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Old 11-26-2003, 07:11 PM   #1
Master_Keralys
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The Real Hero - and Genius - of the NJO **extremely heavy on spoilers**

Okay, this is really heavy on spoilers; if you don't want a huge part of the New Jedi Order spoiled for you, don't read it. Mods, I'm intentionally not putting in spoiler tags; I'd have to spoiler tag most of this post and a whole lot of the other ones. You've all been warned, though, so don't complain!!!




Okay, I'm re-reading much of the NJO in anticipation of getting The Unifying Force for Christmas. And starting with Vector Prime, it's clear that we were all idiots. We looked to Anakin to be our hero and thought that the series was about him. We were proven wrong in Star by Star, but we should have caught on a long time before that. This series is not about the Yuuzhan Vong, or the Jedi as a whole (except as they relate to the following). It's about Jacen Solo. Thatís right; you heard me. In its entirety, it is about the development of Jacen and his destiny Ė the destiny of the Jedi and Vong are simply a part of his destiny that develops along the way. Iíll prove it:


The only real possiblities for the "true hero" of the new series were Anakin, Jacen, and Jaina. Jaina was cool, but she was a secondary character; that's clear from the get-go, if you really think about it. And it had to be one of those three, simply because of the way they were featured in the books. No one else was even a possibility, even back in Vector Prime. Even then it was clear that the heroes were the young people. Jaina being out narrows it down to Anakin and Jacen. I'll prove we should have known it was Jacen here:

Only one book focuses on Anakin's viewpoint - Conquest. Every other book except Rebirth focuses more on Jacen, and that one is very balanced between the two. More important is characterization and point-of-view throughout the series, though.

Vector Prime rarely speaks from Anakin's viewpoint, though it focuses a lot on his actions. The same is true of both of the Dark Tide novels, where Anakin is present, but not as emphasized as Jacen. They are fairly well balanced in the Agents of Chaos series, but even there, the focus is more on Jacen's point of view, though Anakin's actions are in the forefront because he is the one acting. However, analysis shows that it is Jacen who is considering the consequences of his actions. While Anakin may "get things done", and we all hated Jacen because he didn't want to act, that only emphasizes my point. Obviously (obvious in hindsight, that is), if a new insight into the Force comes, it'll be from the philosopher, not the one who rarely thinks about the philosophy of the Force - after all, it's just a tool...

It can be argued that Balance Point is really only about Jacen. While the other characters are certainly involved, the plot revolves around Jacen and his decisions. The one major exception to this literary trend is in Conquest, which is solely about Anakin - and this has its purely literary elements as well. In Conquest and Rebirth, the story was building up to Anakin's death in Star by Star. Moreover, while in Conquest Luke pretty much says that it will be Anakin or Jacen that solves the war and everyone assumed it would be Anakin, careful analysis of the books before it reveals that Anakin wasn't the focus. This becomes especially clear when one thinks back to Balance Point and realizes that Jacen got the vision, not Anakin. Despite Ikrit's words about Anakin and Tahiri (which gave us a measure of hope even after Anakin's death), it is clear that the future rests on Jacen. Again, while we hated Jacen's philosphical dithering, it sets up that he has the thoughtful nature necessary to resolve the conflict. Moreover, that he is willing to take such extreme steps to do what he feels is right shows us just how tough Jacen is on the inside. We saw it as a sign of his weakness then; I see it as his true strength now. Though it was a weak action, it was predicated on an inner strength and courage to do what he felt was right.

