Breaking Bread in Star Wars

In Game of Thrones, the significance of meals, soups, and stews cannot be overlooked. I love that important events happen around the table and eating: Joffrey gets murdered/poisoned during feast, the Red Wedding takes place during another feast, many of Olenna Tyrell’s witty and strong speeches are given over food, and some of the secret meetings often involve wine and tea cakes.

Food, in general, plays an important role in literature. Think about Alice in Wonderland with the Mad Hatter’s tea party or Chocolat where chocolate drives village folk to break their Lenten vows. How about Macbeth when he comes newly to the crown and has a feast (complete with scary visions)? And let’s not forget how Harry Potter was denied the ability to sit with his family to eat; often food was shoved into his broom cupboard, or later, his upstairs room, representing a denial of familial blood/bonds.

This of course got me thinking…what about Star Wars? Does Lucas put the same emphasis on meals as our literary friends? I’m going to take a look at the most important scenes involving food.

Let’s analyze!

 

Episode I – The Phantom Menace

The most important meal scene here would be when Qui-Gon, Padmé, and Jar Jar take refuge with Anakin and Shmi on Tatooine due to the sandstorm. This scene is very essential as it ties together some speculations, as we see Qui-Gon revealing to Anakin that he is a Jedi and Qui-Gon’s speculation that Anaking has Jedi reflexes due to the fact that he can drive (fly?) a podracer.

In one sense, it’s a meeting of the past and future. We see the old way of life and the Jedi Order with Qui-Gon Jinn. We see the future and the change in the galaxy with the meeting of this boy.

It’s also a moment where rich and poor come together. We see this clearly with Padmé who doesn’t understand slavery still exists, juxtaposed against Shmi who probably views her as a little naïve for not understanding the Outer Rim.

 

Episode II – Attack of the Clones

There are two specific meal scenes I want to focus on (sadly, I’d like to focus on when Anakin meets Padmé’s family, but since that was a deleted scene, I will keep it out of the picture (pun!)).

Meal 1: Anakin and Padmé on the Coruscant Freighter to Naboo

This is the first time we see Anakin and Padmé have a real, adult conversation that digs a little deeper into the Jedi life. Padmé teases the surface to see if Anakin’s flirtation could ever turn into something more substantial. We see them connect more as adults on an even playing field, versus what was happening earlier when Padmé was still trying to distance herself as the older and “wiser” of the two.

Here, too, there’s a connection of two different worlds and lifestyles meeting each other. There is the secular, political world which Padmé is a part of and the reclusive, temperate world that Anakin has sworn his life to.

Meal 2: Anakin and Padmé on Naboo

This meal is almost as if our characters were leveling up in a video game. They’ve approached each other with caution in Meal 1 and now they’re sparring flirtatiously (or should I say they’re having aggressive negotiations?) in Meal 2. The walls separating their worlds between them both have melted away a bit. Anakin now teases the Jedi and his master, Obi-Wan, slowly pushing aside their world. We see Padmé begin to pull Anakin into her world: not only are they literally on Naboo, her home planet, but also figuratively as he begins to grow more in love with her as a person.

Instead of two worlds meeting, we have two lives overlapping. This scene reminds me of a Venn diagram: Padmé, politics, wealth on one side with Anakin, Jedi, and isolation on another.

 

Episode III – Revenge of the Sith

Nothing to note.

 

Rogue One

Nothing to note.

 

Episode IV – A New Hope

The only scene in this movie with a meal involves Luke conversing with Uncle Owen while Aunt Beru silently watches the exchange. It’s here where we find out that Luke has a father, who for some reason, is mysterious and not much is known about him. Luke also vents frustration about staying on Tatooine for another harvest.

The meal itself seems normal enough if you’ve ever had a meal with a teenager, but the difference with this meal is the emphasis on Luke’s father. Luke is clearly interested in knowing more and is intrigued by the detail that Old Ben knew him, but Uncle Owen squashes that conversation quickly.

The main difference in this meal is that while the meals in the Prequels are pulling people together, this meal seems to be pushing people apart.

