I was rewatching TPM (for reasons) and I just had an absolute revelation at Qui Gon’s death scene. 

I always hated that scene because it felt so heartless- here is a Jedi master who obviously is very close to his padawan, yet he doesn’t use his dying breath to say goodbye, to give any words of encouragement, or to ease Obi Wan’s pain. All he offers is a burden, asking his apprentice to take on his crusade, after telling him in front of the Council that he was ready to brush him aside for that same cause. It just felt wrong and poorly written.

And on this, my four trillionth viewing, it has finally dawned on me- Qui Gon wasn’t talking about Anakin at all. He’s talking about Obi Wan. He says “Promise me you will train the boy”- because Qui Gon, more than anyone else, knows what training a padawan truly means. He knows how deeply Obi Wan will feel this loss. He understands what it means to despair and to have a small, precocious person give hope for the future. He doesn’t ask Obi Wan to promise that Anakin will be trained, he purposely sets this task on his apprentice because he knows it is what will allow him to move past his grief. He also knows that Obi Wan was meant for something great. He understands that the Chosen One needs to be placed in the care of the person who is the most capable, and there could be no greater compliment or sign of trust than to give Obi Wan this charge. Qui Gon knows that training Anakin will allow both The Chosen One and his young master to become the Jedi they were meant to be.

So, really, Qui Gon wasn’t putting duty before attachment. He was using his last breath to ensure that Obi Wan became everything Qui Gon had always known he could, through the only means available to him.