posted on 2011-07-31 23:10:35A few months ago, Sarah got me started on the Thrawn trilogy by Timothy Zahn. I hadn't read Star Wars in year... and apparently I never really did by the standards of most other people who read Star Wars books, because most of them seem to have read most the Star Wars books that existed as they were going through middle/high school. I read just a few.
I finished that trilogy, and moved on to more -- what I believe is called the Hand of Thrawn trilogy, for reasons I assume I'll find out -- and thinking about them today, I realized something, or remembered it. There's a race in the book, the Noghri, that end up being bodyguards for Leia. This follows well established sci-fi tropes of loyalty based races and slavery, but the thing about the Noghri that makes them so important is that they are silent and deadly killers. Ever vigilant, they are never mentioned in the same sentence with words like 'stressed' or 'tired' and it gives them the air of superbeings.
They may yet have some weakness other than a sort of naive sense of honor, but for the moment, they seem unstoppable -- cunning, quiet, reliable -- and it makes me think of this assumption I had as a kid. The first thing I thought of was how I used to (used to?) like designing spacecraft. Imaginary Star Wars style things that had thousands of laser cannons and torpedo bays and special shield systems with some clever idea I'd just come up with, and that they were probably indestructible. You could beat all comers in them, hands down. Then I thought about that feeling, of security and sureness, and how absent it was now.
I definitely used to have a sense of absolutes. That's what a lot of Star Wars was built out of, the well-demarcated good and bad (not the EU necessarily, just the movies), and I think that's something that's gone away as I got older. Between not being able to become quite the person you imagined, or finding out things about the world that are more complicated than you expected, and just general rational learning, it's pretty hard to ignore how varied, complex, and lacking in easy judgment the world is.
This is, of course, not to suggest that Zahn writes such simple morality plays. His characters are interesting and grow and change, sometimes predictably, but not stupidly by any means, and I quite enjoy the books. It has, however, made me notice how differently I feel about the things around me from when I was little. There's so much t juggle in this adult world - where to live, how to get food and who to know and how to spend time with them. I also don't mean to suggest that such things are absent from the world of children, but how I approach them now has none of the easy, clear delimitations I remember.