Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Do You EU?

A/N:  This is NOT my caption, but I like it ;-)

So, we have all these fanfic 'truths' that we discussed on the last post and that brought up some 'EU' terminology discussion.  I have to tell you that when I first discovered fanfic, I had no idea there was any Expanded Universe where Han and Leia got married and had children.  I can remember when I first read Leia's wikipedia page and it chronicled their marriage and had the name 'Solo' tacked on to the end of hers, I stood there (well probably I was sitting) with my mouth agape.  It was like I had discovered Atlantis.  And well, it wasn't long after that that I found the infamous 'EU' profic.

To Read or Not to Read?

I seriously debated on whether or not I wanted to, first of all, spend money on these books, and second of all to 'buy in' to the entire Expanded Universe universe.  Being a seasoned fanfic reader (six months in - haha) I had already heard dreaded stories of Hapan Princes, kidnapping and death.  But like anyone who decides not to heed a warning, I ordered a set a books from and waited.

Now, even though I got into the game late and could've read the books in the right order, I didn't do that.  I read reviews on Amazon and ordered books by those that seemed interesting, seemed to have Han and Leia in them and got decent reveiws by those who had bravely gone before me.  (So I didn't get COPL in that first order).  I can't remember the exact order but I know I had the Tim Zahn Thrawn Trilogy among maybe two others.

I enjoyed them.  No, they weren't the mushy, romantic storylines that I migrated to in fanfic, but it was Han and Leia, right?  I loved anyone putting words into their mouths outside of the movies and because it was profic it seemed official that they were married and in love and all that stuff I had been reading free online seemed validated.  So I ordered more.

Well, let's just say that, at least for me, once I was entrenched in the entire thing I just had to keep going.  So I did, in my next order, try to start reading from the beginning (that being post-ROTJ).  Oh, the Courtship of Princess Leia almost put a nail in it.  It really, really did.  But it didn't.  I'm still reading. 

I recently finished the New Jedi Order series, this is where all the death came in (well, not all of it, but damn - let's not think about that right now).  The first part of the series was rough for Han and Leia (and me) to say the least, but toward the end they actually had some really good time together.  The last book, Unifying Force, I thoroughly enjoyed and was heavy, heavy on the Han and Leia.  (not like fanfic heavy, but profic heavy - guys, c'mon).

Anyways, I'm re-reading the Dark Nest Trilogy now, since I read it last year and now want to proceed in order and since I know more of what is going on with all the characters.  From what I remember, this trilogy had quite a bit of Han and Leia but Jaina does turn into some sort of bug, so there is that.

What's amazing, and I'll close with a question for those of you who have read any of the profic.  But what's amazing to me is that what really 'bugs' me (haha) about the profic, MAYBE even more than the dreaded COPL - is the Luke/Mara crap.  Ugh!  Those two get more kissy time than Han and Leia ever do and they are always together!  I mean they are Jedi Masters, for Sith's sake - dont' you think they would have just as many obligations and adventures that would separate them as Han and Leia do? 

But that's not the best of it.  They call each other 'dear wife' and 'dear husband' and I want to puke all over the pages while I'm reading it.  Just last night I read that they 'didn't want to be separated from their child, Ben, during his formative years' so they kept him with them all of the time.  What the what?  If I was Han and Leia I would be throwing three kinds of ape shit fits over this!  Wasn't it Luke who convinced Han and Leia to hide their kids when they were babies?  I call bullshit. 

(I apologize if any of you are Luke/Mara fans and although it may not seem like it, I actually don't mind Luke and Mara, I'm just sayin', you know - in comparison, it isn't fair.)

So, before I totally lose all control (no I haven't really lost all control yet, you haven't heard half of the curse words I know - both in English and Star Wars-ease), I'll pose my question: 

What's your biggest pet peeve in the Star Wars Expanded Universe ProFic?


  1. Biggest pet peeve? Where do I even begin? Lately, it is that they have taken such a dark turn of events that even though the characters are there, it doesn't feel like Star Wars anymore to me. There is no reason why Chewie, Mara and two thirds of Han and Leia's children need to be dead. I got Chewie's death, it added an element of danger and made the characters seem more vulnerable and maybe allowed Han to grow up a bit and (eventually) really strengthened Han and Leia's relationship and brought it to a place it should've been the entire time. But then it just got ridiculous. Anakin's death was, apparently, because they didn't want fans to confuse Anakin Solo and Anakin Skywalker since the prequels had come out. Um, why did you name him that in the first place?!@?! That's like an entire post on its own...

