anghraine: from the 2005 p&p: darcy standing at a piano while georgiana plays it (princess leia)
[personal profile] anghraine
I'm delaying unpopular opinion day. Also, I'm not sure if this is character-bashing or not. But anyway: retrocest!

You all know what I'm talking about. This.

There is a lot of discomfort around this kiss. Which is understandable, though I find it odd that all the discomfort is focused on this kiss and an embrace that didn't even make the cut:

And not, say, any of the other times she kisses him (there are at least three, twice on the cheek and once on the lips), or an even more overtly romantic kiss that also got cut.

A lot of people do their best to address the discomfort over, well, our heroine kissing her twin brother—but again, not over Leia-kissing-Luke in general, just this particular kiss. It's a little odd, because this is probably the least shippy of their kisses; it has more to do with thumbing their respective noses at Han Solo than anything else. The others, whatever the reasons for them, are at least about each other.

At a guess, I'd say it's probably because Han's presence ups the sexual ante, in a way. This kiss is longer and more sexual—it has to be, since that's the point of it in the first place.

Anyway, this is about the argument that is almost invariably made to . . . refute the discomfort, I guess. To whit:

But it wasn't even about Luke! She was just trying to make Han jealous!

It wasn't about Luke, you're right. But it also had nothing to do with making Han jealous, and I am actually pretty uncomfortable with the suggestion that it did.

No, not because Splinter brought me around to regarding Luke/Leia as endearingly amusing rather than omg no, and not because of my affection for the Han/Leia/Luke OT3 (it's all [personal profile] lotesse 's fault! And silversandals'!). In fact, not for any shipping reasons at all.

It's not really because of the kiss itself either. It's the context. The vaguely skeevy context.

To recap, Han has decided he has to go repay his … bill to Jabba the Hutt, and is leaving the Alliance to do it. (I'm guessing he can't just make a quick trip and come back?) He announces this to General Rieekan—I think; the Rebel generals and admirals are all a bit interchangeable to me, except Ackbar, of course—who is perfectly understanding. Leia is evidently unhappy, though still self-controlled.

Han swaggers over to her and, ignoring their audience, offers a reasonably pleasant good-bye. Leia brusquely acknowledges his departure, Han snarls a clearly injured goodbye, and stalks off. Leia, upset, runs after and is basically all “wtf” at him.

Han explains that he's changed his mind because something to do with a bounty hunter, and Leia all but asks him to stay—with the royal Alliance “we.” Han not-very-subtly hints that she needs him, personally, and Leia is completely confused. He finally lays out that she wants him to stay because of her feelings for him, and Leia agrees—that she feels he's a capable and charismatic leader, which Han scoffs at. Leia finally gets it and immediately rejects him. Han demands to know why she followed him if she isn't in love with him, and suggests she doesn't really mean it and actually wants him to kiss her. Leia rejects him again, and Han tells her she needs to get, um, kissed.

After Luke's rescue, Han comes to visit him in the hospital and Leia joins them shortly thereafter. Han immediately suggests (again) that Leia is trufax interested in him and engineered his delay. Leia (again) rejects this, and explains that the decision was made by other people. Han, light-heartedly, refuses to accept her denial and Chewie laughs at him. Han, piqued, insinuates—ostensibly to Chewie but it's clearly meant, in different ways, for Luke and Leia—that they had some kind of romantic interlude and Leia declared her love to him.

Leia, who has unequivocally rejected him three times by this point, is livid. She sputters in rage and Han smugly decides this means (you guessed it) that she must be interested in him. Leia is even more furious and informs him that he clearly has no clue about women if he thinks that, and snogs Luke. She sails out and Luke smirks.

Yes, Han is correct that Leia is attracted to him and reluctant to admit it to herself, or act on it. What he doesn't seem to get is that it's Leia's choice. It isn't his job to tell her, oh no, she's wrong about her own feelings, he understands them so much better. And it isn't his job, or anyone's, to ignore her repeated refusals. That's completely inappropriate—and, though normally this sentence would never pass my lips (or fingers), compares unfavourably to the prequels, where Anakin's vaguely creepy pursuit of Padmé and her total obliviousness and repeated rejections echo Han and Leia, but when Padmé (who is by this point evidently interested in him) tells him to back the hell off, he does.

So. Han's romance-novel-hero refusal to accept no for an answer is completely inappropriate, and then it's compounded by the fact that Leia finds it completely inappropriate. It's infuriating and she's infuriated; the skeeviness of his behaviour is being semi-acknowledged by the text (not wholly, because I think the ultimate, intended implication is that he was right about her feelings and right to force her to acknowledge them and right to pursue her until she did so). And then she calls him on his refusal to accept hers: in fact, she doesn't just say that understanding “no” as “yes” is misunderstanding her, but that it's misunderstanding women.

Relevant tumblr is relevant.

