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Literature / Star Wars: Bloodline

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An entire generation has prospered during an era of peace. The New Republic,
governed by the Galactic Senate, has held power for more than two decades. The wars
that divided the galaxy are fading into legend.

Yet conflict has begun to take shape within the Senate. In the absence of MON
MOTHMA, former leader of the Rebellion and first chancellor of the New Republic,
two unofficial but powerful factions have formed—the POPULISTS, who believe
individual planets should retain almost all authority, and the CENTRISTS, who favor
a stronger galactic government and a more powerful military.

Only the greatest heroes of the war are still honored by all. A ceremony honoring
the memory of BAIL ORGANA has drawn the Senate together in rare harmony. It is a
day of celebration, but even now, the divisions among the worlds of the galaxy are
growing wider...

Bloodline is a Star Wars Expanded Universe novel written by Claudia Gray (who previously authored Star Wars: Lost Stars) that covers a series of crucial events that occur twenty-four years after Return of the Jedi and six years prior to the events of The Force Awakens. Set from the perspective of Senator Leia Organa, the book reveals the political state of the Galaxy after the collapse of the Empire and covers the origins of the First Order/Resistance conflict.

Bloodline was released on May 3, 2016 by Del Rey.

Please move any character tropes to the proper character page.

Not to be confused with the second book in the Legacy of the Force series, Bloodlines (plural), which is another Star Wars novel but set in a completely different Alternate Continuity.

Bloodline contains examples of:

  • Ace Pilot: Greer Sonnel and Joph Seastriker. And the legendary Han Solo himself makes a surprise appearance near the end.
  • Agent Peacock: Casterfo is a lot more capable in a fight, in fact he is a lot more badass period, than you would first expect.
  • Ambiguously Brown: Lady Carise's skin has been described as "golden." Claudia Gray has stated that she pictures Jamie Chung as Lady Carise.
  • Aristocrats Are Evil: Lady Carise. A political rival to Leia, a stuck-up and pompous ass, also secretly a member of the First Order and the one responsible for outing the fact Darth Vader is Leia's father and for framing Casterfo. Subverted for the most part. According to Casterfo, the majority of the Elder Houses members are like modern day royalty in RL. They're primarily figureheads and most take their titles less than seriously. Lady Carise is an exception.
  • Armies Are Evil: Naturally, the pro-military party is a neo-Nazi party Recycled In Space.
  • Ascended Meme: The novel canonically gives Leia the nickname "Huttslayer". The nickname was originally proposed as an alternative to the "Slave Leia" outfit from Return of the Jedi.
  • Asshole Victim: Rinnrivin Di, courtesy of some fancy shooting on Leia's part.
  • Aunt Pennybags: Varish's species, the Lonerans, consider opulence "a virtue unto itself". She lives in a Big Fancy House and has her hospital bed decorated with fancy throw pillows while she's recovering from the bombing of the Senate building. She's also easily one of the one of the nicest people on Hosnian Prime and is one of Leia's most fiercely loyal friends.
  • Badass Boast: Leia reminds Rinnrivin Di of just who the hell she is.
    Leia: "All those times you watched me kill Jabba the Hutt, and you never learned from his example. It doesn't pay to jerk me around."
  • Big Damn Heroes: Han shows up just in time to rescue Leia from the Amaxine militia forces.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Nearly Downer Ending, in fact. Leia's political career is destroyed and her chance of reforming the New Republic ruined. The Populists have lost any chance of electing a Chancellor as well. Worse, the First Order wins by having purged the Centrists of moderates and are going to secede with a good chunk of the New Republic to form the villains of The Force Awakens. The only good news is that Leia was able to keep their plan from completely succeeding, and she has begun setting the stage for the Resistance.
  • Born After the End: An entire generation grew up after the end of the Galactic Civil War and have no idea what life was really like under the Empire. This leads many New Republic citizens to become complacent, which would lead to the fall of the New Republic in The Force Awakens when the First Order destroys Hosnian Prime.
  • Both Sides Have a Point: Leia acknowledges the some of the Centrists principles are necessary.
