With all of the bashing that goes on you'd think I despised the EU. But then if you saw my shelf that is stacked to the gills with Star Wars books I've been reading since 1995 you'd have to think differently. Sure, I was a young teenager when I first discovered these books and maybe too naive to really stop and say, wait, why are they writing my favorite characters like this? But at the time it was all I had to continue their story, so I greedily soaked up every word of it. Even if I was cringing at times.
So, what keeps me coming back for more? I don't know. But in most books there is at least one good moment in there between them that makes me hope that there will be something equally if not more satisfying in the next one. It doesn't always happen that way and of course there were even some books in the New Jedi Order series that they didn't even appear in, but I always seem to keep going. Side note: Why is that called the New Jedi Order series? I mean, I guess forming the NJO was part of it, but shouldn't it have really been called the Vong Invasion series or something like that? Wasn't that the main point of the story arc? Anyway...
So I'm going to go through and mention a few of my favorite EU moments that have stuck out for me over the years strictly as a Han and Leia fan. Some of this stuff has been memorable for quite a few years to me and I am definitely a sucker for these little things. Let's go chronologically:
The Truce at Bakura. Overall when reading this book sometimes you wonder if these are the same two people we saw at the end of ROTJ when they are arguing more like they were acting in ANH. But I'm sure we all remember a very cute scene at the beginning where Han has some self-inflating pillows that he and Leia spend some time on. Remember, we don't get much from these books so you have to take the small victories. Also, it has been hypothesized by some that this is when Han and Leia first sleep together as their is a distinct shift in how they're acting towards one another from the time Luke tells Leia to go to Han to when they wake up the next morning. But who knows?
Luke Skywalker and the Shadows of Mindor. You wouldn't think that a book with Luke in the title would have so many good Han and Leia moments, but it does. Oh, yes it does. This was such a refreshing read when it came out during all of the other dark stuff that had been going on. The only down side to it is that once you get to the end you suddenly wonder how it could be possible considering the great place Han and Leia are in at the end did it take another four years for them to get married??! They share some great banter, they save each other's lives, Leia tells Han that the light that kept her going and away from the darkness was him, and they sit together and basically think that they are awaiting their deaths and Leia tells Han to kiss her for all of the kisses they'll never get to share. Of course, they lived, anyway. But this is a great Han and Leia book and a fun read in general.
The Courtship of Princess Leia. Say what you will about the ridiculousness that is this novel and how out of character they are and Leia is horrible to Han and he acts like a baby in it. But there are at least a couple of good moments in it. When he kisses her before he goes to turn himself in, well, that's probably the most intense kiss they've shared in all of the EU. And then he won't let her say out loud that she loves him. Then of course when she later saves him and tells him that she won't release him from the bet and they have to get married. Yeah, it shouldn't have come to that, but it's still a sweet little moment. Now can we please have a do-over and let a woman write it this time? Love stories should not be written by men!
Tatooine Ghost. This one is the mother load, kids. It's really as good as it's going to get. First, they're basically on their honeymoon and the book is all about them. We don't have to waste time reading about Luke or space battles and wondering when we're going to get back to Han and Leia. They're newly married, genuinely affectionate, and it involves Han kissing Leia "very long, and very deep" before running his hands under her robe and... well, we know the rest.
The Thrawn Trilogy. Honestly, I have not read this book in like 15 years although I did recently buy the graphic novel and am reading that. The babies are born. I mean, that's at least something, right there. Just don't think too much about what happens after...
Dark Empire: Radio Drama. If you have never listened to this, as a Han and Leia fan, I'd encourage you to try and get your hands on a copy. It takes a bit to get used to listening to other people do Han and Leia's voices, but once you accept it, it's very enjoyable. And it also includes, unlike the comic, a scene that is easily inferred as the lead-up to the conception of Anakin Solo.
The Jedi Academy Trilogy. Not particularly great for Han and Leia, but I do remember a sweet little reunion after Han comes back from being in the spice mines of Kessel and he tells Leia that there wasn't a minute he wasn't thinking about her (after first teasing her that he didn't think of her at all)
Children of the Jedi. I remember reading this and noticing that it was the first book I'd read that made it incredibly clear that there was to be some lovin' goin' on between them at one point. Of course after writing that I just went back and checked and it's a lot more subtle than I remembered, but I took what I could get. It's a very simple scene when they basically just eye each other over the candles and walk hand in hand to bed.
