Monday, December 19, 2011

Why Them?

Have you ever sat around and wondered, why am I so obsesed with these two? Let's get past the fact that, as evidenced by the above picture, they are just so darn adorable (and Harrison is super hot) and consider some other reasons. I find it interesting for me personally that I am so into this onscreen couple, or any onscreen couple because romance and chick flicks are not really my usual forte. That is not to say that they have anything to do with a chick flick, but if I'm looking for a movie to watch, I'm more likely to reach for something with Bruce Willis than Julia Roberts, and that's not because I think Bruce is hot, it's just because Die Hard is awesome. Speaking of which, I need to watch that soon since it's a Christmas movie...

Anyway, the point is, I don't sit around swooning over love stories. I don't read romance novels. I don't give a crap about Edward/Jacob and Bella or soap operas or anything like that. I very rarely take a look at fanfic in any other genre, and even when I do, it takes me about half a page before I decide to stop wasting my time. That's probably a good thing, because I don't really need any other ways to completely waste time. Actually, looking back on things, there have been very few couples I cared about in movies or TV. Maybe Winnie Cooper and Kevin Arnold, but not really. Definitely Zack and Kelly on Saved By the Bell, whose relationship was actually even more mature than Han and Leia as depicted in COPL. Clark Kent and Lois Lane, though mostly from the TV show Lois and clark. And maybe for a very brief time Mulder and Scully. But none of these inspire me to write fanfic or even to bother reading it.

So, why Han and Leia? Maybe it's because there are just so many reasons to love them and so few reasons not to. It's a couple I've seen on screen since I was probably two or three years old. Of course at that point in time I didn't really care about romance or anything like that as I was more interested in robots and space ships and lightsabers, but they've just been a part of my consciousness since I got one.

Each one of them on their own is already awesome. Han kicks ass, doesn't take crap from anyone, speaks his mind, flies a really cool spaceship and has a Wookiee for a best friend. Leia is one of the strongest female characters ever depicted in the history of cinema. I took film history in college so I have even more authority to say that. She's strong, she's a leader, she doesn't back down in the face of adversity, fights for what she believes in and she doesn't need a man in order to feel complete. They're both independent people who certainly weren't looking for love when they found it. That's probably what makes a lot of other couples boring, the movie starts with one or both of them lamenting how horribly lonely they are and they can't find a boy/girlfriend or blah, blah, blah.

With Han and Leia, it was really, really inconvenient to fall in love when they did but they couldn't help it. It's also just a less obvious, mushy sort of romance. I love the subtlety. Han is not going to spout poetry or go off on Leia's incredible beauty, he's probably just going to kiss her. You know you only have to go watch the prequels if you want an example of overdone, bad romance. I think there's a lot of stuff that people say in romantic comedies that at the time the audience might swoon over, but if some guy said that to you in real life you'd either laugh or think he was some crazy stalker.

It also maybe helps that their romance is not the focal point of the movies. They both have more going on in their lives than worrying about falling in love. They're well rounded characters with a lot to offer each other and everyone else. They work incredibly well as a team in the face of adversity.

And let's face it, the actors who played them, along with being so good looking, had amazing chemistry. There are plenty of movies out there where you have the romantic leads, and they're both good actors and their acting is fine but there's just something missing that makes you not believe them as a couple. I mean, whether or not you think there may have been something going on behind the scenes between Carrie and Harrison, when those two are on screen being Han and Leia you can't imagine them having a platonic relationship.

I don't know, they're both just such great characters on their own and such great characters together. They're a more interesting couple because their relationship starts out so volatile and they have such strong personalities and there's something about seeing that they wouldn't just love each other, but respect and admire each other for who they are.

I could go on, I'm sure, but I want to leave room for some ideas from the rest of you. Why do you love these guys so much? Why do you put all of this effort into reading and/or writing about them?


  1. I love that picture of those two. And yes, (ofcourse) I agree with all of what you said on the reasons we love them. I am a little more of a romantic that you are. Not a mushy type, really, but I think I 'ship' (is that how they put it now a days) more couples than just Han and Leia, although I have had no desire to read or write fanfic or 50 or more books about any other couple but Han and Leia. They are definitely the top of the heap for me.

