Star Wars

Star Wars
Property of George Lucas, LucasFilms Ltd.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Heir to the Empire (or the end all and be all of Star Wars canon)

 Drum roll please! We have made it to the most excellent and amazing Timothy Zahn and his "final trilogy." (I, at this point, don't care what Disney pulls out of where, this IS the final trilogy!) I do believe this is THE trilogy that Es and I bonded over when we first met. And the story line that we played when we were in either of our back woods. I think there were some other Star Wars series mixed in at various points, but this was basically it. So it's a big deal for us to be reading this again. Huge deal. The only expectation I have is to love it just as much as I have all the other times I've read it. I will also be reading the anniversary edition for the second time, and I'm so excited to be reading it again. I feel like I lost some details the first time through in my excitement to read it. It was to my great pleasure to learn that Timothy Zahn was the first author approached when LucasFilms decided to go back to publishing books in the late '80s. And how he struggled with his answer to write the books or not, not wanting to disappoint Star Wars fans. Well, Mr. Zahn, I don't think anyone was disappointed, especially because you sling-shotted Star Wars back into fandom again!

Grand Admiral Thrawn
I supposed I should have some other expectations besides just loving the hell out of it again. So, I expect to fully enjoy the lesser characters Zahn creates, like Winter. And I expect to be on the edge of my seat while Leia works to figure out who's interfering with the New Republic. And I adore Mon Mothma. And of course, I full expect to be creeped out by Grand Admiral Thrawn, the best villian in the Star Wars universe as far as I'm concerned. I know, for a fact, this is Es's favorite trilogy in the Star Wars EU. It presents us with Mara Jade, whom Es idolized as a young girl. I did too, but not as deeply.

I wonder if that will change with this reading. I myself am now a strong young woman who has a strong sense of self. Perhaps that means I'll connect more with Mara Jade. We'll see!

Esme's Input

The reality is that I've read this series (and very recently, too) so many times that it's going to be a very different reading experience than with the other books Ro and I have tackled. I do adore Mara Jade still - she's a powerful, independent woman (as I aspire to be), and she's a dancer, as I have become. She makes plenty of mistakes and clearly has some serious PTSD going on post-Emperor (something which I definitely did not pick up on as a kid) but I never for a moment stop loving and having faith in her.

Mara Jade
Zahn's greatest strengths are his ability to spin a truly elaborate story, with all the plot twists and foreshadowing you could ever ever want, and his ability to create characters that have absolute integrity as he characterizes them. Once you get to know General Garm Bel Iblis or Counselor Borsk Fey'leya, whether you love or hate them, Zahn will never give you a moment's pause that their actions and reactions are 100% true to their characters. He likewise establishes integrity with Lucas's existing characters - Luke is probably my favorite of his characterizations because he writes Luke very much as a newly fledged Jedi Knight who is absolultely overwhelmed by the task set him by his mentors: to establish a new order of Jedi all by himself. Powerful in his own right, he is also, as Mara routinely reminds us, a naive and earnest farmboy, something many fans love most about Luke.

I'm incredibly excited to tackle these books with Ro this time - to find flaws and new favorite things and to keep our peepers out for any signs that Disney is following Entertainment Weekly's advice about their first movie project when EW asserts, "The blue-skinned Imperial alien strategist Grand Admiral Thrawn and ... agent-turned-Jedi Master Mara Jade, both of whom first appeared in Timothy Zahn's excellent Thrawn trilogy, would be most welcome."  

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