Fan Art Friday! Homage to the great Princess

After being a total bum and missing last month’s Fan Art Friday, I’m back this month with Mei-Mei.  She picked a great one – a simple picture of Princess Leia so that we could nod our head to the lately departed.

Though this picture is simple, it brought up so many memories for me of who Princess Leia was and how she impacted my life.

I think most importantly – and also most interestingly – was my initial reactions to Leia being a princess.  When I was younger, I grew up like most children my age with the definition of a princess being a Disney Princess: flowing gowns, a prince charming, magic, etc.

Knowing Leia was a princess did not register with me for a few years, only because I had never encountered a princess other than a Disney princess.  What ended up happening is that my brain rejected it because I could not understand it.  I’m not sure how to explain this properly but she did not fit a mold of how I understood princesses to be and therefore I did not think she was a princess.  This was all strangely subconscious.  Obviously I called her “Princess Leia” but I think the title “Princess” became synonymous with her name, and not a title.

It took a few years and some growing up for me to understand that she was still a princess, albeit different from what I was used to.  I ended up loving her for it.

princess-leia-trash-compactorThis woman was a princess, but snarky, witty, and able to stand her ground with other men.  In fact – she was the one who got them out of the trapped Death Star hallway…even though it was a trash compactor.  I loved her line of, “Well, somebody has to save our skins.”

One of the things I loved most about her is the fact that she never really thanked Han and Luke for rescuing her.  The adult part of me thinks that’s horribly rude, but then some of me loves it because I realize that maybe she always knew there would be a way out.  Maybe she knew that she didn’t need men to rescue her so it was just a helpful coincidence that they showed up at the right time.  Of course, Han did it for money so it’s not like she should thank him anyway.

As Princess Leia evolves, she changes from the sarcastic princess, to someone a bit warmer.  I believe the sarcasm and wit were a wall that she used in ANH to hide her true self.  As ANH continues, we see more of the woman she really is towards the end, when she counsels Luke about Han having to choose his own path.  In ESB, she still has the wall, especially with Han, but Leia’s metaphorical wall finally gets destroyed as Han gets physically enveloped by a real wall.  In ROTJ, the Leia we saw in ANH is barely present.

Funnily though, I never found Leia to be a very relatable character.  I loved her, but she was never the one I yearned to be like as I always wanted to be Luke.  But what Leia taught me is perhaps a more valuable lesson – how to hold my own around men.  When I look back at my teenage years, I’m thoroughly embarrassed by the way I would act to get men’s attention.  I would act like a ditz and an airhead because it made men (boys) laugh.  I was degrading my intelligence for their benefit and attention.

With the help of my best friend at the time and watching Star Wars, I realized that Leia would never act like I did.  She was able to show that you can be valued for your honesty, intelligence, humor, and not be held back because you are a woman.  And you can be royalty to boot as well.

So while coloring this picture, I wanted to pay homage to the Princess Leia that I love and knew.  I tried to keep it simple so that it mostly spotlighted her.  I chose colors that came to mind when I thought of Alderaan: rolling green grass and forests with streams of water.   Instead of giving her the title of Princess Leia which took me so long to accept, I gave the title of “Her Worshipfulness”, which Han called her once in ANH.  I surrounded the picture with some of my favorite quotes of hers that meant something to me over the years (sorry, the nerf herder quote had to be cut out due to it being too long).  I attempted to put the Rebel insignia into there as well.

This has to be my favorite coloring piece I have done so far only because of the gravity at which I took it and the memories and feelings it evoked for me.

princess-leia-coloring-book

Carrie Fisher, you will forever be missed as the woman who brought Princess Leia to life.  The Star Wars community mourns your loss and hope the Force is with you wherever you are now.

 

 

Haiku Me Friday! It’s snowing…

Wampas and Tauntauns A cold desert in the snow The barren landscape

Wampas and Tauntauns
A cold desert in the snow
The barren landscape

I woke up this morning to an inch of snow.  Yesterday I was thinking to myself about how wonderful it was to finally be walking my dog with sneakers again because all the snow and ice had melted.  I must have jinxed it.