Planet of the Twilight. I honestly remember almost nothing that happens in this book other than the fact that Leia is captured, although her "prison" if I remember correctly seems more like a five-star hotel suite. And when Han finds out that she's missing and, "remembered with a sudden pang making love to Leia on the rug of milk-white stohl fur, the night before her departure." Jeez, finally some proof that they actually spend some time together. And now I'm going to do you all a favor by linking you to a story that as far as I'm aware can currently only be found using the wayback machine which fills in this "missing moment": http://web.archive.org/web/20080215210701/http://www.swtats.com/han/toosoon.htm
Let's skip The Crystal Star because in the fifteen years since I read it I'm still trying to block it from memory...
Black Fleet Crisis. Hmmm... well, I suppose not a great series for them. In stark contrast to Leia being captured and treated like royalty, Han is captured and kept in a dank cell and then beaten within an inch of his life. I guess the good news is that at least before this they were spending lots of time together, although Leia does abandon Han in the midst of a little makeout session (or so we are led to believe) when she gets a sense that Luke is coming soon. Seriously, Leia? Wait, wasn't this supposed to be about good moments? Um, at least they sleep in the same bed a lot. And I guess Leia is horrified when she sees Han getting beaten, though not quite horrified enough to give into the demands so she gets him back... I know I liked these books. It's just at the moment now writing this I can't remember why.
The New Rebellion. For some reason, I remember really liking this book. I remember it having some good Han and Leia moments (another great kiss goodbye) but also keeping me on the edge of my seat. And Han rushes in and carries Leia out of the senate hall after a bomb explodes. That was nice of him, wasn't it?
The Corellian Trilogy. Um, I read these once in 1995 (the third book was the first one I ever had to wait to read since it hadn't come out yet) and I don't remember much of anything. If you do, please let me know.
Hand of Thrawn Duology. Um, again, I honestly don't remember. I should probably re-read those. So if you remember, let me know!
Union. This was a comic book that depicted the wedding of Luke and Mara and the circumstances surrounding it. I read on some message board that it is probably as close to fanfic as any profic ever got. I'd have to agree. There's not much substance here. And of course it makes me jealous that there was not a similar comic about Han and Leia's wedding. At least a picture or something? No? It's kind of cute, nonetheless. Leia, Mara and 'the girls' go to a spa and talk marriage stuff. Something else goes on I can't remember, I believe Han gives Luke some marriage advice. But at the very end there is just a very cute picture of Han and Leia dancing and smiling and Han asks her, "Do you remember?" And she replies, "Always and often." Aw.... maybe they do actually still like each other.
New Jedi Order. All right. We all know that the first five books of this series were pure hell for a Han and Leia fan. Han runs off, Leia lets him go and doesn't seem to even try to get him back and he doesn't seem to care in the slightest. Let's forget the fact that I think that if Chewie died Han would be more likely to hold even tighter to what he has left rather than running away from them. And I at least can choose to ignore that apparently one of the authors wanted Han to cheat on Leia during this time period (true or not, it's not in there, anyway, thankfully!) But there is some good that came of this. Once they had reconciled, I think they've hardly spent a moment apart in any book since. Seriously, they never leave each other's side. The e-book Recovery has some cute moments when Han is helping her walk again. Han tells Leia she can be his new copilot. They figure out a better way to pass the time besides watching the sunset in The Final Prophecy. I know they share good banter all over the place. Let's ignore the death of their son, shall we? I want to talk about good stuff. Oh, and in the last book I know Han gets bit by an amphistaff (or however you spell it) and they share a nice moment when he wakes up. And I just love the end when they get the painting back from Tatooine Ghost. So sweet.
Dark Nest Trilogy. Forgive me for not having any specifics, but I don't really remember. I know that these were good books as far as Han and Leia were concerned, but no specific moments stick out for me.
This is probably where I should stop because, well, Han and Leia are like 80 now, most of their kids are dead and while they are at least spending lots of time together and still able to banter with the best of them, well, there just aren't a whole lot of the kinds of moments I was talking about from the earlier books.
Now, you see how little we have to work with? Do you see why we need the fanfic? And can anyone please explain to me why I am still spending money on these books?
Now, if any of you recall a moment not posted here, please feel free to remind me. I did this all from memory, so surely there must be something I'm forgetting!