Sunday, January 29, 2012

Jedi Search: The Review

This book is the first in the Jedi Academy Trilogy which comes almost immediately after the Dark Empire comics in the timeline. Anakin has been born, but he and the twins are still off in hiding with Winter. Leia is busy being a diplomat and sending Han off on missions as it is still implied that they don't spend much time together, and Luke has taken it upon himself to start up a new Jedi academy to teach a new generation of Jedi.

The book begins with Han and Chewie getting themselves into pretty deep trouble almost immediately. Han had been sent off to Kessel to do some negotiating with them to maybe get them to join the New Republic. Han has some prior experience there, and it was determined that he would be a good choice to go. Unfortunately, almost the moment they come out of hyperspace, there are TIE fighters after them, and they are not so much interested in negotiating and are set on taking the Falcon down hard enough to destroy it and anyone inside.

As you can imagine since there are many books after this one, they do survive the crash, although they are in pretty rough shape. After receiving some much-needed medical attention - though without the aid of any pain killers as it is implied the entire experience is quite unpleasant - they are brought before Moruth Doole, who runs the operations on Kessel and happens to have a bit of a past with Solo, spice running, and Jabba. He is not a fan of Han's, and Jabba happened to take one of his eyes, which he certainly now blames Han for. Doole suspects there is a lot more to this visit than just New Republic negotiations so he wants to interrogate Han, which frightens him except he realizes that for once, he really doesn't have anything he needs to hide.

Doole takes some Glitterstim which is so powerful it actually enables its user to probe the minds of others, which is quite useful in interrogation, although Han becomes enraged at the idea that using it could allow him to see memories he had of times with his children or some of his more private moments with Leia, but of course those are not the kinds of things he is most interested in seeing. He becomes further enraged when he realizes that his visit was not with malicious intent and he decides that rather than face the wrath of the New Republic in retaliation, he will send Han and Chewie to be slaves in the spice mines where they will never be heard from again, and he will erase any evidence that they ever made it to Kessel in the first place. This book doesn't start off well for Han and Chewie.

While all of this is going on, back on Coruscant, Luke has decided that he wants to start a Jedi academy. In order to do this, he obviously needs both a place to have it, and students with Force potential. After three movies telling us that there are no Jedi left in the galaxy, Luke quickly realizes that there must be Force sensitives out there somewhere, many of whom have no idea that they hold any special powers at all. So he wants to go on a mission to find them, with the aid of this scanner thing that sort of reads people's auras to see if they have the Force. Note that there is no mention of those stupid midichlorians.

Leia spends a lot of this book frustrated over a lot of things. You get the impression that basically she has no control over anything she wants in her life. Han is gone. Her children are sequestered. The New Republic is demanding far too much of her time. Early on, when Luke is discussing the Jedi search, she says this to him:

"Sometimes it wears on me not to have my own children here. I've been with the twins for only a fraction of their lives. I can count on one hand the number of times I've visited the baby. I haven't had time to feel like a mother. The diplomatic chores won't give me a rest." Then she looked directly at him. "And you're about to go off on your great Jedi hunt. I feel like I'm missing out on life."

Then Luke tells her she could be a very powerful Jedi if she wanted to be. Ugh, I'm sorry, but if my brother was trying to dictate the course of my life like that, I'd probably punch him. Even though he's a lot bigger than me. Poor Leia, not getting to see her kids and constantly letting other people dictate what she "should" be doing instead of just listening to her heart. Why does she never just take control of her own destiny? She's too strong to let everyone else tell her what to do. Anyway... she does tell Luke that she wants to fit being a mother into things somewhere, and Luke comes back with saying that if that is her destiny then he needs to find other Jedi to train. Um, damn right you need to find other Jedi! Why does being a Jedi take precedence over everything else in life?

Fortunately, at this point Luke and Leia part ways for a bit and Luke goes to see if he can find any leads on possible Jedi since it quickly becomes apparent that "the last of the Jedi will you be" should have been followed up with, "except for like a couple hundred other beings scattered throughout the galaxy." Artoo and Threepio are scanning the archives and searching for evidence of anyone who maybe displays any behavior that might be explained by Force ability; miraculous feats of strength or predictions, podrace winning, exceptional runs of luck at gambling, whatever. With a lead in hand, Luke heads of to Eol Sha to check out this guy named Gantoris.

Meanwhile, Leia is still at home, all by herself. She has to get up in the middle of the night to talk to the ambassador of Carida, Furgan, who is incredibly unpleasant and impolite and doesn't seem to care that he is keeping Leia awake in the middle of the night to talk with him. While waiting for his call, Leia laments that she misses Han. See, he has been gone for several days, and he hasn't called. Instead of immediately realizing that she should be worried that he hasn't checked in, she spends her time being annoyed that he is being so inconsiderate and is probably off having fun with old smuggling buddies while gambling and drinking.

Oh, there are a lot of things wrong with that. I'm not sure I know anyone in any situation would not maybe become concerned if their husband went away for a week and never called. I mean, given the incredible technology in the Star Wars universe, I think we should assume that under most circumstances, they can talk to each other whenever they want, no matter how many lightyears apart they may be. I kind of see Han and Leia as the type who would probably talk daily when apart, don't you? And that's just if it was a normal couple and not two people who quite often find themselves in the face of death. Would her first instinct really be that he was just being irresponsible? And to suggest such a thing implies that this happens often. I'm sorry, I just don't see it. At least she does think to herself that she never sleeps well when he's not there with her. I'd think she probably doesn't get as much sleep when he is there with her either, for very different reasons.

To be fair, later on it is implied that she prefers to think of him as being irresponsible mostly to spare herself from worrying and not allowing herself to think of the worst possible scenario, but still, don't you think she might have raised some alarms and, I don't know, maybe tried to check on him? Moving on...

Back on Kessel, Han and Chewie are being sent down to work in the mines after the Falcon gets overhauled and wiped of its serial numbers to make it harder to identify. At this point, Doole, who not only has a mechanical eye but is a fairly disgusting, Jabba-ish being who happens to walk upright, decides he is ready for some "mating" and goes off into a section of cells that house his slave girls, who as you can imagine, aren't so interested in mating with him. Fortunately that scene ends just before you throw up, though not before you start to taste it a little in the back of your throat.

The spice mines are not pleasant. First of all, it's pitch black. And that doesn't mean hard to see, it means literally so dark your eyes can't adjust because there is not a speck of light. It is also frigid, though they are given thermal suits to wear. As they are unceremoniously introduced to the mines, they learn that a lot of the slaves have recently been disappearing without a trace, which of course is not such good news to be hearing, but they aren't really expecting to be seen or heard from again at this point, anyway.

Once settled into their spots in the mine, they meet someone named Kyp Durron, who Han only knows by name at first, and his voice is a bit ambiguous and he has no idea what kind of person - even if it's male or female - he is speaking to. He only knows that whoever this is has been stuck inside for a long time and is very excited to hear from someone on the outside. Kyp's whole family was taken by the Empire, his brother he hasn't heard from in years and his parents were killed in the mines already.

After some more mining in the dark, and being led around in complete darkness - spice must be mined in the dark or it gets ruined - finally they get led back to the light, where Han learns that Kyp is just a kid.

Meanwhile, Luke is trying to convince Gantoris to come with him on his Jedi search mission, and Lando is working on something similar after visiting with Leia - and thinking it's not like Han not to check in for days, even though Leia insists that yes, it's just like him to be so irresponsible - and being sent off to check out on another possible Jedi lead in this guy named Tymmo, who apparently makes a lot of money betting on, believe it or not, blob racing. Thus begins a very long and involved chapter on Lando, Artoo and Threepio watching blob races that are described in great detail as they navigate the - not kidding about this - blobstacle course, and then them finding Tymmo and discovering that he is a cheat who had run away from his very, very... um, needy "wife" who he was chosen as consort for and who he has desperately tried to escape from because she is smothering him and has completely exhausted him. In the end he surrenders and Lando apparently will receive an impressive reward from his wife for his safe return - although the poor guy does briefly entertain the idea that execution, his punishment for cheating, might be a better alternative. Seriously, this chapter goes on forever and I really have no idea if it is important to the plot at all.

