The Temptation of Anakin Skywalker
[Palpatine] ticked his fingers one by one. “I have kept the secret of your marriage all these years. The slaughter at the Tusken camp, you shared with me. I was there when you executed Count Dooku. And I know where you got the power to defeat him. You see? You have never needed to pretend with me, the way you must with your Jedi comrades. Do you understand that you need never hide anything from me? That I accept you exactly as you are?”
He spread his hands as though offering a hug. “Share with me the truth. Your absolute truth. Let yourself out, Anakin.”
“I—” Anakin shook his head. How many times had he dreamed of not having to pretend to be the perfect Jedi? But what else could he be? “I wouldn’t even know how to begin.”
“It’s quite simple, in the end: tell me what you want.”
Anakin squinted up at him. “I don’t understand.”
“Of course you don’t.” The last of the sunset haloed his ice-white hair and threw his face into shadow. “You’ve been trained to never think about that. The Jedi never ask what you want. They simply tell you what you’re supposed to want. They never give you a choice at all. That’s why they take their students—their victims—at an age so young that choice is meaningless. By the time a Padawan is old enough to choose, he has been so indoctrinated—so brainwashed—that he is incapable of even considering the question. But you’re different, Anakin. You had a real life, outside the Jedi Temple. You can break through the fog of lies the Jedi have pumped into your brain. I ask you again: what do you want?”
“I still don’t understand.”
“I am offering you…anything,” Palpatine said. “Ask, and it is yours. A glass of water? It’s yours. A bag full of Corusca gems? Yours. Look out the window behind me, Anakin. Pick something, and it’s yours.”
“Is this some kind of joke?”
“The time for jokes is past, Anakin. I have never been more serious.” Within the shadow that cloaked Palpatine’s face, Anakin could only just see the twin gleams of the Chancellor’s eyes. “Pick something. Anything.”
“All right…” Shrugging, frowning, still not understanding, Anakin looked out the window, looking for the most ridiculously expensive thing he could spot. “How about one of those new SoroSuub custom speeders—”
“Are you serious? You know how much one of those costs? You could practically outfit a battle cruiser—”
“Would you prefer a battle cruiser?”
Anakin went still. A cold void opened in his chest. In a small, cautious voice, he said, “How about the Senatorial Apartments?”
“A private apartment?”
Anakin shook his head, staring up at the twin gleams in the darkness on Palpatine’s face. “The whole building.”
Palpatine did not so much as blink. “Done.”
“It’s privately owned—”
“You can’t just—”
“Yes, I can. It’s yours. Is there anything else? Name it.”
Anakin gazed blankly out into the gathering darkness. Stars began to shimmer through the haze of twilight. A constellation he recognized hung above the spires of the Jedi Temple.
“All right,” Anakin said softly. “Corellia. I’ll take Corellia.”
“The planet, or the whole system?”
“I just—” He shook his head blankly. “I can’t figure out if you’re kidding, or completely insane.”
“I am neither, Anakin. I am trying to impress upon you a fundamental truth of our relationship. A fundamental truth of yourself.”
“What if I really wanted the Corellian system? The whole Five Brothers—all of it?”
“Then it would be yours. You can have the whole sector, if you like.” The twin gleams within the shadow sharpened. “Do you understand, now? I will give you anything you want.”
The concept left him dizzy. “What if I wanted—what if I went along with Padme and her friends? What if I want the war to end?”
“Would tomorrow be too soon?”
“How—” Anakin couldn’t seem to get his breath. “How can you do that?”
“Right now, we are only discussing what. How is a different issue; we’ll come to that presently.”
Anakin sank deeper into the chair while he let everything sink deeper into his brain. If only his head would stop spinning—why did Palpatine have to start all this now?
This would all be easier to comprehend if the nightmares of Padme didn’t keep screaming inside his head.
“And in exchange?” he asked, finally. “What do I have to do?”
“You have to do what you want.”
“What I want?”
“Yes, Anakin. Yes. Exactly that. Only that. Do the one thing that the Jedi fear most: make up your own mind. Follow your own conscience. Do what you think is right. I know that you have been longing for a life greater than that of an ordinary Jedi. Commit to that life. I know you burn for greater power than any Jedi can wield; give yourself permission to gain that power, and allow yourself license to use it. You have dreamed of leaving the Jedi Order, having a family of your own—one that is based on love, not on enforced rules of self-denial.”
“I—can’t…I can’t just…leave…”
“But you can.”
Anakin couldn’t breathe.
He couldn’t blink.
He sat frozen. Even thought was impossible.
“You can have every one of your dreams. Turn aside from the lies of the Jedi, and follow the truth of yourself. Leave them. Join me on the path of true power. Be my friend, Anakin. Be my student. My apprentice….”
— Star Wars – Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, Chapter 15
The novelization truly redeems the film. Anakin is not a petulant man-child but a young man who is tormented by having seen too much war and having foreseen his wife’s death. Palpatine’s seduction occurs over years. This is the moment where the Lord of the Sith overtly tempts him.