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Darra Thel-Tanis

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"Tell me something. Are all missions this hard?"
"No," Soara said. "Some are harder.
"
―Padawan Darra Thel-Tanis and Master Soara Antana.[src]

Darra Thel-Tanis, also known as Darra Haariden,[4] was a female Human Jedi Padawan of Master Soara Antana in the waning years of the Republic Classic era. In 27 BBY, she and her master joined fellow Jedi Masters Obi-Wan Kenobi with his Padawan Anakin Skywalker (who was her same age), Siri Tachi with Ferus Olin, and Ry-Gaul with Tru Veld on a mission to the planet Radnor, where some deadly toxins were accidentally released into the atmosphere, resulting in a bioplague. The Jedi were briefed and tasked by the Jedi Council to aid the evacuation of the surviving Radnorans from the Twin Cities Tacto and Aubendo.[3]

BiographyEdit

"Stay with me until I fall asleep. It's lonely here."
―Darra Thel-Tanis' words to Anakin Skywalker, while recuperating from her Haariden wound, rising up again as a cry within him at her tragic death in the Valley of the Dark Lords on Korriban.[src]
Darra Thel-Tanis

Darra Thel-Tanis.

A Human female, Thel-Tanis was taken to the Jedi Temple on the planet Coruscant due to her being Force-sensitive. There, she was to be trained to become a Jedi Knight. Around 27 BBY, she was taken as an apprentice by the Jedi Master Soara Antana, who was famous for her skill with a lightsaber.[3]

With her Master, Darra accompanied Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi on missions to worlds such as Radnor (her first mission) and Haariden. On the mission to Haariden, Thel-Tanis was badly injured, after being shot in the thigh with a blaster. During her recovery she developed a friendship with Skywalker.[5] At some point before 24 BBY, Thel-Tanis was sent together with Skywalker on a mission to Norah, where she was wounded again.[6]

Darra and Tru The Final Showdown Jap cover JQ10

Darra Thel-Tanis and Tru Veld.

She also served on a escorting mission to Nuralee in 24 BBY.[6] The next year,[2] Thel-Tanis and her Master once again accompanied Skywalker and Kenobi, as well as two other Jedi pairs (Siri Tachi with Ferus Olin and Ry-Gaul with Tru Veld) to Korriban to stop Granta Omega and Jenna Zan Arbor. During this mission, influenced by the dark side energies of the planet, the apprentices started to argue rather than work as a team. The situation was aggravated when Ferus Olin offered to fix Tru Veld's lightsaber, which Anakin Skywalker had worked on before they left the Temple. Unfortunately, not being aware of Anakin's repairs to Tru's weapon, Ferus' repairs caused the lightsaber to drain power faster. This made the confrontation with Granta Omega deadly. Ferus saw that Tru's lightsaber was shorting out and quickly switched weapons with him, but Granta Omega slipped around and surprised them, coming at them from behind. Seeing that Ferus was in trouble, Darra Thel-Tanis leaped forward to protect him, determined to save her friend, but when the faulty saber failed, Granta Omega's KYD-21 blaster bolt sped past Olin and hit Darra in the chest, killing her.[7]

Soara Antana gently unwound the ribbon in Darra's Padawan braid as she wept over her beloved apprentice. Darra's death deeply saddened her fellow Padawans. Olin blamed himself for her death and left the Jedi Order after this mission because of guilt, but not before strengthening the bonds of his friendship with fellow Padawan Tru Veld.[7]

Personality and traitsEdit

"I thought the worst thing about being on this mission was protein cubes for breakfast. Now I know it's you two."
―Darra Thel-Tanis groans over the non-stop rivalry and contesting wills of fellow Padawans Ferus Olin and Anakin Skywalker.[src]

Darra Thel-Tanis was described as a slender girl with lively, rust-colored eyes and ginger hair. While she impressed others as being kind and polite, she was also very cheerful, of quick and sarcastic wit, and "crackled" with a positive energy that could almost be felt when she was near. She furthermore possessed "a cool grace" that Anakin Skywalker admired, and she was especially skilled at not favoring one hand over the other, when Jedi were required, as per their lightsaber training, to switch their Jedi weapons from the right hand to the left.[3]