Back on Coruscant, Leia is anxiously awaiting the return of the twins, Jacen and Jaina. They have turned two, and apparently this is the magical age in which it becomes okay for Jedi children to be raised by their own parents rather than a nanny on a hidden planet. This is close to a week after Leia first started worrying about Han being missing. Has she sent out a search party yet? Nope. Instead:

Han should have been back from Kessel two days ago, but still she had heard no word from him. He'd probably fallen in with some of his old smuggling buddies, had too much to drink, gambled far into the late hours, and completely forgotten about his other obligations. It was a good thing Chewbacca had sworn a blood oath to protect him, because Han was going to have to face her when he got back, and he was going to need a Wookiee's protection. How dare he forget something like this?

Seriously, Leia? You're not maybe just a little more concerned? Has Han actually been acting that careless that he wouldn't realize or care that he was missing the return of his children? Think about it! Okay, maybe it's easier than thinking he's hurt or captured or dead or two of the three, but don't you think by now you should try and look into it? This is beyond frustrating, and this isn't even the end of it.

Anyway, the twins have finally come home. Leia of course is incredibly excited to see them in spite of the conspicuous absence of their father. It's both lovely and heartbreaking when she's reunited with the kids because of course she finally gets her children back, which she's thrilled about, but Jacen asks where his daddy is and Leia just feels anger when she has to tell them that he's not there. And of course we also have to be sad that Anakin still has to stay sequestered by himself with Winter. Leia promises herself that she will make up for lost time with them, but she can sense fear and trepidation in them. Ugh, the poor kids are afraid of their own mother because she's a virtual stranger. Should we thank Luke or the authors of the EU for this gross injustice?

Leia shows them their "new" home and their bedroom and of course they are slightly uncomfortable with the whole thing. So what does she do on her first night with her children who have been gone for two years? She kisses them goodnight and leaves them with Threepio. Seriously? Okay, she got to visit with them here and there, but don't you think a mother getting her kids back might want to be the last person her kids see before they fall asleep? Maybe be the one to read them a story instead of the creepy, cold, protocol droid? Oh, the immense frustration.

So Leia leaves them with Threepio, even though they are not happy, don't want to sleep and don't want a story from the stupid droid, and she goes back to deal with diplomatic things. While she's busy, the twins are expressing great frustration through lots of crying, which leads to annoyance from Leia and her inability to be able to figure out how to deal with them. The whole thing maybe was an attempt at humor, and maybe could've been kind of funny first, if it was like, the first night or two Leia (and hopefully Han) had their kids home, or if it was I don't know, maybe a teenage babysitter dealing with some unruly children, but the fact of the matter is that this is Leia, a mother of two-year olds who should know how to take care of them and if for some strange reason she was just seeing them for the first time in a very long time, I don't see her being frustrated in quite this manner. Frustration, yes, but more because she was upset that her own children weren't comfortable in their own home with their own mother than annoyed that these two unruly twins wouldn't just, in the words of Samuel L. Jackson, go the f%&# to sleep!

Oh, but to infuriate us further, Leia thinks she should go in and check, and Winter, who is way more of a mother to them than that lady who actually gave birth to them, tells her in her infinite motherly wisdom that they are just testing her limits and she shouldn't go check on them. I'll admit I'm not a mother, but crying when you're trying to go to sleep in uncomfortable surroundings at the age of two seems like more of a legitimate reason to be upset than just toddlers testing their mother's limits. It's like Leia is suddenly clueless on how to raise kids, while Winter is the author of several books on the subject or something.

Wait, it gets even better. Then Leia mentions how this is something she's probably going to have to be stuck doing all by herself and Winter finally asks where Han is.

Not wanting Winter to see her flustered outrage, Leia stood up and turned her back. Over and over, she had imagined possibilities of Han hurt, lost, attacked ... but she found it safer to believe other possibilities. "He's flying around in the Falcon with Chewbacca. He should have been back two days ago. He knew when the twins were coming home, but he couldn't bother to be here! It's bad enough we've been practically nonexistent as parents for the first two years of their lives, but he can't even spare the time to greet Jacen and Jaina when they finally come home."

Seriously, is Leia really this dense? Or does she really hate worrying that much? I can see her maybe not wanting to worry initially, but after a while, seriously, she'd have to know something was wrong! But Winter is not only smarter when it comes to being a mother, but also as a wife:

Winter gazed at her, not blinking. Winter's intense periods of thought always unsettled Leia. "Let me tell you this, Leia. I think I'm right. If it were anyone else on a mission like this, two days overdue and no contact for a week or so, you would be concerned. Very concerned. With Han, you are making an assumption that he is just being irresponsible. What if something happened to him?"

"That's crazy." She turned away again, to keep Winter from seeing that the same worries had been plaguing her.

Winter's grave expression did not change.

"According to the reports I have seen, Kessel is relatively hostile territory. Not only the spice mines, but the Imperial Correction Facility, with some powerful defenses in place to keep prisoners from escaping. The entire system has been out of contact with us for some time."

Winter paused, as if accessing other memories. "When Mara Jade and Talon Karrde unified some of the smugglers two years ago, Jade noted that Kessel might cause certain problems. Shouldn't you check with a diplomatic contact there to make certain nothing has happened to the
Millennium Falcon?"

Leia blinked her eyes, annoyed at Winter's suggestion, though she had thought of it herself dozens of times. "Seems like overreacting, doesn't it?"

Winter regarded her calmly. "Or are you just unwilling to show your concern because it would embarrass you?"

Leia doesn't even respond to this, it is where the scene ends. We all know Leia is a strong woman and she's not going to sit around and cry at the thought that her husband is missing, but she seriously wouldn't be worried at all or would be too embarrassed to admit to being worried? She could at least admit it to herself! I think the concept of stubborn Leia is taken a bit to the extreme here. And it almost just makes Leia seem kind of heartless and certainly doesn't paint Han in a very good light if she apparently thinks it's normal for him to be so inconsiderate.

Well, finally this conversation prompts Leia to contact Kessel, and she gets in touch with Moruth Doole. Of course Doole denies everything and says that Han never made it, and given how difficult it is to navigate the area he maybe isn't such a great pilot and disappeared in the Maw. At least Leia has enough faith in Han's piloting to know that that can't possibly be true, and his answers also seem far too rehearsed and quick to not arouse some suspicion, so the conversation ends inconclusive, though Leia at least stops thinking Han is just being a jerk. And fortunately at the end of this conversation she felt "very foolish for being angry with Han." Finally!

Back on Kessel, Han loses his temper just a bit and lashes out at some of the guards, which doesn't end all that well, but later he admits that he realized that it was the day that Jacen and Jaina were coming home and he is furious that he isn't there to see them. See, not only is he not irresponsible and thoughtless, but he can keep track of days while captured and enslaved on a planet with no sense of day or night.

Sometime after the brawl with the guards, it is decided that some of the slaves will be going on a mission down one of the, well, scarier tunnels and they ask for volunteers. This is a scary mission because it is where some of the slaves had disappeared. Han suspects maybe this is because there is a possible chance of escape, and he also suspects that due to his outburst earlier, he will probably be forced to go anyway, so he volunteers himself and Chewie, much to Chewie's chagrin, and Kyp decides he wants to go, too. So, doing what he does best, Han thinks on the fly and gets them all away from the guards and starts a not-so-smooth escape because for quite a while, they are still mostly just lost in the darkness of the mines. Just in time, too, because Doole decided that just having him in the mine as a slave wasn't good enough. Now that the New Republic was onto him, he needed Solo and the Wookiee killed with no trace left.

Oh, and elsewhere, Luke is now on Bespin, in the grand tradition of only utilizing like seven planets in the entire galaxy throughout the EU, where he picks up another possible candidate in Streen. That's really all there is to say about that, so back to Han, Kyp and Chewie...

