Lit Re-Reading The Thrawn Trilogy

Discussion in 'Literature' started by Vialco, Jun 9, 2017.

  1. Charlemagne19 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 30, 2000
    star 8
    Because the Empire blow up a planet full of pacifists for no other reason to scare people.

    Albeit, the Empire has better music.





    Given it's multi-ethnic, multi-species and led by two women....yes?

    The Quarrens in the EU notably sided with the Empire and the Empire backstabbed them because, hey, Empire. They are altering the deal. Pray they don't alter it any further.

    Notably, this is actually a plot point in TTT. Bel Iblis totally believes this is going to happen and Mon Mothma is a secretly sinister figure.

    So her coldness and aristocratic actions are deliberate.

    It's just Bel Iblis is incredibly wrong.
    Last edited by Charlemagne19, Jun 12, 2017
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  2. Iron_lord Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 2, 2012
    star 8
    That wasn't the impression I got - I got the impression most ISDs in NR service had been captured from the Empire, with the NR preferring new Mon Cal designs or new Star Destroyer classes (Republic, Nebula).

    The first all-new NR ISDs we see turn up really late - NJO era, with the ISD Mon Mothma (a late-model variant with gravity-well-projectors) being one of the first ships noted as being both an ISD, and New-Republic built (traditionally, ships aren't named after living political leaders - it was probably named and launched shortly after her death).
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  3. comradepitrovsky Jedi Knight

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    Jan 5, 2017
    star 3
    Charles, Charles . . . Is he? Mon Mothma. Mon Moffma. Grand Moffma. The signs were there all along!
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  4. Gamiel Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 16, 2012
    star 6
    Because it would take time and lots of money to demolish it and neither commodity is something that the NR have much of, then there is the question about where they should be meeting while the building is being demolished and a new is being built. Better to repurpose the old palaces and rebuild the parts you don't like.
  5. Sarge Chosen One

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    Oct 4, 1998
    star 6

    Because Ackbar believes in the cause, in the principles, even when individuals screw up. His loyalty is to the ideals and to making the world a better place. He won't let petty personal grudges stop him from doing his duty. And his duty includes working with the system to make sure that awful mistakes are not repeated. His loyalty and ethics won't let him walk away from all that.
  6. Nehru_Amidala Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 3, 2016
    star 5
    I have re-read all as an adult, and I can honestly say that they're even better know. I am picking up more than when I read them when I was 13-14.
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  7. Iron_lord Force Ghost

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    Sep 2, 2012
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    Maybe it's "His loyalty is to the people of the New Republic" - those who will be killed or enslaved by the Empire, with the Empire finding it easier to do so if Ackbar is not around.

    To him, if people are saved by his presence in the New Republic - that's enough to overlook a great many affronts.
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  8. Nehru_Amidala Jedi Master

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    Oct 3, 2016
    star 5
    Also as an adult, I am finding Thrawn is pretty darn sexy.
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  9. Havac Former Moderator

    Member Since:
    Sep 29, 2005
    star 7
    @Vialco, I think you're exaggerating Mothma's characterization a bit. She's portrayed as a serious and statesmanlike politician who has to balance a lot to keep the New Republic running, who has to engage with some political realities as the leader that Leia is freer to rail about on the sidelines. When evidence comes out that implicates Ackbar in a crime, she has to take it seriously and suspend him while there's an investigation. It's what any leader would have to do. Sure, the charges against Ackbar are nonsense, and she has to know it -- but as the leader of a democratic republic with the rule of law, she can't just say, "Oh, I don't buy that. There will be no investigation. There will be no consequences. He's my friend, he couldn't have done it, so there's no investigation." I feel like I could draw parallels to current US politics but I don't want to bring up He-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named. I think this is actually one of the few times we get a portrayal of actual rule of law in action, and not the banana republic **** where the heroes just dictate what's going to happen and blow off everybody else's concerns and they know best. Likewise, when Han and Luke and the rest violate her orders and break the law, she has to have them arrested. She's ultimately willing to forgive and forget because this is a constant fictional trope, but honestly I think she'd be a worse person if she just let her friends get away with doing whatever they want because they're "good people" than if she, as a political leader, stands up for the rule of law and insists that people actually follow the rules. I don't see how that's a portrayal of her as not a good person, not a good leader. It makes her less sympathetic than if she was the heroes' lapdog who tells them to run wild, but I think it's good that she manages to be something of a check on the fictional tendency towards lawlessly consequence-proof, pseudo-fascist heroic characters without being portrayed as a villain, merely as a stern, politically realistic mentor figure for Leia.