Darra's lightsaber fighting style―graceful, fluid, in constant motion, perfectly planned and executed, seemingly effortless―was testament to her superb training by Jedi Master Soara Antana. Darra's concentration and combat discipline were unparalleled.[3] She also developed her talent for communications, such as the ability to "jam" varied and complex signals—a sensitive gift at which she became an expert.[5]

Darra, always a vivid presence among the apprentices, seems to have undergone a change, however, following her experience on Haariden, when she was wounded in battle. Thereafter, a new maturity and a hardened sense of purpose marked her actions and demeanor. She seemed to Anakin Skywalker to carry a sense of gravity along with her trademark humor. The incident on Haariden had brought death so close, she told Anakin, that she'd made friends with it—a remark that was meant to have been a joke, but a joke that was weighted with a seriousness that Skywalker had trouble accepting. Anakin wanted the old, wise-cracking Darra back, whose jokes were simply jokes, not keys to her own sorrows. Indeed, even Anakin's Master noted while journeying to their final mission together on Korriban, that the accustomed exuberance that had danced in Darra's unusual, rust-colored eyes would often shift to a shadowy sadness.[7]

Darra was fond of having a piece of bright fabric, or ribbon, woven through her Padawan braid.[3][7]

Behind the scenesEdit

"Darra, you and I have to make contact with the Masters while Anakin and Tru steal the ship. We have to get the droids to follow us to an ambush." He looked at Anakin and Tru. "Does that sound okay to you?"
It was the first time Ferus had asked his opinion. Anakin nodded. "Sounds like a good plan."
"We have an agreement," Darra muttered. "Remind me to declare this an annual holiday once we get back to the Temple.
"
―Darra Thel-Tanis enthuses with the newly discovered spirit of concensus and agreement between fellow Padawans Ferus Olin and Anakin Skywalker.[src]

Darra Thel-Tanis was created by the author Jude Watson and first appeared in her young readers novel, Jedi Quest: The Way of the Apprentice. She remained a major character in the series and was killed in the final installment, Jedi Quest: The Final Showdown.[5][6]

Darra's alternate surname 'Haariden' appears to be a writing error, perhaps slipping through in final edits from earlier working drafts, as the name appears only once in the Jedi Quest novels (whereas 'Thel-Tanis' appears repeatedly), but also in conjunction with a mention in the very next sentences of the character being wounded on a mission―the same mission in which her friend Anakin Skywalker says was the last time that he'd seen Darra for any significant duration of time before working with her on Coruscant to foil a joint heist-assassination attempt by Omega and Zan Arbor. As a surname for Darra, the name is given no in-story explanation or rationale. The fact that readers last engaged with Thel-Tanis on a mission with Skywalker to the planet also called 'Haariden', where she was also wounded (a key incident involving Skywalker that proved an important character-development point in both that earlier story and a subsequent tale[5][7]) also points to the surname 'Haariden' being an early designation in Jude Watson's development of the wide story-arc that became her eleven-book Jedi Quest series. In the three sentences that appear together in Jedi Quest: The False Peace―which mention Darra's alternate surname, her wound, and her mission―the planet where that mission with Anakin took place is named 'Norah,' perhaps also an early discarded name, for, as with the alternate surname, it nowhere thereafter appears as a planet-name in the corpus of Star Wars Legends. It appears that Watson simply renamed Darra 'Thel-Tanis', swapping her original surname 'Haariden' with the planet where she was ultimately wounded on her mission with Skywalker―with later book drafts of the continuing storyline simply escaping the name changes, the original designations slipping their way into print.[6] The last volume in the Jedi Quest series, The Final Showdown―sequel to The False Peace―poignantly references only Thel-Tanis' wound that she received on her mission to Haariden, with no mention of the supposed intervening planet, mission, wound or alternate surname.[7] Nor does Watson, even in her capstone Last of the Jedi series, ever again mention the alternate nomenclature specific to Darra's character.[8]

AppearancesEdit

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