PT To everyone who thinks no respectable author would have a character "die of a broken heart":

Discussion in 'Prequel Trilogy' started by Han Burgundy, Jul 4, 2013.

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  1. Han Burgundy Jedi Grand Master

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    Jan 28, 2013
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    George Lucas was actually treading ground that had been laid 50 years earlier.... by none other than JRR Freaking Tolkien.


    http://lotr.wikia.com/wiki/Arwen#Aragorn_and_Arwen


    "Arwen died of a broken heart in 121 of the Fourth Age, at Cerin Amroth in Lórien, one year after the death of Aragorn. She was 2,901 years old."

    Boom. That just happened.

    I mean, Tolkien has the upper hand here, considering that how he writes her death is the most beautiful and tragic thing ever (makes zero sense if you don't know the story):

    " But Arwen went forth from the House, and the light of her eyes was quenched, and it seemed to her people that she had become cold and grey as nightfall in winter that comes without a star. Then she said farewell to Eldarion, and to her daughters, and to all whom she had loved; and she went out from the city of Minas Tirith and passed away to the land of Lórien, and dwelt there alone under the fading trees until winter came. Galadriel had passed away and Celeborn was also gone, and the land was silent.
    There at last when the mallorn-leaves were falling, but spring had not yet come, she laid herself to rest upon Cerin Amroth; and there is her green grave, until the world is changed, and all the days of her life are utterly forgotten by men that come after, and elanor and niphredil bloom no more east of the Sea."


    But then again, the intercutting of the death of Padme, birth of the twins, the death of Anakin, and the birth of Vader is also poetic and beautiful in its own way.

    But the point is, don't let anybody tell you that this idea lacks legitimacy. If one of the greatest authors of the past century used it, it's valid.
    Last edited by Han Burgundy, Jul 4, 2013
  2. Carbon1985 Jedi Grand Master

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    Apr 23, 2013
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    If Padme lived to 2,901 years old, then I wouldn't have a problem with her dying that way ;-). My beef was more that her death contradicted what Leia said to Luke in ROTJ.
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  3. Zapdos Force Ghost

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    Jan 7, 2013
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    Noone knew of the cure
    Last edited by Zapdos, Jul 4, 2013
  4. ThatsNoPloKoon Jedi Master

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    Apr 24, 2013
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    Difference being Star Wars is set in futuristic society with highly advanced medical practices and LOTR is set in a magical fantasy world where Elves live forever anyway. And before I get "But the force!" shouted at me, the force is indeed a mystical element in Star Wars. It also has nothing to do with Padme dying. Just because JRR Tolkein did it first doesn't make it a good choice for Star Wars. I don't even particularly like the LOTR books anyway.
  5. Darth Dominikkus Jedi Grand Master

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    But Star Wars and Lord of the Rings are two totally different things by two totally different people.
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  6. anakinfansince1983 Chosen One

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    Mar 4, 2011
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    My issue with it wasn't that it had never been done. My issue, besides that it didn't mesh with Luke and Leia's ROTJ conversation, is that it seemed a cop-out. Lucas wanted to please the fans who wanted Anakin to kill Padme, and those of us who didn't.

    Just. Pick. One.
  7. CT-867-5309 Force Ghost

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    Jan 5, 2011
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    This comes off as a strawman attacking an ad hominem. First, the argument that "no respectable author would have a character die of a broken heart" is irrelevant, it ignores the substance of the character's death to attack the author. Second, no one in particular has taken this stance at the moment, though I'm sure it has been said. If someone had taken this stance, it could have been easily defeated as the obvious ad hominem that it is.

    Many, many authors of classics have had characters die of a broken heart. Tristan and Iseult both die this way. I'm not sure when Tristan and Iseult was written, but I know it's old. Jean Valjean dies this way. The Phantom of the Opera dies of a broken heart. Dying of a broken heart isn't anything new, it's very old, it's a classic, it's a trope.

    Padme's death is still crap, imo.
    Last edited by CT-867-5309, Jul 4, 2013
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  8. Darth Eddie Jedi Grand Master

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    May 14, 2013
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    On the great scale of similaries-and-differences, I would put Star Wars and Lord of the Rings actually quite close together, as they are both modern epic myths set in invented universes that use war and adventure as a vessel for their thematic elements.

    Myth is the home of death by broken heart - which some say exists in our world, by the way.
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  9. anakinfansince1983 Chosen One

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    I've never heard of a "death by broken heart" in a healthy 27-year-old in our world.

    If Lucas was going for a mythical element, it was a concentrated fail. And if we look at Padme in TPM and most of AOTC, it wasn't even in character. Padme was not a woman who was going to "lose the will to live" over her man going ape****.

    I have argued before that Anakin's turn was not the only thing that broke her heart, it was also the fact that she almost singlehandedly brought about the Empire because she was the one who called for the vote of no confidence and put Palpatine in office.

