Characters Palpatine characterization thread: UP FOR ADOPTION!

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction and Writing Resource' started by LLL, Mar 1, 2005.

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  1. MotionWright Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 15, 2007
    star 1
    That's great, because I'm writing one! I was inspired by one of Flipside82's plot bunnies over at the plot bunny thread. It's about what if the Jedi had found Palpatine as a child before the Sith did.

    Btw, I agree with you - it is liberating to write a character who has no moral qualms. It's the opposite of writing Padme, for example, who is very hard to write (for me, at least) since you have to make sure everything she thinks and does coincides with her principles. No such concern for Palpy, huh?

    To answer LLL's latest question, no, there isn't. If there's something I would like to read and it hasn't been written yet, I write it myself. :)
  2. LLL Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 16, 2000
    star 4
    To me the tough thing with a character like Padme is making her interesting. It's so bland to have a character whom you always know what they're going to do (the right thing), and who always wants that and nothing else. Especially when they are too pretty.

    There's nothing more boring than a bland, perfect princess. No wonder GL had to show her in revealing clothing in AOTC -- at least she was interesting to look at!

    Not so our Palpy.[face_skull]
  3. Bale Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 9, 2005
    star 4
    That sounds very intriguing, but no, it wasn't mine. Mine was a little vignette about the conception and birth of Palpy: There is No Death, There is Immortality
  4. LLL Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 16, 2000
    star 4
    I like that one!

    *adds to index*
    *adds one of leia's, too*
  5. Kevin_Solo Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jun 22, 2007
    star 2

    LLL, I agree completely with your views on Padme. Her daughter Leia was the same, but there were two things that made her interesting. First, for many who saw her when ANH first came out, she was not just the traditional fairy-tale princess in terms of being beautiful and good; she was also strong and intelligent, something I, a boy of 9 at the time, knew was rather unusual. Second, her romance and later marriage with Han Solo. If she liked a scoundrel like him, she can't have been that stuck up. When we later saw Star Wars I-III, it was obvious that while she took in looks after her mother, she took in character after her old man. ;)

    This reminds me of a very good interview of Mark Hamill in a UK newspaper around when ROTS came out, asking him if he felt strange about two actors younger than him playing his 'parents'. He replied that he had no problem with this; his problem was how two such great-looking people, looking like Hayden Christensen and Natalie Portman could have produced a son looking like him! [face_laugh]
  6. leia_naberrie Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Sep 10, 2002
    star 4
    Hey! :mad:
  7. Persephone_Kore Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 19, 2006
    star 4
    *amused* I disagree with the current direction of the thread's assessment of Padmé, yes. Of course, I must bear in mind that I believe Palpatine's assessment of Padmé is also rather... ah... off. I tend to think he's better at predicting people than understanding them, and better at understanding someone's flaws -- and the vulnerabilities in their virtues -- than their strengths.

    But personally I find if I'm going to write someone for whom doing the right thing isn't a priority, I tend to have to introduce other things to make them interesting. :p

    Unfortunately, going into Padmé's characterization at any length would be off topic here, but I wouldn't be surprised if he had at some point made an effort to place himself as her mentor as well....
  8. LLL Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 16, 2000
    star 4
    That's an interesting idea. Like, how do you mean?

    Apologists to the Padme fan base. Actually both my audio dramas have been about Padme, so it's not that I dislike her.

    When I think about who I've had to work harder to write, Palpy or Padme ... I guess really it's Palpy. He's required a lot more research and thought. But I found that research and thought engrossing, whereas when I had a problem writing Padme, it was sort of annoying and not nearly so much fun to solve.
  9. MotionWright Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 15, 2007
    star 1
    That's where I disagree with you, LLL. Padme didn't always do the right thing. How about ... toppling Valorum's democratically elected government because she let her fear for her planet get the better of her ability to think logically? Using herself as bait for an assassin? Rushing off to Geonosis thinking she -and only she- could rescue Obi-Wan, and goading Anakin to come with her against orders? Or secretly marrying a Jedi despite realising it would "destroy our lives"? Those aren't things a perfect, principled, reasonable princess would have done, I think.

    Like someone summed up over at the Padme characterisation thread, both she and Anakin "have a God complex issue. They think that their actions are justified because they are the only ones capable of saving other people", and that's the most serious flaw in her character. And even when she thought she was doing the right thing, most of what she did turned out to be the wrong thing. Knowingly or not, Padme did a lot of damage to the Galaxy. Does not knowing excuse her responsibility? That's debatable, especially when she often didn't want to see the truth (about Anakin, for example - she chose not to see that he seriously needed help, starting with the Tusken massacre). When you keep all that in mind, she stops being a bland, moralistic and (therefore) boring character.

