Top 11 Revelations From Queen’s Shadow!!!

Hello again my fellow Star Wars fans, I’m back again for Part Two of my Queen’s Shadow review! Now Monday’s post was my overall “review” of the new SW novel Queen’s Shadow by E.K. Johnston, but today we’re breaking the story down a little more and delving into the actual details of the plot, so head’s up right now: SPOILERS ARE IMMINENT!!! So, if you don’t want to know anything that happens, or you want to read the book for yourself first then I suggest saving this post for later because I’ve got a lot to say about the details in this fantastic book!

Still with me? Good. Now I originally got this idea from a similar YouTube video that CT from Who Talks First (aka The Knights of Rant) did on her channel when Bloodline by Claudia Gray was released. I wasn’t sure it was a book I was going to read, I didn’t really like the cover or anything but once her video went up, I realized just how awesome the story sounded and it ended up being one of my most favorite SW reads ever. So, I figured I’d do something similar with the hopes that maybe this list will inspire someone else to give Queen’s Shadow a chance and maybe discover an epic new entry in the Star Wars fandom!

So, in no particular order as to importance, here’s my list of the Top 11 Revelations we learn from Queen’s Shadow:

1 – The occupation of Naboo in The Phantom Menace was A LOT more violent than we originally thought. Maybe this was just me and the fact that I first saw the movie when I was nine, but we never really saw too much of what was happening on Naboo before or after Padme left to find help, so I just assumed there wasn’t that much violence going on. How naïve, I was, let me tell you. I know they get that holo-message urging Amidala to come home because the “death toll is catastrophic” but I always assumed that was a ploy to get her to either come home and be captured or to send a message back and have the message traced to find out where she was. It never occurred to me, and we never really saw anything that made me think that the death toll was actually climbing, but in Queen’s Shadow we learn just how badly treated the people of Naboo actually were. The invasion of the droid army of The Trade Federation was devastating, and its impacts are still being felt 4/5 years later when the book takes place.

2 – Padme’s handmaidens were physically tortured during the invasion. This took me totally by surprise because I thought all of Amidala’s handmaidens were with her when she left the planet to seek help from the Senate but apparently some of them had to stay behind. Sache, the youngest of the Queen’s handmaidens, was brutally tortured for information as to Amidala’s whereabouts. This brave young girl (who I think was twelve at the time) still bears the scars of their attacks all over her body, but despite their best efforts, Sache never broke. She kept her Queen’s secrets and saved countless lives, allowing Amidala’s spies to remain undiscovered by keeping the Federation’s attention squarely on herself.

3 – Qui-Gon Jinn is considered a hero and is honored by the people of Naboo. Considering Qui-Gon is my absolute favorite Jedi (which I know I’ve mentioned again and again) it was just nice to have his sacrifice be remembered and honored after the events of TPM. The way Padme describes her memories of Qui-Gon, her profound gratitude and respect, it just reinforces how much I adore this epic character and it makes me feel good to know that even after he was gone, his memory lived on with the thanks of an entire planet.

4 – The truth about Quarsh Panaka. I don’t know about you guys, but I really liked Captain Panaka in the first film, he was just so dedicated to Amidala and Naboo and was ready and willing to risk his life to help her help their planet. So I was always a little thrown that in AOTC we’re given a new character, Typho – who I also really liked – without any mention of our beloved captain. I assumed that he stayed with the new queen, that his role was specific to just guarding the Queens of Naboo, but then in Claudia Gray’s Leia: Princess of Alderaan, we see Panaka again but in a new light. In POA he’s a shiftier character, a wealthy/possibly corrupt overseer of Naboo and its moons, and he comes face to face with not only Leia, but the currant Queen and he is totally and tonally different. We discover that he is now working for the Emperor in some compacity and I was left flabbergasted at how we got from TPM Panaka to this dubious person who has no respect for the royalty he once guarded so fiercely. Queen’s Shadow shed a little light on the situation. His break from the royal house began during Padme’s reign, when after the invasion, he wanted a more militant approach to planetary defenses, but considering Naboo is a pacifist planet, this militarization was denied, and he and Padme’s relationship was irrevocably broken. It broke my heart to see them so uncomfortable with each other, but at least we now have an explanation as to how Panaka could end up being a man who would knowingly give Leia over to the Emperor once he figured out who she really was!

