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

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

  1. Iron_lord Chosen One

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    Sep 2, 2012
    star 6
    Maybe it's a case of Sacrificed Basic Skill for Awesome Training- where the "basic skill" is, among other things, insight into people. She was taken from her parents as a small child by the Emperor, after all.
  2. GrandAdmiralJello Moderator Communitatis Litterarumque

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    Well, she's completely unaware of the nature of the Emperor -- or indeed, of the Empire. But also buying the "affable old man" bit that Palpatine was selling to the public? You'd think she'd killed enough people for him to know better.
  3. Riven_JTAC Jedi Grand Master

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    Jun 28, 2011
    star 3
    But she views those people as bad, so she views it as just a part of a strong government. "Might makes right," so to speak. She buys that hook, line, and sinker.
  4. GrandAdmiralJello Moderator Communitatis Litterarumque

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    Sorry, I wasn't very clear with that -- I agree that she's got the wool over her eyes regarding the notion of Palpatine being evil and all that. But what I was saying was that Palpatine's sent her on enough sneaky assignments that she should at least have some degree of awareness as to how sneaky he is, independently of her thinking that he's a nice guy.

    But I suppose even if that's true, it's possible that he controlled how much sneakiness he showed her so that Jade would get the impression that Thrawn was a bigger sneak than Palpatine...
  5. kataja Force Ghost

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    May 4, 2007
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    I think it should be possible for a guy who fooled an entire Republic to believe he was a nice old man, to fool similarly a girl who he's been able to brainwash ever since she was little more than a toddler...
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  6. Sable_Hart Force Ghost

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    Nov 28, 2009
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    Her assessment was during the Hand of Thrawn duology, almost a decade after she learned the truth. There's no excuse IU.
  7. Iron_lord Chosen One

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    Sep 2, 2012
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    Might have less to to with "sneakiness" and more to do with "planning ahead".

    After examining the huge new area on the map of the galaxy, that shows Thrawn's conquered a big section of the Unknown Regions- then Mara says (with respect to the people that got Thrawn exiled) that Palpatine was one step ahead of everything that happened in his court- and Thrawn two.
  8. GrandAdmiralJello Moderator Communitatis Litterarumque

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    Yeah, but I think that's a particular response to people who saw that as an exile -- Thrawn was playing them. The dialogue isn't about how he's been colonizing the UR, but how people at Court didn't actually know what the game actually was.
  9. Iron_lord Chosen One

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    Question would be- does Thrawn's "strategist" background justify him being portrayed as "two steps ahead" compared to Palpatine's "one step ahead"?
  10. Jedi Ben Chosen One

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    Palpatine only needed to be 1 step ahead - he had the dark side!
  11. GrandAdmiralJello Moderator Communitatis Litterarumque

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    He had foreseen that Thrawn would be a step ahead and decided he didn't need to waste the energy stepping himself. He's an efficient man, our Emperor.
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  12. Iron_lord Chosen One

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    So, we're not roleplaying a belief that Palpatine is completely benevolent for the moment?
  13. GrandAdmiralJello Moderator Communitatis Litterarumque

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    I never said that I endorsed that notion. People have notions all the time, and some of them are pretty silly. The other day, a person told me that one could not be perfect without three eyes.
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  14. Iron_lord Chosen One

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    Sep 2, 2012
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    Mara thinks (in Allegiance) that Palpatine's benevolent, and not evil. For her to have "the wool over her eyes" would imply otherwise.
  15. Mechalich Force Ghost

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    Feb 2, 2010
    star 4
    I think the Thrawn being 2 steps ahead to the Emperor's 1 step ahead issue has far more to do with the focus of those individuals. Sure, Thrawn might be two steps ahead regarding goings-on at cour that actually concern him, but he's so utterly uninterested in the finer points of politics that what concerns him amounts to maybe 0.1% of what's happening at court. Palpatine's got his fingers and nasty dark side tendrils in everything. It is one thing to be light years ahead of a small group of people who are actively trying to screw you over in politics, it's quite another to make an entire galactic empire dance like your own private puppet.
  16. Arawn_Fenn Chosen One

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    That's what happens when you hang out with Gran.
  17. Trip Force Ghost

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    Dec 7, 2003
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    just to be clear, i am totally willing to say Zahn is a bad writer. terrible, even. it's to the franchise's everlasting detriment that his trilogy was used as the springboard for all subsequent EU over the (also flawed but) far superior Dark Empire.
    Last edited by Trip, Dec 5, 2012
  18. Sable_Hart Force Ghost

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    Nov 28, 2009
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    Hell no.
    The dark side alone isn't enough to do what Sidious did, otherwise the Sith would have triumphed ages ago.

    Palpatine's accomplishments as a strategist dwarf Thrawn's by several orders of magnitude.
  19. fett 4 Chosen One

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    Jan 2, 2000
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    There I disgaree with you. I thought DE was terrible with more superweopans and the reborn Emperor with the dumbest plot ever of Luke going to the darkside to learn to beat him! Kind of undercuts everything Luke did in the OT and learning about not becoming like his father, as well as undercutting Vaders sacrifice and redemption, while super wepoans were becoming old by RTJ.

    Would be interested to hear your reasons on why you think Zahns trilogy (which I think is excellent and have no problem with) was a detriment to the EU though as I do disgaree with that ?

