Lit Did Pellaeon Change?

Discussion in 'Literature' started by Robimus, Feb 11, 2009.

  1. Robimus Force Ghost

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    Posted by Grand Admiral Jello in the Read Squadron Thread:

    No, I'm calling his dramatic change in demeanor, character, and mindset to be fanservice

    So here's a chance to examine Gilad Pellaeon at a bit more length. I'm really of the mind that he grew as a leader through the books, I saw no dramatic change but a slow progression of someone loyal to an ideal. Jello obviously disagree's;).

    Any thoughts? Was Gilad's change from Heir to Ruin to Remnant to Revelation a dramatic one or just a natural progression?
  2. Darth_Monopoly Jedi Master

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    To me it seemed like a natural progression. It took years for him to go from Thrawn's second-in-command to where he was in the NJO and LOTF. I never saw anything wrong with it, and if anything it made sense. I loved him in the HOT trilogy.
  3. T-boy-wan Force Ghost

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    I thought he seemed pretty off in Revelation. Tahiri did as well. I remember reading a part of them talking to each other and not quite believing what I was reading. Apart from that, his character seemed pretty consistent throughout different works.
  4. AdmiralNick22 Fleet Admiral of Literature

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    I think that the progression of his character through the Bantam years was very well handled. It also worked quite well during his early appearances in the NJO.

    However, starting with Destiny's Way, there was a slow but steady change that authors made with Pellaeon. He became a bit more authoritarian and arrogant. It is also important to note that Pellaeon was never initially described as a stellar fleet commander. If anything, he seems to be more of an administrator than a combat commander. However, since the FH Trilogy, Pellaeon has been described as one of the galaxies best military minds.

    I don't realy think that this is a direct fanservice, but there has been a slow but steady change in Pellaeon's character.

    --Adm. Nick
  5. Robimus Force Ghost

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    I attribute Pellaeon's increased military comptetence to a number of factors. Having served beside Thrawn for several years jumps out most notably, but with age come experience. Pellaeon had a lot of oppurtunity to learn from his mistakes.

    I think by the time Revelation came about he had become overconfident at least politically, but I've never seen him as over confident or arrogant as a fleet commander. Quite the opposite actually. I attribute his take charge nature in the later NJO as a natural step portrayed throughout the series.

    Pellaeon wanted to join the fight against the Vong in and after Ruin, but bowed to the wishes of the Moff Council and returned to Bastion. Once it becomes clear that this was a mistake with the Remnant on the brink of destruction he does take charge, much like he has in the past. Not because he wants to but because he has to. Maybe thats why I didn't take it as arrogance, though he certainly becomes a more take charge guy for sure.

    As a Grand Admiral he was more of a symbol for the Remnant than anything else, though I still think he was very deserving of the title. Being that the Grand Admirals of Imperial history range from being military genius's to mere political appointments, it fits well enough. I think the title was based on not only his skills as a military leader, but as being just a leader in general.
  6. RebelJoseWales Jedi Grand Master

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    His portrayal in the NJO was a little off, in my opinion. They showed him as more of a goose-stepping blowhard than the slightly talented, or at least competent, and loyal commander from earlier works. The only thing that struck me as truly head-desk worthy was in LotF when he resigned his post as Supreme Commander of the GA in a fury because it was becoming like the Empire. As in, the dude who spent fifty years fighting for the Empire, stuck to it in its darkest hour, and was willing to sacrifice everything for its well-being, resigned because the GA was becoming like it. That ranks up there with Daala the chief of state.
  7. Robimus Force Ghost

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    Pellaeon stepped down because he didn't like the former Imperial leadership probably mostly in the form of Vader. He saw Jacen Solo as the exact type of leader he didn't want.

    Captain Pellaeon is nervous about the presence of a Dark Jedi. He fears a return of someone of Lord Vader's power and disposition.-Heir to the Empire Source Book, published 1992.

    I mentioned the ideal that he was following earlier. He served the Empire, believes in the Empire, but I think was quite at odds with its leadership since he was first written. He was a military man who didn't have a high reguard for his Sith masters, but respected the military structure within the Old Republic and Empire that followed.

    One of my favorite Pellaeon quotes comes from his thoughts in Revelation:

    We are the Empire. We bring order and justice for the common good.
  8. BENSKYWAKER Jedi Master

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    I think Pellaeon was always a good guy in a bad guy spot. If you guys have read "The Last Battle" by C.S. Lewis, you may recall the warrior on the human army side that always served honor and good despite being in an army that was evil.

