Wednesday 18 November 2015

Journal of Whills: Part 22 - Leia Organa

So far I have to admit the character analysis has been fairly limited, mainly because it is easy to take the characters of ‘Star Wars’ for granted amid all of the other amazing factors, but to leave out the few main characters that are worthy of an extensive examination would be a crime, or more accurately a mild inconvenience. Although to be honest it probably isn’t even that, I mean you could literally just type the name into Google and you would have about a dozen other articles of a similar nature if you are that desperate to read some views on Princess Leia Organa.
But regardless of that one can only examine the character on a surface level (which in some ways is where the characters work best) she is a rather fascinating addition to the ‘Star Wars’ universe. Like a lot of classic elements of ‘Star Wars’ she was additionally very different to her final incarnation, with earlier versions having her as a spoilt teenager who was reduced to being second fiddle to her two brothers.
In the final version of course she was developed to be a forceful and determined leader. Carrie Fisher was just 19 when she was given the role and George Lucas clearly spent a lot of time highlighting the contrast between her sweet and youthful appearance with her forceful and sharp witted attitude as well as her role as a major figure of authority. Having started the franchise as a typical damsel in distress she quickly becomes something much more competent and commanding, within the first five minutes of her rescue by Han and Luke it quickly dawns on her rescuers and the audience that she is now leading the matter. She gets them out of their entrapment in the prison block (remembering of course that her two saviours struggle to even make it out of the prison cell she was being held in before they find themselves close to being locked up themselves) and is one of the few characters in the first film that can talk back to Han Solo’s fast shooting quips, or as she puts it ‘I don’t know who you are or where you came from, but from now on you do as I tell you’. Han’s retort is far less impressive, even if he still thinks he has won the argument.
The fact that Leia is devoted so wholly to her cause is equally compelling, she sacrifices her home planet, her childhood, her innocence and even the love of her life out of commitment to the Rebel Alliance. These devotions are what make her an equal partner for Han, make no mistake, one could see it has her falling into his arms but in some respects it is quite the opposite. As someone who has spent her life planning attacks and leading armies, has that given her any time to care about an individual until that point?
Leia is the character who must hide her emotions above all others, she has to remain strong and lead this cause, to fight when no one else will and never let her own emotions dominate her actions. She only finally reveals her true feelings for Han when it is too late and he is frozen in carbonite only to be sold to ruthless gangsters and shipped halfway across the galaxy (I suppose it’s still better timing than Romeo and Juliet).
Then look at how in the final instalment it is Leia who manages to slay Jabba the Hutt, beyond Han’s personal vendetta with the gangster, beyond Luke’s threats and negotiations with him, Leia is the one who strangles him to death in an almost symbolic manner. How is it symbolic? She strangles him with the very chain he was using to keep her captive, to subjugate her and make her an object of amusement for him (which is really messed up when you think about it, he is a literal slug after all). The one time someone tries to control Leia, she kills them with the object of their attempted oppression of her. Make no mistake, she may be the strongest willed character in the whole series.

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