Saturday, April 5, 2014

What Your Bloggers Do When They Get Together

So we haven't posted anything new.  But that is because I'm down visiting with Push, and aside from the general busy-ness of her life, when we do settle down and get to talk, usually things go something like this:

Push:  We need to do another blog post.

Zyra:  Yeah, we do.

Push:  What should it be about?

Zyra:  I don't know, I don't have any ideas. 

Push:  Didn't we get some suggestions on the last post?

Zyra:  Yeah, but I don't remember what they were.

Push:  It's been a week since we did a post.

Zyra:  I know. 

And then we go back to playing our Tiny Death Stars on our phones.  I mean, we do other stuff, too, but that's kind of how things have been going.  Hopefully at some point we can get our acts together and start an interesting conversation.  In the mean time, feel free to discuss whatever here :)


  1. It's spring break! I get to write this week!

    BTW, the photo on your wallpaper is one of my favorites :)

    I kind of like the idea that while Han and Leia are spouses and lovers, but that they're also the best of friends.

  2. I love that photo too...

    Stats... enjoy break!

    Sooo..... Have we discussed Han's backstory? Who likes Crispin's version? Things you don't like about that version?

    And what about the section she doesn't talk about... before he's picked up by Shrike... missing moment anyone?

    1. Lots of good possibilities there. I might have to check that out.

    2. I'm not a big fan myself. I pretty much hate Bria and rather ignore that part. I also don't agree with Crispin's assumption that Han didn't want to get involved with Leia because he had been burned or left by a woman in the past. Perhaps it had more to do with not wanting to give up his carefree lifestyle and bachelor ways. He sure seemed ready to give it up once Leia thawed out a little. But that's just me.

    3. Well said Amara, and I totally agree. This is the reason I hate Crispin's version of Han's backstory. And it also goes against what Lucas himself said about Han's past, that Leia was the first woman he ever loved, so I side with George on that one. Despite the scary thought of recasting a young Han, maybe the rumoured Han spin off movie will kick Bria's butt out of existence, and not before time.

      But enough about her...I must mention Tiny Death Star. I only started playing on Friday, and I'm completely hooked! Anyone else playing?

  3. I've read Crispin's trilogy. It's an amusing beach read but doesn't carry much credence as a backstory. I really do believe Leia's the first woman he ever loved. And now I have a topic I want to tackle!

  4. Yeah, I don't buy Han at the beginning of ANH (well, 45 minutes in- the beginning of ANH, as far as I'm concerned!) as a guy who hates the Alliance because he was burned by a woman in the very recent past. It just doesn't "fit", you know?

    (Full disclosure: I haven't read the books, and I don't plan to. So I may be a little off on this interpretation...)

  5. Hi guys--hope you're having a blast together!

    The Bria stuff doesn't hold a lot of water with me, but the stuff about Han's backstory that stays with me is the idea of him being orphaned at a very young age and basically indentured to Shrike. That was always compelling to me. But it's true that someone with a childhood like that with no stable adults in his life in unlikely to have successful long term relationships. I guess that's where Dewlanna comes in. Anyhoo, that's my take on it.

  6. Some of my thoughts on Crispin's books:

    Han's early backstory with Shrike worked for me, as did his relationship with Dewlanna. I agree with Lady Peter that having someone like Dewlanna in Han's early life would be critical to his growing up to be a well-adjusted individual.

    I didn't care much for Bria as a character, but I don't find her as threatening to the Han/Leia ideal as many other fans seem to.

    I look at it this way: Han was young when he met Bria and, having only recently escaped from his crappy and abusive life with Shrike, would be vulnerable and insecure (though not realize it, of course, being all of, what, seventeen or something?) All of a sudden there's this attractive girl who's a bit of a mess, and it's a huge self-esteem booster for him to become her savior & protector of sorts. Bria makes him feel useful, needed and strong. It's not surprising to me that someone with young Han's background and personality would fall into this role. I really don't see this as a bad thing; it's a pretty believable teen-aged-guy reaction and paints Han as a decent-hearted person. Would he fall for someone like Bria at age 30? No, because he's matured by then. But at age 17, in the context of the story, I don't have a problem with it.

    The other thing about Bria that doesn't bother me as much as it seems to bother others is the idea of Han being in love (or at least thinking he's in love) with someone before Leia. First experiences, like Han's experience with Bria, often feel like love when they're really not at all. There's nothing wrong with that. It's all part of the learning curve, helps you figure out what you're truly looking for (and *not* looking for) in a partner so you can eventually identify the right person when they come along. The opposite (a healthy twenty-nine-year-old having never been in love, or at least imagined he'd been in love) would be a little concerning, actually.