  2. Was trying to work out why I love Han and Leia so much all day today. Definitely for all of the reasons that you said earlier, Zyra. I ship quite a few couples, but I think they are the only one where I actually really like both characters. Before seeing ESB for the first time a few months ago, I read fanfics about quite a few different couples. After that, though, I can't read about anyone else without getting bored very quickly.

    Of course, I absolutely LOVE Han, he is one of my favorite characters ever. And I always get very, very bored y the 'nice boyfriend who is totally perfect' type. Leia is just such a strong female character who tried her best not to fall in love. I think I was originally sold on 'I know', and my live for them just grew from there.

    I know I have heaps more reasons that probably make a lot more sense, but I have only slept for about 6 hours in the last three days, and my brain really isn't functioning properly, LOL!

  3. Dear Zyra and Push, I found your blog a few months ago, however this is the first time I have commented. What I love most about your blog is it has given me validation that I am not the only “Han/Leia” obsessed woman out there. Thank you for all the time and effort you put into keeping the blog updated, fresh and interesting. I’m really enjoying the book club and I have reread many of the books with new eyes.
    I was ten when I saw the original Star Wars in the movie theatre in 1977 (I feel so old). I’ve been hooked ever since. Although I lost touch for the last twenty something years until my oldest daughter discovered the original Star Wars Trilogy (through VHS she bought from a thrift store). She fell in love with Luke. I kept telling her, Luke is a whiner, not a real guy. Now, Han Solo, that’s a man!! Then I thought about it and told my then thirteen year old daughter, “It’s ok honey, you stay with your “Lukie”, just ignore the really cute guy with the fast ship.” I was and still am a Han Solo fan. I’ve always identified with Princess Leia, aside from the fact that I am short (5 feet), loud, and bossy, as my family likes to tease me. I find inspiration from her character, strength, passion, idealism, and wit. I love Han and Leia’s story (minus COPL). I even identify with them as an old married couple (at least in the New Jedi Order, haven’t read beyond that). To me, they are like a “real” couple dealing with life, jobs, kids, etc.
    I am really lucky, because my husband (of twenty+ years) indulges my obsession. He reads your blog as well. The book reviews are so thorough, that he can get an idea of what I am reading without having to actually read the book himself. Again, thank you for all your hard work in capturing the heart and soul of our favorite couple. Sorry this post was so long (I decided to stop lurking in the corner). Happy Holidays and Happy New Year.

  4. Welcome, Seams2Be! Really cool when people de-lurk. And, lol, I think you summed up my life. I’m 5’2, loud and bossy too. And my mouth just seems to be getting worse as I age. =) More likely to tell people what I think.

    I like this ‘ship for all the reasons put forth. I was 7 when I saw the original. It was the best thing ever and I don’t think we’ve ever seen a character like Leia before then. She was the coolest telling off the guys and such. Who wouldn’t want to be her? And to have someone as hot as Han Solo trying to make time with you? Yep, a girl can definitely dream.

    There have been other ‘ships I’ve looked at. Buffy and Angel are pretty cool (another girl that kicks some butt). But I seem to have come back to the one I was interested in early on. I am a romantic at heart and I like my romance novels from time to time. Usually the books I read are like this too, with strong characters.

    I like the fact that Han and Leia are both so extraordinarily independent. That even in the midst of all that was going on and even though they weren’t looking for it, they found love. And not just a passing fancy love. It gives a sense of hope, I guess, that anything is possible and that at the core we are all loved.

    That’s probably enough waxing poetic for one morning.

