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    Default Reading Heir to the Empire

    Sup folks.So, for a while now I've been meaning to pick up Heir to the Empire, home of the famous/infamous Thrawn. To be honest, everything I've heard about this character immediately made me dislike him, but I had never read the original source material, so I decided to challenge my biases. It arrived today, so I thought I might share some of my thoughts every now and then. It's probably not going to be chapter by chapter, unless I really have a lot to say.

    I'm not very versed in the wider Star Wars EU, Legends or New Canon.

    Looking it the copyright page of this version, it appears to have been printed in 2016, still in print since 1990 is impressive. I'm a bit disappointed that this is relatively new copy, but ah well.

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    Ch1:

    We're introduced to a Captain named Pellaeon on the bridge of the Star Destroyer Chimera.He hears a report on a successful raid and bemoans the current state of the fleet, with lots of nice touches about how young the staff are. Nice, believable. Pellaeon orders an alert in case the raid is pursued and goes to see Grand Admiral Thrawn, in his new secret room. Thrawn's bodyguard jumpscares him for no particular reason, and then he's surprised to find himself in an art museum.

    Brilliant successes, check. Only non human at his rank, check.

    "Pellaeon had often wondered what would have happened if Thrawn, not Vader, had been commanding the Executor."

    Hmm. Not a good sign, but a reasonable thought for now.

    An alarm goes off. Thrawn retains his habit from rebels of waiting for someone else to give orders and then contradicting them rather than just giving orders himself. He annihilates the rebel fleet, naturally, and then divines the result of the scout mission, which information prompts him to go on a trip to an unknown planet that has been mysteriously left alone bu the Jedi and Republic.

    Conclusions: Good chapter, does quite a lot of setup work of the current state of the Empire, rebellion, etc, introduces Thrawn. Few too many jabs at the battle of Endor, but those are also reasonable thoughts to have for Imperial Officers. If this keeps up, though, it's going to be wearing.

    Also, it is instantly clear that the guy that wrote Aftermath has read this book.

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    Default Re: Reading Heir to the Empire

    For my money, I find Thrawn to be pretty much one of the best villains in anything ever, and what good should villains aspire to be like.

    What had you heard that you took a dislike too?



    Quote Originally Posted by Sapphire Guard View Post
    Few too many jabs at the battle of Endor, but those are also reasonable thoughts to have for Imperial Officers.
    To be fair, speaking as an irrepressable Imperial loyalist... Endor was a complete shambles, utterly mishandled by all commaders involved, starting with Vader and probably even up to Palpatine himself. Vader, of course, more or less managed to ensure that defeat snatched from the jaws of victory all by himself. It think it a salient point that nevermind Thrawn, any halfway competant military commander (and they did exist, just not under Vader's command) would have done better (say Zsinj, or - had he not become a Dirty Traitor, Zaarin).



    The Thrawn trilogy I hold as not only one of my favourite ever books, but about the best Star Wars media had produced, like, period. (Including the movies.) There was a playground read-through a while back actually, and the majority of the participants generally admitted it was still very good, so it should be interesting to see what you think. (Worth noting that the Thrawn Trilogy was what basically STARTED the oldEU/Legends; indeed, some small details of it are technically "wrong" due to the later movies, so there is not much a better jumping on point that this one!)
    Last edited by Aotrs Commander; 2017-10-04 at 04:49 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Aotrs Commander View Post
    What had you heard that you took a dislike too?
    My guess would be that it's a perception that Thrawn is "too perfect", or in other words a Villain Sue. I think it's a reasonable conclusion to make if all you have to go on are popular descriptions by fans.

    The thing is, the true core of Thrawn's awesomeness is in the execution and the details of how he pulls off his extraordinary achievements, and he does have character flaws - one of those flaws is the root cause of his ultimate downfall. He is extremely competent, smart, and resourceful, but he's not perfect and he does make mistakes - and the story does not depend overly much on his art-based psychological analysis superpower, which I'll grant does stretch plausibility, to explain how he's a threat.
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    Default Re: Reading Heir to the Empire

    Quote Originally Posted by Douglas View Post
    My guess would be that it's a perception that Thrawn is "too perfect", or in other words a Villain Sue. I think it's a reasonable conclusion to make if all you have to go on are popular descriptions by fans.
    That would have been my guess, too.

    Quote Originally Posted by Douglas
    The thing is, the true core of Thrawn's awesomeness is in the execution and the details of how he pulls off his extraordinary achievements, and he does have character flaws - one of those flaws is the root cause of his ultimate downfall. He is extremely competent, smart, and resourceful, but he's not perfect and he does make mistakes - and the story does not depend overly much on his art-based psychological analysis superpower, which I'll grant does stretch plausibility, to explain how he's a threat.
    Indeed. Thrawn gets mad (quietly), he makes mistakes and he isn't set up to increasingly curb-stomp the heroes at every turn more and more until a last minute, credibility-destroying reversal (like you see a lot of the time these days in media - or perhaps, even, in the wosit vong in the crap end of the oldEU spectrum). Zhan did a bang-up job of making a memorable, smart villain who the heroes have to fight more or less entirely on the intellectual level1. (In some ways, you might Thrawn is a victim of his own success in terms of the popular opinon stakes.)