 

Episode V – Empire Strikes Back

Meal 1 – Luke eats a meal in Yoda’s hut

Again, similar to ANH, this meal is one of discord and tension as opposed to harmony. Luke is impatient and wants to find a Jedi Master. This little green being has invited Luke into his home and is trying to be hospitable, to bring warmth and friendliness to the meal, but all Luke wants to do is leave. How horrible! It reflects so poorly on him. Yoda also seems to be gauging Luke to see if he will open up to becoming more patient and is testing him.

Instead, the meal falls apart to the point that when Yoda is revealed to Luke, Yoda almost refuses to train him. The two Force-sensitive beings are pushing apart at this meal instead of coming together as they should be to save the galaxy.

Meal 2 – Lando’s betrayal

There’s not much to this meal time, but damn is it memorable. This is the Star Wars version of the Red Wedding. Han and Leia think they are going to a friendly meal with Lando, only to find that he betrayed them all.

Interestingly though, this is the first and only time we really see formal dining in the Star Wars movies. If anyone is wondering how the meal turned out, you should watch this version.

Out of all the meals in the Star Wars movies, this has to be the biggest antithesis of what meal times should be. Meals should be about coming together, letting bygones be bygones (temporarily) and as we saw in the Prequels, worlds meeting in a friendly manner.

We definitely have different worlds meeting together in this meal, but it is the opposite of opening your mind, sharing warm conversations, and attempting to be friendly.

The Empire and the Rebellion stirred together with some betrayal left a bad taste in everyone’s mouth. (That was the greatest line I’ve ever typed)

 

Episode VI – Return of the Jedi

Though not necessarily a meal, I wanted to include the scene of Leia handing Wicket the rice cake because it speaks back to my theme of bringing different worlds together. In this instance, which is different from the Prequels, Leia’s act of sharing a meal with someone completely different is what saves her life and topples the Empire.

It is often mentioned that food is a great way to bring together different cultures, even if they cannot speak the same language. We see this with Wicket and Leia on Endor. Despite their differences, the food helps Wicket overcome his hesitation to befriend Leia. In turn, he helps her take down a scout trooper and she goes with Wicket to his village. This helps her save her friends (who were also going to actually become the meal), disable the shield around the Death Star and bring down the Empire. And this all became possible because of a rice cake, imagine that.

 

Episode VII – The Force Awakens

Meal 1 – Rey’s solitary meal

For obvious reasons, this meal was shown to emphasize that Rey was alone. She was a girl on a lonely, desolate planet. I think this meal, though it could have been cut from the movie, was important to show us how isolated she was on Jakku.

In some ways, eating meals by ourselves is sometimes viewed by others with pity. Not many people go to restaurants alone, and even eating at your desk sometimes feels a little shameful. As human beings, we were meant to eat as part of a community. Though, in some ways, I think the American culture has forgotten (or ignored this as we prefer to place an emphasis on being busy), we still put an importance on eating together on holidays.  At our root, our cultures like to take coffee breaks, tea breaks, water cooler breaks,  so that we have a chance to connect with other beings.

Rey’s act of eating alone in a desert (another place that often symbolizes lack of life) forces us to acknowledge how secluded she is.

Meal 2 – Maz Kanata’s castle

This meal mirrors the meal from TPM slightly. We have four people from greatly different worlds, pulled together around a table for a meal. Whereas TPM was a happen chance, this meal was forced by Han Solo. Finn is an ex-First Order Stormtrooper, Rey is a loner from Jakku, Han is a smuggler, and Maz is…a Force-sensitive being (and totally also a hoarder – say what you want, but if you read any description of her, she belongs on TLC).

This meal is a meeting of the worlds, but not an overlap. Everyone still has their boundaries firmly in place once they leave. Yet here at this meal, they learn a little bit more about themselves. Instead of learning about others as we saw in most of the meals in Star Wars, they each understand a bit more about who they are and what they may have to do.

 

I was hoping to come away from this analysis feeling like there was a deliberate reason for each meal scene in Star Wars. I think that’s the case for some, but not all.

