Warning: spoilers from the end of season 4 of The Clone Wars ahead.
The first time Asajj Ventress really made an impression on me was at the beginning of season three of The Clone Wars. During the battle on Kamino, she was vicious and unforgiving. She seemed to take pleasure in killing clone troopers and that twisted delight - specifically one scene where she skewered a trooper (a deleted scene revealed she kissed the trooper on the cheek after) - caught my attention. She also came face to face with General Grievous for the first time in this episode, and they exchanged this weird, flirty banter that was just the right touch of disturbing.
Count Dooku's assassin stayed on my radar from that point on. I noticed her fighting prowess, her ruthlessness, and her interactions with the Jedi. She was always clever. How did I not see it before?! Interesting as she was, it wasn't until the Nightsisters trilogy, however, that she broke out and became one of the show's most developed characters.
The Nightsisters trilogy in season three revealed that Ventress was once one of them. She was sacrificed to a slaver, seemingly to protect the witches. She seemed to grow attached to him, but he was killed. After his death, Ventress wound up with a Jedi and became a Padawan. Her Jedi Master was taken from her too, killed by a raider, and Ventress was abandoned once again. She nursed hatred and rage and eventually ended up as Dooku's assassin.
She's been cast aside repeatedly. She tries to take revenge on Dooku and fails. In season four, he sends Grievous to destroy the Nightsisters. He's taken her home and her family. She's left alone to figure out how to survive... again. She wanders aimlessly into a bounty hunter job for cash. Because of that choice, she ends up on Obi-Wan's side fighting against Darth Maul and Savage Opress (the monster she helped create).
Think about what she's been through. I can't deny Ventress has killed innocents and committed evil acts, but I think her mean streak comes from a place of being misled. Dooku paired up with Sidious because at his core, he is evil. He chose this path, he wants to rule, he wants power. He may want that power because he thinks he will bring peace with it... but he's twisted. Either way, he's in the game to play. Ventress just sort of ended up where she is. She didn't reach the position of Dooku's assassin because she applied for the job on the Star Wars Galaxy Craigslist. Once there though, she learned and tried to the best.
I don't think she had any desires to wield control over the galaxy. I think she was lost. It doesn't excuse her behavior or actions, but it should be taken into consideration.
So, what's ahead for Ventress? If she ends up in the hands of the Jedi council after everything, well, she would have to be tried for her crimes. No amount of good intention makes up for her past; they couldn't just wipe the slate clean. But assuming she keeps showing a nicer side, if there's a moment with Obi-Wan where he could take her in or let her escape - I think he'd let her go. He has a system for forgiveness that doesn't always line up with the Council's, even though I think he tries to fight it. If he were a D&D character, I wouldn't classify him as lawful good.
Ventress has been dealt a tough hand by life, and maybe she hasn't always made the best decisions. Okay, she definitely hasn't. I think maybe, just maybe, she's seeing the galaxy a little differently now. Perhaps there's light at the end of the tunnel for her. I'm excited to find out.
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