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    Spoiler: thrawn Trilogy
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    In fact, I think there's only one or two times in the trilogy Han, Leia and Luke even SEE Thrawn from a distance, let alone get close enough to have a conversation or fight him...!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Aotrs Commander View Post



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    Spoiler: thrawn Trilogy
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    In fact, I think there's only one or two times in the trilogy Han, Leia and Luke even SEE Thrawn from a distance, let alone get close enough to have a conversation or fight him...!
    Twice to be exact:
    Spoiler
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    Han sees Thrawn landing on Myrkr in Heir to the Empire, through macrobinoculars.

    Leia sees Thrawn in Dark Force Rising, when he comes to the Noghri village to inform Khabarakh's maitrarch (nod to the word "matriarch") of his suspicions, and have Khabarakh arrested.
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    Default Re: Reading Heir to the Empire

    Man, I need to dig out my copy of this and continue, I remember the bit I'd read being good. Even the non Thrawn bits, which seemed to make the characters fun even if I disliked the film versions.
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    Default Re: Reading Heir to the Empire

    We read the books here a year or two ago. And with an extra critical eye on Thrawn and Mara Jade, my impression of them is that they are written very well and completely avoid being spotlight stealing exemplars of perfection that outshine the established characters. All the bad rep comes from fans fawning over them for years, including later writers.
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    What had you heard that you took a dislike too?
    wok

    First thing I heard was that he advised the Emperor not to underestimate the Ewoks. There is absolutely no reason to draw that conclusion. And then he just kept on ticking the boxes that made him seem like the bad kind of self insert fanfic, only alien in the fleet (I initially thought he was human), suffers discrimination despite his brilliance, constantly contradicts everyone around him, and in Rebels was an expert at everything from personal combat to Speeder bike maintenance)

    o be fair, speaking as an irrepressable Imperial loyalist... Endor was a complete shambles, utterly mishandled by all commaders involved, starting with Vader and probably even up to Palpatine himself. Vader, of course, more or less managed to ensure that defeat snatched from the jaws of victory all by himself. It think it a salient point that nevermind Thrawn, any halfway competant military commander (and they did exist, just not under Vader's command) would have done better (say Zsinj, or - had he not become a Dirty Traitor, Zaarin).
    Not really, it was won through a number of enormous flukes.

    (I will assume I don't need to Spoiler ROTJ in this thread)

    The Rebels initial strike force would have been pulverised without the huge fluke of C3PO being appointed the god of the Ewoks. Even then it was close.

    The Star Destroyers were ordered not to engage, but the Executor was taken down by a lucky suicide run on the bridge, and otherwise was able to take most of the fire of the rebel fleet.

    Emperor was defeated by the sudden unpredictable betrayal of his right hand man. He was not in danger from Luke.

    Vader was commanding nothing, he was busy playing bodyguard to the Emperor. The Emperor did drag things out, but he had every reason to be confident.

    Sequels that constantly take shots at their predecessors are a hard sell to me, it's one of the reasons I'm lukewarm to Ep 8 right now.

    Anyway, CH2:

    Luke is standing on dream Tattoine talking to Obi Wan. It's a very nice scene, heartfelt and in character. And the last time Ben can talk to him.

    Then I am alone, he told himself, I am the last of the Jedi

    He seemed to hear Ben's voice, faint and indistinct, as though from a great distance. "Not the last of the old Jedi, Luke. The first of the new"
    Hmm. This seems relevant somehow to a movie due to come out soon that you may have heard of.

    For the third time, he'd been orphaned
    Yowch. Stings, that one. Nice touch.

    Interesting that the Planet is named as Coruscant, I didn't realise that the capital's name was known pre-prequels.

    C3PO arrives for a conversation, and they contemplate Galactic politics together for a while. Needs of the many v needs of the few, standard stuff for late night drinks. Leia sent him to cheer Luke up and demonstrate her force powers. We move to Leia, and she also contemplates Galactic politics for a time, with a handmaiden named Winter that remembers everything.

    Then we go to Han in the Mos Eisley, hitting up an old contact. Someone has taken over Jabba's organisation, so he's investigating. Someone named Talon Karrde is a man to watch, it seems, but he's not being blatant about it. There's a nice smugglery conversation, and they part ways amicably with agreement to pass on his offer to smugglers he knows. Han walks over to Wedge, his obvious backup, and another person named Page, who was being less obvious.

    Wow, this chapter does a lot of work. It sets up an awful lot of different things in a pretty short pagecount, bringing us up to date with the State of the Galaxy.

    I'm kind of curious how a smuggler on Tattooine knows about the missing task force, it was chasing raiders, how could it be so big a deal to lose that it makes galactic news? You don't need a huge fleet to chase a few pirates.

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    Default Re: Reading Heir to the Empire

    Quote Originally Posted by Sapphire Guard View Post
    Interesting that the Planet is named as Coruscant, I didn't realise that the capital's name was known pre-prequels.
    Apparently, according to Wookieepedia, this is actually the first appearance of the name, and it was then used in the prequels. I didn't know that before today, either.

