, during his first trip to Kashyyyk with Darth Malak, to respond to nobody but himself.

Journey and friendship with Revan
When Revan passed through the Shadowlands a second time, once more seeking Star Maps, he encountered Jolee, who was fighting off a pack of Katarns. Jolee attached himself to the party, partly out of boredom and partly to face his own past. He was one of the few members of the party to know Revan’s true identity all along, although he decided it was not his place to say. As he traveled with Revan, he was often reminded of an old friend, Nomi Sunrider, whom he had known during his time as a Jedi.

At one point, Revan questioned Jolee as to why the old man had accompanied him. Jolee’s responded by relating the story of a man who followed a snake, only to be bitten and killed by it. When questioned about his motives by the snake, the man replied that he had been leading the snake away from his village. Revan could only puzzle over what his role in relation to the story was.

Jolee’s professed neutrality, already belied by joining Revan, was rendered further questionable when Revan landed on Rakata Prime, the home planet of the Rakata. When the Rakatan priest caste allowed Revan into the Temple of the Ancients to disable the Star Forge‘s disruptor field, they insisted on him going into the temple alone.

Jolee, however, persuaded the priests to allow him and fellow Knight Juhani to accompany Revan, and it turned out to be a useful measure: Jolee and Juhani restrained Revan from being once again seduced to the dark side, this time by Bastila Shan.Jolee remained with Revan until the end, and along with Revan’s other companions, was honored at the Republic’s celebration of their victory over Darth Malak.

It is, as of yet, unknown if Jolee survived the First Jedi Purge, was struck down by the assassins of the Sith Triumvirate, or was consumed with the rest of the Jedi by Darth Nihilus on Katarr. While several articles of clothing believed to have once belonged to Jolee are known to have been in circulation at that time, they were not in his possession when he joined up with Revan.

Personality and traits
Even during his days with the Order, Jolee allowed emotion to drive his actions, and thus walked a fine line between the light and dark sides of the Force, claiming that he saw “only in gray.” Despite his view, Jolee clearly believed that there was evil in the galaxy, as witnessed during the fall of his wife to the dark side as well as his experiences during his time in the Ukatis System. Likewise, Jolee’s “gray” view didn’t stop him from having a stable position against the Sith, and being a good man throughout his life.

He appeared as a cantankerous old man who readily dismissed the galaxy and its troubles with an impatient wave of his hand. Bindo appeared to outsiders as a grumpy old man, directing his scorn at both the young and old alike, but his care and wisdom still shone through the many layers he draped around his heart.

He insisted that all he wanted was peace, and yet he was drawn back to war when Revan arrived in the Shadowlands for a second time. Jolee sensed a powerful destiny ahead of Revan, though he insisted that he was simply along for the ride. Even when Bastila insisted that Jolee was a Jedi and needed the Order’s structure, he waved her off, saying he had done plenty well without it.

Likewise, he cautioned Carth‘s insistence that the universe would be irreparably changed should Malak succeed in collapsing the Republic. “Heroes and tyrants rise and fall, and historians sort out the pieces… don’t go thinking that this war—your war—is any more important than any other war simply because you’re in it.”

Jolee was prone to speaking in story and allegory, with a sense of humor that was wickedly sarcastic and more than a bit self-derisive. In addition to the snake story, he told the tale about a Jedi Master named Hortath (or possibly Hartoth, according to Jolee’s own memory), who was blind and refused to believe he was, who met a Padawan who asked him for directions, not knowing that Hortath was blind. He followed the master’s incorrect direction unthinkingly, and a Council who may have covered up for the blind master out of their own blind adherence to rank. Even his tale about Andor Vex was a cautionary tale intended to get Revan looking at the potential for folly. Still, he never considered himself Revan’s teacher in any form. “Don’t coddle me, child, I’m neither a Jedi or your master. I’m just an old man who’s been lost in the woods for far too long.”

In his various conversations with Revan, Jolee appeared to stay on topic, at least for a little while, before (seemingly) randomly moving off into one of many various memories of someone he encountered or heard of as a Jedi Padawan in the Order, such as that of Hortath or Andor Vex (above). When asked the moral or meaning of these stories, he usually gave an answer similar to, “Someone my age is entitled to ramble, dammit!” Revan never really knew if there was a meaning to these stories, though they did keep him moderately entertained.

Powers and abilities
Despite the fact that he followed the Jedi way and used the Force, Jolee did not consider himself part of the Order because of his history, or rather due to the fact that the Order had failed him. He never officially progressed beyond the rank of Padawan, although he explained to Revan once that he was to be knighted before he went into exile. His time in the Shadowlands only enhanced his survival skills. He had even learned to craft medicine from simple herbs, without any access to kolto or medical supplies. He could also speak Huttese.

Physically, despite his age, Jolee’s time living in the dangerous Shadowlands kept his body in shape and nimble and saw him into dangerous situations on a regular basis. Even though lightsaber combat was not his primary strength compared to his command of the Force, the very first time he talked to Revan, several katarns had fallen to his lightsaber.

In their travels, Jolee would display his signature talent for Jedi Mind tricks, something he thought could serve them well when Admiral Saul Karath ambushed them, if he was going to be their Leviathan Prison Break agent.He possessed a unique personality that allowed him to command the Force through both its light and dark sides. Lack of records have made it impossible to know the specific extent of Jolee’s powers, but he could have potentially mastered dark arts such as Force lightning as easily as any other power, which would have been nearly unthinkable for most light-sided Jedi of the time. It was possible that his philosophy on controlling his emotions—neither blocking them nor allowing them to control him—that allowed him to draw on the Force as he did without fearing corruption from the dark side.