The Courtship Of Princess Leia: Witches and Hapans

The Courtship of Princess Leia is only one book, and a controversial one at that. Some loved it, others hated it. But it has to be given credit for two of the most popular cultures in the EU. It is set 4 years after the destruction of the 2nd Death Star.

It introduces the world of Dathomir, home of the witches of Dathomir. These Force Users are descended from a rogue Jedi.  Those among them who use the Force or magic for the Dark Side are called Nightsisters. There are also nightbrothers, mostly of zabrak descent. For the most part males of this world are considered inferior and slaves, as few can use the Force or the magic. The world is largely a primitive wilderness, and the witches often use rancors as transportation. In the time of the Empire, it was an interdicted planet.

It also introduces the Hapan Empire, another world ruled by woman. Unlike Dathomir, this is an entire group of planets. Led by a ruthless Queen mother, the people there are human and by most standards beautiful. They are descendents of pirates, the Lorell Raiders. The male pirates kidnapped beautiful woman and took them home. However eventually the pirates were destroyed by the Jedi and the woman and children were left to fend for themselves. They shunned the outside galaxy during both the Old Republic and the Empire.

Chief Characters:

Princess Leia Organa
Han Solo
Luke Skywalker
Chewbacca
R2-D2
C3PO

Augwynne Djo (Head of the Singing Mountain Clan)
Tenenial Djo (Member of the Singing Mountain Clan)
Ta’a Chume (Queen Mother of the Hapes Cluster)
Prince Isolder (Heir to the Hapes Cluster)
Gethzerion (Nightsister)
Warlord Zsinj (Imperial warlord)

Synopsis

Han Solo has been chasing Imperial warlord Zsinj for months. Now he’s finally coming home to his beloved Princess. But on arrival, he finds that Princess Leia’s mission to open diplomatic ties and borrow money from Hapes has had unexpected results. The Hapans have agreed…on the condition Leia marry Prince Isolder, heir to the throne.

To his horror, Leia, torn between how the Hapan worlds reminded her of Alderaan and her duty to the needs of the Republic, seems interested. When Leia refuses to give him equal time, he goes off and in desperation wins a serious sabaac game…the most serious in years. He wins the planet Dathomir.

But the planet is in the presumed dead warlord’s territory. Heartbroken and desperate, he kidnaps Leia and spirits her off to Dathomir. But Leia is furious at his apparent betrayal, Zsinj is not only not dead, but has a prison on the planet, and they get shot down, encountering both the suspicious Singing Mountain Clan (who still keep men as slaves) and the nightsisters who at all costs must not be allowed to leave the planet.

Luke Skywalker has been pursuing leads on long lost Jedi teachings. One leads him to a brief message involving Yoda, a ship called the Chu’unthor  and Dathomir. He abandons this pursuit on hearing of the crisis.

Luke and Prince Isolder team up and race against the Queen Mother, the Nightsisters, and Zsinj to find Han and Leia first.

The After Effects

SPOILER WARNING for the End of Courtship of Princess Leia.

Spoiler for Courtship of Princess Leia
Tenel Ka in Legacy of the Force, Tempest, by Troy Denning

Tenel Ka in Legacy of the Force, Tempest, by Troy Denning

Prince Isolder marries a woman of Dathomir, their daughter, Tenel Ka, joins the Jedi Academy and is a friend in many adventures with Jacen and Jaina Solo. In the future, these political ties prove to be a great help to the Jedi.

Star Wars Jedi Search (which was released the same year) introduces Kirana Ti, a witch of Dathomir who joins the Jedi Academy.

The nightsisters, decades later are recreated and join with forces with the Shadow Academy.

Allana, daughter of Tenel Ka, has an unknowing influence on the decisions of Jacen Solo in both the Swarm Wars and the Legacy of the Force series.

Spoiler for Swarm Wars and the series following it

 

In Fate of the Jedi, it is revealed that a Jedi Enclave had been formed on Dathomir since the end of the Yuuzhan Vong War. A sith apprentice fleeing Luke and Ben Skywalker hides there amongst the witches, and they find themselves battling nightsisters to survive as well as help the clans.

Affects on the Past
Nightsister of Black Sun

Mighella, a Nightsister working for Black Sun Crime Syndicate

Darth Maul (Dark Horse) reveals a nightsister working with the Black Sun Crime Syndicate

Nightsister

Nightsisters, Star Wars Republic #23 Infinities End by Dark Horse Comics

Star Wars Republic, Infinities End (Dark Horse Comics) introduces the nightsisters attempt to reactivate the Infinity Gate, an ancient device that can destroy worlds (as a side effect!). The first face painted or tattooed versions of the witches appeared here.

The Chu’unthor is also mentioned.

In Darth Maul, Son of Dathomir by Dark Horse Comics, Darth Sidious clashes with the witches and has a one on one battle with the leader of the nightsisters.

In the novel The Last Jedi, Jax Pavan travels to Dathomir to enlist the witches aid and meets with the Singing Mountain Clan and a (younger) Augwynne Djo. This book actually is the first to add The Clone Wars TV interpretation of the Witches of Dathomir, the Infinity Gates story line and the Courtship version of the witches all in one sitting.

Affects on Non Print Media
witch of Endor

The Witch of Endor

The Witch of Endor from the movie Ewoks: The Battle for Endor, was retconned into being a nightsister.

