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  1. - Top - End - #91
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    Default Re: Reading Heir to the Empire

    Quote Originally Posted by tomandtish View Post
    Exactly, along with..

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    Killing off the ones he think can't change/be saved, and rewarding ones who show creativity even when they fail. Probably my favorite two Thrawn moments...


    Spoiler: Quoted section Chapt 16 Heir to the Empire
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    The bridge was uncommonly quiet as Thrawn led the way to the aft stairway and descended into the
    starboard crew pit. He walked past the crewers at their consoles, past the officers standing painfully erect behind
    them, and came to a halt at the control station for the starboard tractor beams. “Your name,” he said, his voice
    excruciatingly calm.

    “Cris Pieterson, sir,” the young man seated at the console answered, his eyes wary.

    “You were in charge of the tractor beam during our engagement with the starfighter.” It was a statement, not a
    question.

    “Yes, sir—but what happened wasn’t my fault.”

    Thrawn’s eyebrows arched, just a bit. “Explain.”

    Pieterson started to gesture to the side, changed his mind in midmotion. “The target did something with his
    acceleration compensator that killed his velocity vector—”

    “I’m aware of the facts,” Thrawn cut in. “I’m waiting to hear why his escape wasn’t your fault.”

    “I was never properly trained for such an occurrence, sir,” Pieterson said, a flicker of defiance touching his
    eyes. “The computer lost the lock, but seemed to pick it up again right away. There was no way for me to know it
    had really picked up something else until—”

    “Until the proton torpedoes detonated against the projector?”

    Pieterson held his gaze evenly. “Yes, sir.”

    For a long moment Thrawn studied him. “Who is your officer?” he asked at last.

    Pieterson’s eyes shifted to the right. “Ensign Colclazure, sir.”

    Slowly, deliberately, Thrawn turned to the tall man standing rigidly at attention with his back to the walkway.
    “You are in charge of this man?”

    Colclazure swallowed visibly. “Yes, sir,” he said.

    “Was his training also your responsibility?”

    “Yes, sir,” Colclazure said again.

    “Did you, during that training, run through any scenarios similar to what just happened?”

    “I . . . don’t remember, sir,” the ensign admitted. “The standard training package does include scenarios
    concerning loss of lock and subsequent reestablishment confirmation.”

    Thrawn threw a brief glance back down at Pieterson. “Did you recruit him as well, Ensign?”

    “No, sir. He was a conscript.”

    “Does that make him less worthy of your training time than a normal enlistee?”

    “No, sir.” Colclazure’s eyes flicked to Pieterson. “I’ve always tried to treat my subordinates equally.”

    “I see.” Thrawn considered a moment, then half turned to look past Pellaeon’s shoulder. “Rukh.”

    Pellaeon started as Rukh brushed silently past him; he hadn’t realized the Noghri had followed them down.

    Thrawn waited until Rukh was standing at his side, then turned back to Colclazure. “Do you know the
    difference between an error and a mistake, Ensign?”

    The entire bridge had gone deathly still. Colclazure swallowed again, his face starting to go pale. “No, sir.”

    “Anyone can make an error, Ensign. But that error doesn’t become a mistake until you refuse to correct it.”

    He raised a finger— And, almost lazily, pointed. Pellaeon never even saw Rukh move. Pieterson certainly never had
    time to scream.

    From farther down the crew pit came the sound of someone trying valiantly not to be sick. Thrawn glanced over Pellaeon’s
    shoulder again and gestured, and the silence was further broken by the sound of a pair of stormtroopers coming forward.
    “Dispose of it,” the Grand Admiral ordered them, turning away from Pieterson’s crumpled body and pinning Colclazure with
    a stare. “The error, Ensign,” he told the other softly, “has now been corrected. You may begin training a replacement.”



    Spoiler: Spoiler: Quoted section from "The Last Command"
    Show
    “That does not mean, however,” Thrawn went on, “that the actions ofthe Chimaera’s crew should be
    ignored. Come with me, Captain.”

    Pellaeon got to his feet, the tightness returning. “Yes, sir.”

    Thrawn led the way to the aft stairway and descended to the starboard crew pit. He walked past the
    crewers at their consoles, past the officers standing stiffly behind them, and came to a halt at the control station
    for the starboard tractor beams. “Your name,” he said quietly to the young man standing at rigid attention there.

    “Ensign Mithel,” the other said, his face pale but composed. The expression of a man facing his death.

    “Tell me what happened, Ensign.”

    Mithel swallowed. “Sir, I had just established a positive lock on the freighter when it broke up into a cluster of
    trac-reflective particles. The targeting system tried to lock on all of them at once and went into a loop
    snarl.”

    “And what did you do?”

    “I—sir, I knew that if I waited for the particles to dissipate normally, the target starfighter would be out of
    range. So I tried to dissipate them myself by shifting the tractor beam into sheer-plane mode.”

    “It didn’t work.”

    A quiet sigh slipped through Mithel’s lips. “No, sir. The target-lock system couldn’t handle it. It froze up
    completely.”

    “Yes.” Thrawn cocked his head slightly. “You’ve had a few moments now to consider your actions, Ensign.
    Can you think of anything you should have done instead?”

    The young man’s lip twitched. “No, sir. I’m sorry, but I can’t. I don’t remember anything in the manual that
    covers this kind of situation.”

    Thrawn nodded. “Correct,” he agreed. “There isn’t anything. Several methods have been suggested over the
    past few decades for counteracting the covert shroud gambit, none of which has ever been made practical.
    Yours was one of the more innovative attempts, particularly given how little time you had to come up with it.
    The fact that it failed does not in any way diminish that.”

    A look of cautious disbelief was starting to edge into Mithel’s face. “Sir?”

    “The Empire needs quick and creative minds, Ensign,” Thrawn said. “You’re hereby promoted to
    lieutenant … and your first assignment is to find a way to break a covert shroud. After their success here,
    the Rebellion may try the gambit again.”