  • Break the Haughty: Leia does this to Carise by having the Elder Houses strip her of her royal titles for breaking her Blood Oath to keep items filed under royal seal secret even at the cost of her own life if need be.
  • Brief Accent Imitation: According to the novel, Leia developed a brief British accent while meeting Tarkin on the Death Star as a mockery of his aristocratic accent.
  • Call-Back: Leia visits Ryloth, which is not a part of the New Republic, almost certainly due to Cham Syndulla and the Free Ryloth effort. The former had shown strong reluctance in allying with both the Old Republic during the Clone Wars and the greater Rebellion after, due to being upset with any sort of corrupt military occupation on Ryloth.
  • Call-Forward: Korr Sella, the 16-year-old training to be Leia's assistant. You might remember her in The Force Awakens as the woman who stares with absolute terror at the giant red beam that's about to vaporize her and the planet under her feet.
  • Casting Gag: According to Claudia Gray, Ransolm Casterfo is meant to be played by Tom Hiddleston. A young Hiddleston previously played a minor role in Conspiracy (2001), as a radio operator speaking in a British accent (presumably German via Translation Convention) for the Wannsee Conference, the meeting between high-ranking Nazis that would decide the fate of millions in The Holocaust. The Conference amounted to little but petty, perfunctory squabbling between higher-ups (that were nonetheless incredibly cruel and oppressive), and they were there to "approve" of a decision that has already been made, merely arguing about the whys and hows. The radio operator was not among the meeting, but he is complicit in the actions taken that day, which would have repercussions for generations to come. Similarly, Casterfo is merely a young up-and-coming Senator who collects Empire memorabilia but does not want to bring back the Empire and people like Palpatine and Vader, unlike his Centrist allies. He speaks in the "aristocratic accent Grand Moff Tarkin had spoken in", which is British via Translation Convention. The Senate has devolved into petty, perfunctory squabbling occasionally punctuated by moments of action - with the people responsible being Leia, Ransolm, and Carise, the latter two being complicit in the return of the Nazi-inspired First Order and to varying levels sympathetic about the Nazi-inspired Empire.
  • Cincinnatus: There's significant support for the establishment of a position called the "First Senator" to effectively serve as a benevolent dictator in order to guide the Republic before relinquishing power—essentially, what Palpatine was supposed to be. Many want Leia for this position. At first. Almost all of her supporters drop her like a hot potato the moment her lineage is publicly revealed.
  • Child by Rape: After Leia's relationship to Vader is discovered, some of her staff wonder as to how Luke and Luke could also simultaneously be Padmé's children. They entertain the possibility that she was raped by Vader, but immediately dismiss this theory, as Vader himself didn't come into existence until sometime after Padmé's death.
  • Collector of the Strange: Casterfo collects Imperial military equipment, uniforms and banners. Leia is understandably disturbed by this.
  • Complaining About Rescues They Don't Like: Leia tries to conduct a sting operation on Rinnrivin Di and allows herself to be captured by his men. She doesn't tell Casterfo about this plan since she doesn't trust him. Casterfo, however, is genuinely concerned about Leia's safety and immediately rushes to rescue her when he realizes she has been taken. Leia is dumbfounded.
  • Continuity Nod: Per usual.
    • Saw Gerrera and the Onderon rebels are mentioned. By the time of the Original Trilogy, they have not only joined the greater Rebel Alliance, but they have become known as the Partisans and are notorious for their controversial campaigns, due to their brutality, as similarly implicated in Rebels.
    • General Hux's father, Brendol Hux, is mentioned in passing.
  • Cool and Unusual Punishment: Downplayed; Leia takes her revenge on Carise Sindian by having her noble titles revoked. As Leia herself notes, it's a minor punishment in all practical terms... but it cuts to the very core of Carise's ideology.
  • Dead Man Writing: Bail left a message for Leia on a small inner rim planet in the event he didn't survive the Galactic Civil War regarding her parentage.
  • Defector from Decadence: Ransolm increasingly becomes a renegade within the Centrist party as he realizes that while he's respectful of the Empire as it could have been (i.e. a strong and effective government), his colleagues are more nostalgic for the Empire as it was (i.e. horribly, horribly repressive). Unfortunately, this winds up getting him framed for treason when his party decides he's a liability.
