Lit Question on Mara Jade's abilities

Discussion in 'Literature' started by CarpeDiemRedhead, Jul 19, 2014.

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  1. CarpeDiemRedhead Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Jul 17, 2014
    This has been a question nagging at me for some time now, and I'd like to hear your opinions.
    In a lot of fanart, I've seen Mara portrayed as using Force Lightening (pre-Jedi training). Now in the comics and Zahn's work, the only Force abilities Mara seems capable of using are telekinetic, telepathic, her "danger sense", and combat/sensory enhancement.
    I kind of assumed that she was taught the basics of Force training, and that Force Lightening is an advanced ability that Palpitine would only bother teaching a full-out Sith. Furthermore, it's not at all subtle, and Mara to me has a preference for subtlety...er, usually. ;)
    What are your thoughts?
  2. Cynical_Ben Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 12, 2013
    star 4
    Fanart is generally inaccurate to the actual depictions of characters, I find. Like the ones I've seen of Mara and Palpatine engaging in "aggressive negotiations".
  3. _Catherine_ Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jun 16, 2007
    star 4
    I think she uses it in DNT, because Vergere tricked the Jedi into thinking it's okay to electrocute people.
  4. Rogue Five Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Jun 11, 2014
    star 2
    Yeah, in either the second of third book iirc. Probably the third one.

    Not that I'm going to read those again to check.
  5. Revanfan1 Force Ghost

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    Jun 3, 2013
    star 6
    I know this is just sarcasm, but I wouldn't be surprised if this is exactly what went through Denning's head. :p
  6. DarthJenari Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Dec 17, 2011
    star 4
    But yes the only time to my knowledge that Mara uses it is in DNT, after she's had far more training than her days as Palpatine's assassin, and is a skilled Jedi Master. She's never really the type to use more than the basics though, which I think fits in well with her background.


    [IMG]
    Even as sarcasm, some wounds will never heal.
  7. blackmyron Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 29, 2005
    star 5
    The thing is, there's actually Force "lightning" that isn't considered dark side. And it wasn't because of DNT - it's because of Jedi Starfighter.

    And honestly - Palpatine's "Force lightning" always seemed more like "bolts of pure Dark Side energy tearing away at your soul" than "Hey, Palpatine is actually a Spider-Man villain"
  8. Iron_lord Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 2, 2012
    star 8
    I thought it was Plo-Koon in Jedi Power Battles that started the trend?
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  9. blackmyron Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 29, 2005
    star 5
    Was it prior to Jedi Starfighter? Well, even better - Plo Koon is given as the example in Essential Guide to the Force of a Jedi using the "other" kind of Force Lightning, which Koon called "Electric Judgment" - even going before the Council to defend it.
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  10. Iron_lord Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 2, 2012
    star 8
    The ROTJ novel certainly depicts it that way:

    Palpatine raised his spidery arms toward Luke: blinding white bolts of energy coruscated from his fingers, shot across the room like sorcerous lightning, and tore through the boy’s insides, looking for ground. The young Jedi was all at once confounded and in agony—he’d never heard of such a power, such a corruption of the Force, let alone experienced it. But if it was Force-generated, it could be Force-repelled. Luke raised his arms to deflect the bolts. Initially, he was successful—the lightning rebounded from his touch, harmlessly into the walls. Soon, though, the shocks came with such speed and power, they coursed over and into him, and he could only shrink before them, convulsed with pain, his knees buckling, his powers at ebb.

  11. DigitalMessiah Force Ghost

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    Feb 17, 2004
    star 6
    Denning doesn't seem to be just rejecting the NJO, but the prequel Jedi as well in terms of their understanding of the Force (which is ironic when you think about it) with Dark Nest, given that he conflates the understanding that the Jedi gained about the will of the Force with Vergere in it.
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  12. Iron_lord Force Ghost

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    Sep 2, 2012
    star 8
    It should be noted that the belief that the Force is a tool - and that light side and dark side are relatively unimportant distinctions - is one Kyle Katarn seems to have. At least going by some of his quotes.
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  13. DigitalMessiah Force Ghost

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    Feb 17, 2004
    star 6
    It's also more in line with Kyp than Jacen in the NJO.
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  14. Iron_lord Force Ghost

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    That said, the TUF speech does have lines like "Light and dark do not always stand opposed but mingle in curious ways" from Luke.

