IN DEFENSE OF; the sometimes hated girl. Jaina Solo is seen as the cold shouldering bitchfest, and sometimes rightfully so. Leia's diplomatic hard tasking never made the mark before, but a war in the waking does not a happy family make and the childhood hurt of left behind causes a growing estrangement. Though Jaina gives the goodly push and shove, ire finds a wire in with Leia's apparent disuse of Jedi training, the seemingly absent concern after Jaina's escape from an underground enemy trap ("Oh hello, did you even ask about me?"), a childhood hurt of inconvenience.

No matter the importance of Leia's work, and how justified it can be, one can understand how Jaina can build a wound by the frequent absences of mother dear, and the stacking stress, loss and anger will just flare. So Jaina tempers out at Leia because she wasn't always there, couldn't always be there. Hell, I'd be teenagedly peeved if mother takes a leave and comes back all readily family happy. You can explain away all those absent times, you can girl worship all you want, but a hurt is a hurt is a hurt. It's a hollow felt. And for all the Jaina canny, there's sometimes breaches that are not so rationally mended; it took a Tahiri cryfest to get the better and drive the whole mortality nail in. But at least there's a happily ever after mother-daughter there.

And then you have those sweeps of ego and command, which is a throw in the face of Jedi humble. However, survival says you need streaks of push and edge, and moreso when others play the ditherer around you. Jaina stakes and Jaina wins, because Jaina can make an order stick. And peeple are alive because of it. You need the ones to think things out, but you also need the ones who'll keep them alive to think it. There's a mathematical uncanniness about her, and this serves her well to keep an almost-calm when pilots take the tumble around her. Remember in Destiny's Way? Squadron of greens under her wing, Jaina takes and breaks them anew to become a fighting team. Not by being silly, and not by being sweet; that was sweat and blood and pain. She knows what she's capable of and she does it. Somebody has to.

Sometimes she goes too far. Sometimes she stumbles, and then there's the times she'll fall. But a Dark Side calling took the Solo rounds, and found Jaina stronger; it was a mutual helping hand from Kyp Durron that Light Sided the two, and both are at a better understanding for it.

Still, there's an emotional close off; to top the Goddess top, Jaina plays the distance with a fatalistic air. Leaving the mind Force-open rams in griefs and pains of high distraction, too much a risk in her focus tired world. Maybe a little selfish sided, but the distancing of self is a defensive feat, truly trying to protect from her own death caused sorrow. Her own. She hasn't hit twenty, and Jaina's counting the numbers as they come, as was counted for the others. There's a desire to feel, to be alive as when she reaches out for Jag, but circumstances of war dictate otherwise. If Jaina is going to do her job, she has to do it well. And no helping hand is the Sword affair, driving her over until all that is left is war and fight and eventual loss. Of course, that's where family and friends come in, giving Jaina the love and lift she needs to get back on the other side of despair. The girl, in all, just needs a vacation.

A failure to understand on my part, though, is why she's been tagged as a selfish thing, when all she's been doing has been sacrificing herself for the greater good. As the Kypster said, as guardians they gave it their all, no matter the personal cost. And that is precisely why Jaina's been throwing herself at the enemy, closing herself off, going out in the meat grinder that is war without rest or respite or repair to a tempestuous spirit gone through too much. So maybe there's a harsh and a hard head to her now, but that's the despair closing in and taking Jaina bits away. Anakin got gutted in her rescue attempt; I would say that would warrant a little downtime feeling from a girl.

CAPTAIN CARDBOARD; or the entire kinda silly debate of the Jaina smooching rights. Considering that Jagged Fel- love him or eviscerate him- was seemingly created as a love interest, all you Kyp shippers have the right to pout and fic. Personally, whoever she ends up swapping spit with isn't a ruffle in my feathers. They can both talk shop, witty banter and be pretty boys to boot. Well, disregarding the fact that Kyp Durron needs to learn how to USE A KLEENEX. I mean. Ew.

I like Kyp. I like Jag. Hell, I thought Zekk was the coolest kid alive. But he's a non-entity in the Jaina world now, poor thing.

I see the entire anti-Fel faction, though, with his flash and dash and what's up yer arse, boy?! and the Captain Cardboard is amusing for kicks. He does mark up points for actually being in her age range, and never being overly huge on the bitchy the way Kyp was. Jag's a little off on his grim and gritty, but that's straight edge well needed, and he picnics with the best of them. And things just get better, given that Mssr Fel has lines of Corellian snark crawling somewhere inside him.

However, the running tension between Jaina and Kyp is also a hardy pointer, especially since there's so much, well, tension. Quite an antagonistic relationship, which stereotypically ends up dead or in bed. It's that deliciously evil of girly fanfiction everywhere. (Thank you, my good Miss Cunningham. I mean. Elaith who? That's right.) Then , Jag is the same fuel to the fire and without the icky teacher-student affair. Or them nasty little head games, now that you mention it. And he has a great ass! (That was Jaina, not me.) Kyp, however, gets the headstart of an established character.

There's a multitude of facets to the boy, and his character is sometimes raging, sometimes amusing, sometimes altogether annoying. But he's there. I read Kyp and he's there as Kyp, an interesting character in his own right who does things in his own right, whether they tie in with Big Man Skywalker, or Jaina, or his highly regarded sleeve. Unlike Jag, who's either pilot boy grim or making kissy faces at Jaina, though that's been alleviated some in the later books. And though Kyp was a prick to the nth degree, what with the worldship scheme and his backhanding of Luke, Kyp did watch over Jaina, gave her the helping hand even as she snarled, dragged her to Anakin's funeral because that will be something she would regret missing. And eventually, they mutually connected back to the Light after Jaina fell Dark. And though it's good the girl can relate to the non-Force users, I don't think it's something Jag could ever understand, let alone help with in times of need, the way that Jedi Master Durron can. Besides, the Kypster has a lightsaber! He makes things go snap-hiss. It's just a little skeevy that he knew Jaina at two-years-old, all told.

Bah. I maintain neutrality; afterall, they are both amusing. I just wish there was more Zekk. And sleeve-to-snotty-nose action.