The Courtship of Emotional Connections

There is a theme in all my posts. I love Star Wars because of my emotional connections to the universe and all the characters and stories that make it up.

Context

Star Wars is everywhere today. There are movies, television series, cartoons, books, comics, games, theme parks, cruises, conventions, merchandise, podcasts, youtube channels, fan works, and never-ending commentary across social media. Star Wars is currently inescapable so it might be hard to imagine a time when fans were starved for new content. But I grew up in that time.

The first Star Wars revival began in 1991 with the release of Heir to the Empire, the first novel in the Timmothy Zhan’s Thrawn trilogy, and the kick-off of the Star Wars Expanded Universe (since rebranded as Star Wars Legends). I purchased all three Thrawn books and many other SWEU books in hardcover, including what is easily my favorite: The Courtship of Princess Leia by Dave Wolverton.

This book is not good. There are some interesting ideas, for example a whole planet of Force witches. But the pacing is strange, the characterizations are off, and there is very little courtship and even less romantic resolution. But I still love it.

Emotional Connections

There’s a semi-famous scene in the film Sleepless in Seattle wherein Rita Wilson’s Suzy emotionally recounts the climax of An Affair to Remember and the two and a half men watching her are disturbed.

When I recounted the climax of The Courtship of Princess Leia to my friends one of them told me I was acting exactly like Suzy. And I was a teenager so while I was annoyed, I was also embarrassed.

It is almost a cliche to say teen girls are hated for their passions. But teen girls are hated for their passions, and, perhaps more to the point, for their unabashed and performed – i.e. public – emotional responses to the objects of their passions. Suzy is not a teen girl but she is a woman who was unabashedly emotional in front of her friends. And about a love story, not a war story. Girls, and women, and men and boys are often punished for being passionate in public. Even in huge fandoms, like Star Wars, people argue over the “right way” to be a fan. Even in society-sanctioned fandoms, like war stories and sports and politics, there is always the specter of going too far or caring too much.

It’s Personal

It is my nature to go too far and care too much. In what I consider the superior Nora Ephron-Tom Hanks-Meg Ryan collaboration,You’ve Got Mail, Meg’s protagonist Kathleen takes Tom’s Joe to task for telling her his big box corporate bookstore shutting down the indie shop she inherited from her mother “wasn’t personal”, saying:

What is that supposed to mean? I am so sick of that. All it means is it’s not personal to you. But it’s personal to me, it’s personal to a lot of people. What’s so wrong with personal anyway? I mean, whatever else anything is, it ought to begin by being personal.

You’ve Got Mail, script by Nora Ephron and Delia Ephron

Whatever else anything is, it ought to begin by being personal.

Anika Disneybounding Han Solo at the Contemporary Resort

Despite its many flaws I loved and I love The Courtship of Princess Leia because I love Han Solo and in the climax of the book Han Solo straps a thermal detonator to his chest and prepares to give himself up and Leia can’t bring herself to tell him she loves him because she’s spent the entire book trying to convince him and herself that she doesn’t but she DOES and he KNOWS and it makes me very emotional!

Impact

Star Wars is personal to me. It makes me feel feelings, all kinds of feelings, and that makes me vulnerable, but I find strength in that vulnerability, in my emotional connections. It’s okay if you don’t, because that’s personal, too! But I encourage you to think about it.

What are your emotional connections to Star Wars?

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Breha Written by:

Anika Dane is a writer of words. A dancer of dreams. A pop culture blogger, podcaster and lecturer with a special interest in fairy tales and space opera. A feminist and a fashionista. A teacher and a student. A Social Justice Klingon Warrior Princess who fell in love with the Skywalker family when she was seven years old. Mother of girls. Secretly a dragon.

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