Lit A Cynical Walk Through the NJO

Discussion in 'Literature' started by Cynical_Ben, Aug 17, 2013.

  1. Arawn_Fenn Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 2, 2004
    star 7
  2. DigitalMessiah Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Feb 17, 2004
    star 6
    Something that's been on my mind about the NJO today is the magical sword of the series: Anakin Solo's lightsaber. It plays a pretty significant role in the events, being the then-unknown object of Jacen's prophecy in Balance Point, the weapon wielded by Ganner, the first clue to the Yuuzhan Vong's presence in the Force, yet at the conclusion it turns out to be something of a red herring:

    He understood at last why he had failed to catch Anakin's lightsaber when Luke had tossed it to him: he was never meant to catch it, because he had become the lightsaber. He had attained the ability to cut through any resistance in himself; to sever the bonds of preconception; to open a gaping hole into a reality more expansive than any he had ever dared imagine; to heal.

    Something, perhaps superficial in terms of plot depth, which occurred to me is that Jacen is described here as having become the lightsaber, but Jaina is the one that Luke calls the Sword of the Jedi.

    This moment reminds me of Buddha speaking of having a mind like a diamond, which can cut through everything but not be cut itself. The same can be said of a lightsaber blade.

    I suppose that Jacen becoming the lightsaber also indicates that Anakin's lightsaber was an incomplete attempt to understand the symbiotic potential with the Yuuzhan Vong, with Jacen more directly merging with them through his slave seed, and through that achieving an innate vongsense through which he realized the truth of Zonama Sekot and the Yuuzhan Vong. I suppose in that case, what is the importance of the lightsaber? From a behind the scenes perspective, it seems to be ambiguous whether it was even part of the series bible since it was introduced in Greg Keyes' novel that replaced a cancelled novel (which would not have featured Anakin, at least prominently). But it certainly became important with its first hint at Vongsense and in Traitor and The Unifying Force. It's an important symbol for Jacen in Traitor about who he is -- it is essential to his "I am a Jedi" moment in that novel:

    Jacen saw with preternatural clarity the choice he was being offered. The opportunity.
    Anakin's lightsaber. Anakin had made it. Anakin had used it. It had changed him, and he had transformed it. Its crystal was not like those of other lightsabers, but was a living Vonglife gem.
    Part Jedi. Part Yuuzhan Vong, he thought. Almost like me.
    They were offering him Anakin's life: his spirit, his skill, his courage.
    His violence.
    Jacen had first used a lightsaber in combat at the age of three. He was a natural.
    And now he could feel the Yuuzhan Vong. And the Force was with him.
    He could follow Anakin's path. He could be pure warrior. He could be even greater than his brother had been: with the dark power he could command, he could surpass any living Jedi, even Uncle Luke. Surpass even the Jedi Knights of old.
    He could be the greatest sword of the Force who had ever lived.
    More: He could avenge his brother with the weapon his brother had forged.
    I could pick that up, he thought, and kill them all.
    Is that who I am?
    Is that who I want to be?

    And it's important to Ganner's:

    Ganner didn't move.
    Illumination burst within his brain.
    In that instant, everything finally made sense. He understood what Jacen had been talking about. There was nothing to fear.
    He understood the power of being who he was.
    He didn't even really have to know who he was. He could decide.
    He could choose, and act.
    Suddenly, his life made sense. His life had been a story of pretending to be a hero. Well, he thought. Okay, then.
    His nausea had vanished. It wasn't even a memory. No more weakness. No more uncertainty. Doubt and fear had disappeared along with the nausea.
    He hefted Anakin's lightsaber.
    "We both lose unless" -- he spoke slowly -- "unless somebody doesn't let them in."
    "You have to play the hero," Jacen said sadly. "Even if it kills you."
    Ganner squeezed the blade to life, and stared at its sizzling purple shaft. Here was the weapon of a hero. A real hero. Not a playactor. Not a pretend-hero, like Ganner had always been.
    But this weapon was now in Ganner's hand.
    I don't have to be a real hero, he thought. A dazzling, old-Ganner, forget-the-consequences-and-have-some-fun smile dawned on his face. He shook himself and years fell from his shoulders; his eyes lit up, sparking like arc gaps in the red-lit gloom. He felt shiny as a war droid and twice as tough.
    I don't have to be a hero, he thought in silent wonder. All I have to do is pretend.

    Is there perhaps symbolism to Jacen not catching the lightsaber, not needing it? Or rather, added context with these scenes from Traitor in mind?
    Last edited by DigitalMessiah, Jun 26, 2014
  3. JediMatteus Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Sep 16, 2008
    star 5

    he did earn major cache with the brilliance of Star by Star. I do like some of his novels. Star By Star, Inferno, Abyss.
  4. Havac Former Moderator

    Member Since:
    Sep 29, 2005
    star 7
    Ar'krai is, very vaguely, the reason why Kre'fey is shuffled out of the story and doesn't get to be Supreme Commander anymore so Sovv can be dragged back into the spotlight just in time to be murdered so Pellaeon can be Supreme Commander for whatever reason and we don't have any confusion about who the GA's genius Bothan admiral is now (it's Nek Bwua'tu, SUPERGENIUS).

