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Lit Hand of Thrawn Duology by Timothy Zahn what do people think of them ?

Discussion in 'Literature' started by fett 4, Dec 27, 2012.

  1. Iron_lord

    Iron_lord Force Ghost star 8

    Sep 2, 2012
    Think of Mara as like Kyle- she could use the Dark Side, without it taking her over and turning her into a villain.

    "A darksider" is something a bit different from Mara, or Kyle, or the Jensaarai- crueler, more selfish.

  2. CaptainPeabody

    CaptainPeabody Jedi Master star 3

    Jul 15, 2008
    I'm not sure what the problem is, exactly. Being evil does not equal falling to the Dark Side. Mara was an amoral, mass-murdering assassin, but that doesn't mean she had to be drawing on the Dark Side of the Force to be that. There are plenty of evil characters in the Galaxy who do just fine without the Dark Side.

    The point of the Luke quote is just that Mara was never any more than a tool. She was never anything even close to a Sith apprentice, or a regular Jedi, or even a youngling. She seems to have been taught nothing but the most basic the-Force-is-a-flashlight techniques, with absolutely no philosophy, theology, moral doctrine, or even the most basic Sith dictums to go along with them. Really, she was little more than a spec-ops agent with a slightly better toolbox: a completely brainwashed, indoctrinated spec-ops agent who apparently loved the Emperor as some kind of twisted father figure and believed what she was doing was just wonderful. Now that certainly makes her one royally screwed up character, and also a not very good person--but it doesn't make her a Sith or even a Dark Jedi.

    In short, being an amoral tool with some rudimentary Force abilities doesn't automatically make Dark Side energy start flowing through you, your eyes turn yellow, and lightning shoot out of your palms. That's really all Luke's quote has to be taken to be saying.
    Zeta1127 likes this.
  3. CT-867-5309

    CT-867-5309 Force Ghost star 6

    Jan 5, 2011
    Return of the Jedi, Dark Empire, the post NJO comments on Vergere's teachings. Take your pick.

    You can't serve the dark side without being corrupted by it, that's Star Wars.
  4. Iron_lord

    Iron_lord Force Ghost star 8

    Sep 2, 2012
    Specifics? Which characters in Return of the Jedi "served the Dark Side unknowingly" and thus became dark? Or Dark Empire for that matter?

    Zahn isn't the only writer to have "non-dark Force using servants of villains"- Stackpole's Jensaarai in I, Jedi were similar.

    "Serving a villain" is not the same thing as "serving the Dark Side".
  5. fett 4

    fett 4 Force Ghost star 5

    Jan 2, 2000
    Lucas also says that Vader when he turns doesn't think of himself as evil and that he felt he was protecting the republic.

    Again no one is saying she cannot be selfless or thinking she is doing selfless actions, while she is serving as monster, Its the author wanting it both ways. Both in Allegiance (god I hate that book) and Choices her abilities are pretty impressive for an 18 year old so she has to be getting them enhanced from the Emperor. Yet she does not use the Dark Side ?
  6. fett 4

    fett 4 Force Ghost star 5

    Jan 2, 2000
    That's fine perfectly fine and Palpatine manipulating her is credible.

    What's not fine is the author stating she was always on good and never did a bad thing while working for the Empire.
  7. fett 4

    fett 4 Force Ghost star 5

    Jan 2, 2000
    Yes but she wasnt sitting on the sofa she was a trained assassin, and considered one Palpatines top 3 people vyingfor 1st place with Thrawn (as Vaders stuck in 3RD) even if she was only going after "bad people"
  8. CT-867-5309

    CT-867-5309 Force Ghost star 6

    Jan 5, 2011
    Luke Skywalker. It was only temporary, but that's because he realized he was serving the dark side. Is there any doubt that finishing off Vader would have sealed it? He only came back from the dark side in Dark Empire because Leia did for him what he did for Vader.

    Then we have the Vergere's teachings in the NJO and what happened to Jacen.

    Mara was in it deep for over a decade.

    I disagree that the Jensaarai were "non-dark Force" in I, Jedi.

    If you can use the Force, it does in Star Wars. How can anyone serve Palpatine and not serve the dark side? It's ludicrous.

    Even non-Force sensitives, like the Old Republic Senate, were unknowingly serving the dark side, and they were totally corrupted by it. "Good" Senators like Padme and Bail realized this and turned away from it.

    Even the Jedi in the PT are portrayed to be serving the dark side unwittingly, which was why they were becoming more and more flawed, which led to their downfall and mass destruction in the galaxy.

    The answer is "Mara is so special she can break the rules, that's how."