    In addition, I think most Han/Leia fans agree that, by the time he meets Leia, Han isn't exactly a virgin. Frankly I'd rather have at least some of those experiences be with women that he cared about to some degree, like Bria and Xaverri, than with just a string of cantina women, which would hardly bode well for his ability to maintain a long-term relationship with anyone, let alone a relationship as challenging as his and Leia's promises to be. Because, let's face it, those two are facing a lot of challenges in that one.

    Three of the many things I didn't like in the books:
    1. Bria being a member of the rebel alliance. Why was this necessary?
    2. Han naming his first ship after Bria, years after she left him. Um, no.
    3. And the worst offender: Han finding out about Bria's death the day before he met Leia. Ugh, please, no! I saw nothing in A New Hope to suggest anything along those lines, and felt it was a hugely unnecessary plot contrivance that easily could've been dealt with earlier. Bleah.

    - Sabacc Gal

    1. I agree with this post so much, it's scary.

      But I'll be the first to admit that I don't like Bria. It's not because of some "Leia fan jealousy" or whatever, or because I think Han having previous relationships is some sort of "threat" to his relationship with Leia. Because, I totally agree, that for him to not have had at least a couple of somewhat "loving" relationships in his past at this point would be concerning. And, really, it would not bode well for his relationship with Leia (these things do take a certain amount of "practice" most of the time to get it right. You know? You take lessons from "failed relationships" and hopefully apply them in a positive way to the next one)….

      BUT again, I did take issue with the execution of this prior relationship. Really, it's all the points Sabaac Gal mentioned, plus I would add that there was a strange sort "Mary-Sue-ish" feel to Bria. I know she's not totally perfect--drug addiction, etc---but Han being somewhat hung up on her for so long didn't sit right with me. It just didn't feel right. I don't know. I just didn't see him being like that. Especially for someone who clearly did not seem worth the mental anguish.

      And there seemed to be too many "tie-ins" between Bria and the OT. That just seemed like too much of the author inserting herself and her character into the saga. Does that make sense? I remember this being in issue with me, but sadly, I can't remember specific examples of this off the top of my head. Does anyone know what I'm talking about?

      I wish I could be more articulate, but my thoughts are scattered at the moment, and I've admittedly not read the books in about ten years. So, there you go….

    2. You're making perfect sense to me, Rose, and I was going to say the same thing. I'm not so much threatened by Bria, but she is very much a mary-sue replacement for Leia. And it just grates and strikes a little too close to home for me. Especially when our girl may not be perfect, but she's pretty awesome in her own right. There was no reason to create another love of his life so similar. Sabbacc Girl hit it on the head with the last three points. I think what you are referring to is the fact that Bria was part of the group that transmitted the Death Star plans to Leia. Zyra, correct me if I'm wrong on that cause I know if someone remember the obscure stuff, you probably do. :)

      I think Sabbacc Girl, you make a good point about him having relationships before Leia and the reason why he needed to. I hadn't thought of that way. I'm all for him having relationships before Leia and probably would be very odd if he hadn't. But I just can't see them being the love of his life. I think that happened with Leia. But I could be a little jaded that men under 30 are probably thinking of only "one thing" and it isn't getting married. :) I could see it takes them a while to decide to settle down. So I'm not sure that Han would be thinking of getting married to start. Hope that makes sense. His relationship with Xaverri never really bugged me and kind of funny that they can run into one of the exes later. I really don't see any evidence in the movies that he was ever burned or broken up about a woman. And that bit about finding out Bria died on the day Han met Luke and Obi-wan is just a stretch for me.

      Hubby and I were talking about this at lunch and hit on an interesting point. We've sorted of discussed it before I think, but it folds in nicely with this discussion. Was Han head over heels for Leia prior to ESB? Or did he just suspect something more was there? Curious if Leia was a conquest to start and it evolved into more. I can't see a man sticking around for three years and not feeling more than that and for just a "roll in the hay". I imagine Han stuck around partially for the Alliance and his friends. But how much did he know about how he felt for Leia as they move into ESB events? Did he just suspect? Did he want to see how much was there?

    3. Some good points in the last few posts ladies.

      You know the absolute worst thing about Bria for me? How it's implied that Han only fell for Leia BECAUSE of Bria, and how he only joined the Rebellion BECAUSE of Bria. It's Mary Sue-ism taken to the extreme and in my opinion craps all over Han's character arc.