    Pellaeon didn't like Sith commanders probably because they didn't care how many regular people died, and the Emperor and Vader never really used strategy they just threw their forces at the enemy.

    Thrawn cared about his troops surviving, he understood tactical loses but tried to avoid as many as possible. Pellaeon was always Thrawn's second in command even when Thrawn was dead.

    I think Pellaeon does change in behavior and leadership ability and skill. But I think he was always a good guy, and he was always trying to be Thrawn or at least act like him.

    Pellaeon served the Empire for what it stood for not what it actually was. The Empire was evil, but he stood for the ideal that it was to bring order and good for all. He resigned his GA post because it didn't stand for the common man at all not even in ideal. Jacen didn't even pretend to bring order or stability like the Emperor did. He just wanted total control and everyone knew it.
  9. Darth_Monopoly Jedi Master

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    Comparing Pellaeon to the soldier from "The Last Battle" is a very accurate comparison. One I wish I had come up with myself, because it does make a lot of sense.
  10. MistrX Force Ghost

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    Yeah, I found that a bit head-scratch inducing.
  11. DarthBoba Manager Emeritus

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    I think the point was that it was becoming like the aspects of the Empire he hated-GAG/ISB and a Sith on the throne. Pelly never seemed very fond of any of those.
  12. Grey1 Host: 181st Imperial Discussion Group

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    It works as a normal character transition for the books, but it's still a bit... obvious.

    Pellaeon starts as a Watson to Thrawn's Holmes, and I mean the dumb Watson version that some TV movies have. Of course, you'd think he'd have to be really competent to serve under Thrawn, but then again, when you look at the original books only, it could have been intended that Thrawn just didn't have any other first officer (having been in exile and all) and didn't really care because he himself was smart enough for the whole bridge. In the end, when Thrawn is defeated, Pellaeon can do nothing but retreat.

    Now, we have to take into account that Pellaoen is already rather old at that point. It would be logical if he didn't learn any new tricks at his age, meaning that he won't have much character development taking him away from that point.

    Then again, Bantam EU goes on to establish him as the most competent Imperial around, and I'd say that's OOU because he's the most famous name from the most famous / earliest book who is still alive. "Name tops competence" was also done with Daala taking charge of the "Imperial antagonists" in Darksaber although she'd already proven to be incompetent. Pellaeon now becomes Thrawn light. We still get the warlord of the week, but Pellaeon is like Mara Jade - a character so prominent (because of their 'firstborn' EU status) that you don't only let him live, you give him the keys to the kingdom of EU and make him into something really important. Also, in the timeframe prior to the NJO, I think most of his deeds come from source books. And then Hand Of Thrawn has him take his eternal place as Star Wars VIP (at the same time that Mara becomes a Skywalker).

    In the NJO and onwards, we have to deal with the Good Imperial Remnant, a strange behemoth of a benevolent militant dictatorship with faceless soldiers who march at children's parades (wait, that was OOU). And with the Empire having turned into the Good Empire, we need to have a benevolent, competent leader. And there is only one name left in the hat that we know from the now legendary Zahn trilogy.

    Somehow, I think you can draw nice parallels between Pellaeon's development from Retreating Second Fiddle to Benevolent Beloved Overlord and Thrawn's life after death that took him from Glorious Smart Bastard to Misunderstood Noble Savior.
  13. BENSKYWAKER Jedi Master

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    I agree with Pellaeon being Thrawn's watson but not implying that he is done. I would agree with it like the original Watson for the original stories. Who wasn't stupid at all, just didn't have the brillance of Sherlock and was a way for the reader to figure out whats going on without the character continously talking to himself.

    And yes some character that is already known and liked is going to get power. You can only introduce so many character before you realize people like certain ones and will read stories about them. Zahn was a great author and made lots of interesting characters so naturally they are going to get future roles. Thats just common sense.
  14. Grey1 Host: 181st Imperial Discussion Group

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    Exactly. To all of this.

    My point is that it's based in the OOU circumstances of the character having to grow into a better role in order to still be around later on instead of a normal character development based on what was implied or expected at the end of The Last Command (and this actually could be seen as what Jello called fanservice, if I remember the beginning of the thread right ;) ).
  15. Admiral_Stone Jedi Knight

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    I think that Pellaeon was at least competent during the Clone Wars, but started stagnating/decaying under the relative peace under the EmpireI-). He was then the type of person that was drawn to better individuals, to really just be around them=P~ . This is seen with Thrawn but better yet, Daala. His behavior in Darksaber was "Ooh, here's an Admiral[face_hypnotized]. They must be better than me!" Then when all of those guys are dead/exiled he has an epiphany[face_idea] and is like "Oh, crap- there's no one to take responsibility from me and lead the Empire. Guess I'll do it[face_dancing] " Gains confidence in his abilities, which allows for him to be a better commander.
  16. JediSarpedon Jedi Padawan