    However, even that guilt (deserved or not) plus Anakin's turn should not have been enough to kill her by "broken heart". It just makes her character look weak and lame.
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  10. Cryogenic Force Ghost

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    Jul 20, 2005
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    Padme couldn't take the shock of all that had happened -- her whole world was torn asunder. Yoda himself almost died of a broken heart, or so it looks, during the Jedi purge, but he rallied back with some forgotten strength and lived to fight another day. Would Yoda have been "weak and lame" had his flame been snuffed out in that instant? Things can simply pile in on a person and they lose hope. And the more idealistic you are, the worse it is. In the words of Count Dooku, "Twice the pride, double the fall." And to throw a bit of John Lennon in, "Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans."

    There is also the fact that Anakin choked the life out of Padme. The life force, that is. And when he is being reassembled as Darth Vader, machinic overlord, supreme galactic terror, demonic prince with the obsidian will, he is inadvertently sucking her soul so that he may live and propel his Vader psyche to dominance ("I can't live without her"). Vader "knows" that Anakin needs Padme to live, so greedily devours her for his own ends.

    What fans also overlook is that there is a sort of mythic-empiric explanation or mechanism by which Padme dies despite being medically healthy. That explanation is called "midi-chlorians". I propose that her midis turned against her or Vader interfered with them. It may be that an unhealthy parasitism developed between Padme and Anakin which became fatal for the two of them after they spiraled into a spiritual abyss on Mustafar. They were both going to die, but Anakin hung on with the Dark Side, and didn't relinquish his grip until his last moments in ROTJ. His heart was broken, too; but it took longer for him to admit it and give up his futile quest for power to avoid the same agony a second time. In his last moments, he breathes unaided; breathes his own mortality; admits to his frailty. And thus, he is fit to be freed of Vader, and to die.

    And the prequel trilogy is a tragedy. It's a morality play out of which no-one gets alive. Even the figures of Yoda and Obi-Wan are irrevocably changed and quite different when we meet them again. It's painful, for me, to see how Jar Jar's soul was brutally parceled up by the Emperor, his innocence thoroughly violated, leaving just a shell of a guy at the end, but that's the story; that's where this tale is headed. And that's what makes it so trenchant and, ultimately, poignant. The good times of TPM are long gone in the final moments of ROTS; but paradise may one day be glimpsed again.
    Last edited by Cryogenic, Jul 4, 2013
  11. anakinfansince1983 Chosen One

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    Mar 4, 2011
    star 7
    I do believe in unexplainable connections between people, and that's probably as spiritual as I get. I believe that Anakin and Padme had such a connection.

    And I know that Lucas was trying to be symbolic with the idea that Padme died as Anakin "died", the symbolism just didn't work for me, nor did the entire premise of midichlorians (that's another debate). And I think Padme should have been able to handle what happened without dying on the table--the Padme I liked in TPM was made of much tougher stuff than that. Your point about Yoda--he did hang on to fight another day, and so did Obi-Wan. The circumstances changed them forever, and that's understandable and to be expected, but they didn't just give up on life entirely.

    As far as Jar-Jar--I agree with you there.
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  12. MOC Yak Face Moderator, Classic Trilogy

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    I don't have anything about dying of a broken heart as a concept. In this case though, aside from any inter-trilogy inconsistency, I think it would've been so much more powerful if she'd died at Anakin's hand literally. Then, Vader would not be the murderer of Luke's father, as Obiwan initially suggested, but of his mother.
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  13. Lars_Muul Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Oct 2, 2000
    star 6
    Padmé was obviously a love junkie. This has nothing to do with rational behavior and doing what one should do. She'd made herself extremely vulnerable by addicting herself to Anakin's love. In a world of rational, sound decision making and always trying to do what's right for the people, it must've been such a relief for her to give in to irrationality and just do what felt good to her personally. Anakin offered sanctuary and once she'd accepted it, there was no going back. She couldn't get enough - especially with a full-scale war breaking out, making her job all the more demanding. The longer the war raged on, the deeper she fell into the abyss of addiction. Her world was falling apart around her, so she sought consolation in the one thing she could trust; the one thing that never wavered. Once the Republic was dead and liberty with it, love was all that she had. It was, quite literally, her life.
    So, what crushed her in the end was not the death of Anakin, but the end of their love. He killed her by giving her hate - a cruel move against a fragile heart.
    Now, you can argue that her children should've been enough reason for her to cling on to life and I'll actually agree with you: It should have been enough.
    It wasn't, though. She was too fragile, too madly in love, too devastated to carry on. Anakin broke her heart and that was more than she could take.
    Weak? Yes, she was.
    That's the point.





    - She's dying?
    - Better her than me!