    Looks like Zahn introduced far more things than I realized. I knew that he basically laid the groundwork for much of the EU, but, still, as someone who got into Star Wars after all 6 movies were out, it's something that I don't really think about.
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    Default Re: Reading Heir to the Empire

    Quote Originally Posted by Sapphire Guard View Post
    Interesting that the Planet is named as Coruscant, I didn't realise that the capital's name was known pre-prequels.
    The name Coruscant actually originates with this book. Lucas's notes, or the scripts, or whatever source contained all the information about the Star Wars galaxy that was already decided but hadn't been included in the original movies, said that the capital of the Empire was a city-planet called Imperial Center. No actual name for the planet was given. Zahn went ahead and named it Coruscant, which then spread to other EU books. When Lucas went to make the prequels, he apparently decided that the name was good enough, and ran with it.


    Then we go to Han in the Mos Eisley, hitting up an old contact. Someone has taken over Jabba's organisation, so he's investigating. Someone named Talon Karrde is a man to watch, it seems, but he's not being blatant about it. There's a nice smugglery conversation, and they part ways amicably with agreement to pass on his offer to smugglers he knows. Han walks over to Wedge, his obvious backup, and another person named Page, who was being less obvious.

    Wow, this chapter does a lot of work. It sets up an awful lot of different things in a pretty short pagecount, bringing us up to date with the State of the Galaxy.

    I'm kind of curious how a smuggler on Tattooine knows about the missing task force, it was chasing raiders, how could it be so big a deal to lose that it makes galactic news? You don't need a huge fleet to chase a few pirates.
    Talon Karrde, as you'll quickly find, is a different breed of smuggler than Han was. That's all I'll say, because spoilers (and because it's been long enough that I'd probably get it wrong if I tried to say much more anyway).

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    Quote Originally Posted by Velaryon View Post
    The name Coruscant actually originates with this book. Lucas's notes, or the scripts, or whatever source contained all the information about the Star Wars galaxy that was already decided but hadn't been included in the original movies, said that the capital of the Empire was a city-planet called Imperial Center. No actual name for the planet was given. Zahn went ahead and named it Coruscant, which then spread to other EU books. When Lucas went to make the prequels, he apparently decided that the name was good enough, and ran with it.
    IIRC, what the EU settled on was that the planet had been called Coruscant originally, but was renamed Imperial Center during Palpatine's reign and then got changed back when the Empire fell. Except the enemies of the Empire had kept calling it Coruscant anyway out of defiance. I also remember the city itself being called Imperial City.

    I expect the name Imperial Center had been previously canonised in an Encyclopedia of the Star Wars Universe or something similar prior to Heir to the Empire coming out and the EU then worked to marry the two sources up.
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    Default Re: Reading Heir to the Empire

    Quote Originally Posted by Sapphire Guard View Post
    wok

    First thing I heard was that he advised the Emperor not to underestimate the Ewoks. There is absolutely no reason to draw that conclusion. And then he just kept on ticking the boxes that made him seem like the bad kind of self insert fanfic, only alien in the fleet (I initially thought he was human), suffers discrimination despite his brilliance, constantly contradicts everyone around him, and in Rebels was an expert at everything from personal combat to Speeder bike maintenance)
    Aren't bad self inserts usually protagonists, though? The sort of writer who typically makes such fanfics usually would hate the idea of writing about the self insert character being beaten, even after a long run before the defeat. Possible exception for Going Out in a Blaze of Glory, but I don't think I've ever seen anyone describe Thrawn's eventual defeat as that.
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    Default Re: Reading Heir to the Empire

    Quote Originally Posted by Douglas View Post
    Aren't bad self inserts usually protagonists, though? The sort of writer who typically makes such fanfics usually would hate the idea of writing about the self insert character being beaten, even after a long run before the defeat. Possible exception for Going Out in a Blaze of Glory, but I don't think I've ever seen anyone describe Thrawn's eventual defeat as that.
    Except Thrawn is not an insert. Seriously, he is the first genuine villain that is not a Force User in Star Wars. Exacrly how would you make him threatening otherwise?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sapphire Guard View Post
    First thing I heard was that he advised the Emperor not to underestimate the Ewoks. There is absolutely no reason to draw that conclusion. And then he just kept on ticking the boxes that made him seem like the bad kind of self insert fanfic, only alien in the fleet (I initially thought he was human), suffers discrimination despite his brilliance, constantly contradicts everyone around him, and in Rebels was an expert at everything from personal combat to Speeder bike maintenance)
    Thrawn got built up over the years, ultimately getting away from Zahn and other writers, particularly in Outbound Flight and Choices of One, though by that time Zahn was pissed at the EU-powers-that-be over the fate of Mara Jade and certain other stupidity. He was never above taking potshots at other EU writers - the Hand of Thrawn duology is full of subtext eviscerating various other Bantam-Era EU novels, particularly the works of Kevin J. Anderson (deservedly, I might add).

