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15 October 2010 @ 05:36 pm
Quotes and Commentary: Star Wars Episode I Journal: Queen Amidala by Jude Watson  
At its best, the expanded universe helps us understand the characters we see in the movies. Other than The Clone Wars, this little book is to thank (or to blame, depending on your perspective) for my interpretation of Padmé Amidala, and my last fanfic was heavily inspired by it. It was after reading this book that I really began to characterize her as stubborn, compassionate, and tragically flawed, and to see her flaws as the result of a combination of situational factors (can you imagine ruling a planet at 14?) and her personality (highly conscientious, meaning if she has to be a queen, she feels a duty to be the best queen she can be). The Journal shows from her own perspective how she was forced to grow up too soon and in psychologically unhealthy ways to meet the demands of the situation.

The Journal was written before Attack of the Clones, and there are some discrepancies. For example, it says Padme's parents were farmers, which is contradicted by other expanded universe sources according to which her mother was a seamstress and her father a "builder" who became a teacher at Theed University when they moved to the capital.

Nevertheless, it's a wonderful source of insight into the outwardly stoic and undemonstrative character of Queen Amidala a.k.a. Padmé. I've selected some of the most significant snippets that I think everyone who writes fanfiction about her should read.


I did not get to be Queen by being intimidated. ... A Queen must never question her strength aloud. She must assume strength, even when she feels uncertain. ... Even though I listen to advice, I listen to my instincts most of all.
...

Just a few days ago, I contacted Valorum ... I told him that I am holding him personally responsible for the suffering of my people. Every day he delays he takes bread out of the mouths of the starving children of Naboo.

I must say, Valorum turned pale. I could tell from his hologram that I'd shocked him. Fine with me. I'd meant to.
...

That foul Neimoidian deserves to be taught a lesson.
...

I argued with [Panaka about the decoy]. One of my duties as Queen is to accept any danger that might arise from my position.
...

Amidala would have argued with [Qui-Gon]. But Padmé lets the little things go.
This isn't the first time it's occurred to me that Padmé is sometimes smarter than the Queen.
...

How could he do this without consulting me?
Then I remembered I was Padmé, not Amidala. I couldn't stride forward and give orders. I would have to trust Qui-Gon.
I hate that.

She really did hate that. The glares she gives Qui-Gon in the movie are ferocious. She is so angry with him that she compromises her disguise by failing to control or at least hide her anger ("Well, I don't approve!").

And she didn't trust him, even when she had to. (She's not good at doing things she "has" to.) She personally went with him on Tatooine to supervise him.

And Qui-Gon? He sat as if he was enjoying a sunny day! Sometimes, he even closed his eyes. He had risked my life on a nine-year-old's racing skills, and he didn't even break a sweat!

Here is another vow: If I am ever elected Supreme Chancellor of the Senate, I will decree that all Jedi must demonstrate an emotion at least once a year.

The last sentence? Hilarious.

To the Jedi, emotion => dark side => evil, a philosophy that's anathema to Padmé Amidala, whose every step is guided by compassion and the righteous anger that stems from it.

She's only half-serious, but it's interesting - would the Jedi obey such an order even though it's against their teachings? "Do their duty, the Jedi will", says Yoda. And their duty is to obey the Senate or the Chancellor - it isn't clear which. Mace Windu says in ROTS that the Jedi serve the Senate, not its leader. But in TPM, Valorum sends Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan to Naboo, something the Jedi Council allows, without the Senate even knowing about it.

At that moment, I was glad to be Padmé. She gives me the freedom to do the things that the Queen cannot.
...

I could feel the girl Padmé slipping away and the Queen taking her place. ...
Padmé would have looked back for a last goodbye.
A Queen cannot.
...

I've created a division in myself. There is the Queen, and there is Padmé. I am both of them, of course. But I find that I can only be one at a time.
I wonder what it would be like to have no secrets. To be Padmé and Queen, together. Ruler and girl. Mind and heart.
...

Now that I am Padmé, the Queen can command me to perform tasks. I told Sabé she must do this, or it will look suspicious. But does Sabé get just a little pleasure out of telling me to clean up an astromech droid?
Maybe. She's only human.

So we are wrong to think Padmé doesn't understand... revenge? The desire to humiliate someone? Resentment against people you have to obey?

Apparently she understands more than that. Remember AOTC? "To be angry is to be human. You're human." She does understand the desire for revenge, or she thinks she understands it, but she really doesn't, because she has never felt it, not really. Not like that. She is too kind and compassionate to feel that kind of thing, to want to hurt or kill.

"The Queen does not have to know," [Qui-Gon] said.
The arrogance! I couldn't help myself. "Well,
I don't approve," I snapped.

Perhaps I gave too much away. I don't care. It's so infuriating to be in this handmaiden role, unable to command! Especially when it comes to Jedi. But to be honest, I have a feeling that even if I were in my most stately of costumes as Queen Amidala, Qui-Gon still wouldn't listen to me.

Yes, they are wise and respected and brave. But does anyone ever mention how infuriating the Jedi can be?
...

