Lit Question About Mara Jade (some spoilers)

Discussion in 'Literature' started by rsh2112, Aug 10, 2013.

  1. rsh2112 Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Aug 10, 2013
    Hey, I created an account here just so I could ask this question. Some major spoilers here for those who haven't had the chance to read far enough:




    I've been a big fan of Mara Jade's character over the years, and I hated to see her die in Sacrifice. To me, the whole battle with Jacen didn't seem nearly long enough, and after she spent as much time kicking his butt through their fight, being killed with poison seemed such a stupid (not to mention weak) way to go for someone of her power and stature. Did anyone else have a problem with how that all went down? Was Mara Jade just a weaker Jedi than I always thought, or was Jacen just that much stronger (or lucky)?

    Random thought: I loved Mara's last line during the battle, when Jacen told her he couldn't die because it wasn't meant to be. "Really? I say it is."
    Gorefiend likes this.
  2. Dr. Steve Brule Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 7, 2012
    star 4
    Mara Jade died because Traviss wanted to kill off a big Jedi character and the Lucasbooks editors all thought the lesson learned from NJO was "more character deaths", with the unwritten corollary being "because we have literally no ideas so hopefully that will serve as a substitute for good writing."
  3. rsh2112 Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Aug 10, 2013
    The killing of a major Jedi character didn't bother me as much as the fact that she died in such a way that made her look weak. So many times Lumiya warned Jacen about the dangers of making enemies of the Skywalkers and Jacen himself thought about how he'd be creating for himself two of the most "lethal enemies" in the galaxy if he killed Ben, yada yada yada, and he kills Mara all because of an illusion that made Mara blink? I didn't realize that that's what Traviss wanted to do, but I understand the issues she had with fans and her writing and all that, so I won't rehash it.
  4. dokratr0 Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jun 18, 2013
    star 1
    Jacen should have curbstomped her.
    anakinfansince1983 likes this.
  5. Skywalker_T-65 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 19, 2009
    star 6
    Ironically (since I did not like Mara dying) that would probably have gone over better. If Jacen must be a villain and has to kill Mara, have him beat her down and show that he was winning. That establishes him as a legitimate threat, and avoids the 'cheapness' of killing Mara with a split-second distraction+poison dart.
  6. DigitalMessiah Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 17, 2004
    star 5
    Doesn't Mara Jade being the "sacrifice" mesh better with Luke being the Dark Lord than with Jacen? It seems like a lot of the plot elements in Legacy of the Force were originally intended for Luke, or coincidentally the stuff that the writers came up with for Jacen just work better for Luke. And this isn't to say that I think it should have been Luke, but the rationalizations would have fit Luke better. He trained under a Sith Lord -- no retcon required. He fought in the Yuuzhan Vong War and saw his New Jedi Order betrayed by New Republic worlds and the Peace Brigade and how quickly the people he was sworn to protect would turn on him for their own safety. He had a child. The Darth Vader parallel works better with his own son who could have redeemed him at the conclusion (or killed him since that seems to be the way these things go now). The "sacrifice" would have had a lot more meaning for Luke than it did for Jacen.
  7. AlyxDinas Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 12, 2010
    star 4
    That's certainly part of the equation. I have no particular issue with Jacen as a villain if a) the fall make sense and b) he's actually effective.

    Okay, who am I kidding; I'll always have some core issues with Jacen as a bad guy but I think one of the issues people have with Mara's death is that it lacks gravitas. It's supposed to be shocking in its simplicity, I suppose, but it doesn't quite click. It ends up feeling like an anti-climax. There's definitely a problem when Wurth Skidder dies a more dramatic and moving death than Mara Jade Skywalker. Heck, Nelani Dinn's death worked for me more.
  8. rsh2112 Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Aug 10, 2013
    Exactly. They made Jacen out to be such a strong Force user, someone who would be very hard to beat, and Mara clearly had him beat and off balance in that entire battle. Granted, she was a Jedi Master and not someone to be trifled with anyway, but it would have been a bit more beneficial for Jacen's character if he had beat her in a much more convincing manner.

    And in regards to Nelani Dinn, her death helped portray Jacen as someone falling into darkness more than Mara's death did.
  9. DarthJenari Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 17, 2011
    star 4

    Jacen's sacrifice being Mara/Ben's admiration and respect for him was one of the series biggest copouts, and probably the final nail in the coffin that contained the idea of Darth Caedus/Darth Vader 2.0. It should've been either Tenel Ka or Allana.

    In terms of Mara I agree the fight lacked a lot of brutality that I would've expected from it, and it really didn't portray Jacen to his fullest potential, or even Mara for that matter. I felt like Traviss wanted to kill Mara off and all, but at the same time didn't want to portray Jacen as too powerful (No doubt to leave room for him to struggle against some Mandalorian down the line)
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  10. JediMatteus Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 16, 2008
    star 4
    the sacrifice was stupid and a cop out. agreed. I loved Mara and i miss Mara
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  11. rsh2112 Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Aug 10, 2013
    I never realized how much I liked her until I read Sacrifice for the first time a few years ago. Out of curiosity, how strong as a Jedi do you all think she was? I still maintain a stupid illusion - and only a blink by Mara in response - shouldn't have been enough to give Jacen a chance to poison her.
  12. General Immodet Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 5, 2012
    star 4
    Perhaps Mara was not who she used to be (in terms of fighting) after her illness during the Vong War?
    Shadow Trooper likes this.
  13. Shadow Trooper Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 18, 2013
    star 4
    I agree. People need to take into account that she is in her late 50s and so would not be as physically strong as she was when she was an Emperor's hand or during the events of the Thrawn trilogy. What bugged me about this fight scene was that Vader Jr. was getting his ass handed to him in the beginning of the duel despite supposedly knowing all these secret force powers that he picked up during his 5 year hiatus following NJO.
  14. kataja Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 4, 2007
    star 4
    In her late 50s she'd not be less strong. Less flexible probably - and slower - but not less strong.
  15. Cynical_Ben Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 12, 2013
    star 4
    The problem with Sacrifice, one among many, but we're going with the titular "sacrifice" here, is that they probably went down a list of characters they could kill to make the story have impact and Mara's was the first one that came up that wasn't forbidden by Lucas himself. It would have made far, far more sense from a storytelling perspective for Jacen to kill Leia or Han, or even both of them. It would have given him more gravitas as a villain, it would have given the story more weight, and it would have meant that the authors wouldn't have been at a complete loss as to what to do with them as they are now.

