EU Debates Spinoff II: Mara Jade's sacrifice in VOTF

Discussion in 'Literature' started by Jades Fire, Mar 1, 2001.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. Jedi Ben Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jul 19, 1999
    star 6
    Hi Jades Fire,

    I just reread the JM post I agreed with, having done that the issue of the 'sacrifice' is the only bit I don't accept, thus I was in error to say I entirely agreed, 'almost entirely agree' would have been better but this is what happens when I throw in quickly written comments.

    For the most part I think that Mara DID make her sacrifice in VOTF but perhaps did not know the full significance of it at the time, she knew it was a major event in her life, but the sense I get in BP, is only 7 years later has she began to truly see how major.

    What I take issue is with is Zahn's writing of Mara. Since BP I have not been so impresseed with Zahn's portrayal of Jade. It might be said that MJ is Zahn's character, but that doesn't mean he writes her the best, some people find the other versions of Luke to better than Lucas' portrayal, due to how they see the character. In VOTF the sacrifice is to become a Jedi, which involves a huge commitment on MJ's part. But it is in BP that I understood Mara, it is there I see why it was so difficxult for her to do it, because it was her very soul at stake, her self, of choosing between what she was and is and could be.

    In regard to plot, I tend to agree with you on the sacrifice issue but disagree over Zahn's writing.

    Of course I am notorious for changing my mind but we'll see.

    Regards

    Jedi Ben
  2. Jades Fire Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 8, 1998
    star 4
    EchoBase,

    >>It seems like you're saying that when she destroyed her ship, she had made a decision to give up her current life and become a jedi. Is this right? <<

    Not exactly. This was not a snap decision on Mara's part. She had been thinking about this for a while, probably ever since Luke told her that she could be a Jedi if she just gave herself to the Force. She even told Luke that it was his idea, "It was all your idea, you know."

    It seems to me as if Mara decided to fully embrace the will of the Force, to cast aside her selfish nature and embrace the path of the Jedi. She decided to put peace and security, serving the New Republic -- by not allowing the Hand of Thrawn to be given to the Empire - above her own independent, selfish desires. Part of this decision was to sacrifice her ship.

    Pardon me while I fine-tune a bit here. The part about the Force accepting her decision isn't really right in hindsight. It's not as if the Force decided to be with her more after the crash than before. The Force has always been with her; she's always been Force sensitive. Because she gave herself to a cause greater than herself, gave herself to the destiny of the Force, she destroyed the barriers that she had created within herself that had closed her off to a greater understanding of the Force.

    Once she decided to start down the path of serving the Force, to become a Jedi, was she able to break through the barriers preventing her from accessing the Force more fully. The more she gives herself to the Force, the more she will be able to use it, the more she will be able to do with it.


    Jedi_Jump, Yes selfishness (going anywhere at anytime whenever she wants) is what she gave up.

    DL or someone else can correct me if I am wrong, but I think "Jade Solitaire" was written before VOTF (but published after). West End Games went under and the story was never published in the SWAJ's. It wasn't until Bantam published TftNR that "Jade Solitaire" saw the light of day. So, I'd hardly call "Jade Solitaire" ret-conning. More like filling in the blanks, giving MJ a bit of background story between COTJ and HOT.
  3. Darth Ludicrous Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 25, 2000
    star 5
    Actually, I'm fuzzy on this, Jades. It was probably written afterwards but meant to be published first, since WEG had a faster turnaround on publishing stories than Bantam had.
  4. GirlJedi Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 10, 2000
    star 3
    I like Tim Zahn and his writing, but I have to say that the more I think about it, the more I am not satisfied with Mara?s psychological and spiritual development/transformation in the HOT trilogy.

    I know her ship meant a lot to her ? but what about her life??? I didn?t see any build up to this at all in her character. I do understand that Mara was very independent, but she's also 10 years older. What has been in her thinking for those years?

    What were her expectations for those 10 years? What was inside her ? did she have any niggling voices in that time? What are her dreams and aspirations? What spiritual part of herself ? what lesson did she learn or find in herself. If she found that she didn?t want to be so independent, that she wants to be with someone, is it only with Luke? If so, why? I didn?t really see this transformation in her character in VOTF, with all due respect to Mr. Zahn. By giving something up one gains so much more. And I hope it?s *not* just to gain a great hero husband i.e., Luke. The path of A. I don't want to be alone anymore, B. I want to be with -- Luke ?!, C. I have to open myself up to him, and take a chance.