5 – Padme searched for Shmi Skywalker! This was one of the first times I really freaked out when reading Queen’s Shadow, and OMG I just love Padme even more even though I don’t think that’s possible! It always irked me that after the dust settled, no one thought to go back for Shmi, like I know Ani couldn’t because of the Jedi rules, but how hard would it have been for the Council to go back and free her, just to bring peace of mind to the one they’re calling their Chosen. But here we have Padme immediately sending people out to scour Tattooine for her (once her time as Queen officially ended and she could mettle in another planet’s affairs) and not only that, she wants to help all slaves! It didn’t even matter that she never found her, just the fact that Padme tried – the moment she was free to act for herself, she sent help. That means something. It means everything. And it reinforces the kind of character she really is.

6 – Padme doesn’t like the Jedi! I swear it’s like this book was written just for me! Padme mentions several times throughout the novel that although she liked Qui-Gon, she doesn’t really feel comfortable with the rest of the Jedi as a whole. They make her feel uncomfortable and uneasy, as though they look through her and not at her (rough paraphrasing here). And considering that Padme is a moral guide throughout the prequel trilogy, I think it speaks volumes that she is one of the few heroes we see that doesn’t particularly like the Jedi Order!

7 – Padme’s entire wardrobe is weaponized/defensive! That’s right, we all know Padme has the wardrobe of a goddess, but apparently, it’s not all for show! Every piece of clothing, jewelry, and makeup –down to her shoes! – is an element of keeping her safe. Her clothes have all sorts of protections built into them and even her makeup is used to help hide her true face and make it easier for one of her handmaidens to take her place when they need to! For anyone who says that fashion has no place in Star Wars, I say read this book and think again!

8 – Bail Organa and Padme originally don’t get along! This one completely sideswiped me, I love Bail Organa and I was so waiting to see him and Padme become besties in the Senate, but damn, they sure didn’t start off that way. Not only is Bail dismissive and borderline rude, but Padme actually describes getting really angry with his attitude and I was like wait no, you have to love each other as friends forever and always…HE’S LEIA’S ADOPTED DAD, DAGNABIT!!! Thankfully we do see their relationship take a sharp turn towards the positive as the story continues and Padme even visits Bail and Breha on Alderaan, but those first few meetings left me biting my nails!

9 – There are more than one set of Handmaidens! It never occurred to me that the handmaidens we see in the first two films aren’t the same women guarding Padme Amidala, but damn if there weren’t two sets of these epic women in Queen’s Shadow. The Originals consists of Sabe, Eirtae, Rabe, Yane, and Sache, while the handmaidens that follow Padme to the Senate are Sabe (always), Dorme, Corde, and Verse. These women are so unbelievably loyal, brave, and powerful, and they utterly deserve the world! I want so much more information from these women, what are their stories, what truths do they know?!!!

10 – The Vote of No Confidence had unforeseen consequences! We all know that this epic vote led to the rise of Palpatine’s political career, bringing him a step closer to being “the Emperor” of the original trilogy, but what we didn’t know was how this affected Padme’s time in the Senate. What we see as the ultimate badass move on Padme’s part in TPM, actually leads to her being ostracized to an extent by her fellow senators. Because she flouted the rules and procedures of the Senate itself to save her own planet, the other members don’t trust her, and this is the first time we really see Padme struggle with not being accepted. She has to decide with is more important: her planet or the Republic and everything the Senate stands for. And that’s so much easier said than done. How can you defend something in the Senate that goes against your own planet’s best interests for the sake of the galaxy at large? How do you walk that murky ground of helping individuals and helping the masses?

11 – And finally, there is something truly suspicious about Padme’s death! Now I know personally, I always thought it was crazy that Padme just flat-out died in ROTS the way she did – like I’m sorry but that doesn’t make any sense. She was a dedicated fighter, even brokenhearted, she would have fought on even if only for her children. It almost seemed like Lucas just didn’t plan this part out well, as if she had served her purpose but she wasn’t seen in the originals so oh well, she has to go, but I like to think that such an elegant crafter of stories does better than that. There had to be something else going on and I’ve/we’ve just missed it. And I’ve heard countless theories as to what possibly happened and why Padme really died, but as none of them came from Lucasfilm, I wasn’t taking anything for sure. But the end of Queen’s Shadow definitely reinforced the belief that something wasn’t right about Padme’s death. This entire book we’ve seen just how much of a fighter she was, how she never quit, and yet suddenly she just gives up and dies of sadness? I don’t think so, and neither does Sabe. She speaks the words we’ve all been thinking for so many years: “She wouldn’t just die.” Sabe loves Padme more than anything in the galaxy and when the book ends, it’s with her setting off to find the truth, and with a new undisclosed identity waiting…

