Loyalty and Duty: The Bond Between a Scoundrel and a Princess — A Guest Blog by Mike DeRose
Leia Organa and Han Solo should not work as a couple. Leia, the senator princess turned rebel who fights for the greater good and Han, the scoundrel smuggler who only cares about getting paid. Despite their differences it's easy to see why they were drawn to each other. Leia had spent her entire life in politics surrounded by proper men or, let's face it, probably just boring men. So when a rogue like Han comes along Leia would naturally be intrigued. But Han's original interest in Leia was pretty straightforward. The princess was worth a pretty big reward.
I can't imagine that if you are reading this you haven't seen the films, so I'll avoid recapping and give you one defining quote that sums up their relationship perfectly:
“I love you.”
Cue the music, cue the kissing, cue the Ewok’s Imperial barbecue to end Return of the Jedi.
After the films their relationship needed to move into new territory. They could have taken a step back, realized things had moved pretty fast and took time to date in normal non-war situations. They could have recognized that they’re two totally different people and it could never work between a scoundrel and a princess. Instead, Han and Leia decided to marry shortly after the events of Return of the Jedi. Soon after that Leia became pregnant with their son, Ben.
All things considered it's amazing that Han and Leia managed to make their relationship work for so many years leading to The Force Awakens. It takes a ton of work making a normal relationship function, but Han and Leia lived in a galaxy at war where nothing was normal.
After the Empire's lose at Endor, different Imperial factions did what they could to maintain their power. We saw one of the more vile groups of Imperials on the planet Kashyyyk in Chuck Wendig's Life Debt. Chewbacca, bound by honor to try to free his people, had Han at his side helping him every step of the way.
People didn't realize Han Solo's sense of duty was just as strong as Leia's. While Leia worked on a larger galactic scale, Han focused on caring for those close to him. He was steadfast in the loyalty to Chewbacca and Leia. Chewie didn't need to ask Han to help fight the Empire on Kashyyyk. He was already there, no questions asked.
When the first attempt to free Kashyyyk ended up being a trap, Chewbacca is captured by the Empire. Han, feeling responsible for his friend's imprisonment, refused to return home until Chewbacca was safe. That meant not coming home to Leia and their unborn child. While Leia couldn't abandon her duties to the New Republic, she constantly attempted to get the Senate to send aid to Kashyyyk, however her pleas that fell on deaf ears.
When Leia loses contact with Han her first reaction is to drop everything to go find him herself. But due to her responsibilities in the New Republic, as well as to her unborn child, Leia turns to Norra Wexley's team to track Han down. Leia shows her willingness to break the rules for her husband by sending a Republic team on a personal mission.
When there’s an obstacle in Leia's way, she finds a way around it. When there is an obstacle in Leia's way when it comes to Han, she’s willing to ignore all protocol to help her husband. Han realizes that for a woman who fights to restore order, she does a lot of rule breaking for him.
Leia could have found Han foolish for fighting on Kashyyyk without support, but she understands the burden he feels. She offers him assistance without overruling or making demands allowing Han to stay loyal to both his friend and his wife.
Once Kashyyyk is freed from the Empire, Chewie stays behind to help rebuild his planet. Han must say goodbye to Chewbacca and as painful as it must have been Han is able to walk away from his best friend. He now has another partner in Leia who shares his deep-seated loyalty to others and understands that duty sometimes becomes the priority above everything else
Leia doesn't feel the need to keep Han on a tight leash, she knows that no matter where in the galaxy Han may be he is only a hyperspace jump away from being by her side.
Twenty-one years later during the events of Claudia Gray's Bloodline, Han and Leia are still happily married. Han has become a businessman and a respected racer while Leia has continued to serve with the New Republic. It should come as no surprise that the New Republic's senate has broken down into opposing factions, reminding Leia too much of the old Senate. As a result she decides to retire from politics. After years of sacrificing their time together, Han and Leia would finally be able to focus on their marriage.
Before Leia can announce her retirement, the Senate puts into motion a plan to establish the position of First Senator whose duty would be to oversee the military and economy of the New Republic. It's no surprise that Leia is a lead candidate for the position. Reluctantly Leia accepts the nomination. Han, although supportive, is understandably annoyed by this turn of events. But just as Leia understood years ago when he fought to free Kashyyyk, Han understands now that she can't turn away from the responsibly placed on her shoulders.
As the events of Bloodline unfold, Leia's darkest secret is publicly revealed. With the exception of Luke and Han no one else knew that Darth Vader was Leia's father. When it is exposed Leia's career is ruined in an instant.
After her concern for Ben's reaction to the news (this family secret had been kept from him his entire life) her thoughts immediately go to Han. Leia realizes that he will be affected just as much as anyone else. He had spent years building legitimate businesses but this news could ruin everything he had accomplished on his own.
At the end of the novel when they are together again, after a well-timed rescue by Han, she realizes that he dropped everything to help her when she needed him. Over the years their time apart was never ideal, but their connection was too deep to be affected by it. They shared a common set of core beliefs that made their relationship strong enough to stand against time and distance.
When people questioned if Han knew about Leia's relationship to Darth Vader he replies with a typical Han Solo quote:
“Everyone assumed I must've had no idea who I'd married. I made it clear that I'd known from the start, that I don't give a damn, and anybody with any sense wouldn't care, either. Nobody's been fool enough to bring up the subject twice.”
This trust and respect can be traced back to Kashyyyk. Had Leia not understood and supported Han when duty called, their relationship might not have lasted. Had Leia pushed Han in the wrong direction he would have not seen a partner who understood him, but a princess who was trying to control him. Had Han not fought so hard to help Chewbacca, Leia might not have seen the side of him that showed the loyal qualities she valued so much. It formed a bond so strong that 30 years of war could not tear them apart.Powered by Sidelines