And that is when she kisses Luke—as yet another attempt to convince Han to back off. “I don't get it” didn't work. “Are you high?” didn't work. “I'm not interested” didn't work. And now she's trying “I'm interested in someone else, see, we're making out, so there.

That, for the record, doesn't work either. Still: making him jealous is about the last thing on her mind. And I suspect this, aside of the basic awesomesauce of her I'll-kiss-whoever-the-hell-I-want-and-regret-nothing approach to romance, is why she betrays not the slightest self-consciousness about it in ROTJ.

I actually do ship Han/Leia. But I wouldn't if not for the carbon-freezing chamber and ROTJ.

on 2011-10-15 05:46 pm (UTC)
lotesse: (starwars_incestkisses)
Posted by [personal profile] lotesse
The thing I love most about Luke/Leia is actually that she feels like she *can* use him in that way, that she feels safe enough with him that kissing him like that is something she can do to communicate her sovereignty without risking further embroilment. Because Luke would never ever ever fail to get that Leia's kisses are hers to control. And that's just dear. *smishes them*

eta: "an even more overtly romantic kiss that also got cut"? How do I not know about this?! Do you have details? Spill!
Edited on 2011-10-15 05:47 pm (UTC)

on 2011-10-15 09:42 pm (UTC)
lotesse: (starwars_incestkisses)
Posted by [personal profile] lotesse
HOLY -! that was just all kinds of pleasing. DO WANT.

on 2011-10-16 12:33 am (UTC)
sathari: (Vaderkin on the balcony)
Posted by [personal profile] sathari
Luke/Leia: THIS SO MUCH.

And also, expanding on the prequels: Anakin's vague-creepy has always come off to me as well-meaning cluelessness, because:

He babbles confusedly at her about how good-looking she is but shuts up when she cues him off in their first meeting in AOTC;

His next attempt (the kiss on the porch on Naboo) involves all non-threatening body language (and more stupid/clueless come-ons) but the minute she says "Whoa!" he pulls back. (And he also doesn't at all trap her physically, to a point at which, in watching them together, the body language is awkward, which says to me that he goes out of his way physically not to force his wants on her.);

The rolling-around-in-the-grass scene is so purely playful, that it reads to me as Anakin seeing a moment, one of a very few in his life, where he can play, and just going with it--- and I notice that he doesn't use his physical or Force-strength to "win", because she ends up on top, which to me is a non-verbal communication of his willingness to accept that she gets to decide how far they go; he's not in any way trying to coerce her or override her feelings;

The fireplace scene, where he says what his feelings are, however clumsily, without (IMO at least) in any way trying to coerce or threaten or override her feelings or her rejections; he just says what he wants--- again, however awkwardly and extremely--- without in any way implying that he thinks he knows better than she does what SHE wants or needs. He expresses what he wants, and bares himself rather completely, and backs off when she tells him to, and that's that and nothing else happens between them until and unless she says so. (We don't see how they decide to get married, but I think you and I talked elsewhere about how that could have been a reaction to the clone-army stuff, a rejection of the Jedi Order as a moral authority in a sense.)

(Honestly, the only time he trips my gendered-male-fuckery-towards-women in the PT is the Force-choking-of-Padme, and possibly the "are you an angel?" line, and those are the beginning and the end of their relationship, and that... needs unpacking, like the only two times he does it are at the times when they're least in harmony with each other, when they know the least about each other and are least connecting and communicating, and that this makes it more likely that what was broken between them could be fixed, granted with a lot of help, because they moved away from that for most of their relationship?)

Han, on the other hand, acts like he knows better than Leia does what she wants. And there is a whole man-of-the-world thing that... *facepalm*. (I like to think that being carbon-frozen and literally objectified and then rescued by Leia made a deep subtle change in Han's worldview that made him different from the guy who could override Leia's protests. That, and I said somewhere else about the layers of nonverbal communication between Leia and Han in the kiss scene, but I'm not sure those are well-thought-out-enough, at a Doyleist level, to... be meaningful?) (On which note I think the difference between Han and Anakin may be that Anakin knows at a bone-deep level what it is like to be a thing and an object and a non-person and he is not going to do that to someone he loves, whereas Han Solo has maybe always been free at some level and doesn't really know internally what it's like to have someone else override your sense of self and your will.)

on 2011-10-17 11:54 pm (UTC)
sathari: (Anakin has adjustment issues)
Posted by [personal profile] sathari
Anakin -- most awkward attempts at flirtation known to man, yes. Stalking, no.

YES. This. And... Anakin is presented as clueless. Han is presented as more knowledgeable about sex than Leia. So my "take home message" is that Anakin would have behaved differently (better) if he'd known better, whereas Han's screwed up behavior happened because Han thought he had the right to it.

(And IMO "Anakin would have behaved better if he'd known what 'better' was" is maybe the tragedy of the entire sextet?)


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