Saturday, February 16, 2008

The Fury of Tahiri Veila

I've long been annoyed at DelRey/LFL for their poor decision to rip anything resembling a traditional Star Wars hero from the franchise, an action which culminated in the death of Anakin Solo, and has thus given us Ben Skywalker as the poor man's Anakin. Yet, I understand that Del Rey (for whatever reason) is standing by their decision, and happily keeping him dead. They're in control, and it's why Fan Fiction exists.

Yet, in the last two Legacy of the Force novels, I've noticed something rather... strange regarding Tahiri Veila and her characterization.

First though, a bit of history about her. She appeared on the scene in the Junior Jedi Knights series basically as a foil for Anakin Solo, when Del Rey took over the franchise, she slipped into character limbo until the Edge of Victory duology where, alongside Anakin, her character was better defined and she was pushed through one of the most painful experiences to befall a Star Wars character in the EU: shaping at the hands of the Yuuzhan Vong. Throughout the remainder of the NJO, she was a nearly constant presence: the Jedi strike mission to Myrkr in Star By Star; fighting the YV and Lord Nyax during the Enemy Lines duology; the merging of her disparate personalities in the Force Heretic trilogy; going on the Coruscant mission with Corran Horn in The Final Prophecy; and fighting during The Unifying Force.

Throughout the latter half of the NJO, she went from someone broken in grief (Dark Journey) to a strong, confident Jedi Apprentice (The Final Prophecy). She was calm, collected, powerful, and above all knew what she was doing. Additionally, while she felt grief for the loss of her first love, Anakin Solo, that grief neither controlled, nor crippled her.

Then came the Dark Nest Trilogy. In it, she became a Joiner (another assault against her already fragile psyche) and because she listened, and did, what she believed to be the right thing, Luke banished her (and Lowbacca and Saba) to Dagobah, for an extended "meditation" session. So much for his claimed "listen to the will of the Force" stance; apparently only people named Skywalker and Solo get that ability without punishment.

Then, outside of a brief mention in Betrayal, she effectively disappeared. At least until the start of Inferno.

It was in that book, that Jacen Solo, who has renamed himself Darth Caedus, took her back in time to see Anakin Solo. An action which culminated with Tahiri attempting to arrest Han and Leia Solo and getting into an argument with her friend, Tenel Ka.

Unfortunately, it's been a downhill slide for Tahiri ever since. In the latest novel, Fury, she's effectively a crack-whore, who is doing whatever Caedus tells her to in order to get her next hit of 'Anakin.'

There was some ambiguity on just why Tahiri is acting this way in these novels. In the end though, such ambiguity does not matter, as the character is acting this way, and since we do not get her point of view, then we're left with the same thoughts about her as Jacen (whose POV we do get): that she's a pathetic creature, not really fit to chat with.

At this point, Del Rey has two options that are possible with her character:

  1. Stay the course
  2. A Big reveal
That second option, that she's bidding her time until she can do some type of reveal, is the one that I hope for. Whether she reveals her duplicity by resurrecting Anakin and/or stopping Jacen doesn't matter. Unfortunately, though it is the better choice for the character, I doubt that the authors are going to go this route with her. After all, she is not a Skywalker or a Solo, so she does not get to be a primary character these days. A sad state of affairs if you ask me, after all, my favorite EU novels are still I, Jedi, Rogue Squadron, and Wraith Squadron.

If they stay the course, she gets worse and worse, until she's a mere cipher of a character, useless in the overall narrative. With their usual desire to rub the nose of Anakin Solo fans into his death, this does seem like a viable option for them. A proverbial kick in the pants, saying, "hey look, we've destroyed another aspect about your favorite character." As much as I dislike this concept, I fear that this is where they are heading with her character. Apparently, the powers that be really believe that dangling the memory of a boy who has been dead for 14 years by this point in the timeline is impetus enough to drive someone to such lengths.

In the end, I'm not sure who they disrespect more with that concept, the character herself, or those of us out here in the real world who read about her.

10 comments:

L123 said...

Sometimes I wonder why I still stay in Star Wars. Then I remember there's still fanfic. But it's getting harder to write when canon kicks you where it hurts.

I agree with everything you said.

Stephen Wrighton said...

Aye, it is hard to see some of the choices involved, and yeah, there is always fanfic.

Thanks for reading!

Anonymous said...

I agree! When I read some of the Revelation spoilers, I literally felt like I had been kicked in the stomach. It's amazing what it does to my muse however.

SW24

Stephen Wrighton said...

Aye. The Tahiri scenes in Revelation where utterly disheartening. The only hope we have for them is that they weren't from her POV....

SilverZephyr said...

I really think that the whole idea to kill of Anakin was a mistake. Del Ray has even said that Jacen was meant to be killed off. All of the NJO pointed to Anakin and Tahiri playing a huge part, and instead we have been givin the most depressing Star Wars story in a good long while.

Stephen Wrighton said...

SilverZephyr: Aye, the entire story line since the start of the NJO has been utterly depressing, and the only bright spot in the NJO was the thought that we were getting another strong Luke Skywalker like character in Anakin Solo. The next Luke Skywalker, as the characters themselves said.

Utterly annoying, and disgusting IMO.

Steve(Silverzephyr) said...

The fact is that the built Anakin up to be something great, and that something great would be born in him and Tahiri. I just read the last legacy novel, and it didnt fix anything. The love between those too was my favorite part about NJO, and now it makes me not want to read anymore, because its so fucking a downer.

Stephen Wrighton said...

SilverZephyr: Oh, I agree. Those two were the heart and soul of the NJO, and likewise, Anakin was the best suited to create a traditional star wars/fantasy ending (see http://nokrakana.wrighton.org/2007/02/njo-hero-anakin-or-jacen.html).

And you are definitely right, Invincible did not fix a thing -- Star Wars is still something of a depressing place to be...

Anonymous said...

indeed. The most enjoyable books in the Legacy of the Force series were the ones which concentrated on Boba Fett and Mandalorians in general.

Stephen Wrighton said...

I'm not certain I'd go as far as to say that they were the most enjoyable aspects. I was a bit bored with the whole Boba plotline--it would have made a good stand alone novel, but as a part of a greater story arc it just didn't flow in well with everything else.

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