While rereading The Last Command recently, it finally struck me why Mara is a much-beloved character. I’ve never thought hard on it before because I started reading Star Wars books when I was 13 and just kind of accepted that Mara was a fucking badass and what more do you need to know? There’s all kinds of explanations, from the idea that she’s a “strong female character” to Zahn’s explanation that “she’s also flawed and searching and—dare we say it?—human. At the same time, she’s highly competent at her job. One simplistic answer might be that women can identify with her, while men would like to have her at their side in trouble” (1) (which is kind of a problematic answer on a number of levels but that’s another issue). What made Mara likeable and relatable for me in this arc is her struggle for her own agency against the men in her life and the fact that she fought as hard as she could to maintain her autonomy and won.