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Lit What was so artistically done?

Discussion in 'Literature' started by Tiberius Cassius Maximus, Dec 5, 2014.

  1. AusStig

    AusStig Force Ghost star 5

    Feb 3, 2010
    I disagree. His arrogance causes his failure in Heir (not jaming) and Dark Force, (not taking the flagship). But in Last? Not really, he doesn't lose the battle, he is maybe on the back foot, but then Rukh just kills him, so Thrawn isn't defeated, thus he dies undefeated and his 'genius' is preserved which annoys me as Thrawn needed to be deconstructed and defeated, to do otherwise (to me) it implies he is as right/smart as he thinks he is, just with blindspots. The NR does everything right in the deception before the battle, but it doesn't work....because, Thrawn just knows. How does he know? Cause he is Thrawn so stop questioning. Now there are good reasons for Thrawn to defend the shipyards regardless of if the attack is real or a feint, but they aren't brought up.

    Thrawn being killed by a bodyguard he tricked into it is a good IDEA, but in execution it falls down. Leia doesn't convince the Noghri to switch sides, she just has a prob run into her with the info, captures it and then she wins. That's it. This is all that the heroes do to contribution to the defeat of Thrawn.

    As I said before, the heroes did destroy Thrawns clones and C'baoth, both of which were important to his war efforts, I think you could argue that they have crippled Thrawns ability to make war. But it doesn't matter, cause Thrawn is dead before he learns of it.

    I find it a stretch to say it was 'Leias hand' that killed thrawn, since she gives no orders or direction to Rukh (that I can recall), he just decides that "now is good stab time" and does it. There is a disconnect between the actions of the Heroes and the defeat. When the book had set up for them to have a big impact.

    Like so much else in LC my response was "That's it?", I don't think the OT heroes even speak to Thrawn and since their are (in theory) our leads, I find that disappointing. Especially since the other books had the heores play an active role in Thrawns defeats, yet that is dropped for the final. Which is why I think LC is the worst of the TT.
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  2. Havac

    Havac Former Moderator star 7 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Sep 29, 2005
    I disagree with your disagreement! When I talk about Thrawn's hubris being his downfall, I'm not talking about the battle. I'm talking about the fact that he never even considered the Noghri could be bright enough to figure out his deception. Thrawn kept as a bodyguard a person he had essentially enslaved through lies and trickery and never for a second thought it might come back to bite him, because he was a genius and the Noghri were just dumb primitives he could play sahib with. That's Thrawn's typical hubris, and it's the whole reason Ruhk was in a position and with motivation to kill him -- because Thrawn just had to be clever and try to keep the dumb savages locked down with a ploy rather than trust them to remain loyal in exchange for actual services rendered.

    And Leia's role in it is key. She takes a massive risk just traveling to Honoghr, trusting her gut. She used her political talents to build relationships that made her someone the Noghri trusted, and exposed the fact that they were being deceived, then left it up to them to decide what to do about it. Sure, Leia doesn't tell the Noghri they have to defect, but the whole plotline is about her political skills and her empathy, her instincts for building bonds, leading her to bring the Noghri around and to be able to trust them to do the right thing without having to push them. Leia shouldn't be giving assassination orders, but Thrawn's assassination doesn't happen without Leia's bold and empathetic mission to Honoghr.

    On the rest, I think we'll have to agree to disagree because I don't share your premises. I don't see why Thrawn needs to be "deconstructed." Is he supposed to be shown to be not a genius? But he is a genius. Thrawn failing because Luke or Han or Karrde outthinks him would be boring. Thrawn is a military genius; that's the whole idea of the character. He loses not because Ackbar is a better genius, but because he is fundamentally arrogant about his genius. He is undone not by superior genius, but by the heroes' commitment to truth and trust, because of the unforeseen consequences of Leia's mission to build bridges with the people who were trying to kidnap her. It's just like Luke doesn't have to show that he's more powerful than Darth Vader and the Emperor combined in order to win. He doesn't have to puncture Palpatine's aura of power by overpowering him. He blows up Palpatine's plans by being a good person, by appealing to the goodness within his own father. He redeems Darth Vader and Vader takes Palpatine down. Luke wins not because he is stronger than the enemy but because he is better. In the same way, the heroes win not because they are smarter than Thrawn, but because they are better. Leia is a good person who appeals to the goodness of the Noghri and in so doing redeems them from servitude and lies, and they turn on Thrawn and take him down.