    It's worth noting that Thrawn's status as a rare alien in the fleet - he was by no means unique though he held the highest rank of any non-human - is largely in service of the need for him to be unknown in order for the plot to work. His status as an unaccounted-for member of Palpatine's inner circle is highly important, and his species is the justification for why the New Republic doesn't have that information - because Palpatine was keeping it off the books. This point is actually made explicitly during the trilogy.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sapphire Guard View Post
    wok

    First thing I heard was that he advised the Emperor not to underestimate the Ewoks. There is absolutely no reason to draw that conclusion. And then he just kept on ticking the boxes that made him seem like the bad kind of self insert fanfic, only alien in the fleet (I initially thought he was human), suffers discrimination despite his brilliance, constantly contradicts everyone around him, and in Rebels was an expert at everything from personal combat to Speeder bike maintenance)



    Not really, it was won through a number of enormous flukes.

    (I will assume I don't need to Spoiler ROTJ in this thread)

    The Rebels initial strike force would have been pulverised without the huge fluke of C3PO being appointed the god of the Ewoks. Even then it was close.

    The Star Destroyers were ordered not to engage, but the Executor was taken down by a lucky suicide run on the bridge, and otherwise was able to take most of the fire of the rebel fleet.

    Emperor was defeated by the sudden unpredictable betrayal of his right hand man. He was not in danger from Luke.

    Vader was commanding nothing, he was busy playing bodyguard to the Emperor. The Emperor did drag things out, but he had every reason to be confident.

    Sequels that constantly take shots at their predecessors are a hard sell to me, it's one of the reasons I'm lukewarm to Ep 8 right now.

    Anyway, CH2:

    Luke is standing on dream Tattoine talking to Obi Wan. It's a very nice scene, heartfelt and in character. And the last time Ben can talk to him.



    Hmm. This seems relevant somehow to a movie due to come out soon that you may have heard of.



    Yowch. Stings, that one. Nice touch.

    Interesting that the Planet is named as Coruscant, I didn't realise that the capital's name was known pre-prequels.

    C3PO arrives for a conversation, and they contemplate Galactic politics together for a while. Needs of the many v needs of the few, standard stuff for late night drinks. Leia sent him to cheer Luke up and demonstrate her force powers. We move to Leia, and she also contemplates Galactic politics for a time, with a handmaiden named Winter that remembers everything.

    Then we go to Han in the Mos Eisley, hitting up an old contact. Someone has taken over Jabba's organisation, so he's investigating. Someone named Talon Karrde is a man to watch, it seems, but he's not being blatant about it. There's a nice smugglery conversation, and they part ways amicably with agreement to pass on his offer to smugglers he knows. Han walks over to Wedge, his obvious backup, and another person named Page, who was being less obvious.

    Wow, this chapter does a lot of work. It sets up an awful lot of different things in a pretty short pagecount, bringing us up to date with the State of the Galaxy.

    I'm kind of curious how a smuggler on Tattooine knows about the missing task force, it was chasing raiders, how could it be so big a deal to lose that it makes galactic news? You don't need a huge fleet to chase a few pirates.
    The Executor went down because the Captain completely failed to do his job and have an adequate capital ship and fighter screen in place for defense and have contingencies in place if main command was compromised. Even if the Rebel fighter hadn't suicided in a pair of torpedos from him would have destroyed the bridge just as easily, they should never have been able to get in that position. Then of course the only explanation for a ship the size of the Executor to completely lose control just from losing its main bridge is rank incompetence from its Captain and crew. Current wet Navy carriers and larger ships have redundant command centers capable of performing all functions of a ship in case the bridge takes a hit for precisely that reason. A ship the size and prestige of the Executor not having a backup command center in place justifies any criticism of its command staff as either suicidally overconfident or utterly incompetent.

    Then on Endor - once again, just complete complacency and incompetence from the ground commander. It shouldn't have BEEN close. You're guarding an installation of extreme importance that is shielding an unfathomably expensive and valuable space installation. Yet they fail to have even basic security in place. The Imperials completely failed to clear vision and fields of fire around the entrance, have a handful of 'guards' outside that aren't even watching the surrounding area and immediately abandon their posts to chase a native (who was able to just WALK UP and steal a military vehicle), and they have a couple isolated patrols wandering around the woods that apparently can't even communicate with the base they're allegedly patrolling for (or they would have called in during the chase that, you know, REBELS were on the planet), then Rebels ON FOOT are able to literally walk up into pistol range of the entrance. Finally, literally HUNDREDS of pre-metal age armed natives are able to get within bow range of their entire fighting force without being detected - again, the commanders have utterly failed to clear vision or set up any kind of monitoring or basic security of the surrounding area. The Imperials should have completely cleared the forest for a kilometer around the installation and set up patrols and electronic monitoring so that a lizard couldn't move within 10 kilometers without them knowing about it.

    As far as the task force - it wasn't spelled out but the Imperials probably announced it publicly, it was a pretty big victory to destroy a task force without really losing anything.
    Last edited by Olinser; 2017-10-06 at 03:47 AM.