    As for Borsk, Mothma's in the position of balancing interests. She takes Borsk seriously and he has some significant influence over her -- because he's one of the most important leaders in the Rebellion and New Republic. As has been pointed out, Borsk is cutthroat ambitious, but that's the way of his people. He's not ill-intentioned, and he's a true-blue Republic supporter. He's a massively important senator and leader who doubtless has good advice to offer -- it's just that he also happens to be an inveterate politicker. And so Mothma cannot simply dismiss him. It's a bit of a flaw that she takes perhaps a bit too much of his advice and not enough of others, but you can see how she gets there, not wanting to be one-sided, and it's simply the case that Borsk is at his political ascendance here -- for whatever reason, this is when he most has Mothma's ear, though that's quickly undone. But I'd actually compare Mothma a bit to George Washington in this sense, which will surely infuriate Jello. Washington was in a similar position of standing as a unifying leader who sought to avoid the emergence of the conflict of a party system. So he had in his cabinet the leading lights of both emerging proto-parties, and though Washington leaned significantly toward Alexander Hamilton's Federalists in his opinions, policies, and cabinet makeup, he refused to eject Thomas Jefferson from his cabinet even though Jefferson was an inveterate politicker who schemed against Washington's policies and even secretly bankrolled opposition newspapers that attacked Washington and the administration while he was secretary of state! He insisted on keeping Jefferson inside the tent and gave him a fair hearing and sometimes took his advice and his side to avoid completely splitting his administration apart into conflict. I think this is a roughly analogous situation. Mothma's heart is clearly with Leia and Ackbar, we know, but she has factors to consider, as a unifying leader, that they don't, and consequently insists on keeping Borsk inside the tent, keeping him as happy as possible, and giving him a fair hearing and making use of his advice and knowledge. The result is that he appears to have her ear far too much for Leia's contentment, but it doesn't make Mothma weak-willed or a Borskite.

    I find myself shockingly in league with Charles here.
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  10. comradepitrovsky Jedi Knight

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    Jan 5, 2017
    star 3
    Agreed on all counts, though I dislike the use of 'Borskite.'
  11. Vialco Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 6, 2007
    star 4
    @Havac

    You make some good points about Mothma standing for rule of law and due process. I just can't buy her acting that way towards the heroes that won the war for her and the Rebel Alliance. I would hope she would make an exception for the man that destroyed the first Death Star. If not for Luke, Han and Leia, there would be no New Republic for Mothma to rule.

    It would be good if Mothma realized that these people were integral to the Republic's success. If Han, Luke and Leia didn't do what they did, ignoring the rules, the war against the Empire would have been lost.

    Continuing the journey through HTTE, the Noghri attack at Bimmissari is a very suspenseful scene. One thing that is very underplayed in that fight is how Luke defeats all of the Noghri that attack him.

    The aftermath of the attack is underplayed heavily by the Provisional Council. But the Noghri attacks persist, and that eventually leads us to Nkllon.

    An interesting tidbit is that Yoda was initially thought to have lived on Dagobah for a much longer time. Zahn attributes the defeat of the Bpfasshi Dark Jedi to him. It seems that the power of Fallen Jedi was vastly overstated in early canon. The only opponent that truly gave Yoda a challenge was the Emperor himself.
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  12. Jedi Ben Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jul 19, 1999
    star 7
    I like the idea of Mothma keeping Borsk in the tent, even though he's pissing everywhere, because it's less worse than him pissing who knows where outside it.
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  13. Charlemagne19 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 30, 2000
    star 8
    Part of the issue is also Borsk is actually interested in setting up a new government and all the bureaucracy and politicking which goes into it.
  14. Vialco Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 6, 2007
    star 4
    That's what I dislike about it. Bureaucracy is needed to keep the Galaxy in order. But some people, extraordinary people who have demonstrated a record for achieving miracles for the government should not be shackled by that bureaucracy.

    While it's nice to say that the rules apply to everyone, a pragmatic and wise leader makes exceptions for those who save the Galaxy time and time again. If you try to force the greatest heroes to conform to your system, they won't be able to save you the way they've done it the past.
  15. Charlemagne19 Force Ghost

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    Jul 30, 2000
    star 8
    Mind you, Mon Mothma does let them go. All she did was confine them to their room. Which is nothing.
  16. Jedi Ben Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jul 19, 1999
    star 7
    Or, those heroes prove to be quite adept at playing the system - does anyone really think Solo wouldn't talk the mechanics into doing the Falcon first, regardless of orders to do whatever ship instead? It'd be that the parts needed hadn't arrived., so might as well do the Falcon first. Leia would know how to do this as a matter of course and Luke's not the country bumpkin people think he is.
  17. Havac Former Moderator

    Member Since:
    Sep 29, 2005
    star 7
    Vialco, that's just the same old heroes-are-above-the-law thinking that is such a problem in fiction. Luke should be above the law because he's a great New Republic hero. Okay. Who were the great heroes of the Old Republic? Anakin and Palpatine. Certainly they shouldn't have been above the law. It's easy to come in with our knowledge as readers and go, "Oh, this is a good guy, the rules shouldn't apply to him, they should know he's going to do the right thing." But that's not how it really works, and not how it should work. There's a set of rules for everybody because we can't really know that somebody's guaranteed to be perfect. Government is conducted on the basis of principles, of the universal rule of law, and not by ubermenschen. Everybody thinks they're the hero. Borsk thinks he's the great hero of the New Republic. But that's no basis for government.