What I enjoyed observing the most was that the meals in the Prequels were focused on bringing together people from very different ways of life, into an open discussion and understanding of each other.

With the Original Trilogy, meal times were focused more on strife, discord, and a sense of unbalance. The meals highlighted tension for our characters and the larger political scene at large. Leia’s sharing of the rice cake with Wicket is the only instance in the OT where we see something closer to what we saw in the PT.

With TFA, I think the meal scenes were much more deliberate and placed within the movie for a reason: to help us understand the characters better.

 

With Thanksgiving and the holiday season approaching, food plays an important part in our lives. Though we love to gather around our tables and eat during the holiday season, do we also keep an open mind and realize that at any meal, we have a meeting of the worlds? Do we try to keep ourselves from discord and tension (and hopefully betrayal)?

 

Did I miss any meals that you think should be part of this list?

 

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Haiku Me Friday! Can the Force awaken?

It’s stunning, but yet…
This keen sense of foreboding
Erases beauty

The end of ESB is a pivotal moment in Leia’s life. As they arrive at Cloud City, Leia begins to really feel the Force. I think it begins with her ill feelings towards Lando. She doesn’t trust him, and it’s not the normal this-guy-is-kinda-too-forward-and-possibly-sleazy feelings. It’s a sense of something not being right.

She tries to tell Han a few times about her misgivings, but he does not do a good job of assuaging her fears, amiright?  I’m not sure if this is a woman-only thing but while watching this movie as I’ve gotten older, I think, “What is he doing? He’s reassuring her in the worst way possible!”

Yet in a way, perhaps his lame reassurances only helps heighten her Force sensitivity even more.

As I’ve thought about the Cloud City scenes more in depth, and Leia’s role, I see how often she was in tune to the Force. Not only did she sense something wrong with Lando and how he was “too friendly”, but she sensed when Luke had arrived too. How would she have known he was right around the corner and risk telling him that he was walking into a trap? I think the Force guided her.

Perhaps there is something to be said about an “awakening” of the Force. I know that fans have argued about this since TFA came out…some fans think it’s ridiculous that Rey could magically use the Force right when she needed it, and others think it had been slowly growing in her since leaving Jakku.

We can see this with Leia in Cloud City as well. Her awakening begins when she arrives and slowly blossoms to the point where she is able to turn around and find Luke after his confrontation with Darth Vader. The baby steps with the Force are taken until she can confidently know and follow the Force without hesitation.

So can the Force awaken within someone? Is that possible? Can it lie dormant and be woken up?

Or do you believe it is always there; the person is using it without being aware, and then realizes they can use it?

There’s a fine difference. If you go with an “awakening” theory – then the person has no access to the Force until for some reason or another, it is woken within them. Now they have complete access to it, almost like unlocking a special level in a video game.

If you go with the other theory, then the Force is always present within you and you were always using it, but once you realized it, you were able to harness it more. It’s like Harry Potter – he used magic quite often without realizing it, but once he found out he was a wizard, he was able to harness it and use it.

I think both theories still line up with Lucas’ explanation of the midi-chlorians, in a certain way (though I realize that post-Disney takeover is trying to stay away from midi-chlorians…they are still canon). Perhaps midi-chlorians can lay dormant or they are always working within you.

This post would advocate for the Awakening theory – based on Leia and her Cloud City experience.

 

Discuss with me!

#MyFirstPostRevisited

Lately, I’ve been less likely to do these WordPress tagging games but this one struck my interest. Thanks Mei-Mei!

Only because…I HIT MY 5 YEAR BLOGGERVERSARY A FEW WEEKS AGO! (Is it blogoversary or bloggerversary or blogversary? Anyone know?) And I kept meaning to make a post about honoring that exciting day but never did.

So here we go.

 My First Blog Post: July 24, 2012

Honestly, we don’t need another Star Wars blog, and I understand that.  But I’m dissatisfied with the Star Wars blogs out there and I want a place to write real thoughts, ideas, and viewpoints of how my life is connected to Star Wars.  Also, I did have another Star Wars blog, but it got shut down on starwars.com (shakes fist), so I’m starting fresh and new on WordPress.