    We also have Jacen and Luke debating Vergere:

    Jacen shook his head. "On Coruscant, at the ruins of the Jedi Temple, Vergere said that the Jedi had a shameful secret, and that secret was that there is no dark side. The Force is one. And that since there are no separate sides, the Force can't take sides. Our notions of light and dark only reflect how little we know about the true nature of the Force. What we have chosen to call the dark side is simply the raw, unrestrained Force itself, which gives rise to life as easily as it brings death and destruction."
    Luke listened closely. Now I shall show you the true nature of the Force, the Emperor had told him at Endor.
    On Mon Calamari, Vergere had tried to lead him down the same path, by implying that Yoda and Obi-Wan were to blame for not telling him the truth about the dark side. As a result of their neglect, when Luke had cut off his father's hand in anger, he assumed he had had a close brush with the dark side. When he stood at the side of the cloned Emperor, he had truly felt the dark side. Ever since, he had come to associate anger with darkness itself. But in fact, according to Vergere, Luke had been misguided by his own ego. She had maintained that, while darkness could remain in someone by invitation, it could just as easily be jettisoned by self-awareness. Once Luke accepted this, he would no longer have to fear being seduced by the dark side.
    "You're suggesting that I've held myself back by not wanting to incorporate this raw power into my awareness of the Force."
    "Vergere received years of formal training in the Force," Jacen said. "The things she told me must have been common knowledge among the Jedi of the Old Republic."
    "Vergere was corrupted by the years she spent living with the Yuuzhan Vong," Luke said evenly.
    "Corrupted?"
    "Maybe that's too strong a term. Let's say strongly influenced."
    "But she felt she hadn't been influenced by them."
    "She can't be blamed. Each of us stands at a kind of midpoint, from which we're capable of seeing only so far in either direction. Our senses have been honed over countless millennia to allow us to navigate the intricacies of the physical world. But because of that, our senses blind us to the fact that we are much more than our bodies. We truly are beings of light, Jacen.
    "The emphasis Jedi have always placed on control operates the same way. Control blinds us to the more expansive nature of the Force. The Jedi of the Old Republic wanted only youngsters for this reason. Jedi needed to be raised in the light, and to come to see that light as unblemished, undivided. But you and I haven't had the luxury of that indoctrination. Our lives are a constant test of our will to exorcise any darkness that creeps in.
    "In that sense, your instincts about me are correct, and so were Vergere's. The dark side has, in a sense, dominated my life. I've suspected for a long time that the fatigue I've sometimes experienced when drawing on the Force during combat owes to my fear of abusing the raw power you describe.
    "It's true that the Force is unified; it is one energy, one power. But here's where I think you and Vergere are incorrect: the dark side is real, because evil actions are real. Sentience gave rise to the dark side. Does it exist in nature? No. Left to itself, nature maintains the balance. But we've changed that. We are a new order of consciousness that has an impact on all life. The Force now contains light and dark because of what thinking beings have brought to it. That's why balance has become something that must be maintained—because our actions have the power to tip the scales."
    "As the Sith did," Jacen said.
    "As the Sith did. The Emperor was perhaps the most self-assured person I have ever encountered, but he deliberately chose evil over good. And in the right climate, one individual, suitably driven and skilled, can tip the universe into darkness. For darkness has followers, especially where discontent, isolation, or fear hold sway. In such a climate enemies can be fashioned, imagined out of thin air, and suddenly all good is lost, all perspective vanishes, and evil takes hold."
    Last edited by Iron_lord, Jul 19, 2014
  15. DigitalMessiah Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Feb 17, 2004
    star 6
    It's funny you post that because it has Luke saying the dark side is real, and then in Dark Nest he says it isn't until he changes his mind.
  16. Iron_lord Force Ghost

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    Sep 2, 2012
    star 8
    Maybe Jacen continued to tell Luke and his students "there is no dark side" until they began to believe it. At least in Denning's version of the post-TUF galaxy.