    /LM
  14. Cryogenic Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 20, 2005
    star 4
    Technically, all connections are inexplicable, if you're arguing down to the most basic truths about the universe. Intellectually, and spiritually, if ya like, we have only just waded into the shallowest part of, what is likely, a vast cosmic ocean.

    Well, fine. Lucas does try and communicate much of what he wants to say through montage in ROTS. And whether he is entirely successful or not at embellishing his ideas through that conceit... is in the eye of the beholder.

    They're Jedi: tough mystics, keepers of an ancient flame. It would have been very out-of-character for them to just give up and die.

    Though, they could have. In narrative terms, they were spared, because they had to endure, and to bring a scintilla of hope to the end of the movie -- that some people can take a terrible bruising and still keep going.

    If you contrast Padme's tragic death with their endurance, I think the end becomes quite thoughtful; and is made all the more moving. Lucas crafted something with different shades of heroism and villainy; such that, just to use a petty example, long-time fans are still arguing about it today.

    I'll contend that Star Wars, to use Carl Sagan's adage, is about the "many different ways of being human". If you look at the fates of our characters, it's quite a mix: from the comical brutality of a mindwipe inflicted on Threepio (and Artoo's callous laugh), to Anakin's horrible agony as he's being resurrected by indifferent, prodding machines, to Padme's sad passing moments after giving birth, to the Jedi regathering their dignity and rallying to have their day. And Jar Jar.

    The problem with using the Jedi as a reference point, such as I see it, is that you're doing a great disservice to Padme's personal journey, and the specific traumas that she suffers through. Just as you say the Jedi suffered "circumstances that changed them forever", so did Padme; their destinations were simply not alike. I mean, yay, Yoda and Obi-Wan survived, but they were only shot at! Padme delivered twins! :p And in the same moments her beloved was wailing through the Force, calling to her, and whose pain she seemed to feel acutely. On top of the horror of discovering she had aided Palpatine in his rise to power and also enabled him to corrupt her beloved. *And* that she was partly responsible for allowing Anakin to become corrupted. Very heavy self-blame... worse than any the Jedi experienced, I'll bet. And THEN the Vader soul-sucking thing (which is just my thesis, admittedly).

    You say her demise is inconsistent with TPM, but not really; not in my view. TPM -- "The Beginning" -- shows her afflicted with a deep sadness from the start, like when she's bowing her head as the tanks move in on Theed, or even when Qui-Gon is explaining the inhabitants of Tatooine, describing Mos Espa as a haven for those that don't wish to be found, and Padme responds, "Like us". She always had a certain ennui within her, which no-one, barring Anakin, ironically -- "You seem sad" (in transit to Coruscant) -- seemed to recognize. This, too, is consistent with Leia's recollections in ROTJ, even though many have whined that the opposite is true. In the second part of AOTC, she also seems to fall under Anakin's spell, losing more of her elan in the process. She becomes his underworld mistress and seems trapped by an unconscious choice to abide by him through even the darkest of times. Her link is challenged in the final part of ROTS, so she slips away, to wait for Anakin in a vast unknown. Somehow, their spirits are one, as symbolized by the suns peeking behind clouds in the final shot of the movie.

    His arc, in many ways, is the most powerful, I think. In the last 15 mins, it was clever of Lucas to weave him in, in just a blink-and-you'll-miss-him cameo. Sometimes, it's the smallest of details that mean the most. And he's played off against the snippet: another small detail (though more focused on) that communicates the same thing, but in a different way.
    Last edited by Cryogenic, Jul 4, 2013
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  15. darthfettus2015 Jedi Grand Master

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    i dont mind the broken heart thing but think they should have been brave enough to have Anakin kill her outright. He has already brutally beheaded someone and slaughtered many children (again), I think maybe they thought it was just too dark, but I think it would have been better and I defend GL to the hilt on most things.....oh and the Lord of the Rings thing....there is a connection, my dad always used to call SW, Lord of The Rings in space and was why i ended up reading that book at a young age
    Last edited by darthfettus2015, Jul 4, 2013
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  16. DantheJedi Force Ghost

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    Aug 23, 2009
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    This is kind of what happened to my mother.

    My sister died, and she became an emotional wreck after that. My mother's health was never the best after her hysterectomy, but she started going downhill, until she fell ill, and went to sleep one night not waking up the next morning.

    People who criticize this sometimes don't know what they're talking about.
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  17. Darth Eddie Jedi Grand Master

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    As long as the Lord of the Rings comparison is on the table, I've considered that Padme as touched by the dark side in a similar manner as the black breath disease people receive from exposure to the evil power of the ringwraithes (which we see with Eowyn after the battle of Pellenor and arguably with Frodo after Weathertop.)

