SteelyKid got a Lego Clone Wars book today—some of her friends at school/daycare like Star Wars, so she's been reading a random selection of kid-pitched Star Wars books, most of which are quite dreadful. Today's was both dreadful and incredibly long, and as I slogged through it, I found myself wondering when we should introduce her to the actual movies (and trying to remember the recommended viewing order that someone had mentioned a while ago). I'd just about decided that she was still kind of young for them, at 5 and 5/6 . . .
. . . when we got to the end of the book, when everyone is celebrating except Anakin and Palpatine—Anakin because he's pouty and upset that someone else is getting attention (that's text not subtext), and Palpatine because he is the worst at pretending to be Not Evil EVER. And Palpatine tells Anakin something like, I believe you'll be a great Jedi, and the book ends.
SteelyKid promptly asks me, "Why would a bad guy say something nice?"
And suddenly I realize that she is still unspoiled for Anakin's fate, rather to my surprise. I told her that Palpatine was probably trying to trick Anakin—at which point she started spinning a story about how the seats they were sitting on were trapped and Anakin's was going to flip over and he was going to fall down.
But now I feel a responsibility to have her experience that reveal properly—even though I still think she's probably kinda young for it (and the Pip is definitely, so that's at least three weekends of watching when he's taking a nap). And even taking out Episode I, I hate to actually voluntarily show her the prequels before she has more of a critical facility. Still . . .
ETA: now Chad tells me that he in fact told her today! She thought Anakin was Vader's son, and he corrected her. All this angst, could totally have been short-circuited if I'd waited for him to come downstairs from putting the Pip to bed before writing this. (But she obviously doesn't understand how, so it's probably still worth thinking about. (Not that the prequels really do any kind of decent job explaining, at least as I recall the third.))