They are still trying to escape, and Skynxnex, who is one of Doole's henchmen and also has a not-so-good past with Han, is trying to find them and kill them, which riles up a chase very similar to the mine car chase in Temple of Doom, except the mine cars are floating and Short Round isn't there to work the brakes. To make matters worse, there are also these giant spiders down there in the dark that could very well also kill them. In all, the spice mines sound like tons of fun. But the good news is that they find an escape shaft out of the mines that happens to lead to a shipyard so they can maybe get out of there. This is especially important since nobody seems intent on sending a rescue mission.

Luke makes it back to Coruscant and plays with his niece and nephew by levitating them in mid-air. Jedi are weird. Once again nobody seems to really care to actually ask where Han is, and Luke thinks this:

Luke realized that he hadn't seen Han since his return; but because of their busy schedules, seeing Han and Leia in the same place at the same time was a rare occurrence anyway. It was a wonder they had somehow managed to have three children!
Luke, trust me, we are all wondering how they managed to have three children if they never see each other. We can only assume that Han is quite the sharp shooter. Luke senses concern in Leia but doesn't say anything until Lando finally comes bursting in after realizing that she hasn't heard from Han and hasn't told anyone about it. Leia admits that she finally talked to Doole yesterday and suspects something had happened to him. That's right: yesterday. And she still hasn't done anything about it. Seriously, let's reverse roles here for a second: if Han heard Leia had been missing for days and days with no sign, do you think he would just sit back and not do anything about it? I don't think Leia would, either, so this Leia isn't quite acting like I would expect.

Finally Luke and Lando offer to go off and find him because Leia admits that the New Republic resources are limited and apparently even though she abandoned the Rebellion to get him out of carbonite after one trip to Bespin, she won't go after her husband and the father of her children when she knows he's missing. It at least implies that it seems what she wanted all along was for Luke and Lando to go and find him. At least she's sort of doing something now.

Back on Kessel, Han, Chewie and Kyp manage to steal a supply shuttle and work to make their escape, which as always is a lot more complicated than they'd think. With a lot of pressure on them, they have no choice but to go into the Maw, which holds a very large chance of death, but is really their only possible chance of escaping. But Kyp insists he can show him the way. I think I forgot to mention that Kyp maybe has the Force, as he had come into contact with another old character you may remember named Vima-Da-Boda, who was an ancient Jedi who came to Kessel briefly and told Kyp of his power.

Before they escape, Han gets one last punch to the gut when he sees his own ship being flown against them. But before he can get really furious, they disappear into the Maw and hope that the bad guys aren't stupid enough to follow them.

Once again back on Coruscant, Luke had brought Gantoris, potential Jedi, back with him from Eol Sha, which is basically uninhabitable due to some crazy stuff on the planet like volcanoes and earthquakes. It is decided that the refugees will be relocated to Dantooine, and Wedge is put in charge of that job. Mon Mothma comes in to remind Leia of the visit with that jerk ambassador from Carida, and she also inquires about Han but Leia once again brushes it off like it's no big deal. At least Mon Mothma takes a moment to tell Leia that she is doing a very good job. So we know she's not totally heartless.

Then it is time for Winter to say goodbye and go back to take care of Anakin in hiding. I don't believe we are ever told who the heck has been watching him while she's been gone. It's quite sad because the twins are very sad to see her go and don't seem that interested in hanging back with their own mother. I mean, why should they be? She makes a driod tuck them in and tell them stories at night. Leia still feels like a stranger to them, but tells them that their daddy will be back soon and they will have fun together.

Later, Leia attempts to give the children a bath and they get into an argument over when the bubbles get added, and of course Leia stubbornly insists on doing it the opposite way that Winter did, just to show them that things are different and this is their home, even though they keep asking to go home, which to them would be back with Winter. Leia gets all frustrated again and wishes Han was back. It might almost be a sweet scene if it weren't once again for the fact that it's like Leia has no idea how to be their mother.

Well, Han is kind of busy himself because they have a bit of relief at making it through the Maw without getting sucked into a gravity well, but the relief is short-lived as they stumble upon some Star Destroyers just hanging out in the middle of nowhere and decide they need to make a quick exit. Well, they don't get a chance for that and are taken aboard where they come in contact with Admiral Daala. I had forgotten where she came from, and anyone who is still reading the EU knows that she continues to hold a very prominent role.

Anyway, this group of ships has been holed up for so long that they don't even know the Emperor is dead. Actually, they don't even know about Tarkin or the first Death Star, either. It is unheard of for a woman to be an admiral, so Han has a feeling he's in trouble.

Meanwhile, Luke and Lando finally make it to Kessel and Lando poses as an investor and Luke is his associate. He uses the name Tymmo, so far giving us our only indication that reading twenty pages about blob races had any relevance to the plot. They get Doole to show them around and try and probe and figure out what happened to Han, Chewie and the Falcon.

Back in the Maw, poor Han is undergoing some tortuous interrogation at the hands of Daala and her relentless questioning. The only thing is, under the circumstances, Han doesn't really have any secrets to tell. None of the information is classified or really even not common knowledge among just about anyone. He just has to tell her about the destruction of the Empire and the New Republic, but that doesn't stop him from undergoing some torture at the hands of some sort of thing that makes his muscles spasm like crazy. And to top it all off, once he's told her everything and endured that, she sends in a probe droid just to make sure. Han doesn't have much fun in this book.

Daala leaves him and goes to talk to one of her scientists about yet another weapon that they had been working on while stuck in the Maw, called the Sun Crusher. Guess what it does? She also isn't too thrilled not just about the fall of the Empire, but apparently Tarkin was her... oh, gods, I have to say it: lover. Ooops, there's that vomit taste again... anyway, that is part of the reason she gained such a high rank and why she is in charge of these Star Destroyers. The only good news is that the information made her realize she has the most powerful group of ships left in the Imperial Navy, most likely.

On Coruscant, Leia finally gets to meet Ambassador Furgan, the jerk from Carida who just acts worse and worse. He belittles Leia's rank in the New Republic, talks about how the Jedi should've been wiped out and accuses them of the possibility of trying to poison him. He also demands all of Leia's attention and when she brings the twins with her to the reception, they get stuck with Threepio. At least Leia is "worried to the point of nausea" much of the time since Han has been missing. Well, it's a relief to know that she still thinks about him sometimes.

The ambassador finally decides he wants to say something, and what does he have to say? Basically that there is no chance they're joining the New Republic and he throws his drink in Mon Mothma's face. Yeah, he went to an awful lot of trouble to make that point, and off he goes with his little entourage and Leia is furious at having wasted so much time on the guy and you can't blame her.

But back to Han, because we're not done with him yet. He is a wreck from enduring lots of torture and gets brought before another woman, only this time it's not Daala. It's Qwi Xux, and apparently she is the one who designed the Death Star and she wants to hear what it was like since she never got to see it. It seems she's only an innocent scientist and had no idea what it had truly been intended for, in spite of what most of us would consider to be kind of an obvious name for something meant to cause a lot of death and destruction.

Han can barely speak at first from being such a mess, but fortunately she has no intention of harming him, she just wants to hear about her designs. Han gets angry once he finds out that she designed the Death Star and World Devastators, and she seems oblivious to what they had done and thinks they were just meant to mine materials from otherwise dead planets. Han tells her that the Death Star blew up Alderaan, his wife's planet, and she doesn't believe him. She had viewed the interrogation but apparently some parts had been left out. She starts to slowly realize she has been manipulated, and then she tells Han about the Sun Crusher.

Luke and Lando are still busy with Doole and they ask to see the ships, spotting the Falcon right away and asking to inspect it "randomly." Of course they know for sure it is Han's ship and they take off in it.

Oh, but poor Leia, back at home and still feeling frustrated. The twins are sick and irritable and she's still leaving them mostly to Threepio (why not just keep Winter there?) and tending to her duties and being interrupted a lot with calls for all sorts of things. Someone even tells her that sick children don't make the New Republic stop functioning. That's kind of rude, don't you think? Mon Mothma shows up and at least just this once shows more compassion and says she's sorry that the kids are sick and that Han has been missing and offers some help in picking a new location for the Jedi Academy. The only good thing here is that Leia realizes that if things quiet down it just gives her too much time to think and worry about Han. Poor Leia, life basically sucks for her right now.

