Lit Thrawn Trilogy: Overrated

Discussion in 'Literature' started by slimybug, Jul 2, 2013.

  1. slimybug Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 14, 2001
    star 5
    So, some years ago, I finally got around to reading the Thrawn trilogy. I had heard for so long about how great these books were, what classics they were, and how much they meant to Star Wars At the time, I was struck y one thing: The unbelievable coincidence factor. How many things just happen to occur at the right time, and how two or three different groups of people all end up in the same place in the great big galaxy time and time again.

    Now, years later, I decided to refresh myself with these stories by reading the graphic novel adaptation. It's cool, because you can read an entire book in one sitting. Its' the closest thing to sitting down and watching a film adaptation as you're gonna Got. So I read Heir tot eh Empire and Dark Force Rising the past two days, and am getting on The Last Command today. And I am reminded of just how ridiculous the coincidence factor is.

    Just striving to recall the events of the first book alone, there is a point where Luke goes off on his own adventure from Han and Leia. Then, they both decided to go see Lando, and both end up at his planet at the same time. Okay, well they're all friends with Lando, so I suppose that's not TOO much of a stretch. But then Grand Admiral Thrawn just happens to choose that planet to raid for it's machines. That planet out of the whole galaxy.

    There's other stuff like that. Like the idea of Luke and Han later both going to see Talon Karrde, who Grand Admiral Thrawn also coincidentally wants to see, thus leading to the climax of said book. That's just week. Although, I suppose, to a certain extent, it's understandable. I mean, it's a great big galaxy, but there are a few people who are the big players. That's not much of an excuse. It's just a reason it' snot quite as dumb as what comes next.

    In Dark Force Rising there is the character of Niles Ferrier, whom Luke and Lando meet twice in a row, in completely separate places in the galaxy, completely unrelated. Could the author have not just easily written in that he had followed them? But even that's not the worst of it.

    The worst of it is when Talon Karrde is finally revealed to know the location of the long-lost Outbound Flight "Dark Force" dreadnaughts, and is convinced to give them to Lei and Luke, while AT THE SAME TIME, Han and Lando meet Senator Bel Iblis, a completely separate, unrelated character who ALSO happens to have discovered a few Dark Force dreadnaughts. And in the single most coincidental event in the history of the galaxy, both of these men end up helping the Alliance battle the Empire over the fleet.

    So I'm kind of skeptic about why this is supposed to be such a great masterpiece. Add to that, I'm just confused by the plot. I feel like I'm reading the graphic novel adaptation of "Syriana," rather than a Star Wars book.

    So...Yeah. I guess what I'm wondering is, does anyone else have anything to say about this. I mean, come on, I can't be the only guy to point all this out!
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  2. anakinfansince1983 Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Mar 4, 2011
    star 7
    I read TTT in 1998 or 99 and it turned me off from the EU for a long time. I didn't like it at all. It wasn't even the coincidences that turned me off, it just seemed to be three books full of characters discussing how scarily awesome Thrawn was, and what a putz Vader was compared to him. And I just wasn't feeling it.

    Oh, and poor little brainwashed Mara Jade wanting to kill Luke Skywalker.

