DVD-style commentary on Rebel Heart, chapter five, for [livejournal.com profile] ankaret. Sorry I've taken so long!

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Okay, anyone up for any more? Fanfic's under this tag.

I was reading someone's feminist essay recently (Can't link it, I've forgotten where it is). The premise was that our stories are missing archetypes. It's okay to be a Princess or a Warrior Maiden, but not a Queen or a Mother, because once you hit 30 or give birth, you become a nonentity. There are no mothers in fairy-tales.

Looking at Star Wars, it fits the bill. All the mothers die. Shmi dies, Padmé dies, even Aunt Beru dies. I don't think it's an accident that the woman are killed as the Empire grows stronger.

Rebel Heart-I mean the Rebel Heart that exists in my head and on scrappy bits of paper, which I've never got around to posting on the net-RH doesn't fit terribly well to that; in fact it's the opposite. There isn't a single adult male in there who possesses a personality.

My protagonist I think is a Warrior Maiden (although a distinctly geeky one) and therefore not interesting to the purposes of this discussion, although I find her interesting. Her mother, sadly, goes neatly into the stereotype, including being offed by the Empire; even worse, she's not only dead, she had premarital sex-though the big issue was the premarital conception-and died. (She was in the Alderaanian counter-espionage and when K. was about 2 years old it got a bit good and the Imps took it out). The reason for this was partly that I wanted Keiten to be able to remark to the relevant Skywalker, "My father could be Palpatine" and partly because I always knew she'd been brought up by her grandmother.

Said grandmother, Shamma, née Miridh Eredesa, walked into the fic, and my head, with her personality complete from the beginning. She started out as a penniless orphaned teenage aristocrat, and finished as CEO of Abram Trade and Transport, wealthy, powerful, and a trusted associate of Bail Organa, having survived poverty, husband's death, the Clone Wars, daughter's death, raising 4 children, a granddaughter and Bail Organa, but unfortunately not surviving the Death Star. She's totally committed to the Rebellion, willing to use her company and her family in its service. She's very intelligent, tough, she has iron self-control, is somewhat abrasive, and she's expert at managing (or manipulating) people. If she was also young and nubile she'd be a giant Mary Sue, but when your character is 73 years old you can get away with these things.

Her sister-in-law Kerith is a similar formidable old woman, which is probably why they don't get along too well. Even though she's against the Empire, she puts ATT in front of the Alliance and her family in front of ATT. Most of said family are terrified of her.

Aunt #1 was created to plague Keiten about Wimmin Stuff, ie clothes. Being married to an Avram, she designs them and has several boutiques. She has occasional aspiration to domestic goddesshood, during which her ungrateful offspring turn up on Shamma's doorstep looking for "normal food". In default of a daughter of her own, she likes to dress Keiten, who is sadly uncooperative.

Aunt #2 is an historian. She took time off to have her sons, and found on her return that the Palpatine Revisionist Text had come in the meantime. She is understandably bitter about this, as it seriously damaged her chances of publication. She went off and had Arkos and after he was in school concentrated on sneaking subversive ideas into her students' heads. Integrity is very important to her; she's completely straightforward. In any trivial matter you can rely on her to have the opposite opinion to Aunt Shosha. For example, clothes are just a means of keeping you warm and covered. She's a little sorry for Keiten, and tends to worry about her.

Assorted other second cousins, great-great aunts/uncles, cousins once and twice removed are mentioned, or have walk-on parts.

Now look at the men:

Keiten's father: He's not Obi-Wan Kenobi. Really. And he's dead.

Her grandfather is dead. He must have had a personality in order to survive life with Shamma (mind you, he only did so for 25 years), but I have no inkling of it. He did well by Avram Trade and Transport however.

Uncle #1: a Strict nonentity. Manager in ATT.

Uncle #2: a Nice nonentity. Accountant for ATT.

Uncle #3: a Complete nonentity. Possibly doesn't work for ATT.

Oh dear. However! There are 6 male cousins.

Lusar is the eldest; he's 5 years older than Keiten, and she hero-worships him. He's basically a good kid: does well at school, looks out for the younger ones, studies law at university (it'll come in handy for ATT to have a lawyer of their own in a few years), marries a nice girl, has a kid and gets blown up by the Death Star.

Phenn is a bit of a problem child. You won't catch him joining the family firm; he studied language and literature at university, but he doesn't go into academics like his mother; he joins the Rebellion, but has a tendency to wander off in the middle of missions and argue with his commanding officer. He's smart-mouthed and short-tempered and, like a lot bright kids, a little lazy.

To make a snap comparison, Avrams are pragmatic and Eredesas are idealists. Phenn is Darth Eredesa (although, let's face it, Shamma it's exactly your sweet old granny either). Dan is Avram to the backbone. He's quiet and gentle and reserved. Keiten and he are only a year apart, and they get on well together. He likes maths for its own sake (he tells his family interesting facts about numbers), but due partly to emulating his father and partly due to a desire to be employable, ends up doing accountancy. He gets sick in space travel, which might possibly have something to so with why he doesn't go off hauling cargo to the Rebellion when Phenn and Keiten do. He feels guilty about this, even though his talents are really in creative book-keeping. He suspects he's actually a coward, although he'd never say so to anyone.

The other three are younger than Keiten. Ged is the son of the Strict nonentity and the clothes designer. He's about a year and a half younger than Keiten.

Benedh and Arkos are about the same age, and they hang out together. They're quite young when Alderaan is destroyed, and I have a feeling they sit in their rooms listening to emo music.

In other characters, there's the canon crew, and Keit's friend's Ari and Vega. Vega's another Warrior Maiden, I suppose; she's tender of her friends and is fond of a good gossip about the X-wing pilots.
Ari-well, Keit thinks Ari is pretty near perfect. He's caring, funny, cute, he doesn't annoy her the way Phenn does and he doesn't complain about doing the washing-up. Sadly, he's a bit oblivious in the romance department. He still doesn't really count as an adult male, though, as he's only 23 at latest appearance.

So there it is, the opposite of canon SW: the fathers are all dead. Although when the canon characters appears, it reverts: Bail has a character and Breha is a nonentity. Mind you, when I wrote the fic, we didn't even know her name, and I'm don't like guessing and being Jossed.

I went back and read a bit of RH and realised that, heh, not much of this stuff actually appears in the original fic. Must get around to the Extended Edition sometime. Mind you, it's not that there were any adult males in the original, it's just that apart from Shamma, there are hardly any adults at all. One character who's nicknamed "Grandfather" Keit guesses to be "about thirty", and she's probably overestimating, given that she's 17 at the time.

I'm a bit bothered by the fate of her mother now. She still has to be dead, but should I change the illegitimate bit? K. still can't going to have a father around (she has quite enough relatives around already, thanks, and she has to stay an Avram).


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only a sinner saved by grace

December 2014

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