First of all, there will be many times when I can be quite cynical about the movies and the fan base.  I thought I should put that out there as a disclaimer because some of these posts may not be all roses and “I LOVE STAR WARS ALL THE TIME.”  I do love Star Wars, I really do.  I’ve loved Star Wars for going on 15 years now and sometimes, when you love something so much, you can’t help but poke fun at it or be slightly cynical.  Because at the end of the day (and I hope no fans hate on me for this)…it’s a movie.  It’s a brilliant, wonderful, amazing movie…but it’s a movie.  It’s fiction and I love that it can take me to another world, expand my imagination, and have me still fall in love with the saga time and time again…but it’s still a movie.

That being said – a little bit about me and my love of Star Wars:

I have been working on an Old Republic Jedi Knight costume because I hope to join the Rebel Legion.  If you don’t know what that is other than in the movie sense – look it up.  However, I’ve been saying that for about 6 years now, so we’ll see where that takes me.  It’s really hard, especially as I am definitely not good at sewing (in fact, I hate it with a passion).

I’m not your stereotypical geek, but I do have a love for sci-fi and fantasy that draws me to conventions and cosplay (if I had loads of money).

I used to have another Star Wars blog on starwars.com, but they discontinued their services.  Alas.  Well, I paid for it, and if you know me, I am notoriously cheap so after two years I stopped using it.  There are so many free blogging sites out there, so why pay for what you can have for free?  Sigh, story of my life.

Along with Star Wars, I love Lord of the Rings, Battlestar Galactica, Hunger Games, and Harry Potter (notice how I did not mention Twilight?  That’s because Twilight is a poor excuse for fantasy and a copout), so if I ever get any followers and people are also interested in those topics – shoot me a note and I’ll devote a post to it every once in a while.

A lot of these posts are just going to be honest thoughts and not too many pictures or one liners.  I want to create something that is slightly interesting to the above average Star Wars fan, but not too high level that I lose anyone who only likes Star Wars for, well, Star Wars.

Ok, the introduction on me is over.  I hate introductions, but it’s done and now you can get to know me through future posts.  Have you noticed I also like using parentheses?

I wasn’t sure what kind of pic to put, so you end up with  me writing this post in my home office au naturale (aka no makeup)

How Has My Blog Changed Since Then?

I do use pictures. Sometimes I even use gifs! The horror!

But in seriousness, I’m curious as to why I thought I wouldn’t use pictures. The only thing I can think of is that I wanted my posts to be in the style of essays.

I think I have done that in some posts, but I think one of the main factors that prohibited me from doing them ALL the time is that,

  1. The posts take a lot of time, and
  2. Not everyone is interested in reading all of it

That was a hurdle I kept hitting. Sometimes I would devote so much time to a deeper post, only to have no one interact with it. Then I would spend 30 minutes writing up a shorter post on something I had a thought on – and it would explode! It was frustrating.

So what I do now is write down possible blog topics in my phone and pick and choose based on how I’m feeling.

Another way my blog has changed is definitely in consistency. I used to blog twice a week for a few years. Then in 2015, I quit my full-time job and went solo with my business and it took a lot of energy out of me. In 2016, I had my daughter which took out whatever other energy I had left.

It’s been a blow to the views for sure but I continue to blog because as long as I get some interaction every once and a while – it’s still fun. It’s a creative outlet for me and a way to talk about Star Wars as I’m surrounded by non-Star Wars lovers. Hopefully that will change as I raise my daughter in the Force, though!

I’ve never written about any of the my other fan loves, though…not much on LotR (unless it relates to Star Wars), not much on BSG (unless it was in reference to a con), and definitely haven’t written about the Hunger Games or Harry Potter (barring when I went to Universal). Oh, but funny I had to blast Twilight in my first post.