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    Default Re: Reading Heir to the Empire

    The important thing about Thrawn in this book is that he isn't infailable. He just cultivates a reputation of being so. He does make errors and some of them pretty big ones.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Olinser View Post
    The Executor went down because the Captain completely failed to do his job and have an adequate capital ship and fighter screen in place for defense and have contingencies in place if main command was compromised. Even if the Rebel fighter hadn't suicided in a pair of torpedos from him would have destroyed the bridge just as easily, they should never have been able to get in that position. Then of course the only explanation for a ship the size of the Executor to completely lose control just from losing its main bridge is rank incompetence from its Captain and crew. Current wet Navy carriers and larger ships have redundant command centers capable of performing all functions of a ship in case the bridge takes a hit for precisely that reason. A ship the size and prestige of the Executor not having a backup command center in place justifies any criticism of its command staff as either suicidally overconfident or utterly incompetent.
    The Executor lost control for a very brief period of time - if the movie progression is presumed to be real time, it's literally 15 seconds from loss of the bridge to contact with the Death Star II. It was only destroyed because of the unique situation it was in: operating in extremely close proximity to a gravity well, specifically, the Death Star II. The EU has an example of a Executor-class Star Dreadnought, the Razor's Kiss, undertaking precisely the same level of damage - destruction of the bridge tower - operating without control for some time while under heavy attack and control ultimately being regained from the auxiliary bridge - Star Wars computational technology is in many ways less advanced than contemporary real world tech (Rogue One made this very clear), so it is reasonable that this can't be done instantaneously in-universe. The Rebel Alliance at Endor had nowhere near the firepower necessary to destroy the Executor by conventional means. So the actual piece of incompetence was positioning the vessel in such a way that even a brief disruption in command control would result in the ship succumbing to the wrath of gravity (or possibly active maneuvering, not entirely clear).

    It is not clear why Admiral Piett moved the Executor so close to the Death Star II - the initial deployment had the fleet much further away. It's possible that he was attempting to use the Executor's bulk to screen the Death Star II from the Rebel fleet following the destruction of the ground-based shield - since a sustained barrage could conceivably have knocked the superlaser off-line or possibly even threatened the Emperor's person.
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    Default Re: Reading Heir to the Empire

    Quote Originally Posted by Yora View Post
    The important thing about Thrawn in this book is that he isn't infailable. He just cultivates a reputation of being so. He does make errors and some of them pretty big ones.
    Yup. And it was important for how he was wrong when it happened. It didn't feel like he was grabbing an idiot ball so the heroes would win. For the most part his mistakes were just because his own modus operandi backfired on him.

    But that's getting into spoiler territory.

    I will say over the years he's become less than what he was at the beginning. In the Thrawn trilogy he is a skilled imperial commander, taking over what's left of the imperial navy. He's implied to have been a competent soldier but really his abilities as a commander were the important thing.

    Then he later gets odd upgrades to make him cooler. Like being a hand to hand combat master. Design a secret super bomber-fighter ship. Having a secret empire in the Outer Rim. Was secretly planning to betray the emperor, maybe. He was actually a good guy only joining the empire to stop the Vong.

    And all of that just makes the character lesser than when he was just a really good commander.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mechalich View Post
    Star Wars computational technology is in many ways less advanced than contemporary real world tech (Rogue One made this very clear)
    Yet they have AI! of course, IIRC the original trilogy came out between the introduction of personal computers and the utter explosion in computing miniaturisation and capacity. It's why there's so much science fiction set in the 23rd century or whatever where characters don't carry computers around with them 24/7 even though it's normally for people in first world countries to do it today ('I carry around a 1980s supercomputer' is a response I have to 'where's my jetpack' questions, although I'm not sure how true it is computing power wise). So I'm willing to assume that maybe their computing technology lagged behind for millennia, although they still have AI with less advanced computers than we do.

    I mean, I can except that the rebels might not be using the most advanced equipment or that the Death Star blueprints weren't in full colour 3D, but I'd fully expect the Imperials to be able to switch command to a backup bridge (ideally located sensibly in the middle of the Star Destroyer) within a couple of minutes of establishing the original was destroyed.

    Heck, when I read Star Wars books I imagine the primary CIC of Star Destroyers to be in the middle of the ship, connected to the outside via cameras (with multiple redundancies). Nobody could be that stupid on a military vessel.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Anonymouswizard View Post
    Yet they have AI! of course, IIRC the original trilogy came out between the introduction of personal computers and the utter explosion in computing miniaturisation and capacity. It's why there's so much science fiction set in the 23rd century or whatever where characters don't carry computers around with them 24/7 even though it's normally for people in first world countries to do it today ('I carry around a 1980s supercomputer' is a response I have to 'where's my jetpack' questions, although I'm not sure how true it is computing power wise). So I'm willing to assume that maybe their computing technology lagged behind for millennia, although they still have AI with less advanced computers than we do.
    Star Wars tech is a deeply eclectic mess based on choices made by George Lucas and a few others from the perspective of the mid-1970s. This was largely before PCs - when the Millennium Falcon's computer is show in ESB it's the size of a desk. And computer technology is hardy the only area where things are weird. Biotechnology has always had a weird place in Star Wars (something of relevance to the Thrawn Trilogy) because the OT totally predated the modern biotech movement. It's a mess, and as viewers we just have to roll with it.