Though maybe not as much as it sucks for Han. He wakes up, very uncomfortable in his cell but apparently he had at least been having a nice dream about Leia, as it is alluded to being probably the only pleasant experience he's had in three weeks. Qwi comes in and says she has been given permission to interrogate Han again, except that's not really what she has in mind as she takes out a stormtrooper and helps him escape now that she's learned that she has been betrayed and lied to all this time. They go off and get Kyp and Chewie.

Kyp had been scheduled for termination as he held no real use for them, and Chewie had been sent to do labor basically as a slave just like when Han had first met him. But Han and Qwi make it to save them and they all make their way to escape. Han apparently never second guesses the fact that Leia hasn't sent anyone to come find him yet:

Han desperately wanted to see Leia and the twins again. They filled his thoughts more and more, preoccupying him at times when he should have fixed every iota of attention on the peril around him. He ached to hold Leia again--but thinking of her while he wore a stormtrooper uniform seemed to taint the emotion.

Well, at least one of them wants to see the other again. They go to escape and of all the things to escape in, they steal the Sun Crusher so Daala can't use it. They evade the Imperial forces and move to leave the Maw, which is incredibly dangerous but fortunately Kyp uses the Force to get them out, but then Han spies someone flying the Falcon and gets very, very angry. He contacts it on his private channel and is quite glad to hear Lando's voice from the cockpit. They coordinate with each other and finally escape Kessel.

And finally, for the first time in the book, with ten pages to go, Han and Leia are in the same place at the same time and even talk to each other. And there's even some kissing:

The reunion was everything Han had imagined. He had spent a lot of time thinking about it during the long hyperspace flight back to Coruscant.

Leia and the twins met him the moment the Sun Crusher and the
Millennium Falcon touched down side by side at the high landing platform. Han backed out of the Sun Crusher's hatch and began climbing down the ladder, but Leia ran forward and hugged him before he managed to get all the way down.

"Glad I'm back?" he asked.

"I missed you!" she said, kissing him.

"I know," he said with a roguish smile.

She put her hands on her hips. "What? You didn't miss me?"

Han turned away sheepishly. "Well, first we crashed on Kessel, then we were stuck in the spice mines, then we got captured by a bunch of Imperials in the middle of a black hole cluster. I really didn't have a whole lot of-“

When Leia looked as if she were going to punch him, Han reacted with a grin. "But even through all that I don't remember more than about two seconds when I didn't miss you with all my heart."

Leia kissed him again.

Oh, well, that's sort of a cute reunion I guess. I mean, they're happy to see each other, they're not super mushy and of course throw some teasing in there, and they even kiss more than once. For the EU, that's not too bad. Han then says hello to his kids, who say they remember him but he doesn't quite believe them - so yeah, that kind of ruins it a bit - but he says he'll make it up to them. I hate this whole thing that just makes them seem like neglectful parents! But that's the end of that maddening stuff, because we only get to see them all together for like three paragraphs.

To end things, we get one last reason for that whole blob race thing when Lando receives a very large reward for having captured Tymmo the consort and returned him to his wife and decides he might go back to Kessel and see what potential is there, not to mention the ship he had to leave behind in their hasty exit. I forgot to mention that Doole was killed in the skirmish there, thankfully.

Han brings Kyp to Luke as a potential Jedi and is quite proud of his little protege, which is kind of cute. And Luke senses that Kyp is quite powerful in the Force and will be a perfect candidate for his Jedi academy. In the end, Luke sets up his new academy back where it all started, on Yavin IV.

Okay, that was quite a summary. So, what do I think of this book? I've got some mixed feelings. I do enjoy reading it to a large degree, and I know I'd read it over before just for the sake of reading it, although it has been a few years until I just finished it again. It's a fairly quick read and has a much simpler plot to follow than the Thrawn trilogy, and certainly a lot less characters to follow. It's kind of cool to read the beginnings of Luke starting the next generation of Jedi and having Han find one potential candidate of his own. Also interesting to be reminded of where Admiral Daala came from.

It's also interesting to see Leia's frustrations as it seems for the first time she truly has to try and balance being a politician with motherhood. Honestly, it doesn't even seem like she enjoys her job, she simply feels obligated. And she's got Luke pestering her about being a Jedi and again, it just gets annoying feeling like she just sits back and lets everyone else tell her what to do instead of doing what she wants. Why does she seem to let everyone walk all over her?

And poor Han, as this is the beginning of a string of times throughout the EU in which he is captured and has to endure quite a bit during his captivity. Several bouts of interrogation here, serious medical attention needed after a terrible crash in which the patient's comfort isn't considered at all during treatment, and this isn't even anywhere near the worst we'll read about in coming books. And come on, his wife obviously doesn't have a very high opinion of him if she thinks he's just goofing off somewhere with his old buddies. I just don't see Han being so careless. Do I see him maybe goofing off with his buddies? Sure, if he runs into them. But do I see that sort of thing making him forget about Leia, not call, and forget about his kids coming home for the first time in years? No, absolutely not.

And really, truly, I don't see Leia thinking that badly of him, either. I guess maybe I can buy that she just finds it easier to think about him being irresponsible than to worry about him, but she's a woman of action. She's not just going to sit there and not even try to get in touch with him and see if anything happened. Sorry. So for all of the little things I liked in the book, there were certainly things that frustrated and annoyed me. Another example being that I enjoyed the fact that the kids finally got to come home - or at least two of them - but it is almost infuriating to read about how pretty much incompetent Leia seems when it comes to taking care of her own kids. The whole situation is ridiculous in the first place, the idea that they were raised somewhere else for two years, but it just gets made even worse by making her seem like an idiot when it comes to kids. I think the guys from Three Men and a Baby did a better job. It's almost like at times she finds them more annoying than actually loving them like, you know, a mother might love her children.

That said, Han's side of things is very... Han. He mouths off to authority, he takes matters into his own hands when it comes to his escape - which as I said is a good thing since his wife isn't sending anyone to help him - he makes things up as he goes along and he actually misses his wife and is enraged at the thought of missing seeing his kids come home. I like Han's interaction with Kyp, too. He definitely makes a good "big brother" type.

So, the Han and Leia factor here? It's a tough call, because the book does focus on them a lot, although they are not together really at all. Add points for Han being Han, take away points for Leia thinking badly of him, not acting like Leia but add points for her really missing him when he's gone, add points for her getting the kids back and even sharing a few, normal moments with them, but take points away for her having no idea how to deal with her kids. Add points for kissing but take points away for them only spending one page of the book together.

I'd say it at least deserves a 3+ if only for the fact that I've read it a few times, so as a Han and Leia fan, it must have some redeeming qualities. And for every annoying moment there is usually a good one to compensate.

As for missing moments, I'm sure there is something there for a more private reunion for Han and Leia once he's home. This can be with or without the kids, or start with the kids before moving on to what happens once the kids are in bed. I would think that is a pretty big moment for them, being home with at least two of their kids and getting to raise them from then on. Or maybe you can get into what exactly Han's dream was about when he dreamed of her.

I'd put this book higher on the list to read than a lot of others in the EU, so if you haven't checked it out and are looking for something to read after you read those other really good books, you should certainly consider it.


  1. Another great review.

    I think it's funny sometimes how much I agree with stuff you say in these reviews. Agree with everything you've said once again.

    I really hate how in book after book after book we get some comment about how Han and Leia are never together, it just annoys me so much. I still cannot understand why the majority of authors write them apart for most of their books. Is it that difficult to think of a plausible storyline that will actually have them in the same room? No it isn't. They were together the whole time in Dark Empire and even when Leia is chief of state in Children of the Jedi they still manage to go on a mission together. See, it can be done, so what is everyone's problem with them? Do you think certain writers find it difficult to write them as a couple so decide it's easier not to bother? Whatever it is it really grates on me.

    Still we can take comfort that when they are apart, they (mostly) seem to miss each other a lot.

