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

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

  1. Sable_Hart Force Ghost

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    You've read it, I take it?
  2. Esg Jedi Grand Master

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    Basically this.
  3. GrandAdmiralJello Moderator Communitatis Litterarumque

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    Yep -- it and all the rest.
  4. Sable_Hart Force Ghost

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    Great stuff there. I loved the Silver Fox stories, as well as the one concerning Sate Pestage and Palpatine-possessed!Droga.
  5. GrandAdmiralJello Moderator Communitatis Litterarumque

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    Yeah, the Silver Fox ones were my favorites. I'm hoping he's able to get the concluding story written at some point.
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  6. Sable_Hart Force Ghost

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    He's been MIA for sometime, I understand.
  7. GrandAdmiralJello Moderator Communitatis Litterarumque

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    No, he's not missing. Just not really doing the whole writing thing. I read preliminary versions of it years ago.

    And I'm hardly one to complain -- I never finish what fiction I start writing.
    Last edited by GrandAdmiralJello, Dec 1, 2012
  8. CT-867-5309 Force Ghost

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    Zahn's comparison of Vader and Thrawn was always a false one.

    He's comparing a Grand Admiral to a Sith Lord, as if Vader ever gave a **** about running the Imperial military. That job is simply beneath him. He's got other things to do, like hunting down the last Jedi and overthrowing the Emperor.

    His title of "Supreme Commander of Imperial forces" means nothing, other than to let people know he can commandeer whatever forces he wants whenever he wants. Do you imagine him as an Ackbar or Pellaeon, sitting in his office poring over reports, worrying about every last detail? That **** is trivial next to the will of the Force.
    Last edited by CT-867-5309, Dec 1, 2012
  9. Esg Jedi Grand Master

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    Who are the best Vader writers
    Perry and Reeves are good ones to my memory
    Blackman also has good moments
    Evasive action whatever happened to the guys who did this
    Last edited by Esg, Dec 1, 2012
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  10. Sable_Hart Force Ghost

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    I actually really loved Sean Williams' take on Vader as an implacable titan.
  11. GrandAdmiralJello Moderator Communitatis Litterarumque

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  12. blackmyron Force Ghost

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    The thing is, my impression when I saw the OT was that Vader was impulsive hot-head. At least one officer was murdered in ESB for no good reason, and I'm sure that's the reference for Zahn writing about it in the Thrawn Trilogy. My main impression from those books - considering Vader was 5 years dead - was that Thrawn didn't have a lot of respect for Vader, and neither did Pellaeon, neither of which should be a surprise.
    Luke cutting off Vader's arm in Splinter in the Mind's Eye was a lot more egregious to me, retcons about how that happened notwithstanding.
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  13. GrandAdmiralJello Moderator Communitatis Litterarumque

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    Impulsive hot head? Mister "hecame out of lightspeed too close to the system?" He killed a guy for not being careful enough.
    Last edited by GrandAdmiralJello, Dec 1, 2012
  14. Todd the Jedi Mod and Sitcom Dad of SWTV

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    Can't forget Mick Harrison Randy.

    Don't forget, Zahn even insinuates that Thrawn is better than Palpatine. After all, Thrawn would not have underestimated the threat of the vicious Ewoks.
  15. _Catherine_ Force Ghost

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    John Whitman's portrayal of Vader in the Galaxy of Fear series is one of my favorites, strangely enough. Everyone is terrified of him and no one ever gets the better of him. When the series' main villain goes up against him, he's promptly smacked back down. A Jedi murdered by Vader during the purge was so humiliated by his defeat that his ghost still haunts the library where he was killed. It's a lot of fun if you can look past the fact that Darth Vader is spending his time chasing two meddling preteens around the galaxy.
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  16. blackmyron Force Ghost

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    Ozzel? No, the Imperials get slammed for letting an incompetent fool that high up in the ranks.

    I'm talking about Captain Needa. And that scene implies that the usual end of failure with Vader was that he kills you, regardless of circumstances.

