Discussion in 'Literature' started by CooperTFN, Jul 8, 2013.
I contest the premise. Kyle Katarn is Wolverine. If Wolverine were way more awesome.
I thought Kyle Katarn was Deadpool with his one liners.
No, Wes Janson is Deadpool.
Another interesting article, on character deaths:
Another good article - beginning with Wedge - but moving on to other characters:
Great article, The Loyal Imperial. My only complaint is your continued decision to refer to members of the Alliance to Restore the Republic as "rebels", not "Rebels".
Very well. All members of the entity referring to itself as the "Rebel Alliance" shall henceforth be referred to as "Rebel scum."
As long as the R is capitalized he's happy.
Today's triumphant return of Go Figure is something everyone here should see.
I really love the Infinities piece, everyone. Good work.
I was disappointed with the Infinities comics too, mostly because none of them were really all that imaginative. But it did get me thinking, and has caused me to pathologically search out good AU fanfic.
I'm happy to welcome anakinfansince1983 to the guest roster with The Case Against Mara Jade Skywalker.
Naturally, Twitter is yelling at me already.
It's an excellent piece.
Indeed. Harsh, but thorough. And likely born out of our discussion of Mara in another thread, points of which date back to my NJO thread. So that makes me the second godfather twice removed of the article, I guess.
So you're taking credit for the Episode 7 thread somehow?
Well, now I understand to a certain extent why anakinfan doesn't like Luke and Mara together. Mara's abrasiveness led to some entertaining things, like this exchange from Vision of the Future.
Which is why I never had a problem whatsoever with Mara, but instead with much of how she was used after the wedding. To the point I would counter that the real problem isn't Mara, its that Zahn is the only one that gets them.
Not necessarily, but I did write this post on the page before AF's. (Not to take anything away from her, again, it was born of discussion, not of my ideas.)
I like Mara. I have since I read the Thrawn Trilogy. She was an enigma, a headstrong, brusque mercenary with an Imperial past, angry at the galaxy and Luke Skywalker for robbing her of her life. Circumstances force her to team with the same man she hates, and, well, that's what they call that. But as I've grown up and read more of the EU, I've realized that she's never gotten a better portrayal than that initial one. Pretty much every book she's been in since, chronologically before or after, has been inferior. And I've narrowed the reason down to two factors.
First: she loses her mystery factor without gaining anything to take its place. When Mara debuted, she was the Emperor's Hand, something we'd never seen before. Ever since, she's been explained, her past, her work, her life, her feelings, all of it expanded ad nauseum. But she's never really been fleshed out in any way to make up for that loss. She's largely the same character she started as, just a lot less angry. And that's made her boring. I read through the NJO recently, and I noted in every review how lackluster her portrayal was there by and large. If anything, her pregnancy was the low point of her portrayal in the EU writ large.
And that's the second problem: the authors have no idea how to handle her. Not even Tim Zahn. A snarky, capable female spy is a terrific character template (Black Widow exists for a reason, as do Mockingbird, Peggy Carter, Maria Hill, etc), but that's almost never what she is. She's been a smuggler, a Jedi, a mercenary, pretty much everything in the galaxy except bounty hunting, and nothing's stuck. And then she married Luke.
I've heard it that having Luke and Mara marry was Zahn's idea for them from the moment they were introduced. If that were true, you'd think there would have been more of a plan for them than there wound up being. And if Zahn had a plan, he sure didn't share it with anyone. Because Luke and Mara's marriage, while it might look fine on paper depending on how you like the character, backfired. It wound up stagnating both characters in their "playful flirty" stage of a relationship and it never advanced from there, not in any way that wasn't reversed in the next book in line. Luke suffered, but at least he still had other relationships and stories to advance him, especially with his Jedi students. Mara had no one. She became Luke's satellite, never leaving his side except in rare circumstances, almost all of her character revolving around either him or "Hey, I worked for the Emperor once."
