Lit Rooting for the Empire (or certain Imperials)- why?

Discussion in 'Literature' started by Iron_lord, Feb 1, 2013.

  1. GrandAdmiralJello Moderator Communitatis Litterarumque

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    Nov 28, 2000
    star 10
    Hey! He was pretty unobjectionable.

    We don't know if he's titled nobility or not.

    Fel would be a Peer of the Empire while Satine would be local nobility.
  2. Parnesius Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Sep 8, 2012
    star 1
    Well, precisely.

    I do suspect that if we were to line up all the instances of attempts to seize power in or otherwise subvert the Remnant's governance, and instances where it was less effective in a crisis than one might reasonably expect, it wouldn't be an entirely one-sided showing over the Republic and Alliance; we simply have much higher (or any) expectations of the Good Guys.

    That said, I am now pondering whether anybody in the current crop actually regards the Alliance itself as the Good Guys (as the Rebels and New Republic commonly were) or if all heroism is now expected to occur at an individual level within the larger entity - which is to say, is the Alliance, and its senate and so on, now reduced to being merely the playing field?

    Perhaps it would be helpful, or at least instructive, to consider ways in which the Galactic Alliance might be rendered decidedly more admirable and worthy of its founders' labours. By which I do not mean "Hire better writers" or "tell more imaginative stories".

    For example, would a shift away from galactic-level crises to more personally significant adventures in the underworld or on the frontier, leaving the Alliance's governance and politics in the background, be sufficient?

    Would the installation as Chief of State of an established character possessing great popularity and integrity (Lando or Wedge, say) for a decent stretch improve the Alliance's government and character or would they inevitably be portrayed as the One Good Man within the system?

    And so on.
    Last edited by Parnesius, Feb 7, 2013
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  3. KissMeImARebel Force Ghost

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    Nov 25, 2003
    star 4
    I can't really argue with this.
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  4. Mechalich Force Ghost

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    Feb 2, 2010
    star 4
    And yet, this is the root of the problem. While the Yuuzhan Vong War era New Republic was portrayed as fraying and fractured as a result of authorial intent, for better or worse, the GA has larger been portrayed as fragmented, weak, and utterly incapable through authorial incompetence. At least I do not detect any deliberate effort to make the Galactic Alliance to appear as pathetic as it ultimately does in LotF and FotJ.

    Daala's tenure as Chief of State is the ultimate example. She actually does have a number of very legitimate gripes about the role of the Jedi in galactic society, one's that are not unique to her personally but represent the continual dramatic tension of having a super-powered religious militant order running around everywhere. yet the resolution to Daala's struggle with the Jedi Order is does not involve one side's ideology triumphing ovedr the other, or the development of a compromise, it involves declaring Daala criminally insane and all her decisions void as a result - essentially FotJ's Jedi Order plotline turns on the manipulation of an ad hominem attack, a logical fallacy.

    By contrast scheming in the Empire has been much more pragmatic. Quile, Lecersen, and the other Moffs who pushed against Pellaeon and later Fel had goals, beliefs, and plans to do something with the Empire once they had it (if vaguely). More importantly, because of the way the Empire is set up, as a military dictatorship, that sort of scheming, plotting and manipulation is something we fully expect. If the Moffs plot agaisnt Fel, and even somehow manage to overthrow him, that is a logical plotline. That the Lost Tribe of the Sith, a group of individuals with no experience with modern galactic life and no understanding of democracy whatsoever, can totally and completely infilitrate and subordinate the bureaucracy of the Galactic Alliance in a span of weeks is an absurdity.

    Worst of all, we hardly ever see any resistance to this sort of thing from within the GA, only from without, through Jedi or retired military characters such as Wedge and Gavin. Instead multiple villains, Jacen Solo, Daala, the Lost Tribe, and Abeloth have all seized the reigns of power with comical ease. The GA has become nothing more than a pawn in the battles between the Jedi and their opponent du jour. During the Bantam Era of novels the sterotypical move was to hand random Imperial Warlrod X terrible superweapon Y. In the Del Rey era the corresponding choice is to hand random mysterious evil X then entire GA.
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  5. thesevegetables Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 11, 2012
    star 4
    @Mechalich - totally. The Jedi no longer know what they are doing.
  6. cthugha Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 24, 2010
    star 3
    Great analysis...

    So what we've seen since c.2000 is:

    -- heroic individuals working against the system
    -- one story after another showing how sluggish, impotent and easily corrupted democracies are

    Not we might debate how much of this is still washback from the PT or if it reflects contemporary concerns and all that, but the most important point I think you're making is that one question has been conspicuously absent from the SWEU since the Bantam days:

    What is a good government?

    The answer to this, according to the recent EU, seems to be either "none" -- or "a military dictatorship under a benevolent leader". Which is interesting.
    The first seems to be a result of the whole focus on individual heroes -- from the perspective of the strong individual who knows what's right, moderating and complex governments can only be a hindrance, to the point of being a danger when they impede their heroic efforts.
    The second -- viewing a benevolent (non-Sith) Empire as preferable to a democracy -- might have to do with the Old Republic's presentation in the PT (forgetting that this was preceded by millennia of stability), with authors' disillusionment with real-life democracies... or once again the hero trope. Because of course it is easier for an author to focus all of a state's problems, decisions and actions in one hero figure than to portray democratic decision-making processes in an exciting way. Also, if you look at the history of fiction, there are plenty more precedents for this kind of perspective -- the well-meaning king or aristocrat pondering affairs of state -- than there are meaningful treatments of democratic leadership. So in a way you could ask: If most non-Star Wars literature worldwide hasn't yet really caught up with the fact that most of its readers live in democracies, how can we expect tie-in fiction to do better than that?