      Amara, you are spot on :) Bria was responsible for stealing the Death Star plans, which again ups the Mary Sue level even higher. That was totally unnecessary. And I believe there is also a reference to the "I love you", "I know" exchange with Bria, but I don't remember the exact context of that, but it's like Crispin stuffed it in there to make it seem like he only said "I know" to Leia because it reminded him of Bria. Ugh.

      I'd like to point out that I have no problems with Han having previous relationships, and I'm sure he had many. But like Amara says, I don't like the idea of Bria being the "extra special" one, and the love of his life. All his other ex girlfriends in the EU are fine.

      I think Han took a shine to Leia pretty early on, but think it took a good while to realise he was falling in love with her. The attraction was there right from the start I think. And she's definitely the reason he stuck around for so long. I think by the time we get to ESB he knows he's in deep but he's fighting a losing battle trying to break down the walls she's putting up.

    4. I'd forgotten about the "I know" bit with Bria. What a sad, sad thing to retcon one of the best lines from the movies into some recycled moment from a previous relationship.

      And the Death Star plans? Give me a break.

      I completely agree, the Bria-Leia parallels felt contrived, weakened Han's character development, and were downright disturbing in places.

      Forgot to comment on the hilarious pic -- Hubby is a big Blues Brothers fan! Now I'm picturing Leia chasing Han across the galaxy with a flamethrower...

      - Sabacc Gal

    5. To address amara Z's final question, I pretty much totally agree with what Claire1976 said. But I think he actually might've initially stayed for Luke, and as things progressed, it became more about Leia. And I'm not a "love at first sight" type, so I would guess that around ANH it would've been mostly a sexual/ "conquest" kind of attraction (he was genuinely intrigued by her personality, I'm sure. But he didn't love her--not yet). So, you know, if Leia had for whatever reason just "given it up" for him after the medal ceremony (and I'm not judging--as it stands she had much more self-control than I did at her age), I don't think it would be a stretch to imagine Han being like, "Thanks, that was great. Take care, Princess." ;-P

      BUT I definitely think that he developed more serious feelings for her in the span between ANH and ESB. And by the beginning of the second film he's already fallen. No doubt. :)

    6. Lol. That was great. But yeah, I could see Han do that too. And probably why Leia didn't give in. But WAY more self-control than I have.

      Oh, I totally agree on the feelings between ANH and ESB. For me, no doubt. And hubby thinks there was definitely attraction or something between them before ANH. But he's not as convinced Han knew it was a forever kind of thing by ESB. I think Han knew by ESB he was in love with her. I might say he didn't know how deep it ran or it would result in any kind of long term relationship. But I think he was willing to find out and Leia pretty much wasn't. Claire summed it right that he was fighting a losing battle. Kind of like he knew she liked him, didn't know where it would lead, but she just wouldn't admit it. No wonder he gave her a good kiss. :) I'm still not convinced how long the trip to Bespin was, but there was a good line in the Millennium Falcon book about Han and how the long flight at sub-light sealed the deal for him with Leia, that it really solidified his feelings for her. Always thought that was sweet.

  7. I think Han's had relationships with women he liked and cared about. Xaverri and he clearly parted on good terms; the women he knows from smuggling are as strong headed and independent as he is. (The Salla Zund transformation was, to my mind, ridiculous.) Sabacc Gal is right; his calling Bria's father the day before he meets Leia is completely misplaced.

    As for politics, I think when he meets Leia he's utterly agnostic on the question of the Empire vs. The Alliance. He clearly doesn't love the Empire, but he's not interested in getting entangled in the Rebellion. Well, not till the end of ANH.

    In my extremely non humble opinion, I think what makes Leia different from the other women he's cared about is that she is committed to things larger than herself. He learns a lot from her in that regard.

  8. I have to admit I am not a huge fan of the Crispin series and I was so excited when it came out.

    I agree that Han being orphaned at a a very young age definitely fits the character but the Shrike gang of thieves was a little too pat for me. (Oliver Twist anyone?) Abusive foster homes mixed with nice ones gives the same options without the very obvious literary reference. That with more details on his naval experience would be a great story fodder... and Daley laid down some broad hints in that direction that give lots of options.

    I admit I also didn't like Dewlanna as a character. I'm probably in the minority here but she too was a bit much for me... Han is only Chewie's friend because a Wookie helped him as a kid??? the attempts to make the Rebellion as close to his previous life bug me. And the 'she died to save him...' a bit over the top.

    Daley wrote prior relationships for Han that were relatively believable. I don't hate Bria but as you have all pointed out the character was very Mary Sue and too cliché in so many aspects of the story. I do think Han could have had a puppy love relationship with Bria and learned that he needed a strong woman like Leia from that failure.