    I laughed at your comment about Leia not getting much sleep when Han is home, but for totally different reasons! I have to say, I thought exactly the same thing when I read that line in the book!! But we all think that, don't we?

    So Han didn't want Doole invading his mind with the glitterstim and seeing his private moments with Leia...oh, so they do have some then? But clearly not that many if Han can remember them all!!

    I agree that Leia doesn't sound as though she likes her job at all, and has no control over her life or her family. Would the Leia in the movies really be like that?

    Yup, and Han and Leia would be in contact all the time whilst apart. Most definitely. Whilst I can believe Leia would rather think Han was maybe enjoying himself with old buddies than be in trouble, it is totally unbelievable that she would not admit to worrying about him. We know she does, a lot. She was absolutely beside herself with worry in Tatooine Ghost.

    Ugh, and the whole Winter being more like the twins mother thing. It's just so sad that not only does Leia not have her husband around much, she doesn't have her children either. Her children don't even know her. The EU writers just totally hate Han and Leia don't they?

    I really must get off my soapbox because I could rant for hours about the crappy deal they get in most of these books.

    But hey, at least they actually kiss in this one. Bet they needed it after the previous three books without a single peck!

  2. Oh and as for Luke searching for potential Jedi. I think it's very likely that there ARE Force sensitives all over the place. All the trained Jedi have been exterminated, but there still must be Force sensitive children being born all the time, they just need to be taught how the use the gift that they have.

  3. Oh, I agree that there are Force sensitives all over the place, but Yoda made it sound like Luke was all that was left. And if he's so all powerful he would probably know that there were some others left out there.

  4. Blob racing? Blobstiacle course? What the hell? How do you race a blob, anyway?

    Well, at least Winter kind of gets Leia to do something about Han, which makes me slightly less annoyed at her for raising the twins. Except that Leia shouldn't need Winter to tell her how to be a mother or a wife, two things that I'm pretty sure Winter has never been.

    I feel a bit sorry for Leia in this book, but she is really out of character for a lot of it! And how she can't work out how to handle kids is just really sad.

    At least there's a kiss. Haha, that missing moment would definitely be good.

  5. Yes, the blob stuff is plain silly.

    Blobsticle course? That reminds me of the meeting the Moffs had in The Glove of Darth Vader, that was called a Mofference!!

  6. The EU authors are just so creative with their names.

  7. Think this first book is probably the most lacking for nice Han and Leia moments out of this trilogy, I've just been flicking through the other two and there's a few really cute scenes coming up later. Still quite a lot of separation, but some sweet moments.

  8. Phew! Nice to know they still like each other later on! Looking forward to reading some of those...

  9. It has to be said even though I hate them being apart in this trilogy, when they are together they at least act like they're in love and they are very physically affectionate. So it's certainly not all bad.

  10. "Physically affectionate"... I like the sound of that!

    Ok, please tell me that I'm not the only person who was really annoyed with Indiana Jones 3 because there was no shirtless Harrison in it... (Except that I always think of him as Han, no matter what)

  11. Hah. Yes, I love that movie, but that is one thing I do not like about it (that and Elsa... blech) I mean, he was in a robe at that one part, would it have been too much to ask that he just wear a towel around his waist?

    This is also one of the only things I dislike about the SW trilogy. They couldn't find just one time that Han could've taken his shirt off?

  12. Here here...we so need a shirtless Han in the trilogy. Maybe that's why you dreamt about it in that ROTJ dream, Zyra. I'm sure most people have seen that ROTJ behind the scenes photo of Harrison bare chested wearing sunglasses sat in the desert - if only they had filmed a scene with him like that.

    I must be the only person who rates Last Crusade as their least fave Indy film. I like them all but that one is bottom of the heap for me. Oh and I hate Elsa too! Worst Indy girl by miles.

  13. Mm, yeah, I love that pic. If only it was more of a close up...

    I hate Elsa to, but then I also hate the one in the second movie (was it Willie or something?). She was beyond annoying.

  14. You know, for a long time I think Last Crusade was my least favorite, but at some point it really grew on me. I really like seeing the father/son dynamic, Indy being taken down a peg and just being with his dad. That was the first Indy movie I was old enough to see when it came out. Saw it at the drive-in after an initial failed attempt at a sold out theater in which we saw Field of Dreams instead. Also funny how sometimes there are jokes that you don't understand when you're a kid and then they dawn on you later. I had no clue there was anything to the line, "She talks in her sleep." Then sometime long after the first time I saw the movie I was like, "Oh THAT'S what that meant..." Oh, and the actress who plays Elsa was 21 years old when they did that movie. She's even younger than Harrison's latest wife. Yes, Willie was in the second movie and screamed a LOT. For some strange reason she annoys me much less now than she used to. Maybe because she is more age appropriate. But this is why I like Han better than Indy. Han is a one woman man, and Indy will sleep with whoever is closest.

  15. Han is most certainly a one woman man now, but in his younger days, definitely not. Indy is more like James Bond, different girl in every movie, although of course he was always meant to be with Marion, and she was always my favourite. I've always kind of liked Willie though. Yes she screams a lot, and she's annoying, but she's so good at it.

    Thing is I used to love The Last Crusade, but then I just went off it a bit and thought it wasn't as good as the previous two after repeated viewings. I agree that Indy and Dad have a great dynamic though, and it's funny that Sean Connery is only like 8 years older than Harrison.

  16. Is he? Wow, Harrison looks so young... Does anyone else think that Indy is a whole lot like Han was before Leia, and Marion is kind of what Leia would be like if she was raised in a bar? Idk, just random thoughts going through my head while watching the first one :)

  17. Haha, my google word was "Spock". As in the guy in star trek. Ok...

  18. I tried to read this book at one point but I got bored with it really fast. I don't know what it was. I think I just flipped to the end to read the reunion, and maybe a few other things here and there. I should give it another shot.

    What's with this pattern of authors making Leia out to be either a bitch or just an incompetent dumbass (or sometimes, if we're lucky, the whole package!). Blerg.

    I can NOT watch Temple of Doom just because of Willie. I absolutely can't stand her. Unless I mute it. I really have no problem with Elsa.

    Yeah, we get Anakin's shiny, hairless chest shoved in our faces but no raw Han Solo? Booo.

    1. seriously, as if Jar Jar Binks wasn't enough reason to hate the prequels all by himself, we have to look at whiny brooding shirtless Anakin left and right. Digital Yoda kicking Dooku's ass is the only redeeming feature of the whole mess.

      at my house that's what we call it, BTW, "the bad ass Yoda movie". and I wonder why my kid gets in trouble at school :-)

    2. That's funny about your kids. My son is known for saying things he shouldn't.

  19. Can't watch Temple of Doom? But that isn't just the best shirtless Indy movie, it's the best shirtless Harrison movie! I guess you don't need sound for that one, though. I have no idea how or why Willie actually became less annoying to me, it just happened. That one was my favorite for a while. And it still irritates me that nowhere has there been a rollercoaster created to mimic the mine car chase.

    This book is I guess slower than others, but I kind of like that it is more mellow and my tiny brain can comprehend what is going on a lot better than in the Thrawn trilogy. You can read it really fast.

    I forgot to mention a sweet moment early on when Leia is looking at these pictures of Alderaan that Han had gotten her a year before and he wouldn't say where they came from. Then she remembered having given him this Corellian statue she thought had some real meaning. Han tried to contain his laughter and didn't say anything. Eventually he did tell her that the statue was an icon for a franchise of Corellian fast food joints. So it's like having given him a statue of Bob's Big Boy or something, but at least she tried :)

    1. LOL I loved that bit about her giving him the Big Boy statue.

  20. I love Temple of Doom, and partly for the reason you just said Zyra. I don't think Harrison has ever looked so buff. It's also a good fun adventure movie. Great soundtrack too.

    The mine car chase would be a great rollercoaster. Yet why didn't they base the Disney Indy ride on it? It would have made a lot more sense.

    The Thrawn books are certainly "heavier" than these, and you have to concentrate a lot more to get into the plot.

