Fun fact: if you eliminate all the characters with facetime from the Original Trilogy (Obi-Wan, Anakin, Palpatine, the Lars family), all the characters related to them (Shmi and Padme Skywalker), and all the characters playing decoy for said characters (Padme’s decoys)…you get a staggeringly diverse cast for the prequels. Do most of the women not have speaking roles? Yes. Are there very, very few women? Also yes. Should Swan never be allowed to make collages again ever? Yeah…
But despite all of this, you can see that the casting crew–Lucas in particular–really tried to diversify.
Two major props have to go to the casting of Jimmy Smits and Temuera Morrison (and by extension, Rebecca Mendoza and Daniel Logan), who became Bail Organa and Jango Fett: one of them was the unseen-but-very-significant foster parent of Leia, and the other was the template for the most notorious background character in cinematic history. These two were icons who excited everyone with their presence in the prequels, and they went to non-white actors.
Samuel L. Jackson got to be the Jedi Master who stood beside Yoda and was only killed by the combined efforts of Darth Vader and the Emperor; Ahmed Best was cast as one of the first fully-CGI-characters in history (the discussion of the disastrous backlash from THAT is a topic for another post), Captain Panaka was the stalwart protector of Naboo, and most of the more memorable background Jedi were women. The roles of non-white characters were extremely limited by the central cast, and Lucas’s desire to expand the diversity of the Star Wars universe itself beyond human boundaries further limited a lot of these actors’ facetime (one arguable misstep is that Qui-Gon could have been played by a non-white actor, but…).
There is an admittedly surprising lack of Chinese and Japanese actors to be found here–especially considering everything Star Wars owes to Japan–but the fact remains that there was clearly an aggressive movement to diversify the Star Wars universe. The franchise would then, of course, fight to close the gender gap with The Clone Wars–Ahsoka Tano and Asajj Ventress played central roles, while many of the once-background Jedi had their roles expanded to become major characters. Rebels continued the franchise’s quest to diversify the universe, and now The Force Awakens has taken yet another step with Rey, Finn, and Poe.
I believe it should be noted, then, that the expansion that is being accomplished with the latest movie is not a dramatic change for Lucasfilm or the franchise, but instead the most notable step forward. Is there still work to do? Yes, but Star Wars is nothing if not tireless.
I just need a moment to breathe through these 3 quotes during one of my Kings Rising re-reads. Sometimes they are so simple but have the most profound effect on my feels!
“I hated you so badly I thought I’d choke on it…And then you saved my
life, and every time I needed you, you were there, and I hated you for
that, too.” - Laurent
I just can’t get over how special that use of “you” is for me in that moment. Laurent has been alone for a long time, and even reflects in his first POV chapter that his automatic assumption is that he is always alone in his troubles since Auguste died. So it would have still made perfect sense if, in that moment, Laurent had said: “every time I needed someone, you were there.” But instead he says ‘you’ as in Damen specifically. It is so much more intimate and personal and it just makes me want to weep… <3
“Thank you, I know exactly how it would have been. You and Auguste would have been slapping each other on the back and watching tournaments, and I would have been trailing around tugging on your sleeve, trying to get a look in edgewise.” - Laurent
I love this little scenario from Laurent’s imagination. What I love most about it is within the context of Auguste being Laurent’s everything. Faced with the amazing big bro, and the controversial barbarian Damen, Damen comes out on top in that little daydream. Laurent feels he would have been more desperate for Damen’s attention even over his own brother’s. We’re so used to Laurent being conflicted and angry over Damen but so adoring of Auguste that this switch of ultimate attention gives me so many feelings over the depths of Laurent’s feelings for Damen now.
And good lord, the way Laurent frames that scenario, it’s the two AWESOMEST GUYS IN THE WORLD being bffs with a lesser Laurent trailing after them. It’s another moment when we get to see Damen’s little pedestal next to Auguste in Laurent’s head. You’re just as good as them in your own way Laurent, you beautiful idiot.
It takes me back to how far we’ve come since Damen thinks in Prince’s Gambit about how hard it is ‘…to imagine [Laurent] trailing around after an older brother
he adored. It was impossible to imagine him adoring anyone.’ WELL NOW HE DOES, DAMEN! GOOD JOB.
“At Ravenel, I–it had been a long time since I had–with anyone. I was nervous.” / “I know.” - Damen
Every time Laurent confesses something really personal that is hard for him to admit and Damen simply replies with a gentle: “I know,” I again want to just weep. This happens so many times throughout the entire trilogy and those two little words mean so much to me every time. I know Damen can be a bit of a naive bonehead sometimes, but when he gets Laurent he really gets him and is there for him. That feeling of: ‘I know it is hard for you to say these things out loud but you don’t have to say anything more, I already know and it is okay.’ Don’t you just really need someone to understand you sometimes without having to try and find the words first? I just love the connection these two have. Told you, weeping!