  • Democracy Is Flawed: Like in the Prequel Trilogy, the Republic system of government is prone to many internal issues, including corruption from the influence of the criminal underworld and turmoil from a major political faction that disagrees with the current management. As a result, the New Republic is in a state of political gridlock.
  • Don't You Dare Pity Me!: Greer's attitude towards the incurable illness that she knows will kill her sooner or later.
  • Double Entendre: When a squadmate playfully jabs Joph for failing a dare that involved drinking a very strong wine, Joph fires back that said squadmate has "been hitting the Corellian stuff pretty hard lately". The narration mentions that anyone would think Joph meant the famed Corellian brandy, but that the whole squad knows the guy's recently gotten himself a Corellian boyfriend.
  • Dramatic Irony: A statue of Bail Organa is erected on Hosnian Prime... a planet that also gets blown up.
  • Easily Condemned: When Casterfo publicly reveals Leia's lineage as the daughter of Darth Vader, biologically if nothing else, despite her record of service both in the New Republic, and as a leader of the Rebel Alliance before that. As soon as Leia confirms he's telling the truth, and that she's been aware of this since almost the end of the war with the Empire, her chances of being elected First Senator, or re-elected at all die, and most of the Populists save Tai-Lin and Varish turn their backs on her, and public opinion of her plummets. It's made abundantly clear she'll be pushed into the background for the remainder of her term and that any political power she gets back will be very minimal. By the end of the book however, this suits Leia just fine as she realizes the New Republic is doomed and her political blacklisting leaves her free to return to her roots and form the Resistance.
  • Easily Forgiven: A huge problem with the New Republic is that many ex-Imperials were able to escape without punishment, and joined the new government. The justification decades before was that there were simply so many people in the Empire that punishing all of them was both impractical and unethical, if guilt could not be established. Unfortunately, this means that pro-Imperial policies gain legitimacy in the New Republic.
  • End of an Age: The events of the book takes place when New Republic is failing, the relative peace and prosperity of the last two decades is coming to an end, the Empire is secretly being rebuilt and the Happy Ending for our heroes from Return of the Jedi is about to be undone.
  • Expy: The First Order prior to the Centrists' defection is one for HYDRA in Captain America: The Winter Soldier as they're a conspiracy of ex-Imperials and idealists who have infiltrated the Republic and are slowly turning it back into the Empire. One major difference though, HYDRA's plan failed. The First Order's succeeded, albeit partially, despite Leia's best efforts.
  • Fictional Political Party: There are two major political parties in the New Republic Senate: the Populists, who believe that individual star systems should retain their sovereignty, and the Centrists, who believe that the New Republic should have a strong, centralized government. Leia is a Populist, and many Centrist senators openly admire the power and efficiency of the Empire.
  • Flashback: A handful of them occur throughout the story to show what happened shortly after Return Of The Jedi and give greater context to the state of the Galaxy circa The Force Awakens.
  • Foregone Conclusion: Leia forming the Resistance at the end of the novel was a given.
  • Gargle Blaster: Port in a Storm, brewed on Pamarthe. Does a number on both Joph and Casterfo. Leia mentioneds that even her Corellian brandy drinking husband never touches the stuff and that Chewbacca can hold that particular liquor. Greer tells Leia that Han has used it in the past, but only as an emergency solvent.
  • Good Cannot Comprehend Evil: Leia and Casterfo have a lot of communication difficulties due to his Gray-and-Gray Morality view of the Galactic Civil War, which she finds bewildering. Casterfo, by contrast, believes the Empire and those among his allies in the Centrists couldn't really all have been as corrupt as they were.
  • Greater-Scope Villain:
    • While the Axamine Warriors serve as an advance force for the First Order, the FO proper remain Out of Focus for the events of the novel.
    • Palpatine, Darth Vader, and the Galactic Empire cast a shadow over the New Republic, with Vader in particular casting one over Leia. Overlaps with Predecessor Villain.
  • Hair Memento: A box of Princess Leia's treasured possessions contains a lock of hair. The prequel novel Leia, Princess of Alderaan reveals this to belong to Kier Domadi, Leia's First Love, who tragically died when they were teenagers. She took a lock of his hair as a keepsake before he was buried.
