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Lit The 181st Imperial Discussion Group: Champions of the Force!

Discussion in 'Literature' started by Grey1, Oct 3, 2013.

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  1. Revanfan1 Chosen One

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    You know, I heard about Ulic waaay before I read TOTJ. How? My first Star Wars experience was the 2003 Clone Wars video game where you go to Ilum so Ulic Qel-Droma's spirit can tell you how to beat the Dark Reaper. When I read TOTJ years later I was like, "Hey! It's that Sith guy!"

    Edit: And by Ilum I of course mean Rhen Var. Too many snow planets...
    Last edited by Revanfan1, Oct 20, 2013
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  2. DigitalMessiah Chosen One

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  3. Revanfan1 Chosen One

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    My favorite part of that scene was not when Jacen was being a master swordsman at age three, but when he charged in shouting and waving his hands. I just get the most adorable image in my head. And that is followed with pure awesomeness (perhaps one of the only truly awesome moments in the trilogy) when Cilghal snapped the neck of one of the heads of the two headed beast (Jacen cut the other head off). Something about a peaceful healing woman of a fish species snapping a dragon's neck is just too cool. It kind of lines up with when she head-butts Sothais Saar in FOTJ.
  4. JackG Chosen One

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    Cilghal is awesome, though underused, like all "superfluous" characters.
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  5. Grey1 Host: 181st Imperial Discussion Group

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    Cute how the artist has given him little prequel youngling clothing... ten years ago, he'd worn a little rebellion jumpsuit, wouldn't he? Regarding the scene, it demonstrates how the oldest Solo son was the obvious choice as Luke's successor... and how KJA used what now seems to have been the obvious for Luke's Jedi Order. But some of the things weren't so obvious, were they?

    About Kun and Uli being the sides of Anakin - I think that's the part that was missing from Kun to make his progression through the Jedi Order more believable. A jerk who's a brilliant fighter - now that might be the description of the ideal Jedi for TOR, but I would like it better if someone mentioned how Kun was really one of the big hopes for the Jedi Order, and how that expectation fed into his developing arrogance.
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  6. Grey1 Host: 181st Imperial Discussion Group

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    There's this one thing KJA does really well with the First Class: Everyone he describes is instantly recognizable, and whether back then or today, I would have no hesitation in picking up a spin-off with any of these characters (well, except for my general weariness of new books today, obviously).

    The thing we haven't talked about yet which really is a remarkable blind spot of these books is that we get twelve students but only a hand full of names. While it opens a nice backdoor to retcon characters like Kyle and Corran in (which would obviously have been explainable but ungainly strays in the timeline otherwise), it's simply a huge gaping hole in the setup. Twelve new Jedi, champions of the Force! Most of them not worthy of getting a name or a face. And even today, when source books have filled in all the blanks, they did so with characters who aren't really characters because we never saw them in action. Phantoms that don't come from the timeframe and who are of no consequence whatsoever. Seeing how the Jedi KJA did design are all so very well designed, it just strikes me as the biggest neglect in the story, bigger than not keeping the villains around longer, writing past Kyp's guilt, or showing only superficial Jedi training.
    Last edited by Grey1, Oct 21, 2013
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  7. Revanfan1 Chosen One

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    I agree on both points. What happened to Kirana Ti and Streen, again? Oh yeah, shoved off to an academy on Dathomir because they aren't important enough. :rolleyes:

    And yes, I do think it was an injustice to not name all students. It was twelve characters; I could understand if he was writing a book with fifty or so Jedi, but realistically there is absolutely no reason he couldn't have given all twelve names, faces, and even identities. It's nice that they retconned Kyle, Brakiss, and Corran in, but who even remembers who Madurrin is, really?
  8. JackG Chosen One

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    The real reason Brakiss fell to the Dark Side: didn't get enough attention, and everyone forgot he existed.
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  9. The Compeer Jedi Grand Master

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    Worse still, they inexplicably failed to use them even when everyone was on Dathomir in FOTJ; that alone makes Backlash a solid candidate for Allston's worst book. And who did we get instead for supporting allies? More Hapans, because we haven't seen enough of them. :rolleyes:
  10. Revanfan1 Chosen One