Okay thank you for indulging me. And god bless the Captive Prince trilogy. <3
“Kid, I’ve flown from one side of this galaxy to the other, and I’ve seen a lot of strange stuff, but I’ve never seen *anything* to make me believe that there’s one all-powerful Force controlling everything. ‘Cause no mystical energy field controls *my* destiny. It’s all a lot of simple tricks and nonsense.”
With little preamble, he slammed his hands together and thunder boomed through the room as a massive wave of darkness fell over the party. He waited, letting the crowd’s anticipation grow. The Darkling might not have liked the Grisha performing, but he certainly knew how to put on a show. Only when the room was practically vibrating with tension did he lean into me and whisper, so softly that only I could hear, “Now.”
Or - no, that’s morbid. She doesn’t mean to keep living like this.
It takes them a few years to realise. After all, there’s nothing to hold her health back now, no power to suppress to keep her ill. But she hits thirty and still looks like a teenager, and Alina stares at her reflection in the mirror with a sardonic smile, thinking:
What is infinite? The universe, the greed of men, and me.
Mal slips away from her, and then Nikolai. It takes the Grisha longer, but even they find an escape. Zoya stays the longest, and bitches about wrinkles and grey hair like Alina isn’t terrified of her dying and Zoya isn’t terrified of leaving her.
There are no children. She couldn’t bear it, in the end.
In the end, she is alone.
“Perhaps now, you understand.”
There is a little hut on the edge of a forest that children scare themselves with stories about, and Alina is in it reading. There are so many ghosts in her life, it takes her a moment to realise that this is one she has not heard in a while.
She turns a page, hands pale and unlined.
“Nearly two centuries dead, and the only thing you have to say for yourself is ‘I told you so.”
The footsteps freeze her blood in her veins, because ghosts have been a lot of things over the years, but accompanied by ambient sound isn’t one of them. She stares at her book, at her hand on the page, at a bare wrist that had once contained the power to match him.
The footsteps stop. And a hand covers hers, cool but not cold, just as pale. Her fingers curl around the wrist. There is a pulse.
“Tell me,” she whispers. “Tell me you didn’t wait all this time just to teach me a lesson.”
The barest brush of knuckles tilt her chin upwards, and the thing that used to be her heart slips out of her chest cavity, splatters on the ground. That face, his face is there before her, the hint of a smile carved into chiselled features, the satisfaction of a game well played. She could still cut herself to pieces on those cheekbones.
She could cut him to pieces, period.
“You were an apt pupil, Alina,” he says, and his voice is soft, soft. “But there is only one way to learn this.”
This. The gaping chasm of eternity. The aching, pitiful loneliness. The missing. She should kill him. She wants to kill him. Her book hits the ground and she is on her feet and her hands are in his kefta because of course he’s wearing one, the black fabric slippery in abruptly sweaty palms–
Alina kisses him. It’s as broken and as ugly as the jagged pieces left of her, and he crushes her to him in kind, his fingers digging into her waist, hers grasping at his hair. The hate rises up her throat and she bites at his lower lip until the iron tang of blood blooms over her tongue and soft laughter rolls through her. His or hers? There’s no telling. She’s not sure she wants to know.
“Don’t leave me alone,” he murmurs into her mouth, and a thousand memories flood her mind, and then just one.
“I hate you.” Her nails dig into his scalp, body pressing closer to his. Don’t leave me alone. “I hate you.”
He doesn’t offer to go. She can’t decide if that is another cruelty, or a blessing.
COVER REVEAL: Check out the cover for Tonya Hurley’s HALLOWED, the final book in The Blessed trilogy! Head over to USA Today to learn more!
Summary: Hallowed is the third and final novel in New York Times bestselling author Tonya Hurley’s critically acclaimed The Blessed Trilogy about three rebellious teenage saints living, loving and dying in present-day Brooklyn.
Lucy, Cecilia, and Agnes have sacrificed everything for their belief in Sebastian, a boy who stole their hearts.
Lucy has paid the ultimate price. Cecilia and Agnes need to find faith in their own destinies. Now, they are Icons, beloved and infamous. As the world turns against them, and forces work to undermine them, will they be able to hold steadfast or be led into temptation?
Will they survive the final test, body and soul? And what awaits them: eternal shame or eternal fame?