    This is the same fictional drive that gives us detectives who bend the rules, heroes who work outside the laws, superheroes who should have infinite power and zero responsibility -- the fantasy of the ubermensch hero who can operate above the law, beyond the law, because he's always right. It's understandable, but there's also something dangerous about it, especially when applied to the real world and not to fantasy. Enlightened despotism is a powerful fantasy, but it's still despotism, and there's no way outside fiction to guarantee it's actually enlightened.
  18. comradepitrovsky Jedi Knight

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    Jan 5, 2017
    star 3
    It's the Authority problem -- "When they blow up a city, it's evil. When we do it, it's heroism."
  19. Vialco Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 6, 2007
    star 4
    I agree that it's dangerous to apply that philosophy to the real world. I was talking solely about a fictional universe with heroes with access to extraordinary powers. But this really isn't the place for a debate about Jedi being above the law. There was a whole 9-book series on that a few years ago.
  20. fett 4 Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 2, 2000
    star 4
    I liked Borsk ok enough in HoT but otherwise he seemed to be a bit of a Strawman. Somome for our heroes to go against without ever having to worry about being wrong.

    @Vialco regards Yoda and the whole Dark Jedi thing, back in 1991 when this came out, I doubt Zahn (or anyone else) knew what a Sith was or that Palpatine was one. In fact it's interesting to look at the time periods when his books came out and see the changes. In 91 you have TTT in 98 right before the PT you have HoT then in 2003 after Attack of the Clones but before Revenge of the Sith you have Survivors Quest and OutBound Flight then in 06/07 after the PT but BD (before Disney) you've got Alliegence and Choices of One and 2010 Scoundrels now after TCW and during Rebels you have Thrawn. It's interesting how things subtly change when information etc changes when new movie is out.
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  21. Jedi Ben Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jul 19, 1999
    star 7
    You're aware Ellis quipped that under any other superhero rules the Authority'd be considered villains, right?
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  22. comradepitrovsky Jedi Knight

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    Jan 5, 2017
    star 3
    Yeah, that's what I'm saying. They're villains who are only heroes because they have a monopoly of force.
  23. Jedi Ben Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jul 19, 1999
    star 7
    Well that and, like every other action movie ever*, their adversaries are chosen so as to be so vile that whatever gets done to them is entirely justifiable. (* See John Wick, Commando and Taken.)

    But there's a lot to be said for enjoying a story as a story. There's a great afterword to Punisher: Welcome Back Frank by Ennis where he takes aim at the very notion of trying to justify Castle, as he sees no way for that to ever work, the book is entertainment divorced from reality and that's all.
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  24. Charlemagne19 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 30, 2000
    star 8
    It'd be the height of hypocrisy to say this is a bad thing in Star Wars. I'm actually pretty eye-rolling on the whole, "think of all the baristas and cafeteria workers on the Death Star!" I mean, war is a terrible and awful thing in real-life and not something which Star Wars actually glamorizes all that much. As much as it's a Pulpy fantasy, George is actually very careful to make sure the Rebels suffer losses and get the crud beaten out of them left and right until Return of the Jedi. Yoda is also very clear wars don't make one great and the biggest victory in the story is the fact Luke finds the humanity of the biggest villain.

    Part of what elevates the material is it keeps the heroic narrative while not lying about the reality.

    It's why I have problems with the Prequels use of Battle Droids (which sidesteps any morality) and the fact Finn merrily blows away his former colleagues within minutes and never seems to acknowledge that.
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  25. Force Smuggler Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 2, 2012
    star 7
    I wish that TLJ wasn't taking place right after TFA. I'd like to see a series of books or comics deal with the aftermath of everything. How much time passes between the battle of Starkiller Base and when Rey leaves?
    Poe and Rey talking about Kylo Ren, Rey and Leia discussing Han's death, the fight against Kylo Ren, Finn's injuries and meeting Luke. Meeting some of the other pilots.
    Heck, when Finn wakes up, dealing with his injury. I don't know how TLJ is realistically going to have Finn wake up, recover and go on a mission, all in 2 hours.
    Poe is the one who killed Finn's friend at the start of TFA. I want to see the fall out of that.