And there you have it my fellow Star Wars fans, my list of Top 11 Revelations from Queen’s Shadow! Did any of these spark anything for you? Do you plan on reading the book or have you read it already? Are there any revelations you gleaned from the story that I maybe missed? Make sure to let me know in the comments and remember: We are brave, your highness.

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Star Wars Book Review: Queen’s Shadow

Hello again my fellow Star Wars fans, I finally finished the new SW book: Queen’s Shadow by E.K. Johnston let me tell you…it was one helluva emotional roller-coaster. Seriously, I’m not going to lie…I cried. Like a lot. It’s probably sad how emotional I got, but I’m a crier and I’ve come to terms with that. Anyway, I told y’all a few posts ago that I’d write more of a review once I actually finished the book and that time has come at last! That being said…MAJOR SPOILERS ARE AHEAD – so if you don’t want to know anything about the book or are planning to read it yourself, maybe save this post for later because I have some serious tea to spill and I’m not great at keeping secrets!

First and foremost, let me just say: Thank the Maker and E.K. Johnston! As a prequel and Padme fan, this book is one I’ve been waiting for since I first saw Padme onscreen when I was nine years old! We get so little of our favorite Queen/Senator in the fandom (in official avenues or otherwise) so I was totally ready for this book, especially since I heard about it almost a year ago and have been frantically patiently waiting for it ever since. Not only does it have one of the most stunning covers I’ve ever seen, but damn if Ms. Johnston didn’t capture Padme’s voice perfectly! I literally had chills the entire first chapter!

Coming back to this time and place and people that I left behind so many years ago and knowing what was coming ahead for them but not how they were going to get there was insane. It was like watching Ani fall to the darkside for the first time all over again: here was Padme just living her life and it was almost as if we could reach out and touch her, warn her of the terrors and dangers ahead. A beautiful window was suddenly open to a time before death and darkness had settled over the galaxy, and maybe, just maybe we could make a difference. Alter fate. But no, no matter how much we want to save our beloved Padme, we’re left helpless, our words of warning remain unheard and we know, once the book is finished, Padme will still die. But still, for the first time we have her perspective, her voice, her words. Padme is telling the story for once, and not the story we already know, but one in that time in-between The Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones, a time of trial and change where she is becoming the powerhouse political advocate we know her to be. This Padme is preparing to give up her Queendom and life on Naboo to take on her next great challenge: the galactic Senate.

But it’s not just Padme that we share this adventure with, it’s her handmaidens – those brave shadowy women that guard Amidala and put themselves in danger so that she may survive. Make no mistake about it, these women are ready to die for their Queen/Senator/Friend, and some of them actually do. To be a handmaiden is to stare into the face of death and say: take me.

Considering there are so few female characters in Star Wars, I have always been fascinated by these mysterious, brave women… I mean who are they? What are their stories? What are their truths? What have they seen and what secrets do they keep? Until now we’ve never known, but this book delves right into the heart of the handmaidens and their relationship with Padme and the outside world. Their voices and scenes with Padme are my absolute favorite part of Queen’s Shadow, they just radiate power and capability. These young women are badass, even if no-one else around them knows it – and when it comes down to it, that’s precisely how they’d prefer it!

It’s upsetting that the films never explored the lives of the handmaidens before, but in fairness, there was a much larger story to tell and only so much time to tell it. That’s why books like Queen’s Shadow are so important, they fill in the blanks for so many awesome characters and content that the films just don’t have space to. I truly hope that in the wake of upcoming shows like The Mandalorian, we get a live-action series about these fierce women who gave their lives and identities to their Queen and their planet. We are brave Your Highness.

