Lit Timothy Zahn making Darth Vader look a fool ! (spoilers for both books)

Discussion in 'Literature' started by fett 4, Dec 1, 2012.

  1. fett 4 Chosen One

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    Having read both Allegiance (many problems I had with this book as a whole anyway) and Choices of One (better but still not great) and the thing that sticks out most is how much off a chump Vader is written by Zahn.
    In Allegiance he has Vader go on a random rampage for no reason before Mara defeat's him rather easily then pretty much talk's down to him which somehow seems to calm him down!. Then at the end he lets the Hand of Judgment guys go after Mara browbeats him while seeming completely clueless at the same time.
    Then in Choices of One, Thrawn pretty much leads him by the nose and again Vader comes off as a real fool needing Thrawns guidance.

    Put simply this seems so different from the Vader in the OT with the very sick sense of humour (apology accepted Captain Needa) but clever and calculating mind that was such an icon.

    Now I know Zahn loves his charachters, but is it nesscary to make Vader a weak fool to show that love. Just for the record I love the Thrawn trilogy too and think Mara is a great charachter before anyone accuses me of being a Zahn hater or whatever.
    Last edited by fett 4, Dec 1, 2012
  2. _Catherine_ Chosen One

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    Vader gets trashed throughout Zahn's work. Thrawn's like, "I don't needlessly murder my employees like that idiot Vader," right before he needlessly murders the tractor beam guy. Pretty sure there's also a cringe-worthy scene in that story where Thrawn dresses up like Jodo Kast where Thrawn talks down to Vader like he's a child and Vader just stands there drooling. Then there's also that line in HoT where Parck (I think?) says that Palpatine only viewed Vader as a replacement for one of Zahn's OCs.

    My favorite is in TTT when Mara says that Palpatine cut off Vader's hand as punishment for letting the Death Star get destroyed. To be fair, this was before the prequels and no one knew how Vader had lost his original hand. So of course Zahn went with the lamest, least exciting explanation imaginable. How did he get that scar on his head, from slipping in the shower?
    Last edited by _Catherine_, Dec 1, 2012
  3. fett 4 Chosen One

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    Yeah I remember that with Jodo Kast thing with Thrawn pretty much talking through everything for Vader. I'm only suprised he didnt cut his food for him !, but what got me about Allegiance was how easily Mara beat him. I mean she beats Vader like he's nothing and she wasn't even trying, all she wanted was to calm him down. Zahn even has a scene where Vader's like a child, jelaous of Mara :(
    Last edited by fett 4, Dec 1, 2012
  4. Jedi Ben Chosen One

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    Nah, Vader wasn't trying - Jade would have been mincemeat if he had.
  5. fett 4 Chosen One

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    But thats not how it is in the book though. I mean the whole scene's bad anyway, but basically Vader thinks Mara is going to kill Leia so goes on a rampage trying to kill Mara. She then defeats and disarmes him, then starts explaining to him thats not what she was their for. No way whatsoever was Zahn implying that Vader could have squashed Mara. Whats told is that Mara is the greatest thing since sliced bread and Vader doesn't hold a candle to her.

    He then does it again only with Thrawn this time in Choices of One.
  6. Gorefiend Chosen One

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    Wasn’t Vader bashing the whole point of the PT and now we blame Zahn for just being consistent? :p
  7. JediMara77 Force Ghost

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    Exactly. And the scene was written in Mara's POV, anyway. Zahn loves unreliable narrators.
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  8. GrandAdmiralJello Moderator Communitatis Litterarumque

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    I still don't like it. Most Vader bashing you can read as biased POVs, but even if Jade was a jealous madwoman with a superiority complex, it's pretty hard to spin away that senseless attack. It's just plain OOC for Vader.
  9. fett 4 Chosen One

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    Yeah the PT's awful and if Disney wanted to redo the Prequels I wouldn't mind, but Zahns Vader trashing started before that. The Jodo Kast thing above and HoT were both written before the Prequels.
  10. JoinTheSchwarz Comms Admin & Community Manager

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    I always thought that was the point of the scene, to show that Thrawn for all his arrogance was an evil petty murderer.

    This was all before St. Thrawn showed up, of course...
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  11. JediMara77 Force Ghost

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    I never understood why it's OOC for Vader to go nuts every once in awhile. I mean...this is the same dude who Force choked his pregnant wife. And then destroyed everything in the room when he was told she was dead. And yelled "noooooooooooooo."
  12. Sable_Hart Force Ghost

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    Zahn's depictions of Vader and Sidious vis a vis his own characters is why I've never considered him a truly great addition to the franchise.
  13. Zeta1127 Force Ghost

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    But when Zahn does things like that it ends up being "so artistically done."
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  14. Jedi Ben Chosen One

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    First time around on Allegiance I would have agreed with you but when I re-read it ahead of Choices of One? Nah. Unless you think a Vader without a saber is no threat and he can't see in the dark?

    Similarly, Choices of One, Thrawn may have worked out what Esva's plan is but who has Death Squadron and the Executor? Hint, it sure ain't Thrawn.