    Zahn feints toward the idea that the heroes are finally going to outthink Thrawn, but they don't quite. They may have won on their own, but we don't get to see. Instead, he surprises the reader with the foreseeable but unforeseen consequences of Leia's intervention and an unexpected. That's great drama, and it's another example of how the ambiguity I highlighted with Thrawn's words works to make the ending more memorable and dramatically powerful. Could Thrawn have been defeated? We never get a clear answer. It's a question that's allowed to live on forever, a lingering fascination. That Thrawn isn't simply defeated, his bubble punctured, his great strength as a character negated, helps to make him more iconic -- and we should want him to be an iconic villain. Sure, we feel good when the good guys beat the bad guys -- but is it really to the benefit of the story to have Luke whomping on Darth Caedus at will, or everybody making Daala look stupid? This makes for a much stronger story and stronger character. Thrawn remains an iconic genius, while still being taken down by the complementary personal flaw, the villainous flaw of arrogance, that has been there the whole time.

    And as I already said, I don't see the need for a personal connection. In ANH, Leia is the only character with a personal connection to defeating the Death Star and Tarkin. She has a damn strong personal connection. She ends up standing in the base listening and watching while other people destroy the Death Star. Nobody ever looks Tarkin in the eye. Does it matter? Has anybody ever criticized the film for this? Thrawn is just by nature an impersonal threat, an impersonal villain. He's taken down in a dramatically fascinating and surprising way that's so much better than any generic heroic boarding action. What would Han flying the Millennium Falcon around Bilbringi prove? What would it add? I just don't see it.

    I get what you want, but I think it makes the story weaker, simpler, more generic, less ultimately fascinating and dramatically satisfying in a more meaningful way.
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  3. Gamiel

    Gamiel Chosen One star 9

    Dec 16, 2012
    I want to point out that even if Thrawn had not been assassinated was things was falling down around him by the end of TTT - even if he did not know it. Mount Tantiss had fallen and with that could he no longer creat clones, nor could he lead the ones he had left with pinpoint precision since C'baoth was dead. And even if Tantiss had not fallen would he have lost it since he underestimated C'baoth who he thought still was on a leash and had no idea C'baoth had rigged all Ysalamiris in Mount Tantiss or begun to clone Luke. He had also made enemies of the Smugglers' Alliance (who he expected to stay neutral) and had lost Delta Source.
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  4. AusStig

    AusStig Force Ghost star 5

    Feb 3, 2010
    Yeah this is what I mean when I say the heroes set the stage for Thrawns defeat, but it amounts to nothing. Delta source lost? doesn't matter he still knows where the real attack will fall.

    he is lucky to die when he did as it allows him to keep his myth of greatness.

    I disagree with your disagreement! haha

    I do agree with this partly (I think it should be both the battle and his death). The Noghri (beings he tricks and lies to cause he is so 'smart') being the cause of his downfall I like. If this was it's own series or even just solely about this imp warlord, it would be fine. But it's not. It Star Wars, and the Main Characters are Luke, Han and Leia. They need to play a bigger role in it's resolution or even just a more immediate.

    I don't agree with this take. Leia is only able to build a relationship with the Nogrhi because he genetic father is Vader. They talk with "Lady Vader"(yuck), not Leia the NR leader/diplomate. In my view there are 3 parts to Leia flipping the Noghri; 1. Her blood, this is how she gets them to listen to her, 2. the droid with the data, the one that floats by and they catch it and get the data, 3. The First/Second Son translation, this allowed her to work out what the data was saying.

    None of these are due to her diplomacy. She doesn't convince the Noghri to change sides with her arguments or promises, but due to factors she has little influence on.

    Why would it be boring? Shows like Death Note and Code Geass show how fun and interesting a game of wits can be, with both sides trying to trick and bluff the other. We get a taste of this during Thrawn launching the stealthed asteroids, Garm shoots ion canons at one so Thrawn blows it up. Move an counter-move. Something I find interesting.

    At least the heroes actions at Tantiss should have some affect on his actions. But they don't.

    Except Luke does beat Vader (in a bad way) and he is right there asking his father to help him when Vader saves him by killing Palps. Luke isn't on a whole other system doing something unrelated while Vader kills the Emperor. Luke is the direct cause of Vaders actions, not a distant instigator.

    Thrawn is an arrogant warmonger, who has caused tens (or hundreds) of thousands of deaths on Courscant alone with his blockade preventing importing food and medicine. This guy had been playing with people trying to get them to do what he wanted since his introduction, so I was looking forward to seeing him be manipulated and defeated. Except he is not.

    So you think what makes Thrawn Iconic is that he doesn't lose? Hans Gruber is Iconic and he losses at the end, so does Vader (in ANH too) and Boba Fettlosses in RotJ. Veers doesn't lose, but we don't have book of Veers do we? (at time of writing).