  • Happy Ending Override: The book explains why Leia and Han are in such crappy positions in The Force Awakens after seemingly earning their happy endings with Luke at the end of the Original Trilogy. It also implies a bit about the nature of Ben Solo's betrayal of Luke without getting too far into it.
  • Hero with Bad Publicity: Luke and Leia after their lineage is publicly revealed, in a huge contrast from their depiction in Legends. Luke has some, due to fear out of what he could do if he was to turn on them.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: At the end of the novel, Greer decides to undertake a slow one. She insists on joining the Resistance, even though she knows that her only chance to survive her illness is to avoid just the kind of stress involved in being part of an underground militia.
  • Hidden Depths: Casterfo is full of these. Leia originally thinks he's The Load, but he quickly proves that he's both brave and capable of handling himself in a fight (even if she didn't want him arriving at that particular moment). She also thinks he's a run-of-the-mill Empire nostalgist: he's actually a former slave whose parents died from the effects of hard labor under Imperial rule and knows as well as she does how terrible people like the Emperor and Vader were. He just doesn't believe everything in the system was rotten.
  • Hobbes Was Right: Casterfo's thesis on why the Empire was a model government. He finds the Emperor's ruthlessness and sadism deplorable, but asserts that without strong, centralized government, any attempt by the New Republic to support its aims and mandate is folly. Leia is disturbed by how much sense he makes, but counters that the system of the Empire was born of the Emperor's cruelty and the Old Republic's corruption, and could not have existed without it, ergo following such a model would lead the New Republic to ruin.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: By revealing Leia’s true parentage, Casterfo discredits her as a politician and strips her of most of her political power. This comes back to bite him later as Leia, the only senator certain of his innocence, is powerless to prevent him from being unjustly arrested for treason. Twisting the knife further, he is set to be tried on Riosa, a planet that recently voted to reinstate the death penalty - a notion he voted in favour of. Resigned to his probable execution, he notes the irony of this to Leia.
  • Honesty Is the Best Policy: Politicians, both friendly and adversarial, criticize Leia for hiding the truth of her parentage. Casterfo feels personally betrayed because Darth Vader destroyed his family. Tai-Lin Garr and Varish Vicily are aghast because this was the Star Wars equivalent of an "October surprise" — a major, damaging revelation on the eve of an election that guts their campaign, and in particular, it irreparably damages their chances of installing a Populist as First Senator. Others openly wonder whether, through all the time she served the Rebellion, Leia had been a fifth column in their ranks, and although she was no such thing, they mention what a disaster it would have been. The question is left open whether keeping the truth a secret for thirty years was right, but given the damage it does to the Republic, the answer is probably, "No."
  • The Horseshoe Effect: The most radical Populists and the most radical Centrists want to completely dismantle the New Republic as a means to an end. The difference is in the end — the Populists want every planet, system, and sector to be independent, while the Centrists want the return of the Empire, and all that entails.
  • Irony: In a sense, both of Leia's fathers end up wrecking her life; Vader for his mere existence and Bail for leaving behind the means for someone to find out Leia's secret.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Leia is really bothered by the fact, once Casterfo stops sticking his foot in his mouth, that all of his arguments about the government needing strong centralized leadership make perfect sense and she agrees with everything he's said.
  • Late-Arrival Spoiler: Han and Leia were married. They also had a kid who would later betray them and join the First Order.
  • Luke Nounverber: Joph Seastriker.
  • The Man Behind the Man: The First Order is behind the Nikto crime cartel, the Amaxine paramilitary forces, and the Centrist political party's increasing radicalization.
  • Minor Crime Reveals Major Plot: The Nikto crime cartel's smuggling operations reveal to Leia the existence of the First Order.
  • Mythology Gag: Arbo, the Centrist Senator of Coruscant, shares his name with an Ewok from the 1984 children's book "The Adventures of Teebo: A Tale of Magic and Suspense".
  • No Endor Holocaust: Surprisingly averted when Leia accidentally blows up the underwater Axamine base; it's with no small amount of horror that she realizes that she caused the deaths of a number of people whose only crime was stopping over in a shady port of call. She winds up getting a pass anyway since it's not as if she meant for the starfighter she shot down to crash into a stockpile of explosives.