    I want her to go through her transformation for herself. So that she feels at ease with the Force. Why is she still so sarcastic and angry at the beginning of VOTF?? I mean Luke came out to get her ? and all she can give him is attitude? Why? What is she still resentful and angry about after 10 years? What about the time spent with Kyle Katarn. I just don?t see any real reason why she is still angry or bitter at the beginning of VOTF or see her softening.

    Was she ever attracted to Luke just on a physical basis for these past 10 years. Is she just happy to have him as a friend ? does she count him as a friend, and if so, why? What about the conversation that goes: ?I couldn?t stay with you and learn from you, because I was starting to feel so strongly about you ? I was too attracted and it got in the way ? do you know what I?m talking about?? I bet Luke does know.

    Is she just going to live out her life in Karrde?s organization? So this can be blamed on EU continuity. But I would have liked to have seen a deeper transformation. I know the ship meant a lot, and was a symbol. Yes getting married means you?re not just alone anymore.

    I like Tim Zahn but his writing is not as much on a personal level as I would have liked to see in Mara. I?m sorry but it wasn?t deep enough for my taste.

    compare: Luke ? eager ready to jump to anything in ANH without thinking about consequences and the changes he went through to be the calm Jedi Knight going into Jabba?s Palace
    Mythologically ? I want to see her journey akin to Psyche?s journey and Aphrodite?s tasks demanded of her. I do think Mara is up to this. There were 4 tasks Aprhrodite gave Psyche for the priviledge of marrying her son, Eros. She had to sort seeds, gather the golden fleece, gather some water in a flask from a forbidden river, and journey to the Underworld to obtain some of Persephone?s beauty ointment.
  5. GirlJedi Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 10, 2000
    star 3
    Jade's Fire - I think that Mara shouldn't say or feel that "it's all Luke's idea." It has to come from her, from herself or it doesn't mean anything.
    I think your reasoning is sound, but I'm looking for more depth in it. Why isn't Mara happy? She doesn't seem at peace with it -- to me anyways. That's how I feel about it.
  6. aleja Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Sep 23, 1999
    star 3
    GirlJedi -

    Re: Mara's change of heart: Reread the scene in the cloning chamber in VotF.

    And I agree with you that the writing isn't the deepest and there are many things that are left unsatisfactory to a reader who wishes for a more in-depth look at Mara's psyche, but then this is a licensed universe genre novel. It's not literary fiction. A book like this will never be an Oprah pick or a NY Times Notable book or a Pulitzer or Booker Prize Finalist. And rightfully so - that's not the target reading audience.

    However, I do see parallels to Psyche's journey. After all, Mara had to work with Luke to navigate the Hand of Thrawn's corridors, refuse Parck and Fel's tempting offer, sacrifice her ship, and come to the brink of sacrificing her life before she was rewarded with Luke's love. But in this case she was acting as her own Venus (who set Psyche on her tasks) - she had set up for herself many barriers that only she could take down.
  7. GirlJedi Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 10, 2000
    star 3
    aleja, I know what you mean, there are limitations to the genre.
    Mara doesn't exactly have to follow that path, just used it as an example of the feminine journey. I'm interested in the feminine journey. but maybe it isn't in Star Wars. it seems like it could be in the EU.

    Mara Jade is a great, strong character. Like Leia, a spirited female who gets to do stuff.

    we know she is a warrior woman. if we're going to have her also be a lover, wife and mother, then i didn't really see enough of a change in her to these.
  8. JM_Corran_Horn Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jan 22, 2001
    star 2
    I don't know whether this has been mentioned as i can't be bothered to read all replys, but "her ships wasn't a big loss" u try telling Han that, he put his ships above Lando in RotJ, as he had the feeling he wouldn't see her again, not that he feared for Lando's safety. It is just the same with Mara, plus as other people have mentioned, losing her ship didn't wasn't the only thing that was part of her loss.
  9. Dewlanna Solo Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 31, 1999
    star 4
    Someone mentioned briefly near the beginning of this discussion that once Mara's ship was destroyed, the only other way to get off planet was Luke's one-seater X-Wing.
    I had forgotten that part. It puts the sacrifice in a totally different light.
    When she crashes her ship, Mara is doing more than just destroying her prized possession.
    She is also destroying HER way of getting back home. I think she even tells Luke something like "You head out in the X-wing, come back and get me if you can"