    Heck DARTH MAUL is iconic and all he does he kill and Jedi then die, in one movie.

    The end of the story IS the time to have the bad guy lose and lose badly, even more so for one as arrogant as Thrawn. The Third act break down is classic and a key to a good villain. But it's absent here.

    I never said the heroes should beat Thrawn with no effort, just they should beat him and break him down at the end.

    It would befit the story if the heroes overcome the obstacle that is Thrawn. As it stands they don't. Which is another major flaw of these books, the main characters are all static, they have no growth. Luke and Leia, grow and change During JaT even if Daala does lose in every book, I don't think it detracts from the HEROES story. The antagonist (which Thrawn is), exist to drive and challenge the heroes, not to be some god like thing they can't possibly defeat without the author stepping in. Which is why Luke beating Caedus doesn't work, but Luke beating Vader does, Luke beating Caedus shows Caedus doesn't challenge Luke, while Luke beating Vader shows to Luke the danger of his darkside.

    Leia still helped, she escaped and brought the plans to the rebels, then she is in the control room, helping organise the attack, she did not drop off the plans at the half way point of the film, then go across the galaxy to do something unrelated.

    Why do you keep going on about a boarding action? did someone mention this? I haven't.

    It would add the heroes to the resolution of the main plot, allow them to take an active part in ending the threat that lead to so much death and suffering for them and others. To me that adds a lot. Could also make them the cause of Ruhks actions, Thrawn sees them and says to kill them and Ruhk acts to protect Leia. Otherwise, why did he wait till then? (drama I guess)

    I am happy to agree to disagree, since we seem to see and want different things from a story.
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2023
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  5. IG_2000

    IG_2000 Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Aug 5, 2008
    *gets stabbed*

    You know, Freddy Got Fingered is actually a misunderstood masterpiece.
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  6. Havac

    Havac Former Moderator star 7 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Sep 29, 2005
    A few points:

    Leia obviously has her initial in with the Noghri because of her heritage, yes. But what she makes of it is due to her willingness to take a risk, her empathy, her ability to impress the Noghri as a trustworthy person who has their interests in mind. Luck plays a role, as in many a narrative, as do Chewie's observational skills and protectiveness, but the whole plotline is about Leia doing her job as a diplomat and making allies out of enemies. You seem to be asking to take any element of chance out of it: Leia has to come in cold and make an argument that turns the Noghri around, otherwise it's not actually her skills determining the outcome and so she hasn't done enough. I think that's too restrictive an understanding of the hero's role, and it cuts out a lot of narrative territory if we have to be able to credit the heroes with this sort of total command of every situation they're in.

    Games of wits are great, but what I mean by boring is that it wouldn't be very interesting for Luke to suddenly become a tactical genius who outthinks Thrawn. It would be a strained cliche for the hero to have to suddenly pull even greater genius than the genius enemy out of his back pocket. "Thrawn may be a genius, but I tricked him because I'm the protagonist!" Thrawn's battle of wits is with Ackbar and Bel Iblis, and that's good, but they're also not the main-character heroes you're arguing should have a larger role. Maybe Ackbar can think up a stratagem that our heroes spring on Thrawn, sure. But I still think it's boring in the sense that "our enemy is a genius, so we beat him by being even bigger geniuses" is a predictable, generic ending. Now, our heroes have a shot at defeating Thrawn in battle, but Thrawn being defeated from an unexpected direction that Zahn has subtly set up allows the narrative to be more surprising. Maybe compare it to something like the ending of The Lord of the Rings. What we expect, and certainly what we want, is Frodo to prove his heroic mettle by throwing the ring into Mount Doom. But Frodo paying off the whole story by just walking up to a volcano and chucking some jewelry is also a little bit boring, it's too predictable. What's more dramatically interesting, and what maintains Tolkien's themes, but is less satisfying from a fan aspect, is for Frodo to get that far, and then . . . fail. He's had the ring too long and his willpower has been sapped, and he can't do it. But Gollum, the villain we had always thought would prove the biggest obstacle to Frodo completing his quest, actually accidentally fulfills it by attacking Frodo and then falling in with the ring. Frodo isn't suddenly stronger than the ring. He doesn't overwhelm Sauron with his innate heroism. The actual resolution comes from an unexpected direction that's still in line with the themes and ideas the story has been building. Some might find that unsatisfying because Frodo doesn't get to play the big heroic role. But I find it more interesting and dramatically satisfying.