  5. Welcome, Seams2Be! I'm glad you finally de-lurked. New followers are definitely nice holiday gifts! :-)

  6. Yes, welcome, Seams2Be! It's great to get new followers and to get people to come out of the woodwork (isn't it more fun to participate?) and it's even better to get such a nice comment. That is so cute that your daughter likes Luke. I liked Luke for a long time before I liked Han. Don't worry, it will pass ;) I am also thrilled to hear that we have at least one male reader. As for the books, yes, hopefully once we make it through all of them (which is gonna take a while) I never have to read them again, just reference the good stuff here! I should tell you that as far as Han and Leia acting like a nice, old married couple, the latest books post-NJO actually HAVE done a very good job with that. I've been entirely happy with how they were depicted. Not happy with the books themselves and the dark story lines, but definitely happy with Han and Leia in them.

    Back to Han and Leia... yes, I think it's their independence and that on the outside they don't seem like they really NEED the other to function... until after they are together, of course. They operate as equals.

  7. Welcome, Seams2Be! LOL, I know what you mean about identifying with Leia, but for me it's the hair.

    I also love how Han really had to drag her into a relationship. I'm petty sure that's the only book/movie that i like where it isn't the other way around. And Han is just so... Scoundrelish.

  8. Why them? That's the question I've been asking myself for the past 25 years!

    I wish I could put my finger on just what it is about them that casts such a spell over me that no other fictional couple has ever managed to do. All the other 'ships I've had a passing interest in have all been sci-fi or fantasy related, but I've never obsessed over any of em like I do with Han and Leia. Mulder and Scully are definitely my no.2 but even they are not in the same league.

    Han was my very first crush (Zyra, I can't believe you liked Luke first!!! But at least you woke up, lol) I've liked Harrison for years but I think it's because of Han that I like him, it's just all about Han, and I always see him as Han first, Indy second. After drooling over him for a while I realised that him and Leia were just so great together and then I got more into them as a couple.

    Loads of people know I love SW but only my best friend of almost 30 years knows that its more the H/L aspect that I am truly obsessed with. I don't know why I am embarrassed to admit that to people.

    Gold dragon, wow, you only saw ESB for the first time a few months ago? I think it's fantastic that after all these years Han and Leia are still attracting new fans. Great stuff.

    Seams2be - welcome, nice to hear from new people. The more the merrier, and it is comforting to know we are not alone in our obsession, I agree.

  9. I don't think I was attracted to Luke as much as I thought he was the coolest character and the only one of the three who got to use a lightsaber. So he's got that going for him.

    Claire have you read our "Should We Be Ashamed of Ourselves?" post? We address how most of us are so reluctant to share our passion here to our real-life friends and how we would be mortified if someone found out we wrote fanfic. Push is the only person who knows my "true" identity and it took a few months before I "came out" but I wouldn't publish under my real name for intense fear that someone would find out it's me. I mean, it's not like my name is something common like Jane Smith so it would become kind of obvious! People know I like Star Wars, some people know I read the books, but nobody knows the depth of my obsession.

  10. Welcome, Seams2be (and your hubby)!
    I don't know if I have anything to add to what everyone else has already said. I agree that a key part of why I like this couple so much (besides Leia being so awesome and Han/Harrison being so hot) is the fact that these two fell in love when they really "shouldn't have", but it turned out that they belonged together. Like some of you, I also was into Mulder/Scully--it was my first real experience with 'shipping and fanfic--and I think there are similar elements there. Although with M/S, what TPTB gave us was too little too late in my opinion--I think it would have been better if they didn't really get together in "canon". That's what fanfic is for! But I digress...
    I'm really enjoying these discussions, they help me feel like my own weird obsessions aren't *that* weird after all!

  11. Oh, and Zyra, I just noticed your post...I'm pretty much totally "in the closet" as far as my fannish obsessions are concerned. I don't do anything to change that. Not because I'm ashamed, but because there are other aspects of "me" that I share with friends and family so it's nice to have this one silly thing that I keep to myself. I hope that makes sense, it's hard to put into words.

  12. My college friend who got me into X-Files used to say that one thing she loved about the show was that they DIDN'T get together. I mean, she said this before they did, of course. But it was so incredibly subtle when they did it was almost like it never happened. Like, they'd be acting all normal and then it would show them waking up together in bed. Anyway, that's a bit off the subject...