    Aww, yeah, I love the little things, like when Han and Leia give each other gifts. I can certainly see Han being a fast food fan though.

  21. Sorry I haven't been able to post sooner. I'm on a small stay-cation and been busy writing and watching the OT. :)

    I do hope the good moments outweigh the bad moments. The bad moments sound, well, awful. I know that things aren't perfect all the time, but geez, the EU authors have written so many bad moments, it makes me not want to read most of it.

    I have to agree with Claire too. Do these authors not like Han or Leia? I know some of them don't like their relationship. They certainly haven't watched the movies. You really think there is anything that Leia couldn't figure out? That she wouldn't have a nightstand full of books like "What to Expect When You Are Expecting?" C'mon. This is the woman who took charge of her own rescue. And it's two year olds. Not that raising kids is easy but it's not rocket science either.

    Ah, Indy. Love Indy too. I probably like Marion the best, of course. She kind of redeemed Indy 4 for me. Don't know if I have a favorite movie though. Like to watch all of them.

    That's funny, Claire. I was thinking the same thing about the Disney ride. It's an awesome ride, but a mine car ride would be cool too.

    The OT definitely needed a shirtless Han scene. I'm mean really. They didn't land on some hot, humid planet? The climate controls on the Falcon were always working? He wasn't ever covered in grease, oil, dirt, whatever, and needed to change his shirt?

    And here's a neat tie in for you. General Veers from Empire is Donovan in The Last Crusade. My husband recognized him a while back. Pretty cool.

  22. Or maybe amara, even a scene in the OT where Han needs to remove his shirt for other reasons....involving a certain feisty little Princess, maybe :)

    That's why I like The Crystal Skull, I love that Marion is brought back, even though I don't think she's totally in character....and she doesn't really do a lot. But still. And Karen Allen has aged so well!

    Oh and don't forget, the guy who played Hitler in Last Crusade was also Admiral Ozzel in ESB.

  23. Well, she could always remove it for him. ;)

    No way!! I didn't know that. I'll have to tell the hubby about Ozzel. That's funny.

  24. Just got done watching the kiss in the asteroid in Empire. nice. Of course, I'm rooting for Han during it and thinking "Go get your girl, Han!" :) Wow, I am such a nerd.

  25. I can't believe that I never noticed Veers and Donovan were the same person. It's so obvious!

    You've made me now feel the need to watch the alternate kiss. It's been a while.

  26. That kiss is so hot. Watch Han's face just after she says "ok hotshot" he looks sooo relieved that finally she's realised she wants him so bad.

    At least we know now why in the long shot when Threepio interrupts the kiss Leia has her arms around Han's neck, because that shot is the tail end of the alternate kiss.

  27. Oh, wow! I was thinking they looked like I had seen them somewhere!

    Yeah, why weren't there any deleted sex scenes? That makes me sound slightly perverted, but oh well :)

  28. I really need to get the alternate kiss scene. Very badly...

  29. Here's a gif of it:

    And I'm sure you're not the only one who thinks it would be awesome if there were deleted sex scenes, even if it does kill my idea that they did not do it on the way to Bespin.

  30. Well, I was just watching the short version since watching the whole movie. But did check out the extended version on my iPad.

    Those would be some awesome deleted scenes. One of them, either of them, really needed to drag the other to the bunk room.

  31. You can watch the deleted kiss here...!/TheStarWarsPage

    I love that Han has this "uh oh" look on his face after they kiss, like he's expecting her to deck him. And then when she says "ok hotshot" he smirks. Too cute.

  32. I always liked his kind of heartbroken look after he's noticed she's left, like he knows he really missed his chance.

  33. Yes, deleted sex scenes would just totally rock, but seriously, there is no way that Uncle George would ever have entertained such a thing. He wanted SW to be family friendly.

    I remember reading that some of the kisses had to be reshot since George said they were too racy. I think this alternate kiss could well be one of those.

    Can you imagine, poor Carrie, having to reshoot kisses with, what an awful thing to have to do. :) :)

    For the record, I don't believe they did it on the way to Bespin either, although I am happy for someone to try and convince me otherwise.

    I actually don't think they did it at any point in the trilogy. But they made up for it afterwards!

  34. I agree that it was at no point in the trilogy, which of course is why I wrote a story to support that theory. That does not mean I do not enjoy reading stories that suggest otherwise!

    And this alternate kiss just gets me because it reminds me that they have to be just dozens of takes of them kissing that are hidden away somewhere just waiting to be released. You know there are. I hadn't read that about the racy thing. Come on, I started watching these when I was two or three and I doubt I would've been scarred if the kisses were a bit more intense.

  35. Absolutely, there are plenty of great fanfics where they do it during the course of the movies - always an enjoyable read.

    What of that theory that Leia wears white all the time right up until Bespin, then suddenly she's in red! White, of course being symbolic of virginity, and red of passion. So is Leia no longer a virgin when she gets to Bespin? It's interesting, but does Lucas honestly think along those lines?

    Yeah, how many more kisses were cut? There is of course that other deleted kiss in the Empire of Dreams documentary.

    I don't remember where I read about the kisses being to racy, I've read so much over the years. I also recall Carrie mentioning in an interview once that George ordered "no tongues" !!!

  36. I would agree about the Trilogy. I think they waited. But that's just me.

    I've read that theory about the white before Bespin and red at Bespin. I personally don't agree. She was wearing white at the very end of ESB while Luke was getting his artificial hand. She should have done the mattress mambo with Han on the way to Bespin, but I doubt she did. Like to read stories that she did though.

    Awww...having to re-shoot kissing scenes? Sounds like torture. But nothing too racy? No tongue? Uncle George needed to cut them some slack. Look who she was kissing! He really expected her to control herself?

    1. yes, Carrie's commentary on the kiss scene is pretty funny. it seems she was really looking forward to that particular scene (can you blame her?) I bet you are right and there are a TON of alternate versions. I think she said she kept stepping backward and falling off the box they had her standing on so they'd be the same height.

      I never bought the whole white dress/red dress thing. Look at George, does he seriously look like a guy who notices what color shirt goes with what color pants, let alone what color symbolizes what?

    2. Where can I find that commentary? Is it on the blu-ray? Very curious.

    3. The commentary I am remambering is in our older dvds i think. We dont have the blu rays yet so not sure if same stuff is there.

    4. Ok, cool. I'll have to check that out.

  37. Haha, that theory about Leia's outfits always makes me laugh.

    Aren't Anakin and Padme in bed briefly in ROTS or something? Couldn't Han and Leia have had something like that? LOL, I agree about her not being able to control herself, amara :)

    Thanks for the links!

  38. Yes, Anakin and Padme are in bed together in ROTS, with great emphasis on his smooth, shiny chest...(give me "sparse" chest hairs any day).

    I agree, even an identical scene with Han and Leia would be awesome.

  39. Too bad Han and Leia weren't married already. Probably only way they got away with it in ROTS.

  40. I don't think the clothing thing has any real significance. And it is argued that once Leia is in white again at the end of ESB it is because Han is gone and she is just there waiting for him, no longer anyone's lover for the time being. But really, the white outfit was her senator outfit, right? Then on Hoth the white snowsuit just makes sense and matches everyone else's stuff. And the white dress on Yavin, maybe it's just a princess thing.

    Damn, wouldn't it have been amazing if they had made more of these movies in the 80's? Although Carrie went off the deep end for a little bit there in tha late 80's, but still. And Harrison was still at his peak of hotness!

  41. I agree that the outfits don't mean anything, but it's a fun theory. You could take it a stage further I suppose....after she gets Han back in ROTJ she then wears practically NOTHING....what does this symbolise?

    Yes, the peak of Harrison hotness.....for me that would be 1977 to 1988.

    Carrie did some awful films in the 80s, although I am a closet fan of The 'Burbs.

  42. For me Harrison's hotness peak extends through 1994, Clear and Present Danger. He looked great in Patriot Games and The Fugitive (once the beard came off) Sabrina was when he started to look older to me.