Since one could argue that Star by Star was in many ways about Anakin's death, it is interesting that the book only rarely speaks from Anakin's POV. Rather, the novel almost entirely focuses on Jacen's perspective. Moreover, that it is Jacen that kills the voxyn queen, and not one of the other Jedi, should have told us that he was the future of the Jedi. All of us were disheartened by his "death" in Dark Journey, though some were relieved that his philosophical ditherings had finally come to an end - and really, everyone knew that Leia was right: Jacen was alive. There was little about Jacen in the Enemy Lines duology, except that even the mission to Coruscant was considered by many (including Jaina, Tahiri, Han, and Leia) to be more about the possibility of finding Jacen than about scouting Coruscant. Which is another hint of his incredible importance to the story. Then came Traitor, which redefined Jacen and totally blew away even Star by Star. Jacen's philosophical concerns strengthened him, not weakened him. Moreover, once he truly acknowledged what the Force was calling him to do, he achieved things that no other Jedi had. On top of his own personal struggle - and eventual victory - he achieved a linkage, if only in himself, between the Force and the Vonglife. While it's argued that Anakin had already done this, he didn't do it nearly to the degree that Jacen did. Moreover, Jacen had found a real balance, something that Anakin never quite managed. We all came out of Traitor ready for something incredible ahead for Jacen.

Destiny's Way began to reveal Jacen's destiny. It also showed his humanity, and again focused on his inner strength. The fact that he had payed so much attention - and was able to recall so well - all he knew about the Vong is nothing short of remarkable. His time spent revealing things about the Vong to Ackbar reveals that he is incredibly strong. He was being torture, was in literally constant pain - both physical and emotional - and yet learned more than nearly anyone else about the Vong. We also saw his humanity in his interactions not only with Luke and the other Jedi, but with Danni, where we learned that Jacen loves other people, not just the galaxy as a whole. (Of course, who can blame him for falling in love with Danni?) He truly went beyond what we all though he could as he ordered the fleets in the battles leading up to and including the battle for Ebaq 9. Then he dropped back a little in the Force Heretic trilogy. Much to our dismay, he was very much the Jacen before Traitor. However, his insight and empathy became clear, and that he will be a dynamic part of the future of the Jedi order was never in doubt. His interactions with Danni Quee, Wynssa Fel, and especially Zonama Sekot showed how deep his character, nature, and pphilosophy are. It also shows his commitment to the galaxy as a whole and how he values it over himself. Though I have not read it yet, all I have learned about The Final Prophecy suggests that the same thing is revealed their.

Finally, in The Unifying Force, Jacen assumes his destiny. He moves the Jedi on into a new era, surpassing even the great Master Luke Skywalker. His inner strenth comes into play, and the vision he had in Balance Point comes to fruition. The post-NJO trilogy looks to show Jacen in his newfound power and responsibility Ė something everyone is looking forward to, Iím sure...

Clearly, we were all dolts. A simple literary analysis of the series provided this much information. Paying careful close attention in each book could probably yield a book about the development of Jacen Solo. Not only is he the real hero, but the authors of the story overall have done a magnificent job of building him - mostly without our even knowing what we were being set up for. Their use of characterization was magnificent, as were the use of foreshadowing and point-of-view. This is, quite honestly, one the most brilliant examples of literary techniques to build a character that I have ever seen. Gripes about certain parts of the NJO aside, it has achieved something incredible with Jacen, even from a purely literary standpoint.

Comments, anyone?



PS - yes, I have way too much time on my hands, no I'm not going to be an English major, and yes I've gotten way too into this literary analysis thing. That's what happens in good HS English courses - or maybe it's just me.

PPS - I won't be back to this thread, because, ironic though this may be, I don't want specific spoilers on The Final Prophecy and/or The Unifying Force. I may return to this after I've read those.

PPPS Ė I am aware that this is one incredibly long post. Apologies! I am also aware that this is way psycho and over the top as far as analysis of literary elements and whatnot. What can I say? I donít even like literary analysis, but Iím apparently decent at it. Stupid Honors English classes!!!!


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Old 11-27-2003, 09:56 PM   #2
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Wow...uh...what can I say, except that, yes you are right, we were dolts?