Over all this book was everything I wanted it to be. It was empowering and emotional and I could hear Padme speaking through it. There wasn’t any huge flip-twist-surprise at the end like some other SW novels and I was completely ok with that. This reads as more of a character study than an action novel, we’re finally given time to understand how Padme thinks and feels and reacts on her own and in her own words. I would have been okay with more drama, but even without it, this story was superb! We don’t often get to see Padme outside of her relationship with Anakin or any of the other male leads, so with Queen’s Shadow she is finally given a chance to shine on her own, to dominate. And my God was she and her handmaidens fierce as hell.

**Stay tuned for the second part of this review where I breakdown the Top 5 revelations from Queen’s Shadow and their impact on the Star Wars legacy!

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Delving Into Star Wars: Queen’s Shadow

Hello my fellow Star Wars fans, I know I usually have the third post of the week up by Saturday afternoon but I’m going to be honest with you… I got the new Star Wars book: Queen’s Shadow by E.K. Johnston and I am HOOKED! Seriously, first page in, I cried. Third page in, I cried again. There’s just so many feels!!!

The story follows Padme and her handmaidens after the events of The Phantom Menace as she leaves behind the mantle and responsibility of Queenship of Naboo and begins her new life as a galactic Senator in the bright media-laden spotlight of faraway Coruscant. Now I’m only halfway through so far, so I don’t know where exactly it ends but judging by the cover I’d say somewhere near Attack of the Clones so that’s pretty darn perfect for my monthly movie timeline!

I’ll definitely have more to say regarding the events and revelations of this book and how it impacts the story we know and the story we only think we know once I finish reading, but I’ll also definitely have my regularly scheduled third post up tomorrow! Between the book and the annual Celtic festival I go to every year, it’s been an wonderfully eventful few days and I am straight up exhausted 😂 Love you guys and thank you for your patience and I’ll see you again tomorrow!

P.S. Have you read Queen’s Shadow yet? WITHOUT SPOILERS…how are you liking it? Let me know in the comments!!!

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The Phantom Menace: The True Phantom Menace


For over forty years we’ve celebrated the Jedi as heroes, the ultimate victors in the galactic conquest that spanned time and space itself, and when we had nothing but the Original trilogy to go by, that might have been true. But if the prequal trilogy has taught us anything, it’s that the truth is never what you think it is and things are never as simple as they originally appear. For example, Darth Vader is more than a suit-encased villain…he’s a little boy who builds droids to help his mother and who risks his life to help complete strangers. And the Emperor is more than a threatening hooded-figure holding Vader’s leash on the Death Star, he’s a suave, well-liked politician who comes from one of the most peaceful planets we visit in the entire series. Even Obi-Wan was once a student with a flair of a temper who questioned his teacher. Time and again we are shown that our first impressions of these characters and themes are wrong, or incomplete because we didn’t know the whole story. So with all that in mind, are we to believe that the entirety of the Jedi order just conveniently misunderstood the word balance and nobody bothered to correct them?

“You refer to the prophecy of The One who will bring balance to the Force. You believe it’s this boy?” – Mace Windu

I know prophecies can be interpreted in a thousand different ways and none of the interpretations be correct, but balance has a straightforward definition as words go. Balance: a condition in which different elements are equal or in the correct proportions. Pretty easy stuff. And yet a roomful of highly intelligent and supposedly wise, leaders of the galactic police-force all misinterpreted it? Even Master YODA?! He’s been around for over 900 years at this point and has presumably spent a great chunk of that time meditating and seeking wisdom, so either he’s really bad at it, and by default, the rest of the Jedi are as well (which I find difficult to believe) … or our more likely, our heroes knew exactly what balance meant — and actively fought against it, because it makes no sense that such a diverse group of enlightened individuals all came to the wrong conclusion about the meaning of such a simple word.


There’s a line Padme speaks in Revenge of the Sith that catches my attention every time I revisit the saga: “What if the democracy we thought we were serving no longer exists, and the Republic has become the very evil we have been fighting to destroy?”

Ergo: What if our heroes are not heroes at all…what if they’re the villains?

Let’s be honest, the Jedi Council knew exactly what the prophecy of The One meant because if they didn’t then their lack of intelligence is unbelievably staggering. So when Anakin finally appeared before them, they immediately shunned him– and by proxy, the will of the Force itself – because they knew balance does not mean wiping out the Sith to leave the Jedi unchecked. Balance means a clean slate. It means equality. It means an end to their powerbase and their perceived right to judge the galaxy by their views and opinions.