    One is salvageable. One isn't.
    I really loved the callback there. It's things like that what make Thrawn so beloved, I think. I'm also surprised that a whole book separated them. I should re-read those sometime.
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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"

  2. - Top - End - #92
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    Default Re: Reading Heir to the Empire

    Quote Originally Posted by tomandtish View Post
    Exactly, along with..

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    Show
    Killing off the ones he think can't change/be saved, and rewarding ones who show creativity even when they fail. Probably my favorite two Thrawn moments...


    Spoiler: Quoted section Chapt 16 Heir to the Empire
    Show

    The bridge was uncommonly quiet as Thrawn led the way to the aft stairway and descended into the
    starboard crew pit. He walked past the crewers at their consoles, past the officers standing painfully erect behind
    them, and came to a halt at the control station for the starboard tractor beams. “Your name,” he said, his voice
    excruciatingly calm.

    “Cris Pieterson, sir,” the young man seated at the console answered, his eyes wary.

    “You were in charge of the tractor beam during our engagement with the starfighter.” It was a statement, not a
    question.

    “Yes, sir—but what happened wasn’t my fault.”

    Thrawn’s eyebrows arched, just a bit. “Explain.”

    Pieterson started to gesture to the side, changed his mind in midmotion. “The target did something with his
    acceleration compensator that killed his velocity vector—”

    “I’m aware of the facts,” Thrawn cut in. “I’m waiting to hear why his escape wasn’t your fault.”

    “I was never properly trained for such an occurrence, sir,” Pieterson said, a flicker of defiance touching his
    eyes. “The computer lost the lock, but seemed to pick it up again right away. There was no way for me to know it
    had really picked up something else until—”

    “Until the proton torpedoes detonated against the projector?”

    Pieterson held his gaze evenly. “Yes, sir.”

    For a long moment Thrawn studied him. “Who is your officer?” he asked at last.

    Pieterson’s eyes shifted to the right. “Ensign Colclazure, sir.”

    Slowly, deliberately, Thrawn turned to the tall man standing rigidly at attention with his back to the walkway.
    “You are in charge of this man?”

    Colclazure swallowed visibly. “Yes, sir,” he said.

    “Was his training also your responsibility?”

    “Yes, sir,” Colclazure said again.

    “Did you, during that training, run through any scenarios similar to what just happened?”

    “I . . . don’t remember, sir,” the ensign admitted. “The standard training package does include scenarios
    concerning loss of lock and subsequent reestablishment confirmation.”

    Thrawn threw a brief glance back down at Pieterson. “Did you recruit him as well, Ensign?”

    “No, sir. He was a conscript.”

    “Does that make him less worthy of your training time than a normal enlistee?”

    “No, sir.” Colclazure’s eyes flicked to Pieterson. “I’ve always tried to treat my subordinates equally.”

    “I see.” Thrawn considered a moment, then half turned to look past Pellaeon’s shoulder. “Rukh.”

    Pellaeon started as Rukh brushed silently past him; he hadn’t realized the Noghri had followed them down.

    Thrawn waited until Rukh was standing at his side, then turned back to Colclazure. “Do you know the
    difference between an error and a mistake, Ensign?”

    The entire bridge had gone deathly still. Colclazure swallowed again, his face starting to go pale. “No, sir.”

    “Anyone can make an error, Ensign. But that error doesn’t become a mistake until you refuse to correct it.”

    He raised a finger— And, almost lazily, pointed. Pellaeon never even saw Rukh move. Pieterson certainly never had
    time to scream.

    From farther down the crew pit came the sound of someone trying valiantly not to be sick. Thrawn glanced over Pellaeon’s
    shoulder again and gestured, and the silence was further broken by the sound of a pair of stormtroopers coming forward.
    “Dispose of it,” the Grand Admiral ordered them, turning away from Pieterson’s crumpled body and pinning Colclazure with
    a stare. “The error, Ensign,” he told the other softly, “has now been corrected. You may begin training a replacement.”



    Spoiler: Spoiler: Quoted section from "The Last Command"
    Show
    “That does not mean, however,” Thrawn went on, “that the actions ofthe Chimaera’s crew should be
    ignored. Come with me, Captain.”

    Pellaeon got to his feet, the tightness returning. “Yes, sir.”

    Thrawn led the way to the aft stairway and descended to the starboard crew pit. He walked past the
    crewers at their consoles, past the officers standing stiffly behind them, and came to a halt at the control station
    for the starboard tractor beams. “Your name,” he said quietly to the young man standing at rigid attention there.

    “Ensign Mithel,” the other said, his face pale but composed. The expression of a man facing his death.

    “Tell me what happened, Ensign.”

    Mithel swallowed. “Sir, I had just established a positive lock on the freighter when it broke up into a cluster of
    trac-reflective particles. The targeting system tried to lock on all of them at once and went into a loop
    snarl.”

    “And what did you do?”

    “I—sir, I knew that if I waited for the particles to dissipate normally, the target starfighter would be out of
    range. So I tried to dissipate them myself by shifting the tractor beam into sheer-plane mode.”

    “It didn’t work.”

    A quiet sigh slipped through Mithel’s lips. “No, sir. The target-lock system couldn’t handle it. It froze up
    completely.”

    “Yes.” Thrawn cocked his head slightly. “You’ve had a few moments now to consider your actions, Ensign.
    Can you think of anything you should have done instead?”

    The young man’s lip twitched. “No, sir. I’m sorry, but I can’t. I don’t remember anything in the manual that
    covers this kind of situation.”

    Thrawn nodded. “Correct,” he agreed. “There isn’t anything. Several methods have been suggested over the
    past few decades for counteracting the covert shroud gambit, none of which has ever been made practical.
    Yours was one of the more innovative attempts, particularly given how little time you had to come up with it.
    The fact that it failed does not in any way diminish that.”

    A look of cautious disbelief was starting to edge into Mithel’s face. “Sir?”

