The role of motherhood is minimally depicted in the Star Wars saga. Why is that?
To be honest, the role of fatherhood isn’t exactly picturesque. Yet, the entire “maternal relationship(s)” are cut short or just briefly portrayed. That is not saying, representation of motherliness is lacking substance or quality, just profusion. It just wasn’t the angle Mr. Lucas was going for, at the time, the path of paternity took precedence.
So in light of this past Mother’s Day, I thought it’d be best to pay homage to our GFFA moms and explore their importance to the Saga. Remember, there are no small parts, only small actors. -Constantin Stanislavski –
Before I get started, I’d like to give a shout out to Chris @SWKidscast (StarwarsKidscast.blogspot.com ) for having me on his latest podcast. What an honor! In fact, his invite is what inspired this blog. Chris contacted me via twitter and asked if I’d participate in a special podcast he was preparing; A Mother’s Day Special. How could I refuse? After all, it’s Star Wars. So, if you haven’t checked it out, make sure you do – http://t.co/xugCL6GCZU
This is a trying time for female fans, so I must tread lightly. If you are unaware of this trend, just check out Twitter and you’ll soon realize that truth doesn’t cease to exist just because it is ignored. As Shmi so perfectly said, “You can’t stop the change, no more than you can stop the suns from setting.”The same can be said about all the recent happenings surrounding the SW realm(s).
Speaking of Shmi, there is no greater woman of importance in the saga than the Mother of the “Chosen One.” Of course, that’s just my own opinion, but in truth, without her, would we even have a story? No, probably not. She is the oldest known Skywalker ancestor; the beginning of their lineage and Legacy.
When we are first introduced to Shmi in TPM, she is bombarded by uninvited house guests and her jubilated son, Ani. Although the look on her face is somewhat exasperated, she reluctantly opens her home to the group of strangers. The modest family has very little, especially in the way of materialism. Yet, Shmi prepares a meal for her unannounced visitors and provides them with shelter from the sandstorm.
Very little is said by the single mother, yet her demeanor speaks volumes. She is well poised for a slave, resilient, and most of all, brave. The words she does say have a multitude of meaning or perhaps, caution behind them. One of my favorite quotes from her is this: “I may not like it but . . . he can help you. He was meant to help you.” It’s the way she says it, it’s almost ….haunting in tone. The expression on her face is somewhat somber, as if she has seen what is yet to come. How much does Shmi really know about her son’s special abilities? Does she have any of her own force sensitivities?
You have to admit even Qui-Gon takes an interest in this timid mother. Ever wonder why? Sure, he questions the paternity of the boy, but besides that the looks exchanged by the two (Shmi and Qui-Gon) go without saying. He knows that she’s only saying what’s necessary; no more, no less. In turn, she’s fully aware he senses her discretion.
“There was no father. I carried him, I gave birth, I raised him. I can’t explain what happened. Can you help him?”-Shmi
“ I don’t know. I didn’t actually come here to free slaves.”Qui-Gon
What exactly did Shmi mean by that question? Could it be that she knew of the dark possibilities shrouding Anakin’s future? This would make sense, a Jedi knight would have the ability to protect and guide her son with vigilance. Again, not knowing much about Shmi’s ancestry, we can only assume that she had force sensitivity on some level. At least, that is what I choose to believe. How else does she work up the courage and strength to let go of all she fears to lose?
Probably the most poignant display of motherhood, is when Anakin “looks back” and runs straight into his mother’s arms. He’s so innocent and helpless at that moment; full of tears and fear. How Shmi was able to keep her strong composure, I will never know, nor fully comprehend. Every ounce of my instincts cries out, No! Don’t let him go. He’s your son and your whole world. That’s probably pretty selfish of me, but I know, if it were me….I couldn’t do it, I just couldn’t. “Will I ever see you again?” – Anakin
“What does your heart tell you?” – Shmi
Interesting, very similar to Qui-Gon’s quote to Anakin, “Feel. Don’t think. Use your instincts.” Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t that a Jedi skill?
“Now be brave and don’t look back. Don’t look back.” Again, her words are strikingly close to that of a Jedi mentor instructing his/her padawan. Almost reminiscent of Master Kenobi’s spiel, “You’re focusing on the negative, Anakin. Be mindful of your thoughts.” Or am I having, “Delusions of Grandeur?”
What an inspirational woman, fictional or not. As mothers we give our children the gift of life, but Shmi gave it twice. Yes, she carried him, gave birth, and raised him, but she also gave him a choice to change his life. The choice to take it was his alone and she did everything she could to make sure that he took it.
I’m sure those binary sunsets never looked the same to Shmi after that. Just like the stars ablaze in the night sky, eventually….even they burn out.
Happy belated Mother’s Day to all the moms out there! Thanks for sharing in my tribute to the role of Motherhood in the GFFA and please, leave me a comment and tell me how you spent your holiday. Or, let me know what you did for your mom on her special day. I look forward to hearing from all of you! You can contact me directly at email@example.com or find me on Twitter @urangelb
As always, May the Force be with you! Remember, this IS the Podcast you’re looking for….