I’ve written about Hoth before in a Haiku but it always comes to the forefront of my mind when winter slams Massachusetts.  We live in a funny area of MA, closer to the coast, but not too close.  We’re on this dividing line where forecasters will often say, “West of I-495 should expect to see 6” or more of snow, whereas East of I-495 will see around 2-4”,” or vice versa depending on if it’s a land storm or a coastal storm.  But we are at that weird dividing line of I-495 so we never know what we are going to get.  Today is only an inch but tomorrow is 4-9” depending on what part of Massachusetts you live.  I would prefer 0” but it looks like I have no say in this matter.

My husband and I always thought we’d move out of here since we despise the winters.  But having family so close when you have children changes everything; I can’t imagine not living near our families now that we have ARM.

I think I just need to reframe my thinking, to go along with my New Year’s resolution to be more positive.  Every time I complain about snow I can think, “At least it’s not Hoth.”  Think about it – Hoth didn’t have any trees or greenery to be seen.  It was pretty desolate.  At least I have trees to look at and I don’t have to wear jackets indoors (ever notice how everyone in the Rebellion is wearing their jackets within Echo Base?).  It’s like when I had finals in college and was stressed.  I would say to myself, “At least the fate of the world doesn’t depend on me dropping a mind-twisting ring into Mt. Doom at Mordor.”  Do not think I’m joking.  I said that to myself at the end of every semester.

Okay, bring on the snowstorm!  At least it’s not Hoth.

 

In other news – I’m hosting my first annual Star Wars party in February.  I can’t believe it took me this long to make it an annual party.  I boba-fett-dancing-gifcan’t stand the month of February.  It’s cold, there’s a lot of snow, and Valentine’s Day is stupid.  Now I have a reason to be more positive!  I’m going to host a Star Wars party every February.  I’m trying to make it as chill as possible…open to anyone, light food, some alcohol and drinks, and one game.

Guess what the game is!

(Pun!)  The attendees have to guess what movie I am going to pick.  If they guess right, they get a prize.  Yup, no one knows what we’re watching until the day of.  This gives me a bit of a manic glee (probably similar to what General Hux experienced as Starkiller Base was charged by the sun) as I love having other people in suspense over something I control.

You guys are welcome to guess too and I’ll also send you a prize if you guess correctly.  But you won’t get the prize until after February 11th

 

Have a great weekend everyone.  I’m working on my books of 2016 post and I’m hoping to be more active here in 2017.  Xoxo.

You Must Learn Control

Icarus left a comment on my blog post the other day that I haven’t been able to stop thinking about.  Actually, it wasn’t his comment per se, but was said by George Lucas regarding Anakin’s fall to the dark side from a CNN article in 2002 (AOTC era, pre ROTS):

In this film, you begin to see that he has a fear of losing things, a fear of losing his mother, and as a result, he wants to begin to control things, he wants to become powerful, and these are not Jedi traits.  And part of these are because he was starting to be trained so late in life, that he’d already formed these attachments. And for a Jedi, attachment is forbidden.

“He wants to begin to control things.”  This sat with me – mainly because of my terrible need to control things as well.  We all, at some point or another, want to control our life and our future, no matter who you are.  You can be the most chill person in the world, but there is probably some degree or need to control minuscule portions of your life.  Then there are others, like myself, who prefer to control every minuscule detail if possible and though I think I’ve gradually gotten better, I still fall apart when Plan A, B, and C aren’t quite working like I was hoping.

anakin angry

 

At one point on Dagobah, when Luke is training with Yoda, Yoda admonishes him,

Control, control, you must learn control!

So why does Yoda want Luke to learn control, yet probably wanted Anakin to let go of his control?  Isn’t that contradictory?

What is the difference between Anakin and Luke?  The way I read and think about the situation is that Anakin used his fear as a propeller to learn more and conquer more through his knowledge.  He wanted power to change the situations through his control of the Force.  We see this to be very true later on in ROTS when he wants the ultimate power – to stop Padmé from dying – and apply it to his life.  He believes he’s helping people but he is, instead, digging his own grave.  Would Padmé have died if Anakin hadn’t turned to the dark side?  Ah, the million dollar question.