Senator Palpatine requested an audience so that we could go over strategies. It was good to see him again, and to confer with him. He's always been one of my most trusted advisors. When those on the Council of Governors doubted my abilities, he always backed me. Together, we should be able to sway the Senate.
...

Hot rage surged through me. I had never felt such fury. To have come this far, only to be met with more delay! My people are starving – dying – and they want to appoint commissions!

Cool your anger, I told myself. It should be ice, not heat.

She has never sounded more like a Sith.

[Valorum's] shock was visible. We locked eyes across the vast Senate chamber. I saw his gaze move to Palpatine. He felt betrayed.

I don't regret it. Palpatine is right. The Senate is mired in its own bureaucratic mud.

So her compassion has limits. Very dangerous limits.

When it will be her turn to be betrayed... only then she'll regret it.

"A surprise, to be sure," Palpatine said.
But he didn't seem surprised. Beneath his modesty, I sensed triumph.
Well, why not? Palpatine isn't free of ambition. And it would be good for Naboo to have our former representative as Supreme Chancellor.

Another thing she has never felt but mistakenly thinks she understands: ambition.

Don't they know what kind of Queen I am?
Well, maybe I didn't really know, either. Until now. ... I've always been an advocate of peace and diplomacy. I don't believe in fighting.
Yet I will fight. Die fighting, if I have to.
...

I am so tired of being underestimated! Enough. I don't mind being underestimated by the Neimoidians – I can use that to my advantage. But when my own military leader treats me as a figurehead, I want to howl.

Use that to her advantage... And she says to Shmi in the movie, "These junk dealers must have a weakness of some kind". Not so innocent or angelic, is she? She is not above thinking in terms of ruthless strategy, i.e. looking for weaknesses to use against others. Just pointing that out. I'm not saying it isn't a justified way for her to treat enemies, as leader of a nation in need.

I reached over to the desk and picked up the treaty. I tore it in two and flung the pieces in [Nute Gunray's] face. "There is your treaty, Viceroy! Sorry I can't sign it."


– Jude Watson, Star Wars Episode I Journal: Queen Amidala (Scholastic, 1999).


Isn't she cool?

The dual identity (Padmé and Amidala are more than names: they are separate, contrasting personalities). All that anger against the Jedi and their ways. Using being underestimated to her advantage. Finding it "infuriating" to have to pretend to be just a handmaiden and be "unable to command". "Cool your anger... it should be ice, not heat".

She sounds like a Sith. I wonder how much of that can be attributed to the subtle influence of her Sith advisor.

 
 
 
( 20 comments — Leave a comment )
tine_marie: Elegant Pearlstine_marie on October 15th, 2010 09:41 pm (UTC)
HOLY SHIT.

THIS BOOK WAS MY WORLD WHEN I WAS IN GRADE FOUR.

Seriously. I've read this thing like a billion times. I had it memorized. (I also had the Anakin and Darth Maul ones too, but they were significantly less interesting to me)

Oh my goodness, I was so obsessed with Padme. She's probably my ultimate heroine. The year I got this book was also the year I went as Queen Amidala for Halloween (I had fierce makeup but the mask that made her headdress dug into my face and it hurt like a mother)

Ohhh man. This post has brought back some serious memories. I wanted to be just like her. She was my idol.

I still have it around here, somewhere. Maybe I should rummage around and find it to get some ideas and inspiration. I think I could benefit from some Padme-esqe behaviour in my life, haha.

(Also for some reason I remember finding the fact that the former King of Naboo (Veruna? Something like that) farmed rocks to be hilarious at the time)

Edited at 2010-10-15 09:42 pm (UTC)
C.: queen amidala bluechameleon_irony on October 15th, 2010 11:45 pm (UTC)
I've read the Darth Maul and Princess Leia journals and they're very interesting too. :)

I remember finding the fact that the former King of Naboo (Veruna? Something like that) farmed rocks to be hilarious at the time

It made me LOL, but it's one of those facts that are contradicted by more recent EU material. According to Cloak of Deception, Veruna was assassinated shortly after Padmé's election.
darth_silver: Padme on Pinkdarth_eldritch on October 15th, 2010 09:55 pm (UTC)
I think Jude Watson is an exceptionally fine writer, especially how she handles characters. I had hoped she would be the one to write about Darth Zannah, one of the rare female sith, but it didn't turn out that way. *sigh*

I've created a division in myself. There is the Queen, and there is Padmé. I am both of them, of course. But I find that I can only be one at a time.
I wonder what it would be like to have no secrets. To be Padmé and Queen, together. Ruler and girl. Mind and heart.


This one stands out the most for me.
C.: padme-warrior-queenchameleon_irony on October 15th, 2010 11:40 pm (UTC)
I haven't read any of Watson's books except the Journals. Does she mostly write post-ROTJ stuff?

