General Grevious

Haikuesday: Recap

Haikuesday: Recap
Looking Backward and Forward
A New Haiku Dawn

In January 2017 I had this crazy idea: what if I wrote Star Wars-inspired haiku and posted them on the first Tuesday of every month. Thus, my Haikuesday series was born. Since the first Haikuesday was posted in February 2017, I have written fifteen other Haikuesday posts, the topic for each being chosen via polls on Twitter. Allowing my followers and others on Twitter to vote for each Haikuesday topic was a way to garner some fun and “fan”tastic support for the monthly series, and while all those who voted may not have gone on to read the haiku I wrote, it was never-the-less fun to know so many people were voting!

I am incredibly proud of the Haikuesday posts I have written, in large part because these posts have enabled me to explore my love of Star Wars in really unique ways. Never would I have imagined, when Haikuesday began, that I would have be scouring the Expanded Universe novel The Truce at Bakura for inspiration, or that I would be obsessively listening to Carl Orff’s O Fortuna (from Carmina Burana) as I wrote haiku about Darth Vader. I dug into my knowledge of the Star Wars: Uprising mobile-game (which I played obsessively before it was cancelled) for the haiku about Cloud City and was inspired by the poetry of Toru Dutt and Hindu mythology as I wrote about Queen Amidala. Long story short, Haikuesday has enabled me to explore not just Star Wars, but a wealth of other music, art, literature, and more in really interesting ways.

At the same time, the writing of Haikuesday posts has taken numerous forms, and happened at pretty random times. For many of the sixteen posts, I would work on the haiku over the course of the week leading up to Haikuesday. Sometimes my inspiration would come late in the process, and I would still be writing haiku an hour before I planned on actually publishing. More often than not, though, the haiku would be completed in advance of Haikuesday. As well, many of the haiku were first written by hand, and I have two notebooks filled with my Star Wars-inspired poetic creations. As I told my friend Kiri from the site Star Wars Anonymous (who write some of her own Star Wars haiku!), I often keep a notebook with me to ensure that I can write a haiku if it pops into my mind. And, in those moments when I do not have a notebook, my iPhone comes in pretty handy.

There are definitely some other little things about Haikuesday I could mention, but realistically, and for the sake of brevity, I will skip all of that. Like, you don’t really care that I wrote most of The Battle of Scarif haiku in the backseat of a car, Rogue One: The Visual Dictionary by my side, on a road trip from Detroit, MI to Alexandria, VA…do you? Naw, of course you don’t care, so I won’t share that with you. And I definitely won’t share that I wrote all of The Battle of Umbara haiku in a note on my phone (I remember when phones were just used for making calls and not writing haiku. Those were the good ole days…in the 1990s). 

So, what is next for Haikuesday? Well, first and foremost, a much-needed creative break. I love rendering Star Wars in haiku form but my brain is tapped out right now. For right now – meaning for a few months – I am taking a break from Haikuesday to focus on some other Star Wars posts I have wanted to nail down for this site. In fact, now that this site is over three years old, I have quite a few ideas moving forward…including plans to FINALLY do Wookiee Week (but more on that later). As for Haikuesday, I already have some fun and innovative ideas to revamp it, changing how I approach it – from when/how I write, to the topics, and getting Star Wars fans (you!) involved in writing haiku! I even have this crazy idea to do an entire Haikuesday post in Aurebesh…

But all of that is in the future. For now, I hope you will take some time to read (or re-read) and share my Haikuesday posts. Leave a comment on them, tell me what you like, and if you have any thoughts/ideas on helping me make Haikuesday even more successful I am all ears!

Below are all of the featured images I used for every Haikuesday (with links to each post in the captions).


Thrawn TIEFighter

Haikuesday: General Grievous

Rasp, Rasp, Cough, Rasp, Cough
Cough, Cough, Rasp, Rasp, Rasp, Cough, Cough
Rasp, Cough, Rasp, Cough, Rasp

Qymaen jai Sheelal –
deadly Kaleesh warrior,
killer of Yam’rii.

Kaleesh warrior
turned into cyborg monster:
General Grievous.

Cybernetic dude.
One arm, two arm, three arm, four.
And some cool legs, too.

Fierce Separatist,
commanding the droid army…
…and the droid navy.

Death and destruction,
killing all of the Jedi.
Grievous’ purpose.

Grievous is his name.
Killing Jedi is his game.
What a nifty rhyme!

Rasp, Rasp, Cough, Rasp, Rasp
Cough, Rasp, Cough, Cough, Rasp, Cough, Cough
Rasp, Cough, Rasp, Rasp, Cough

Malevolent ship,
reaping havoc on Clone troops.
Can Grievous be stopped?

