Lit Lost Stars, the Japanese webcomic

Discussion in 'Literature' started by LelalMekha, Apr 18, 2017.

  1. Vialco Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 6, 2007
    star 4
    Ciena was wrong to serve the Empire at all. Nothing she did for them was truly good. It was all in service to evil.

    Thane saved her from that evil and brought her out of the nightmare that her life had become. He's the hero of that story.
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  2. DARTH_MU Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Feb 9, 2005
    star 4
    You are right Barriss Coffee

    It's a messy situation. I just don't like Thane because he's the one who defected. What if Ciena defected and it was Thane on the Inflictor's bridge? Would I hate Ciena now? I want to say yes, but then I may need to admit be I am biased because of her gender. This is why the book is good. Makes you think.

    I think if Thane and Ciena were together at the end (same side all book) or if Ciena also defected and joined the rebels the book would not have been as strong. So whoever decided on the ending deserves a loud shout out.
  3. DARTH_MU Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Feb 9, 2005
    star 4
    Ciena wasn't abducted from Jelucan against her will.
    She was given free tuition, free food, free clothes free education free transportation and stable job and pay. That's evil? If that's evil why is anyone willingly working at oil companies and frakking the environment whose companies laying off millions?
    Last edited by DARTH_MU, Jun 25, 2017
  4. Iron_lord Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 2, 2012
    star 8
    When she returns to Jelucan - she sees how it's suffering under the Empire - and how her mother has pretty obviously been framed.

    It's not the only thing that helps reveal to her that the Empire's evil - but it's a major factor.
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  5. Vialco Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 6, 2007
    star 4
    Those oil companies don't slaughter innocent people. They don't destroy planets. They don't torture people. There's a major difference between a big company and an evil galactic dictatorship like the Empire.

    Seriously the Empire doesn't deserve anyone's loyalty. It was founded on treachery and innocent blood. It's ruled by the most evil men in the Galaxy. If every Imperial officer was as decent as Thane and detected to the Rebellion, the war would have ended years sooner with millions of lives saved.

    That injustice really ranked me when I first read the book. Not only that, but the fact that Ciena's father was so brainwashed by the Empire that even the framing and unjust imprisonment of his wife doesn't turn him against the corrupt regime.

    I hope the New Republic liberates Jelucan from the Empire and frees all Imperial prisoners that have been unjustly imprisoned (which is probably 99% of them).
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  6. DARTH_MU Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Feb 9, 2005
    star 4
    Vialco, so you are saying because the Empire is "evil" she was supposed to take the Inflictor and just give it to the Rebels?

    To get more on topic of this thread, when I go to the link provided for wikipedia, I can only see a page that says you can only see the pages if you are in Japan.
    If I follow the links on this thread, only a couple of pages are there.
  7. godisawesome Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Dec 14, 2010
    star 3
    There is a certain moral responsibility we share as a human species when it comes to certain actions and crimes; whether it's a full obligation, where you are guilty of wrong doing and should be punished for that, is another question. Ciena, and every other good human being who wore the uniform after Alderaan, has a certain leeway between being culpable and being compliant with the Empire's evil. And make no mistake, the Empire is evil, in a morally subjective and in a sociologically objective way; like any totalitarian regime, its excesses, failures, and flaws make it a danger to its citizenry and its own stability as a governing body and culture. The question of whether or not Ciena should be held accountable for its actions is one that already has its own thread. But I'd argue the circumstances and the nature of the Empire and the Galaxy as a whole completely justify Thane's decision to capture her; the Empire isn't just unworthy of her services and sacrifice, it is actively misusing it for evil. Whatever leeway she may have in accountability does not extend to a condemnation of a childhood friend and lover seeing her (rightly) as more valuable to the Galaxy and himself in particular than a now corrupted and failing ethics code.

    Though... If I can make an observation, Thane's ethics code and morality explicitly hail from a different culture than Ciena's. She's given an obligation and duty-heavy culture to spring from, one with far more ceremonial and codified rules of behavior and Justice. Thane's cultural background is far more reminiscent of the modern western world; an emphasis is placed on personal responsibility and on the autonomy of the individual to make a moral choice regardless of other obligations. The fact that his home life is abysmal and his father and brother are morally repugnant plays a factor in his world view, but he has no problem divesting "legally correct actions" from "morally correct actions." Ciena's culture makes much less distinction between the two; she and her father stand by and do nothing at her mother's trial because the Law Is Righteous, whereas I'd say that Thane clearly thinks The Law Must Be Righteous, Or It Is No Law At All.