That’s right. When a little boy newly freed from slavery stood in front of a roomful of heroes and asked to join them in their quest to help bring peace to the galaxy, they responded with a harsh and resounding: NO. He is too old, they crooned, too full of fear. And because they’re our heroes of old, we and the rest of the galaxy listened, and in their excuses heard wisdom. But is anyone too old to learn to be a better member of society. Is anyone too old to try to do the right thing? I personally wasn’t aware that there was an age-limit on becoming a good person. A child who has been a slave all of his life and who suddenly has the autonomy to choose his own course in life, decides to give himself over to selflessness and the good of the galaxy and you belittle him and tell him no…because he’s nine…and has the emotional maturity to handle all the things life has thrown at him without becoming bitter or violent… and you’re the heroes in this story?

I don’t think so.

The plain truth is the Jedi Council recognized Anakin for what he was the moment he first stood before them: he was their reckoning, their downfall from power. And in their own palpable fear, they rejected him. They purposefully rejected the will of the Force and because we hailed them as heroes, we didn’t see it. Anakin was the physical manifestation of the Force itself coming to wipe the slate clean and put an end to the warring extremist ideals, which would in turn leave the notion of the Jedi in the antiquated past where it belonged, and as a collective voice the Jedi Council said no – we wield the Force, the Force does not wield us.

So no, I do not see heroes here. I see an inflated sense of self-importance, a belief in their own divine right to rule and judge both the Force itself and the morality of the galaxy at large. I see narcissism, and fear, and the refusal to compromise. You can preach and speak peace and love and harmony, but your actions better reflect all those things or everything you claim to stand for is meaningless. If your hallmark is compassion, then you damn well better show it.

“See through you we can.” – Yoda

In the end, the prequel trilogy sets us up to discover all the hidden truths in the Star Wars saga that we ultimately missed the first time around, and it all begins in The Phantom Menace. We learn that Vader was more than a monster, and that the story we thought we knew is only partially true. But perhaps most important to the tale as a whole, and yet sadly overlooked due to our emotional attachment to the original story, we’re given a harsh truth about those we’ve come to love, emulate, and admire above all others. We just have to be brave enough to see it. Because again, the truth is there in the simple meaning of the words: The Phantom Menace. It’s not referring to the darkness we all plainly see coming, it’s hinting at those who hide in plain sight, those whose darkness is masked by faces of those we trust most. The true phantom menace.

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The Phantom Menace: Shadows In The Force

When I started today’s post (yesterday) I actually thought it was going to be a relatively easy one to write. It was one of the first ones I jotted down when I decided I wanted to do the one-film a month theme, and I just felt so passionately about it. Then when I started writing, the words flowed so effortlessly and with a humor I don’t often achieve, so suffice it to say, I was thrilled.


Until about 8:30 pm last night when I’m about halfway through writing and it hits me, and dammit if it didn’t hit me with my own Star Wars logic that I was using at that very moment to prove my point: I was wrong. I was very, very wrong, and the entire half a blog post I’d already written was going to have to be scrapped because although I could finish it and it would make sense to most everyone else, I knew it was flawed and would make my arguments inconsistent. So…I panicked. I shelved the unfinished post and created a Whimsical Mutterings tumblr account to give myself something to do while I calmed down and figured out what to write instead. Needless to say, it was a long night.

Originally this post was going to be all about how Qui-Gon stole from Fate (the Force) by manipulating the dice-roll to obtain Anakin’s freedom and in retaliation, Fate fought back in the finale and claimed his life. I mean the song playing as he, Obi-Wan, and Darth Maul are fighting is even called Duel of the Fates! It was so epically perfect!

Until it wasn’t…

“All is as the Force wills it.”  — Chirrut Imwe   Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Ironically my notion of Karma being a bitch ultimately bit me in the ass. My argument was predicated on the fact that Qui-Gon acted outside of the will of the Force, to obtain what he wanted. And in my defense, it truly does seem that way. He wants Anakin freed, there is a 50/50 chance this will happen on its own or that the Force will choose Anakin on its own, but Qui-Gon uses the Force to ensure that it does. He took away the possibility of Shmi being liberated and in doing so set Anakin on a path that led directly to the Jedi Council and their own deadly neuroses. It made perfect sense then that since he interfered and essentially tipped the scales, there would be resulting consequences. He dueled with fate and ultimately fate claimed victory. Thank you, the end, put a nice bow on it and we’ll call it a day.