    “The Empire needs quick and creative minds, Ensign,” Thrawn said. “You’re hereby promoted to
    lieutenant … and your first assignment is to find a way to break a covert shroud. After their success here,
    the Rebellion may try the gambit again.”


    One is salvageable. One isn't.
    Spoiler
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    Interestingly, seeing those two side by side, it's extremely easy to interpret them as the main difference being the level of deference towards Thrawn and the Empire involved. Pietersen starts out believing that he's dead and being "defiant" and critical of the manual and training he's received for it, and so he dies, while Mithel starts out believing he's dead and taking it at the pleasure of his commander, and therefore he lives. The virtue being much less the inventiveness and much more being willing to take the blame for things.

  3. - Top - End - #93
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    Default Re: Reading Heir to the Empire

    Quote Originally Posted by Drascin View Post
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    Interestingly, seeing those two side by side, it's extremely easy to interpret them as the main difference being the level of deference towards Thrawn and the Empire involved. Pietersen starts out believing that he's dead and being "defiant" and critical of the manual and training he's received for it, and so he dies, while Mithel starts out believing he's dead and taking it at the pleasure of his commander, and therefore he lives. The virtue being much less the inventiveness and much more being willing to take the blame for things.
    Spoiler
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    I think willingness to take the blame is precisely the intended point there.

    Pieterson's first reaction to being in trouble was to try to shift the blame. In Thrawn's own terms from the end of that scene, Pieterson made an error when he didn't handle the computer losing and regaining lock correctly, and then - by trying to shift blame rather than do anything else - refused to correct it and thus turned it into a mistake. That is what earned him execution.

    Mithel's first reaction to being in trouble was to explain the facts and acknowledge fault. He admitted his error, and while he hadn't yet tried to correct it that was only for lack of time - and his error was itself done in the course of attempting in good faith to proactively fix a problem, which could be viewed as an attempt to correct an earlier error.
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  4. - Top - End - #94
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    Default Re: Reading Heir to the Empire

    Quote Originally Posted by Douglas View Post
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    I think willingness to take the blame is precisely the intended point there.

    Pieterson's first reaction to being in trouble was to try to shift the blame. In Thrawn's own terms from the end of that scene, Pieterson made an error when he didn't handle the computer losing and regaining lock correctly, and then - by trying to shift blame rather than do anything else - refused to correct it and thus turned it into a mistake. That is what earned him execution.

    Mithel's first reaction to being in trouble was to explain the facts and acknowledge fault. He admitted his error, and while he hadn't yet tried to correct it that was only for lack of time - and his error was itself done in the course of attempting in good faith to proactively fix a problem, which could be viewed as an attempt to correct an earlier error.
    Spoiler
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    Not just that. Remember that Pieterson thinks he's going to be executed for failure. He's throwing his commanding officer to the wolves, hoping that Thrawn will kill Colclazure rather than him.

    The Empire does not need traitors -- though I would have reassigned him to garbage duty or some such. Shame to waste human material.



    Respectfully,

    Brian P.
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  5. - Top - End - #95
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    Default Re: Reading Heir to the Empire

    Quote Originally Posted by Peelee View Post
    Thrawn Duology was great, IMO. Though I'm a sucker for Zahn's stuff. Also, the Han Solo trilogy (the A. A. Crispin one, not the unrelated and disjointed stories one) was pretty solid. But as far as Death Star goes....
    The Thrawn Duology was okay, not as good as the Trilogy, and yeah, I forgot about the good Han Solo books.
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  6. - Top - End - #96
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    Default Re: Reading Heir to the Empire

    Quote Originally Posted by pendell View Post
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    Not just that. Remember that Pieterson thinks he's going to be executed for failure. He's throwing his commanding officer to the wolves, hoping that Thrawn will kill Colclazure rather than him.

    The Empire does not need traitors -- though I would have reassigned him to garbage duty or some such. Shame to waste human material.



    Respectfully,

    Brian P.
    The loss of such low amount of human resource was more than offset by the consequent increase in discipline and innovation.

  7. - Top - End - #97
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    Default Re: Reading Heir to the Empire

    Quote Originally Posted by Douglas View Post
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    I think willingness to take the blame is precisely the intended point there.

    Pieterson's first reaction to being in trouble was to try to shift the blame. In Thrawn's own terms from the end of that scene, Pieterson made an error when he didn't handle the computer losing and regaining lock correctly, and then - by trying to shift blame rather than do anything else - refused to correct it and thus turned it into a mistake. That is what earned him execution.

    Mithel's first reaction to being in trouble was to explain the facts and acknowledge fault. He admitted his error, and while he hadn't yet tried to correct it that was only for lack of time - and his error was itself done in the course of attempting in good faith to proactively fix a problem, which could be viewed as an attempt to correct an earlier error.
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    Another thing is, that while they aren't supposed to be inventive, they are supposed to react to situations.

    Pieterson made an error, and just sat back until he was too late. He then tried to pass the blame onto his superior officer. He didn't make sure everything was working as required, when this exact situation is common enough to be in basic training for his position.

    Mithel saw something happen, saw the equipment was having problems, identified the source of the problems, and then tried to solve the problem. His solution didn't work, and he considered if he should have used a method he was taught to, coming up with the fact that he couldn't remember one. Then when asked he explains what he did, he explains what he had done, and says that even on reflection he cannot remember anything in his training (and this is important, he's not blaming the training but his recollection of it).

    One stat back and didn't bother looking, the other saw the problem was there and tried to solve it. The fact it was innovative wasn't important, he saw a problem and tried a solution, at the very least he wouldn't have been killed (maybe reassigned for a few weeks to brush up on the manual, but even if there was an established solution he'd be back to the same level of job quickly).
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zelphas View Post
    So here I am, trapped in my laboratory, trying to create a Mechabeast that's powerful enough to take down the howling horde outside my door, but also won't join them once it realizes what I've done...twentieth time's the charm, right?
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  8. - Top - End - #98
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    Default Re: Reading Heir to the Empire

    Quote Originally Posted by Anonymouswizard View Post
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    Another thing is, that while they aren't supposed to be inventive, they are supposed to react to situations.

