Saga Anakin, it's me, Padme, I've come home...

Discussion in 'Star Wars Saga In-Depth' started by Count Yubnub, Mar 7, 2013.

  1. Count Yubnub Force Ghost

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    Oct 1, 2012
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    For you who don't know the story, here's a my little summary:
    • Older guy takes in a young slave boy, the story's main character (MC)
    • When the older guy dies, MC becomes subservient to the old man's dependent, with whom he subsequently develops a somewhat antagonistic relationship.
    • While growing up, MC develops a "forbidden" romance with an upper-class girl. They "roll and fall in green," to quote Bush.
    • Then, stuff happens, tragedy strikes (as they say), and MC's beloved dies of a broken heart (right after giving birth), while MC turns into an evil monster of a man, described in less-than-human terms.
    • Time jump. The second half of the story focuses on MC's and his beloved's offspring, a girl and a boy. MC is now the story's villain.
    • MC's offspring is raised hidden from him. Turns out his son is quite a whiny ninny, especially when he finds out about his parentage.
    • MC "kills" the old man's dependent.
    • The girl meanwhile very slowly develops a romance with a guy whom she initially disliked.
    • At the end, MC finally dies with a smile, leaving the world a better place for the younger generation after all.
    I'm probably forgetting some stuff.

    Anyway, this is Emily Brontë's 1847 novel Wuthering Heights, :D which, I'm sure most of you know, is widely considered one of the most highly regarded novels in the English literature, and I'm sure many of you have read it, probably in high school.


    So, yeah, there are a few similarities to Star Wars. Questions & comments:
    • Has Lucas ever commented on this? The novel doesn't really strike me as something that Lucas would explicitly seek as an influence, it's very bleak and I'm guessing very far removed from his more "naive," romantic tastes. It's of course possible that it was an implicit (i.e., unconscious) influence.
    • Has anyone else ever commented on this, for that matter? I've seen Anakin and Padme compared to Heathcliff and Cathy, but only in the sense that it's a tragic love story, and that Heathcliff, like Anakin, matches the "Byronic Hero" style template.
    • Yeah, I'm very well aware I'm skipping over some stuff here, and fudging some stuff there.
    • Isn't my use of bullets awesome?
    • What do we think of this similarities?
  2. Jedi_Ford_Prefect Force Ghost

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    Jun 9, 2003
    star 4
    I now officially wish I'd seen the new "Wuthering Heights" when it played at Film Forum. Shame on me.
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  3. Jarren_Lee-Saber Force Ghost

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  4. Jarren_Lee-Saber Force Ghost

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    Also, FANTASTIC argument against the PT haters who claim there is not plot. Now we can say: "Uh dude, Its the plot of Wuthering Heights"
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  5. Count Yubnub Force Ghost

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    Oct 1, 2012
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    I haven't seen that one either. I understand it received less than favorable reviews, but I'm still curious about it and I'll watch it someday.

    It's been filmed several times; the most famous one is the old 1939 version with Sir Lawrence Olivier and Merle Oberon, it won lots of Oscars. It's good, but it's very different from the novel; it omits the entire second half of the story, for one. I've also seen the 1992 version with Ralph Fiennes and Juliette Binoche (where Binoche plays both Catherine and her daughter), which stays a lot closer to the novel and is very good.

    There are other versions, including one with Tom Hardy that I haven't seen.



    Thanks! Keep in mind that I'm fudging it a little here and there. ;-)
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  6. Jarren_Lee-Saber Force Ghost

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    Not as much as you might think. I posted this on FB and at least 3 people said they recognized Wuthering Heights after a few sentences, but were totally surprised when I threw in "This is also the plot of the Star Wars Saga"
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  7. Mata2010 Jedi Master

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    Jan 2, 2013
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    Nice. I really want to watch Wuthering heights now...Netflix here I come...
  8. Alpha-Red Force Ghost

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    Apr 25, 2004
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    This reminds me of the time I was browsing random stuff on Wikipedia and found out that Mass Effect was written in 1963.
    Last edited by Alpha-Red, Mar 8, 2013
  9. Vthuil Force Ghost

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    Jan 3, 2013
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    Eh, not really the same thing. That's same basic tropes for two works in the same genre. This is a direct story parallel (well, with some choice omissions) for two works in very different genres.
  10. Count Yubnub Force Ghost

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    Huh? :confused:
  11. drg4 Force Ghost

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    Jul 30, 2005
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    Woah. I've compared Anakin to Heathcliff in the past, but failed to draw the direct parallels, particularly in regard to the OT.