    If anything, especially CoO, the books really add to Thrawn's theory that Jade was boosted by the Emperor, that once he died, so did the bulk of her power and abilities. It all comes too easy to her, but she never questions the rapidity of her ascent, she really thinks it's all her - but we know a hell of a fall is going to come due.

    Is Vader incapable of subtlety? No, there's plenty of stories that demonstrate his capacity for it, but it likely suits his purposes for people to think of and fear him as a blunt instrument, as that way they never see the knife in the back he'll be delivering!
  15. GrandAdmiralJello Moderator Communitatis Litterarumque

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    Except it wasn't, because Pelly (who's POV that was) keeps going on about how wonderful he is and how everyone on the Chimaera would die for him. Did Zahn intend for Pelly's POV to be myopic and or delusional? The way he's consistently built up Thrawn, both in the books and in interviews... I don't think that was his intent. I think he meant for Thrawn to be telling the truth.

    edit: As for St. Thrawn, I liked it in OBF -- because I don't have a problem with him starting out as this idealist who's got good intentions, but is willing to completely transgress his culture's norms to do it... it plays well into the Thrawn who becomes the master court player, ruthless warlord, and man who would give babies to a madman to get his way. After all, it's not only Force users who can Fall.

    What I don't like is St. Thrawn set in his Imperial years -- he should be well on his way towards becoming twisted and evil by the time of Choices of One.


    The whole point of a lot of the immediately post-ROTS books and comics is about how he grows into the cold, calculating Vader we see in the OT. The sort of Vader who plots and schemes and destroys his enemies in more subtle ways, because he's realized childish rants don't do much of anything.
    Last edited by GrandAdmiralJello, Dec 1, 2012
  16. fett 4 Chosen One

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    Your right the Anakin in the PT is a pyschotic who kills children while moaning about Obi-wan and the prequels are pretty awful in that regard, but the Vader in the OT is a cold, calculating killer who is pretty clever and certainly not how Zahn writes him, which is as a blackclad Homer Simpson.

    While as has already been said the Hand of Thrawn books were written before the PT and in them he has it said that Vader,Thrawn and Mara were equals under Palpatine who replaced some other charachter forget name. The other issue I had was him having Han Solo quake with fear at the mere mention of Thrawns name but thats by the by.

    And the scene in Choices with Thrawn is definetly not from a charachter POV. Nor was the scene Mara and Vader had near the end of Allegance either.
    Last edited by fett 4, Dec 1, 2012
  17. GrandAdmiralJello Moderator Communitatis Litterarumque

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    Well, there's always a POV. Star Wars books, with few exceptions (see: I, Jedi), tend to be third-person limited.
  18. Robimus Force Ghost

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    This is Zahn's biggest weakness, and its particularly easy to notice when it comes to Vader. He gets punked by both Jade and Thrawn.

    That said numerous other Star Wars authors have, an do, do this as well so it comes with the terriitory a little. Its an offense thats easy to forgive.

    And yeah, these critiques have nothing to do with character POV. It all about the events and how they unfold. Pellaeon not liking/fearing Vader doesn't diminish Vader at all - reading a first hand account of how Mara Jade fights and disarms Vader all by herself, that requires no POV at all.
    Last edited by Robimus, Dec 1, 2012
  19. CT-867-5309 Chosen One

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    Glad I skipped both of these. Pretty much my rule now, if Zahn is writing Thrawn or Mara, I'm not reading.
  20. melkor834 Jedi Grand Master

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    If you are talking about their brief duel in Allegiance, Mara, thankfully, never disarms or defeats Vader. She realizes she is hopelessly outmatched and uses the force to turn off the lights. She then hides giving Vader time to "cool off". It's still an incredibly stupid scene with Vader acting out of character, but it's not as bad as you make it out to be.
  21. anakinfansince1983 Chosen One

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    "St Thrawn" is the reason I don't like Zahn's books, or maybe "Zahn loves his characters" is a better explanation. I'm not a fan of EU writers who love their pet characters (whether original characters that they invented, such as Thrawn for Zahn, or established characters who happen to be favorites of the author) to the expense of the other characters.

    I'm not a fan of ANH Vader but degrading him to make Thrawn look good is just stupid. And Han Solo, whose immediate reaction to seeing Vader on Bespin was to fire several rounds from his blaster, "quaking in fear" over Thrawn? **** that.
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  22. Sable_Hart Force Ghost

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    Tangentially related, I've always loved the great Publius's fanfic called "The First Refusal" that describes the events concerning Thrawn's first conflict with Emperor Palpatine.
    Zahn clearly intended for Thrawn to be so uber that he could openly dissent half a dozen times and walk away relatively unscathed, but Publius adds a more fitting twist on what might have been really going on.
  23. GrandAdmiralJello Moderator Communitatis Litterarumque

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    A twist that made fangirls cry out in terror, no doubt.
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  24. Gorefiend Chosen One

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    Thrawn has Fangirls? o_O
  25. GrandAdmiralJello Moderator Communitatis Litterarumque

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    Yeah, I know at least a dozen of them. Be careful or they might find this thread... [face_worried]
    Last edited by GrandAdmiralJello, Dec 1, 2012