    People know I love movies in general and can quote from lots of them. Only my oldest friends know I'm a bit of a Star Wars nerd and those people, unfortunately, are not in my day-to-day life anymore (even if we see each other at least sometimes still) but none know about the Han and Leia side of things. I get what you mean about wanting to keep something like this to yourself. And nobody wants to be teased about it by their friends, and them not knowing certainly prevents that. I'd be mortified if anyone discovered my writing, but to be honest, when I think about it, I wouldn't want anyone to discover any writing I'd done really. Not that I really write anything else, but I'd love to write some stories and maybe actually get published and writing just feels like a private thing. I don't know.

  13. Oh boy...why these two? Well...for me it's a long story. I've liked Star Wars for as long as I can remember. I saw ESB when I was 3 years old with my dad and remember walking into the theater during the Hoth/Obi Wan scene. Three years later I stood in line for hours to see ROTJ. I had all the toys, books, etc. Harrison Ford was my first crush, as Han Solo and Indiana Jones.

    I loved Princess Leia because she was a strong, feisty character for us girls who did not buy into the traditional "happily ever after white knight on a horse" fairytale nonsense. I liked her smart mouth and no nonsense attitude. At a young age I was very independent, bossy, and "too smart for my own good" as I was often told. She was someone I looked up to. I wanted to be her. I grew my hair out until it reached my knees and wore it in buns or like the Bespin hairstyle. My brother and I would re-enact Star Wars in the backyard. I can't tell you how disappointed my mom was that she had a stubborn, smart mouthed, independent daughter. I was always told I needed to be more "girly and ladylike". Whatever!

    I didn't really get into the whole romance aspect of it until I was a little bit older. I liked that despite Leia not being the traditional female character she still managed to snag Han Solo. But, I still didn't "get" their relationship. I mean I liked it, but I just didn't get it.

    Now my own daughter is getting into Star Wars. She is 3.5 years old. Last year it was all about Toy Story and she loved Jessie, which made me happy because Jessie reminds me of Leia in a lot of ways. But then she started getting into the Disney princesses more and that had me worried because, well, she's a lot like me. I don't want her to lose her spark because she thinks it's not the "princess" thing to do. So, when she took an interest in Star Wars and asked for a lightsaber, I was thrilled. Now she runs around in a Snow White dress, wearing a cape, and wielding a lightsaber as "Princess Darth Vader". Ok, works for me. :)

    Not only do I get to watch the movies again (until recently it had been a good 15 years since I'd seen them) but I see them differently than I did as a kid. Now I "get" their relationship. When I saw that carbon freezing scene again as an adult, I cried.

    I love that they are both so similar, and yet different, and bring out the best in each other. They are both witty and saracastic, and they get each other's sense of humor and personalities. They don't need to be overly mushy and declaring their love for one another, they just "know". Love that.

  14. Virgo12, Princess Darth Vader? That's priceless. Hope you get a picture of it so you can remind her later. I like your take they just know they love one another and don't need to declare it.

  15. Yes, you two are right. Yeah, I'm sure they say I love you, but it also seems to me that they are both much more about action than words. I don't think anyone needs any big, romantic gestures which is why I love them in that it's not like a traditional romance. Yeah, Han and Luke "rescued" Leia in the first movie, but once the door was open, that was the end of that!

    Virgo, first, what's up with your dad getting you to the movie late?!?!? I love that you remember that though because people think I'm crazy when I tell them I remember seeing ROTJ in the theater when I was 3. I went with one of my friends from pre-school and his mom of course :) I remember Leia taking off her mask and I remember we had to move seats during the Rancor scene because it was too loud.

    That's cool about your daughter, too. Honestly, I've thought about how I don't know what I'd do if I ever had a daughter who was all girlie and liked pink because I was SO not like that. Fortunately for my mom I already had a girlie older sister so I wasn't a huge disappointment. I'd totally be like, but don't you want to play with these Star Wars action figures instead? Don't get me wrong, I totally had a dollhouse and played with Barbies, too, but I was definitely not parading around in princess outfits, nor would I have wanted to.