    Pieterson made an error, and just sat back until he was too late. He then tried to pass the blame onto his superior officer. He didn't make sure everything was working as required, when this exact situation is common enough to be in basic training for his position.

    Spoiler
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    Ok, I gotta take issue with this. First off, it's not common enough to be in the training manuals, in only because we know it's not in the training manuals. Pieterson had a lock, had the lock momentarily broken, and re-established the lock. He didn't know he'd locked into a torpedo until it was too late, and he certainly didn't sit around saying, "oh, I've locked into a torpedo. Welp, nothing to do about it now, guess I'll just sit back and let it happen."

    It sucks that he wasn't trained for it. But it was passing the buck that got him punished, not the action itself.

    Also, is it just me, or did that seem way harder to counter than the reflective particles?
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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"

  9. - Top - End - #99
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    Default Re: Reading Heir to the Empire

    Quote Originally Posted by Peelee View Post
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    Ok, I gotta take issue with this. First off, it's not common enough to be in the training manuals, in only because we know it's not in the training manuals. Pieterson had a lock, had the lock momentarily broken, and re-established the lock. He didn't know he'd locked into a torpedo until it was too late, and he certainly didn't sit around saying, "oh, I've locked into a torpedo. Welp, nothing to do about it now, guess I'll just sit back and let it happen."

    It sucks that he wasn't trained for it. But it was passing the buck that got him punished, not the action itself.

    Also, is it just me, or did that seem way harder to counter than the reflective particles?
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    That's not entirely fair either. Ensign Colclazure does point to standard training that covers similar challenges. I do, though, agree that it's not laziness, but speaking back, relatively disrespectfully, to a vastly superior officer, unprompted, to plead a lack of responsibility. His failing was being unwilling to admit an error, which is necessary to fix it before it becomes a mistake.
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  10. - Top - End - #100
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    Default Re: Reading Heir to the Empire

    Quote Originally Posted by Peelee View Post
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    Ok, I gotta take issue with this. First off, it's not common enough to be in the training manuals, in only because we know it's not in the training manuals. Pieterson had a lock, had the lock momentarily broken, and re-established the lock. He didn't know he'd locked into a torpedo until it was too late, and he certainly didn't sit around saying, "oh, I've locked into a torpedo. Welp, nothing to do about it now, guess I'll just sit back and let it happen."

    It sucks that he wasn't trained for it. But it was passing the buck that got him punished, not the action itself.

    Also, is it just me, or did that seem way harder to counter than the reflective particles?
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    Assuming the torpedos aren't travelling at a significant fraction of c (which is relatively unlikely) he should have been able to see them before they detonated, and switched the tractor into another mode. But fair enough, these things happen, and doing just what you've been trained to do isn't a major failure (he at least didn't cause any new problems). But we're told, by the characters themselves, that while this exact scenario isn't in standard training, similar scenarios are. But it's more that his wording implies he didn't bother to check what his tractor had locked onto, which really should be standard procedure in these cases. But if he hadn't tried to blame his superior he'd have likely survived, and I make no comment on what his punishment would have been (probably lavatory duty for a couple of weeks, if anything).

    Also, it depends on the speed of the torpedoes (relatively slow from what I remember of ANH, although they might have been slowed down for ease of sight or to add more tension), and their distance. If we assume he has about two seconds to react he could just about do it (as in it would be physically possible), but probably won't. If he has about thirty seconds then he can probably manage it relatively easily, especially if these tractors can be turned into pressors at the flick of a switch (which isn't always possible).


    Honestly, this isn't an important question to me. I'm more concerned about where these ships store reaction mass.
    Last edited by Douglas; 2017-10-10 at 10:01 AM. Reason: Fixed broken spoiler tag
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zelphas View Post
    So here I am, trapped in my laboratory, trying to create a Mechabeast that's powerful enough to take down the howling horde outside my door, but also won't join them once it realizes what I've done...twentieth time's the charm, right?
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  11. - Top - End - #101
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    Default Re: Reading Heir to the Empire

    ...Most of your explanations seem to make things look worse, to be honest. The navy is such a shambles that only Thrawn can reforge it, Pellaeon has a chance to learn the error of his ways due to proximity to Thrawn. But the book itself still has plenty of time to change my mind.

    From what I remember of Holmes, he had difficulty understanding that other people didn't think the way he did and mostly explained when asked to. But my knowledge is very spotty on that.

    CH8:

    Thrawn received a report on the failed assassination attempt from Pellaeon.

    "We're still not entirely sure what went wrong."

    Good question. Other than allowing a Jedi time to talk, not much they could have done differently.

    The Imperial engineers are developing cloaking tech, and there's due to be a raid on a particular shipyard. Also, Sparti cylinders, whatever they are, are operational, and the treasure mountain's own defenses are online.

    The Death's Head is bringing two hundred ysalamiri, and I'm still having trouble with the idea that no one has ever tried this before. If there's that many to spare, why not send some with your assault team?

    Team Four is next in the rota, and they're being pulled from another objective. How many of these assault teams does he have that he's willing to throw them away like this?

    C'Baoth is a bit upset that he doesn't have his Jedi, and there is a bit of friction between the two.

    "Does a Jedi Master go back on his word, then?" Aside from the fact that he's not an Aes Sedai, his help was contingent on Jedi captives, so yes and no. C'Baoth wants to lure Skywalker to him, Thrawn needs him for other plans.

    Pellaeon has his first idea that isn't instantly shot down in combining both his commander's plans. Thrawn takes the opportunity to take another shot at Vader. It's fairly natural and wouldn't even be worth comment, except this happens in every Thrawn scene so far. How long is this going to keep up?

    Han is reporting to the Rebellion leaders after cancelling the diplomatic mission to the Bimms. A Bothan named Borsk Fey'lya, Akbar, and Mon Mothma are listening, and the Bothan is displeased. The question whether these new aliens can be such a threat, and he doesn't want the military forces to be used to guard diplomats. Akbar disagrees, and they get an escort for their return to the Bimms. Leia will not get the opportunity to brush up on her Jedi training, it seems.