    Add to that the fact that many EU writers come from fantasy (think kings and knights) rather than SF (think utopian approaches and serious thinking about how societies might develop), and the outcome seems inevitable.
    Still sad, though.
  7. Iron_lord Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Sep 2, 2012
    star 6
    I'm wondering- how long has the trend toward more fantasy writers rather than sci-fi writers writing for the EU, been going on?
    Last edited by Iron_lord, Feb 8, 2013
  8. Mechalich Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Feb 2, 2010
    star 4
    Basically since Del Rey took the contract from Bantam.

    And it's not just a fantasy vs. science fiction thing. It is a move, especially in the main novel timeline (Del Rey's Clone Wars and Dark Times era material has a more diverse author base) it is a move towards a specific group of writers with a shared history coming out of D&D shared world fiction. FotJ is the most obvious: all three authors, Allston, Denning, and Golden worked in D&D publishing under TSR in the 1990s. As a result there has been a conversion, one that began in the NJO to remake Star Was as something like Forgotten Realms with lightsabers.
  9. Gamiel Force Ghost

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    Dec 16, 2012
    star 5
    :eek:
    Have to ask - are they any good and/or do their arguments hold any real water?
  10. Iron_lord Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Sep 2, 2012
    star 6
    I didn't think so- but I may be biased in that regard.
  11. fett 4 Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jan 2, 2000
    star 4
    To be fair with the Bantam run most of the books were pretty much the same plot, Imperial Warlord comes along to try and take over the galaxy. The only question was whether he used a Super weapon or not. Let's not forget how many different people seemed to steal the same Death Star Plans :D

    I give credit for Del-Rey for at least trying something new (but that is it) where they fell down was in using lots of different authors, many of whom were not very good and writing stories that simply were awful. Then coming out with rubbish like "60's are the new 40's" and stuff like that.
    Last edited by fett 4, Feb 11, 2013
  12. Gamiel Force Ghost

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    Dec 16, 2012
    star 5
    I can understand cold, overconfident and even dogmatic but how were the jedi boring?
  13. Zane the Reaper Jedi Grand Master

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    Nov 5, 2012
    star 1
    Passionless celebates are boring.

    "Join the Jedi and embrace... detachment."
  14. Gamiel Force Ghost

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    Dec 16, 2012
    star 5
    Passionless don't have to mean emotionless or boring and what has celibacy to do with it?
  15. Zane the Reaper Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 5, 2012
    star 1
    Just sayin.. that's a boring lifestyle.

    And I do think that detachment means emotionless. For all the "use your feelings" talk, they seem to encourage suppression of emotions to the point of apathy (at least as they are depicted in the prequels).

    It's ok if I find them dull and you don't. But this is a thread about rooting for the badguys. :)
    Last edited by Zane the Reaper, Feb 13, 2013
  16. Iron_lord Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Sep 2, 2012
    star 6
    There's an interview in which Lucas states Jedi aren't required to be celibate- just "unattached".
    Last edited by Iron_lord, Feb 13, 2013
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  17. Gamiel Force Ghost

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    Dec 16, 2012
    star 5
    Yes, boring, nothing but travelling the Galaxy saving lives and protecting peace...


  18. Zane the Reaper Jedi Grand Master

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    Nov 5, 2012
    star 1
    If Luke felt unattached to his father I doubt Vader would have been redeemed.

    It was time for that philosphy to go.
  19. Zane the Reaper Jedi Grand Master

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    Nov 5, 2012
    star 1
    [IMG]
  20. Gamiel Force Ghost

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    Dec 16, 2012
    star 5

    No, just not seeing your point
  21. Iron_lord Chosen One

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    There's also the perspective that "what the Jedi call 'attached to', a modern person would call 'obsessed with'".
  22. Zane the Reaper Jedi Grand Master

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    Nov 5, 2012
    star 1
    Ok man - you win the internet - they're not boring. They're dull.
  23. Zane the Reaper Jedi Grand Master

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    Nov 5, 2012
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    ADJECTIVE
    1.
    uninteresting: stimulating no interest or enthusiasm
    bor·ing·ly ADVERB
    bor·ing·ness NOUN
    Word Key: Synonyms
    boring, dull, monotonous, tedious, uninteresting
    CORE MEANING: without qualities that engage somebody's interest

    boring lacking in interest, stimulation, or variety;
    The public is not that interested in boring details about procedures.
    Living in the mountains is wonderful, but it can get quite boring after a while.
    dull not interesting because of a lack of liveliness, humor, or variety;
    monotonous not interesting because of too much uniformity and repetition;
    Rory stood at Janice's side, humming something monotonous.
    If short and simple sentences dominate your writing, it may become monotonous.
    tedious wearying to the point of physical as well as mental discomfort;
    forced to take part in long and tedious debates
    The movie's pacing is tedious at times; the dialogue strays.
    uninteresting failing to engage somebody's interest rather than arousing actual impatience or weariness;
    a stolid, uninteresting couple
    The town had been largely rebuilt and looked uninteresting.
  24. Gamiel Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 16, 2012
    star 5
    I guess we will have to agree to disagree



  25. Zane the Reaper Jedi Grand Master

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    Nov 5, 2012
    star 1
    Last edited by Zane the Reaper, Feb 13, 2013