    I mean, I can except that the rebels might not be using the most advanced equipment or that the Death Star blueprints weren't in full colour 3D, but I'd fully expect the Imperials to be able to switch command to a backup bridge (ideally located sensibly in the middle of the Star Destroyer) within a couple of minutes of establishing the original was destroyed.
    Sure, and if they'd had a few minutes that would make sense. The Razor's Kiss, operated by a skeleton dockyard crew, managed to reassert control in the midst of combat through the actions of a single trooper, but the Executor goes down in 15 seconds. In Star Wars, someone probably had to flip a bunch of switches and turn a number of dials to transfer over control, adn that could easily have taken too long.

    Heck, when I read Star Wars books I imagine the primary CIC of Star Destroyers to be in the middle of the ship, connected to the outside via cameras (with multiple redundancies). Nobody could be that stupid on a military vessel.
    Well, canon is against that interpretation and there are a number of, admittedly somewhat tortured by this point, explanations as to why. Ultimately Star Wars is a space fantasy, any expectation of scientific accuracy is largely beside the point. The space combat is based on WWII, and WWII ships had vulnerable bridges. So it goes.
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    Default Re: Reading Heir to the Empire

    Quote Originally Posted by Mechalich View Post
    The Executor lost control for a very brief period of time - if the movie progression is presumed to be real time, it's literally 15 seconds from loss of the bridge to contact with the Death Star II. It was only destroyed because of the unique situation it was in: operating in extremely close proximity to a gravity well, specifically, the Death Star II. The EU has an example of a Executor-class Star Dreadnought, the Razor's Kiss, undertaking precisely the same level of damage - destruction of the bridge tower - operating without control for some time while under heavy attack and control ultimately being regained from the auxiliary bridge - Star Wars computational technology is in many ways less advanced than contemporary real world tech (Rogue One made this very clear), so it is reasonable that this can't be done instantaneously in-universe. The Rebel Alliance at Endor had nowhere near the firepower necessary to destroy the Executor by conventional means. So the actual piece of incompetence was positioning the vessel in such a way that even a brief disruption in command control would result in the ship succumbing to the wrath of gravity (or possibly active maneuvering, not entirely clear).

    It is not clear why Admiral Piett moved the Executor so close to the Death Star II - the initial deployment had the fleet much further away. It's possible that he was attempting to use the Executor's bulk to screen the Death Star II from the Rebel fleet following the destruction of the ground-based shield - since a sustained barrage could conceivably have knocked the superlaser off-line or possibly even threatened the Emperor's person.
    Sure, it wouldn't be instantaneous, it looked like it was supposed to be longer before it actually hit the Death Star. But if it were that short a time period that's even worse incompetence. Taking out the bridge doesn't suddenly kill the Executor's momentum or change its heading. If it crashed 15 seconds after losing the bridge means it was already on a course that it was going to crash into the Death Star without active intervention by the helmsman - that's ludicrous incompetence by the helmsman at a minimum given that the Death Star is NOT MOVING (and on the Captain too, for not paying attention to where his ship was pointing). No ship that size should ever be in a situation where losing helm control for that short a period of time results in crashing into a stationary obstacle.

    So either their backup command and control was incompetent and unable to re-establish control, or their helmsman was incompetent enough to put the ship on a course that resulting in its complete destruction immediately after losing helm control. Both of those do not reflect favorably on their commanders abilities.
    Last edited by Olinser; 2017-10-06 at 05:46 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sapphire Guard View Post
    First thing I heard was that he advised the Emperor not to underestimate the Ewoks. There is absolutely no reason to draw that conclusion.
    As somebody mentioned earlier - he didn't know much about them - only that they were primitives - and he felt that they still shouldn't be underestimated on account of this.
    Quote Originally Posted by Olinser View Post
    Then on Endor - once again, just complete complacency and incompetence from the ground commander. It shouldn't have BEEN close. You're guarding an installation of extreme importance that is shielding an unfathomably expensive and valuable space installation. Yet they fail to have even basic security in place. The Imperials completely failed to clear vision and fields of fire around the entrance, have a handful of 'guards' outside that aren't even watching the surrounding area and immediately abandon their posts to chase a native (who was able to just WALK UP and steal a military vehicle), and they have a couple isolated patrols wandering around the woods that apparently can't even communicate with the base they're allegedly patrolling for (or they would have called in during the chase that, you know, REBELS were on the planet), then Rebels ON FOOT are able to literally walk up into pistol range of the entrance. Finally, literally HUNDREDS of pre-metal age armed natives are able to get within bow range of their entire fighting force without being detected - again, the commanders have utterly failed to clear vision or set up any kind of monitoring or basic security of the surrounding area. The Imperials should have completely cleared the forest for a kilometer around the installation and set up patrols and electronic monitoring so that a lizard couldn't move within 10 kilometers without them knowing about it.
    Zahn appears to have felt the same way - and had Thrawn voice many of your criticisms, in advance. Palpatine's counterargument is basically "It needs to be that way for the trap to work".

