Hello Stardusters and welcome to day 6 of #SavingWhatWeLove. Today I want to talk about quotes from The Last Jedi. Or rather, one quote in particular. There are too many to choose, from “We are what they grow beyond” to “This is how we win”, the very quote that inspired this week’s celebration.
But for me there is a specific scene that sticks to my ribs, that has stayed with me from the moment I saw The Last Jedi in theaters, one that I repeat to myself in the darkest of times, one that lets me know that there is a way forward.
“So much loss. I can’t take any more.”
“Sure you can, you taught me how.”
-Leia Organa and Amilyn Holdo, The Last Jedi
This scene is between two women who have known each other since childhood. There are no grand declarations, no dramatic monologues, just the simple grief and the understanding of their place in the other’s life. Leia and Amilyn convey a lifetime in this scene, a lifetime of friendship, of love, of hope, and of acceptance that each of those brilliant connections will inevitably lead to loss.
General Leia Organa has been through indescribable loss. Her family, her planet, Han, Luke, Ben, the republic she built, and all those lost in the two galactic wars she fought in. Through all this loss, Leia has remained a stalworth beacon of hope, hope that even with all that was lost, a brighter tomorrow can still come. It can be a lonely place to be the constant beacon, to stay resolute, to continue to move when loss overwhelms, and one that in the original trilogy does not explore. Enter Amilyn, who we learn in Leia: Princess of Alderaan has been with Leia since the beginning, comforting her as she accepts one more loss, knowing and believing in the strength of her friend.
We lost Carrie Fisher before The Last Jedi saw light. I was sitting down at lunch with a friend when the news broke and, right there at the table, I broke too. All the friend knew was that Princess Leia had died. Coworkers came up to me to console me after I got back to work that day. Plenty of them understood in their own ways, dealing with their own shock and grief.
Carrie Fisher had meant so much to me, a woman who was unabashed about living with mental illness, who was clever, funny, and completely herself. A woman who did not hide her darker shadows, but shone a light on them so others might be brave enough to find the strength to do the same to their own. On top of all that, she was our Princess and our General, a piece of the galaxy.
And she was gone.
Nearly a year later I sat in the front row of a packed theater, stormtrooper helmet full of popcorn, and watched as Leia struggled with letting go just as I had, as I was. And there was Amilyn, smiling at her friend and reminding her that Leia had shown her how, that Leia had shown us all how.
The Last Jedi is in many ways about accepting your failures, learning from them, and moving beyond them. But at the same time it says the same of grief. Our grief isn’t something to forget, or to hold us back, but it is something we can move beyond. We can hold that memory precious without letting it paralyze us.
To no one’s surprise, Carrie is credited with working on the script for that scene. Thank you, Carrie. Thank you, our Princess and General. You taught us how. Till we meet again, bathed in moonlight.