I could never get a handle on Luke. He was just too good, too clean, too bright-eyed and breezy. A parental fantasy. I, me, you, we’re not like that and I didn’t need puberty to help me realise it. No, Han Solo was the man. The man who could do good, if he could be arsed. The man who did do good when it mattered. He was also the man who fell in love with a Princess. A modern princess, independent, one free from the domestic shackles forced on her fairytale ancestors.
Telling you that this archetype, created by Lucas and Fisher, has informed my own romances feels odd. Nobody needs to know how that a glint of personality from a childhood film has led me to seek out my own similarly spirited princess. You have your own glints from somewhere else. But I can’t escape it. As a child, Princess Leia was different. She wasn’t like the girls I played with who wanted to dress up and play house. Princess Leia wanted to save the galaxy. She was her own woman and I can’t help but feel that’s what Carrie brought to the role. A down-to-earth charm that evoked the elegant grace of romanticised royalty, and dressed in it a ball gown of counterculture feminism.
Princess Leia wasn’t there to be saved, wasn’t there to be pursued and wasn’t there to service male characters. She was there on merit. The princess of the rebellion, its heart and soul, standing up to the man, not taking his shit and we loved her for it. Leia is a character that I don’t think could have come from anyone else. In a film crowded with heroes doing heroic things, it is the heroine that holds it all together, enforcing its righteousness, bringing others to heel and choosing to allow love into her vocation.
In the bigger picture, it’s meaningless. A feminist icon in a children’s film and certainly not the first. As a child though for whom Star Wars was the second cinema trip of his life, I know I will never forget her and she will always be My Highness.
Thank you Carrie and yes, may the force be with you.
A scruffy-looking Nerfherder