  16. Well, I've said before that Han and Leia aren't my OTP or anything... I really love anything about Han, Leia and/or Luke and it can be gen or some other genre besides romance too. I also read in other fandoms and there are a couple of other couples I "ship" at least as a reader... but come to think of it, Han and Leia are just about the only couple that I'll read a straight up ROMANCE story about. Almost all of the other fictional couples I like are... damaged in some way, I guess, and I like the angst and borderline dysfunctional relationships... but for some reason when it comes to H/L, I actually like reading about them being happy together! ;)

    I guess the main reason for this is that they're... realistic? I mean, the way Han and Leia are portrayed in fanfiction at least reminds me a lot of me and my husband. Yes, they have problems. Yes, they sometimes drive each other crazy. Yes, they come from different backgrounds and that can sometimes be a good thing or a bad thing... but in the end they're lovers...and family...and friends, all in one. Neither dominates the other, they're both strong people and not overly mushy in the way they express their affection. It might be nice to fantasize about some glorious hunk who's willing to make my wish his command... but at the end of the day I'd want to come home to a relationship like Han and Leia's.

    So I'm not a big fan of romance novels, and I rarely read romantic fanfiction unless it's mainly gen, or AU, or angst or something else with romance on the side... but when it's Han and Leia I don't mind "happily ever after" being the main goal...because I guess it seems real (and encouraging) that they WOULD live happily ever after... or at least as much as any real couple would?

  17. How weird, I always liked Mulder and Scully when I was younger and my mom would watch the X-Files. The only other pair I really spared a passing glance at.

    Romantic flicks are usually the last thing I reach for. The subtlety of it in Star Wars is what makes it work for me...I mean, other than the fact that Han and Leia are just plain awesome. The very first time I saw Star Wars, I had no idea that they ended up together but I found myself loving both characters equally, by themselves. Of course then when I saw ESB it was like 'Yes! Victory!'.

    Lol, I had a little crush on Luke before Han too. But that clearly changed.

  18. I wonder if this common link between Han/Leia and Mulder/Scully is the complete lack of mushiness, the fact that they really don't want to fall in love, and each character on their own is strong and independent and equal to the other.

  19. I never watched the X-Files. Now I feel as if I'm missing something. I HATE that feeling.

  20. Mulder and Scully are the king and queen of unresolved sexual tension. Trust me, it's great stuff!!

  21. I haven't really watched the X-Files either. I've seen a couple of episodes but not in order, and not enough to know much about Mulder and Scully as a couple...BUT I think the non-mushy-ness combined with the overall EQUALITY of Han and Leia is their big appeal. Sure, Han's good at some things that Leia's not and vice versa, but neither of them's totally in awe of the other or incapable of making their own decisions or anything. The banter! It's all about the banter!

    It's not even really about having a strong woman in the relationship for me...they've BOTH got to be strong. That's why I don't like Luke/Mara, I think she dominates him too much. Come to think of it, most of the other couples I like in fandom are very non-mushy and very equal as well. I like Bones and Booth for example...they're not mushy at all. Well Booth tries to be sentimental, sometimes... :P

    Sometimes is okay. ;)

  22. I just have to say I'm such a fan of this blog! Until I found it, I was under the impression that I was the only Han/Leia fan in the world at the current time. Very rarely did new fanfics appear and my fav authors all seemed to have disappeared years ago. It's nice to know that this isn't the case! I've never read fanfics from any other universe- Star Wars has been my only fanfic playground for the last 6 years. Why do I love Han/Leia so much? Who can resist a love/hate relationship? I can't get into those couples that are all 'love at first sight' and 'let me count thee ways.' In Han and Leia's case, its more like 'love at first bite.' Mushy scenes are always more satisfying after watching people struggle and argue and hide their feelings for so long. It feels like emotions earned. So that's why Han/Leia has so much appeal for me. Another reason is this blogs current background otherwise known as HARRISON FORD'S FACE.

  23. Mmmm... yes, Harrison Ford's face does help a lot in this situation. It makes my stomach hurt when I think about how someone like Christopher Walken could've ended up with that part and seriously makes me wonder if my life would be different if that were the case. I have serious problems.