    I'm beginning to think that the real reason that the Executor was destroyed at the Battle of Endor was that Admiral Piett suddenly remembered he forgot to launder Vader's cape, and decided he'd rather die by his own hand by shutting off the bridge shields.
  17. Mechalich Force Ghost

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    Quite. I've also interpretted that scene, and several others in a similar vein, as Vader holding everyone around him to a more or less impossible standard: himself. AS Anakin Skywalker he was the very best at just about everything he ever attempted, and he remains so as Vader and judges everyone else accordingly even though this is a completely unrealistic expectation of their performance. He's been doing it for decades by the OT, you can see it in several Clone Wars portrayals, even as his subordinates have actually become less and less competent over time.

    Aside from the Emperor, Vader very rarely deals with anyone who is his equal is any field, never mind his actual specialities. He doesn't handle it well and he never has, and when he does he tends to lose his temper and respond with pride, leading to big mistakes (like Force choking his wife...). Thrawn, fairly, is better than Vader at a specific thing - commanding a star fleet - and that causes Vader to react irrationally, especially because the Emperor is protecting Thrawn and they both know it (when the Emperor isn't protecting someone who can one-up Vader, said person tends to die rapidly see: Tohm, Laurita). The same thing happens with Mara Jade.

    That isn't to say that Zhan hasn't undercut the caped dark lord unfairly from time to time, though I don't think it's out of any specific malice towards Vader. More than Zhan has swallowed his own thesis about conflicting points of view across species lines that is presented explicitly by Thrawn in Choices of One and now believes that had the Empire not been in thrall to a pair of Dark Lords of the Sith it would have stabilized, smashed the rebellion, and gone on ruling for centuries. It doens't help that the EU, under Del Rey, chose to present the New Republic as sniveling incompetents unable to bridge any species divides whatsoever and thereby let the Yuuzhan Vong kill tens of trillions, lending Zhan some powerful ammo.
    Last edited by Mechalich, Dec 2, 2012
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  18. Iron_lord Chosen One

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  19. fett 4 Chosen One

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    About Zahn, once when asked about Mara as the Emperor's Hand he said (paraphrasing) that it was not to bad as she only went after bad people. Which is why in his books you only see her going after Pirates and corrupt Imperial officials and never any Rebel Cells (which would be more interesting dramitcally). So you have the situation of a superduper Imperial assassin who doesn't go after the rebels, the biggest threat to the Emperor as the author is worried it might make the charachter look bad.

    As for Thrawn its stated in the HoT that if Palpatine is a step ahead of everyone then Thrawn is 2 steps ahead! I mean Iiked the Thrawn charachter from the the Thrawn trilogy, and he made a great charachter for it as a sort of Manstein type figure in charge (Hitlers best general in WW2) of the Imps and different from Vader and Palpatine as a villian but still the villian who dies at the end.

    Then by the HoT everything changes and suddenly its super Thrawn who seems to be to anticipate everone and everything it gets ridiculous.
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  20. fett 4 Chosen One

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  21. kataja Force Ghost

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    The thing that stuck out to me was how lame he wrote Luke in CoO..., but I definitely see your point.

    That he does... and I suppose we should thank him for trusting out intelligence to see what's real and what's not. But his books don't close around themselves; you need more of the characters storyarch than you get in the book, in order to get the subtleties - and so the problem arises, as his narrative is only one of many in SW. It's not like he doesn't have a point - but it gets plummeted in the whirlpool that is the rest of the EU. And it's not like he hasn't jabs either...o_O

    This really makes sense. In fact, it's the best explanation of the scene and Mara in those books that I've seen. Then again, and referring to my comment above, doesn't that speak, well maybe not volumes, but a sheet of flimsi at least? I'm not a bad reader. But I didn't detect that. I'm not saying I want everything spelled out in big neon letters, but... And even now, after this new explanation, I definitely lack a new novel where this is rounded up, a post ROTJ Mara story, (probably it should be a between TTT and before THT story) where we see this actually start to dawn to Mara. It would explain much in THT too... But it's like we get sentence ten first, then sentenced two and three - and lack the stuff in the middle. It's a way to write, of course, but it's gets a bit heavy that you need to go back to details in other Zahn books in order to make the one you're reading to make sense...