    If Fey'lya isn't a traitor, he's not the sharpest creature. How is a kidnap attempt on your highest profile diplomats during a crucial negotiation not worth taking seriously? They're also getting oddly hung up on not knowing the new species, when they could easily just be an obscure team of bounty hunters.

    I like the focus on Pellaeon and the degree of tension between Thrawn and C'Baoth. The Jedi is pretty calm about being surrounded by force negating creatures, I hope he turns out to be a force to be reckoned with and not just an easily manipulated minion.

    Other news: Stumbled across new canon Thrawn book in library today. Would reading that impact anything in the original books?

    I just want to thank Sapphire Guard for giving some good books a chance in spite (or because of) them getting overhyped to hell by other Star Wars fans and that seeming to be a bit of a turn-off. Who are continuing to do that in this very thread rather than letting the OP draw their own conclusions. Good on you for actually looking into something you have an opinion on, SG, not everyone does that these days.]
    Thanks. Sorry for not acknowledging this sooner.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sapphire Guard View Post
    ...Most of your explanations seem to make things look worse, to be honest. The navy is such a shambles that only Thrawn can reforge it, Pellaeon has a chance to learn the error of his ways due to proximity to Thrawn. But the book itself still has plenty of time to change my mind.
    If you're talking to me, I explicitly said that Thrawn's ideas on the state of the Navy differs from the Emperor's, and from other Imperial leaders. I never said only Thrawn could reforge it, I just said Thrawn is reforging it into what he believes it needs, because he's the head of the Empire. Pellaeon is a good officer, but Thrawn wants more than good officers, Thrawn wants people to be able to see things like he does. It's not due to proximity to Thrawn, it's due to being directly taught by Thrawn.

    Just because Newton invented calculus doesn't mean that without him nobody would have invented Calculus. Leibniz was right behind him*. Even without them, others could have worked it out. Thrawn is not nearly the only person who could lead the Empire to victory, but he absolutely is a person who could lead the Empire to victory, and he's the one in command. So you're going to see how he does things.

    *I don't care.
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    Other news: Stumbled across new canon Thrawn book in library today. Would reading that impact anything in the original books?
    Not at all, but the people who think Thrawn is OP or a Mary Sue would enjoy the new one even less.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sapphire Guard View Post
    ...Most of your explanations seem to make things look worse, to be honest. The navy is such a shambles that only Thrawn can reforge it, Pellaeon has a chance to learn the error of his ways due to proximity to Thrawn.
    That's not quite how I understand it.

    As I understand it the Imperial Remnant is still strong, and at this point can hold it's own against the republic. The Emperor's leadership style caused an ineffective Navy, and Pallaeon himself is the one who basically states that the Battle for Endor was as bad as it was due to ineffective leadership. Pallaeon is presented as an average Imperial officer, and is good at reading battle situations except for Thrawn's plans (which he comes to understand better and better).

    I don't see it as Thrawn being the only person who could reforge it, more that nobody had actually stepped up to take command of the Navy. Heck, a problem raised in the first chapter is that the Navy doesn't have all the competent, experienced officers it used to have.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sapphire Guard View Post
    From what I remember of Holmes, he had difficulty understanding that other people didn't think the way he did and mostly explained when asked to. But my knowledge is very spotty on that.
    This also explains the "Wait for an order to be given, than contradict it" command style. He expects his subordinates to choose the "right" option on their own, and when they dont, he takes action to correct the issue.

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    Basically what you've got is two different command styles at play on the Empire's side. Palpatine ran the Empire out of the Cliff's Notes version of Machiavelli - many independent commands forced to jockey for position so none of them could consolidate power, all living in personal fear of him and his ex-fighter-jockey attack dog who is much more effective as a Commisar than a commander even within the films. It's a time-honored tradition of running a large state with centralized power, but it's a mess in terms of encouraging capable field commanders.

    Thrawn comes from a different strategic school that's focused on completing objectives as efficiently as possible and improving itself through meritocracy. It's a very idealized version of the military and mainly works for him because he's a tactical genius himself - his reforms don't really have time to propagate down through the rank and file by the time the trilogy ends, but he puts some significant effort into it. I'd compare him to Napoleon more than anyone - a reformer and a tactical mastermind, but has several important blind spots as regards the big picture.

    Pellaeon acts as a good foil/pupil to Thrawn, in fact, now that I think about it. He's a compromiser, which is something that's looked down on in our present real-life society, but it's important to have someone like that to bridge the gap between grand visionaries like Thrawn and the typical political backbiters that comprise the people he has to work with.

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    Frankly, his downfall comes in large part from completely underestimating the power and influence of Jedi - C'Baoth, Luke, and especially Vader, when you think about it. I hope SG enjoys his comeuppance once we get to it. He also kind of counts on his ability to psychoanalyze opponents being infallible, which stops working once they realize what he's doing.
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    Another excellent Imperial leader (as far as effectiveness goes) is Warlord Zsinj, he's in one of the Rogue Squadron series.
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    There are a couple of things to note.

    The first is while the imperial remnant is relativley light by comparison to the empire, at least as portrayed in this book(later retcons try to say there's a bunch of key stuff Thrawn kind of blatantly forgot about to justify more stories, like Carida), even having one or two destroyers is considered enough to lock down multiple systems by imperial doctrine, since at capacity that includes many companies of armed troops and the materials to establish a permanent ground base a dozen stories tall and heavily reinforced. Thrawn does in fact still have the manpower that if he needs to send a hundred men out he won't be particularly desperate.

    The second is motivation. Of course Thrawn will dislike Vader and Palpatine. You have to remember that through essentially the entire original trilogy the imperial military was secondary at best to their personal ambitions and realistically third or fourth down the list on a good day. Thrawn however has it at the top of his motivations and makes that very clear.