    Definitely overrated IMO.
  3. Darth_Pevra Chosen One

    Member Since:
    May 21, 2008
    star 5
    I read it as a teenager and it didn't appeal to me. I remember feeling that the characters were fake and not how I remembered them from the OT. Right now I feel the same way when it comes to Luke in the NJO.
  4. Force Smuggler Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Sep 2, 2012
    star 6
    Well first off the Comic versions of the Thrawn Trilogy don't have everything from the books. Just saying.
    I love the Thrawn trilogy. To me Thrawn was a logical villain to have. He was different from Palpatine and Vader in a big way. The books to me felt very similar to the movies. Were they a bit to close? Perhaps but Zahn put his own spin on things.
    Death Star rescue of Leia with Star Destroyer rescue of Talon Karrde and the use of lines from the movies.
    "We don't have time to discuss this in a committee." "I am not a committee."
    The Thrawn trilogy is probably one of the funnest things I have ever read.
  5. ILNP Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 12, 2011
    star 1
    Just my opinion but I think you're nitpicking. I mean every one of the movies has coincidences'. How was it that in Ep I Anakin Skywalker's fighter lands near a reactor (not just near it but pointed right at it so that when he fires his missiles he hits the reactor)? How is it that in Ep II Yoda and the clones arrive just as Dooku is about to order the droids to reopen fire to massacre the remaining Jedi? etc. I certainly don't begrudge you your opinion. I have many of my own that others on here probably wouldn't like. You read the books and didn't like them. Fair enough. But I have to say that I disagree that coincidence factor in these books is ridiculous.
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  6. LivingJediDream Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 7, 2010
    star 4
    I agree it's overrated just as a general rule, fans tend to put popular stuff on a pedestal and overlook the flaws. The plots are reliant upon Thrawn attacking places where the heroes just happen to be at the same time. Whereas the OT frequently had a driving force behind it, either the Death Star plans or Vader's obsession with Luke. Vader doesn't happen to attack Jabba's palace when they go to rescue Han in the same way that Luke's X-Wing happens to be at Sluis Van when Thrawn attacks. Dooku doesn't happen to be on Tatooine or Kamino. These sorts of coincidence the films avoid.

    For me, I suppose the biggest flaw is how Luke, Han, and Leia feel a compulsion to compare every situation to one from the films. It makes the fiction feel fictional. It is the exact opposite of namedropping Kessel or mentioning a Gundark. Instead of making the galaxy seem bigger, it makes it feel smaller, as if nothing important happened since Return of the Jedi.

    That said, I still think the Thrawn trilogy is good. Just overrated by fans. But that's OK. Nothing is perfect.
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  7. JediMatteus Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 16, 2008
    star 4
    they are NOT overrated. even now, they are some of the greatest novels in the universe.
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  8. Darth_Pevra Chosen One

    Member Since:
    May 21, 2008
    star 5
    Umm, yea, everyone is entitled to his or her opinion.
  9. Iron_lord Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Sep 2, 2012
    star 6
    Bel Iblis didn't discover them- he was sold them by another member of the group (Karrde and a few others) that did discover them- a man called Hoffner.
    V-2 likes this.
  10. AlyxDinas Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 12, 2010
    star 4
    I'm actually re-reading them now. I still find them enjoyable but I think their issues rest less in how OP people are saying Thrawn is and more that certain sections of the book seem to drag a bit. Dark Force Rising is really slow. Fine enough, it's the middle and a lot of set up but there's not as much meat to the bone as Heir. It can get a bit ponderous at times, Leia's story especially.

    I mean, I love that Zahn has all three main characters doing something. Luke's with C'baoth, Han's locating Bel Iblis (and feels like Han, and Leia's on Honoghr. But dang it all if that part of the book isn't really slow.
  11. VadersLaMent Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Apr 3, 2002
    star 9
    I kept reading them, hoping they would get good. It just never happened.

    1. So it's 5 years after ROTJ and Luke has to use The Force to move a heavy object to block a door. And he has no confidence in himself to do so. (It's been awhile...he FAILED...didn't he?) This is the same Luke that walked into the most powerful spaceship in the galaxy and confronted the two most powerful beings in the galaxy and was trained by Yoda and was the son of The CHosen One...yet he was still just some know-nothing-can't do it 5 years later?

    2. However you spell it..yslarmi? Ugh.

    3. In the opening chapters the author through his narration flat out tells you Vader was dumb and Thrawn is brilliant. This is a very classic example of "Show don't tell". You don't even have to mention Vader's name, just make your new villain awesome. Do not sit there and type that your villain is better and we should just go with it.

    4. Luuke.
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  12. anakinfansince1983 Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Mar 4, 2011
    star 7
    Number 3 for the win. That's my biggest annoyance with Zahn. Don't talk to me like I'm an idiot, show me that your character is awesome and I can figure it out. If I have to be told he's awesome, he probably isn't. Or you just think I'm too stupid to see it without being told. Either way, not cool.
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  13. LivingJediDream Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 7, 2010
    star 4
    I've always gotten the impression that Zahn doesn't like writing Jedi. He invents Ysalamiri and Cortosis to try to level them out, and in HoT he just dumps them on the equivalent of a desert (jungle?) island to deal with both those things.

    I suppose the other big problem for me is he doesn't attempt character arcs for the Big 3. They're the same at the conclusion of The Last Command as they were at the end of Return of the Jedi.