Except that I believe (and have said so before) that Anakin’s destiny was predetermined. He was the one foretold to bring balance to the Force and that meant he had to walk a certain path in life, no matter how difficult or painful. So how could I then say that Qui-Gon acted outside of the will and desire of the Force by essentially ensuring that Anakin goes where he needs to, to fulfill his ultimate destiny?! I can’t. It doesn’t work. Yes, Qui-Gon interfered because he wanted to, but also because the Force knew he would want to and placed him there to do just that. He didn’t steal from fate… he helped it.

So naturally you can see my dilemma, I couldn’t publish something that I no-longer believed in myself, but there was still something about the idea of fate and Qui-Gon that wouldn’t stop nagging me. And the title of the song – Duel of the Fates – it, it was basically taunting me, I mean it couldn’t be for nothing right? There was something there, I just had to find it. And after many hours of pondering and some verbal sparring, I hit upon something: Qui-Gon didn’t steal from fate/the Force, but at the very end he did unlock a new aspect of it.

His role in the Chosen One’s life was always meant to be short. He had to die to ensure Anakin turned out the way he did under Obi-Wan and the council’s guidance and tutelage because eventually Anakin would have to turn on the Jedi to bring balance to the Force, but he never would have if Qui-Gon had lived. It was Anakin’s anger, resentment, insecurity, and need for secrecy that was necessary to make him break from the Jedi, but they would be non-existent had he grown up with a more tolerant Gray Jedi like Qui-Gon who would have tailored his training to fit Ani’s unique situation and personality. He would have taught Ani hand’s on and with a calm passion and determination, instead of spouting off never-ending rhetoric and sarcastic witticisms. Therefore Qui-Gon had to die. He had to pass the torch on to his morally-upright padawan, Obi-Wan for Anakin to become the conflagration that the Force needed to cleanse itself. And he did.

But that was only the beginning.

Qui-Gon is the first Force Ghost we get any mention of it the Star Wars saga (not the first to appear onscreen, but in the timeline of the episodic story I mean). He is the first to transcend death and still remain himself after the passing of his mortal body at the end of The Phantom Menace, which seems to come as quite a shock to others – even the great master Yoda himself. So it stands to reason that this occurrence is outside the norm, even in this fantastical galaxy far, far away. Unseen and mostly unheard, Qui-Gon can no longer affect the outcome of the prophecy of the Force, but that doesn’t stop him from at least being present when Anakin needs him most. We hear Qui-Gon call out to Anakin in The Attack of the Clones when Ani takes his vengeance upon those who killed his mother. He reaches out, desperate to reach that little boy he’d found so long ago who has grown up to know such desolation and pain. Even in death, he never gives up on Anakin. Instead he stays with him, trying to guide him even when no one can hear him. Until Yoda does.

Just as Anakin’s resentment, anger, and insecurity were necessary for him to become the balance of the Force, so to were Qui-Gon’s skepticism, determination, and his absolute belief in Anakin, in allowing him to accomplish what no other Force-user had done before: to open a doorway to immortality, and perhaps time itself. I know they’ve delved into the shadowy realm of time in the Rebels show so it would not surprise me if the subject came up again in Episode IX. There is something there in the space beyond death, in the web of fate and time itself that Star Wars wants us to see and comprehend. And when we finally reach that moment of clarity and understanding it will be with the knowledge that Qui-Gon, a Gray Jedi, led the way for us.

 

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The Phantom Menace: Enter The Gray Jedi


Hello again my fellow Star Wars fans, thanks for joining me once more on this Epic Star Wars adventure! Now, by this point my distaste for the Jedi and their manipulative practices has probably become apparent, but for those just joining us, let me basically sum it up: I don’t dislike every Jedi simply for being what they are, as individuals they are either descent or not, but as a collective group and power I think they are as morally corrupt as their dark counterparts, the Sith. I think Kylo Ren pretty much had the right idea: the Jedi, the Sith, all the constructs of the past that separated people into opposing groups needs to end. People are not made to be all good or all bad, and to say otherwise is setting people up for discontentment, failure, or in Anakin’s case total and complete destruction. That being said, I didn’t always feel this way. It wasn’t until I got old enough to read between the lines and dissect what was actually happening in the story that my opinion of these lightside heroes began to shift.