    When I read Star Wars, it is for some fun escapism. It's a fantasy. Yeah, so maybe it's not "realistic" that these characters are battling the forces of evil for years and years and nobody ever dies. But so what? I can read plenty about reality IN reality. I want the good guys to always come out on top. Even if it's predictable, it's not the outcome that makes it exciting, it's how they get there. In Star Wars, the good guys win. It takes a while to get there, but that's what it's all about.

    I mean, if you take an average person off the street and tell them after they've watched the end of Return of the Jedi when everyone is happy and wonderful and told them what happens in the EU, what do you suppose they'd think? (spoiler alert!) "Oh, Han and Leia get married and have three kids, so that's good, but much later on Chewie dies and then their youngest kid dies, and Luke is married except Han and Leia's other son kills her, and eventually their daughter kills him. How about that, huh? And then the Jedi are going to be shunned and Luke is going to wind up being banished and Han and Leia are stuck raising their illegitimate granddaughter who they still keep leaving in the care of the incompetent Threepio, but at least their only child remaining is in what feels more like a teenage romance even though she's in her 30's with the leader of the Empire, which never really died but at least isn't led by Vader. What do you think?"

    Doesn't that all seem to render the entire conclusion of the movies obselete? The point of a happy ending in a movie is to give the audience the feeling that the battle is won and our heroes are going to be all right. The fact that they've had to suffer so much only seems to completely undermine the end of that movie. I guess they were all happy and ok for a while after the movie, and honestly I did enjoy the New Jedi Order series minus the Anakin Solo death, but the books that have come out since have just taken a turn down a much darker path and I do not like it. Yet I keep on buying. Why do I do that? They keep sucking me in with a few good parts. I will have to say though that the latest series is nearly boring me to death. It's like 3 books of content spread out through nine hard covers (much the way the television show "The Biggest Loser" somehow stretches 40 minutes of show over two hours of time slot). But I'm six books in now and I have to keep going, but I'm very tempted to stop...

  2. Of course I hated how they treated Han and Leia in the earlier books and how it was more like they were business partners or something. I forgot to mention that unlike Push, I started reading the real books before fanfic because I found the books before the internet became a focal point in a person's life. Since I was merely a teenager and this was my first taste of anything outside of the movies and of course I found it awesome that Han and Leia did in fact get married, I think I was just happy with whatever I got. COPL was my first book, coincidentally not because it was the one where they finally got together, but because that summer I was at some random store with my mom, not even a book store, and there were two Star Wars books near the check-out line on the rack and she bought me both. The other I gave to my brother to start with and it turned out to be the second book in the Corellian Trilogy so he had to wait until we bought the first book. And it all snowballed from there... I had no clue that anything could be better until about three years later when I discovered fanfic where Han and Leia not only kissed but... did other stuff. And I'd never even considered what might have happened on the way to Bespin until then.

    I do not hate the EU and I have enjoyed some of what they've done. The problem is that I think they could've done a WAY better job of it had they had the foresight to figure out what they were going to do with it from the beginning. I also can't stand right now the way they've accelerated the timeline lately. The beauty of books is that nobody really has to age. So will someone please explain to me why in 20 years of books the characters need to be suddenly 40+ years older than their characters were at the end of the movies? I realize that we do not need to fill in every, tiny little gap. And one would hope that they would've had some less book-worthy moments of peace and quiet in between all of the crazy enemies, kidnappings and/or superweapons, but still. Han is like 75 now. Even Harrison Ford isn't that old yet. Luke and Leia are in their 60's. Why are we jumping ahead to a point where they're so soon going to need wheelchairs?

    Ok, that is probably enough pet peeves. And I've still got about 40 pages left of Vortex that I've left hanging and unread for about a month.

  3. Now, I've only read a some of the books, all of them set pretty early on time-wise. I've been afraid to venture any further because of what I've heard about some of the later stuff that happens. And I know that I'll just keep on buying more and more books, even if I hate them just because I'll want to know what happens next, and then what happens after that, and so on...

    I started with the Thrawn Trilogy, and while there was some things about it that annoyed me (why did he keep having to likening things to scenes from the movies? Like I wouldn't have just figured it out myself?) I thought it was pretty awesome. The local Borders has an entire shelf of pure SW books, so I sat my ass in front of it and searched for more.

    It does drive me nuts when they're separated for long stretches--constantly. I don't know if I could endure more of that. Especially if what you say is true about Luke and Mara. Seriously, are all the Lucas slaves just totally against Han and Leia? Like what me and Zyra were talking about with the SW concert, when they dedicated a whole thing to friggin' Padme and Anakin, but God forbid any of that Han and Leia nonsense! Ahem, yeah so there's that.

