Lit The 181st Imperial Discussion Group: Jedi Search!

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

  1. instantdeath Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 22, 2010
    star 5
    I feel Daala's an almost offensive character. While I do enjoy the angle of a character believing them self to be a genius yet actually being little more than a sadistic bastard, I simply don't get the impression that that what KJA was going for. I'm left with the impression that he was truly attempting to write a competent female villain, and failed utterly.

    I'll mention one thing that always sticks out in my mind: her fanatical devotion bordering on worship of Tarkin. Every move she makes is accompanied by her considering whether Tarkin would approve, or applauding herself and thinking how proud her Knight in Shining Armor Tarkin would be. She constantly recalls how Tarkin saved her from discrimination, how he taught her how to "turn planets into slag". When her attack on Calamari falls apart, if I recall correctly, the first thing she thinks of is that she did everything Tarkin instructed, that there's no way she could have failed because her man was infallible. One of the only women in a position of power in the Empire, and every action she takes has to have what she believes is the approval of a dead man. I'm no feminist, and even I find this offensive. It speaks to the age-old stereotype that every woman wants and needs a man to save and protect them. I certainly don't believe KJA was attempting to create a strong female character, but if he was, then he failed spectacularly.

    Even if we're lowering the bar a bit and accepting that Daala is meant to be nothing more than a slightly competent tyrant, I feel she still comes up short. When she encounters a trader ship, her absolute first reaction is to blow it up. This would be fine, I suppose, if we're trying to establish that she's a brute. But she changes her mind, and invites the trader aboard. She attaches a bomb to the ship, and in the COMPLETE SURPRISE OF EVERYONE EXCEPT THE READER, the ship blows up. The entire Star Destroyer applauds Daala's brilliance. Here, KJA is clearly trying to establish that Daala is intelligent and ruthless, but it just doesn't work.

    Knowing the future of the character just makes reading Daala's sections difficult. Her random sadistic tendencies are one thing, but knowing that she'll be rewarded for slaughtering a colony of innocent people by becoming leader of a known galaxy? Star Wars, why do you do this.
  2. Grey1 Host: 181st Imperial Discussion Group

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    Nov 21, 2000
    star 4
    We already mentioned how KJA's work turned out to be defining for later continuity, but this is an interesting point. How his importance in continuity is both a blessing and a curse, since Daala became a recognizable "main villain" by default - by being the villain in an early, trilogy-sized, non-young-reader-book effort. Did any villains after her (until series efforts by Del Rey) truly stick around?

    And do we have anyone around who actually enjoys Daala more knowing that she's got quite some kind of mileage to her story, even if you have to fill in a lot of blanks to make sense of it?
  3. Jeff_Ferguson Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 15, 2006
    star 4
    Thrackan stuck around, although that's likely due to Luceno grabbing him for use in Jedi Eclipse more than anything else. As far as the blessing and curse goes, I actually liked Daala's reappearance in Revelation. Traviss utilized her as an insane pirate warlord who was decidedly not on the same side as the Galactic Alliance. As for Invincible... I can't help but suspect that KJA laughed when he heard that Daala became the president of the good guys.
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  4. Kenneth Morgan Chosen One

    Member Since:
    May 27, 1999
    star 4
    It's been a while since I've read it, but I'm pretty sure "Jedi Search" has a brief scene which is one of my favorites from the EU: Luke playing with Jacen & Jaina. It's one of the rare times that he's not Luke Skywalker, Jedi Master; he's just Uncle Luke with his niece and nephew, having fun levitating them and doing a Yoda voice.

    As for Wedge going into construction, I figure it's the GFFA equivalent of a real life idea. In his books on World War II, Stephen Ambrose noted that many vets, after the war, decided to focus on careers involving building things and helping people, after spending years destroying things and killing people.
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  5. Dr. Steve Brule Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 7, 2012
    star 4
    I was going to say Brakiss, but on second thought I'm not sure whether he originated in the adult Bantam novels, or was from YJK originally and only later inserted into the earlier works.

    Re-reading the Bantam run, I'm also always struck by how often Teradoc and Harrsk were constantly brought up as major background threats as well, although obviously they get a very definite ending.