I think its because people didn't want to believe some philosophical/hesitant Jedi could become the hero that would defeat the menace of the Yuzhann Vong. Compared with the rest of the characters in the novel, Jacen was sort of out of place, with his pacifist nature. His sister and brother both had no-BS, a$$-kicking attitudes, and most people in the GFFA thought that the YV could not be defeated by pacificism, as unfortunately demonstrated by Elegos A'kla. So, despite all the numerous underlying hints and clues about Jacen, readers refused to believe the suggestions the books were making about him. Thx for the insights.
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Old 12-01-2003, 03:40 PM   #3
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As a note...

I have become aware that James Luceno's first two books didn't really talk much about Jacen or Anakin. Moreover, when they did, it was an objective POV, but my overall point remains true...

Sorry for the oversight.


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Old 12-02-2003, 11:46 AM   #4
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Great post Keralys, and yes , way too much time on your hands

You can get through TUF without needing to flick endlessly back to what happened in book 6 and 8. Luceno has plenty of pages to play with and so can afford to elaborate a little when he drops names and places and battles, gosh he even mentions

spoiler, but unrelated the plot of NJO/TUF !
spoiler:
events which occurred in Tatooines Ghost,


One point I would like to raise, though, is that I believe anakin was originally planned to have this focus......

You even mentioned above that one can easily have this impression when reading the earlier books. There was even a line in one of the earlier books, (I wish I can remember which one) which describes anakin as a jedi strong in the Force, 'possibly the strongest of them all'...or something like that.... But yes, the focus changed.... why.....

Please remember that GL(this accompanies the Vector Prime ebook I believe) SPECIFICALLY REQUESTED that Anakin be the one killed off, as it was ORIGINALY JACEN who was slated for martyrdom. There arent many explanations offered but Lucas did note that having another anakin was potentially confusing (....to younger readers ??....)

I can just imagine the NJO team, sitting together saying, "Anakin is the man! He will bring balance to the force again !" But then, as you have outlined, Jacen becomes the focus...... this is why Post NJO will be very interesting as far as Jacens continuing development as a character.....

MTFBWYA


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Old 12-03-2003, 03:42 PM   #5
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Interesting. That was the impression you got, especially with Keyes - and Ikrit's line, "Together, you could..." It must have been fairly early that they decided to kill off Anakin instead of Jacen, because the last few books before SBS are obviously building toward Anakin's death, not Jacen's.

I think that Jacen ends up being a cooler hero, in the long run, though. I mean, don't get me wrong, we all loved Anakin. But there's something about Jacen's power and his thoughtfulness - I think Anakin's like Mace Windu: powerful and cool, but mostly just a kick-butt hero type. Jacen on the other hand is more like Yoda - in fact, I think he is the Yoda of the NJO. He has incredible power, and can blow people away in battle, but is more thoughtful and even has the same wry sense of humor - it makes you wonder if the comparison is intentional.


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Old 01-05-2004, 08:45 PM   #6
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Wow....

I am good. Not meaning to be egotistical, mind, but... I just read the round-table discussion of the NJO on the TUF CD. And they said about what I did. But I wrote that about a month before I read TUF, even...

But as a note, what they said was that they changed Jacen to the hero before they started writing. I think they wanted it to be a real shock and a real loss when Anakin died.

After reading TUF, it is clear that Jacen is still the same person - but much, much more mature and much more in control... His character is incredibly strong now. More importantly, his development was brilliant: his final spot makes sense.

I hope Jacen becomes the focal point of the post-NJO trilogy. I think he's probably the most interesting character of the whole EU, at least at this point. He's certainly the most enigmatic.

Phreak, I think that you're right on. People didn't think that SW would allow for that much development. It never did before; the characters were very static in a lot of ways. In the Bantam days, everyone was pretty much the same at the end of the whole series as at the beginning, except more mature and a little wiser. I think that's one of the triumphs of the whole NJO, was that it moved the characters beyond the OT, and in a good way.

As a note, I hope TD's post-NJO trilogy doesn't go like the Bantam era trilogies did....



Off to post in the spoiler-free TUF thread... then start a spoiler one.


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