  • Not Helping Your Case: Senator Casterfo tries to explain why he thinks the Empire was good but had bad leaders. He attempts to do so to Princess Leia.
  • "Not So Different" Remark:
    • When Leia is filled with impotent rage at being unable to save Casterfo from an almost certain death sentence, she realises this was quite possibly how Anakin Skywalker felt, and why he turned to the Dark Side and became Darth Vader in order to save those he cared about.
    • Casterfo realizes that he and Leia truly are the same when she calls him out on exposing her as Vader's daughter, explaining how she has just as much, if not more to hate about him as Casterfo does, and how having him as a biological father just makes it all worse from her perspective.
  • Nostalgia Filter: Some New Republic senators feel as though the Imperial Senate itself wasn't that bad, ignoring the fact that Palpatine shut it down in order to ensure that he would have even more power, and that The Empire itself was horribly oppressive. Unsurprisingly, many of these same senators end up forming the First Order.
  • Origins Episode: The novel explains how the Resistance was formed, and sheds light on the foundation of the First Order.
  • Our Founder: Leia unveils a giant statue of her adoptive father Bail Organa on Hosnian Prime, as he was one of the founders of the Rebel Alliance that defied the Empire and eventually defeated it. One of its hands is damaged during the Napkin Bombing committed by the Amaxine Warriors.
  • Out of Focus: Luke Skywalker has stayed out of the spotlight for years in order to gain knowledge about the Jedi and train other apprentices. Ben Solo is among the group under his tutelage, as he has not yet turned.
  • Putting the Band Back Together: The novel ends with Leia calling a meeting of several former Rebel Alliance officers and veterans, along with a couple of trusted members of the New Republic Defense Forces, where they found the Resistance.
  • Rape as Drama: It is briefly theorized by Joph that this had happened to Padmé; resulting in her pregnancy with Luke and Leia. Having helped Leia research Padmé after Leia's parentage was revealed, Greer rejects this as a possibility since Vader didn't appear until after Padmé had died.
  • Reformed, but Rejected: While Vader may have killed the Emperor, and redeemed himself at least in his son’s eyes, this doesn’t change the fact that for over twenty years he was the terror of the Galaxy. He murdered and tortured a lot of people, he helped the Empire with some of their worst atrocities, and not to mention what he did to his children. While Luke was able to forgive his father, Leia and the rest of the Galaxy will never see Darth Vader as anything but an evil monster who was the symbol of the Empire’s terror.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech:
    • Leia delivers a horrifyingly brutal one to Casterfo when he outs her as Vader's kid. All of his self-righteousness is deflated and his ego is left crumbling with the realization Leia hates Vader more than he ever could and all he's done is make a mockery of a woman who devoted her life to destroying the man's legacy.
    • Leia also gives a smaller one to Carise when she reveals that, in retaliation for framing Casterfo and almost certainly condemning him to death, she's persuaded the Elder Houses to strip her of her nobility. It's only a relatively minor punishment in the grand scheme of things but it will hurt Carise immensely, since she is obsessed with how her rank set her above others, something Leia finds truly pathetic.
  • Renegade Splinter Faction:
    • The novel ends with Leia formally breaking away from the New Republic and forming the Resistance.
    • It is revealed the First Order is one of these for the New Republic.
  • Retired Badass: After the Rebel Alliance had won the war, Han gave up his life as a smuggler in order to have the relatively mundane job of running a shipping company. It doesn't last.
  • Right-Wing Militia Fanatic: The Galactic Empire has been reduced to a bunch of these covertly funded by the First Order with no one taking them seriously as a real threat.
  • Secret Secret-Keeper: After Casterfo outs Leia as the biological daughter of Darth Vader and leaves her political career in tatters, she receives messages of support from many of her old colleagues and friends from the Rebellion, including the sickly Mon Mothma. While we never get to read the contents of her letter, the description of it suggests that Mothma has always known, or at least suspected the connection, and it never mattered to her in her dealings with Leia.