    Other than Brakiss, Daala, and obviously Pellaeon, I guess there was Thrackan, inasmuch as he was a villain who wasn't killed at the end of his series.

    Although Daala remaining as a "loose end" was never something I liked, even before LOTF. I thought her storyline ended perfectly fine in Planet of Twilight, and wish that her mention as a continuing warlord threat in Black Fleet had just been written off as an oopsie.
  6. DigitalMessiah Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 17, 2004
    star 5
    According to Wookieepedia, Brakiss originated in YJK. But KJA was really the proto-Denning and was evidently well connected, such that he allegedly knew Luke was going to end up with Mara ahead of time, so I wouldn't be surprised if New Rebellion originated Brakiss but KJA knew about it and inserted him into his own novel which was published first. But I suppose that it's also possible that Brakiss was inserted because Bantam was attempting true continuity by 1996 instead of just letting each author do his or her own thing.

    I was thinking earlier today that Exar Kun would have been interesting as a villain that recurred. When he was first sealed in The Sith War, he seemed a lot more restricted than he was in the Jedi Academy trilogy. What is to say that what happened in Champions of the Force didn't just put him back into that state? And the destruction of his temple could have freed him Freedon Nadd style to do his thing.

    I like the idea of this dark side entity catalyzing a bunch of disparate events that Luke or Jacen would have had to deal with but they wouldn't realize the underlying cause at first. IIRC, Exar Kun's end goal was corporeal resurrection through some sort of Sith alchemy.

    This, of course, goes against my stated desire not to see the Sith again after Return of the Jedi, but you can't unring the bell so whatever.
  7. Zeta1127 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 2, 2012
    star 4
    The thing about that is, we basically already got that type of resurrection scenario with Marka Ragnos in Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy.
  8. DigitalMessiah Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 17, 2004
    star 5
    I'm envisioning a true successor to the NJO, in the sense that this would be a much larger story than some dark side flunkies using a scepter to drain ambient Force energy and then awakening the spirit of the Sith Lord, but Exar Kun able to manifest as a spirit anywhere in the galaxy and doing a Sidious type thing, albeit as an incorporeal spirit even more reliant upon agents.

    I suppose that even this idea is "rehashing" the prequels, but I think Sidious' machinations are a much more interesting thing to take from the prequels than Anakin's fall, especially when Jacen's fall more or less happened in the first book and the rest is him suffering from multiple personality disorder. Plus the only commonality would be that a Sith Lord is manipulating events, but the way he could go about it would be entirely different and his end goal would be entirely different. Plus it would make for an interesting character arc for Kyp.
  9. Zeta1127 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 2, 2012
    star 4
    A way to actually utilize Kyp, amazing, simply amazing. All of this sounds great, but then its not hard to come up with something better than the post-NJO. I wouldn't even call that rehashing the prequels, because unlike Darth Vader II being too similar to Anakin, that actually sounds far more creative and distinct from Sidious.
    Last edited by Zeta1127, Aug 28, 2013
  10. Jeff_Ferguson Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 15, 2006
    star 4
    Crap, I have a question before the month is over.

    Was Jedi Search the first EU work to establish that the Empire was no more?

    It was, wasn't it?

    Looking through tbe book now, there are various references to the "remnants of the Empire," "vestiges of the Empire," "various factions of the old Empire," etc. Luke tells the Advisory Council "The Empire appears to be defeated." Furgan has no one to report to, and Leia explicitly tells him "Ambassador Furgan, there is no centralized Empire."

    Keeping in mind that Anderson was only taking Zahn's trilogy, and not Dark Empire, into account when he began to write this book --- you have to wonder if the nonexistence of the Empire was part of that original draft. I doubt it --- at the end of The Last Command, the Empire still controls a huge chunk of the galaxy thanks to Thrawn's campaign, with Bilbringi really being their only lost territory. Even without Thrawn's tactical genius and a supply of clones from Wayland, they still have a massive fleet that's not simply going to crumble within two years. And the concept of warlordism was born with Dark Empire, wasn't it? Did Zahn's trilogy make any references to Imperial warlords? I don't think it did, but I could be wrong.

