So, did the Empire Fall…or Strike Back?

A few months ago I blogged about a book I was reading for one of my book clubs: Empire Falls. Didn’t hate it, didn’t love it – whatever – but a random thought occurrred to me yesterday as I watched a Star Wars special on The History Channel. It was an interesting special – and fun because it covered so many details I discussed as an English Lit teacher in high school (ah, feels like something I did in another life). In fact, many of the points made in the feature could have been taken directly out of my lecture notes on archetypes and the hero’s journey – hey, why didn’t they interview me for this show?!? Who’s this Peter Jackson guy anyway (psst- by the way – did you see him? Holy Cow that man has lost some weight, at least 2 or 3 hobbit’s worth! Way to go, P.J.!) Two of my favorite observations from this special are: 1 – Jabba the Hutt is like a dragon from middle age folklore, with a lair, chained damsels, and hoarded gold to boot. 2: there are NO women in the Empire (hmmm…now that I think about it, there were no women on the Death Star, and I never saw a Stormtrooper with boobs.)

Ok, ok, back to my rather banal observation: oddly enough, it doesn’t have anything to do with Star Wars directly – I just happened to be musing over the hero/villain concept and all that. For some reason the character of Mrs. Whiting came to mind – and I thought about how she rules the town of Empire Falls and controls its citizens. She is, in fact – very much like Lionel Luthor of Smallville/Superman fame. Too bad I couldn’t have drawn this parallel before the book club meeting – it might have made for a more lively discussion. Can you think of other books with a family like the Luthors? Big money ruling small town and all its denizens?

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