Thursday, June 2, 2011

Best Han and Leia Moments in the EU

As Han and Leia fans, it is really our duty to constantly bash the EU. They are written out of character a lot. It doesn't make sense that they'd wait so long to get married. The Leia we know from the movies never would've just dropped Han immediately at the first prince who offers to marry her, they never would've sent their kids off, they would've actually been there to raise their kids and wouldn't have worked so much, they would've actually spent some time TOGETHER in any of the books that covered the first twenty years of their marriage, Han wouldn't have run off on Leia like that after Chewie died, or at least Leia wouldn't have let him, Luke and Mara are always touted as being this amazing couple and blah, blah, blah. I could go on.

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":

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!


  1. What? No Darksaber? ;)

    I pretty much read these books to death before I discovered fanfic, so...

    The Corellian Trilogy - First book is full of cute Han and Leia bits. They combine a family holiday with Leia's work so for the first part they are on Corellia sightseeing and playing tourist. The second book, everything goes wrong so of course they are separated. Leia and Mara work together though and are pretty badass and I think Han gets beaten within an inch of his life again. The beginning of the third book they are reunited... also there is a bit where Han takes his shirt off while fixing something in a ship...that stands out for some reason ;) Then of course their children get kidnapped but there is a cute ending.

    The Dark Nest Trilogy - I know there were loads of great Han and Leia bits in these books but off the top of my head, I can only remember Leia being pretty beaten up and Han saying how beautiful she was and a really great bit where Leia is disguised as a Falleen and Han asks if she will wear the costume *later*. Okay, I need to find the book...

    "He and Leia had been married for nearly thirty years, and not a day passed when he still did not ache for her. It was as though his attraction to her had been growing a little stronger every day, until one morning he had awakened to find that it was the force that held his galaxy together." - Woo, go Troy Denning! It's probably the chance for little bits like that, that keep you buying the books Z.

    I have no idea what happens in the Hand of Thrawn Duology. I know I own them and have read them but not a clue.

  2. I left Darksaber off specifically because I know how much you hate it! Although I do think I remember Han and Leia spending some time floating around in some huge, indoor pool. Except I also think there might have been Hutts in there with them. I should read the Corellian Trilogy again, it's been too long.

    Thank you for that addition from Dark Nest. I knew it had some good stuff, I just couldn't remember what, specifically. And yes, I'm pretty sure it's simple little moments like that that keep me coming back. Damn it, maybe they should just go ahead and kill them and put ME out of my misery!

  3. :) I really do hate it. There were no Hutts in there with them. They were just waiting for the main-boss-Hutt-guy to come back. So to occupy themselves they sat in a pool.

    WHAT?! Blasphemer! ;)

  4. Well, this topic was obviously very intriguing to all of you considering the overwhelming response.

    Oh, wait...

  5. Hehe, I can't think of much off the top of my head. I don't know if this really counts, but something in Tatooine Ghost that I liked was Leia struggling with the thought of having kids and Han pressing her about it. But then she turns around and names one of them Anakin. Seems like a huge 360.

    COPL...okay, I hate about 98% of it, but I did like the scene when he was leaving, like you mentioned. I loved, "I do like some things about you. I like the way your pants fit."

    And hey, I finally finished Mindor, its become one of my favorites.

    Thanks for that link too. I haven't read that book, but it was nice to see something I haven't read before.

  6. So glad that you read and liked Mindor. I LOVE that book. Might almost be time to read it again.

    Yeah, I don't think any of us should try and rationalize Leia naming one of her kids Anakin. It makes no sense in any way, shape or form.

    I'm glad you agree that COPL has at least one or two little moments that are enjoyable. Now if only it weren't for the 300+ other pages full of crap... And glad you enjoyed the link. I'm sure you could tell that it really wasn't necessary to read the book to enjoy the story ;) I honestly don't remember much else that happened in that book so you're probably not missing much if you skip it.

  7. I can't think of anything more than what you mentioned. A lot of times it's one little quote between them that is cute and carries me through an entire book (isn't that depressing).

    I read them, though, because I like reading about Han and Leia, even though I don't agree with the life they've given them and some of the things (or a lot of the things) that they do.

    I guess it's just like reading fanfic stories that I don't agree with except I'm spending money on the EU nonsense!

    I do find that even though their lives have been totally torn apart with death (Chewie and two children), Han and Leia are more Han&Leia'ish in the later books. They are together alot and very loving towards each other but also still bantering.