    On Luke, note that he does overpower Vader -- and it's portrayed as bad. Luke only overwhelms Vader when he taps into a fury that brings him dangerously close to the dark side. If Luke overpowers Vader and Palpatine, the film argues, it can only be by ultimately losing. Luke wins not by chopping Vader's hand off, but by throwing his lightsaber away and suffering under Palpatine's attacks until Vader makes up his own mind to side with his son and not his master. But you make a distinction between Luke being physically present and a "distant instigator" like Leia with the Noghri. But what counts as a direct enough hand in events? I think the distinction you're drawing is too subjective to hold up. If Gandalf and Aragorn don't actually physically confront Sauron, if all they do is stop one of his attacks which doesn't really matter if the ring doesn't get destroyed, do they not get to do as much as heroes should? Nobody in the Fellowship ends up directly defeating Sauron; does that mean it's a bad story? I'm genuinely curious what you're looking for, how you see that kind of narrative.

    You say you want to see Thrawn be "defeated," but "he is not" -- he's killed, he's defeated, but if I read you correctly, that doesn't really count because he isn't humbled -- that what you want is some kind of comeuppance where Thrawn's bubble of genius is popped by somebody putting one over on him. He's got to lose a battle. But why? Why isn't Thrawn's bubble of genius popped by his own schemes coming back to bite him in the ass when he falls victim to a betrayal he failed to predict and in fact enabled by not dealing honestly with the Noghri? Why isn't it popped by the heroes figuring out the actual source of his power and effecting a mission to take it out? Why, for that matter, isn't it popped by C'baoth himself figuring out a way around Thrawn's safeguards and taking Mount Tantiss away from him in yet another example of Thrawn dismissively underestimating a foe as a simpleton, a primitive, or a loon, and thinking his genius is enough to allow him to control them and being proven wrong? Why is the only satisfying ending one in which the heroes take on Thrawn where he is strong, in tactics, and win strength-to-strength, rather than by exploiting Thrawn's hubris? I get why Thrawn having a Waterloo would be satisfying, totally. But why is it the only satisfying defeat? It just seems like you're painting yourself into a narrative corner where the heroes always have to win by being stronger than wherever the villain is strong, rather than hitting him where he is weak. If David kills Goliath with a sling stone, is the aura of Goliath's strength unpunctured and therefore the story is unsatisfying? Goliath didn't actually lose-lose, so David didn't actually "overcome" him and it's basically just a deus ex machina to get around Goliath's strength.

    Again, you say that Leia bringing the Rebels the plans counted, but Leia exposing Thrawn to the Noghri doesn't count. Why? I don't see the distinction. It feels too subjective to me. If Leia exposes Thrawn, and explicitly tells the Noghri to whack him, and then it comes to fruition a book later, I presume that would count. But why does acting as a courier for plans other people stole, and other people analyzed, and other people used to blow up the Death Star, count as a direct enough hand, and personally exposing Thrawn's lies, leading to his bodyguard finding out and killing him, not count? It feels arbitrary.

    This gets into why I cited a boarding action as an example. It's the most direct example I could think of of the heroes directly confronting and defeating Thrawn. Of course, there are other ways the heroes could have a more direct hand. Maybe Luke shoots some proton torpedoes into Chimaera's bridge during the battle. Is it enough if Han calls him up on the comm and tells Thrawn to kiss his Wookiee? Is it enough if Leia had given an order to whack Thrawn? Would it be enough just for them to get him on the holocomm from Tantiss and let him know they took out his cloning operation before he dies? That's the thing, I'm struggling to understand just what would satisfy you as giving the heroes a big enough or personal enough role in Thrawn's downfall. You've said what you don't like, but what would be your proposed ending to the series, specifically? You suggest Rukh killing Thrawn instead of Leia, but how would that confrontation represent a defeat for Thrawn, an overcoming him, if Rukh killing Thrawn without Leia present doesn't? What exactly is it you want the story to do?
  7. AusStig

    AusStig Force Ghost star 5

    Feb 3, 2010
    But her skills play such a minor role. They aren't what get her in, they aren't what turn the Noghri, she doesn't make a deal or a convincing argument. Chance can play a role, but it should not be the main role, it wasn't Chance that allowed the Heroes to get the Ewoks on side, they did that with cunning and they did it on their own drive, it didn't just fly up to them (it was chance they found them, not why they joined). It's not Leias skills, it's things outside her control, if she decided they needed to capture an imp droid that would be better, if turning the Noghri was more than just a standard 'mistreatment induced betray' (it works here with Thrawn, but it's still a standard way for these things to play out), if Leia's skills were the deciding factor, not things she has no control over.