    SO there is a whole lot more going on here than just wrecking her home and all her possessions.
    She's putting her freedom (from the Chiss and all) and perhaps her very life on the line too.
  10. Casta Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jun 23, 2000
    star 4
    An excess of sentimental attachment to objects leads to over-emphasis of the value of them.

    You know, your emotions are never a legitimate cause in this cruel world. We're too rational to listen to that.
  11. Jedi Merkurian Episode VII Thread-Reaper

    Manager
    Member Since:
    May 25, 2000
    star 6
    Viewed in hindsight, yes, I understand the deeper meaning of Mara wrecking her ship. But ONLY in hindsight. I've seen some persuasive words here, but they all reference "ret-conning" on the part of Zahn & other authors.

    BP, Jade Solitaire, & other works are all *separate* from VotF. There would've been no need to explain the gravity of Mara's actions if it had been properly done in VotF. As we've seen from the numerous Mara supporters, all it would've taken was a paragraph to say "by sacrificing her ship, Mara was giving up her materialism & desire for independence." It just seems to me like this didn't happen in VotF, and it took outside works to fix this oversight.

    In regards to Jade's ship vs. the Falcon, I'll simply re-post:

    --------------------------------------------
    Jade's scarifice vs. Han's sacrifice is no comparison. We've seen both canonically & from EU that Han has put his blood, sweat, & tears into the Falcon for at least 20 years. The Falcon is a part of Han because he's put "himself" into it. Now if there was some sort of inference that Mara had done the same or similar thing with her ship, then I would've understood the gravity of her sacrifice. I didn't get the feeling that this was the case in VotF. To me, it was just a ship, and one that could be easily replaced. No loss of freedom/independence there. To me, it's like:

    Mara:
    -I wrecked my car.
    -*GASP*
    -On purpose!
    -On purpose?!? NOOOOOOO! Oh, the humanity! Oh, the sacrifice!
    -But it was for a greater cause...*sob*
    -Hey, waitaminnit! Can't you get another car? It's not like you don't have the money or anything. You've only been on the Board of Directors of one of the biggest companies there is...
    -Y'know, that's a darned fine idea! Let's go to the dealership right now!

    Han:
    -I wrecked my car.
    -You mean that car that you've been working on every day for the last 20-odd years? That hoopty that you've re-built into a performance car?
    -Yeah. That car. On purpose, no less. But it was for the greater good...
    -DUDE!!! That car's gotten you out of I dunno how many jams! Having that car has saved your life more times than I can think of!

    Hyperbole aside, do you see my point?
    ---------------------------------------------
  12. Gandalf the Grey Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    May 14, 2000
    star 6
    Actually, I thought Zahn was unusually blunt about how much the Jade's Fire meant to Mara in VOTF. We kept getting hit over the head with lines about how Mara might tear a strip off Luke if he scratched the paint, and how she freaked when he said that he took the Jade's Fire to get to the planet, etc. It wasn't until she destroyed the ship that I finally understood why Zahn was being so unsubtle about it.


    EDIT: The other thing is, I fail to see the need for "a paragraph to say 'by sacrificing her ship, Mara was giving up her materialism & desire for independence.'" We didn't need a soliloquy or paragraph in ROTJ explaining that Leia was putting Han before the Rebellion when she tried to rescue him from Jabba- I would think it should have been the obvious implication from the events, if you stop to think about it.
  13. Jedi Merkurian Episode VII Thread-Reaper