Felucian Rancor and Rider,

Felucian Rancor and Rider, The Force Unleashed by Dark Horse Comics

The Force Unleashed Game used the idea of rancor riding that was for the Felucians. It originally came from the idea of the witches riding rancors.

Nightsister Witches in  The Clone Wars TV show

The Nightsisters appear in The Clone Wars TV show, working both for and against the Sith

During the Clone Wars, a group of nightsisters make deals with the Sith.

Ventress - nightsister, witch and sith candidate

Ventress, from Star Wars Republic 52: The Face of War by Dark Horse comics

She was originally written as a slave from Rattattak, who had been freed and trained by a Jedi who was slain. The Clone Wars TV series added a twist: that she was born on Dathomir.

Darth Maul and Savage Oppress, in The Clone Wars

Darth Maul and Savage Oppress, in The Clone Wars

Darth Maul was retconned from being an Iridonian Zabrak, to being a Zabrak from the nightbrother tribe on Dathomir, descendents of slaves.

 

 

During the Clone Wars, a group of nightsisters make deals with the Sith.

Millenium Falcon Review

Millenium Falcon
James Luceno
sci fi/fantasy
Del Rey

Allana introduces new adventure into her grandparents’ lives when she discovers a strange device hidden aboard the Millennium Falcon–a discovery that sparks a fact-finding expedition to retrace the people, places, and events in the checkered history of the famous spaceship. But the Solos are not alone in their quest: Crime lords, galactic pirates, rogue politicians, and fortune hunters alike will race to a final standoff for a prize some will risk everything to find–and pay any cost to possess.

The Millenium Falcon is a treasure hunt. Frequent mentions are made of stories told elsewhere: how Han acquired her from Lando (Han Solo trilogy by A.C. Crispin) and how Lando acquired her (Lando Calrissian trilogy), as well as frequent mentions referring to the Brian Daley stories.

The story alternates between present day (for the Solo’s) when Allana, their granddaughter, finds a strange object on the Falcon that even Han knows nothing about. Backtracking the history of the ship is their role and they find themselves colliding with some strange people en route.

Meanwhile Jadak is tracking the Falcon’s history from the other end. Known to him as ‘Stellar Envoy’ he last saw the ship right after the Battle of Coruscant, during the Clone Wars. His last mission for the secret Republic Group was derailed, leading to a catastrophic collision and him in a coma for decades.

In this case, the journey is more important than the ending. I found the end rather disappointing. After much fighting which involves even young Allana, and hints to upcoming stories, one expects there to be something at the end. The short in between tales of finding former owners of the Millenium Falcon and how those owners acquired and lost the ship are good. The ships quirkiness shines through each one.  The realization that these foes are going to have to try and steal the Falcon is amusing (one can see how that will turn out) But one is suggested a treasure of some sort, a secret, at the end.

While any reader of the Han Solo and the Lost Treasure knows that a previous generations treasure may be today’s junk may see it coming, one does expect a twist right up until the book ends. It left me feeling wanting, as if there should have been more.

Who was the Republic Group really? What was the point of this mission? Was it really just this object that the Millenium Falcon was meant to find?

The book started well, and continued nicely. To me, though, something feels missing. It left me wanting more answers with no means to get them.

New Jedi Order Review

NJO Destinies Way

NJO Destinies Way

The New Jedi Order series drove some fans right out the door. But it had a reason. When you know beyond a doubt that your heroes always survive an win, the story doesn’t seem quite so cutting, you know that eventually you turn the page and find them escaping and defeating the foe. The New Jedi Order will make you feel because this time, they are not guaranteed victory.

The New Jedi Order series changed all that rather explosively with a tragedy so big that it hit the newspapers in our world. The death of a main character. A heroic, fitting death, but still, a hero falls. After the Rebellion and the many books dealing with battling the Imperial Remnant, this was a shock wave.

And if it affects us, it affects them. We find the other main characters still reacting to the shock of realizing their string of luck, or fate of the Force, no longer guaranteed their safety. And so grief drives one family apart for a time, young Jedi must become the new heroes of their age, in spite of, or because of their guilt and pain and loss. The Jedi must decide how they will respond when the Republic government continues to play politics at the expense of the people, and what actions should they take in this war.

Worlds and cultures are destroyed by an enemy invisible in the Force itself, so even that constant is being questioned.

Wedge-in NJO Rebel Dream

Wedge Antillies leads the defense-in NJO Rebel Dream by Aaron Allston

Every book begins with trepidation, which of our heroes is the focus? Will they even survive, and at what cost? Some books are more character driven, like Traitor and Dark Journey. Some are sheer heart stopping adventure like Star by Star. Others are tactical driven, the points of the war where the warriors are now in control and determined to defeat or at least hold off the brutal foe until the innocent have time to escape.

The New Jedi Order is both heartbreaking pain of losing characters we knew and loved on the movie screen and from books die. It is soaring courage of watching young Jedi like Jaina, Jacen and Anakin Solo face the temptations of the Dark Side, and find a cause that is their own, not a left over from their parents era.

By the end of the series, one has new heroes. One has wept for the pain of tragedy and horror, from the devastation of worlds, to grieved families and the loss of friends. One has cheered over the triumph of heroes smart enough and wise enough to win without genocide, against all odds.  And that is the essence, to me, of a great story: if its made me laugh, cry and everything in between, than its done something rare and hard to accomplish. And this series does just that.

Vector Prime Japanese

Vector Prime with Japanese Cover Art

 

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New Jedi Order Review