    The puffing up of his characters at the expense of Vader is also an issue.
    Last edited by LivingJediDream, Jul 2, 2013
  14. Iron_lord Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Sep 2, 2012
    star 6
    It's quite possible that, after watching ANH and ESB, he found himself thinking "Vader's an idiot"- for his behaviour toward subordinates among other things.

    Given how many contributions Star Wars has made to the Evil Overlord list (of things Evil Overlords must avoid doing)- it's not surprising that Zahn would want a villain who doesn't make those sort of mistakes.
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  15. LivingJediDream Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 7, 2010
    star 4
    And yet in the first issue of SW Adventure Journal, iirc, Zahn himself points out in an interview that Vader choking his subordinates in TESB is a setup specifically for when he doesn't choke Piett in order to foreshadow his redemption.

    I think its a fundamental error to assume Vader is in the habit of killing subordinates, and that his reason for doing so in the one film is to demonstrate his obsession with Skywalker, as well as show this internal conflict between Anakin and Vader that Luke brings out of him.
  16. Jedi Ben Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jul 19, 1999
    star 6
    That's assuming a lot given how Vader in ESB and I doubt anyone knew what was going to happen in ROTJ when they wrote ESB.
  17. Iron_lord Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Sep 2, 2012
    star 6
    Marvel Star Wars, long before Zahn, made a point of portraying Vader as so hated by his subordinates because of his behaviour, that they made (unsuccessful) assassination attempts on him.

    This was before ROTJ though.

    Still, it does suggest that people had good reason to conclude Vader had a habit of killing subordinates, with Piett being the exception rather than the rule.
  18. LivingJediDream Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 7, 2010
    star 4
    He only does it in one film. It's Flanderization. People praise The Empire Strikes Back for its depth and nuance. This is an example. Vader is killing subordinates because he's obsessed with finding Luke, not out of habit. I think it is unfortunate that this is taken at face value as a character trait rather than seen for what it is.
    Last edited by LivingJediDream, Jul 2, 2013
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  19. Iron_lord Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Sep 2, 2012
    star 6
    He chokes Motti as well- but Tarkin stops him before he can kill Motti.

    He also chokes a prisoner to death without the Force, while interrogating him- before getting any info from them.
    Last edited by Iron_lord, Jul 2, 2013
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  20. GrandAdmiralJello Moderator Communitatis Litterarumque

    Manager
    Member Since:
    Nov 28, 2000
    star 10
    The Thrawn books are fine for what they are: and that is the very first attempt at a serious, novelized continuation from the films. We'd had books that took place before or during the films, but the Thrawn books were the first to try to go after and invent on their own -- and Zahn came up with a lot of ideas for working in a rough vacuum, with only the (glorious) WEG RPG books to help him out.

    Movie references? Well, what else is he going to refer to, stories that haven't been written yet?

    Coincidences? Seems nitpicky to me?

    Elevating his villain over the movie ones --- yeah, I agree with you there. It wasn't SO terrible in the Thrawn books, mostly because you found out that Pelly was a total coward and Thrawn was a complete hypocrite who *totally* killed his subordinates whenever he felt like it, it only really got bad in the sequent works he did.
  21. Iron_lord Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Sep 2, 2012
    star 6
    We do get to see in The Last Command that he doesn't kill subordinates every time they mess up- with it being only the guy who made excuses, that got killed.
  22. LivingJediDream Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 7, 2010
    star 4
    He can refer to that incident on Cato Neimodia that doesn't count.
  23. Iron_lord Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Sep 2, 2012
    star 6
    The villains of HoT (Disra, Flim, Tierce) didn't seem especially "elevated". Nor were the most villainous characters in Outbound Flight (the Vagaari leader, and the leader of the Nemoidian task force).

    Governor Choard in Allegiance, and Esva in Choices of One, didn't seem anything special, either.
  24. The Compeer Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jun 12, 2013
    star 2
    Jello's referring to elevation of Thrawn, specifically.
  25. Jedi Ben Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jul 19, 1999
    star 6
    I do not believe a supposed loyalist like Jello could possibly not enjoy the arrival of Death Squadron in Choices of One! Truly a glorious moment for the Empire!