    Manager
    Member Since:
    May 25, 2000
    star 6
    Curse you Gandolf! Just when I thought I was all set, you throw new evidence my way! Now I'm going to have to re-read the book!
  14. GirlJedi Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 10, 2000
    star 3
    there was the ship they had taken from the fortress to get away in. Luke was in his healing trance in it.
    I do think Mara's crashing the JF was a big deal to her. but I didn't feel set up enough for it. For example if Luke had cold-shirted onto the JF not the Starry Ice, and he made a comment about something new Mara has added. or if Luke had asked her if the JF was all she needed to provide her with satisfaction in life... I dont' want to write Zahn's words for him, but I wanted to see Mara stumble and fall a bit more on her path... cause I know she can pick herself up and might grow stronger. Mara is one of my favorite characters, and for me, it's the same as Kathy Tyers said about wanting her favorites to struggle.
  15. aleja Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Sep 23, 1999
    star 3
    There was at least a scene devoted to Luke docking the Jade's Fire in the asteroid belt and how nervous he was about doing something to her ship - and also how suspicious Mara's pilot droid was of him.

    And remember, we see Mara's sacrifice of the ship through Luke's eyes as well.
  16. aleja Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Sep 23, 1999
    star 3
    Jedi Merkurian, if you are going to repost, then do the rest of us need to repost our rebuttals to your post as well?! Shall this thread just become one big loop? :eek:

    Talk about your disorienting deja vu - I thought half the thread had disappeared!

    And I disagree with your analogy. The Jade's Fire was never presented as a "car." And the importance of the ship to Mara was established by Roger Allan McBride in the Corellian Trilogy, which is where the Jade's Fire first made its appearance. Timothy Zahn was merely working within the boundaries set up by the previously published books (sorry, no retconning there :))


  17. Prof_D_Kirke Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Nov 18, 2000
    star 2
    I just thought I'd point out....

    Jade's Solitare was written in 1998 as was VoTF (September, 1998). Craig Carey, the last editor for the Star Wars Adventure Journal who started editing in January and worked for six months, said:
    "In fact, the very first draft I received my first morning in the office was Timothy Zahn's 'Jade Solitare,' a new story featuring Mara Jade that introduced characters later seen in 'Vision of the Future'." (Tales from the New Republic, Foward and Acknowlegements, vii-ix)

    Hope this helps clear up the "ret-con" discussion.

  18. Jedi Merkurian Episode VII Thread-Reaper

    Manager
    Member Since:
    May 25, 2000
    star 6
    OK, I didn't read the Corellian Trilogy...
  19. Dewlanna Solo Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 31, 1999
    star 4
    Read the Corellian trilogy JM, you'll see a side of Mara you probably missed.

    One problem that often surfaces when discussing characters who appear in a number of book is that those of us who have read ALL the books sometimes assume everyone has read the books we are basing certain opinions on. This is why I often ask "Have you read (whatever)" Some people get really offended when I ask that thinking it is a put down. It isn't, as we can see from this discussion it is a legitimate question.
    JM thought the Jade's Fire was a Zahn invention and was making assumptions based on that. It's quite probable in some of these other Mara debates that have been going on, that many people have not read I Jedi, Dark Saber, the Corellian Trilogy or other books with Mara and they don't understand certain points that Mara fans bring up. A classic case of this is RAS, who had read only I Jedi and HttE before writing VP. He really didn't know that Mara had changed and grown and was more than just the brash redhead he read about in those 2 books. He had no idea why Mara fans thought he got the character wrong.

    What I'm trying to say is if you haven't read all the books, be aware that you might have missed something, don't take offense if someone asks if you have read something, and figure that the people who have read all the books might have more knowledge about events and character than you do. It might save a few arguments.
  20. Genghis12 Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Nov 18, 1999
    star 6
    Dewlanna Solo...
    "What I'm trying to say is if you haven't read all the books, be aware that you might have missed something, don't take offense if someone asks if you have read something, and figure that the people who have read all the books might have more knowledge about events and character than you do. It might save a few arguments."

    Amen to that! I agree with you 100%. Unfortunately, Dewlanna, your points are not something limited to this discussion. It's something IMO a lot of people in these forums should read and understand.
  21. Jedi Merkurian Episode VII Thread-Reaper

    Manager
    Member Since:
    May 25, 2000
    star 6
    Well said, Wookie Mom! It's unfortunate that some folks feel that to be asked if they've read a particular book is an insult. Just as unfortunate is when folks phrase the question in an insulting fashion.

