Chapter 3 and 4: I’ll roll my thoughts for these chapters together, since I’ve caught up to the topic of @DigitalMessiah’s idea post. Jacen, Luke and the new rulers of the New Republic, as well as discussing the philosophy of the Jedi, are all covered in chapter three, while chapter four brings the character dynamics more into focus as we get to know the older Sky-Solo clan, Nom Anor and the politics of the New Republic. There seems to be a concerted effort to make the EU turn a corner. Chapter 3 describes the New Republic as having “solidified”; they don’t want the Jedi to have to babysit it anymore. Despite this, though, things clearly aren’t at any better than they were in Bantam’s era. Half of the politicians on the council are so blatantly antagonistic that they’d be right at home on Saturday morning cartoons. It’s interesting how self-aware this book becomes in the third and fourth chapters. You have the councilors spouting blatantly anti-Jedi, ignorant and antagonistic rhetoric in the former, then Nom Anor starts up with the same thing to Leia in the next chapter directed toward those very beings. Yet, he admits in his inner monologue that he’s just venting steam, he really doesn’t care about the planet he represents, he just hates the New Republic in general. We’re supposed to root against both of them, but Nom Anor comes off better than the councilors because he’s 1: self aware and 2: charismatic. The councilors are such corrupt politician stereotypes that Tammany Hall wouldn’t trust them, and have all the personality of a black hole. We’re introduced to most of the Sky-Solo clan in these chapters and my reaction is a resounding “not bad.” Han’s hard to write badly (which makes GoDV that much worse, really) but his characterization progression in this book can be summed up with one word: “Teenagers”. Jacen is introspective and questioning his lot and the lot of the Jedi as a whole. Anakin’s a thrill-seeker trying to live up to his parents and siblings. Luke is… Luke, though a bit more concerned with politics than previous characterizations I can recall. Really, no one’s out of character, and I like seeing Anakin and Chewie bounce off each other, they’re like 3PO and R2 in reverse. The big point of these chapters is the discussion of the Jedi in chapter 3, since this is the title of the entire series. Just like the New Republic itself, they clearly wanted to move the Order past just being a Jedi nursery. At this point, the only Jedi Order that existed was the one in The Phantom Menace, and I like that the authors are willing to question whether that Order had all of the right ideas. One of the tenants of the Prequels that people forget a lot of the time is that the Old Jedi Order was flawed, both in outlook and philosophy. Without knowing what the other Prequels would bring, the authors openly question whether the Jedi should be organized at all, and we work our way up from there. Jacen’s self searching is the main way we explore this idea, which fits his character as the soul-searching sixteen year old wondering what his place in the universe is. It’s interesting in that, even though he and Luke are at loggerheads about this, as we’re constantly being told, they’re still civil, and Luke’s open to the idea that his vision for the Jedi might not be the best one. It’d be interesting to see what solution they might have wound up reaching without the galaxy-shattering crisis on the horizon. This is where the self-awareness of the book really comes into play. Luke and Jacen's discussion is pretty blatantly along the lines of what was probably an authorial meeting behind the scenes, pondering the true purpose of the Jedi in general, asking why they even need permission from the NR, etc. It's a pretty good scene, even if it does make Jacen come off as a bit arrogant. I'll give him a pass, though, he's his mother's son, and it's about time someone in the Skywalker family line came off as intelligent more than just overconfident. More later.