Friday, December 22, 2017

Rey and the Force and Lukyanenko's Mirror and the Gloom

There will be spoilers for both The Last Jedi, and The Last Watch

With The Last Jedi, Rey's profound abilities have caused many fans to refer to her as a "Mary Sue." I don't believe it's deserved, and the fact a previous example of her sort of character appeared in one of my favorite fantasy series has only given me greater appreciation of what Disney's doing with her.

The Watch is a Russian urban fantasy series by Sergei Lukyanenko. It follows two groups of supernatural beings that are at eternal war with one another: the Day Watch (good), and the Night Watch (bad). Both groups gain their abilities from an invisible force that is emitted by all living things called the Twilight (or the "Gloom" in the films). In fact, the less "Twilight force" you emit, the greater your ability to absorb and wield it.

In the fourth book in the series, The Last Watch, the Day Watch has grown too strong. Though unconscious like the Force, the Twilight creates a mirror-magician to bring about a new balance. The Mirror is a neutral character, and is only as strong as the imbalance. So when enough members of the Day Watch are killed in battles with the Mirror, it fades back into the Twilight, its mission accomplished.

While I'm pretty sure none of the writers of the new Star Wars films have read Lukyanenko's series, the correlation between Rey and the Mirror is pretty strong. Kylo Ren is powerful, and has decimated the ranks of the Jedi. Shortly after, the Force inside Rey awakens and she's every bit as good as Kylo. In fact, the stronger he seems to be, the stronger Rey becomes. Just like the Mirror, training isn't necessary as the Force gives her what she might otherwise be lacking. The balance must persist, and when it doesn't, the Force steps in to make it so.

The concept of a mirror-magician is foreign to the Star Wars universe, but I think it's interesting how closely it resembles what's happening in the new trilogy. It even fits into the gaps of knowledge we have about the Force since there hasn't been a time in recorded (canon) SW history where the adherents of the dark side and the light side have been so low, with no potential for balance. (Remember, Luke blocked his ability to access the force, which means there's no representative of the light side out there anymore). Call Rey a Mary Sue if you like, but I much prefer to think of her as something like a mirror. It may be new to Star Wars, but it's also an intriguing addition to the lore.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Infected by the Editing Bug

I edit everything I write. Even my social media posts aren't exempt. Misspellings mentally hurt the worst, but even* redundancy bothers me--especially if I know my writing friends and acquaintances will see it. For example, I wrote an announcement for a sale on a private message board that read "Pleasantly surprise" instead of "Pleasantly surprised," and every time someone congratulated me, I saw my mistake and it prickled deep in the soft meat of my brain. (I fixed it, of course, but not quickly enough). On FB, I might edit my posts as much as four or five times until I get it "right." Forget Tweets! If there's an error, I delete the mother-blanker and start again, regardless of how many hearts it got**.

There are a few writers and editors I know who don't seem to suffer from this affliction, and they're pretty famous within the short story writing world. What must be going through their brains? How can they read something like, "I jus finished my newest [project] and sent it to my [editor/agent/whatever]. Can't wait to see they're reaction" and not be bothered? I, for example+, already edited this blog entry four times and I haven't++ posted it yet. My only question is, am I blessed, or cursed, or something in the middle? I like to pretend it'll help me in the long run,  but more likely it just means I'll obsess endlessly over minutia and never get anything done. So goes life.

* I just noticed I used "even" twice in two sentences, and it offends my eyes. I left it in as an example.
** This isn't a problem, yet, because I'm about as significant on Twitter as a grain of sand in the Sahara. My Tweet heart record is three, and I'm still proud of it!
+ Oh God...
++ Almost wrote another "even" here, but I couldn't allow it.