With Luke, though, it seems a little different.  He wants to go to Cloud City to try and rescue his friends (which, again, would have fared better without his help) but his motivation does not seem to be as rooted in the need for power.  While it seems to be more altruistic in nature, it does also stem fromluke skywalker handstand dagobah this need to control the events around him.  As Yoda says, “If you leave now, help them you could.  But you would destroy all for which they have fought and suffered.”

Obviously I’m going completely off canon by suggesting Yoda would have wanted Anakin to lessen his need to control, but I don’t think it’s that out there.  What I believe is that both had the fear of loss ingrained within them (who doesn’t?) but where Luke needed to control more from a situation of distance and understanding, Anakin needed to lessen his control so that it could also bring him to a place of understanding and distance.

I’ve mentioned many times that I don’t think the Jedi had it right when they tried to rid their pupils from attachment.  In fact, most of the time I think it was just wrong.  As we saw, Luke used his attachment to his father to save Anakin from the dark side and also help the galaxy.  However, there is also a point where life needs to be played out for what it is without our involvement because sometimes when we mess around with it too much, we look back and realize that maybe we shouldn’t have tried to control it like we did.  Luke had to learn to take a step back and realize he couldn’t run to help Han and Leia with everything in their lives because it could just make it worse.  He had to control his need to always help and rein it in.  Anakin needed to learn that he couldn’t be all-powerful and that controlling everything too much could backfire.  The main difference I’ve found is that Luke’s control was rooted in love whereas Anakin’s control was rooted in fear.

The reason that quote has been bothering me so much is that I believe I lean more towards Anakin than Luke.  It’s when I get the most scared, the most fearful, the most anxious, that I begin to try to control events and people around me.  I use all the power that I have to influence what happens around me to make sure it happens the way I want it to go.  Unlike Luke, whose need for more control stems from a caring, kind, thoughtful place; instead, I feel like I completely understand Anakin.  I don’t want life to “just happen”.  I want life to happen according to my rules.

 

What about you?  Do you need more control because you always want to jump and help someone instead of letting them work it out on their own?  Or are you more like me and you need to lessen your control because you always want to make things go your way?

Music Makes the Moment

A fun watch for a Monday morning:

It comes from this documentary that I’m working my way through if you want to join me!  I had not heard of this until recently.  Most likely because it was made before I was born. 😉

Costumes and Characters Part III: Luke Skywalker

Two fun things before I begin this essay:

  1. I’m writing this from a greyhound bus on my way to NYC. And damn, I’ve knocked out quite a few blog posts while on this four hour trip.  It’s amazing what you can do when you don’t have distractions (i.e. the Internet lol) and have plenty of time.  Plus, I feel like I look like some cool writer with my laptop out and typing away.  Though, most of the people around are sleeping or reading and not paying any attention to me.  Shhhh, I feel cool.
  2. I hit my 3 year blogging anniversary on WordPress! As Threepio says, “I never knew I had it in me.”  Thanks to all you awesome blogger friends out there!  In the past 3 years I’ve had guest posts, gotten to email with some people personally off this blog, get to know about their lives/more about them, and met up with one blogger friend in person…Darth Amethystos!  Who also mailed me some fun Star Wars Hallmark goodies recently.

Now onwards and upwards to the last section of my three part series on costumes and how they reflect the three main heroes in Star Wars.


Luke Skywalker evolves the most as a character within the Original Trilogy.  I’ve explored Han and Leia’s transformation in my earlier blog posts, and while I think Leia does go through some major changes, it’s nothing in comparison to Luke.  The narrative plot of A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back, and Return of the Jedi, focus solely on the journey of a naïve farm boy to a mature Jedi who helps overthrow the Empire.

I think Lucas made very deliberate choices with his costumes with each of the three main characters in the original trilogy and made sure that what they were clothed in also reflected either a) their personality, b) their development as a character, or c) their environment.  The latter is the most obvious and almost always true, but I think it’s interesting how color and shape can also dictate a deeper look into who they are.  I know nothing about costume fabrics so that area will remain untouched.

In A New Hope, Luke wears one costume primarily throughout the entire movie, other than the x-wing  uniform, which I will not go into.  We see him first as a farmboy on Tatooine where he wears a white tunic, cream/white colored pants, and the same color boots with straps.  He has a dark brown utility belt and in one scene, also wears a brown poncho when he and Obi-Wan sell his landspeeder and board the Millennium Falcon.  In the Throne Room ceremony scene, he is wearing black boots, brown pants, black shirt, overlaid by a gold jacket.