    Maybe I'll skim through those books during "down time" at work (part time at a Barnes & Noble)
  22. Zaahn Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Jan 10, 2001
    You might want to consider that some people think characterizations are off from book to book. Asking someone to take into account all of the previous uses of Mara may actually hurt your case instead of help it. For example, if someone completely disagreed with her very existence in TTT, but liked how she was handled in THOT, asking them to consider previous works would probably create new opposition.

    In light of bringing in events from other novels, could you comment on the following. Another poster (Avenging Angel) wrote up the following list of good things Mara has done:
    -On Wayland in The Last Command
    -Rescue of Callista and Luke in Planet of the Twilight
    -She ran to Yavin 4 when she heard Luke was hurt in I, Jedi (nice retcon by Mike Stackpole!) And then she left before he woke up since not even Stackpole could rewrite KJA
    -the help she gave the Solo infants in The Last Command and Leia in the Corellian Trilogy.
    -Rescues Karrde in DFR
    -Takes ysalamiri to Alemania despite her obvious discomfort in an attempt to help Luke in TNR

    So, she performs unselfish acts in the Thrawn Trilogy, the Corellian Trilogy, The New Rebellion, I,Jedi, and Planet of Twilight. Note that I left out the Hand of Thrawn Duology on purpose. This list may also not be exhaustive. Anyway, my point is that it is claimed that she 'gives up her selfish and independent, free ways' in VotF and that her character from the other novels supports this. To me, this list of her 'good deeds' does not support a selfish, freedom loving individual who has no desire to work for the good of the galaxy. I think that the authors desire to make Mara into a 'good guy' undermines Zahn's attempt to make her a gray area character and thus makes his work in VotF ineffective.

    So, the previous novels may build up her material attachment to her ship, but they do not portray her character in a way that supports the growth in character in VotF. The previous works support the shallow, materialistc, and ultimately unsatisfying portion of her sacrifice but contradict the deeper, more symbolic level of her sacrifice.
  23. aleja Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Sep 23, 1999
    star 3
    Doing nice things for your friends every once in a while and committing your life to working for the good of the galaxy are two separate things.

    As Luke says in VotF, Mara is one of the most loyal people he knows. She has dropped things to help him and his family in the past. What he can't understand is why someone who already has demonstrated their capacity for caring is refusing to take the next step and to become a Jedi. Read the scene where Mara is recovering from her blaster wound.

    When she lets go of the Jade's Fire, the material object binding her to her previous life, Mara signals that she is finally ready to take the complete plunge.

  24. Genghis12 Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Nov 18, 1999
    star 6
    Aleja...
    "As Luke says in VotF, Mara is one of the most loyal people he knows."

    We also know Luke didn't have all of the information about that aspect of Mara's personality. Mara Jade has many characteristics, but loyalty is not one of them. In the Dark Empire Sourcebook, the Emperor - probably one of the most important people in Mara's life (even up through VotF) - considered her to be extremely unloyal, even to the point of considering having her put to death. That says a lot about her lack of loyalty.

    Instead of saving countless thousands of Imperial lives by bringing to justice a known rebel terrorist, Mara Jade inead married him - thereby ensuring many more future Imperial losses at his hands. That's definitely not loyalty. :eek:
  25. Jades Fire Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 8, 1998
    star 4
    DL, you're probably right. It would be easier and quicker to write a short story that fills in some backstory on Mara and how she got the Jade's Fire. However, he was probably was writing JS and HOT at the same time.

    JM, In "Jade Solitaire", Zahn doesn't say how important the ship is to Mara. He does that repeatedly in VotF, as Gandolf pointed out. Only near the very end of "Jade Solitaire" does Karrde offer the ship to Mara. The story only sets up how Mara came into possession of the Jade's Fire. I don't see how you're getting ret-conning out of JS. The only ret-conning that occurred is what MAS did in I, Jedi, by showing that Mara was concerned for Luke and thus discretely checked up on him.

    Girl Jedi, just because Luke plants the idea in Mara, doesn't diminish the sacrifice. Only Mara can decide to give up her selfish independence and denial of her Jedi potential by finally committing to the Jedi path.
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.