  • Self-Made Man: Casterfo is a war orphan and the survivor of an Imperial labor camp overseen personally by Darth Vader, in a world that suffered heavily during the Galactic Civil War, who worked his way up to his current position.
  • Sins of the Father: Played with. Many are revolted by the discovery Leia is Darth Vader's daughter but their reaction is varied with many more upset she lied about it for decades than anything else.
  • Smug Snake: Lady Carise is more competent than most examples. Leia still knocks her down a peg or two towards the end of the book.
  • Spanner in the Works: Bail Organa did not figure on his daughter eschewing the Supreme Governorship of Birren and that the person next in line after Leia would be a scheming opportunist in league with the First Order.
  • State Sec: The Amaxine paramilitary forces were secretly built up by the First Order under the direction of several Imperial Security Bureau officers.
  • Stealth Pun: There is an fortified wine called port. Port in a Storm, the novel's resident Gargle Blaster, may be an example of such a drink.
  • Strawman Political: A huge amount of the problems with the New Republic are due to the Centrists being extreme, stereotypical ultraconservatives and the Populists being extreme, stereotypical libertarians. None of them, except for Leia, and ironically, Casterfo, have any concern for actually getting the government to work.
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: Leia and Casterfo to begin with. They eventually develop a mutual respect for each other and become friends. Then Carise ruins it.
  • Those Wacky Nazis: The First Order. The Centrists are filled with people who could be described as the equivalent of unrepentant Nazis who escaped facing a Nuremburg trial.
  • Token Good Teammate: Casterfo is about the only Centrist worth a damn in the book. Unsurprisingly, he is purged by the First Order towards the end of the book.
  • Underwater Base: The Amaxine paramilitary forces have one. Leia and Han destroy it.
  • Undying Loyalty: After Leia's parentage is revealed and is she left a galactic pariah, Senators Tai-Linn Garr and Varish Vicly both immediately and unflinchingly come to Leia's defense on the Senate floor. Greer and Joph refuse to abandon her as well, though Joph shows some initial trepidation.
  • Ungrateful Bastard: The New Republic politicians, despite the fact that Leia was one of the heroes who allowed the empire to be defeated, take away all of her political power just for being genetically related to Darth Vader.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: Bail Organa sows the seeds for said doom, and Casterfo unleashes it; as a result, the First Order gains in power and Leia's career and influence is utterly destroyed.
  • Unwitting Pawn: Carise tricks Casterfo into destroying Leia's political career. Leia eventually figures out who is really responsible and exacts some small measure of revenge.
  • Upper-Class Twit: Lady Carise comes off as this when we first meet her. Unfortunately, she really is something far worse.
  • Villain by Default: The Centrists. Casterfo is the only decent one to appear in the entire book. The rest really are just fascistic ex-Imperials, or in Carise's case, an outright traitor, and are not meant to be sympathetic. It is mentioned there are a few other Centrist moderates, but like Casterfo, those moderates are either being corrupted or purged from the party by the First Order infiltrators.
  • Villainous Lineage: Leia's ties with her father, Darth Vader, serves as a crux of the narrative. Especially once the public learns of their connection.
  • Walking Spoiler: Based on the character's appearance in The Force Awakens, it's impossible to say anything about Ben Solo, Han and Leia's son without revealing that he will later betray everyone and become Kylo Ren.
  • Wham Line: You might be thinking that Carise is simply a pompous ass until she utters this line, "Have you forgotten your loyalty to the First Order?" This puts a lot of her previous actions in a very different light.
  • What Measure Is a Mook?: Casterfo points out that a lot of people killed during the attacks on the two Death Stars were conscripts and civilian contractors, not too different from the people who died fighting for the Rebel Alliance. Leia is less than pleased with this train of thought. But the fact is that Casterfo has a lot of sympathy for, and identifies with, the grunts on both sides of the war rather than with either side's leadership.
  • Wide-Eyed Idealist: Casterfo, believe it or not, despite his fascination with the Empire. He's utterly convinced that the Empire would've been an ideal government if only Palpatine hadn't been a sociopath, failing to see that the Empire could never have existed without that condition.
  • You're Not My Father: Unlike Luke, Leia is unwilling to forgive Vader and refuses to acknowledge her relation to him.