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Lit The 181st Imperial Discussion Group: Young Jedi Knights, Books 12 - 14! While we still can!

Discussion in 'Literature' started by Grey1, Nov 1, 2012.

  1. Grey1

    Grey1 Host: 181st Imperial Discussion Group star 4 VIP

    Nov 21, 2000
    Yeah, I agree on the NJO stuff, with the first book being the only one to largely avoid canon entanglements to get new people into the story. In that regard, Stackpole and Luceno proved to be ironically far on the side of the inclusion of old EU. But then again, maybe the principle still holds when you keep the basic idea in mind - hardcovers are the important story, paperbacks flesh out the universe. That always sounded to me as if Stackpole should have written a Corran-and-no-Skywalkers book and Luceno a Han-and-fringe-but-no-Republic book, but I really can't say if they just abandoned that or never intended a clear division between HC and PB in the first place.

    What remains, though, is the fact that Salvatore isn't just getting to take the easy road through EU; he's allowed to have a Lucas/TCW approach to the material. He's streamlining the Solo kids (including the Jacen/Anakin switch) and, more obvious, rewriting Kyp in a way that was weird for a lot of people, taking just a nucleus of background information to mold him into the conflict-oriented role needed by the story plan. And in this streamlined beginner's EU, the Solo kids have no friends (but can spend time together again, unlike the clear YJK/JJK divide that only had the Ord Mantell adventure with Anakin partly integrated). In the end, it's weird anyway, because whether you have to reactivate Danni again and again in ever new incarnations (btw - since Jacen was chosen for the Hero's Journey, some authors might have realized that any romance would just be a distraction from that, like there aren't two love interests for Luke and Han in the movies), or whether you have to explain what the Empire of the Hand and the Chiss are to understand Jag's backstory, Tenel and Zekk would have been pretty much clean slates anyway. OK, Tenel's lightsaber accident would have been easier to info-drop than Zekk's dark side fling since that was tied to a whole Empire resurrection scheme, but still. I get the feeling that pretty few people who read NJO and onwards have read the complete YJK.

    On Jacen and Jaina in comparison, I agree that it's meant to be as tame as can be, which does not need to be a bad thing. I'm honestly not sure if the romance was toned down a bit because SW was seen as a boy's franchise, and having too many holding hands and snogging and going to the movies scenes might have been deemed too boring for the action oriented audience (in comparison, whenever a regular novel is under suspicion of being a cliché "woman's novel", like Dark Journey or Hambly's Callista storyline, it seems to get knocked down a notch in reception). Or maybe it really was genuinely falling victim to KJA's style.

    So while I agree that there is too little focus to really get the relationships going, there's enough key moments to take them for granted at the same time. Jacen/Tenel was especially good at that, with the kiss, the freezing-to-death scene, and the necklace. Jacen's "death" at Cloud City also falls into this category but, other than DJ, stops short before really having Tenel Ka articulate why Jacen's death is hitting her so hard. All in all, as I said, I think the reserve and restraint in this relationship works seeing how Tenel is still learning to really let loose, how she's from a royal background, and how Jacen is curiously insecure/immature in certain but not all regards.

    Jaina/Zekk on the other hand seems to develop just as fine, and after some missing and some writing and some kissing for luck and some obviously being a couple in the last book, I think they had a progression. This progression missed the key moments, though. At some point, Jaina and Zekk are suddenly having a crush on another after being just friends before. Then, they suddenly flirt awkwardly and write letters. Then, there's suddenly some acknowledgement that they kiss and hold hands. What we do not get is the scenes in which they realize that they have reached another level. That's frustrating because the reader suddenly is an outsider - you missed a party, suddenly there's a new couple in class or in your group of friends. With Tenel and Jacen, you really are put into all those key moments where you almost get "rewarded" for wishing the couple good luck. With Zekk and Jaina, it's one of those so-obvious-you-don't-talk-about stories.