    My three conclusions:

    1. You're sharp.
    2. I'm dense.
    3. The Saga is even niftier now.

    Kudos, my good sir/madam.
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  12. grungebunny Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 20, 2005
    star 1
    Its the Byronic hero thing. You are missing out a lot of the details of the novel such as the fact Cathy doesn't marry Heathcliffe. She loves him but he could never have her. His kids aren't hers and then he goes nuts and tries to recreate a happy ending with the offspring. However his only happy ending can come in death with her.
  13. Count Yubnub Force Ghost

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    Oct 1, 2012
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    I'm aware of that! I've stated as much in the OP.


    That's not entirely my interpretation.
  14. Leias_Left_Bun Jedi Grand Master

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    Feb 18, 2013
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    Overall, this is a great comparison with a lot of insight, and yes there are some very striking similarities. As you say, you are skipping a bit and fudging a bit, particularly with regard to Hindley (by no means does Heathcliff "kill" Hindley -- Hindley self-destructs entirely under his own steam). Anther nitpick is that Heathcliff was a homeless orphan when he was taken in, not a slave.

    I want to discuss the deaths of the leading ladies after childbirth because while they are very similar in some respects, I think one works very well in a dramatic context (Catherine) while the other death is a complete fail (Padme). Partly it has to do with the era when Wuthering Heights was written, and the fact that during that time medical care was extremely poor and so it's more believable that a healthy young woman could just die like that. Moreover it was established that Cathy, unlike Padme, was genuinely ill before she died.

    But most of all, from a dramatic point-of-view, Cathy brought on her own death because she had sinned against her love. She never married Heathcliff and it was not his baby she died having. Catherine was in love with Heathcliff but she still married Edgar Linton for no other reason than she wanted to be a rich, high-society lady with a comfortable life. As Heathcliff himself says while Cathy is dying:

    Why did you betray your own heart, Cathy? I have not one word of comfort. You deserve this. You have killed yourself... You loved me—then what right had you to leave me? What right—answer me—for the poor fancy you felt for Linton? Because misery and degradation, and death, and nothing that God or Satan could inflict would have parted us, you, of your own will, did it. I have not broken your heart—you have broken it; and in breaking it, you have broken mine. So much the worse for me that I am strong.

    Contrast that with Padme, who never sinned against Anakin or the love she had with him. Unlike Cathy, Padme's behavior was near-perfect and she was the soul of a devoted wife, and so in no way did Padme "deserve" to die, dramatically-speaking. To have her just give up like that was a dramatic cheat.

    But that aside, it's a very interesting comparison so thank you. And yes, your use of bullets is awesome.
  15. Eryndil Jedi Grand Master

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    Dec 18, 2012
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    Nah, they aren't that alike. But your use of bullets is majorly impressive.
  16. Count Yubnub Force Ghost

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    No, it's strongly hinted that Heathcliff "kills" Hindley.

    I'll give you that one. I don't know why I wrote that. Interference, probably.


    Oh, yawn.


    And they can. I can cite several handfuls of articles in medical journals that say so, if you need me to.


    Cathy was indeed genuinely ill. Of a broken heart.


    That's one interpretation.


    What does "deserving" have to do with it--"dramatically speaking"?


    I'm not sure what you mean with "just give up," but I'm sure you can explain. I'm also not sure why it's a dramatic cheat when it's a trope that's been around for a long, long time. Shakespeare has about a dozen characters die of a broken heart, Wagner has four, Tolkien has a bunch as well--dramatic cheats as well?
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  17. Leias_Left_Bun Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Feb 18, 2013
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    First, Hindley is an alcoholic loser with a mountain of gambling debts long before Heathcliff ever buys Wuthering Heights. That's precisely how Healthcliff is able to buy the property in the first place. Heathcliff is guilty of rubbing Hindley's nose in his weakness and failure, sure -- but that is a far, far cry from "killing" him, symbolically or otherwise. Hindley is 100 percent responsible for his own fate.