I have to be frank:
it’s funny when Grievous just
ignores Count Dooku.

Falleen victory,
but Bothawui invasion
halted by Sky Guy.

Blue, Green, Blue, Green, Blue
Spinning Sabers, Spin, Spin, Spin
Blue, Green, Blue, Green, Blue

Tano fights Grievous
in the sky of Ruusan’s moon.
A rookie mistake.

In Grievous’ lair,
a young Jedi Knight will die
but Fisto escapes.

Master Koth captured.
Grievous tortures the Jedi
for some amusement.

On Saleucami
Kenobi pursues Grievous
but it’s all for not.

Cough, Rasp, Rasp, Cough, Rasp
Rasp, Cough, Cough, Cough, Rasp, Rasp, Rasp
Cough, Rasp, Cough, Rasp, Cough

Tarpal’s sacrifice.
Grievous captured by Gungans,
exchanged for Ani.

“Wipe the witches out”
Dooku commands of Grievous.
Massacred ‘Sisters.

The planet Florrum.
Hondo’s gang is outgunned by
Grievous’ droid troops.

Battle of Zanbar:
a Grievous led army fights
Maul’s Mando soldiers.

Dooku’s bodyguard
at humanitarian
event on Raxus.

Grievous fights Quinlan.
Quinlan sort of beats Grievous.
It’s temporary.

Invisible Hand,
Grievous’ flagship during
Coruscant battle.

Polyphonic piece.
The “General Grievous” theme.
Revenge of the Sith.

Rasp, Cough, Cough, Rasp, Cough
Rasp, Cough, Rasp, Cough, Rasp, Cough, Rasp
Cough, Cough, Rasp, Cough, Cough

Grievous meets Sky Guy.
The two trade inane insults.
A brief encounter.

Tracked to Utapau,
Grievous is confronted by
Master Kenobi.

“Trained in Jedi arts,”
the cyborg tells Obi-Wan.
What a weird statement…

Green, Blue, Green, Blue, Green
Twirling Sabers, Twirl, Twirl, Twirl
Green, Blue, Green, Blue, Green

Find someone who will
look at you the way Grievous
looks at Kenobi.

Grievous flees the scene
and is pursued once again.
Ugh, how typical.

Seriously though,
have you noticed that Grievous
flees battles a lot?

Bursting into flames,
his heart shot by Kenobi.
So uncivilized.

Commander Karbin,
cybernetic Mon Cala.
He is no Grievous.

Here is a fun fact:
Mister Bones has some Grievous
programming in him.

Another fun fact:
I don’t have any Grievous
programming in me.

Rasp, Cough, Rasp, Cough, Cough
Cough, Rasp, Cough, Cough, Rasp, Cough, Rasp
Rasp, Rasp, Cough, Rasp, Cough

Hold up for a sec!
Grievous was a cyborg but
couldn’t get new lungs!?!?!

Are we surprised, though?
I mean, Padmé thought she was
having one baby.

Honestly, med tech
in Star Wars is advanced but
weirdly lacking, too.

Rasp, Cough, Rasp, Cough, Cough
Cough, Rasp, Cough, Cough, Rasp, Cough, Rasp
Rasp, Rasp, Cough, Rasp, Cough

Rasp, Cough, Rasp, Rasp, Cough
Grievous needs Albuterol.
Get his inhaler.

Haikuesday is a monthly series on The Imperial Talker, a new post with poetic creations coming on the first Tuesday of each month. The haiku topic is chosen by voters on Twitter so be sure to follow @ImperialTalker so you can participate in the voting. Now, check out these past Haikuesday posts:

Droids (February 2017)

Ahsoka Tano (March 2017)

Darth Vader (April 2017)

The Battle of Scarif (May 2017)

The Truce at Bakura (June 2017)

Queen Amidala (July 2017)

Ryloth (August 2017)

Cloud City (September 2017)

Millennium Falcon (November 2017)

Poe Dameron (December 2017)

The Sacrifice of General Tarpals

“Not… die… Sacrifice!” – General Tarpals to General Grievous

It is a moment that should have changed the course of the Clone Wars.

General Tarpals Photo Credit - Star Wars The Clone Wars (Season 4, Episode 4),

General Tarpals
Photo Credit – Star Wars The Clone Wars (Season 4, Episode 4), “Shadow Warrior”

Gungan warriors surround General Grievous, the battle droids in the Separatist general’s army having been deactivated. Grievous, ready for a fight, ignites two lightsabers and a handful of Gungans charge into battle against him. The deadly droid general dispatches the first few warriors easily but then, suddenly, into the fray dashes the commander of the Gungan Grand Army, General Tarpals.