    Yes, it does.
    Darth_Pevra likes this.
  9. Iron_lord

    Iron_lord Force Ghost star 8

    Sep 2, 2012
    Source? In Hand of Thrawn and Survivor's Quest it's acknowledged that some of the things Mara did qualified as "bad things" - was there an interview in SW Insider that retconned this?

    Fate of the Jedi seemed to be suggesting that Jacen's fall had less to do with "Vergere's teachings" and more to do with his obsession with changing a perceived bad future.

    According to Leland Chee, Luke didn't actually "fall to the Dark Side" in Dark Empire at all.
  10. JediMatteus

    JediMatteus Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Sep 16, 2008
    i do think that Mara was opening herself up to the dark side when she went after Jacen. This is why attachments are bad for jedi. Yoda was right to some degree. But i think Yoda took it too far. That said he did care about the jedi order, and had great fondess for Obi Wan and some others.
  11. Pearlsaber

    Pearlsaber Jedi Master star 4

    Jan 29, 2013
    I feel like resurrecting this thread just because I am excited enough about Specter. I just made it through the New Rebellion and the Corellian Trilogy.

    It is BEYOND refreshing to have Zahn's prose back. The other authors were not awful, but Zahn's story is much more fluid and easier to read.

    I haven't made it through Specter yet, but I am enjoying the ride! [face_dancing]
  12. fett 4

    fett 4 Force Ghost star 5

    Jan 2, 2000
    There enjoyable and they finished off the Bantam run well enough, but bewarned they are Zahn's book version of RTJ.
  13. TCF-1138

    TCF-1138 Porg of New Films & Fan Films star 5 Staff Member Manager

    Sep 20, 2002
    And what's wrong with RotJ? ;)
    I reread THoT duology the other week, and I must say they are among the best SW books I've read. Sure, there are a lot of flaws - most of them mentioned earlier in this thread - but all in all the books are very enjoyable.
    I love the character of Thrawn, and rereading TTT and THoT made me go out and by Outbound Flight (a story I was interested in reading more about as far back as in the mid-nineties when I first read TTT). I've read about 100 pages now, and I'm loving the Car'Das/Thrawn parts. The C'Baoth parts not so much. I think it was a poor choice of Zahn's to have the original Jorus (with one 'u') basically be a dark sider (I mean come on - and right in the middle of the PT era too? And interacting with Obi-Wan and Anakin?) - it makes him too similar to his crazy clone. I would have liked it if Jorus C'Baoth was presented as a noble, altruistic Jedi - a sort of Qui-Gon Jinn character, giving us a clear distinction between the PT era character and the TTT character. Anyway, that's off-topic.

    Again, I really like The Hand of Thrawn, those books gave us the Chiss - maybe the coolest species of the SW universe - and I'm looking forward to reading Survivor's Quest after I'm finished with Outbound Flight.
    Don't think I will bother with Zahn's other books though.
    Ryus and Iron_lord like this.
  14. Chewbacca89

    Chewbacca89 Jedi Master star 5

    Oct 25, 2012
    Survivors Quest is definitely a great one to read, though I would have read it before Outbound Flight...
  15. Iron_lord

    Iron_lord Force Ghost star 8

    Sep 2, 2012
    His promoting himself to Jedi Master, and his being something of an attention-seeker, come straight from TTT (Dark Force Rising) though.
  16. Manisphere

    Manisphere Jedi Master star 5

    Aug 25, 2007
  17. Danzo

    Danzo Jedi Knight star 1

    Oct 20, 2012
    Awesome :D Since they did TTT I've been hoping they'd follow it up with doing some others. Hopefully once HoT is done they'll get some of the NJO, still waiting on an unabridged Star by Star!
  18. JediAlly

    JediAlly Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Oct 31, 2000
    With the release of The Jedi Path and The Book of Sith, I think that the EU post YJK should have been a mixture of adventures in the Unknown Regions like Survivor's Quest and adventures with other Force traditions along the lines of some of Luke's and Ben's encounters with these traditions during the FOTJ series.
  19. Force Smuggler

    Force Smuggler Force Ghost star 7

    Sep 2, 2012
    Yeah and push the YV war back. Maybe have the YV be in the background and push the UR enemy to conquer the galaxy or something.
  20. ForcePushUp

    ForcePushUp Jedi Padawan star 1

    Oct 19, 2016
    Having re-read a lot of these old EU stories, I'm finding more and more that there are plenty of cases where the story is spread out for multiple books when it really doesn't need to be.

    The Bounty Hunter Wars are a great example of this. That could have easily been condensed into one book as there is way too much padding to stretch out the story. And The Jedi Academy Trilogy? Well, that probably could have been three separate books (Han/Chewie adventure, Battle against Daala, and The Academy's struggles with Exar Kun), just not woven in together creating the sloppy mess that the trilogy was.

