My cunning trick?

I promised this article in a previous one, but I can’t remember which.

Actually no I can remember which, it was (On Sunday night, I was in Euston train station with Katherine and we spotted an unattended bag. ) and this article is about memory. Do you see what I’ve done there? My cunning trick? Well of course you do.

The particular aspect of memory that I wanted to talk about was the retroactive correction. The moment when you realise that everything that came before has to now be reappraised in light of new information.

It’s an odd thing when it happens. Perhaps the most famous example of this is the moment in Star wars Episode VI: The Empire Strikes Back * when we found out that Darth Vader was, in fact, Luke’s father. A key moment that made you want to go and re-watch the previous movie and see if it was now possible to guess this from subtle signs left before that out of context you had missed.

It’s a very fun trick. You can also see it in Return of the Jedi, The Usual Suspects and The Sixth Sense.

But is it honest? Is it fair? Well in fiction no trick should be off limits I suppose. So why should it be banned? Maybe it won’t.

Actually there is another version of this which is very similar but not quite the same. This is caused by revealing an earlier scene after the main event and thereby changing everything. This is like Memento. Or what would have happened if they were to put a scene in the prequels to Star Wars which changed the previous films.

They seem different because we seem the action. But actually how different are they? The scene where Darth tells Luke that he is his father alludes to a scene where Darth is having sex with Luke’s mother. We just don’t see it.

* Why does this sound much more ridiculous now?

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