    Maybe all of that really was cut short because they didn't think it overly important for the audience. Or because they cut stuff once they realized the third series would be the last, and a shorter one at that. While I think that "fear of the allusion of teenage sex" sounds somewhat plausible, I'm not sure if that would really have been a problem. How many young reader books have actual relationships with kissing and holding hands and going to the movies when not catching burglars or saving communities? And how many of those are under scrutiny for making innuendos to indecent stuff? I'd guess pretty few. And then you have a very different league like the Potter books, which are a bit more elaborated on that but still really tame by turning any relationship moment into "snogging" except for a few sentences that allude to "precious time alone", "looking for an empty room" and an ironic joke about a hidden tattoo. Oh, and the after-the-fact description of Harry's first kiss (snog) could be interpreted as an innuendo to something different, if that is what to the cave with you you brought. But as I said, British 2000's "let's grow up with the books" novels play in another league than US-American family franchise tie-ins. I mean, it really took until Tatooine Ghost to properly trash the Hays Code when it came to Han and Leia.
  2. Grey1

    Grey1 Host: 181st Imperial Discussion Group star 4 VIP

    Nov 21, 2000
    Oh, and on Blood Oath - I was under the impression that this would have formed Zekk into a character not clinging on to Jaina (and instead finding Hapan twins) while LOTF had already obviously chosen Jag as Jaina's true love (with scenes like Han giving the keys of the Falcon to Jag, and Jaina "sacrificing" Zekk in the final book to end the Caedus episode). I'm not sure if Blood Oath would have shed new light on the history of Jaina's love life.

    Teehee, maybe they'll do a complimentary Luceno book to SotJ: "Lightning Rod: Heart of the Sword of the Jedi"... filling in all the blanks of Jaina's 15 years of teenage romance. [face_beatup]
  3. RK_Striker_JK_5

    RK_Striker_JK_5 Jedi Grand Master star 7

    Jul 2, 2003
    Ugh, don't get me started on the NJO pretty much shelving the YJK cast... RAGE will result. We had this cool cast of characters ready to take the reins, and what happened? *Throws hands up into the air*

    It makes that chapter with Luke all the more bittersweet. :(
  4. Gamiel

    Gamiel Force Ghost star 6

    Dec 16, 2012
    Have just re-read Return to Ord Mantell and over all I like it. It, like most YJK books, suffer from being to short and being written under the hypothesis that it was possibly your first YJK book: something that is really helpful if it is your first book or have mist some of the previous ones but irritating since most of the first and second chapter is for explaining who is who and what has happened previously. I think the YJK books had been better if they had been 7 (or less) thicker books instead of 14 thinner books.

    I have to say that I like the way Zekk has problem with the Dark side even if he never truly embraced it and Master Skywalker’s methods of helping him find balance

    I have not read anything after that takes place after the YKJ-books, except for the Legacy comic, so I can not comment on this but what I have heard I really would not enjoy reading about my optimistic after Palpatine Star Wars going down the drain

    The YJK were my first taste of the EU, outside of the Ewoks cartoon, so I had no idea what KJA did refer to and I still have not read that much more but now I can use Wookypedia to help me. Something I have trouble with is the easy-going way Han refer to the whole Sun Crusher business. I also haw to ask what is the Marvel Comic reference?

    In my book she is referred to be, or at least look, twentyish and I have to say that she dos not acct so weary immature for somebody that age, it just that the young Jedis are weary mature
    I have to admit that I did not really think about this, except that Jacen and Jaina were much less sarcastic than I was in that age

    I really liked this part of the book, it showed that the Jedi don't have to face warlords, dark side users or galactic treats to do there mission

    To me the book made clear that most of the people in the race and watching it had no real problem with the Jedi participating, but that just me
  5. Grey1

    Grey1 Host: 181st Imperial Discussion Group star 4 VIP

    Nov 21, 2000
    That's a good point you make there- there is a lot of exposition in the books, and you should be able to understand each character based simply on the book you're reading. Which helps in making the character arcs smaller, because everytime you change the status quo about a character, you have to put more exposition about him in. Well, or maybe not. Zekk has a few turns in his character arc, and they still find a way to explain him in very basic strokes.