In the Empire Strikes Back, he starts off in Hoth with a mostly white snow suit and brown vest.  His boots are grey with white straps and he wears a hat that has a scarf attached to it so he can protect his face from the cold elements.  After healing from the Wampa attack, he is briefly in hospital garb that consists of a tunic on top, before changing into the Rogue Squadron uniform to fight the AT-AT’s in a snowspeeder.  When he heads to Dagobah, he is wearing a muted grey uniform (some people claim it’s cream or off-white, but I’ve always seen it grey or “muted”) that he stays in for almost the entire movie, until the last scene where he is in a comfortable off-white/tan hospital outfit that consists of baggy pants and a loose tunic.

The grey outfit is what we are most likely to think of when we associate Luke with the Empire Strikes Back.  The shirt is a sleeveless grey tank (the only one we see in the Star Wars Saga! Correct me if this is wrong, but I don’t remember seeing any other ones) and Luke often wears a jacket over it.  The jacket has multiple pockets and is made out of a coarser, heavier material and looks like it is meant to stand a lot of wear and tear.  His pants are slightly baggy, but the same color as his jacket, with darker boots. He also has a dark brown utility belt.

In Return of the Jedi, Luke stays in a same colored costume from beginning to end.  He has an all-black outfit: black shirt, black pants and black boots.  In the beginning, he has a standard Jedi Robe over his outfit, but loses it early on and also has two tabards over his long sleeve black shirt, very reminiscent to the original Jedi Order.  The tabards are lost when he meets up again with the Rebellion and he stays in that simple, black outfit for the entire movie (other than the camouflage tunic on Endor).  You’ll notice that his shirt is buttoned up very nicely until after his battle with Vader, where the top of his shirt comes undone from his shoulder, having it fall open in a triangular shape of a light grey color.  It stands out drastically compared to the rest of the outfit and it always bothered me when I was younger.  I wanted to attach it back to his shoulder.

With A New Hope, Luke is an innocent, young farmboy.  The greatest of his concerns are leaving the moisture farm to join his friends.  He’s the kid whose family doesn’t have enough to send him to college, and he has to stay behind, work, and watch all his friends go off and have adventures without him.  It definitely makes him a little petulant and whiny, as we see with his Tosche Station complaint to Uncle Owen.

As his story takes him off Tatooine, he learns more and progresses more, but still maintains the innocence of the beginning of the movie.  It stands in stark contrast to Han Solo’s bravado and worldly wisdom.  Luke is the eager beaver, wanting to impress and not stand out as the one who has no experience.  We’ve all been in that situation where we want to fit in and not show how little we know about what’s going on.  That’s the point where Luke is in this part of the trilogy.  He wants to fit in, to help in any way he can, and show that he can keep up with the big boys of the Rebellion.  The entirely white costume makes sense within the context of A New Hope as Luke shows his naiveté and innocence as a character.  When Luke gets awarded at the end of A New Hope with some medals, he has now been accepted into the Rebellion, and the shiny gold jacket represents the hero who saved the day.  It represents hope and a future for the Rebellion that is pinned on this one farm boy.

By the time we reach the Empire Strikes Back, Luke has gained some of that knowledge that he so wanted in A New Hope. But the knowledge comes at a price: Luke’s mentor, Obi-Wan, died by Darth Vader, Luke’s best friend was killed in the run against the Death Star, the Rebellion thought they had won a decisive victory and instead are forced into hiding on the remote, frigid world of Hoth.  Every day is lived in fear of the Empire finding them.

Luke’s knowledge and instincts in the Force begin to grow.  Since Obi-Wan helped him tap into that strength, a long luke esbsleeping power begins to grow within him.  With that power, life is not simple.  Yoda teaches him about the dark side versus the light side of the Force, and how Luke can live the way of a Jedi.  Toward the end of the movie, Luke has to make a choice between staying and continuing to learn under Yoda or go and rescue his friends.  Yoda tells him sternly not to leave his training when they’ve barely begun, but Luke leaves anyway.  During the failed rescue attempt, which is actually a trap for him, he learns the worst point of all: the feared Sith Lord and villain Darth Vader is his father.