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    Sep 16, 2008
    I think the pivotal moment for the character is indeed Darksaber where Daala gives him command of the fleet. One of the Pellaeon character's foundational values, imo, is loyalty. He is loyal to his superior officers to such a degree that it can be easily argued that his competence is limited by theirs. He may think "Oh, this is stupid" but he'll do it anyway, if ordered to. When we see him finally freed from the shackles of his loyalty to his superiors, we really start to see his abilities.

    With his loyalty to "superiors" gone, we shifts his loyalty to the Remnant at large, and sees his duty to protect the people of the Remnant, to protect those who wish to live in a more authoritarian, and ironically, politically stable world. We see him transition from merely an officer to the leader of a nation. His competence does seem to take a rather large jump, but that could be attributed to his own competence being higher than those he served under.
  17. Havac Former Moderator

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    Grey1 is absolutely right. I did Pellaeon's article for Wookieepedia, and in the course of reading, I realized we saw a significant shift from TTT to HOT, and then again from HOT to the NJO. In TTT and even in Darksaber, he's a good administrator and loyal, competent, disciplined officer. However, he's nowhere near a military genius; he's pretty average, and with a deeply ingrained tendency to call retreats and see situations as unwinnable; he's a pessimist who tends to give up easily.

    In HOT, he's suddenly competent. He's the Grand Old Man of the military and he's supposedly picked up a bunch of stuff from Thrawn to the point where he's a pretty good admiral, whereas in TTT all he could really manage to do is sit there going, "Huh?" Apparently everything he learned was postmortem.

    In the NJO is his biggest change. He stops being a pessimist; he's no longer of the "OMG we're screwed retreat/surrender" school of thought. He's now gone from being mediocre to being competent to being a Grand Admiral deserving of the title; apparently his military genius blossomed at age 70. In addition to suddenly being a master tactician and strategist, he suddenly became cuddly. You'll note that Pellaeon in TTT and HOT was Imperial to the core. He believed in Empire, he happily oversaw the ordering of kidnapping attempts on a pregnant woman and Noghri assassination missions, and in Darksaber he cheerfully went to pound the Jedi School flat. In HOT, he proposed surrender not because he liked the NR, but because surrendering was the only way to preserve the Empire and Imperial ideals; he explicitly presents it as a means of allowing the Empire and its ideals to rise again. In FH, especially, he suddenly becomes the cuddly champion of the GA/NR and happily tells the moffs to get in line behind the NR. Post-NJO, we have him discussing his admiration for the Jedi and grumbling that Empire only works if the people who like it are kept out of power. And thus we get wishy-washy "Clones are people too!" Pellaeon in True Colors, replacing "Clones? Crazy, scary stuff," Pellaeon from TTT.

    Yes, Pellaeon's undergone revisions in characterization and presentation for wholly OOU reasons. He's gone from being a generic career middling military officer in Nazi Germany who doesn't particularly care for the SS but doesn't feel any desire to leave, to being Erwin Rommel (that, plus genius), to being Horatio Nelson (old-school militaristic, but without the problematic political and ideological baggage).
    Charlemagne19 and Gamiel like this.
  18. GrandAdmiralJello Moderator Communitatis Litterarumque

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    Couldn't have put it better myself, Havac. :)
  19. Robimus Force Ghost

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    While I'd dipute the claim that Pellaeon fell in line behind the GA in Force Heretic due to the circumstances of that series of books,(Bastion and Muunilist were in ruins, the Chimaera virtually destroyed and Pellaeon himself ends up commanding from a bacta tank), I think Havac does make some good points.

    Pellaeon between roughly 12 ABY to 19ABY commanded the Imperial Fleet in conflict after conflict against the New Republic, most of these events off screen, leading into the events of Spectre of the Past. Most of these engagements he likely didn't win but presumably made a good accounting for himself against the NR, thus earning the respect of their military brass.(If comments from NR characters from there forward are taken to heart)

    His military genius is questionable, but I really don't think we actually see it very often in the books. He's not Thrawn, but I don't think that makes him really a bad commander in the bigger picture. Thrawn himself doesn't think of him as a bad commander, though its clear at the time of TTT that Pellaeon does lack confidence. Kinda like a young basketball player that elects to pass instead of taking the big shot early in his career, but gains the confidence to take that shot as a vetran.