The Rules for the #MyFirstPostRevisited Blog Hop

  1. No cheating. You must highlight your first post. Not your second post, not one you love… the first post only.
  2. Link back to the person who tagged you (thank them if you feel like it or, if not, curse them with a plague of ladybugs).
  3. Cut and paste your old post into a new post or reblog your own bad self. (Either way is fine, but NO editing.)
  4. Put the hashtag #MyFirstPostRevisited in your title.
  5. Tag five (5) other bloggers to take up this challenge.
  6. Notify your tags in the comment section of their blog (don’t just hope they notice a pingback somewhere in their spam).
  7. Include “the rules” in your post.

 

So, I’m horrible, but I never actually tag people in these things because it annoys most people.

That said, I’m really curious to see L. Palmer’s first post, so she is the only one I’m tagging – just because. She’s been around WP long enough, I’ve even communicated with her a bit via email and she always has something wonderful to contribute (when she’s not working her butt off, which she currently is doing). (And I “know” her well enough that she won’t do this anyway so not holding my breath. I’ll probably have to go search through the endless bowels of her blog to find the first post…but I’ll never know how her blog has changed waaaah!)

 

HAPPY FRIDAY ALL.

A Thorn in My Side

This blog/article made me angry: http://blogs.wsj.com/speakeasy/2015/09/16/when-kids-strike-back-against-star-wars/

Besides the obvious fact that it was not written cohesively (I expected a piece on Star Wars with valid points, but instead I prequel trilogyfeel like I got a trip down memory lane), it also shows a lack of encouragement on having a child form her own opinion.

Her daughter most likely does not want to see the Prequels based on what her mother (and others) are saying.  But her mother probably explained the backstory of Anakin, his relationship to Obi-Wan, his secret wife, Padmé, how he turned to the dark side, etc. etc.  And guess where all that information came from?  Ohhhh yeahhhhh, those films that so many fans try to ignore: The Prequels.  Otherwise, we’d all still be questioning and guessing on the back story of our favorite movies.

I don’t think the Prequels were bad.  At all.  However, if you think they were horrible, then that’s your free choice.

When I was younger, my family always encouraged me to make decisions for myself by looking at all the different angles when it came to novels, movies, music, food.  If I didn’t like something because everyone else didn’t like something, I was always quickly shut up when my mother or sister always asked, “Did you read/eat/see it?”  And I would sheepishly reply that actually, no, I hadn’t done that.  In which they would promptly dismiss what I said because it had no validity.

Here’s a sampling of books/movies/music I swore to hate because “everyone else” hated them, and then was encouraged to read them by my family and make my own opinion:

  1. Pride and Prejudice
  2. Harry Potter
  3. The Clone Wars
  4. Country music
  5. The Hobbit
  6. Any and all documentaries (some of them are quite good, I’ve come to learn)
  7. Brussels Sprouts

Here’s a sampling of books/movies/music I thought I’d like because “everyone else” did, but found that I actually hated them:

  1. The Twilight Series
  2. Rap music (for the most part)
  3. Anne Rice novels
  4. Coffee (okay, not really in the same category but I cannot get the appeal)
  5. The Mists of Avalon

Do you see my point?  Even just a little?  “My daughter says she doesn’t even know who Jar Jar Binks is, but she doesn’t want to watch him on screen.”  If your daughter doesn’t know who Jar Jar is, then why does she have a problem watching him?

I’m not perfect by any means, but what I’m trying to say is that we should be encouraged to form opinions after we’ve actually experienced something ourselves.  I can’t imagine all the happiness I would have lost in my life had I never read Pride & Prejudice with the sole purpose to prove to my mom and sister how horrible it was.  What a good book!

Suppose my argument is not good enough.  Okay, fine.  The daughter does not want to watch the Prequels and she made her own opinion that they were horrible.  By herself.  Without seeing them.  Fine.

What makes me further ticked off with this article is that the author did not use this as an exploratory lesson for her child on star wars prequelsstorytelling and the different aspects of it.  She did not bring up that the Prequels are part of the history of Star Wars and you can’t just ignore them. They may not seem to have a huge relevance to Star Wars right now with the upcoming movie, but I know they will be referenced in future films (did you see the photo of Rogue One? Doesn’t that look like podracer parts in the background?).  Or how about the reason George Lucas focused on releasing the Original Trilogy first is because he knew that it was a stronger story than Anakin’s backstory.  Or how about the fact that the Prequels broke new ground with their CGI?  Or that the Prequels are actually a very interesting, tragic love story between someone who is forbidden to be in love and a story about best friends who end up almost killing each other.  Or that the PT show one man’s journey from boy to man and from light to dark – and that after watching them, it highlights the flavors of the Original Trilogy so much more.