    Oh, The 'Burbs. That's one of those movies that I would never say, oh, I like that. And I don't just mean that in public, I mean I just wouldn't even think of it as a movie that I like. Yet if it's on TV, it is almost guaranteed that I'll watch it. I might not completely pay attention, but I'll leave it on. I get a kick out of the end when he puts himself in the ambulence after freaking out and she just casually walks over and says maybe she'll just drive herself and meet him at the hospital and he just says, "Okay, honey."

  43. Lol, Claire, about ROTJ. Perhaps she was tring to give him a hint of what was under the robes.

    All kidding aside, I think Carrie complained she was always so covered up in the first 2 movies.

  44. Don't get me wrong, Harrison is hot in virtually everything. I just realised the time frame I said doesn't include Six Days, Seven Nights, cos I thought he was very hot in that. Must be the shirtless-ness I guess, that and the fact that he reminded me of an older Han.

    So basically I talk crap, and obviously he was hotter for a lot longer than I said!

    I agree about Sabrina. He looked kinda thin in the face in that one too.

    Yes that's a great moment in The Burbs. I just think it's a pretty fun movie. The same can't be said for her other stint with Tom Hanks, The Man with One Red Shoe.

  45. He looked pretty good in Six Days, Seven Nights and of course a whole movie where he's in shorts and often without his shirt is good. But the hair? And Anne Heche, who annoys the crap out of me. And there's an on screen couple who had no chemistry. And it had nothing to do with the acting, there was just nothing there. But back to his hair, I actually have a theory on his hair and how it relates to the success of his films. Yes, I am insane.

    Fortunately I did not see that other movie. Tom Hanks really recovered from doing a lot of terrible movies. Sucks that Carrie didn't get to do more, but it was never really her desire to do a lot of acting anyway as she has stated. She's fun in When Harry Met Sally.

  46. Please share your hair theory with us!!!

    I always wished Harrison and Carrie would make a non SW film together, I would just love to see that, but think it's way too late for that now, sadly. Six Days, Seven Nights would have been a good opportunity for this infact. Replace Anne Heche with Carrie and think how good that would have been.

  47. Maybe on Harrison and Carrie in that movie, but it would've had to have been very young Carrie, not 1998 Carrie.

    Ok, the hair theory. You are going to realize that I am crazy, but I am also right.

    In all of his most successful/best movies, his hair is the same. But there are two (or 4, depending on how you count) exceptions to this rule: Star Wars and Blade Runner. For those we can say that the epic sci-fi nature negates the "wrong" hair. His hair needs to be parted on the right and cut in that Indy sort of way in order for the movie to be good. Patriot Games, Witness, Working Girl = good. Frantic, Mosquito Coast, Random Hearts = bad. I'm not saying they are terrible movies, they are just not considered his best work and in a lot of cases were total bombs.

    Devil's Own wasn't very good, hair was parted the other way. K-19 it was all slicked back, Hollywood Homicide, parted the wrong way, Air Force One, the way it should be. Sabrina, wrong way, his latest movies except Indy it was all different. Your definition of good vs. bad in this case may be different than mine, but to me it feels pretty consistent. That's not to say I don't like some of the movies where his hair is "wrong" (except Random Hearts, which should be prescribed to insomniacs) they are just not movies I'm proud to say I watch. One flaw could be What Lies Beneath, where his hair was parted the wrong way, and that movie did quite well. We can blame it on the fact that in that movie he was (spoiler alert!) the bad guy, so it was bizarro Harrison :) Oh, also note that I have never backtracked this theory pre-Star Wars, so those results may vary and it doesn't count anyway because he wasn't really famous yet.

    There, now you know I'm crazy.

    1. I like the hair theory. it makes as much sense as anything else. LOL about bizarro Harrison in What Lies Beneath. he is sort of hot and creepy at the same time in that one. I can see Carrie in Six Days Seven Nights. Who picked Anne Heche I have no clue. Bah. But Harrison got to be shirtless which makes it worth something at least.

      and let's not get started on obsessive people collecting articles and things or I might have to go down in the basement and burn a certian box. don't forget I'm the one who went to see Under the Rainbow because Carrie was in it, and stole an AARP magazine from her 80 yr old mother in law because Harrison was on the cover. :-)

  48. That had gotta be the greatest random theory ever. I haven't seen very many of him movies, but from what I have seen, that makes total sense.

    And if you are crazy, than I'm probably insane too.

  49. Haa, that's great. I'm a massive Harrison fan (no, ya don't say?) but I've never noticed this. But actually it does make sense, I think you're right.

    Presumed Innocent? That's an oddball hair style, doesn't conform to the norm.

    Regarding Henry is also an odd one because his hair changes

    urghh, Random Hearts, that really is painful, even with him in it.

    Yes, his hair has been different in more recent stuff, and he hasn't REALLY had a successful movie for a while, sooooo. Yeah, you're right.

    And there's nothing wrong with being crazy!!

  50. That's interesting, Zyra. I'll have to check it out. Is there that much pre-SW? Thought Lucas knew him from American Graffiti. And could that possibly be the worst haircut in Presumed Innocent?

    Of course, it tickles me that we've gotten off topic again about his hotness and background pictures. :)

  51. He was in a lot of movies pre-SW, but just very small roles for a lot of them. His "overnight success" took at least 10 years of tiny roles in many forgettable movies.

    Presumed Innocent was terrible hair, but that was actually the point. He said he wanted to make the character a bit less attractive. Is that considered one of his better movies? Was it successful? I only saw the whole thing quite recently. Great plot twist, that's for sure. And holy crap on the almost-sex scene! I had no idea that the scene went quite so far.

  52. Unfortunately, I couldn't tell you about Presumed Innocent other than I read the book and seen bits and pieces of it. I think his haircut makes me shy away. Now you have me curious with the sex scene though.

  53. As Zyra said, it's an ALMOST sex scene. He doesnt get as far as even getting his shirt off, but it's a little more racy than perhaps other scenes he's done.

    Don't let the haircut put you off, seriously it's a good film, and I always find stories with a twist at the end are great fun, it keeps you guessing all the way through. But I guess you know the twist if you've read the book!

    All this Harrison talk reminds me, I've had Cowboys and Aliens on rental for a week now and haven't watched it yet, can you believe it? I must get round to watching it.

  54. Well, his shirt doesn't come off in THAT scene, but his PANTS do. And the woman winds up topless, which... well, he takes advantage of. Honestly haven't seen a lot of THAT in a movie.

    I kinda liked Cowboys and Aliens, but I am a much more forgiving Harrison fan.

  55. I tend to forget topless women, but not shirtless Harrison, lol!!! It's been a long time since I saw this, and I guess I'd forgotten the bit you're referring too, but now you mention it, yeah I remember! I also remember being annoyed that even though the trousers came off we couldn't get a decent view of the goodies because his shirt was in the way....damn it!!

    Ok, I am watching Cowboys and Aliens tonight. It looks good.

  56. I might have overlooked the topless woman if it wasn't for what he DOES to her. And yes, that shirt was super annoying. I wonder if there are alternate takes of that, too? And if you want to see the goodies, there are always the magic google words: Harrison Ford Speedo.

    Let me know what you think of the movie. I liked him in that kind of role, although I'd kind of like to see him do a movie sometime soon where he's a content old man instead of a grumpy one.

  57. I kind of liked Cowboys and Aliens. But it seemed kind of long. I'm kind of curious about Presumed Innocent now.

    Oh yeah. I've seen the speedo pictures. Yummy!

  58. Cowboys and Aliens was pretty good, but it seemed to take forever until Harrison appeared and I was thinking, how much longer?

    He looked good as a gnarled old cowboy!

    Yeah, he was kinda old and grouchy, but then he's so good at that. It's depressing though how old he actually is when you think about it (although Han is even older!!) and how he's relegated to second billing on most of his films now.

    Oh I know all about the speedo pics!!!