  24. Christopher Walken...Shesh, I know, what a horror that would have been. I don't think ANY of us would be here!!

  25. I remember between SW and ESB that my one friend and I were the only ones on "team Han". In the 80's I had two obsessions - Princess Diana and Princess Leia. Go figure. I was fascinated with Diana's dresses and the whole fairytale thing... but I never wanted to BE Diana. I especially didn't think she'd landed the cute prince by far. But Harrison. Oh, Harrison. I don't think he made a movie, even the bad ones, that I missed. I remember one of my friends in college saying, when I was the only one in the group lobbying for one of his stinkers (can't remember which) one night at the multiplex, that I didn't count, since we all knew I'd pay to watch Harrison Ford read the phone book. :-) What they didn't know was that I was equally obsessed with Carrie. I mean, how many people went to see Under the Rainbow? Be honest. I remember being sad when Carrie married Paul Simon because I didn't think he was right for her. She didn't belong with short Jewish singer, she belonged with HAN FREAKING SOLO. And when they broke up I was like, see, I TOLD YOU.
    It's interesting that you ask this because I think the Han/Leia thing is as much about Harrison and Carrie as it is about the characters. When I ask myself if Han would utter a line of dialogue I'm writing in a fic, I'm thinking of Han's personality but I'm thinking of Harrison's VOICE. When I write that Han's lips curled into a crooked grin, I can't help myself - I'm seeing Harrison.
    Yeah, I know Jack Ryan and Richard Kimble and Indiana Jones all flash that same smile, and it's theirs too. But for me it's Han Solo's lopsided smile.

    And no it wouldn't have been the same with someone else in those tight pants.

  26. You were the only ones on team Han? What is the matter with your other friends? I know what you mean about going to see Harrison movies, though. I've taken to mostly going to see them alone now (although my brother actually initiated on Cowboys and Aliens as we are both big HF fans... for similar and some very different reasons) I definitely dragged some people to Devil's Own and Six Days, Seven Nights and I still watch them on TV when they're on even though they're not very good movies and I can't stand Anne Heche. At least even I didn't go see Random Hearts in the theater, as even at home all I wanted to do was fall asleep watching it and I'm not sure I made it to the end. This is coming from someone who in the right mood can enjoy Regarding Henry and Firewall, which were not so praised by critics.

    Under the Rainbow? Wow, you really are die-hard :) I didn't know that movie existed and haven't ever seena glimpse of it even. I was too young to follow her love life back then but even just reading her most recent book I'm like, man, why did she only date awful people? Paul wasn't that bad, but there are far worse examples.

    Han flashes the grin more than any of the other characters. You're right, it's more HIS than anyone's.

  27. Yeah my mom was like, why do you want to see this and I'm all, everybody says its good. Ha. I wanted to see it because of Carrie and omg talk about falling asleep in the theatre. It was horrid. Chevy chase was not funny!

  28. And Zyra, I think everyone was all about the lightsaber. Little did they know the guys with the lightsabers are compensating for their shortcomings in other areas :-)

  29. Omg, jzhanfsn! Lol about the lightsabers. So what's Palpatine compensating for with force lightening?=)

  30. Let's just say that being a Sith is... draining.

  31. Well, I won't be watching that one! But before I really paid attention to Carrie it was funny later to watch movies I'd seen before, but didn't really think about it being her (you know, lots of the ones where she had short hair which was so non-Leia) and I was like, oh, that's HER! Like, The 'Burbs, for instance. Pretty terrible movie but somehow the fact that Tom Hanks and Carrie are in it makes me watch some when it's on TV and nothing else is on, even if she's barely in it.

    Speaking of compensating, someone wrote a very short but funny story on about a ship Lando had bought that was shaped... well, let's just say that the rest of his friends made some pretty funny comments about it :)

    Man, last year on Christmas eve Star Wars was on Spike. It's probably better for me that it's not so I just go to sleep. But for those of us in the US, all four Indiana Jones movies are on all day tomorrow I think on USA network. So in between family stuff just flip back and get your lopsided grin fix :)