It occurred to me after having watched the movie and having read the book that Palpatine loves Anakin. To be sure, Sith love is a rather poisonous sort of love. One is reminded of Screwtape and his nephew in "The Screwtape Letters". Nonetheless Darth Sidious loves Anakin.
It is a very selfish love. He does not share Anakin. He offers the Dark Side as a way to save Padme, knowing that Anakin's going to the Dark Side will destroy her. When he tells Darth Vader that Padme is dead, he smiles with that little smile of evil satisfaction.
Consider that he puts his very life on the line at least twice, once when he is "kidnapped" and once when he is fighting Mace Windu. The purpose of the kidnapping was to get Anakin to kill Count Dooku - it was worth Palpatine's risking his life to get Anakin to take a critical step towards the dark side. Similarly the battle with Mace Windu is a sham. He could defeat Windu handily; however he chooses to appear to be on the ropes so that Anakin will save him. Sidious is very much the high stakes gambler. The question is, what are the high stakes that he is gambling for. The obvious answer is, to put it melodramatically, Anakin's soul. But why Anakin?
At one point in the novelization Anakin is referred to as the jewel of the Sith. Both in the novel and in the movie there is the claim that Anakin will be the greatest Sith of them all. To be sure, there would be great satisfaction in stealing away the chosen one from the Jedi. However there is something else involved, something more basic.
Recall that Darth Sidious's master learned how to manipulate the midiclorians so as to create live. Recall that Darth Sidious learned that secret from his master before he killed him. Recall that Anakin Skywalker had no biological father, that he was conceived by the midiclorians and you very much have the essence of the matter.
Darth Sidious is Darth Vader's father.
This page was last updated June 1, 2005.