    But here's one for you. I don't know how true this is, but I've heard several times that Harrison posed nude in playgirl (I think) during the 70s BEFORE he was cast in SW. The picture apparently shows him wearing a carpentry tool belt and nothing else. Of course a google search will not find this, and you have to be dubious that such a thing even happened. He definitely would not do this after becoming well known, that's for sure, and he seems like a private guy, so would he have even done it at all? I am skeptical, but can't help wonder.....not that I'm ever likely to see it even if it existed.

    Don't suppose anyone else has ever heard this story?

    1. Cowboys and Aliens... Harrison looked good as a gnarled old cowboy and I read where he was a better rider than any of them. Daniel Craig is easy on the eyes but he doesn't do emotion very well. I thought the movie was pretty bad actually.

  59. Yes, Cowboys and Aliens was a bit too long and needed a bit more humor, but I did like Harrison in it. He would do well in more westerns, but they don't really make those often!

    I'd read that before and I've decided it has to be untrue. In this day and age of internet, if it was actually real, those pics WOULD be on the internet somewhere. How could they not be? Someone even crazier and more obsessive than we are would track down that magazine. And it just doesn't even sound like him given his tendency to be more private. Maybe there was a guy who looked similar at some point? I know I've seen a pic before that he was on the cover as Han Solo, but he was fully clothed and I'm pretty sure remained so inside (I'm not so obsessive that I tried to obtain that!) and it was just an interview.

  60. Got to agree, Zyra. You think it'd be all over the place. Google search only mentioned the interview. I would have been crazy enough to pick it up. If those pictures did exist, though, it might ruin us for all others. :)

    He's going to be 70 this year, btw. Can you believe it?

  61. LOL, you think there are people even more obsessive and crazier than us? Maybe there is.

    Yeah I agree with what you say about the nude pics. I remember reading on a message board a comment from someone who had supposedly seen them, via a friend of a friend(yeah that old spiel) and saying they were impressed with tools!!

    1. Claire, I was thinking the same thing about people crazier and more obsessive than us. :)

  62. I definitely think that there are more obsessed people! I mean, I don't have pictures of him on my walls or anything and I'm surely not going to shell out money to buy an autographed picture or something and I'm SURE there are people like that out there.

    And yes, it's always that, a "friend of a friend" had an old copy lying around. Why do people make up stories about, well, first of all, THAT sort of thing, and second of all, about things that can be verified online?

    I have to say though it's a tough thing to google because you can easily wind up seeing things you do not want to see!

    1. OMG I can only imagine what sort of things you'd get if you googled that.

  63. Well, I just finished this book. Yes, I know. I'm totally behind on the book club reading and on chiming in on these 63 comments above me. So, the book first. I really didn't enjoy it. I hated the way Leia was portrayed as an incompetent mother who had shipped her kids off for two years and whatever. I also didn't like how she reacted to Han's disappearance. No, I don't believe her actions were plausible at all. Blah! I guess what really gets me upset is that I know that this is just the tip of the iceberg of the wrongness that is the EU. It's depressing. I will say that Han is written well. He actually thinks about Leia and the children while he is gone and acts like himself. So there is that. The reunion, the kisses? All too brief, IMO, to make up for reading this entire book of fake Leia and her heartlessness/ineptitudeness. (I don't care if those aren't actual words). I guess I'm okay with the rating. Def no higer than a 3 but, unfortunately, we have to leave the 2's and 1's for what's ahead of us.

    For some of the other stuff: Let's see. I've never seen Presumed Innocent but have it on my short list now. I only like th first Indiana Jones movie. I love Marion but hated her in the recent one that she was in. I don't even know who those other women are that y'all are talking about. I just know that there was an elephant, a chinese boy and a whiny, blond headed woman in one or a few of them, but haven't really watch them. I love Harrison, but I don't watch every movie he is in. I would be game for some Playboy pics of him if they existed.

    I guess that's all for now!

  64. Push, I'd forgotten what this thread was actually about until you mentioned the book again. :)

    Sounds like we think along the same lines regarding Leia as the incompetent mother and the all too brief Han and Leia being TOGETHER moments. I agree, it is depressing. Very much so. Yes they are fictional characters, why should we care? But we do care cos we love these characters and know they deserve so much better. Real life can be depressing, so reading about Han and Leia getting a crappy life too is just not why we want to escape to this fictional universe.

    Yes the kisses were all too brief, but at least they kissed, and more than once on the SAME page, you know that ONE page where they were TOGETHER? I don't care how good a writer Tim Zahn is (and he is) or how well he knows the characters "voices" (and he does), I still can't believe they didn't kiss at all in the Thrawn trilogy, it's just not realistic. So I would give Kevin J Anderson at least half a point for having a little kissy time thrown in, even if most of the book leaves a lot to be desired.

    Zyra, I guess there are people more obsessed then, cos I don't have, and would never buy a signed photo - for a start, how can you verify it unless it's signed in front of you? And I don't have pictures of him on the wall....anymore.....used to, a long time ago.

  65. I have Star Wars posters on the wall in my basement, but I've had them since I was in high school and it was normal to have posters, and they're for my overall love of SW and not just him. The Temple of Doom poster and the Air Force One poster, admittedly, MIGHT be just because of him ;) But again, I've had them since I was a teenager and they're even framed. And they're awesome, so why get rid of them? I just bet there are people who seek out every article he is in and all sorts of random pics. I've also never stalked him even though I lived in LA for a bit. However, if I knew where he was going to be and I was close by, I WOULD go.

  66. There's people more obsessive and crazy than us? Thats a scary thought.

    I definitely don't obsess over Harrison... At least not so that other people can tell that I'm obsessed with him.

    1. "I definitely don't obsess over Harrison... At least not so that other people can tell that I'm obsessed with him"

      I love it, GoldDragon.

  67. Oh I've got SW film posters on the wall in the spare room (which is also where all my SW books and 12inch figures live). I've got a load of old stuff I had on the walls as a teenager up in the loft, didn't want to throw it out, but would be embarrassed to have it plastered everywhere nowadays!

  68. in the words of Jimmy Buffett, if we weren't all crazy we would go insane.

    Random fact linking this post to Harrison Ford: on Buffett's 1985 album "Last Mango In Paris", Harrison provided the whip cracks for the song "Desperation Samba."

  69. my random prove you aren't a robot word tonight was "whinging"

  70. It's sort of disappointing that as the blog contributor we do not have to type in words to verify ourselves. Feel like I'm missing out.

    Isn't it also Jimmy Buffett's fault that Harrison got that stupid earring? Will he ever finally realize how ridiculous it looks? At least they never let him wear it in his movies.

  71. For a little while I had no idea what everybody was talking about until I had to enter one of those words for Elivagar's blog and then I was like, "Oh! That's what they were talking about."


  72. LOL you know, I think you might be right about the earring thing. could have been worse, he could have woken up with a tatoo, eh?

    and my latest almost-but-not-quite-a -word is "deboniar"

  73. Anne Heche was still gay then too, wasn't she? Maybe Harrison changed her back. Not because anything went on there, but because, well, how could he not turn you back onto men?

  74. Indeed. I don't care how gay you are, Harrison makes a way better guy than Ellen does.

  75. back to the topic at hand, BTW... what the hell is up with Luke on the cover of this book, anyway? he is all creepy dark side dude.

  76. Have to agree with the negative comments on Harrison's earring, I hate it!!! Think it was a mid-life crisis kinda thing. But it really really does nothing for him at all.

  77. Yeah, he got it when he was 55, and it wasn't long after that he got divorced, so we can maybe assume he was going through some stuff and that was a by product. But it's been almost 15 years. Let it go! Can't you just let people think you're cool because you're Han AND Indy and you fly a plane and do your own stunts and just still are in great shape at nearly 70? Maybe we should all at least be thankful that he hasn't had a facelift or something.

  78. Agreed, Zyra. At least we have the background picture to look at.

  79. Argh, was at a friend's house for the last day. I can't believe that I missed out on that whole last part of the conversation!

    He got an earring? Wow, never noticed that. Haha, had to scroll up heaps to find the cover, I'd forgotten what it looked like! Luke does look seriously creepy, jzhanfan!

    Ooh, I love this background picture...