I have finally come to accept the fact that I really can’t go anywhere without thinking about Star Wars. Such was the case this past weekend when I went to a baby shower.
Two thoughts struck me on Padmé and her storyline throughout ROTS.
First: how many people actually knew that Padmé was pregnant?
After some browsing online, where people think OF COURSE the Jedi knew and they just didn’t let it on, and OF COURSE Obi-Wan knew but didn’t tell, and OF COURSE Palpatine knew the whole time, and OF COURSE…blah blah blah. There are a lot of strong feelings on this if you surf the Internet enough. The only theory I can somewhat believe is that C-3PO and her handmaidens knew that she was pregnant. You’ll notice that Threepio actually hung out with Padmé most of ROTS so he would have had to know. Though we don’t really see any handmaidens of Padmé’s in ROTS, there are references to them in the script and some cut scenes, which implies they were not around much.
But if we look at her style, it has drastically shifted since Episode I.
Padmé as herself (not queen) in TPM:
Padmé in AOTC:
Padmé in public gowns (not what she wears around the apartment) in ROTS:
Her gowns becomes larger, there is more flow, and less shape. It is clear that she is trying to hide her growing belly. Definitely not as tight as the outfits in AOTC, where her outfits consisted of bare midriffs and leather (rawr! But seriously, why?).
Sure, we could argue that style on Coruscant is always changing, but common sense has not really changed. Human beings and other aliens found on the planet are not dumb. I’m sure people picked up that she was pregnant.
This brings me to my second thought. Let’s go out on a limb and presume that some people in the course of 4-9 months after she got pregnant asked her about her pregnancy. How would she have responded?
After going to this baby shower and seeing the love, joy, and excitement surrounding a new baby, I just felt a lot of pain for Padmé and her inability to really share this moment. She couldn’t tell anyone who the father was, and if she had any normal preggo symptoms, she had to share them with…Threepio. Really? Ugh, that is the worst. He is probably one of the last beings in the Star Wars universe that I’d want to share 9 months of pregnancy with.
Anakin was there occasionally and helped some, but their relationship at this point was growing more and more distant. He was wrapped up with the Jedi Council and his internal warring feelings over Palpatine and Padmé’s looming death. She was torn between loyalty to her husband who supported Palpatine and the Republic, and her new group of political allies who were thinking of breaking from their once beloved government. So really, she didn’t have much help when it came to her pregnancy.
Do you remember her reaction even as she told Anakin she was pregnant? Fear was all over her face, and Anakin looked like he was struggling to keep optimistic about the situation. He was reassuring her that this was the “happiest moment” of his life, but it seemed like he was really making an effort to be happy about it. The first moment of telling someone big news is crucial, because it predicts how it will be played out in the future. If he can’t bring himself to be excited and ecstatic, you bet Padmé is just going to fear the ramifications of her pregnancy even more. Now she knows she cannot share the news outside of her and Anakin, and hides it.
I see a different side to Padmé now. I have a lot of conflicting feelings about her that have constantly changed over the years. On the one hand, she is a strong, political leader. On the other, she lost the will to live and died of heartbreak. They never really matched up in my head. But this put a new spin on how I look at her character.
This is supposed to be a woman’s greatest achievement and one of her greatest moments, despite how uncomfortable it may be. As a couple, you’re heading into the unknown like never before. You are taking on the responsibility of raising another human being, and Padmé really didn’t get to share this with anyone. It was a pregnancy confined by silence, with rare moments of joy with Anakin.
For these reasons alone, I think Padmé is much stronger than I ever gave her credit for. Nine months of fear and silence, war, a distancing relationship, and finally finding out that her husband massacred hundreds of Jedi and has become a Sith Lord might do it for me too. The betrayal on top of everything else lends me to be a little more sympathetic to her situation and manner of her death.