    And whats wrong with someone blossoming at 70? This is a galaxy where the elite now can reach ages almost double that. JediSarpendon sums up part of my thoughts very well, it's only when he realizes that he must lead that his true ability begins to show, aided by his years of experience.

    As to his "Huh'ing in TTT. He does have some moments and idea's that surface that Thrawn likes and uses. Implying he's not smart because he can't interpret all of Thrawn's strategies isn't really fair. Thrawn was virtaully impossible to understand, unless one was well versed in determining military strategy from looking at art.:p

    The situation in True Colors is pretty easily explained and still likely being retconned by the authors. There is no reason to think that Pellaeon had yet developed any bias against the Clones that were serving with him. I'd suggest this story is yet to be flushed out completely, though as it now stands I agree it doesn't work. It wouldn't surprise me if it ends up retconned into nothing either, though I'd rather it doesn't.

    As for being a career middling officer, well its clear he was already more than that at the very start of TTT. He was easily in a position more prominate than a middling officer according to those earlier works which proclaim him to have "done his best" to hold the Imperial Fleet together and mention him having ordered "retreat after retreat" He was in a prominate command position of some kind even if it wasn't reflected in his rank. I assume a "middling career officer" in Nazi Germany wouldn't have that kind of responsibilty on his shoulders.

    Anyway, lots of good takes here and some things I hadn't thought about.:)
    Gamiel likes this.
  20. BENSKYWAKER Jedi Master

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    I don't ever think Pellaeon was a incompetant commander. Though I haven't read true colors yet. He organizes the retreat when the empire is breaking down (which historically organizing a retreat is harder then planning an attack see George Washington as example). Thrawn picks him as a second in command and basically tutors him. He doesn't win the war, but honestly who could at that point. The rebellion was kinda a sealed deal.

    And all in all I don't ever think he was a military genius. Does it ever say that he is? I is a great solder and definatly knows his stuff, but I don't think it ever puts him on level with Ackbar, Thrawn, or Bwautu (or however you spell that bothan's name :p) He is good, he is tough, he knows his stuff but he isn't genius. Think Wellington compared to Napoleon or Grant compared to Lee. Mark Anthony compared to Caeser. I could go on. You can be a professional solder with skill and not be a genius.
  21. Robimus Force Ghost

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    True Colors is just a cameo really. Not much there other than the Clones respecting Pellaeon and Pellaeon respecting the Clones.

    Doesn't fit with him questioning Thrawn for bringing "that thing"(C'Baoth) aboard his ship in Heir. He clearly doesn't like clones in TTT.
  22. GrandAdmiralJello Moderator Communitatis Litterarumque

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    My attention has been drawn to the following exchange in the ESB radio drama, which I shall now reproduce for your edification:

    VEERS: The Rebels are well entrenched -- in ice caverns; they've turned that part of Hoth into a fortress. But we have the troops and the ships. In the end, we will crush them.

    VADER: But at what idiotic waste of Imperial resources! A simple act of conquest now becomes a needless and costly battle. And tell me, Veers, do
    you regard that as wisdom?

    Pelly's attitude towards Vader and the Emperor seem to stem from bitterness over his incompetence. Failures do tend to blame everyone else, after all.
  23. DarthBoba Manager Emeritus

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    Amen to that, Jello. For the love of crumbcake, Vader killed Ozzel for not obeying his direct orders and alerting the Rebellion to their presence, which made a costly ground attack necessary due to the presence of the shield. People seem to forget that alot; Vader may not have been best friends forever with his men, but he certainly didn't waste them needlessly, either. He wasn't some psychotic nut who wandered his ship killing folks for no reason.

    Happily, most of the EU seems to acknowledge that, despite Zahn's silly dislike of the man. Personally, I treat all of Pelly's strange, no-basis-in-other-canon statements as just Zahn trying to be smart.
  24. jSarek VIP

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    Can you justify Needa so easily?
  25. Robimus Force Ghost

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    His(Vader's) severe command structure was legendary, if not horrifying; displease him and the least that would happen was physical unpleasantness; disappoint him and accept death as the punishment. Vader seemed to relish killing his own "incompetent" officers, but it did little to gain him respect.- The Essential Guide to Characters

    Vader has compiled something of a list over the years. Grammel, Ozzel and Needa are just off the top of my head. Heck poor Conan:p Motti would be on that list to if not for Tarkin, just for daring to point out Vader's own short comings.

    But then I personally prefer the big, bad, evil Vader of old to this nice, new version. Now days everybody loves him, he was just a mis-understood fellow in a black suit:p