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To us, she was Royalty

Image from here.


Carrie Fisher died today.

I know I deal with the table top games, and this is a little outside my sphere of geekery, but Star Wars has had such an impact on my life I want to talk at least a little about it.

Star Wars was one of the movies I watched repeatedly on VHS as a kid. I wasn't old enough to see it in in the cinema, but we had all the films. Star Wars, Land Before Time, and a little known film called Flight of Dragons were regular features on our TV, and I can recite the lines from these films near perfectly.

I have no doubt that a lot of nerds and neck beards can say the same thing, and establishing geek cred aside, I think we can all say how it affected us.

Carrie Fisher, in her role a Princess Leia, established what girls and women were for me.

You'll always hear from "socially minded" people that there are no strong female role models on screen, and that the damsel in distress is all we get. I never thought that. My impression of the damsel in distress was really just a resourceful leader waiting for her chance to break out of jail and blow up the Death Star.

Even when Leia was captured by Darth Vader at the beginning of A New Hope, she talks back and holds her ground. One of the often forgotten events is Leia getting tortured by Vader and refusing to give him the location of the Rebel base. Even when her home is in jeapordy, she pnly gives away a location she knows was already deserted. That's a strength of character not shown by any other in Star Wars.

She was strong. She was a leader. And that's what I thought all girls should be when I was growing up. She also happened to be the same age as my Mum.

I know Carrie Fisher is not Princess Leia, but I do believe she brought a lot of that strength to the role. There could have been another actress in that position who wouldn't have that spark of defiance that a leader of the Rebellion needs.

I haven't seen the new Rogue One film yet, but I don't find the lead actress convincing as a strong woman. Simply having the character say "I rebel," does not make a fire cracker insurgent. It mostly makes the lead actress look like a petulant teenager.

Carrie Fisher never came across like that. She was always competent, always confident, and when she tells the Imperials they smell, she does it with great eloquence and presence. She did not have to tell the audience she was a rebel. She was always a Rebel.

Her part in The Force Awakens was not the lead role, but she still gave so much to the film. As much of a bridge to the past films as Harrison Ford, seeing General Leia calmly step off the transport in the middle of a combat zone was every inch the powerful woman we expect to see.

Someone more wordy than me can most definitely write a better eulogy, and all I can do is say as I would to my two-year old son. It's very sad.

And to paraphrase the last Star Wars film she was in;

"To others she may be an actress. To us, she's royalty."

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