    Borsk Fey'lya is established as essentially being someone like those two. The rebellion is secondary to his ambitions and personal struggles, and many other prominent Bothans think the same way. He's an antagonistic figure who happens to work for the New Republic, not a trusted ally.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jayngfet View Post
    Borsk Fey'lya is established as essentially being someone like those two. The rebellion is secondary to his ambitions and personal struggles, and many other prominent Bothans think the same way. He's an antagonistic figure who happens to work for the New Republic, not a trusted ally.
    Fey'lya is a tool
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    and will be for many, many books.
    I wanna punch him in his stupid furry face.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blackhawk748 View Post
    Fey'lya is a tool
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    and will be for many, many books.
    I wanna punch him in his stupid furry face.
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    In all honesty he should have disappeared after this trilogy. What he did was a career ending blunder and any recovery from it makes about as much sense as Daala being put in charge after losing three destroyers and a death star in as many days.
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    You should probably go back and spoiler that. That is a major reveal for later in the trilogy.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nerd-o-rama View Post
    Basically what you've got is two different command styles at play on the Empire's side. Palpatine ran the Empire out of the Cliff's Notes version of Machiavelli - many independent commands forced to jockey for position so none of them could consolidate power, all living in personal fear of him and his ex-fighter-jockey attack dog who is much more effective as a Commisar than a commander even within the films. It's a time-honored tradition of running a large state with centralized power, but it's a mess in terms of encouraging capable field commanders.
    It is perhaps worth noting that Palpatine viewed the entirety of the Empire - all of its tens of thousands of capital ships, quadrillions of citizens, and millions of planets - as nothing more than a tool. The Empire was intended to simply provide him with the protection and resources necessary to empower his ascendancy to godhood - that time-honored goal of Sith Lords for millennia (the EU took this as a major thing, it was something Darth Bane tried, as did Valkorion of TOR).

    Additionally, Zahn also later retconned (in Outbound Flight) the strategic setup of the Imperial Navy - with its focus on huge inefficient capital ships and massive superweapons - as intended from the start to prepared for the oncoming threat of the Yuuzhan Vong, with their massive worldships that the New Republic, with a doctrine that stressed smaller vessels and starfighters, proved ill-prepared to fight (though this is mostly a retcon potshot by Zahn against the very existence of the Yuuzhan Vong).
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mechalich View Post
    It is perhaps worth noting that Palpatine viewed the entirety of the Empire - all of its tens of thousands of capital ships, quadrillions of citizens, and millions of planets - as nothing more than a tool. The Empire was intended to simply provide him with the protection and resources necessary to empower his ascendancy to godhood - that time-honored goal of Sith Lords for millennia (the EU took this as a major thing, it was something Darth Bane tried, as did Valkorion of TOR).

    Additionally, Zahn also later retconned (in Outbound Flight) the strategic setup of the Imperial Navy - with its focus on huge inefficient capital ships and massive superweapons - as intended from the start to prepared for the oncoming threat of the Yuuzhan Vong, with their massive worldships that the New Republic, with a doctrine that stressed smaller vessels and starfighters, proved ill-prepared to fight (though this is mostly a retcon potshot by Zahn against the very existence of the Yuuzhan Vong).
    I thought the Vong where ok conceptually but there was enough individual stuff (There being more than one world ship, their "swords" being eels, the explanation of how they are immune to the force etc.) that ruined them entirely.

    Then again im a bit biased as i love the Tyranids from 40k.
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    The Mod Radiant: I really shouldn't have to say this, but spoilers are not only rude, but officially against the forum rules.

    I have just removed or put in spoiler blocks multiple open spoilers, at least one of them very major, that should never have been posted outside a spoiler block in the first place.

    If it's about a character that is in this trilogy and is after the point where Sapphire Guard has read up to, whether actually in this trilogy or in future series, it belongs in a spoiler block. Even if the only thing it spoils is that a particular character survives, such as has already been unfortunately spoiled about Pellaeon.
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    I always found the bickering in the New Republic leadership pretty accurate considering that it didn't that anyone had paid attention to what was wrong with the Old Republic. Mon Mothma should have put her foot down and decided what needed to be done, but apparently nostalgia for the Old Republic meant doing just about nothing and let the bickering happen. A bit like how congress has always been. Naturally, in this case (as with congress) nothing gets done, both Furry McBigEars and Admiral WalkingFish both end up with their feathers ruffled, everyone else annoyed, and yeah, they got help now in case anything goes wrong.

    The Entire New Republic Leadership seems to run on the principle of "We Are Struggling Together", and "The Revolution will not be Competent once it gets effective power". It feels like the Rebels were really good at rebelling, not so much at the governing idea. They are trying to restore a dysfunctional government back into existence after all.
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    Quote Originally Posted by russdm View Post
    I always found the bickering in the New Republic leadership pretty accurate considering that it didn't that anyone had paid attention to what was wrong with the Old Republic. Mon Mothma should have put her foot down and decided what needed to be done, but apparently nostalgia for the Old Republic meant doing just about nothing and let the bickering happen. A bit like how congress has always been. Naturally, in this case (as with congress) nothing gets done, both Furry McBigEars and Admiral WalkingFish both end up with their feathers ruffled, everyone else annoyed, and yeah, they got help now in case anything goes wrong.

    The Entire New Republic Leadership seems to run on the principle of "We Are Struggling Together", and "The Revolution will not be Competent once it gets effective power". It feels like the Rebels were really good at rebelling, not so much at the governing idea. They are trying to restore a dysfunctional government back into existence after all.
    In fairness to the New Republic, various EU authors found it expedient to, at several points, needlessly kneecap the political efficacy of the New Republic (and later the Galactic Alliance) simply because it was much easier to produce newly emergent threats to the galaxy when the leading galactic government was incompetent. Also because that way they didn't have to do any of the heavy lifting world-building wise as to how it was possible to run an insanely massive galaxy-spanning government: quadrillions of citizens, millions of sapient species, tens of millions of worlds through any means other than pure naked tyranny at all, never mind effectively, which is a huge challenge (one of the central points of the Hand of Thrawn duology).