That is a lot for one character to go through during an entire movie.  There’s no question that while Luke is still good, still a hero, he is now struggling with bigger and harder choices.  His main outfit, all in grey, helps emphasize the point that our main character is stuck between good and evil.  By the end of the movie, you think and hope that Luke continues on the path he is currently on, one with the light side of the Force.  Especially as the movie ends with him in a lighter costume with Leia.

When we move into Return of the Jedi, the progression of color seems a little baffling, especially knowing the ending of the film.  We know Luke redeems his father and stays on the light side of the Force, so why is he in black for the entire film?  And when the portion falls open, is it a deliberate choice by Lucas?

Black is almost always associated with evil.  Sure, you can change it around if you want, but in most mythical storylines, the character in black clearly equates to the villain.  So it is with Star Wars as well: Darth Vader and the Emperor are both always in black.  But so is Luke in Return of the Jedi.

Why?

We find out in the middle of the movie that Luke has come to accept he is Darth Vader’s son.  When he asks Yoda if Darth Vader is his father, it’s clear he already knows the answer deep down even as Yoda confirms it.  When Luke enters this Luke_Skywalkernew chapter of his life, he must be wondering what his fate is.  Will he be able to withstand the power of the dark side or will he succumb as his father did?

I studied criminology in college and there was one fact that stood out to me so clearly and I still remember to this day.  If a man had a checkered past, either with doing/selling drugs, going to jail, etc., but is now on the clean, law-abiding path, he should not tell his children – but more specifically his son(s) – that he had a questionable past.  Studies show that psychologically, young boys will start internalizing this fact and believe they are ultimately headed for the same lifestyle.  Instead of having the effect of a cautionary tale as was hoped, it backfired and the children, especially sons, were more likely to get into trouble knowing their fathers once had as well.  Of course, this is not true of all children, but was the case for the majority of those studied over a long term.

Luke, I believe, had already internalized the fact that Darth Vader was his father by the time he went off to rescue Han Solo on Tatooine.  He was already internalizing it at the end of the Empire Strikes Back when he kept asking, “Ben, why didn’t you tell me?”  If Luke has accepted that Darth Vader is his father, the black outfit follows the path that Luke believes he could potentially be headed on.  It makes the audience question whether or not he had enough training from Yoda to remain a Jedi, or inevitably become a Sith, like Anakin.  Maybe he thought it was part of his destiny, as Darth Vader had proclaimed.

This is where I think the part of the shirt falling open at the end of the movie is key to his character.  The shirt falling open still annoys me to this day, but now I look at it as a deliberate choice from Lucas.  By having the top part of the shirt fall open, it not only breaks up the black within the costume and gives us some light, but from an audience’s viewpoint, it’s on the left of Luke’s body.  Our hearts are on the left side of our chest and viewing Luke from an opposite side, it shows Luke’s heart being open.  When he refuses to give in to the dark side of the force, he is tortured and the shirt falls open, revealing that the dark side did not overtake him.  It was interrupted by the light side of the Force.   It makes Luke open to change, open to choice, and open to the light side of the Force.

At the end of the movie, Luke decides to focus not on the fact that Darth Vader is a Sith, but that he has come to accept that he was once Anakin Skywalker, his father.  By realizing that the Anakin Skywalker who fathered him was a Jedi at that point, it helps Luke remember that he has a choice.  His heart opens to the light side of the Force and at the climax of the movie, he tells the Emperor, “I am a Jedi, like my father before me.”  He accepts both the dark side and the light side of the Force as part of him and makes a choice on which to follow.


I hope you all enjoyed my three part series on the costumes of Leia, Han, and Luke as it reflects their journeys as characters.  I’m most interested to see where this leads us going forward with The Force Awakens, especially with Luke.  As a Jedi, there’s a lot more at stake if Luke turns to the dark side and with Darth Vader as his father, it’s entirely possible.

What are your thoughts on our three heroes and their costumes? Have I made a right judgement in my analyses?  Luke was the hardest to figure out, which is why I saved him for last. Do you agree or disagree with my thoughts on Luke?