anghraine: mark hamill with his head in carrie fisher's lap and her arms around him; text: twin-born (leia and luke skywalker [twin-born])
[personal profile] anghraine
This, even more than the others, is a continuation of the previous section, but narrows the focus on Luke and Leia. Luke-Leia is up there with Anakin-Luke for my favourite relationship in Star Wars, so I took advantage of the opportunity for a quasi-picspam and just stuffed every Luke and Leia-focused picture/set of pictures I have into the video space. Which, looking over it, led to some rather odd juxtapositions. (I'll post them properly in a few days. Uh, warning for thirty-year-old quasi-twincest - twins kissing with varying levels of incestuousness, at varying levels of canon.)

 

 




In some ways, the perception of her character has been rooted in a double standard.

Yep, here we go.

Even women, who would be more likely to identify with her character,

Why? I have to say, someone being a woman doesn't make me identify with them. I don't know about other women, but most women I know are not like, "yeah, I identify with her because she's a woman!"

have held the young queen, who at the age of fourteen stood up to the oppressive grip of the Sith machinations, to a different standard.

Like I said a couple times before, most people like Padmé in The Phantom Menace. I mean, there's some people who thought she was a little bit blah, and just sort of generic Action Girl-y, which is defensible, but I don't see many people who are like - I haven't seen anyone, for instance, who likes Anakin in TPM more than they like Padmé in TPM. So I'm kind of side-eyeing this.

I know, because I held her to a different standard.

...well. Okay. But you're one person and can't actually know that everyone in our gender is also doing it because you did it. [mutter]

Women struggle with our own identities.

Uh...

We want to be independent;

Uh....

some feminist perspectives say we shouldn’t need a man,

Um. Wow.

and should be able to have kids on our own and careers of our own choosing.

I don't want any of this "independence." I'm for independence in, like, voting and owning property and things, but I don't want children, and I'm not really gung-ho about a career and I, my only struggle with my identity as a woman is that, frankly, I feel androgynous and that I've been socialized into being a woman and I resent it. But I don't struggle with - I don't - eh.

In reality, though, no one, not men and not women, wants to be alone.

...Oh?

Who we choose to share our lives with and how we do so, that’s a question each person has to answer at some point in his or her life.

I will choose to believe you're not saying that everybody wants to pair-bond with someone else, just because it makes me happier to believe that.

Sometimes loneliness fools us into making poor choices, but the love of others can also inspire people to do great deeds, to become more than we would have been otherwise. It is this dueling nature of love that has defined many epic stories.

Honestly, this makes me think of an essay on the nature of love by Eliza Heywood, which is actually a kind of cracky, but fairly awesome, essay. And she argues that love is an immense force that can - that amplifies what's already there. And so it can bring out dormant evil or it can turn minor virtues into transcendent ones, but it can't make you something you weren't already. And so it both brings you down where you'll do evil things or lift you up where you'll do competely heroic things for love. I tend to think that's more accurate, and perhaps more fair, and sadly more feminist, despite being written in the seventeenth century.

Queen Amidala and her alter ego Padmé from The Phantom Menace were the easiest version of her character to see as heroic.

Yup!

She was poised, confident, a warrior, defiant, and a leader.

Yes. And she was also - one of the things I liked about her was how she was a chameleon in a lot of ways. She could shift very easily from one to role to another. She was adaptable. And I just thought it was really impressive that she could be just as convincing as a handmaiden as she was as a queen, as a warrior, that she could do all these things and it all seemed coherent for her. We didn't get a sense of an inconsistent character, and I liked that.

In Attack of the Clones, though, her choices are tougher to relate to.

Yep!

I found myself wondering why she needed Anakin?

She doesn't need Anakin in AOTC. I - I - I wondered why she fell in love with him, but I don't think there's any sign that she needs him to make her whole or something.

Where had the independent, tough young woman gone?


Mmmm. She was still pretty tough and independent. I mean, her scenes with Anakin were weird, because she was kind of tepid, but she still seemed pretty strong-willed. Again, for me, it's her reaction to the slaughter of the Sand People and her - it's not that she in-story is not independent, it's that in a meta-sense, as a character, she is important as Anakin's love interest, and not for her own significance, like she was in TPM. My issue with her in AOTC is really an issue with how she's constructed and not with her inside the story.

Back around the time of Episode Three some very astute fans, who wrote their own stories with Padmé, made some very compelling arguments in defense of her character.

Truly, how are Padmé’s choices any different than Luke’s or Leia’s in the Original Trilogy?