    I thought the problem was when KJA took over the editing side and things just went to pot, I also believe if KJA's trilogy had been released first rather than Zahns then I doubt this board would exist or that the EU would be as popular as it became.
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  20. Iron_lord Chosen One

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    Sep 2, 2012
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    The most common complaints about Zahn books tend to be:

    "Minimalism"- he portrays 200 dreadnoughts as making a significant difference.
    "Thrawn is too overhyped"
    "Mara is too overhyped"
    "The Empire (and Palpatine) are too antialien"

    And so forth.
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  21. Riven_JTAC Jedi Grand Master

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    Jun 28, 2011
    star 3
    I don't think they're really even operating in the same area.

    Thrawn is an amazing tactician. He is very good at operations. I don't think he really is all that great of a strategist.

    Palpatine is an unbelievably good strategist. He really doesn't dabble in operations, let alone tactics.

    They're simply working towards different ends. Thrawn's "strategy" for the galaxy is terribly flawed. His military operations and battle tactics are nearly unmatched, though. Palpatine had one of the most incredible strategies for galactic domination ever, but he left the operational and tactical moves up to other people either out of the knowledge that he didn't know what he was doing in those realms or he had more important things to be doing.
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  22. Trip Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 7, 2003
    star 4
    oh jeez, i dont even know where to start. :p to be clear though i don't think it's a entirely a detriment to the EU; Zahn did introduce some characters and concepts that have become essential parts of the mythos (albeit often realized far better by other authors). what i do think is detrimental is that his trilogy became, like, the cornerstone of the modern EU, because he also did a lot of things that were really bad for the saga and they became entrenched parts of the it, whereas Dark Empire handled a lot of these things far better but was pretty much swept under the proverbial rug.

    i guess my biggest problem with TTT-as-sequel-to-RotJ is that you don't at any point get much of a sense that any time has passed; in fact, the characters are often set back relative to where they were at the end of the OT. DE-- which was actually supposed to take place a mere year after RotJ, incidentally-- does a far better job with this. Look at Lando, for example-- in DE he's a general commanding a Star Destroyer; in HttE he's quit his commission and gone back to being the administrator of a mining colony, which of course promptly gets raided by the Empire.


    (there's myriad other issues, the biggest of which being that Zahn, like, doesn't get Star Wars, like on a fundamental thematic level, i don't think; but that's probably something for another thread)
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  23. _Catherine_ Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 16, 2007
    star 4
    Now explain all the different types of Force lightning.
  24. Trip Force Ghost

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    Dec 7, 2003
    star 4
    oh crap i knew i shouldn't've said the words "another thread"
    Last edited by Trip, Dec 6, 2012
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  25. AdmiralWesJanson Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 23, 2005
    star 5
    I disagree. I think Zahn has the theme of Star Wars (at least that of the Original Trilogy) down far better than most other authors. He focuses more on the characters and their struggle over evil, how normal people can grow and face adversity to become better than they are and triumph. The reason that Zahn's stories and characters are so iconic is that he treats the saga as a character piece- You have Mara, who goes through a development and sort of redemption, a variant of the Heroes journey. You have Thrawn, who is a guile villian rather than one who is a villian due to strength or influence, like Vader and Palpatine respectively. You have other characters like Karrde, Pellaeon, Borsk, Bel Iblis, and others who become iconic due to the fact that Zahn treated them as relative equals to the Big Three. The big three are important, but importantly for the setting, they are part of the GFFA, not the other way around. The universe does not revolve around the Sky-Solos to the degree that it does now. Yes, the story focuses on them, but the Galaxy and setting does not, which makes the GFFA feel like a real place, not a fantasy world.

    The Force is another big element that Zahn got right. It is a source of guidance and enhancement to a persons abilities, an advisor and tool to build on a character. To Zahn's characters, the Force is an aspect of their being, not the current idea of Jedi and Sith being avatars for the Force with personalities tacked on. The force is not magic, it is not a god, it is not the puppetmaster of the galaxy.

    The reason Zahn's take on the Star Wars saga is so popular is the message it portrays- The Force does make certain individuals more powerful or influential than others, but it is the people who matter, their abilities and choices. Dark Empire may focus more on the spiritual aspect of Good and Evil, Palpatine vs Luke, but in Dark Empire, basically if you are not one of the few designated heroes, you are pretty much worthless. Look at the Battle of Endor- you have Luke and Vader and Palpatine fiting the spiritual battle, which is important, but you also have the non-Force-users fighting to destroy the Death Star. Look at the battle of Da Soocha- You have Luke and Leia vs Palpatine fighting the spiritual level, but Palpatine's Force storm is simply annhiliating the Rebel Fleet, and the Eclipse is destroyed not by the courage and tenacity of the Rebels, but as a side effect of the spiritual battle. The non Force users may as well not have been there for all that they mattered.Look at the Battle of Bilbringi/Wayland- You have Luke, Mara, and Leia fighting a more spiritual battle against C'Baoth, while Lando and Chewie are fighting a mortal level combat to destroy the Cloning tanks, and the New Republic and Smugglers are fighting against Thrawn. All three battles matter, but one does not make the other battles pointless.

    That is why Zahn has a better take on the Star Wars Saga than most work now days, and arguably better than Dark Empire.