“Remember: Your focus determines your reality.” — Qui-Gon Jinn

As a child, my heart was set on being a Jedi. Dear God, did I want to be a Jedi, and I was partially convinced I was one until I discovered Harry Potter on my eleventh birthday and then I just knew I was a Jedi/Witch hybrid the likes of which the world had never seen. I mean I used to walk around grocery store with my eyes (mostly) shut and pretend the Force was guiding me – I was that kid. I LIVED by Yoda’s fear leads to anger leads to hate leads to suffering speech, like hardcore. I refused to hate anything, even in jest as a preteen because my ass was not walking down that path. Dramatic much yes, but I was a writer even then and we tend to be a rather emotive people. Suffice it to say, I was enamored with the Jedi-code…which is why I think it’s funny because even then, when I all-out believed in the Jedi way of life, my absolute favorite Jedi was the one who called them out on their bullsh*t and questioned the council every step of the way: Qui-Gon Jinn.

As soon as he appeared onscreen in The Phantom Menace, calm, cool, and collected, Qui-Gon had my attention. I know most people were thrilled to see his apprentice Obi-Wan and I was too, but there was something about Qui-Gon that just captured my interest. Looking back on it now, I recognize him as being the closest representation to a Gray Jedi that we ever get onscreen – a Force-user who embodies the middle-ground between the light side and the dark side of the Force, neither completely good or bad but capable of using both sides at will. Gray Jedi’s believe in balance: light and dark, love and hate, compassion and passion. They are what I hope the sequel trilogy is leading us towards: more all-rounded individuals who don’t suppress aspects of their personality, but instead use moderation.

“Keep you concentration here and now, where it belongs.”

Qui-Gon espouses some of the most meaningful wisdom in the prequel trilogy, reminding us all to live in the moment while it’s here and now and that what we focus on determines what we get in life. He sees the injustice of the council purposefully shutting Anakin out and resolves to teach him anyway. Yet he’s also a masterful user of subterfuge and is definitely not above cheating, using misdirection, or threats to get what he wants. He’s unafraid to walk that hazy middle-ground of Jedi morality to ensure that things happen as they should and even back then I noticed and appreciated Qui-Gon’s uniqueness. He chose to defend the galaxy, uphold goodness and order, but he didn’t do it blindly. Qui-Gon questioned everything every step of the way, and when those in power turned their backs on a child for their own security and ease, he called them on it.

In the end, Qui-Gon Jinn is not perfect. He makes assumptions and mistakes that cost the galaxy greatly, but he does so with the best of intentions. He acts with what I would call societal morality, or common morality, not the limited concept permitted by the Jedi teachings, and though it is flawed, it is the most like our own human morality. I think what Qui-Gon represents in The Phantom Menace is the beginning of the shift towards true balance – which is what the Force itself desires. With this in mind, I also think Kylo Ren is a composite character of Qui-Gon, Anakin, and to a certain extent Luke, much like Tolkien used the best aspects of Bard and Thorin from The Hobbit to later create Aragorn in The Lord of the Rings. For any kind of major change, the groundwork needs to be laid in the beginning, and Qui-Gon, unperfect as he is, set the foundation for what I hope to see as the story progresses, a shift from uncompromising and restrictive dogma, to the acceptance of people just as they are. Good and bad, light and dark, compassionate and passionate, individuals striving for the betterment of the universe but with the option to pick their path as they go. We have that opportunity with Rey and Kylo in the final upcoming film, to see a dark-sider find the light inside himself, and a light-sider embrace the darkness that fuels her. Together with both halves of their personality present and accepted by themselves and each other, they could do what Qui-Gon tried to do in The Phantom Menace: bring true balance to the Force and with it, peace to the galaxy.

Media Via:

en.wikipedia.org

starwars.com

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starwars.fandom.com

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Legacy Of A Star Wars Queen

I don’t know about you guys, but one of my favorite things about reading Star Wars novels are those awesome aha moments you randomly get that connects what you’re reading now to the those stories we already know and love. It’s almost like the entire galaxy aligns for a split second and you can see the past, present, and future all at once and if you just try hard enough, you might be able to reach in and touch the very fabric of that galaxy far far away. Perhaps alter the story or at least walk in the hallowed footsteps of your favorite heroes! I’m overthinking it I know, but I’m a writer, that’s what I do 😂 Anyway, since I’m rereading Leia, Princess of Alderaan by Claudia Gray, I figured I’d share with you one of my favorites moments that I just stumbled across again! Warning: spoilers head!