Electropole in hand, Tarpals lashes out at Grievous, knocking away one of the lightsabers. The droid general replaces the lost saber with an electropole of his own and attacks with it and his other lightsaber.

Twisting out of the way of one of Grievous’ attacks, Tarpals renews his assault right into the path of the electropole Grievous holds and is impaled. Face to face, Grievous asks the Gungan how it feels to die as he pushes the pole further into the Gungan. Tarpals answer is chilling in its heroic tone: “Not… die… Sacrifice!” At this, the dying Gungan jams his electropole up and through the torso of Grievous. As Tarpals falls to the ground, more Gungan warriors assault the incapacitated Separatist general, capturing him in the process.

Tarpals and Grevious battle in the rain Photo Credit - Star Wars The Clone Wars (Season 4, Episode 4),

Tarpals and Grevious battle in the rain
Photo Credit – Star Wars The Clone Wars (Season 4, Episode 4), “Shadow Warrior”

And yet, only a short time later, Grievous is free, exchanged by Senator Padmé Amidala, and two Gungans, Boss Lyonie and Jar Jar Binks, for the Jedi Anakin Skywalker, himself a captive of the Separatists. Certainly, Padmé is torn about the decision at first, aware of what Grevious’ capture means to the war effort. But the three come to a unanimous decision to conduct the exchange because Anakin is their friend and he cannot be abandoned. In the blink of an eye, Tarpals’ sacrifice is nullified, a pointless death for the sake of nothing.

Adding insult to injury, what Tarpals did to secure the capture of Grevious isn’t even mentioned at the end of Shadow Warrior, the name for this episode from Season 4 of The Clone Wars. After the prisoner exchange, Jar Jar Binks is praised  for his role in the events that took place.

True, Jar Jar does play a critical role in the episode. First and foremost, Shadow Warrior is about what Binks does to ensure the Gungans do not march on the city of Theed, the capital of Naboo. But while Jar Jar receives praise for his actions, Tarpals’ sacrifice is flatly ignored in the waning moments of the episode. This raises a question that I simply cannot shake – why would the writers/producers/directors of The Clone Wars not provide some sense of finality for the late-General?

General Binks and Captain Tarpals prior to the Battle of Naboo Photo Credit - Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace

General Binks and Captain Tarpals prior to the Battle of Naboo
Photo Credit – Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace

Really, this is the issue for me, the fact that Tarpals’ sacrifice is handled with such little care. The battle between Tarpals and Grievous is exciting, his death, emotionally wrenching. In a few short seconds, Shadow Warrior offers what is so great about The Clone Wars — it provides an intense situation that hits each one of us in the gut, making us feel something for the character(s) involved. Hell, THIS is why I love Star Wars. When something emotionally upsetting takes place in Star Wars, I am drawn into the event even more. It might hurt, and the hurt might last for a while, but that is what we should expect from difficult moments in our favorite stories.

Of course, in this vein, it might be easy for some people to argue that Tarpals is an otherwise minor character in Star Wars, and I won’t deny that point. Appearing for the first time in The Phantom Menace as a Captain, Tarpals is only present in two episodes of The Clone WarsShadow Warrior and Gungan Attack. He IS a minor character in Star Wars, and his death does not carry the weight of, say, Qui-Gon Jinn in The Phantom Menace. But then again, that isn’t the point. The point is that this otherwise minor character does something really REALLY big, giving his life so that the leader of the Separatist armies can be captured. Without hesitation, Tarpals does something that no Jedi was even willing to do.

In that moment, when General Tarpals’ life comes to an end as a result of his sacrifice, he becomes a major character within the context of Shadow Warrior, his sacrifice propelling the episode in a new direction. But the thing is, his sacrifice was not necessary for Grevious to be captured. The moment the battle droids are deactivated, the Gungan warriors could have overwhelmed Grevious, taking him down.

Captain Tarpals Photo Credit - Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace

Captain Tarpals
Photo Credit – Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace

Yet, this is not the decision that was reached by those in charge of the animated series and, because this is the case, Tarpals’ action HAD to weigh into the decision that Padmé, Boss Lyonie, and Jar Jar come to. One or two lines was all that was needed, one of those characters saying something, ANYTHING, about what Tarpals did to capture Grevious before deciding to exchange Grevious for Skywalker. Those three needed to deal with the weight of Tarpals’ action, but no one says anything about it.

General Tarpals may have sacrificed himself in Shadow Warrior, a noble act in every form, but that sacrifice was itself sacrificed, completely undercut when it did not factor into the remainder of the episode.

Personally, I think Tarpals deserved better. Don’t you?