    Anybody else think they may have given Ciena that kind of cultural outlook specifically to allow the reader to more easily sympathize with why she feels compelled to follow the Empire?
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  8. DARTH_MU Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Feb 9, 2005
    star 4
    But now her life has no meaning except as being said in the book "the only reason for a second waver to find a valley girl was to--" you know.

    I think Ciena is too good a person for the Empire to waste. In a way it unworthy of her, I guess, but not the way you think. The Empire, whether evil or no, is not actively trying to use her for evil. It is trying to survive in a war. Fighting for the way of life. We won't discuss if such a way of evil here.
  9. Charlemagne19 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 30, 2000
    star 8
    Thane is a jackass.

    I've mentioned before I think the book could have been entirely from Ciena Ree's POV and probably gained rather than diminished the story. Thane is a static character (thank you, LitBoard) who doesn't really have a new perspective on the Star Wars universe versus Ciena's. However, there is one interesting fact about Thane which is the fact he really never becomes an idealist. He's fighting the Empire because he wants to destroy it and while he gradually realizes the Rebellion really is a bunch of idealistic do-gooders, he never becomes one himself. This is less interesting than Ciena's arc or even Twilight Company which had similar characters because we've already had a cynical world-weary ex-Imperial Pilot care less about the Rebellion than someone in it. Honestly, all Thane needs is a YT-1300 transport and his wookie friend to join up with him and he's Han's arc in reverse.

    But yes, part of what is interesting about Thane's worldview is he doesn't believe in building any new government--just destroying the old one. I also like how even if Ciena did get freed, this would cause them no end of trouble because he NEVER grasps Ciena's worldview. At the end he's like, "Oh, it'll be okay, just tell them everything you know and come to work for the Republic! It's got ice cream and ponies!"

    As if it was like switching a light on and off.
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  10. DARTH_MU Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Feb 9, 2005
    star 4
    Turgenev's Fathers and Sons anyone?
  11. JediBatman Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    May 3, 2015
    star 3
    I disagree, and here are some quotes to prove my point.

    Sure five minutes after this when Ciena is captured and will potentially be tried for war crimes he immediately became cyncial again. (Part of the reason I think that plot is a bit forced drama-ey, not that I expected a happy ever after but that Thane suddenly does a complete 180 on his character arc). But he does have a character arc and does become idealistic.

    Some more choice paragraphs:

    And because I don't want to quote the whole book, I'll just note that Thane then goes on to say Ciena will probably be out of prison soon. Although he does think the NR will choose "Freedom over vengeance", his renewed cynicism shines through as he says part of her early release may be because she has friends in high places, or because there are simply too many former Imperials for the NR to try them all. Thane seems a bit more understanding of Ciena's viewpoint, and doesn't seem very "ice cream and ponies" to me.
    Last edited by JediBatman, Jun 25, 2017
  12. Revanfan1 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 3, 2013
    star 6
    Even after his "renewed cynicism," Thane is still significantly more optimistic than he used to be (he's certain that Ciena will be released by the New Republic). I think he had a good arc, it's just less dynamic.
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  13. DARTH_MU Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Feb 9, 2005
    star 4
    There are too many former Imperials for t he NR to try them all.

    Former imperials for one.

    Second, there are too many Imperials who performed "war crimes" and sure, you can't try them all, just like you cannot try all of the former wehrmacht soldiers.

    However, you can certainly hang some of the higher ups like Trials at Nuremberg in the real world. A captain of a Star Destroyer who fought to the last is on par for the ten people hanged in the real wouldn't you think?
  14. Charlemagne19 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 30, 2000
    star 8
    It's a huge galaxy and the Empire was a tiny fragment of the galaxy's population. I see no reason why they can't investigate all the claims of their atrocities. Every Imperial involved in Kashkyyk's occupation was committing all manner of atrocities by the description in "Life Debt."

    Why NOT try them all?
    Last edited by Charlemagne19, Jun 25, 2017
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  15. godisawesome Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Dec 14, 2010
    star 3
    Just thought I'd also point out that Thane shows up to stand with Ciena's family when ceremony calls for it while her neighbors don't; he's following a custom he wasn't raised with in both spirit and letter, while the Empire has done a number on the culture itself to the point where no one else outside of the family is.