On a diplomatic mission to one of Naboo’s moons, sixteen year old Leia Organa comes dangerously (and unknowingly) close to her birth mother’s home planet in an effort to prove herself worthy of being named the crown princess of Alderaan. Um…excuse me while I burst into my happy dance! Not only do we get a mention of Padme’s beautiful home world, but we also come face to face with the new Queen of Naboo herself and Leia even wears one of her mother’s most famous ceremonial dresses! *Swoon* It’s sheer perfection.

Perhaps it’s just me, but it makes me so absurdly happy to have Leia so close to her actual mom in some way, even if it’s only through culture, heritage, and a shared burden of responsibility. It’s almost like Padme is there with her daughter, guiding her through the political arena that she herself mastered before her untimely death. Don’t get me wrong — Breha is a WONDERFUL mother, queen, and guide but I just feel as though Padme is unfairly forgotten in the SW universe therefore any mention of her just makes my day! She was one badass SW lady and she definitely deserved more! And it’s heartbreaking knowing that two of my all time favorite Star Wars women will never know one another, especially given how similar they are. Leia could have learned so much from Padme, maybe even have followed in her mother’s footsteps and become Queen of Naboo herself! But sadly, we can’t change the past (or can we Rebels?!) and little moments like these are all we’re given. So I’ll happily take them and always hope for more!

And there you have it, such a quick, little moment in the overall course of Leia’s life, and SW history in general, but Leia’s visit to Naboo’s mining moon is definitely one of my favorite aha moments in the SW novels.What about you guys, what are your favorite aha moments? Is there one you’d like to see in a future novel? Let me know in the comments!

Pictures via:

starwars.wikia.com

Elenatintil.blogspot.com

Legacy Of A Star Wars Queen

I don’t know about you guys, but one of my favorite things about reading Star Wars novels are those awesome aha moments you randomly get that connects what you’re reading now to the those stories we already know and love. It’s almost like the entire galaxy aligns for a split second and you can see the past, present, and future all at once and if you just try hard enough, you might be able to reach in and touch the very fabric of that galaxy far far away. Perhaps alter the story or at least walk in the hallowed footsteps of your favorite heroes! I’m overthinking it I know, but I’m a writer, that’s what I do 😂 Anyway, since I’m rereading Leia, Princess of Alderaan by Claudia Grey, I figured I’d share with you one of my favorites moments that I just stumbled across again! Warning: spoilers head!

On a diplomatic mission to one of Naboo’s moons, sixteen year old Leia Organa comes dangerously (and unknowingly) close to her birth mother’s home planet in an effort to prove herself worthy of being named the crown princess of Alderaan. Um…excuse me while I burst into my happy dance! Not only do we get a mention of Padme’s beautiful home world, but we also come face to face with the new Queen of Naboo herself and Leia even wears one of her mother’s most famous ceremonial dresses! *Swoon* It’s sheer perfection.

Perhaps it’s just me, but it makes me so absurdly happy to have Leia so close to her actual mom in some way, even if it’s only through culture, heritage, and a shared burden of responsibility. It’s almost like Padme is there with her daughter, guiding her through the political arena that she herself mastered before her untimely death. Don’t get me wrong — Breha is a WONDERFUL mother, queen, and guide but I just feel as though Padme is unfairly forgotten in the SW universe therefore any mention of her just makes my day! She was one badass SW lady and she definitely deserved more! And it’s heartbreaking knowing that two of my all time favorite Star Wars women will never know one another, especially given how similar they are. Leia could have learned so much from Padme, maybe even have followed in her mother’s footsteps and become Queen of Naboo herself! But sadly, we can’t change the past (or can we Rebels?!) and little moments like these are all we’re given. So I’ll happily take them and always hope for more!

And there you have it, such a quick, little moment in the overall course of Leia’s life, and SW history in general, but Leia’s visit to Naboo’s mining moon is definitely one of my favorite aha moments in the SW novels.What about you guys, what are your favorite aha moments? Is there one you’d like to see in a future novel? Let me know in the comments!