    Good point. Pretty depressing, but still good.

    Hmm... [face_thinking] I thought Allegiance was good, actually. It brought some new to the table and finally showed Mara sensible and competent, something I'd been lacking in other authors characterization of her. They had been focusing too much on her temper and redhead factor - which is only one side of her. Zahn shows her to be this expremely controlled, rational person - he has all the time, actually - and I think it was a welcome clarification. But my second problem with CoO was that he didn't deepen this much, didn't show how this rational and moral character would inevitably get into situations where her morals and her loyalty would be challenged. Situations where she'd act wrong, because of trust in her Master. I wich he'd developed her character in CoO, not showed us more of the same, as I think was the case. And this is my take on his worry to ake her look bad. But I don't have a problem with his statement that she went after bad people - in a big, galaxy the Emeperor would ahve had agent specialized in different areas.
  22. Jedi Ben Chosen One

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    Personally, I see Thrawn as Rommel - brilliant, ambitious, recklessly innovative but a bit too eager to believe in his own abilities to the exclusion of all else thus he can overplay his hand or be blind-sided.

    As to HoT, given how idiotic the bulk of the NR was acting, anticipating the members actions wasn't hard - all you needed was a match to set the galaxy aflame given how everyone was flinging political petrol around with abandon.
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  23. Nobody145 Force Ghost

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    Although in the Hoth case, as Luke was concerned, Vader was especially... angry about everything in general. Didn't the Warfare guide mention that Piett surviving Bespin despite Luke Skywalker getting away (again) was a really unusual moment?

    True, Zahn favors Mara and Thrawn, but most authors have at least a few moments like that. Sure, I agree Vader should have slaughtered Mara, but it was from her POV, and I think she mostly just tried to stay out of his way until he calmed down. Not the worst overpowered moment I've seen in Star wars in the last few years (although most of the rest of those stupid moments were from TCW). And Vader tends to hold back a little bit if the Emperor doesn't quite want a person dead (Tarkin, various Imperial officers, Xizor... well, until Vader has enough proof, but SotE was more a case of testing Vader's political skills, since otherwise Vader could and would just kill everyone in his way).

    I saw Vader as being very... severe in his punishments. Killing Ozzel, Needa, etc., basically anyone aside from Palpatine he could kill if he felt like it. He stayed in the background on the Death Star a bit, and he didn't kill that skeptical officer, but then said officer had just suffered empirical proof that the Force was real, so Vader's point was made.

    I know it is kind of convenient that we only see Mara go after corrupt officials or pirates in Zahn's most recent books (another reason I'm really looking forward to Scoundrels), but Palpatine doesn't like people stealing from his Empire, and I do think some of her lines make her look really foolish and naive in retrospect (like her saying there is only one Hand in the Empire... yeah, she's not happy when she eventually finds out years later).

    Thrawn always came off as a bit too smart in Thrawn trilogy, and he's not a personal favorite, but he is popular (given how he has appeared in at least one or two video games, I believe), and I just still love his death scene (never saw it coming and appropriate last words).

    At least back in those days, the New Republic wasn't fundamentally broken. It wasn't quite doing great, and the HoT flashpoint was very close to falling apart, but it ended on an optimistic, mostly conclusive, note. Apparently optimism and properly finishing a story has gone out of style since then, which is why I don't hold most of Zahn's works against him, after his earlier great works.
    Last edited by Nobody145, Dec 2, 2012
  24. _Catherine_ Force Ghost

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    She did rat out the Dark Woman to Vader and the Emperor. Oops!
  25. Sable_Hart Force Ghost

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    My biggest issue with Zahn's Thrawn-wankery in HoT is the fact that Palpatine's credentials as a strategist vastly outstrip Thrawn's by several orders of magnitude. Subverting a 25k year old government, toppling the Jedi, orchestrating the rise of two military factions and their ensuing war, etc... is, well, a good deal more complicated than any mere naval battle. Thrawn is an exemplary military commander, but as an overall strategist? He's a chump compared to the Emperor and rightly so.
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