    So you can cite "several handfuls of medical journals" that say it's perfectly normal for a healthy young woman to just die for no apparent reason? Come on. Even if I conceded that, which I don't, we are talking about fiction here. And yes, there is a vast difference between the fate of a character like Catherine and someone like Padme.

    Catherine deliberately spurns the man she loves so she can marry a shallow rich guy because she doesn't want to be poor. For a romantic heroine, that is the ultimate sin. It doesn't get any worse than that, so yes, it is a form of dramatic "justice" that Catherine should die. Heathcliff is correct when he tells the dying Catherine that she is responsible for breaking her own heart. Or as Heathcliff puts it more bluntly: "I love my murderer—but yours? How can I?"

    I'll also point out that Catherine was genuinely ill because she made herself ill -- she refused to eat. Yes, that's attributable to a broken heart but it also makes sense in the narrative when Catherine finally does die. She is in a greatly weakened state before giving birth.

    That is 180 degrees away from Padme, who was never anything but completely devoted to the man she loved. In no shape or form does Padme deserve her fate. Up until the moment she gives birth, we are never led to believe that Padme has refused to eat or neglected herself physically in any way. On the contrary, she appears to have taken very good care of herself, a healthy strong woman when she confronts Anakin. It would have been so easy for Lucas to put something in the dialogue to explain why Padme had to die -- some complication from childbirth, or from the force-choking. But he didn't. His only explanation to the audience is that she "lost the will to live". That's BS.

    A better comparison for Padme would be Ophelia -- a doomed female lead whose only crime was loving the wrong man. Both woman are victims, period. But at least Ophelia's death makes sense and Shakespeare gives us an actual medical reason for why this woman died. But more importantly, Ophelia had not just given birth to two babies who desperately needed her. So it's easier to buy the idea that Ophelia just gave up. But Padme should never have. Yes, it was a dramatic cheat.
    Last edited by Leias_Left_Bun, Mar 14, 2013
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  18. Jarren_Lee-Saber Force Ghost

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    The Elves in Tolkien can ONLY die of a broken heart if they aren't killed.
  19. Leias_Left_Bun Jedi Grand Master

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    Elves are beings who have supernatural powers, so they can willingly sever the link between body and soul. Padme has no supernatural powers -- none, zilch, nada.

    Whether you're talking about Catherine Earnshaw, Ophelia, Desdemona, Cordelia, or any other female lead in classic literature, the authors gives us at least a some genuine medical reason to explain the death. Catherine locked herself in a room and refused to eat for a prolonged time, Ophelia drowned, Desdemona was choked to death, and so on. Lucas refused to give the audience even the flimsiest medical reason to explain Padme's death. Physically, there was no reason for it whatsoever. The only explanation he offers is that she lost he will to live -- in spite of the fact that she has two babies who desperately need her. Lame.
    Last edited by Leias_Left_Bun, Mar 15, 2013
  20. Vthuil Force Ghost

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    Jan 3, 2013
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    Also worth noting here is the phrase classic literature. It's not a trope that works as well these days.
  21. Leias_Left_Bun Jedi Grand Master

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    Feb 18, 2013
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    Alright, how about respected literature? That's in the eye of the beholder of course, but it leaves out a lot of romantic drivel.

    Point is, Tolkien's elves are a separate race with a very specific set of rules that apply to them. Padme is human. There is nothing in the story to suggest she is anything other than a normal human female with all the laws of nature that apply to a normal woman. For Lucas to feed us a story where this woman -- a perfectly healthy young woman who has no medical complications whatsoever -- simply wills herself to die when she has newborn babies who need her, is not good storytelling.
  22. Random Comments Force Ghost

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    Sep 25, 2012
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    Also, the elves are immortal and eventually would return after their death...
  23. Jarren_Lee-Saber Force Ghost

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    Not to Middle Earth they don't. Their spirits go first to the Halls of Mandos for their time of reflection, and when that is over they live among the other Eldar in the Undying Lands.
  24. Jarren_Lee-Saber Force Ghost

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    "just given birth" is a medical condition.
  25. Random Comments Force Ghost

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    Im fairly certain that they can come back to middle earth, and that some of them do. I could be wrong, though...