|Mara Jade Skywalker Day: Sixth anniversary
||[May. 29th, 2013|11:30 am]
**** me, it's this time of year again, isn't it? Well, no use prevaricating, welcome to yet another Mara Jade Skywalker Day. (Once again, this post also serves to commemorate tomorrow's Jacen Solo Day.) Also, not that anyone cares, but this post briefly breaks my general PG-13 language policy, just so ya know.
Once again, I've come up short on new ways to say that killing off Mara and turning Jacen evil and killing him off were terrible decisions which did incalculable harm both to the Star Wars franchise, and to my enjoyment of same.
Last year, though, inspired by the at-the-time-recent release of the 20th anniversary edition of Heir to the Empire, I embarked upon a partial re-read of the Timothy Zahn Star Wars opus (grad school kicked in and started eating up all my time before I made it to Survivor's Quest). Somewhat to my surprise, in Vision of the Future, I stumbled into a perfect rebuttal to the second appallingly godsawful plot development Legacy of the Force: Sacrilege saw fit to excrete into our minds (as elaborated to death here).
First, a little set-up, and I should warn you this recap includes some pretty huge spoilers for the Hand of Thrawn duology, so if you haven't read those books and want to keep the details of Luke and Mara's storyline a surprise, turn back now.
Okay, so Luke and Mara have infiltrated a fortress on the planet Nirauan belonging to the Empire of the Hand, a second Empire Thrawn set up in the Unknown Regions because he apparently had a thing for compartmentalization. The fortress is staffed by Chiss, who at this point in the timeline are new to our heroes. Anyway, when they get the opportunity to talk with the base command staff, Mara takes that mission, leaving Luke back to monitor her through the Force, and mount a rescue if anything goes wrong.
However, the command staff bring her into a room surrounded by ysalamiri, cutting off their connection. Initially, Luke doesn't realize ysalamiri are to blame, and his reaction, well, read the following excerpt and then compare it with the climax to Sacrilige:
Without warning, right in the middle of a step, Mara vanished. Mara? Luke thought desperately toward her, stretching out to the Force. Mara!
But there was no response. Somehow, they must have gotten past her danger sense and combat skills and had launched a sudden and overwhelming attack.
And she was unconscious. Or dead.
“No,” he whispered aloud, his pulse pounding in his ears. Once again, a person he'd cared for …
“No!” he bit out between clenched teeth [how the heck does he manage that?], the agony in his heart swirling into something dark and deadly as the pain turned into a growing fury. Deal out casual death, would they? If death was what they wanted, he would show them just what death looked like. In his mind's eye he saw himself striding down the spiral slideway, throwing the aliens aside like sand dolls, their bodies slamming against the unyielding black stone and dropping crumpled to the floor. His lightsaber would flash through their ranks, cutting through weapons and bodies and leaving more death in its wake—
He looked down at the lightsaber in his hand. Not the weapon he himself had made in the oppressive heat of the Tatooine desert, but the one his father had made so many years before. The weapon he had given to Mara …
He took a deep breath, letting go of the rage and hatred, a cold shiver running through him as he realized the magnitude of what he had almost done. Once again, he had come to the very brink of giving in to the dark side. Had nearly surrendered to hatred and the lust for revenge, and the overwhelming desire to use his power for his own selfish ends.
If you honor what they fight for … Master Yoda's words echoed hauntingly through his mind. “All right,” he murmured aloud. No, he would not avenge whatever had happened to Mara, at least not for vengeance's sake. But he would seek out the truth of her fate [emphasis added].
Eat it, Darth Traviss, this is how you fucking write Luke Skywalker*. That is all.
*Well, except for the biting with clenched teeth, part. Really, Zahn?
And there we go, another Mara Jade Skywalker Day. I hope the sequel trilogy nukes all this nonsense from canon. But until that happens, I say again and I'll go on saying, bring back the Man Who Killed Ithor!