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    I actually quite enjoyed Backlash, and there was a good explanation for why Streen and Kirana Ti were not used; it says the Jedi Academy there was closed by Darth Caedus during the war. Presumably Streen and Kirana Ti returned to Ossus or Coruscant. I guess. I still wish we'd see more of them, though.
  11. The Compeer Jedi Grand Master

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    Excuses, excuses. [face_not_talking]
  12. Revanfan1 Chosen One

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    I'm not saying they shouldn't have been used, just that there was a legitimate reason they weren't. I still wish some of the inaugural class would get a standalone novel, though.
  13. Grey1 Host: 181st Imperial Discussion Group

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    But as much as the Bantam kid generation seems to have gone overboard except for Jaina and a bit of Tahiri, Tenel Ka, and the occasional unrecognizable Raynar, the First Class has been sent into the quasi-retirement of council scenes. New books go to guys like Jaden Korr or that Scourge guy.
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  14. Dr. Steve Brule Force Ghost

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    Well, that "legitimate reason" was invented by Allston in Backlash to justify why they weren't in Backlash. He could easily have done it otherwise, it's not like his family were being held hostage and would only be let go if he came up with an excuse to not use the Dathomir Jedi Academy in his book.
  15. DigitalMessiah Chosen One

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    The first class' time to shine would have been prior to the NJO and to a lesser extent during it. Prior to the NJO the Jedi fixation we have now is non existent. Not a single Jedi besides Luke appears in Hand of Thrawn.

    That time period between Jedi Academy trilogy and Vector Prime is pretty much wide open to do Jaden Korr style stories, I mean that is pretty much what Jedi Outcast and Jedi Academy are. But Del Rey has shied away from that, except I guess Scourge.
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  16. Gamiel Force Ghost

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    When it comes to marriages it is also possible that they banned them to prevent the creation of dynasties and diminish the chance for nepotism. Also no marriages = no partner or in-loves that try to get a favourable treatment, have things overlooked or use their relation to lobby.
  17. Revanfan1 Chosen One

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    Corran appeared and his Jedi powers were mentioned, though IIRC he still took the role of Wedge's right-hand man first, and Jedi second. And I would argue Mara, though she wasn't an official Jedi at the time.
  18. DigitalMessiah Chosen One

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    I forgot Corran because he doesn't really appear in the capacity of a Jedi. But that is the point I mean to make about the absence of a Jedi fixation to the exclusion of any other characters having importance.
  19. Grey1 Host: 181st Imperial Discussion Group

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    Which goes full circle with what I said previously: Zahn is staying closer to the movies in regards to the characters, having them "on their own" like in Empire - therefore no Jedi army to help out in all places, but fighter pilots, smugglers and agents and rebel politicians instead. KJA took away something different from the movies, and that's the idea of having over-the-top fun, creating toys in the process. So while Zahn keeps the status quo of the movies on some level - even if there's a lot of development in terms of the New Republic government and galactic power struggles - KJA opens up a new chapter with Luke not being a loner on missions, but his own Yoda with a house to look after and new Jedi to send on missions.

    EU and this fandom have surely been burned on lightsabers and Force users, but as much as prequelitis has changed EU for the slightly worse in shelling out what the general audience might get interested in these days, taking away the "Jedi fixation" isn't really helping, either. And having a well-rounded Jedi Order with a lot of usable characters (who still can't be everywhere all the time) was the logical step for the EU to take. The problem is not that there are Jedi, or lots of Jedi, but that someone thought Star Wars was just about Jedi, and that if you don't live at the Jedi Temple, you can't be of any use in a story.
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  20. Revanfan1 Chosen One

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    I wouldn't say Luke is no longer a loner on missions...he had Cray and Callista for Children of the Jedi and Darksaber and Akanah (grr!) for the Black Fleet trilogy, but other than that he was almost always alone until he married Mara. Planet of Twilight, The New Rebellion, and the Corellian trilogy had him pretty much by himself (until, in the latter, he recruited Gaeriel and her people). Even at the beginning of Specter of the Past he was alone until he teamed up with Mara.
  21. Grey1 Host: 181st Imperial Discussion Group

