War is art – a review of Star Wars Thrawn Trilogy




If you were to point out the most famous, evil character from the Star Wars universe, who would it be? Darth Vader, Darth Sidious or maybe Count Dooku or his student Asajj Ventress? Undoubtedly, there are quite a few heroes who can give us at least goosebumps.

However, among all these figures, those who do not have to resort to violence and fear to gain the devotion and absolute obedience of the subjects are ignored. Their strength lies in intellect and analytical thinking. And who, if not great Admiral Thrawn is the best example of such person? The brilliant military strategist of the Empire and the leader of the Seventh Fleet always overtook his enemies by three steps and had the answer to their every move. He will be the center of my attention today.

Yes, I know that some people will ask, what about the main characters of the trilogy: Leia Organa, Han Solo, and Luke Skywalker? Don’t worry. I simply couldn’t miss them, but let’s say that this time they will not be the heroes of the book. Also, this will not be a classic review, but rather a subjective evaluation of the entire release. Beware! The entry contains spoilers! That's the word of introduction and now the specifics.

Star Wars: The Thrawn Trilogy was written by Timothy Zahn, an American science fiction writer. The first part was published in 1991 and was entitled "Heir of the Empire". The next two books, “Dark Side Rising” and “The Last Command”, had their premiere in 1992 and 1993 respectively. Although the books were originally published some time ago, the Polish publishing house Uroboros decided to resume the books’ publication, and in this way, they are again available in bookstores. I will straightaway point out that I have read these books for the first time this year. I'm not an old and die-hard fan of Star Wars - my love for them was born relatively recently and I'm trying to catch up all information slowly. You have to forgive me;)

Now let's get back to the topic. First, the plot of the trilogy takes place after the destruction of two Death Stars and the defeat of Darth Vader by the Rebel Alliance. The newly formed government of the Republic settles on Coruscant, where it strives to maintain stability and ultimately defeat the remnants of Imperial forces in distant regions of the galaxy. It turns out that the task is not easy to do because of the mysterious admiral, who takes command of the remains of the imperial fleet and leads them from one victory to another. In the background, we are still dealing with a crazy Jedi master, betrayal in the highest ranks of the New Republic's military and a mysterious informant who provides the Empire with news about events that take place at the Palace on Coruscant.

The action is consistent and naturally goes from one book to another. I recommend reading all the parts. Selectivity, unfortunately, may result in getting lost in later references or the continuation of some threads. In general, the trilogy was read by me quickly, and I have to admit it lightly. The author's style and manner of leading the characters is convincing and consistent. We are dealing here for what many people love Star Wars: climate, climate and once again climate. The descriptions of fights, starships or the appearance of the planets (Kashyyyk, Myrkr, Honoghr) and its inhabitants are perfectly balanced. I admire Zahn for his detailed presentation of the elements of the Empire starships and the newly emerging fleet of the New Republic. Personally, I think that it is a titbit, which really deserves attention.

What else captivated me? The cutting remarks and catchphrases that we all know from the films. Personally, the medal for the best zinger is given to Han Solo, who made a great punchline about the connection with the Force between Lei and Luke.

The fight performed by Mary Jade and Luke Skywalker against the clone of Jorus C'Baoth did not catch my attention as much as the dialogues between Captain Palleon and the Great Admiral Thrawn. They perfectly present and explain the operation taken by the main commander of the Empire's forces from the point of view of a third person. What's more, the great Jedi master appears to us like a puppet in the hands of the great admiral. What I will remember for a long time, is the moment of explaining to Captain Palleon the passion for art and history of the inhabitants of the planets that Thrawn intended to conquer. He believes that in order to understand a given people and the motives of their actions, one needs to get to know and explore their art and tradition. Thrawn appears to us as an inspiring leader, but also as a character from whom nothing and nobody will hide. As if he was reading the thoughts of his opponents and anticipating their every move. And that's what caused goosebumps. I realized that Thrawn took control of the decisions of his enemies and more interestingly allies. Unaware of anything, the heroes became, as he emphasized, "architects of their own destruction." (a reference to Star Wars Rebels: Season 3)

Smashing the mysterious Delta source, Thrawn's main informant at the Imperial Palace at Courscant, was really surprising and interesting. I honestly admit that I did not expect such a turn of events, and my main suspect was a completely different person. The relationship of the Noghri people with the Empire and their liberation from the lies of Lord Vader and Emperor Palpatine is also interestingly presented and shows how many nations and planets, were used by the impulses of the great people who ruled the galaxy.

It is also worth mentioning the supporting characters such as the smuggler Talon Kaarde or Mara Jade - the spy and the former Hand of the Emperor. Their way from the criminal world into the bosom of the New Republic is a real rollercoaster and something new in the well-known story of Star Wars. Personally, I liked the moment when Leia smiled at the thought that Karrde was similar to Han Solo, who once also swore he would not join the New Republic. There must be something to it maybe that's why I always cheer on those who are fighting to a lost case.

In conclusion, I recommend Star Wars: Thrawn Trilogy with all my rebellious heart. If you want more information about the brilliant strategist and villain of the Empire, watch Star Wars: Rebels, season 3 with the music composed by Kevin Kiner in the background and the voice of Lars Mikkelsen in the role of Thrawn, who literally made my blood freezes.