    This continues the pattern of only mentioning things from the NJO when attempting to piss all over the NJO.
    Last edited by Havac, Jun 27, 2014
  5. Force Smuggler Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Sep 2, 2012
    star 6
    Kre'fey was way more engaging the Bwua'tu!
  6. DigitalMessiah Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Feb 17, 2004
    star 6
    I would have been amused if the EU didn't get destroyed and the Legacy era was wrestled away from Denning and Stackpole came back or something and we learn that Kre'fey set up his New Republic equivalent of the Empire of the Hand in the Unknown Regions while looking for Zonama Sekot.
    Riv_Shiel likes this.
  7. Jedi Ben Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jul 19, 1999
    star 7
    Anyone have a theory as to why they didn't follow up on Anakin's saber in the tree?

    Given what followed probably best they didn't but, at the time, that scene was and remains one of the things everyone likes about TUF.
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  8. _Catherine_ Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jun 16, 2007
    star 4
    I'd like to think it's because planting a mythological weapon somewhere for a future hero to find and then bringing it back after only a few years would have been super lame, but they probably just forgot.
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  9. Ulicus Lit'ari [Literature Manager]

    Manager
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    Jul 24, 2005
    star 6
    Maybe John Boyega plucks it out of continuity snarl in Episode VII?
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  10. DigitalMessiah Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Feb 17, 2004
    star 6
    Surprised denning didn't have jaina kill jacen with it
  11. Ulicus Lit'ari [Literature Manager]

    Manager
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    Jul 24, 2005
    star 6
    Man, get over it, already. :p
  12. DigitalMessiah Force Ghost

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    Feb 17, 2004
    star 6
  13. Force Smuggler Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Sep 2, 2012
    star 6
    I have to admit that I am surprised that Jaina didn't take Anakin's saber and kill Jacen with it as well.
    Knowing Denning it got destroyed in the firebombing.
    Wish for the 2nd series of Legacy that Ania picked up it up.
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  14. Riv_Shiel Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Apr 12, 2014
    star 2
    You know he beat the Thrawn simulator. He is smarter and a better commander than Thrawn!

    Apparently the Thrawn simulator is able to accurately determine his opponents' species from their battle tactics and customize a strategy against them exploiting their biological and cultural blind spots as determined from their art. I don't know why the GA didn't give one fleet to Bwua'tu and the rest to Thrawn simulators. Politics, I bet.
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  15. Revanfan1 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 3, 2013
    star 6
    Yep. Makes sense! :rolleyes:
  16. DigitalMessiah Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Feb 17, 2004
    star 6
    So I listened to the audio book of The Unifying Force. It abridged where Jacen doesn't catch Anakin's lightsaber -- the action still takes place but it isn't stressed as being significant that he didn't catch it until the moment I previously quoted. Jacen's apotheosis is ruined by the fact that his battle with Onimi uses duel of the fates, but the music is from the film's soundtrack so while Jacen is achieving this deeper insight to the Force, it's playing the music where Jar Jar is juggling plasma balls and crushing his groin on an ATT canon and whatnot. Completely ruined the moment.
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  17. Cynical_Ben Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 12, 2013
    star 4
    There should be an NJO soundtrack taken from other movies. Onimi's theme could be the Joker's waltz from the '89 Batman movie. And Ganner's could be the theme riff from Pacific Rim.
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  18. DigitalMessiah Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Feb 17, 2004
    star 6
  19. Cynical_Ben Jedi Grand Master

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    Aug 12, 2013
    star 4
  20. DigitalMessiah Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Feb 17, 2004
    star 6
    Last edited by DigitalMessiah, Jul 1, 2014
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  21. Force Smuggler Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Sep 2, 2012
    star 6
    Anyone else has potential themes for moments in the NJO?
  22. DigitalMessiah Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Feb 17, 2004
    star 6
    I generally don't associate non-SW music with Star Wars, truthfully. And the TPM and AoTC soundtracks were part of the zeitgeist when I read the NJO. For Ganner's last stand, the music that the audio book uses fits really well.
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  23. anakinfansince1983 Nightsister of CT, SW Saga and Lucasfilm Ltd

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    Mar 4, 2011
    star 8
    For some reason, what comes to mind is not scores from other movies, but songs by hard rock bands I listened to in the 80s.

    "Highway to Hell" could be Vong entrance music.

    "Black and Blue" works for Balance Point.

    "Love Walks In" for Jaina and Jag, and for Luke and Mara..."Pour Some Sugar On Me."

    And "Paradise City" played in the background while Coruscant is being terraformed.
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  24. Cynical_Ben Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 12, 2013
    star 4
    "Shoot to Thrill" for Kyp's squadron's theme music.

    "Highway to the Danger Zone" would be Rogue Squadron's.

    "Dreams" by Van Halen would work for Luke's squadron.

    And for Twin Sun's squadron, "Aces High" by Iron Maiden.
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  25. Arawn_Fenn Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 2, 2004
    star 7
    That actually makes a lot of sense.