    So we can then infer that the concept of a completely-vanquished Empire was a result of Dark Empire. Veitch explicitly stated at the end of Empire's End that Palpatine's death caused the Empire to splinter back into hopeless warlordism --- sure, in 1994, EE was still a couple of years away from being published, but Anderson was obviously in contact with Veitch and had an idea of how the DE series would eventually end.

    The real question at which I'm getting is --- how much of his final product was present in Anderson's initial, Dark Empire-free outline? Was Daala there? Would she have come out of the Maw and found a weakened yet still-functioning Empire? Or would there have been a different villain entirely? One can only wonder.
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  11. Gorefiend Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Oct 23, 2004
    star 5
    It leaves the possibility open with the Neutral Systems, which really might just include other Imperials that just don't listen to Thrawn.
  12. Robimus Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 6, 2007
    star 5
    Like Jeff mentions........

    For me Daala would have been a more interesting character all the way around if they hadn't given her that head shaking hero in Invincible/FOTJ. I didn't mind the added nuance to her story at all that Revelation gave - finding out she helped fight the Vong, her rushing to Pellaeon's aid, her joining into an alliance with Fett to plot against the Jedi.(Heck, I still think that has huge potential)

    It was just the whole "I'm good now and Han likes me so I'll run the galaxy" turn that is goofy. I'm pleased that she made a turn back to being a villian by the end of FOTJ. She could be a good foil against Jag & Vitor given time. She has never been a great villian, but in an EU that is very much lacking villians at the front of the book timeline it is almost nice to see that at least one survived all these years.
    Last edited by Robimus, Aug 28, 2013
  13. Grey1 Host: 181st Imperial Discussion Group

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    Nov 21, 2000
    star 4
    I can't let go of this topic. Who was Wedge at this time? Sure he was the guy who was in all three movie "plane" battles. But since he was a background character, did anyone really do a lot with him? How often did he appear as "pilot guy" in Marvel? Then we have him in a function very close to what we know through the movies in HTTE, but that's also because the New Republic is in a spot that's pretty close to the Rebellion. In other words, while the X-Wing books did a lot for Wedge's character and for his popularity, how much of the groundwork for this should have influenced KJA? And would it have been possible to work this now seemingly random career move more seamlessly into Wedge's later characterization, beyond I, Jedi making the late attempt to comment on the JAT?

    Okay, Thrackan would be a case of some villain being just too high profile - hey, look, it's evil bastard bearded Han - but Brakiss... Brakiss has no legacy, does he? His time was very limited. He's mainly a YJK villain, and he leaves the game there; he can only ever be worked in retroactively after that. New Rebellion might have been what he was originally intended for, but even that book has him in a strange spot since we're kind of missing a part of his life story. He's a failed Jedi, but we never saw him become a Jedi in the first place, and I think in the early days, Jedi were so few that they warranted an origin story. And his cameo in I, Jedi was just that - a cameo. Not even commenting on anything that might come out of him, or about the value of second chances. So while Brakiss has a niche in continuity, he's definitely not as memorable as Thrawn (and Pellaeon) and Daala.

    And it's not wrong to assume that Daala was kind of infamous even before the declining quality brigade brought her back, wasn't she? By the way, fighting against the Vong - I think she'd have been a far better choice for the Peace Brigade liaison than Thrackan. More military experience, more Jedi hate. Okay, Thrackan was already tied in through Centerpoint, and making both memorable non-Thrawn villains Peace Brigadiers might have been too much, but... it would have been a better fit.
  14. Jeff_Ferguson Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 15, 2006
    star 4
    At this point, there was Zahn's trilogy, Dark Empire, the Heir to the Empire Sourcebook, the Dark Force Rising Sourcebook, and the Dark Empire Sourcebook, all of which joined hands and sang a chorus of "Pilot, pilot, pilot, pilot" and sometomes "Navy general" when describing Wedge. Even before Stackpole, the fact that Antilles was a career fighter pilot was deeply entrenched in his character. Putting him in charge of a reconstruction crew was nothing more than a lazy excuse for KJA to include him in this book. It would have been like pulling Leia out of politics to pursue an architectural career, or canceling Chewie's life debt so that he could go to fashion school. It was a complete left turn.
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