Drowned in moonlight, strangled by her own bra, Carrie Fisher passed away recently, as you are no doubt already aware if you read a blog about sci-fi toy soldiers.
There's been a lot written and said about her life as an actress, writer and mental health advocate, and I'm not going to repeat that here. I, like many of my generation, grew up with her as Leia in the Star Wars trilogy, and that character definitely made a big impression.
Leia was a total badass. In the first few minutes we're introduced to her, we see her as a spy, a leader, someone not afraid to trade shots with stormtroopers and then stand up to the big bad guy, the evil space wizard who just finished choking a guy to death with one hand. You know that the Death Star had to be big if it had room for her balls.
Later she again stands up to the big villains, after presumably being tortured, and convincingly lies to their faces, well enough to fool even the evil space wizard who should have a feel for that sort of thing. Then, after seeing her home, along with likely almost everyone she knew growing up blown to bits, she doesn't curl up in a corner and cry. She doesn't bang on her cell door screaming at her captors. No, she waits quietly, doubtless weighing options. Leia is scary. When she has a chance to escape, she grabs it and even takes charge, shoots more stormtroopers and later we again see her as a leader.
In Empire Strikes Back, the trend continues, with her taking no crap and being as active a player as she can.
And then of course in Return of the Jedi she blows your mind. No, not with the bikini. With this outfit:
We'd already crushed on Leia from the earlier movies, but this solidified it. Her love was frozen in carbonite and held by a crime lord. One does not do that to Leia Organa. Liam Neeson may have a very special set of skills, but he has nothing on Leia. She walks into the crime lord's lair and as a backup plan threatens to blow them all up with a thermal detonator. And I take that threat seriously. Why? Because who would survive that blast? Her love Han, safe in his carbonite cocoon, ready to be retrieved when Luke comes along later to sift through the rubble. I have no doubt that she discussed that plan B with Chewie, who goes along with it. Chewie's an awesome buddy, but that's a different post.
So, that bikini. As a straight male, I don't deny it was a bonus when I got older and Carrie Fisher looked good in it, though at ten when I first saw it it was not a big deal. Much more impressive was that while chained up, she then used that same chain to choke her captor to death. Impressive in general, even more so given the size of the neck in question. Later she goes on to help lead an assault, shoot more stormtroopers, forge an alliance with a new species in a matter of hours, yadda yadda yadda. Just a day in the life. Given a toothpick and enough time to make a plan, I have no doubt Leia could figure out a way to take down the Empire.
Leia certainly became a role model for me both for myself, an encouragement to get involved when trouble arises and not to give up, and a model for what I would want in a partner - someone competent and accomplished, someone who would go through hell for you, or if necessary make it hell for those in the way. I think I've found my own Leia, and I hope all of you can too if you haven't yet. Don't be satisfied with less.
And if Carrie herself is anything like her most famous character, heaven better open the gates quickly if they know what's good for them. Godspeed and lightspeed.