Today, we received word that the world had lost another one of its greats: Carrie Fisher, known throughout the world for portraying Princess Leia in Star Wars, finally succumbed after days of fighting the effects of a massive heart attack. We do not know the details of this struggle, and I’d personally hope that we do not pry. Her passing hurts us enough that anything more would, in my humble opinion, just add more layers of sadness.
I was four when Star Wars came out. Despite not being taken to see the first film in the theater, the attention that surrounded the movie soon had me firmly in its grasp. Between audio books (read me books that came with a small record) TV appearances, and more, I knew the tale better than many that were older, and who’d actually seen it in on the big screen. And when Christmas rolled around, one of the things I received was a set of action figures – and Leia was probably the one I played with most. As a little boy, I thought that she was pretty, but looking back on her role, and how *I* had her act in my games, I now see that she was so much more. The character, like the actress herself, was strong without being mean, compassionate without being foolish, and giving without being played.
As I watched the character develop on the screen, I saw something that helped shape my world view. I saw a woman who was just as important, just as passionate, as her male counterparts. Couple that with being raised on TREK (which in principle supported this level of equality) and the idea that men would be superior to women (or vice versa) became an alien thought to me. And Carrie Fisher was a BIG part of that realization.
Now, I have children of my own. My daughter has grown into a strong young woman, whom I admire greatly. And Star Wars has played a big role in her life. I’m proud that she has grown up watching strong, human women on the screen(s), and has found her own way to live with strength and grace. I’ve been told that I write strong female leads in my novels, and I honestly feel I could have no greater compliment.
Today we lost one of the women that led the way for my generation, and generations to come. And the world is lessened by her passing.
Sleep well, my dear Lady. Your impact will never be forgotten.