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    Thrawn actually articulates this point himself, I believe in Last Command, when the question of why exactly he's fighting for an Empire that treats aliens like crap while being one himself arises. He basically says that there has to be one viewpoint to rule them all and all species with incompatible psychology can either get with the program or get crushed. Of course, the fact that the Legends EU basically spent several decades outlining a storyline that proved him right was rather depressing.
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    He's still more or less right in Disney canon too. That's the whole problem with the sequel trilogy just hard resetting the entire narrative. If Luke Skywalker literally could not save the jedi in what was as close to a vacuum as you can realistically get, the jedi more or less don't deserve to return. It only got to this point because it was decided that literally every mistake Luke made in the EU regarding the NJO was essentially doubled down on. The New Republic is as well twice as bad because it's senators have gone from self serving and somtimes callous at the very worst, to now outright malicious at the worse and at the median as self serving and callous as Fey'lya and his goons were at their worst.

    Meanwhile a handful of crazy people in uncharted wilderness built a mega death star and basically won the whole war with one shot. Even when they lost it their losses were far less than the actual death star losses in either case since nobody important died and everyone apparently got out without a scratch. Now on top of that they have super duper mega star destroyers and their ships of the line are double the size of an ISD. Hell, it took them like two weeks after Jakku to completley redesign the TIE fighter to completley shred OT era ships without it being a contest.

    Why in gods name should anyone fight for the resistance? At best they're fighting for a system that's proven twice it's not worth saving. At worst they're just kind of aimlessly in this war for the sake of itself. There is literally nothing stopping the very next jedi candidate after Rey, if not Rey herself, from slaughtering the entire order for the third time in a century, if it's so easy to do it can be done offscreen by a guy who couldn't even make Jedi Knight before the age of thirty and lost to some girl who never had a lightsaber before in her life.
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    I read the Zahn trilogy when it first came out. The first two books were fair to good. The third was rather poor, in large part because of how it handled Thrawn. I don't hate Thrawn*, but I do feel like he's a very overrated character.

    As an attempt to make a Big Bad without being another Evil Jedi, Thrawn was a noble experiment. And at his best, he works quite well. The problem is that he's always balanced on a knife's edge.

    First and most obviously, it's really, really hard to write a character who is supposed to be hyper-smart and perceptive; it really demands the author stay on his toes and look over his story with a fine toothed comb.

    Second, it's difficult to challenge such a character. On the one hand, seeing a character like Thrawn spot the subtle flaws in an opponent's strategy is part of the fun, so it's disappointing if he misses obvious clues for the sake of the meter. But on the other hand, if he's constantly outguessing his opponents, even when they know what they're up against and have a chance to play to their own strengths, it can make the character feel less like a genius and more like author fiat.

    I think Zahn did a fairly good job with the first problem, but he had trouble with the second. Thrawn does make some mistakes, but more often then not he's allowed to avoid mistakes simply because it serves the plot. It doesn't make his victories cheap, but it does make our plucky heroes look rather inept. I'll discuss a few specifics in the spoilers below.

    Overall, though, there's plenty to recommend about the trilogy. It's a little more on the speculative fiction end of the spectrum than proper space opera, but it has a good pacing, memorable characters, and some interesting ideas scattered about. Above all else, it tries to advance the main characters rather than just rebooting/ignoring them (I'M STILL LOOKING AT YOU, EPISODE VII!). It does take a few too many potshots at the classic villains, and our heroes feel a little too passive. Thrawn has problems, and the noghri are downright insufferable by the end of it (they're a much worse Mary Sue than Thrawn, IMHO), but I'd still say it's worth a read.

    (* I dropped the EU like a radioactive potato after Truce at Bakura, so I never read the later books with Thrawn in them. But it wouldn't surprise me if the difficulties I mention above got much, much worse in them.)

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    Frankly, his downfall comes in large part from completely underestimating the power and influence of Jedi - C'Baoth, Luke, and especially Vader, when you think about it. I hope SG enjoys his comeuppance once we get to it. He also kind of counts on his ability to psychoanalyze opponents being infallible, which stops working once they realize what he's doing.
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    Honestly, my biggest complaint about Thrawn is that I don't feel he ever got his comeuppance. He's killed by Rukh, but it doesn't feel like his mistakes finally caught up to him. No, to me it feels like the author needed him dead but wasn't willing to allow the good guys to actually outsmart Thrawn. So instead Thrawn is just bushwacked by the author's pets to show how super-uber-awesome Noghri are.

    When you get right down to it, what chance did Thrawn ever have to avoid that fate? It's not like Rukh was uniquely able to kill him; any high-ranking member of his staff (or the Chimaera's bridge crew) could have done it if they suddenly had reason to betray him. So what opportunities did Thrawn have to see this betrayal coming and avoid it?

    As I see it, Thrawn only made two real mistakes in that regard: he underestimates the personal loyalty of the noghri to Darth Vader, and he jumps to the wrong conclusion about why Khabarakh was late returning from his failed mission.

    The first is a hard mistake to hold against him. The noghri venerate Vader, but there's no indication that respect should be hereditary. After all, Vader served the Empire, while Leia fought against it. If the noghri serve the Empire out of respect for Vader, why would they give more deference to his daughter than he himself did? I don't think it's because of Vader's dying act of redemption, since that does not seem to be well known. For that matter, it's not even clear if Thrawn knows of Leia's connection to Vader. I don't recall if it was specifically mentioned in the novels, and Vader's identity was at least somewhat secret. So if even as the reader I don't see a logical reason why the noghri should be so respectful of Luke and Leia, I can't really blame Thrawn for not seeing it.