That one is my favorite too. It's fascinating and terrible that she had to split herself into two personalities like that, like extremely traumatized people sometimes do.
darth_silver: Padme on Pinkdarth_eldritch on October 16th, 2010 12:09 am (UTC)
No, not that I'm aware of. She's written a lot of Anakin's padawan days, some about Obi-Wan Kenobi and Siri Tachi, whole series of books. Ferus Olin is her character. I haven't read a good many of her books, mostly because I haven't come across them, but my favorite of hers is Legacy of the Jedi, which is about a young Dooku. Her books is on my "look for them on Amazon and read someday soon" list.

Somewhere in my SW books the theme of masks is mentioned, the mask that Queen Amidala must wear, in the form of white paint and her elaborate headgear and dress. The mask that Palpatine wears, hiding who he truly is. Both of which foreshadows the mask that covers what Anakin Skywalker once was, now Darth Vader.
It is interesting that it's mentioned that Padme enjoys Varykino, because there she feels free and can wear what she wants, not what Naboo custom dictates even for the private citizen of Theed.
The theme of Queen (Mask) vs the young woman underneath (Persona) recalls for me Elizabeth (Cate Blanchett), and I think it was a common problem for a lot of monarchs, even today. But for someone so young and responsible for an entire planet and the galactic sector, it must be crushing, even traumatizing, and I completely agree.
C.: cw spychameleon_irony on October 16th, 2010 11:29 am (UTC)
Both of which foreshadows the mask that covers what Anakin Skywalker once was, now Darth Vader.

But Vader is the only one whose mask is literal.

It is interesting that it's mentioned that Padme enjoys Varykino, because there she feels free and can wear what she wants, not what Naboo custom dictates even for the private citizen of Theed.

Interesting that when for once she is free to wear whatever she likes, she wears a black leather corset. Maybe it's a kind of rebellion.
aleysiasnape: luciusaleysiasnape on October 15th, 2010 11:37 pm (UTC)
I don't think I have this book! But I love the quotes. My favorite is between Padme and Qui-Gon.
C.: tpmamidalaglarechameleon_irony on October 16th, 2010 01:53 am (UTC)
Yeah, I thought she had to be feeling pretty pissed off in that scene in the movie, and it's nice that Watson thought so too.
Stephanie: SW Queen Amidalafrostbit_sky on October 16th, 2010 01:15 am (UTC)
I should find this book and read it.

Also gonna save this entry to memories. I am in the middle of a Padmé fic that is on the back burner.
C.: padme&leiachameleon_irony on October 16th, 2010 01:50 am (UTC)
I think the book is out of print. Amazon doesn't have it; I had to buy it used.

Looking forward to your Padmé fic. :)
Stephanie: SW Leia Rebel Spyfrostbit_sky on October 16th, 2010 02:00 am (UTC)
A lot of Jude Watson's books are :(

Thanks. I got to get back into the SW fandom. Been writing mainly Twilight fics this year.

Love the icon.
C.: leia goldchameleon_irony on October 16th, 2010 11:27 am (UTC)
Thank you.
ansketil_rose on October 16th, 2010 04:45 am (UTC)
I remember reading this when I was 13. I like this one and the Darth Maul one too. Very good stuff.

Senator Palpatine requested an audience so that we could go over strategies. It was good to see him again, and to confer with him. He's always been one of my most trusted advisors. When those on the Council of Governors doubted my abilities, he always backed me. Together, we should be able to sway the Senate.

This needs Theed political intrigue fic. I have these images of Palpatine and Amidala as such a take no prisoners interesting team.

Here is another vow: If I am ever elected Supreme Chancellor of the Senate, I will decree that all Jedi must demonstrate an emotion at least once a year.

OMG - LOL!
C.chameleon_irony on October 16th, 2010 11:22 am (UTC)
This needs Theed political intrigue fic. I have these images of Palpatine and Amidala as such a take no prisoners interesting team.

I'm sure you are sick of hearing this, but I'm working on it. ;)

lazypadawan: paradequeenlazypadawan on October 16th, 2010 04:55 am (UTC)
That was a terrific little book. I was, oh, 30 when I picked it up and thought it really had her nailed.
C.: padme-warrior-queenchameleon_irony on October 16th, 2010 11:24 am (UTC)
I was 20 and I thought the same. ;)
I don't do drugs. I am drugs.: lord vaderyenneffer on October 16th, 2010 07:56 am (UTC)
... you just fed the plot bunnies.

Wow, those quotes are very insightful. I've never read the book, but I'm sure I have it somewhere on my hard disc. I'm definitely motivated to read it now.

And you have a gorgeous icon!
C.: anakin lightsaber glowchameleon_irony on October 16th, 2010 11:26 am (UTC)
you just fed the plot bunnies

*does a happy dance*

And you have a gorgeous icon!

Thank you!
I don't do drugs. I am drugs.: songyenneffer on October 16th, 2010 06:42 pm (UTC)
*does a happy dance*

*snorts* I don't see a reason to be happy here...

And you're welcome!
C.: bunnies-sanitychameleon_irony on October 16th, 2010 07:00 pm (UTC)
Oh, well, it makes me feel better that I'm not the only one being hunted by plot bunnies. :P
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