Tuesday, 8 June 2010

First Gollum, now Anakin

We previously noted Gollum's conflicting psychiatric diagnoses, which seemed to point more to the problems of diagnosing and categorizing mental illnesses than to anything in particular about Gollum (who I still think was just twisted by the Ring - Alberich's curse or Sauron's...).

Now we find that Anakin Skywalker may have suffered from borderline personality disorder.
"I had watched the two prequel movies ["Attack of the Clones" and "Revenge of the Sith"], and it was during my residency in psychiatry while trying to explain borderline personality disorder to medical students that I thought of Anakin," said Eric Bui, a psychiatrist at Toulouse University Hospital in France.

Bui and his colleagues first presented their diagnosis at the annual convention of the American Psychiatric Association in 2007. Now, their letter to the editor titled "Is Anakin Skywalker suffering from borderline personality disorder?" is slated to appear in an upcoming issue of the journal Psychiatry Research.

Skywalker hit six out of the nine borderline personality disorder criteria as defined by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, fourth edition (DSM-IV). He only needed to meet five criteria to qualify as suffering from the disorder.

Two displays of dissociative episodes took place when Skywalker tried to distance himself from stressful events. The first episode took place after he slaughtered a local tribe of Tuskens responsible for his mother's death. A second episode occurred following his murderous rampage among young Jedi trainees, as he voiced paranoid thoughts about Obi-Wan Kenobi and his wife.
Leaving aside my general anti-Tusken prejudices, I'd have diagnosed Anakin first with gross stupidity. The evil guys tell you that the only way to make sure that your pregnant wife survives childbirth is to join up with the evil guys, and you don't even think to get her checked out by a medical droid first? Stupid stupid stupid. Incomprehensibly stupid, unless he was just looking for an excuse to join up with the bad guys all along. Or, unless Lucas was just fobbing stuff off in the first three episodes and expecting any of it to make sense is hopeless. Red Letter Media nailed it.

I wonder if the Bui letter will generate the same storm of competing diagnoses that followed the initial Gollum diagnosis.


  1. I don't know what Anakin's disorder was, but the solution would be a kick right up the arse. His behaviour is the second movie was appalling, even before hs brain explosion in the third.

  2. The boy was conflicted! He was too young to undertake Jedi training. Yoda himself saw it. He was ear-bashed by Quigon to accept the boy. Anyone could see his mum's lame excuse about Anakin's father just meant she never got his last name (those slave-girls have fast and loose reputations - see the way Leia dresses in Return of the Jedi when Jabba's slave?!? Obviously asking for it).

    What reference checks did Yoda do to confirm he was the One who would be balance to the Force? What liability should Yoda face for his negligence actions and omissions which would inevitably lead to the Return of the Sith?