I’m currently re-reading NJO, and I’d forgotten just how close Mara and Anakin were. They have a great aunt-nephew relationship, and at times Anakin seems to be more Luke and Mara’s son than Han and Leia’s. He often travels with them, and their adventures inevitably remind me of the ones Luke and Ben have together in FOTJ.
Mara and Anakin are so close that it makes me wonder if she actually knew Anakin better than her own son. She died when Ben was fourteen, so they never really had a chance for as many of those one-on-one bonding moments that Mara and Anakin had. I’m sure she and Ben spent time together, but Anakin was several years older during his adventures with Mara than Ben was when Mara died, so they were able to have more mature, philosophical conversations. Mara was also a great teacher to Anakin and made him question his use of the Force. It’s just sad that Mara never got a chance to have those kinds of experiences with her son.
Ben did get to have those bonding experiences with Luke, however. Their back-and-forth between witty banter and deep conversations in FOTJ give off much the same vibe as Mara and Anakin’s interactions in NJO. It would have been great to see Mara traveling with Luke and Ben (and that no doubt would have increased the amount of sarcasm and humor bouncing around in the Jade Shadow).
I guess my point here is that Anakin’s relationship with Luke and especially Mara was a lot like Ben’s relationship with Luke. It’s just interesting to see the similarities and differences between generations (because let’s face it, Anakin is basically a generation older than Ben and they lived in very different times as far as the state of the galaxy goes). Even though they faced very different challenges, Anakin and Ben are a lot alike, not only in their relationships with Mara and Luke but also in their personalities in general and in how other people perceive them. They were both eager to “save the galaxy” and make a difference, and they were both seen as a hero of their generation of Jedi–and as the next great leader of the Jedi Order. They both handled that burden incredibly well. Obviously that future didn’t happen for Anakin, and we may never know if it happens for Ben.
Just some of my random thoughts 😉