    It's like the old soap opera couples, they have to lie cheat and die when they are young, but once they get older the writers start leaving them alone.

  8. You know, I haven't been up to date with the EU since about 1997. I think the first book of the Black Fleet Crisis trilogy was the last one I started reading, and I didn't finish it. I remember enjoying some of the books, but even though I wasn't into fanfic at the time (or even really knew what it was), I read them the same way I read fanfic now (and the same way I watched the prequels). The original three movies are what DID happen to those characters. Everything else just feels like one person's take on what COULD have happened.

    I really don't have any interest in reading the newer stuff...for two reasons, I guess. First, as a Luke fan, I can't stand the thought of him with Mara, as I've said. Second, and much more relevant to this discussion, as a Han and Leia fan, I have no desire to read about them losing their children. I just can't imagine losing a child, and as much as I love the angst, that's one place I don't really want to go. I feel like I grew up with Leia and I remember when the twins were born and then were just cute little KIDS... I don't want to read about everything that happened to them later, even though I've already been spoiled for a lot of it. I think I'd identify with it too much, and it just doesn't appeal.

    Once upon a time, I just wanted more Star Wars in ANY form, but now I can get it via fanfiction so... yeah, no need to pay for something that's just going to upset me.

  9. Yes, I agree that in my head I have my own ideas about how things ACTUALLY happened for them after RORJ. Much quicker wedding, kids though not immediately, and none of them die young. I guess the problem is that that probably wouldn't sell books.

    I really don't know if I knew then what I know now if I'd still read the EU. Although again, when I started reading it I was a teenager and it was probably a good thing for me either way. It was probably before we even had the internet home and I didn't find fanfic until like four years after I started reading. I honestly didn't really think reading could be an enjoyable pasttime until I started reading those books. Anyway, I can see how you might've wanted to stop after a while. The rest of us really are just suckers for the little things!

    Interesting thoughts on Mara, though it makes me wonder who he WOULD have ended up with. Let's hope poor Luke wasn't expected to be a celibate monk the rest of his life. I guess the main reason I do not have an answer to that is I just don't really think about him very much.

  10. I'm not an expert on the EU, but at least from what I've read of Mara and what I've heard about her relationship with Luke after the point where I stopped reading, it just seems like she totally dominates him, insults him, emasculates him at every opportunity. And okay, Luke is not as strongly, obviously masculine as Han is... but I also don't see him as this weak, whipped husband. The closest thing to a romantic relationship we get to see him have in the movies is with Leia at the beginning, and that obviously never goes anywhere, BUT I would have to think that he would want a partner who would have the same kind of relationship he had with Leia in the first movie (only, of course, taking it further and not being his sister and all), friends and not just lovers? More equal? At first I suppose Mara had the edge on Luke when it came to life experience, but Luke was the more powerful Force user, so at least they each had something to teach each other. Then they go and make Mara a Jedi Master (which also doesn't fit her personality at all).

    I don't know...I do like to imagine what happened to Han, Leia, Chewie, Lando et al after ROTJ, but Luke...not so much, even though I love him too. He's been through too much to go back to being the farmboy, and as much as it might make sense to give him some kind of Frodo-esque escape at the end...that's just too sad for Star Wars. On the other hand, what is he going to do? Becoming a Jedi teacher makes sense but again, not very interesting. Or he could keep having the same kind of adventures with a bunch of new Sith Lords to replace Vader and the Emperor...which kind of makes the "victory of light" in ROTJ meaningless. I'm pretty happy with Luke's story ending with ROTJ. Not because I wish they'd killed him off or anything, but just because I can't think of any future that is A) plausible, B)exciting enough to be worth writing about and C) not at least somewhat depressing. Let's just imagine he met a nice girl, had a couple kids, and lived a nice, boring but happy life in the galaxy he helped save?

  11. ok clearly I am not the only lunatic in the universe who has a shelf full of books she claims to hate but keeps reading anyway. I'm also not the only one who zips through the EU books looking for H/L updates and ignores the whole boring and nauseating Luke/Mara/Ben adventures. thanks loads, Zyra.

    first off I must confess that I am of the "first time happened on Bakura" camp and one day may even get my story on THAT topic posted over at you know, after I finish tidying up my version of what did and didn't happen on the way to Bespin.

    Come to think of it, I suppose I just ruined said story for some of you, eh?

    anywho... off the top of my head some of my other favorite han/leia moments in the EU are...