    Before he began his 5-year trip, at least.
  17. DigitalMessiah Force Ghost

    Member Since:
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    star 6
    Jacen never says there is no dark side. And he began his trip right away.

    There's no continuity to be found here, my friend.
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  18. Iron_lord Force Ghost

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    star 8
    "On Coruscant, at the ruins of the Jedi Temple, Vergere said that the Jedi had a shameful secret, and that secret was that there is no dark side."
  19. DigitalMessiah Force Ghost

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    Feb 17, 2004
    star 6
    Yeah, that's hearsay, that's not what Jacen necessarily believes.
  20. Iron_lord Force Ghost

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    Sep 2, 2012
    star 8
    Even in the Force Heretic trilogy, there's hints Jacen isn't taking it completely at face value:

    Jacen reached deep inside himself, searching for the wisdom of his last teacher's words.
    "The Force is everything, and everything is the Force," Vergere had said, shortly before she died. "There is no dark side. The Force is one, eternal and indivisible. You need worry about no darkness save that in your own heart."
    Not even the darkness of others? he wanted to ask her as he stood listening to Moff Flennic's ranting.
  21. DarthJenari Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Dec 17, 2011
    star 4
    My friends, trying to pin down what Jacen, Luke, or Vergere believed about the Force between NJO and the Denningverse is pointless, and can only result in an extended stint in a mental institution. It's all over the place.
    Last edited by DarthJenari, Jul 19, 2014
  22. DigitalMessiah Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Feb 17, 2004
    star 6
    Yeah, Denning basically decided what he was going to have the status quo be at the start and admitted as much.
  23. Iron_lord Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 2, 2012
    star 8
    Going back to Mara - the Jedi vs Sith: The Essential Guide to the Force book does say she learned the basics of using Dark emotions:

    The Essential Guide to the Force
    From infancy, I was trained in the Force at what was then the Imperial Palace on Coruscant. I have no memories of my parents. The Emperor's advisors taught me the art of political intrigue. His spymasters taught me infiltration techniques. I got my combat training alongside the Imperial Royal Guard. The Emperor himself trained me to develop my powers, specifically from the dark side of the Force. I learned to listen for his telepathic "voice," which I could hear across the galaxy, and to draw strength from his vast reserves of power.
    The purpose of all this training was, as everyone now seems to be aware, that I would become an assassin. And that is exactly what I became. To a very select few, I was known as the Emperor's Hand. Got that moniker after I broke into Tarkin's private quarters. It was a breeze.
    Who were my targets? You name 'em. Ambitious planetary governors, greedy crime lords, disloyal Imperial officers. Did I believe they were threats to the general public? Most of them.
    Did I ever feel sorry for them? Emotions were never part of the job. I was sworn to do the Emperor's bidding. I couldn't even feel sorry for myself if I'd tried.
    Did I ever miss a target? Yeah. A guy named Skywalker on Tatooine. You had to be there.
    After I failed that assignment, the Emperor ordered me to give up the chase for the time being, tackle something else. Days later, I received his final command: You will kill Luke Skywalker.
    I knew Palpatine was dead. Can't explain how much rage I felt. Some people get steamed if they lose a hand. I was the hand, severed but still twitching, and I'd lost the one person who'd ever controlled me.

    Possibly using I, Jedi as the starting point:

    I, Jedi:
    "My Imperial training directed me toward using dark-side techniques for tapping the Force. I let emotions fuel what I did. I came here thinking Luke would show me new things I could do, new abilities to learn, but what he did instead was show me how to employ the light side. I'm still doing the same things, but I have a new power source."
    "One that runs a bit leaner, isn't as easily accessible . . . "
    "Right, but one that won't burn the engine out."
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  24. DigitalMessiah Force Ghost

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    Feb 17, 2004
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    I always found Mara and Corran's conversation to be particularly reductive in its metaphor, but I suppose that's the paradigm which the prequels and the NJO really contested and which there was a lot of pushback over.
  25. Iron_lord Force Ghost

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    Sep 2, 2012
    star 8
    Zahn may also have asked Stackpole to change it, for By The Emperor's Hand.
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