I do not have kids, so maybe I’m making too hasty of a judgement.  But I am a Star Wars fan and I think this Prequel bashing has got to stop.  It’s one thing if you were brought up on the OT and were seriously disappointed by the PT.  It’s another when you, as a Star Wars fan, transfer that disgruntlement to your children.

I hated The Clone Wars when it first came out on TV.  But I eventually watched it to and I ended up loving it.  #AhsokaLives

Who can say that won’t happen to this 13 year old girl?

Idolizing the Original Trilogy

I’m getting a little nervous.  It seems like as we move closer and closer to December 18th and this new world of Star Wars (aka post-Disney takeover), the more I realize how much of an emphasis we are placing on the Original Trilogy.

Of course I’m a fan of the OT, but it seems like ever since Disney took over the franchise, they want to bury the Prequel Trilogy six feet underground.

star wars canon timelineIt started with Star Wars Rebels that takes place 5 years before the Original Trilogy.  This is leading us up to The Force Awakens, set around 30 years after the Original Trilogy.

We then have news of the first in the Anthology series, Rogue One, which will take place before A New Hope (no one seems to be quite certain on how soon before) and it involves stealing the Death Star Plans…which is basically what all of ANH revolves around.

Most Star Wars comics and books that are part of the new unified canon since Disney has come onboard take place after ROTS.  The only novel prior to ROTS is Dark Disciple, released next month that follows the unfinished story of Asajj Ventress.

I understand where Disney is coming from.  They want to play it safe and they want to start with a bang.  George Lucas, unfortunately, ruined the beloved Star Wars universe for many die hard fans when he brought the Prequel Trilogy into the world.  It was so different from the OT that it was almost a whole new breed of sci-fi movies, almost unrelated to the Star Wars universe they knew and loved.

But what Disney is currently staying away from, and what I hope they realize eventually, is that the PT also brought Star Wars to a whole new generation of fans, myself included.  I had seen the OT before, but I didn’t fall in love with Star Wars until I saw The Phantom Menace – many fans least favorite film of the Saga.

Let me phrase it this way:

The Original Trilogy is a universe I could see myself living in.  The Prequel Trilogy is a universe that I hope to someday live in.

The PT was clean, had interesting costumes, the ships were sleek, shiny, and new, and we got to see a government that star wars nubian prequel shiphad functioned for thousands of years crumble to the ground.  It was a universe of the future, even if it was the past in the complete Star Wars saga.

My main concern is that I don’t want Disney to forget that the Prequels are part of Star Wars too.  I know I’ve said this multiple times, but when you love something, you love the whole thing – good and bad.  I admit the Prequels are definitely not as strong as the Originals, nor are they as good as a whole.  That doesn’t mean that I think we should lock them in a broom cupboard and hope no one knows they exist à la Harry Potter style.  If anything, we should embrace those movies and if Disney really wanted to, perhaps they could work on repairing some of the damage that was done to the reputation of the PT and make it almost as beloved as the OT through Anthology movies and Expanded Universe releases.

I believe strongly that the PT universe has a lot of potential to breed very, very interesting stories, while still appealing to the Prequel haters.  The Jedi could produce an interesting action movie; we saw examples in The Clone Wars.  Any bounty hunter during this time would be interesting to watch from AOTC all the way to the fall of the Republic.  I’m guessing bounty hunters probably flourished more when the Republic was dismantled so seeing that transition could be fascinating.  There’s a lot you could do with that time period and I hope that Disney realizes this and explores the Prequel era with Anthology movies.

If there’s one thing I know, if you stretch an elastic too tight, eventually it will snap back.  The extreme focus on the OT time period will hopefully ultimately lead to an extreme snap back and willingness to re-open the Prequels.