    The second mistake is a more meaningful one, and it hints at a real weakness on Thrawn's part. When he learns Khabarakh's ship has wookie hairs in it, Thrawn starts piling one assumption on top of another. Obviously, the hairs mean Khabarakh and his ship must have been captured - not that some wookies found the ship and were later killed, or that the noghri might have used wookie hairs as part of some disguise. If Khabarakh was captured then released without mentioning it in his debrief, it must be because he divulged valuable information - not that he was was recruited by the Republic, or was mindwiped and allowed to escape in order to be tracked. And if Thrawn wants to know what information Khabarakh divulged, he need only interrogate him long enough to find out - no risk his blantant show of force will antagonize his allies, or that Khabarakh might die before he breaks.

    Put it all together, and you can see the outline of a real achilles heel for Thrawn. Thrawn is very clever, able to extrapolate a great deal of information from small details. He's also decisive, prefering to act swiftly to get the drop on his opponents and deny them the opportunity to gether their own information. But his plans are only as good as the information they're built on. If he makes a mistake early in the process, his need to find patterns can result in that error escalating. It becomes a web of self-reinforcing lies, each buttressing the other becauses the pieces fit so well together they MUST be true.

    So why don't I think this makes a fitting comeuppance for Thrawn? Well, partially because he does actually try to correct his errors on this one. He leaves a spy droid behind to keep an eye on Khabarakh's village, and it's only do to circumstances that the droid can't report back in time to help him. So as errors go, this one is pretty minor.

    But the much bigger reason is that this is pretty much the only time that happens. Thrawn makes a LOT of lucky guesses throughout the novels, and other than this one chain of events, they're always right (or, on occasion, just inconsequential).

    For example, in Heir to the Empire, Thrawn notes Karrde's past tense when mentioning the search for Luke Skywalker, and takes that as evidence that Karrde knows something about Luke's wearabouts. Yet when the Millenium Falcon shows up towing Luke's X-Wing far from Karrde's base, Thrawn declares Karrde will have much to answer for. Now, he didn't know the Millenium Falcon was ever at Karrde's base, and he never had any confirmation Luke was indeed found by Karrde. So why was he so convinced Karrde must have handed Luke over? Beats me, he must have read through the script.

    Likewise when Luke and Mara Jade are freeing Karrde in Dark Force Rising, Thrawn contemplates how they would escape and immediately deduces they will steal the Millenium Falcon. But it's not clear why he's so certain of that. After all, the only reason our heroes DO try to steal the Falcon is that they wander across it through sheer dumb luck; they had no idea it was on board the Chimaera. Now sure, it's possible Mara could have uncovered that fact when hacking the computer system, but Thrawn had no actual evidence of that. For that matter, he doesn't have proof she even had computer access. But because that's what will happen, Thrawn's WAG are correct.

    So to me, Thrawn's failure to predict the noghri revolt was just a freak chance that happened to kill him. It wasn't that his whole tapestry of deductions slowly came unraveled as his mistakes compounded and his opponents upped their game to start taking advantage of them. No, it's that everything was fine and all his guesses were correct right up until the moment when the super-assassin noghri decides to kill him.

    Very disappointing.


    -H

  28. - Top - End - #118
    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Default Re: Reading Heir to the Empire

    Quote Originally Posted by Hatu View Post
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    Honestly, my biggest complaint about Thrawn is that I don't feel he ever got his comeuppance. He's killed by Rukh, but it doesn't feel like his mistakes finally caught up to him. No, to me it feels like the author needed him dead but wasn't willing to allow the good guys to actually outsmart Thrawn. So instead Thrawn is just bushwacked by the author's pets to show how super-uber-awesome Noghri are.
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    Well, the thing is, the Rukh kill isn't really all that important. Thrawn has, by that point, already lost. He lost Wayland because he underestimated how far C'baoth was willing to take things. He also was losing the Battle of Bilbringi because Karrde teamed up with Wedge to open a hole in his defenses that allowed the New Republic to breach Thrawn's lines and turn what was intended to be a trap into a battle of attrition - and due to the strategic circumstances all battles of attrition were inherently losses for the Empire. Throughout Last Command Thrawn suffers a number of serious reversals - such as the loss of Delta Source intelligence, the loss of C'baoth as a functional asset, and the loss of his Noghri commandos in general (even if he'd hadn't fully solved the puzzle he'd already sharply curtailed their usage, which seriously weakened his paramilitary capabilities).

    Killing Thrawn is a nice climatic gesture that allowed Zahn to wrap up the Empire as a strategic player. Essentially he was saying 'even with a supreme military genius in charge they couldn't rally to make outcome an open question again.' Getting rid of Thrawn just shortened the period of Imperial holding action. Zahn had no idea his novels would be the smashing success they were and launch a horde of sequels, but it's worth noting the most of the Bantam published Legends novels set after 9 ABY treated the Empire as a non-issue from a perspective of military strategy (with the exception of Darksaber, but even there Daala flames out hard).

    He was, of course, undercut by the comics, particularly Dark Empire which conjured an immense Deep Core fleet out of nowhere to return the Empire to something a state of Fleet Superiority to the New Republic under the reborn Emperor for reasons that have never been explained, and then blew that fleet up using the galaxy gun in a move that was way less justified than having Thrawn stabbed.
    Resvier: a P6 homebrew setting

  29. - Top - End - #119
    Ettin in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Reading Heir to the Empire

    Wookiees. 2 E's.
    Cuthalion makes great avatars. Like my Silver Dragon.
    Quote Originally Posted by littlebum2002 View Post
    It would be nice to just change the title of this thread to be "stuff about Jedi"

  30. - Top - End - #120
    Eldritch Horror in the Playground Moderator
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    Default Re: Reading Heir to the Empire

    Indeed. Misspelling Wookiepeedia should never be done.
    Quote Originally Posted by Red Fel, on quest rewards
    "Is a stack of ten pancakes too many pancakes to give to the party, even if most of them fell on the floor and one or two were stepped on? I wanted to give my party pancakes as a reward but I'm unsure if it's too much. The pancakes are also laced with blowfish poison so the party would have to get an antitoxin before they could eat the ones which weren't pulverized by shoes."

    I don't think anyone would want those pancakes even if you paid them to eat them.

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