    The scene in question, from Choices of One:

    “Well?” the Emperor asked.
    For a moment Senior Captain Thrawn didn’t answer, merely continued to gaze out the viewport at the forested landscape stretched out below. “An interesting situation,” the blue-skinned Chiss said at last.
    Seated at the helm of his freighter, Jorj Car’das kept his gaze straight ahead at the moon’s horizon, wishing fervently that he was still in his self-imposed exile from the rest of the universe. Thrawn clearly didn’t need him here. The Emperor clearly didn’t want him here.
    But Thrawn had quietly insisted. Why, Car’das didn’t know. Maybe Thrawn felt he owed Car’das. Maybe he thought he was doing Car’das a favor by bringing him back into contact with the high and mighty this way.
    Car’das also didn’t know why the Emperor hadn’t chosen to make an issue of his presence aboard. Maybe he regarded Thrawn highly enough to forgive the other’s little quirks. Maybe he was just amused by Car’das’s obvious discomfort.
    Car’das didn’t know. Nor did he really care. About anything.
    “First of all, the multifrequency force field you have set up should be more than adequate to protect the construction site,” Thrawn said, gesturing past Car’das’s shoulder at the huge half-finished sphere floating above the moon’s surface. “I trust the generator has redundant energy sources, plus an umbrella shield to protect it from orbital attack?”
    “It does,” the Emperor confirmed. “There are also a number of fully crewed garrisons in the forest around the generator.”
    “Has the moon any inhabitants?”
    “Primitives only,” the Emperor said contemptuously.
    “In that case multiple garrisons are an inefficient use of resources,” Thrawn said. “I would recommend burning off the forest for a hundred kilometers around the generator and putting a small mechanized force of AT-ATs and juggernaut heavy assault vehicles under the umbrella shield. Add in point support from three or four wing-clusters of hoverscouts, and the rest of the troops and equipment could be reassigned to trouble spots elsewhere in the Empire.”
    “So you would suggest I make the generator completely unassailable?” Palpatine asked.
    “I assumed that was the intent.” Thrawn paused, and Car’das glanced back in time to see the captain’s glowing eyes narrow. “Unless, of course, you’re setting a trap.”
    “Of course,” the Emperor said calmly. “You of all my officers should understand the usefulness of a well-laid trap.”
    “Indeed,” Thrawn agreed. “One final recommendation: don’t dismiss too quickly those natives you mentioned. Even primitives can sometimes be used to deadly effect.”
    “They will not be a problem,” the Emperor said, dismissing the natives with a small wave of his hand. “They don’t like strangers. Any strangers.”
    “I leave that to your judgment,” Thrawn said.
    “Yes,” Palpatine said flatly.
    Last edited by hamishspence; 2017-10-06 at 07:17 AM.
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    Default Re: Reading Heir to the Empire

    Quote Originally Posted by Cikomyr View Post
    Except Thrawn is not an insert. Seriously, he is the first genuine villain that is not a Force User in Star Wars. Exacrly how would you make him threatening otherwise?
    Jabba and Boba Fett both disagree on Thrawn being the first non-Force using villains...so does Tarkin for that matter.
    Last edited by Callos_DeTerran; 2017-10-06 at 01:24 PM.

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    Default Re: Reading Heir to the Empire

    Quote Originally Posted by Callos_DeTerran View Post
    Jabba and Boba Fett both disagree on Thrawn being the first non-Force using villains...so does Tarkin for that matter.
    Jabba? Killed by a captured half naked princess?

    Boba Fett? Killed by a comedic move

    Tarkin never actually does anything that proves he is skilled or competent.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Callos_DeTerran View Post
    Jabba and Boba Fett both disagree on Thrawn being the first non-Force using villains...so does Tarkin for that matter.
    Boba Fett and Tarkin were both working directly for the Force-using villains though, save for in Jedi where Fett was working for Jabba presumably.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hunter Noventa View Post
    Boba Fett and Tarkin were both working directly for the Force-using villains though, save for in Jedi where Fett was working for Jabba presumably.
    Tarkin had the Force-using villain working for him, until the movie was expanded to a trilogy to add a Force-using Emperor that Tarkin was ultimately working for.

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    Default Re: Reading Heir to the Empire

    To avoid this becoming yet ANOTHER completely unnecessary discussion: he said COMPETENT.

    Keep it at that, and lets not destroy the thread yet, ok? :)


    On a sidenote: still my favourite Star Wars Story, and I was glad when Thrawn became NewCanon (not so much when I saw it was EdgySuperAtEverythingThrawn^^, still better this than nothing).
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    Default Re: Reading Heir to the Empire

    Quote Originally Posted by Sapphire Guard View Post
    Also, it is instantly clear that the guy that wrote Aftermath has read this book.
    If only that guy had read anything on how to write competently.
    Quote Originally Posted by GrayDeath View Post
    To avoid this becoming yet ANOTHER completely unnecessary discussion: he said COMPETENT.

    Keep it at that, and lets not destroy the thread yet, ok? :)
    Keep it at, "a space wizard with a fleet of military warships can't find a guy, so he brings in a bounty hunter who immediately finds the guy, then gets a double bounty on that guy, but despite all that the bounty hunter somehow wasn't competent?"
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    Quote Originally Posted by littlebum2002 View Post
    It would be nice to just change the title of this thread to be "stuff about Jedi"

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    Default Re: Reading Heir to the Empire

    It's worth noting that Thrawn's status as a rare alien in the fleet - he was by no means unique though he held the highest rank of any non-human - is largely in service of the need for him to be unknown in order for the plot to work. His status as an unaccounted-for member of Palpatine's inner circle is highly important, and his species is the justification for why the New Republic doesn't have that information - because Palpatine was keeping it off the books. This point is actually made explicitly during the trilogy.
    That doesn't make sense. His species would if anything make him stand out all the more.