    Consider all of the hatred and sheer dark side energy Anakin is placing into that force choke - the most ultimate betrayal he could have possibly dealt to Padme... forget the broken heart, it's no wonder she died at all after all that "stress" - as 3P0 would put it.
    Last edited by Darth Eddie, Jul 4, 2013
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  18. A Chorus of Disapproval New Films Riot Deterrent

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    To be fair... I have not actually met any local healthy 27-year-olds who were pregnant with twins from a husband who has just killed most of his friends, started an intergalactic totalitarian hellscape while destroying the democracy she had been working for, and butchered a group of children along the way... and then strangling her on a lava planet. Hard for me to size up how hypothetical typical earth gal would respond, but I will log her reaction in here once I meet her and then can verify it. :p
    Last edited by A Chorus of Disapproval, Jul 4, 2013
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  19. Sistros Force Ghost

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    the opening post is missing one vital thing,

    from what I understand her dying of a broken heart isn't itself hated, it's the "medically she's perfectly healthy" that gets people

    fine, have her die of a broken heart, it beats her banging her head on the operating table any day, but at least write it in a way that isn't laughable.
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  20. PiettsHat Force Ghost

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    Jan 1, 2011
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    What's wrong with the "medically she's completely healthy" line? :confused:

    I always thought that was there to emphasize that it wasn't the Force choke that killed her.
  21. MOC Yak Face Moderator, Classic Trilogy

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    I don't have an issue with a character dying of a broken heart. It just doesn't sit well with me that Padme would give up on life at the moment that she's just given birth to the twins. It just feels wrong for that character every time I see it. That's really the only way I can put it.
  22. PiettsHat Force Ghost

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    Sorry to pick on you in particular (I have developed an annoying tendency to belabor this point unfortunately), but what exactly would be a better alternative?

    What I mean is, would it really be more true to Padmé's character to abandon Luke to live on the harshness of Tatooine while she goes off and lives in the lap of luxury with Leia? Because she's still letting her child go in that case.

    Also, I've never really understood how Padmé surviving would have benefitted her children -- she likely wouldn't have been able to properly care for them (considering her husband would be after her) and her mere presence would signal the fact that they were alive -- bringing the Sith down on their heads (along with the unfortunate soul sheltering them).
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  23. MOC Yak Face Moderator, Classic Trilogy

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    Would she have to abandon one at the expense of the other? Why would her presence be any harder to conceal than the children themselves? Could she not be a presence in both of their lives, even if not in the customary mother-child relationship. I will certainly bow to the superior understanding of a woman on this subject, but from what I've observed, there's very little I can think of which motivates a mother to soldier on in life more than being there for her children.
  24. PiettsHat Force Ghost

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    In general, it seems like a lot of people thought that Padmé would give up Luke to the Larses and keep Leia with her on Alderaan until she died sometime when Leia was young. I guess I have a problem with this because I don't really see it as better than what actually happens in ROTS given that Padmé is knowingly sending one of her children off to live in an inhospitable desert while she goes to live as royalty. It doesn't sit well with me. Not everyone has argued this point, of course, but it's a common alternative scenario that I find puzzling.

    Also, in regards to her presence being more difficult to conceal than the children, I think this is so because without a body, Anakin would never give up looking for her. When he sees her visibly pregnant body and believes himself to have killed her, the children are automatically granted a layer of protection because there is no one looking for them -- they are presumed dead with their mother. But if Padmé is not dead, then I can't imagine Anakin resting until he found her. And it would be extremely difficult to fake her death I believe since she and her husband seem to share a bond and Anakin has the Force at his disposal. Plus, he's rather, well, obsessive when it comes to his wife.

    You're right that there's very little that can motivate a mother to soldier on in life more than her children, but I think in Padmé's case, it wouldn't be hard to imagine how she could see her children as being better off without her. Not just because she would have extreme difficulty in caring for them herself but also because her death could hide their survival from the Sith.

    If anything, I see Padmé as a character who is increasingly robbed of her power throughout the PT -- she starts as a Queen saving her planet, becomes a Senator who is powerless to prevent the war from breaking out, and then has no political power left and no ability to sway her husband from his path. Like the Republic she is diminished to the point where she no longer has a place in the galaxy. In the deleted scenes of AOTC, for example, a theme is explicitly laid out by Lucas that those who can't adapt must die.

    I think this is the case for Padmé -- she no longer has any power and she has no place left in the galaxy -- and nothing to offer her children. And thus she dies.
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  25. VanishingReality Jedi Grand Master

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    I interpret it as Anakin killing her with force-related injuries that baffled medicial droid's programming. I can't see Padme making the decision to leave Luke and Leia into a galaxy that she knows is going to be horrible, and she expressed that much in her speech to Bail Organa. She encouraged him to keep surviving by pretending to go along with the changes, instead of openly opposing them, no matter what the circumstances.

    Why inspire Bail to live on and started a rebellion if she really didn't see the point herself?
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