    With someone like Padme, you have to look beneath the surface to find the flaws of character that are more obvious and more developed in others, Palpatine being the extreme in this. But even Padme had weaknesses and corrupting tendencies. Actually, I think Leia was closer to a perfect, boring princess than her mother. Anyway, there's some in-depth analysis of Padme's character over on this thread, where all of this has been discussed and debated. I'm sorry for diverting your thread, Linda, but you started this argument :p However, I think we ought to get back on topic.

    Edit: I know you don't dislike her. I just think - and this is nothing more than my humble opinion - that you misunderstand some aspects of her personality. Nevertheless, you write her character very well.

    Persephone_Kore, I can see where you're coming from in your assessment of Palpatine. In ROTJ, he foresaw Luke's weaknesses and his giving in to the Dark side, but not that his compassion for his father would overpower those weaknesses. And it's obvious his understanding of both Luke and Vader was very poor, or he would have expected his apprentice to lose his passivity while watching his son being tortured to death by someone who, minutes earlier, had betrayed him by encouraging Luke to kill him.

    Remember, Palpatine thinks he's doing the right thing too. Only what's right for him isn't the same as what's right for the Jedi, or for Padme. And yes, I think it's likely that he was her mentor at some point. And as we know from Anakin's example, Palpatine's idea of 'mentoring' someone means encouraging the flaws in their personality...
  10. Persephone_Kore Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 19, 2006
    star 4
    Mm... I'm not altogether sure whether we're referring to different interpretations or different definitions. As I see him, Palpatine may do what's "right for him" in the sense of doing what he regards to be most beneficial for himself, but I don't think he regards moral right and wrong -- of any description or system -- as particularly relevant. Except as a handle to manipulate people who believe in it.

    Now, I can see arguing that he subscribes to a system where it's morally right to exert control over others, seek the greatest power and benefit for yourself, and so forth, and morally wrong not to put forth your best effort toward that. (On the other hand, there's a stray scene-fragment floating in my head where someone is making that sort of argument and he dismisses it because moral justifications are a paltry and unnecessary excuse for doing what you want. Unfortunately I currently have no idea who he's talking to.) Or that in his mind the greatest good is the preservation of the Sith, or -- and I'm pretty sure I have seen this one -- that he was a lone foresighted hero taking drastic measures to try to prepare the galaxy against the threat of the Yuuzhan Vong.

    I just don't really tend to share those interpretations for much longer than the length of someone else's story, although I may well enjoy them while I do.

    I'm not really sure what I'm doing in this thread, actually. I'm afraid I only write the guy in passing most of the time.
  11. MotionWright Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 15, 2007
    star 1
    Well, he though it was right for the Galaxy to be ruled by the Sith. He thought it was right and just that the Sith exterminate the Jedi, like the Jedi (failed to) exterminate the Sith a thousand years earlier. From there, you can figure what is his definition of 'the right thing'.

    Yes, I've seen that. :rolleyes: I'm sure it's what Palpatine would want you to believe. ;)

    It doesn't matter if you don't write him much. You have some valuable insights and we're always glad to have that in this thread. I firmly believe you don't need to have a Ph.D. in a subject to have a sound opinion about it (regardless of what some intellectuals would say). To transfer that to fandom, you don't need to have written a story about Palpatine to be able to contribute to the discussion of his character.
  12. yodas_waiter Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Oct 31, 2006
    star 3
    Perhaps the question I should be asking is: Is there a Palpy story you would like to read but have never seen anybody post?

    I haven't seen one dealing with the relationship between Plageuis and Palpatine.

    If we from the outset believe that Palpatine is telling the truth about Plageuis abilities (which is a whole other debate), then Plageuis must've really trusted Palpatine for some reason even though Plageuis was afraid of losing power. In the movies and the EU, the relationship between a Sith master and his apprentice are depicted as very destructive so why was the particular one between Plageuis and Palpatine so frutitious?

    I hope I made sense with that post. I tend to get all muddled up :oops:
  13. missmapp Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jun 24, 2005
    star 1
    I dunno. I don't like Padme and I certainly don't like writing her. That said, she is far from perfect. To me she's an emotionally stunted, very flawed, character who often seems to lack judgment and insight. I mean, I look at her whole relationship with Anakin. It's quite the messed up affair. Perfect people don't get that deep into denial. Having said all of that, she's not that fun or enjoyable to write. I think that's because there's nothing really fun about her.

    OTOH, Palpy is fun to write for me, because he is the puppet master. You can impart a layer of awareness with him that is hard to do with the others. There really aren't a lot of clever characters in the PT. So I like writing him. I love writing dialogue for him.

