Coming down to what’s main

Star Wars: Aftermath is getting tighter at the midway point of the story. This novel started with variety, but now the story is converging to focus on what’s main. It makes for interesting reading.

For me, the beauty of enjoying the novel for all that it’s worth is to take breaks between chapters. In that way something that sounds lacking in one moment, sounds better in another moment, after a day away from the book.


Not trying to be anything more

We all know those moments in stories when something “unbelievable” happens. They make us groan. It couldn’t have happened like that, one says about the implausible touch or scene. It’s balanced out with the much required “realism”, more or less.

These kind of moments come quick and fast at end of chapter fourteen in Star Wars: Aftermath, which is what I have been reading. Though it’s more on the unbelievable side than the realistic side, it is still a punchy fast paced piece of rousing entertainment which is not trying to be anything more.

Sharp and punchy this one

Finished part one of the post-Return of the Jedi story Star Wars: Aftermath (2015) and am onto part two. I was feeling this Aftermath may be repetitive, it’s labyrinthine plot not moving along. But just as I was feeling it was dragging along, it becomes compelling again. Perhaps it’s a subtle plot so far, but that does not detract mostly. It’s still compelling and keeps you guessing where it’s going to head. It’s a good read, sharp and punchy, this mass market paperback.

Now it’s Aftermath

So, I’ve got to reading Aftermath, the book immediately after the events of Return of the Jedi in the Star Wars narrative (a narrative which requires a mapping much like the lands that are sketched in fantasy novels. This would be a huge undertaking considering all the stories involved, but should be fascinating to read).

Aftermath is a compelling read.

The outline is compelling in itself and the storytelling is compellingly presented.

I’ll look at the outline because my last post on Star Wars was about how Aftermath continues the story of the Empire and the Rebellion though there is no hint of its continuation in Return of the Jedi.

The Rebellion, the good guys, became heroes for executing victories over the Empire, victories which punctuated the original trilogy. (The prequel trilogy was not positive like this, as heroes fall and the Empire is born to oppress planets for decades.)

In Aftermath, the Rebellion is consolidating it’s wins and establishing the New Republic which is based on democracy.

The Empire is scrambling to reassert itself. The survivors of the Empire, the “dregs”, are contemplating what their arsenal will be.

In this one, the Rebellion has the advantage from the start, which is a first in the Star Wars stories I’ve seen and read.

It seems the Empire’s fight back will be short-lived…as the First Order takes over the “mantle” of evil, oppression and greed in Episode VII onwards. But how the empire dissolves, if it does, will be interesting.


The end of this episode

In the novelization of Return of the Jedi, the Empire’s end felt a little underwhelming as if it should have felt more resonate, more grave, more underlined. But the next trilogy of books, the Aftermath, carry on the Empire’s story. I suppose someone thought like I did. Something’s a little amiss in the delivery and the end of the Empire needs a better send off.

Apparently, in terms of story (rather than tone or feel) there were loose ends to the Empire’s end that needed to be done up. That wasn’t apparent in the book version of Return of the Jedi. In the book there is no moment allowing for the possibility of a sequel. There is not a moment in Return of the Jedi that sets up the Aftermath trilogy. However, we were given a sketch of what has happened following Return of the Jedi in the marketing of Aftermath and I guess fans have speculated on it for a long time before.

So I’m getting around to seriously read Aftermath soon. In the meantime, I think back to what I liked about the final chapters of Return of the Jedi. Again there is sentiment which I felt was overdone when Luke’s father is dying and he tastes Luke’s tears and is pleased by them. But what I liked is that the battle scenes at the end of Return of the Jedi is exciting and Luke and Vader’s confrontation echoes. But, as I said earlier, that in the novel of Return of the Jedi, the gravitas is missing at the end, but the Empire’s end deserved a tone of gravitas because the Empire’s end is profound. However, the tone of the Empire’s end has been left to the Aftermath trilogy.

As you are chosen…

It’s funny how a faith text can challenge you, as the facts of the text stare you in the face. When one is dealing with what’s actually present in the text, one sees the reality of the scripture.  Themes arise from the facts. And personal stuff.

So, I came to reading Genesis chapter seventeen which in fact is about God promising Abraham and his descendants the land of Canaan in perpetuity.

Abraham was also promised to be the father of many nations that arose out of him. This chapter is significant because it points to the origins of Israel and the Church.

With seeing the facts, there is understanding. God chooses and with it comes responsibility and long term consequences. This is not a matter of being wise in hindsight. It is a matter of being faithful to what God has said and with it God has promised a future life.

More sentimental than the book

Sentiment appears to be easier at the movies: just add music to intimate material

In Return of the Jedi, Luke Skywalker is about to reveal a family secret to Princess Leia. This is a warm hearted family scene, a scene of family connection. It is naturally warm and sentimental scene.

The scene couldn’t have a tone of gravitas. That would be too grave. There was no other way to tackle this warm hearted family scene.

Can the sense of breadth of warmth and sentiment that’s in the movie be in the book?

I did get the sense in the book of family connection, which is the point of the scene, but not up to the same level of emotional tone that’s in the movie.

Books and movies do the same content of the same scene quite differently.

Too much

This was too much in the final analysis, when it goes too far and too strange. Let me set the picture.

I’ve been reading a scene from the novelization of Star Wars: Return of the Jedi that works as a transition to the next phase of the story. It’s important for setting up what follows.

In the movie it is a very sentimental scene as the rebels try and convince the natives to join them on their mission. The scene is also about Luke Skywalker walking into his destiny, to face the villain, not that he’s there yet, but it’s coming.

The book is longer in describing how the rebels try and persuade the natives (The furry ‘ewoks’) to come on board, but this detail is not in the movie, an appeal to the natural environment of the ewoks. If it was included in the original screenplay I can imagine why they decided to leave it out of the movie. I found it almost laughable. Too much. I like trees, but Princess Leia telling the ewoks, do it for the trees, was the last straw.


Two stand out words

The words stalactites and stalagmites sounds like another job for google search, I couldn’t figure them out, as my eyes gazed off the page and into space.

An internet search does come up with the exact definition which made complete sense as a google search does.

The words are related to science, describing something in the natural world. For words sounding so unnatural they stood out on the page. I won’t forget those ones.