Epic tales tend to be one sided. Hobbits: good, orcs: evil. Rebel Alliance: good, Galactic Empire: evil. And so on.
Except that sometimes, we do get a glimpse of the story from the perspective of the other side.
The conversations between orcs that we witnessed in later chapters of the Lord of the Rings kind of humanized them: they were not necessarily nice guys, but they were, well, foot soldiers in an army like foot soldiers in any other army. Russian novelist Kirill Neskov must have been thinking the same thing when he wrote The Last Ringbearer, a novel in which we learn that Mordor is a peaceful country undergoing an industrial revolution, which is threatened by backward, war-mongering imperialists led by Gandalf, who is seeking “a final solution to the Mordorian problem”. Wow.
As for Star Wars, I always wondered: When the Death Star was destroyed, for instance, how many innocent people: children, civilian employees, family members, cooks, nurses, doctors, and so on, were destroyed along with the artifact? More than that, what if the canonical account is really a one-sided, distorted version of the real story, and the Rebel Alliance is just a bunch of terrorists while the Galactic Empire is really a peaceful, progressive civilization representing law and order?
Apparently, I am not the only one with these thoughts. Here is an amazing short animation of a battle between the Empire and the rebels… from the Imperial perspective:
What can I say? Let’s hope the good guys win… whoever they are.