Um, wow. Let's see. for one, neither Luke nor Leia say that slaughtering a bunch of people is okay because you're angry. Luke is - consistently, he maintains his character status, in that he is consistently the narrative focus. Leia never becomes a love interest to anybody, is never defined by her relationship to anybody else. Even when she is sidelined in a fairly unsettling and creepy way, she's never defined as Luke's sister or Han's love interest or even Vader's daughter. She's never defined by these things. Which is very different from Padmé, who does come to be chiefly identified as Anakin's love interest, and then Anakin's wife, and Luke and Leia's mother.

Her choices - because, like I said, a lot of my issues with her are meta. Even in-story, her choices - my mind's gone blank! - oh, the, that one is in TPM, the no-confidence thing in Valorum, after she's said, "I will not make any decision that will lead us into war" and then it's like, "WAR!" But I guess - that's a choice that I find defensible and in-character but I don't think it's like any choice that Luke or Leia make. I don't think Luke and Leia are honestly that much like her, so of course their choices are different.

Even when I agree with her choices, they aren't particularly like Luke and Leia's. I mean, Leia isn't even in a position to liberate her home planet, and Luke never wants to see Tatooine again as long as he lives. When she's captured, she doesn't attack anyone, so she's not like Leia in that way. Luke finds himself in a trap, he picks up his lightsaber and starts trying to slice and dice people. Again, that's not like her. That's more like Anakin. I guess I think it's her choices - the choice to get married, I find it a perfectly defensible choice, but it's not really like anything that Luke or Leia do. I guess I just don't see the equivalency that's being drawn here.

They make decisions led by their heart and not necessarily their heads

Actually, they make many decisions based on both. Like, Luke comes up with these elaborate plots and he'll manipulate people and Leia, a lot of the time, is led by her ideals, and what is practical. They use both. That's a good idea!

– some of them not necessarily the best decisions, either. Rushing off to Bespin to save his friends, Luke's motives are as much selfish as they are selfless, yet he comes off as sympathetic.

Yeah, it's framed as a wrong choice to make and most people regard it as a wrong choice to make. I mean, there are people who argue that it doesn't make narrative sense because his going is what made Artoo be there ,which allowed them to escape, which saved them, but he's not - yeah, I guess I don't see what the argument is here because, yes, he's sympathetic overall, but that's because this isn't a choice like - he wasn't actually countenancing some completely evil act. I'm not saying that Anakin himself is completely evil, just that mass murder is always an evil act (non-transcript note: and no, defending his life and the lives of his friends against a massive genocidal weapon the Empire has already used against its own citizens, and which is about to be used against them, is not mass murder).

And so, going off to rescue his friends is not the same thing as saying, "okay, you were angry." It's not the same as dying because you just can't be - you're so overcome with despair that you can't actually summon up enough willpower to keep your basic, your organs functioning.

By the end he’s lost a hand and learned an awful truth about his father. Leia abandons her duty to the Rebellion to go save Han on Tatooine.

Again, I don't really see that in the movie. I don't see that Leia is - still has a leadership position. We have no idea what led to her being no longer in the leadership, she just isn't. Even after she comes back, she - nobody seems to be unhappy with her or anything. But she's a foot soldier who answers to Han. She has, I think, quite clearly left the leadership of the Rebellion, and she pretty much does whatever the hell she wants to now. As does Luke. He don't seem to have any official position, either, in ROTJ. They're just, you know, there. And if you need somebody to go kick ass, you call the Skywalker twins.

But yeah, I don't see how that can be considered a dereliction of duty when she no longer seems to have that duty.

Ultimately, their decisions lead to successful outcomes, unlike Padmé, whose decisions only for a time prevent Anakin from falling over the precipice that the death of his mother creates.

Again, I don't think this really - I find this another really odd argument, in that I don't see how ... I don't see that Padme acted as a restraining influence on him. Maybe in the EU or something, but ... maybe in TCW. I don't know, I haven't seen them. But in the movie, he's clearly got everything - I mean, he's clearly no longer in the kill-everything ... state of mind by the time he gets back. He falls awful, he's castigating himself. I mean, there's bits where he's like "I hate them all" and "it's all Obi-Wan's fault," but the general thrust is that he - what he's sort of circling around, is that he feels like a horrible person for having done something so horrifically awful, which I think is a perfectly appropriate thing to feel in the circumstances.

But he no longer is on the point of falling to the Dark Side. I don't think anything she does prevents that. All she does is tell him it's okay. I mean - in fact, she may very well have influenced him for the worse. Which again, is not a reason to be like, "ugh she's so bad," but I don't see that she's actually - I don't think it's clear that she's influencing him for the better, or that her decisions prevent him from falling to the Dark Side. Her decisions, as far as I can tell, have very little effect on him at all. The only one that does, of course, is her decision to marry him. But other than that, her decisions - she doesn't make very many of them after that, and so I don't really see this argument.

 

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anghraine: from the 2005 p&p: darcy standing at a piano while georgiana plays it (Default)
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