    COPL was a crock. I guess that brings me to what I hate the most, when the EU writers can't get the characters right. I didn't think it was possible to hate Han until I read that book, Leia as well. In most of the books I've read, they're either acting like robots or just...I don't even know these people. The only book where I feel like they nailed it was Tatooine Ghost. In fact, that's the only one I've read so far that I can say I actually enjoyed every aspect of.

    Anyway, now you've got me rambling. If anyone can recommend me decent books on the timeline past the Jedi Academy Trilogy (I started that and promptly fell asleep), that would rock.

  4. Well, we focus a lot on the bad stuff in the books, but I have certainly enjoyed some of them (otherwise what was the point of spending all of that money on that shelf full of books?) Have you read Luke Skywalker and the Shadows of Mindor? It sounds like a Luke book, but it is GREAT for Han and Leia. In the timeline it takes place after Truce at Bakura and the only bad thing about it is when you're done you wonder how, if Han and Leia were in such a GREAT place at the end of that book, was it another FOUR YEARS before they got married? Seriously? For the other books, pre-NJO for some reason I liked "The New Rebellion" and The Black Fleet Crisis trilogy. Of course, as usual, Han and Leia are separated through much of those. If you haven't already, don't ever, EVER read "The Crystal Star." I read it once and it was just... crazy. I think the author was on acid or on another planet or something when she wrote it. New Jedi Order overall is actually good, I think. The first five books are terrible for Han and Leia. AWFUL. But, after that and in every book since, they have been absolutely inseparable. I don't know if that was the grand plan or if they were making up for so many angry Han and Leia fans, but it has certainly been refreshing and probably honestly the only reason I continue to read.

    And totally agree about when they aren't writing the characters right. Those imposters in COPL were NOT the Han and Leia from the movies...

  5. Thanks, I'll take those into consideration. I'm actually about half way through Mindor at the moment, I love it so far.

    Now that you told me not to read it, I'm curious about this Crystal Star acid trip.

  6. Yeah, Mindor very quickly became one of my favorites. It made me want them to write more books like that.

    And don't say I didn't warn you about Crystal Star. To be honest, I probably read it in like 1996, so it's been a while, but its weirdness has stayed in my head all that time. The kids are kidnapped. Leia uncharacteristically blames Chewie. Han has a beard, maybe as a disguise but I can't really remember. Han and Luke go to find the kids and one of Han's ex-girlfriends helps them and I think that there is some annoyance there. The kids call their parents Mama and Papa. What?

    And then there is Waru. I don't know if I can even describe it. Some giant liquid enemy that somehow everyone winds up swimming in since they are drawn to its center.

    I'm sure there are other reasons that it was crazy and weird, but most of it just left be saying, "What?!?!" much of the time I was reading it.

  7. I've attempted to comment on this several times but I have a problem with the EU in that my opinion changes on it so frequently. Before I discovered fanfic, I loved the books (except Darksaber! Yawn!) and read them numerous times. I could even forgive the crap (needless deaths and such) as long as there was a good Han and Leia scene to balance it out. Now, I've been so spoilt with brilliant fanfics that I barely even give the books a second glance. The little Han and Leia scenes that I had loved so much before are suddenly not good enough... but, then, if I get into a discussion about a certain book or even reading the quotes on this blog (cool idea, by the way!) it reminds me of why I liked it so I'll go back and attempt to read them. Which usually doesn't last very long as fanfic beckons me back.

    I did buy the books in order and in a very short space of time so it was kinda fun to carry on from the films straight to the end of Legacy. That was the cool thing about coming into the game late, I only had to wait the time it took for the next book to be delivered.

    My biggest pet peeves have to be Han and Leia's "relationship", especially in the early books and Anakin's death :(

  8. Glad you like the quotes, it's my new favorite thing to do (that and change the background pic)! :-)

  9. "Anakin's death was, apparently, because they didn't want fans to confuse Anakin Solo and Anakin Skywalker since the prequels had come out. Um, why did you name him that in the first place?!@?! That's like an entire post on its own..."
    So is there a post like that? :) It really should be!

    If I wasn't so content with fanfiction, I would feel like I lost my home world thinking what bullshit happens in the EU... I want to think it's just a bad fanfic, just like PT...

    One more thing I don't like about EU: Luke is boring and unfair for Leia. I like Luke in the movies. Leia is my favorite character, Han+Leia fanfics are the only I read. But if I had to choose between Han ff and Luke ff, without Leia, I guess I'd read Luke.