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Running out of things to say - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
Running out of things to say
Erg. The net was out most of the day at work. Slacking off time aside, you don't realize how often you have to check a website (for school summer reading lists, etc) or use an electronic datebase just to, you know, do the library thing. Not to mention our 'net regulars who come in to use the computers. One of our computers refused to let me disable it for some reason, and the kids kept going over, sure that it was the only computer in the library with net access. "I can't get in!!!"

I could only say, "Me, neither."

Anyway, talking to a_p_ this weekend, we got on the subject of Star Wars fanfic, as we are wont to do. And I realized the reason I don't write that much anymore is that I don't have that much new to say about Anakin's story. (And yes, I do read the whole saga as "Anakin's story.")

I think I must have written over a thousand pages of Anakin/Vader fic after Episode 1. The Penitent is roughly three hundred pages, and the two Lady Vader stories are about the same, which means I've written more than a thousand pages, since that doesn't even include Family Portrait or any number of short stories. The character fascinates me, and has since I saw Return of the Jedi. The fascination hasn't waned, and I'm very much looking forward to episode three...

And hoping I've made some wrong guesses.

I was in a rush between Episode 1 and 2 to get my stuff together and come up with a picture of Anakin that made sense to me. I was pleased and gratified with Attack of the Clones, because the things that needed fixing were all surface (which name Padmé/Amidala would choose to go by, for instance). The basic sweep of the character, I'd gotten, and didn't need to change. And now I find myself a bit trapped--Anakin's a complex character (a lot more complex than his critics and detractors like to allow), but a thousand odd pages have pretty much covered my observations, to wit:

  • Anakin is ruled primarily, and often unwisely, by love. This is both a weakness and a strength.
  • Anakin sees things up close and personal, and doesn't have a great grasp on the fabled Big Picture.
  • By contrast, Obi-Wan is really great with the Big Picture, but can't comprehend the individual passions that so rule Anakin. This makes for a relationship where the two parties miscommunicate constantly, even when they think they understand one another.
  • Anakin is naïve. He very honestly can't imagine why just putting someone nice like Padmé (or, as he tragically believes, Palpatine) in a position of absolute power wouldn't make for paradise in our time. He is perfectly sincere when he says that what he wants is to bring order to the galaxy, and that if the rebels would just stop fighting, everything would be hunky-dory.
  • He thinks in terms of people, not systems. Had he lived after his redemption, he would have driven his more politically aware (but equally passionate) daughter mad with this, because he couldn't comprehend why she would put limits on her own power, since after all, she knows she means well and is not Palpatine.

That's it. A thousand pages. And probably counting, as in the end of things, I always come back to Star Wars no matter what I say, and SW, for me, is Anakin.

Oh, we got a negative review on Lady Vader because the reviewer didn't believe that Anakin would bend so easily to Amidala, or that Amidala would give in to dictatorship, and that's something that remains to be seen in Episode 3--how much would he allow her to be his "someone wise," and how tempted might she be to give in to his idealism and take on the role, especially if it's in the form of opposition to Palpatine? But I don't think there's been anything in the movies that would contradict our interpretation.

So now what do I say? The twins have been developed in the Anakin stories, as has Padmé to some extent. Han and Lando don't interest me much, and Chewie intersts me not at all. I was at the point where I was mostly playing with my original characters, three war orphans from different perspectives who grew up together. Every time I sit down to write on the themes and the character that still hold my allegiance and interest, I feel like I'm just repeating something I already said.

That's one of the reasons I dove so deep into Harry Potter--new people and new ideas to play with. Remus grabbed my mind, and later Tonks did. I wanted to know more and think about them a bit. What's the meaning of lycanthropy? What does it feel like? What about the Shapeshifter who has such a stable and indomitable personality? Heck, what about the Shapeshifters in general? You can't shake a stick at this universe without hitting someone with a few different forms. I imagine that sooner or later, I'll run out of things to say about Remus and Tonks, and people will heave a sigh of relief about it, but for now, they're bubbling away in my brain as much as Anakin, and I haven't managed to get all of it out yet.

Anyway, I think I'm re-pimping this fic of mine, but I'm in an Anakin-ish mood, so this is my favorite of my solo-written Anakin stories, because it's where I learned to love Obi-Wan, too.


ETA: I switched to Mozilla Firefox for my browser on the advice of the LJ techie people. I don't entirely like it.
4 comments or Leave a comment
ladyaeryn From: ladyaeryn Date: July 1st, 2004 10:11 pm (UTC) (Link)
the reviewer didn't believe that Anakin would bend so easily to Amidala, or that Amidala would give in to dictatorship

Even without Episode III, I don't see the character extrapolations unreasonable. And no, I don't just say that because of how it reflects on me as one of the authors. I honestly have to wonder if this reviewer saw the same AOTC we did.

After all, the main times you do see Anakin concede something major (like say, his heart), it seems to be to Padme. You don't see him often bend easily to anyone else, if at all. Plus the whole 'of course not me - someone wise' thing... Anakin doesn't want to run the whole shebang unless he feels he has absolutely no other choice ('if you want something done right you've got to do it yourself'). He'd rather put someone he trusts in power, and there are few, if any, he trusts (and would trust in a position of political power) more than Padme.

Padme and dictatorship, though - hmm. Well, Padme of AOTC era, it would be unlikely she'd give in. But we know some of Anakin's own impulses/ways of thinking of rubbed off on her a bit to begin with, and the Amidala of LV-dom certainly would have about as much reason to trust the ways of the Republic as her husband. She's had years in isolation to dwell on how it failed her and her family. And then of course her driving need to fix things, which has also been twisted over years of bitter isolation.

(About the biggest quip I could see with Anakin and Amidala's characterizations in the premise of LV would be Amidala so desperately attaching herself to Vader... but even that's not an unreasonable extrapolation, because it again goes back her 'fixing' impulse.)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: July 1st, 2004 10:16 pm (UTC) (Link)

I think if she'd started out to become Empress, it wouldn't have worked. But I think if she sees it as something to take down Palpatine, who betrayed her, mocked her ideals, and destroyed her family, she could be seduced by the Dark Side as much as Anakin could. I don't think anyone out there is immune.
lazypadawan From: lazypadawan Date: July 2nd, 2004 03:52 pm (UTC) (Link)
[i]I don't think anyone out there is immune.[/i]

And that's one of the saga's main points.

I don't have a problem with the way Amidala is characterized in this story; if there's one person Anakin always defers to in these movies, it's Padmé. Mr. "I've Given Up Arguing With You."

As for the dark side, it was clear to me after AOTC that regardless of Padmé's ideals, she loves Anakin unconditionally. She will never give up on him. Give her the right situation, lead her upon a slippery slope, and she could very well end up a Lady Vader.
manicwriter1271 From: manicwriter1271 Date: July 3rd, 2004 08:19 am (UTC) (Link)
I thought it was actually pretty realistic the way Amidala and Anakin were portrayed in "By the Grace of Lady Vader" and "Ascension of the Queen"--not that Amidala would be pro-dictatorship, but I think she would see the Old Republic as corrupt (and I'm not convinced she won't see this in Episode III) and would want a different form of government--not Palpatine and not the Old Republic either. She probably would not see what she was doing as "being a dictator", not in the sense that Palpatine was anyway--more like martial law.
4 comments or Leave a comment