    Mara's death made sense only because of editorial mandate, make no mistake about it. Having her investigating Jacen was a fine idea, but their confrontation worked out all wrong as others have noted, and while her death should be given tremendous weight, considering that she's one of the EU cornerstone characters and Luke's wife, it made no sense for Jacen to choose her as his Sith sacrifice except via flimsy rationalization, which made him seem even more pathetic. It's like him saying his sacrifice was Ben's love for him in the book before that, it just makes him seem indecisive and lacking conviction. Not ideal Sith material.
  16. Jedi Ben Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jul 19, 1999
    star 6
    Frankly, the whole notion of Sith = sacrifice is supremely dodgy anyway!

    Sith don't sacrifice, that's the point. Still, it was enough to bamboozle Jacen.
    jSarek likes this.
  17. Cynical_Ben Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 12, 2013
    star 4
    Yeah, the whole of LotF works more (so long as you don't actually read the books) if you just imagine it being Lumiya's master plot to screw with Luke and gang as much as possible. She showed up out of nowhere, fed Jacen whatever lies it took to make him turn, and did her best to tear the Skywalker and Solo clans apart, both directly and indirectly. And succeeded.
  18. DarthJenari Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 17, 2011
    star 4

    Yep. I found the idea to be completely idiotic and at odds with years of Sith portrayals. Mara dies, Jacen falls to the Dark Side and dies, Ben nearly falls to the Dark Side, I found the entire thing to just come off as an elaborate plan to hurt the Skywalker/Solo clan, except this time the villain all but won.
  19. Shadow Trooper Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 18, 2013
    star 4
    That would still cause her to be less proficient in a duel as flexibility and speed are pretty essential in light saber fighting. Also keep in mind that Mara is the same age as OT Kenobi, and he obviously was less physically powerful than his PT iteration. While Mara seems to have aged more gracefully than Kenobi, she probably also saw her physical prowess decline with age.
  20. DarthJenari Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 17, 2011
    star 4

    Obi-Wan's a special case, as he spent the last 2 decades avoiding lightsaber training and using the Force, which would've obviously caused his abilities to dramatically decrease. Mara is more similar to Yoda, Dooku, or Qui-Gon, wherein her Force Powers are just as sharp, and perhaps even stronger due to age and experience, but her body is succumbing to the natural human trait of aging. However, that's where the Force starts to play more into lightsaber combat than it did before, where the duelist uses it to make up more for their decreased physical ability, so while dueling it isn't an issue. The problem is that not everyone's like Luke Skywalker, where they have the Force Power to not only make up for it, but still push themselves beyond their limits to the point that no difference is even noticed.
    Last edited by DarthJenari, Aug 13, 2013
  21. JediMatteus Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 16, 2008
    star 4
    Mara was very powerful. I had her over every master but Luke and Kyp. The only reason jacen killed her is because of the illusion. He nearly died and that is more about how good Mara was then how bad jacen was. jacen was second to Luke in power only. I do think Mara was greatly aided by learning the force camoflauge from Ben. head to head she would not have had a chance
  22. rsh2112 Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Aug 10, 2013
    Yeah, I always ranked Mara as one of the strongest Jedi Masters on the Jedi Council, even though besides Luke, we never really had a real clue as to who was stronger than the other. I wish there were more times we could have read about Mara and Kyp and Corran and other Jedi Masters in combat or really exhibiting the power that resulted in them being appointed Jedi Masters.
    JediMatteus likes this.
  23. DarthJenari Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 17, 2011
    star 4

    Pretty much, which is why I think the fight had to be the way it was, because straight up blade to blade it would've been ridiculous for Mara to stand against Jacen/Caedus. She had to fall back on her Emperor's Hand days and make the fight her own. I still think it could've been written better of course.
  24. LarryG Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Sep 4, 2012
    star 1
    A triggered grenade to wound Jacen at the start to even the odds for her. Jacen did mull blowing up the cave before going in, but he probably thought it wouldn't be a "true" sacrifice unless he killed her personally.
  25. DigitalMessiah Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 17, 2004
    star 5
    The sacrifice should have been Tenel Ka and/or Allana if Jacen is going to follow the spirit of the law, so to speak, but then those are supposed to be the motivation for Jacen to become a Sith anyway. A rational person would conclude that becoming a Sith isn't the sensible option to protect your family since becoming a Sith evidently requires you to sacrifice your family, but nope, Jacen is just going to kill his parents because they suddenly mean nothing to him. Mara Jade was merely the sacrifice because Jacen had to kill her because she figured him out, and then rationalized it that she was the sacrifice. I sincerely doubt that "Ben's love and admiration" are things that Jacen valued particularly highly by that point in time, but then Legacy of the Force sort of eschewed things like "character motivation" so I guess that's par for the course.
    Last edited by DigitalMessiah, Aug 14, 2013