    Thane's still struggling with some ethnocentrism in his view of Ciena's culture, but he both understands its purpose and the real meaning behind some of its rituals, and this is all well before the end of the book. It's also an inherently idealisitic act on his part; he's relying on Ciena's obligation to her family and his following of the customs to tip her affection for him past the duty she has to the Empire. He has faith in her culture and in her when she's just starting to lose a little of both. And at the end of the book, Thane is a mostly justified idealist while Ciena's only going through the motions and has a definite death wish, completing that arc.

    Now, Thane's arc is still a bit less interesting than Ciena's, if for no other reason than she's sinking more and more into the mire of the Empire's evil and has to make significantly more impressive justifications and logical leaps to stay true to herself. I mean, Thane's moment of epiphany involves realizing he embarrassed himself in front of Mon Mothma while drunk and has his life choices justified when she responds with altruism and proves herself a worthy leader. Ciena's is seeing the Second Death Star, realizing the utterly horrifying truth about herself, her service, and her friends, and then resigning herself to what she now knows is an evil cause. Thane's epiphany is fairly generic, of heartwarming, whereas Ciena's is the kind of thing that great actors salivate over.
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  16. DARTH_MU Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Feb 9, 2005
    star 4
    godisawesome

    I agree with all of your points. (except of course the point of "evil") :p

    one more comment

    Them "evil" Imperial men and women sure like their evil, eh? Willing to fight to the death for such "evil".
    Last edited by DARTH_MU, Jun 25, 2017
  17. Charlemagne19 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 30, 2000
    star 8
    Some people define themselves by how high they rise.

    Other people define themselves by how low they can force others down.
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  18. DARTH_MU Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Feb 9, 2005
    star 4
    So on another matter

    How do people in their headcanon pronounce Ciena? Is it Sienna, Kienna, Keyna, Seena or something else? I pronounce it Siena like Sienna but only one n and faster. basically See eh nah but fast.
    Last edited by DARTH_MU, Jun 25, 2017
  19. Charlemagne19 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 30, 2000
    star 8
    Generally, since I realized Jacen was "Jason", I just assume it's the closest RL equivalent.

    Sienna.
  20. Vialco Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 6, 2007
    star 4
    The Empire is evil. It was evil from the day it was founded. It took a while for its evil to become visible to all, but the organization was founded on the blood of younglings.

    Don't forget that Palpatine orchestrated a galactic war to create his empire. The Galactic Empire only ever existed to fulfill Darth Sidious's own selfish goals.
  21. Revanfan1 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 3, 2013
    star 6

    Same here, but in the book Nash implies that the "Ci" part rhymes with "lie."
  22. Axrendale Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Jun 4, 2017
    star 1
    I think it's better to approach this issue from a different direction. Ciena Ree as a character represents a meditation upon a question that is timeless in Star Wars: What reasons could drive a truly good person to voluntarily serve the Empire? I get the impression that this is an idea which fascinated Claudia Gray, because in her next Star Wars book (Bloodline) she created another character (Ransolm Casterfo) who poses the same dilemma - an idealistic do-gooder who had a first-hand view of the Empire's brutality, but still believes in the ideal of the Empire as the best possible option for the greater good of the Galaxy. Ransolm and Ciena represent a side (also taken by Thrawn and Rae Sloane in other novels) in the debate about why the Empire became such a force for evil - was it because the system itself was inherently corrupt and immoral, or was it because the people in control of the system were villains unworthy of power? (The logical implication of the latter position being that the Empire would have been a mighty force for good if only the right individuals were in charge.)

    Ciena's evolving sense of loyalty over the course of the novel is fascinating because of the variety of psychological factors that weigh on it. Part of it is the culturally ingrained outlook she got from her parents that "all traitors are damned". But the bigger part of it is that she never abandons her belief that the true heart and soul of the Empire is represented by the men and women who diligently do their jobs in the belief that they're helping to hold the galaxy together against the forces of chaos - not the leaders who abuse their honorable service, or the thugs who stick around because they enjoy being part of an oppressive system. The revelation of the second Death Star is a despair event horizon for her because it symbolizes the Empire's determination to dominate the galaxy by sheer rule of terror, whereas she believes that an Empire should command the obedience of its people through loyalty, not fear (a sentiment also voiced by Sloane in the Aftermath trilogy). It's telling that even at the moment when her disillusionment reaches its climax, during the battle of Jakku, what inspires her to keep on fighting is not just her oath and her fear for her mother's life, but the sight of her officers and crew bravely doing their duty even under the worst of circumstances. It's for their sake that she goes above and beyond the call of duty - trying to come up with a plan that will win the battle and save the Empire whose reality she has come to hate.