    As to why Han stuck around... there is a line in Razor's Edge where Han and Leia are about to go separate ways on a mission and Han offers a quick 'watch your back' sort of send off. I don't have the book on me at the moment but the line is something like...

    Han got the feeling that the princess was expecting something more from him that he didn't know how to give her. There were times when he was expecting something more from her but for the life of him he didn't know what that was...

    To me that sounds like a man in love for the very first time. Real love. And he's confused as to why he's there and how he's supposed to move forward and she's not giving him any clues. Of course she is what? 19? she has no idea what she needs from him either.

    1. Agree with your assessment. It very much sounds like a couple who've never actually been in love with anyone else. Han's had some enjoyable relationships in the past, and it seems as if he'd stay friends with some of them, but real love and commitment are totally different.

      I also like your idea of sending Han to various foster homes. You'd get the same result without Shrike, who's a little too one dimensional for my tastes.

      And yeah, his military experience is glossed over completely. Seems that it'd be something he'd take great pride in and become very conflicted about -- and it wouldn't just be because he refused to kill Chewie.

    2. I'm so happy to see that you guys went ahead and took a topic and ran with it.

      Oh, the Crispin books. I wonder if my opinion on them would've been different if I'd read them for the first time when I was an adult as opposed to, like 20 or whatever I was when I first read them. I know we had passionate, hatred-filled discussions on Bria "back in the day" on some old Han and Leia forums that no longer exist. Like it's been stated, it's not that he had someone before Leia, because of course he would. It was the level of importance placed on her, and how she was so connected to so much that happened later in the movies. And I can't remember the specific examples aside from the general "I love you/I know" thing, but I do believe there were a couple of things that happened that mirrored things that happened later with Leia, and that just seemed totally unnecessary. Every relationship is different. I hated the idea that he was thinking of another one while interacting later with Leia.

      I also hated the implication that his reluctance to join the rebellion was because he was scorned by a woman. Sorry, no. His reluctance made total sense to me just because he is a loner and doesn't want to "join" anything so he is free to accept work/credits wherever available. He doesn't want to be tied down to anything.

      As for how soon he loved Leia, probably not right away. And I think in the beginning he probably stuck around for her AND Luke. Most of his "friends" aside from Chewie at that point were probably almost if not outright criminals who couldn't entirely be trusted. He's used to dealing with people who are only out for themselves, and suddenly he's dealing with people fighting for a larger cause who will risk their lives for someone else even if they barely know them. It's probably different for him to be around people he feels like he can trust, even if he still carries some cynicism. So, did he stick around just for HER? I actually don't think so. I think for Luke and because even though he never would've admitted it, he kind of liked being part of something like that rather than just smuggling. And eventually he started to feel some sense of responsibility to look out for them. Somewhere along the way, of course he found Leia more and more intriguing, he learned more and more about her and at some point we can't be sure of, he fell in love with her. I wonder if he had even admitted it to himself yet though by the time we see them in ESB.

    3. Zyra - I agree that Han's reluctance to join the Rebellion had nothing to do with being scorned by a female... I think I'd go a little further and add that I think his issues in the military and being ordered to do things that he truly disagreed with might play a large role in why he didn't want to officially join and put himself back under someone else's command. I see him as happy controlling his own destiny. And not having to face having someone tell him to kill his best friend expecting him to do it KWIM?

      I agree his reasons for staying are more complicated than "just" Leia. Luke and wanting to protect the kid 'brother; figure. A sense of belonging with friends, and maybe a place to hide out from Jabba while he earns the $$ to pay him back probably all lead to a much better set of reasons then being head over heals for a woman he just met.

  9. I'm a little iffy on the EU- where does Han's military background come into it? Personally I don't really buy the Imperial military/saving Chewie backstory, something doesn't feel right there. I guess they had to justify Chewie spending more time with Han than with his family, and 'heterosexual life partner' just wasn't cutting it. But I'm pretty 'meh' on EU canon in general...

    1. Most of the military history is hinted at very broadly in the Han Solo books by Brian Daley.. He gives him the history as a Lt Han Solo in the Imperial navy with a reputation as a hot pilot with the nickname of Slick. Han Solo at Stars End being one of my all time favorite books... and the others also being good reads. I admit they color my impressions of Han as a character pretty deeply. But then I read them as a teenager when I was totally stuck on Han... and well before any of the official EU came out... Crispin dodges the Daley books by getting Han admitted to the academy at the end of book 1 and picking up after the Daley books in book 2...