A Ship You Can’t Stand
I know, it’s weird. “Mara Jade” was my SW nickname. But I never “shipped” them. And, quite shockingly in the last three years, I’ve come to dislike Mara Jade with a surprising passion. I know some of it comes down to I just can’t abide popular media insisting that when a woman says “get bent,” she and the man are destined for happily ever after. No, “get bent” means “get bent,” and I urge you to go do so!
Sorry. I got mad. Anyway, even when I did like Mara Jade as a character, I didn’t ship them. I agreed with Lucas’ original conception of Luke as the solitary monk, like Obi-Wan, not destined for starting a family and settling down. And OMG getting married is not the apex of life! Why is it no one will consider a story finished to satisfaction without everyone in it being knotted in some relationship?? Sorry, I got mad again. It just irritates me.
In the last few years, I’ve stopped liking Mara Jade because I find her too “on-purpose.” I always resist when there’s no subtlety about the way a character is presented — I’m supposed to accept Mace Windu as a badass because, well, look at him? (I guess?) And Mara Jade is cool because — well, she’s cooool! It doesn’t work that way. I want evidence. And in reexamining the books, I’ve found there isn’t any. I didn’t mind Luke having a crush on her (much), but their “romance” was inexplicable and far too sudden. In many ways, her Force sensitivity, her foil to his steel, her stubbornness, intelligence, beauty, lethal cunning, all these things would recommend her to him. (Although I’d think her absolute unrepentant attitude to the people she formerly assassinated for a living could be kind of a red flag.) But there is nothing about him to change her mind about her hatred of him. And as cute as it is the way he pursues her, the whole thing falls flat. And after I learned it was manufactured from the beginning — she was created as a character specifically to marry Luke — I was done.
The end of Vision of the Future is charming — as is Luke’s UNANSWERED marriage proposal. As it should be.