    Interestingly, the "cultural and family background as gateway to Imperial loyalty" is also something that looks like it will be important to the character of Iden Versio in the forthcoming Battlefront game. Though from what we know so far, she'll have a very different experience from Ciena...
    Last edited by Axrendale, Jun 25, 2017
  23. Charlemagne19 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 30, 2000
    star 8
    Oh yeah, I love that question. It's why I wrote Lucifer's Star and, to a lesser extent, The Supervillainy Saga and Cthulhu Armageddon.

    The answer I usually come up with is, "Eventually a good person becomes evil."

    You can only lie to yourself so long before the lie becomes the truth.

    And I am very fascinated with the fact many Imperials had to deal with the lie being ripped away. They either had to join the FO and continue lying to themselves or deal with the fact the galaxy rightly vilified them. I admit that I always wanted to see a Canderous Ordo figure in the Expanded Universe. Not a guy who actually REGRETTED working for the Empire per se but someone who was unrepentant and now on our heroes' side.

    One thing which is interesting about Ciena is also the fact she is culturally prevented from trying to rebel against the Empire. There's no option for her or similar officers to do the attempt at a Valkyrie or trying to overthrow the Empire because that would lead to the Rebellion. What they want to institute is not that different from the Empire, really, which is something that I like to think led to the Centrists being so powerful.

    If the First Order has a Senate, it explains why the New Republic tolerated it so much.
    Last edited by Charlemagne19, Jun 25, 2017
  24. godisawesome Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Dec 14, 2010
    star 3
    I think that's the reason why it's not just Nash commenting in and praising the Second Death Star when Cienna sees it; their mutual friend, Berisse, who comes off as far more well-adjusted than the clearly fanatical Nash, is also *happy* and *overjoyed* to see another planet killing superweapon. And when you read the scene, she comes off as not in total delusional denial like Nash, but someone who's got *just* enough moral myopia that she can be party to atrocities, and still be sane. She's the perfectly functional and reasonable human being the system has twisted into a perfect Imperial (at least in Palpatine's eyes), ready and willing to commit war crimes.

    Not to say that Berisse or Nash are irredeemable, or even necessarily "evil," at least not to the degree Tarkin, Rax, or Palpatine are. And your point about having "the lie ripped away" is probably the key to telling the difference. When the pretense, deception, and false moral relativity is stripped away and made clear, that's when the loyal Imperial reveals what they are underneath; you have to be faced with the truth and capable of accepting it before you can really be culpable for the Empire's crimes. Cienna, when forced to acknowledge what kind of man the Emperor is, becomes a broken, trapped, and self-destructive officer in need of rescuing. And for all we know, that's what Nash is; that bit where he's confined to quarters after Alderaan blows up could be an actual psychotic break from reality. Or it could be him choosing to lie to himself, in which case it may be too late to reach him.

    And their friend Berisse probably hasn't faced that truth yet. Her demeanor and lines paint her as someone who still believes Palpatine's Grand Lie: The Republic was naturally too weak and ineffectual to rule a naturally destructive and anarchic Galaxy, and the Emprie was needed, and thus, it is better for the Galaxy to exist under an Imperial yoke than anything else. Presumably, someone's going to write a book featuring such an Imperial officer who will come to realize years later how they were hoodwinked when the Galaxy hasn't exploded into chaos, while others will still have the wool over their eyes and become the Centrists.

    At which point the cycle starts all over again, and you get FO Stormtrooper FN-2187 having his eyes opened on a Battlefield not at all far, far away from Cienna's last stand...
    Last edited by godisawesome, Jun 25, 2017
  25. Charlemagne19 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 30, 2000
    star 8
    Ultimately, the issue of loyalty vs. evil is measured in deeds rather than talk for me. Nash Windrider isn't a man who has committed any atrocities yet. He's a man who gives a spiel about how the Death Star is justified and is inappropriately forward to his fellow Imperial officer. But he hasn't killed Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru yet or done any of the atrocities an Imperial might be asked to. He might never be asked to. But he MIGHT be asked to do it and how he responds will determine the course of his life.

    Which is the really awful part of the Empire.
    Last edited by Charlemagne19, Jun 26, 2017
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