    About the Marvel reference - I think I may have been mistaken about that. I just read that they originally planned this book with the character Skorr, who was the original Ord Mantell movie reference bounty hunter; but since he already got killed off, they had to invent a new character. So, my bad. But I guess Czethros looks a lot like Skorr, doesn't he? Cybernetic eye and all.

    The Young Jedi Knights being mature for their age - and not very sarcastic as a sign of "maturity" and family-friendly writing - is also one of the things that makes this kind of books boring for a lot of readers, I guess. The Solo kids are model children who only play harmless pranks and follow in their parent's footsteps - they are perfect boyscouts. Obviously, characters who are a bit more realistic for the supposed age and characters who behave a bit more like scoundrels are more interesting than role model kids, both for adults reading all SW stuff and for kids trying to relate to these fictional youths. I think it's really difficult for most writers to create characters who behave morally and don't have many faults and not make them "boring", making them uninteresting for the audience and maybe even too detached and "elitist". Just take a look at the prequel Jedi - for all their arrogance and other faults that help in bringing about their downfall, wouldn't it have been possible to have them truly betrayed at the height of their existence? Of them being true to their core ideals and function as shining beacons for civilization, only to be removed by that evil guy? Too much to ask for, apparently; simple heroes without flaws don't work for modern audiences anymore (and yeah, I think the question could be applied to the new Superman film coming out this year).

    And finally about fringe people hating the Jedi for little stuff like "stealing" this race - the book in itself makes it look okay, and there's no reason to think that someone in the galaxy would spoil "our heroes' great moment". But if we look at this incident from the larger perspective of what is going to happen to Luke's Jedi Order relatively soon, and think for a moment about the supposed keepers of the peace going to what is essentially a sports competition where they have an "unfair" advantage - an advantage that puts their performance far beyond what the others could achieve - we can make a connection. And yeah, force-sensitives always had an advantage in racing (see Anakin's podracing) or maybe gambling, even if they didn't know why. And of course it's a natural advantage that they are born with. But at the same time, they are taught to use this talent, and their advantage kills the competition. So, Jedi participate - eh, why bother?
  6. Dr. Steve Brule

    Dr. Steve Brule Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Sep 7, 2012
    So where does Anja's age come from? I've read one of the YJK books with her (I think the final one) but it was the proverbial long time ago. I always got the sense that she was upper teens, kind of the high school senior to the Solo kids' freshmen. But according to Wookieepedia she's supposed to be 26?
  7. Havac

    Havac Former Moderator star 7 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Sep 29, 2005
    It comes from the fact that her father died ten years before the Solos were ever born. She has to be at least that much older than them.
  8. Gamiel

    Gamiel Force Ghost star 6

    Dec 16, 2012
    Look out it is a Time Paradox!
  9. Gamiel

    Gamiel Force Ghost star 6

    Dec 16, 2012

    I was actually not seeing their lack of sarcasm as a sign of maturity, more of them coming from a different cultural background than me - I am a child of the 90's and irony and sarcasm was the thing back then.

    I don't think it is that classic heroes with "heroic" flaws don't work for modern audiences as so much as we are in a cultural trend of anti-heroes and the misdirected belief that you can not have mature or "real" stories without angst:rolleyes:. I actually like the Solos as good boyscout heroes, they are the Hopeful Bearers of the Optimistic Torch Toward a Bright Future! Now if you excuse me I need to get me some ice-cream and re-watch old Disney cartoons before the realisation of what actually happened hits me=((

    First, I don't see the old order having much of the faults people attribute to them but maybe I have just not read enough EU material. Second: If the Jedi had been at their height of their existence how do you suggest that Palpatine would have beaten them and at the same time lacking the power to abolish the senate until 20 years (and a Death Star) later?

    I see your point but at the same time the duros have bodies and senses made for space travel, dugs have supreme reflexes, etc. etc., they also automatically has an advantage in the race, and what about the people with enough money to by a state of the art space racership from the best shipyard in the known galaxy with all the modifications the rules allow? If you have a nearly-anything-goes race and somebody has an advantage you lack is it really fair the they should be excluded just because of that, and if you begin to exclude one group what will stop you from excluding more groups?