    To get under the surface though--that's hard.
  14. Kevin_Solo Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jun 22, 2007
    star 2
    To return to the topic we should be discussing, :) I'd like to see an AU Palpy story where he's married with children. Whether the marriage was out of love or to look good politically, how would things have been different in the SW universe? Would he still try to become Emperor, this time with a son as his intended successor? Would the son or another child or family member lead a rebellion against his imperial tyranny? [face_idea]
  15. missmapp Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jun 24, 2005
    star 1
    In my uncompleted story, he marries for um, well, money. Initially, he's planning on disposing of his wife [Separatists Murder Chancellor's Wife! Read all about it!]. He gradually comes to see her as a useful asset and then a valuable one. He still becomes Emperor, but things change slightly. It gets murky emotionally. They have children. The wife has her own past and agenda. She is never in love with him, but does what she can first to survive and then to thrive.

    I do not see him as being a good or involved parent. Based on my own readings about narcissists, I have him being jealous of his wife's attention shifting from him to the children. And from what I have read, children who grow up in such an environment have issues themselves.

    The initial idea was that the one daughter who's kind of a mess was going to get mixed up with the Rebels. But then gradually, it's sort of morphed into a giant mess.

    What I wanted to explore initially was how his family would be handling living with this kind of a person. I don't see his overall agenda really changing.
  16. Kevin_Solo Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jun 22, 2007
    star 2
    missmapp, your story sounds intriguing, and I'd like to read it, even if it is a 'giant mess'. I agree that Palpy's agenda wouldn't change; but one consequence might be that the Palpatines become the most famous dysfunctional family in the galaxy, instead of the Skywalkers! [face_laugh]
  17. LLL Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 16, 2000
    star 4
    Yeah, I want to read that one, too!

    I can do him either with a wife, OR with a child ... but not both. (scroll up a few)[face_whistling]

    Yoda's Waiter: I'm going to be starting something like that soon. It's Prequel #1 to MGGE.
  18. MotionWright Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 15, 2007
    star 1
    LLL, I can't wait to read that prequel. I'm very curious about how you imagine Sidious's apprenticeship. I have yet to read one story about it (not that there are many, mind you) that I find convincing. And it's an issue I myself won't touch with a ten-foot pole.
  19. LLL Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 16, 2000
    star 4
    It won't be coming for a while, because, as you know, I have a Project to finish.

    (And if I don't get sued below the poverty line, I have to outline this one before I start. Nothing like getting knee deep into a full-length novel and discovering ... you don't have enough material!):oops:

    I am jotting down notes right now, however.

    ;)
  20. BrentusofGath Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 12, 2005
    star 4
    Um, I wasn't joking before, lol.

    I currently have two Palpy-centric fics in the early stages. One is a humor hybrid with SW and Fawlty Towers. For those who don't know what that is, it's a British tv show from the 70s that was the inspiration for the American show Cheers. Fawlty was played and created by John Cleese.

    The other one is serious.
  21. Kevin_Solo Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jun 22, 2007
    star 2
    BrentusofGath, it's nice to hear that there's another Fawlty Towers fan in these forums! [face_peace] I'd like to read that story, when you have it finished. Good luck with it!
  22. DarthIshtar Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Mar 26, 2001
    star 9
    Fawlty Towers, w00t.

    In a recent post in my Vader war crimes trial fic, I had it mentioned that the Force was holding a trial for Palpatine just to determine what the worst possible eternity was. I'd like to see both a humorous and non-humorous version of this idea. Humorous: Palpatine is forced to be Jar-Jar Binks' eternal roommate. Non-humorous: Something out of the 34th canto of Dante's inferno, but less figurative.
  23. lazykbys_left Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Feb 17, 2005
    star 4
    Is there a Palpy story you would like to read but have never seen anyone post?

    Well . . . I would like to see one where Palpatine creates an "extremist Rebel cell" to bomb hospitals and such. The problem is, this would very likely become a non-Palpy OC fic. [face_plain]

    - lazy
  24. CodyMonKenobi Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 29, 2001
    star 4
    I don't know if anyone has mentioed this or not, I am sure they have. I would like to see a Palpy fic that shows his Sithly beginnings. He couldn't have always bee the evil incarnat that we know him as today. Somewhere in his life he must hae been an okay guy that just made some bad choices. I would love to read that.
  25. LLL Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 16, 2000
    star 4
    [face_devil] [face_devil] [face_devil]

    (scroll up a hair)

    Those are some good ideas. Maybe we need a Palpy Plot Bunny index!
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