    Unfortunately, I kind of feel Hand of Thrawn kind of falls into that category. While the duology certain isn't bad, and Zahn accomplishes some great things with it, there is far too much padding that didn't need to be there and it kind of drags the story down.

    Book one, Specter of the Past, felt like little more than a set up for Book 2, and it hardly stands alone as its own book. It feels like nothing really happens and everything is just putting the pieces in place for the events of Vision of the Future. Compare that to the Thrawn Trilogy. While there are cliffhangers to set up the next book, I felt like all three books kind of stood on their own and worked as individual stories. Heir to the Empire introduces Thrawn, Mara, C'Boath, Luke's struggles with how he plans on rebuilding the Jedi, and details the Republic's first major dealing with Thrawn. Dark Force is about Thrawn obtaining the Katana fleet, and The Last Command is about the final battle against Thrawn. Much like the original film trilogy, they all stand alone well on their own but also work as components of the larger story. With the duology, I felt like Book 1 was all set up and Book 2 was all resolution. Honestly, you probably could have reduced Book 1 to about a 100 pgs or so and just combined it with Book 2.

    And Book 2, Vision of the Future, splits into way too many different directions. Not in a jarring way like The Jedi Academy Trilogy does, but many of these sidebars just feel pointless. Do we really need TWO subplots about looking for the McGuffin document? (one with Han/Lando, the other with Karrde/3PO). And even the Empire gets split into multiple different subplots with Pellaeon off doing his thing and the Thrawn hoaxers off doing theirs. It just makes the story feel like there are too many distractions and off shoots.

    But like I said, Zahn does accomplish some great things here. Most notable of this is the Luke/Mara relationship which is superb. Honestly, you could have cut out all the extraneous subplots, just focused on Luke/Mara the entire time, and I would have been completely fine with it. Their discussions and interactions are great, the development is great, and their action moments feel the most tense as well. Also, the Qom Qae and the Qom Jha are some of my favorite ideas for alien races in Star Wars.

    I also liked that we get a definitive ending to the Republic/Empire conflict, setting the stage for future events. At this point in the books, the Empire was beat down to almost nothing and it was time to wrap that up and finally move forward into something new. As a last gasp for the Empire, I really liked the plan they concocted as it is the type of thing I'd expect from a regime that is reduced to near non-existence, and it was cool that Thrawn left behind resources and plans to continue on after he was gone.

    So yeah, overall, I'd say the Hand of Thrawn Duology is worth reading and overall solid, but too much filler drags it down and keeps it from being as good as it could be.
    fett 4 likes this.
  21. DARTH_MU

    DARTH_MU Jedi Master star 4

    Feb 9, 2005
    I wished the Empire didn't surrender.
  22. Darth Invictus

    Darth Invictus Jedi Master star 4

    Aug 8, 2016
    It didn't surrender-not in terms of ideology. It ceased a war it could not win and waited for the NR to self destruct.

    Luke and Mara tie the not.

    The NR is apparently so unstable that a decades old atrocity/coverup is enough to nearly start a civil war.

    All in a all a good series.
    DARTH_MU likes this.
  23. Havac

    Havac Former Moderator star 7 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Sep 29, 2005
    I think you have a case to make about spreading material out, but I'm not sure about the examples you use. The Corellian Trilogy is the ultimate example of dragging a one-book story out for three books because it drags out very little story, but it's no crime for something like the Jedi Academy Trilogy to carry multiple interacting plotlines instead of one cleanly defined one, since they all fill the trilogy full up. JAT really isn't padded.

    Likewise, HOT has a lot going on. It's not just killing time. The fact that Disra is doing his own thing hijacking the Empire while Pellaeon is isolated in his peacemaking plot is, like, what the entire plot of the duology revolves around. It's not just there to fill time. You can certainly criticize the Talon Karrde plotline, which starts based directly on the central plot but sort of spirals away from it into this weird search for his former mentor by Talon Karrde, but though it loses focus it's hardly extraneous to the plot. It might have benefited from better editing but it's not there just to be filler. If anything, HOT is a clear case of something being overstuffed. Vision of the Future is such a huge book because Zahn basically crammed a trilogy into a duology, not the other way around.
    Nobody145 and Darth_Duck like this.
  24. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 7

    Aug 31, 2004
    OMG. Love, love love them because yeah L/M got together in VOTF. [face_dancing] Very very nice. :cool:
  25. RokurGepta

    RokurGepta Jedi Knight star 1

    Oct 23, 2010
    To this day my cousin and I refer to Vision of the Future as "the one where Luke and Mara are in those caves forever."

    But I think they're both great books, nearly approaching the greatness of Zahn's trilogy.