Kotor 2 is a much darker game than it’s predecessor and nothing demonstrates this better than the relationship between Hannarr and Mira. They’re Kotor 2’s answer to Mission and Zaalbar except that Hannarr is a mad and murderous wookie obsessed with killing the young bounty hunter Mira. Not because she killed his family or stole something of his but because she saved his life.
To make sense of this we need to take a look at the wookie life debt, a piece of Star Wars lore that never existed in the movies but has found it’s way into the cannon via the Extended Universe.
Basically if someone saves the life of a wookie that wookie is honour bound to serve their saviour. Unfortunately this tends to cast wookies as a kind of noble savage. I think it’s telling that Chewbacca was never portrayed as a dumb savage but the various semi-official books and games surrounding the films often lapse into lazy stereotypes. Something to consider no? Well Kotor 2 does exactly that, tearing to sheds the idea of the wookie life debt and depicting it as akin to slavery.
You see Hanharr was once a slave abused and downtrodden. Perversely, like many in the history of the world, having suffered oppression he then only wishes to enact that oppression on others. So after killing his masters he becomes a slaver hunting and capturing humans for fun and profit. It’s a cycle of abuse played out on a planetary scale. Eventually he comes to Nal Shaddar to become a bounty hunter, not for the money but as an excuse to inflict suffering on others.
Mira is also a bounty hunter. Sexy, tough, spunky but deep down sentimental she’s perhaps a little too close to the tough girl cliche. Interestingly she doesn’t kill her quarry preferring instead to capture her prey alive. At first this appears to be professional pride but you eventually learn that it’s because after the death of her family she has an appreciation for all living things. While Hanharr’s earlier tragedy turned him into a monster Mira’s has had the opposite affect.
The two first meet when Hanharr is employed to hunt Mira. Basically things don’t go Hanharr’s way and he’s left a bloody mess. Mira could have just left him to die but instead her respect for all life thing kicks in and she provides medical attention, saving the deranged wookie’s life. The problem is that this now means Hanharr is bound by the traditions of his people to serve Mira.
And to him it’s like being a slave all over again except instead of being held in man made chains it’s the beliefs of his people. He wants nothing more than to destroy Mira but the life debt makes that unlikely. And perhaps this would be all okay if Mira would just accept her role in this, if she would treat him like her servant and become his master then he could full fill his duty to his people even if it meant enduring the degradation of slavery. Instead she refuses to be his master thus preventing Hanharr from staying true to his people.
As the player progresses through the game they’re given many moments to interfere in this relationship. Eventually they may even have the option to kill Hanharr. It’s one of the game’s more complex choices. Clearly he’s a sick evil bastard so killing him could be seen as the right thing to do and ultimately it’s what Hanharr wants, to endure the wookie life debt is too much for him. But killing Hanharr would undermine Mira’s personal beliefs.
Also the wookie life debt is a stupid rule, why can’t Hanharr just ignore it? If the traditions of his people are unjust and unfair shouldn’t he just cast them aside? But if he can’t whether he should or not is irrelevant. By the same token for Mira to not do what’s clearly right because of some personal moral code is silly. At least she has a choice in the matter, Hanharr is powerless.
In the end I left Hanharr alive. I did so because I think that’s what a Jedi would do but I’m fairly certain it wasn’t the right thing to do.
This is a series of posts about some of the characters in Knights of the Old Republic 2: The Siths Lords. To read the first post click here.