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    I agree with that, but I didn't mean that he did only go on loner missions in Zahn books. Obviously most of the books adopted the movie template or to some degree the template that the Thrawn trilogy created by using the movie template. And of course the "main books" will concentrate on adventures of the main characters. But it did open up a world for books like the YJK series, in which Luke only steps in from time to time. Also, Bantam books mostly had to find extreme situations to isolate Luke - his weird phase in BFC, losing his team members in COTJ. Then there's isolated incidents like Crystal Star, in which Luke's in a setting where he didn't bring others with him and won't get back up. The New Rebellion, on the other hand, acknowledges the Jedi Order by having Brakiss and Kueller, and even non-Jedi Mara who still helps Luke Force-wise in the final battle.

    Funnily enough, I think that the NJO, while originally envisioned as something that could detach from EU canon - only using characters like Kyp based on broad strokes, taken from a grab bag - really did wonders for bringing the new Jedi Order to paper. And DN onwards, for all that it's worth, does use the Order - even if completey wrong, based on two parameters: the prequel model and the cheap conflict model. But other than that, we're finally in the phase where characters like Kyle Katarn and Jaden Korr pop up at every turn. Why did it take so long?
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  22. DigitalMessiah Chosen One

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    The EU is heavily derivative of the films and it required the prequels to establish the paradigm before it put it into practice. Sadly, the NJO was the one instance where they did their own thing instead of following a set formula or otherwise looked to adapt highly specialized tropes from the films, and they abandoned that approach as soon as the series ended.
  23. Grey1 Host: 181st Imperial Discussion Group

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    Since I've just seen "I, Jedi and/or Jedi Academy" recommended as important EU novels again - I'd like to have another spin on the Stackpole/KJA ride. We don't have to argue which book and which author is better, but - is I, Jedi truly good at setting up Luke's Academy and Luke's Order? If you look for pivotal EU moments, regardless of how well they've been written, is Corran's summer adventure really representative of the New Jedi Order idea?

    Although I think it's becoming hard to argue that you need to read certain books for their plot elements or their "importance" - you can get everything from source books, the Wook, and from everything everyone around here tells you about everything. Since most of us agree on the JAT not having been written all that well - what reason would there be to slog through a book "just for the event" which had been an event twenty years ago?
  24. DigitalMessiah Chosen One

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    My book recommendations have slowly seen the pendulum swing from the criterion for recommendation being the events in the books and their importance to the criterion for recommendation being the quality of the novel, and I've come to the conclusion that there's no happy medium. With books like the Jedi Academy trilogy, there's important events that are in books that aren't worth reading, relatively speaking. I suppose if you're dedicating yourself to reading Star Wars and only Star Wars, you could do worse than the Jedi Academy trilogy, but assuming a reader expects a certain standard of quality in novels I'd say that Jedi Academy trilogy falls below that for me. Only a fraction of published SW books are actually good, so I guess it ultimately depends upon how you're philosophically approaching Star Wars novels: are you looking to read good novels, or are you looking to read Star Wars novels as a guilty pleasure?

    I've shifted from the latter to the former over the past twenty years, and as a former completionist I now have a few of the more recent novels that I haven't read nor have much an interest in reading. I'd say the shift has been motivated by an overall decline in quality, perceived or otherwise, that has lessened my interest in the novels overall, thus resulting in me being more selective in what I read. At this point in time, I would only recommend Jedi Academy trilogy if the person is looking to read a lot of Star Wars novels; that is to say that they're casting a wide net where other books of this quality are likely to fall into it. The significance of events makes it a worthier read than, say, KJA's other novel, Darksaber.
    Last edited by DigitalMessiah, Oct 23, 2013
  25. Grey1 Host: 181st Imperial Discussion Group

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    Out of curiosity, would you say Darksaber is a more enjoyable read than the JAT?
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