    ...there's lots of fun H/L bits in Bakura, especially the bit with the inflatable pillows, and I totally love the line where his letting her sit in Chewie's chair was the sort of thing that made her love him, "not cherry wine and pillows". awwww, shucks.

    ... Tatooine Ghost is one of my absolute favorite EU books just for that bit where he tells her the hydration drip is "gonna get in the way"

    ... ok I'm trying really hard but I can't find a single redeeming moment in COPL. I prefer to pretend it does not exist.

    ... in Star by Star, when Anakin gets killed and Han comforts Leia by telling her he'll always be there. And when he tells Luke it's her chair. it's just one bad thing after another for them in this book, except that in the end they are closer than they've been in a long time so it's almost worth it to me. plus, you know, killing off Anakin the whiner wasn't all that bad an idea. the candle scnene in children of the jedi but I always like the scnene before that where they're in the bar and she's drinking drinks with paper spaceships in them. it just cracks me up. favorite bit from the black fleet crisis is when Han has just gotten home from his 1st trip with the Fleet and Ackbar comes to the house to talk to Leia and is afraid he'll find his friends mating. which they aren't, but at least they're in the same bed. and Han wants to know why they gave the fish the key to the front door. also the line when they make Han a Commodore and he says, does that come with a hat? hehehe.

    ...the bit in Shadows of Mindor where the other girl calls Leia Princess kissy face and Leia decks her.

    ...there's a bit in one of the endless NJO books where they're visiting some planet and they get arrested and they tell their captors is that all you can come up with? we've been tortured by Vader. not sure which book that is. I remember Han laying on a couch with his head on Leia's lap too.

    ...wait a sec, there's a bit at the end of one of the NJO books where they are on their way back from somewhere and Han bolts the cockpit door and they spend the entire hyperspace jump in Han's chair. together. doing... something, I suppose.

    OK nuff rambling for now, I am going to CRY if I try to post this and it won't let me

    jz sometimes known as jzhanfan

  12. Hello and welcome! And please, get back to work on your story! ;)

    I know, I spend so much time saying I hate them but then maybe we should calculate how much money has been spent on these books over the years... but probably not. At least when I was a kid my mom bought them for me.

    The Bakura theory is an interesting one and also one I'd never really thought about before. I'd like to think it happened pretty much after the victory party on Endor, but well, can you say TIRED? Leia has just learned a few bombshells and was singed by a blaster. Han just learned all of this brother/sister stuff, and, well, I can almost see them falling asleep more than anything else. But it's also nice to think of that as their first time... I don't know. Another blog post, perhaps!

    Yes, Star By Star was heartbreaking and sweet for them all at the same time. I do have to say that in spite of all of the horrible things they've had happen to them, at least now they are being written closer than ever and like this force together that is stronger than anything, and THAT I like.

    You're right, there is a cute scene in the bar where they're under cover and doesn't some female bartender keep calling Han "Angelpants"?

    I do remember the part where Ackbar hopes he's not disturbing them "mating." But yeah, seriously, why does Ackbar have a key and couldn't he just CALL or something?

    Shadows of Mindor has almost too many little moments for me to name. But I do recall when Leia was smashing that woman's face into the floor Han was thinking to himself that his princess was never more beautiful than when she was kicking the sithspit out of someone :)

    I think at some point I may have to read NJO again. Except maybe I'll skip the first 5 books!

    My remedy for accidental loss of comment is to copy the text before I hit "post comment" so if it doesn't work I can just paste and try again :)

  13. yes, that's it all right. The bartender calls Han "Angelpants". and tells Leia she can do better.

    another tiny moment I can't remember which book it's in but Han is missing (as usual) and Leia is wearing his shirt which is miles too big for her. I think maybe Crystal Star. about the only good moment in it if so.

    I buy NJO books off the dollar rack at half price books. so I don't feel TOO bad about the cost.

  14. When I was younger I couldn't get enough of the EU, but when I started to re-read them last summer...YUCK!

    I feel like in many of the books each author was trying to make their book a big deal, with some sort of life-altering event for the main characters. This is totally understandable, they need to sell books, but in my opinion this idea turns the lives of our heroes into a sort of soap opera-thriller hybrid. When it comes down to it, there are some good moments, but I really dislike the EU and bash it constantly.

    A friend shared this link with me, it points out many flaws in EU storylines, I think it's pretty hilarious:

    Thank goodness for fanfiction!

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