How 'Star Wars: Queen's Hope' Offers New Insight Into Padmé And Anakin's Relationship
Will You Be Picking Up A Copy Of The New Novel?
Before Reylo, no romantic relationship in Star Wars had been rockier than that of Anakin Skywalker and Padmé Amidala. Brought on by naïve young love and solidified by secrets and war, Anakin and Padmé's marriage is essentially the franchise's equivalent to Romeo and Juliet, complete with a tragic ending that brings their previous lives to a bitter end. Their relationship also comes with a decent amount of baggage from how it was handled in the prequel trilogy. From the Shakespearean dialogue to Padmé's willingness to marry someone who slaughtered a village of men, women and children, writing for Anakin and Padmé in subsequent material is far from an easy task. However, this hasn't stopped writers from expanding upon their romance in ways that help it feel more natural and true to their characters. One certain writer who has done this especially well is none other than E.K. Johnston.
Starting with Queen's Shadow in 2019, E.K. Johnston has fleshed out Padmé's story in a trilogy of novels exploring her personal relationships and struggles throughout her career as Queen and Senator of Naboo. E.K. Johnston's trilogy recently came to an end with her latest novel, Queen's Hope, published earlier this year. The book follows Padmé after her marriage to Anakin as she goes on a secret mission for Naboo, all the while her royal handmaiden Sabé acts as her decoy in the Galactic Senate. Prior to her mission, though, we spend the first few chapters of the book with Padmé and Anakin as they provide aid to suffering people amidst preparations for their wedding day. During these chapters, we get to see Anakin and Padmé spend time together outside of playing bodyguard and fighting beasts in an arena. While alone together in their downtime, they have genuine chemistry and are clearly attracted to each other's interests and personalities. These moments give their relationship a level of casualness and intimate connection which help them feel like an actual loving couple.
This isn't to say that the unhealthier aspects of their romance are never addressed. A notable moment later in the book is when Padmé is talking with Sabé about the latter's recent encounter with Anakin. Although Sabé is slightly unnerved by Anakin's presence, she does acknowledge his awkwardly charming qualities and recognizes why Padmé is drawn to him. Padmé goes on to explain their whirlwind courtship and how quickly everything seemed to have flown by with them. She even acknowledges Anakin's genocide of the Tuskens, to which Sabé expresses shock at him having been the one to commit the horrific act. Padmé tells her the slaughter was horrible and that she had tried to talk to Anakin about it, but she didn't get far since they soon had to leave for Geonosis. Padmé knows Anakin carried out an unthinkable crime, but she still can't bring herself to leave him. This addresses the issue of Padmé marrying Anakin despite what he's done and gives their relationship an added layer of tragedy, since Padmé believed that she could help Anakin steer clear of the dark side only for him to nearly kill her with it on Mustafar.
Star Wars has never been the best in terms of romance and Anakin and Padmé's relationship is one of the most notable examples of that. Hurried along by a disjointedly paced trilogy and held together by tons of trauma and uncertainty, it's no wonder their story ended on such a downer note. But despite that, writers such as E.K. Johnston have still managed to write good stories with the lovestruck Jedi and Senator that have given new layers to their marriage and overall characters. The tragedy of Anakin and Padmé will always be a flawed one, but I think that's okay. Even though their time together ended in heartbreak and they likely never saw each other again, I believe their love will continue to be felt in the fandom and across the stars.
Written by Zach Bernard
Syndicated from Culture Slate