    But Luke DOES outthink Thrawn, he does it in Heir with the Tropedo trick. He is also shown to be smart with outside the box thinking (tow cables against the AT-ATs in ESB) and good complex planning with redundancies and can think on his feet (Jabba's Palace in RotJ), so I don't think it's crazy for him to do so again. (I have a rewrite where Luke and co do show up at the battle and Luke beats him because Thrawn discounted Luke completely due to him no longer being a general and also showing how he views the NR as being like the Empire with everyone out for power)

    Well the end of the Ring comes about (in the novel) from possible an act of God in that universe and in the movie from the Rings own actions (making Frodo and Gollum want it so much they fight over it and Gollum falls in), but either way Frodo contributed a lot to it, since he got the ring there, it wasn't that Frodo gave Gollum the Ring in book 2 and then was off in Rohan or Gondor when Gollum fell in and destroyed. There is a clear nexus between Frodo's actions and the destruction of the Ring. But for Frodo being the Ring to Mount Doom, the Ring would not have been destroyed.

    Well I think being in the same solar system or at least in contact is a start.
    I did say that Luke beating Vader was bad, but then he defeats Palpatines manipulations, first against himself, then from Anakin. Are you saying it would have better for Luke to never meet Palpatine? To just have Palps die when the DS2 is blown up?

    Lets say we are putting the heroes on trial for murder of Imperials. Luke is on trial for killing the Emperor, while he did not directly murder him, but for him being there, but for him ASKING Vader to save him, the Emperor would still be alive. Lukes actions lead directly, in time and distance, no waiting, no new acts in between. Luke's actions are the primary cause for the Emperors death. While Leia's actions are distanced from Ruhk killing Thrawn, by time and distance. Gandalf and Aragon make clear they are just a supporting part, they are a diversion (as Film Legolas states). Sauron is not the direct enemy (aside from the Ring), we fight Saruman, the Witch King instead. Sauron is a very different foe from Thrawn, aside from the Ring Sauron doesn't appear in the Lord of the Rings at all, but he still drives growth for the Fellowship.

    If you like surprise, then watch GoT all the way to season 8. Or Read Warhammer: the End Times, they have a lot of surprises. Twists can be fun, but they aren't good in and of themselves.

    Because it isn't a loss, it's an escape, he dies 'undefeated', he doesn't get to see his works and dreams crumble before him, he is spared all that he just dies and says a memorable line, I don't consider that a fitting end for such an evil character. Thrawn is a military 'genius', and an arrogant warmonger who got a lot of people killed. I also find him smug, so to see him learn that his plans failed and break down would be a good end to the character. As for why C'boath's actions don't work, same reason the heroes actions don't. Thrawn never leans of them he never reacts. People can (and do) say "oh he would have figured out how to deal with it", same with the battle. You might like this as it is ambiguous, I don't like it because it is used to build up an antagonist rather than the themes of the story or the protagonists.

    I mean wasn't David literally aided by God? But also Goliath was, big, Strong and tough, so killing him defeats that and removes him. Also even when Xenia helps David, she just gets Goliath to take off his helmet, David still takes the shot, Goliath isn't killed by Ralph while David is off somewhere else.

    As I said, Leia was still part of the people working on the plans and then in the battle control room. Compare that to her interactions with Ruhk. I gave an example of Leia, being attack on Thrawns orders so Ruhk acts. As it stands I don't think you could convict Leia for Thrawn murder. If Ruhk was so mad about his peoples betray, then why didn't he kill Thrawn right away? Compare to the DS, once the Rebels get the plans they make a plan to destroy it and then they do it, very clear nexus between her actions and the death of Tarkin, she could get gaol for his murder.

    I think it would improve the books a lot of Han tells Thrawn to "kiss my wookie". But on the calls; it depends if it affects anything. I would LIKE it to cause Thrawn to breakdown, realise he has committed to a worthless battle and starts to retreat, which demoralises his forces who surrender or flee on their own. The heroes put out a broad call to not let Thrawn escape, Ruhk hears it and acts deliberately killing Thrawn (which he could tell Leia leading to her to consider her actions and how she feels about being responsible for his death). Or Ruhk could try to capture Thrawn and have Thrawn get killed in the struggle.

    I think it's a flaw of the Zhans last book in TTT that the heroes aren't involved with the end of the main threat like they were in the other stories. I am less interested in being 'surprised' then good fun. If I watch a murder mystery, like Brokenwood Mysteries, I like to put the pieces together as the characters do and if I can work it out first, that is good means the story is well made.

    As I said we are looking for different things in entertainment.