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The Value of Romance in Star Wars

Happy Valentine's Day! It's no secret how romance plays such an important role in Star Wars stories. Romance can change the course of a story and impact a character's actions- for better or for worse. One of the biggest ways it has an impact is in helping characters grow and change for the better- and these are just a few of my favorite examples of that in Star Wars.

Han Solo and Leia Organa

Han and Leia are the classic It Couple of Star Wars- and for good reason. Their romance is among the most iconic not just in Star Wars, but across all of film. And I believe a big part of why their story is so memorable is because of how transformative it is for both of them. Han goes through a strong character arc of learning how to be a part of something bigger than himself, and Leia is a big part of that. Sure, his affection for her is part of his motivation for sticking around with the Rebellion, but she encourages him to better himself, and she is what inspires him to become the brave leader we see in Return of the Jedi.

Likewise, Han is a great part of Leia's growth. Leia is a very defensive and guarded character when we meet her, but Han is able to make her feel comfortable being a little more vulnerable. She is already comfortable being a comforting presence and safe space for others, but letting her guard down isn't something that seems to come as naturally to her. By being a safe space for her (especially after losing her home and family in the destruction of Alderaan), Han helps Leia grow as a person. Becoming more comfortable with sharing herself also makes her a better leader, and we see that by the time we get to the era of the First Order- Leia is able to share parts of herself to better connect with and inspire the Resistance. My favorite example of this is when she brings up being the biological daughter of Darth Vader in Resistance Reborn when people are questioning the loyalty of others based on their own backgrounds. It's something we know is very sensitive for her, but she very effectively uses it to create empathy amongst the other members of the Resistance.

Quinlan Vos and Asajj Ventress

Another (also very topical) pair of Valentines are also really defined by how they help each other grow. Vos and Ventress' story can be found in Dark Disciple, and it is a worthy one. Both of them face a lot of difficulties together throughout the book, but are able to provide each other the support they need to come out the other side. But beyond that, they both grow a lot as people thanks to the other. And not just through all of the rigorous training that Ventress puts Vos through.

Ventress is a character who's story is filled with many twists, turns, but mostly a lot of loss and betrayal. It makes sense that she's a deeply mistrusting character who keeps her distance with everyone. She's also spent a lot of time under the thumb of Count Dooku, so the ways of the dark side are deeply ingrained in her, even if she is no longer his apprentice. That's what makes her teaming up with Vos, a Jedi, such a big move for her. While there is still a harshness to her and she is certainly not on her way back to the Jedi at any point in the book, through Vos she learns to be a bit more open with her feelings, and to act with some more compassion. The arc she has in this book is a massive one for her character, and I'm excited to see it pick back up in The Bad Batch.

For Vos, he equally goes through a transformative arc. While he is already a Jedi, Ventress helps him connect better with his feelings. While this can be dangerous for a Jedi if it gets out of hand, it is also something that helped Vos as he struggles against various obstacles. But most important, Ventress is a lens through which Vos learns a lot more about the galaxy. Among all of the Jedi, Vos is probably the least sheltered, but learning about what Ventress has been through in her life gives him a new understanding of what is out there, and I think that understanding plays a key role in the future of his story, which I hope we will get to see.

Kanan Jarrus and Hera Syndulla

It's no secret that Kanan and Hera are my absolute favorite Star Wars couple. I could go on and on about them for days. But what I really love about them the most is how they strengthen and support each other throughout Star Wars Rebels, and how they are so integral to each others character arcs.

A big part of Kanan's arc revolves around insecurity. He has to learn to feel confident in himself as a teacher for Ezra, and later Sabine. Hera is always the one that encourages him, and in times when he's unsure of what the right path forward is- like when he's having his doubts about joining up with the wider Rebellion- Hera is the one who encourages him to open up and provides him with just the right support.

For Hera, Kanan often grounds her. She can often find herself very wrapped up in the cause and their work, and we see Kanan helping bring her back to their family and having those moments that she needs to keep going. He comforts her when she's stressed, like their sweet moment before he leaves for Malachor And he also hypes her up and encourages her- like when he recommends her for her much deserved promotion to Captain from Sato.

Their love for each other is evident throughout the entire series, and is the base for a strong relationship that provides both of them the support and comfort that they need to grow as people.

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