    As somebody mentioned earlier - he didn't know much about them - only that they were primitives - and he felt that they still shouldn't be underestimated on account of this.
    That's even worse.

    The Executor went down because the Captain completely failed to do his job and have an adequate capital ship and fighter screen in place for defense and have contingencies in place if main command was compromised. Even if the Rebel fighter hadn't suicided in a pair of torpedos from him would have destroyed the bridge just as easily, they should never have been able to get in that position. Then of course the only explanation for a ship the size of the Executor to completely lose control just from losing its main bridge is rank incompetence from its Captain and crew. Current wet Navy carriers and larger ships have redundant command centers capable of performing all functions of a ship in case the bridge takes a hit for precisely that reason. A ship the size and prestige of the Executor not having a backup command center in place justifies any criticism of its command staff as either suicidally overconfident or utterly incompetent.
    The trouble with arguing Star Wars tech is that nobody doing the arguing can possibly understand it. We have no idea what the limitations are or really how any of it works, so hypothetical possibilities can just be pulled from nowhere all we want.

    But even so, you're making a ton of assumptions there.

    Important line: "Concentrate all fire on that Super Star Destroyer."

    Meaning: It was taking fire from the entirety of the Rebel fleet. All of it. Assuming that the bridge hit is the only damage is honestly a stretch. Then the bridge Deflector shield goes down and the Captain does have contingencies 'intensify forward firepower' to compensate. But it's 'too late' and he loses the bridge. Probably there is another one, but along with whatever other damage it has taken from being the sole target of the entire fleet, it's not able to reassert control before it crashes.

    r. It shouldn't have BEEN close. You're guarding an installation of extreme importance that is shielding an unfathomably expensive and valuable space installation. Yet they fail to have even basic security in place. The Imperials completely failed to clear vision and fields of fire around the entrance, have a handful of 'guards' outside that aren't even watching the surrounding area and immediately abandon their posts to chase a native (who was able to just WALK UP and steal a military vehicle), and they have a couple isolated patrols wandering around the woods that apparently can't even communicate with the base they're allegedly patrolling for (or they would have called in during the chase that, you know, REBELS were on the planet), then Rebels ON FOOT are able to literally walk up into pistol range of the entrance. Finally, literally HUNDREDS of pre-metal age armed natives are able to get within bow range of their entire fighting force without being detected - again, the commanders have utterly failed to clear vision or set up any kind of monitoring or basic security of the surrounding area. The Imperials should have completely cleared the forest for a kilometer around the installation and set up patrols and electronic monitoring so that a lizard couldn't move within 10 kilometers without them knowing about it.
    Then you can't spring your trap. The incompetence of the guards is part of the trap, they draw the rebels in and the real security shows up. It's like calling Stormtroopers on not hitting the targets they have orders to allow escape. Palpatine had an army in place to protect it from a small rebel strike force. If you make it an impenetrable base, then the Rebels sneak in dressed as guards instead of sending a raiding party.

    the Death Star is NOT MOVING
    It's in orbit. That means it's moving.

    As someone said, the easy explanation for the Executor's position is that he moved in close once the shield went down to protect the Death Star. Which is completely supported by Ackbar's response:

    "We've got to give those fighters more time! Concentrate all fire on that SSD!"

    Ergo, whatever Piett was doing was enough of a threat to the Rebels' plan that Akbar felt he had no choice but to concentrate ALL fire on the Executor, at the expense of the many other threats, including the actual Death Star itself.

    Anyways, CH3:

    Talon Karrde is setting out a meal in his office, when he is joined by one Mara Jade. That's a name I've heard of, although I don't know much more than the name and her relationship. Karrde is setting out a business dinner framed to look like a romantic dinner (or possibly the other way around) to throw his subordinate off balance. It doesn't work. He dangles a promotion in front of her, Mara's cautious but interested.

    The business dinner is interrupted by an inconvenient Star Destroyer. Karrde decides to hail it.

    ISD's have their names lettered on the side. Didn't know that. Interesting.

    Karrde namedrops Thrawn and Pellaeon, which is interesting, as playing dumb seems like the safer course of action to me. But anyways, the Empire's after some animal called a Ysalamiri 'to use against a single Jedi.' Their one weakness is apparently fifty centimetre long tree sloths. Makes one wonder why Jabba didn't have one.

    Karrde offers a guide, which is accepted after some negotiations, and makes a note that it might be worth keeping one of his own. Mara reacts to this, and we learn that she hates equally Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker. Hmm.


    Short enough chapter, Karrde sets out his mob boss cred and Mara proves her competence by reeling off restructuring plans off the top of her head.

    As far as the task force - it wasn't spelled out but the Imperials probably announced it publicly, it was a pretty big victory to destroy a task force without really losing anything.
    They don't know what happened to it, that's why Han is investigating. But his smuggler friend knows it's missing, so it made the news.

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