Out of all of the EU created characters, Mara's unique. She lasted a very long time, and is easily the best known pure EU character in existence (aside from maybe Thrawn). Friends of mine who have never read a Star Wars book in their life still know who she is through fandom osmosis, word of her spreading through the grapevine. But it's always in relation to the movie characters that everyone's placed on a pedestal. "Hey, did you know Luke got married to this red haired Imperial chick?" "Where?" "In the books. They've got a kid, too." She stopped being a character in her own right and became Luke Skywalker's wife, which is a role that damaged her character a lot. It might have been salvageable, except that the portrayals of her as such have been very much wanting for depth. I can think of maybe two or three quality scenes for her in the entire NJO that don't involve Luke or, later on, her obsession with baby Ben. Imagine if Leia and Han's relationship worked the way Mara and Luke's does. Would anyone have tolerated it? Of course not.
And then, the crowning moment, is her getting effectively 'fridged in LotF so her nephew can turn to the dark side, which somehow gets carried off without her husband immediately beating the snot-nosed little punk down.
So, yes, I like Mara, in concept. It's the execution that I don't like. I've tried writing 'fics with Mara in them in the past, she's a tricky character to get right, to strike a balance between being snarky and angry and still having some sort of internal goodness that might eventually turn her toward the light. I just have a hard time believing that paid, professional authors couldn't get that right on a consistent basis, or work out some sort of arc for her than didn't revolve around Luke.
*Sigh.* Who knows, and, really, at this point, who really cares? If Mara is going to appear in anything upcoming, my money's on her cameoing in Rebels at some point, a la Delta Squad in TCW. But aside from that, we might not ever see another story with Mara in it. At least not for several years, until Del Rey et al know what in Corellia's Hells is going on with the post-RotJ era.
So, again, second godfather twice removed. Related in concept but not actually at all in any meaningful way.
I know, just poking you.
I wouldn't say only Zahn, but that's kind of my own feeling. I think that ideally, the wedding (and motherhood) would've tempered Mara a little, while simultaneously, maturity and experience would've made Luke a little more jocular and assertive. But like many things in the NJO and beyond, it didn't really happen consistently and Luke started to come across more like a weathervane and Mara as the same person she was at 25.
I think it's actually quite a subtle charge, which may well get overlooked: Mara Jade is guilty of adopting a one-size-fits-all approach to social interactions, which should be an utter disaster for a romantic relationship, never mind marriage or having a family. The Q asked is why does she have to be this way in relation to this part of her life? And there is no good answer to be found.
Even considered as a employment persona, would you enjoy working with someone as blunt - and blind to her faults - as Mara? Leia, for all her snark, tends to pick deserving targets, I can't help but see Mara as being far more shotgun and indiscriminate, the kind of person who deploys the 'if you're hurt, don't be so damn sensitive' card.
Luceno handled Mara well, IMO.
Well, again, I think that's a writing criticism--she became their go-to eyeroll machine with less and less thought given to how she'd really feel.
Great feedback everyone, I appreciate it. And thanks to Coop for giving me the opportunity to do this.
Really quickly addressing the Han/Leia comparison: My thought was that they snarked a lot at each other in the beginning; I wouldn't describe either of them as "mild mannered" and they could both dish back in spades whatever the other sent out. I also thought that the snark from both of them was grossly tempered when they actually got together. Leia was very different with the man she loved, than with the man who almost got her killed by blasting everything in sight on the Death Star--even though they are the same man at different times.
There's some good discussion happening over in the article comments as well if you want to jump in.
I just got home a few minutes ago; easier to add to the site discussion now that I'm not on my phone so I'm there.
Coming for a person who I think is the one fan most critical of Mara Jade in the history of the Star Wars franchise , that article definitely causes me to raise an eyebrow. There is a lot of praise in the article that simply doesn't match up to my conversations with anakinfan over the past few years. None the less, moving on.........
I feel like it may be a somewhat incomplete assessment of Luke & Mara's relationship if it doesn't take into account LOTF, a series which despite its many faults, I thought contained some of the best relationship moments between those two characters that appeared in the novels. I'm sure that is a problem for many in and of itself, but it is hard to look at the complete picture of the relationship of Luke & Mara if the last seven or eight years of the relationship are being missed.
I'd be interested to know which book and comics were included to come to the conclusion, or if all were read and taken into account?