Ranting time! This is about Star Wars, not Legend of Zelda, so I'm guessing the majority of you are going to completely ignore it.
Backstory-for-rant: The Star Wars RPGs 'Knights of the Old Republic' and its sequel, 'The Sith Lords', are two of my favorite video games of all time. Respectively, they're almost like 'A New Hope' and 'The Empire Strikes Back' in that the first is about discovering who your main character is(literally, spoilers spoilers) and going on a grand adventure to stop the evil Dark Lord and his minions; in the second, the good guys have almost lost, and you're desperately struggling to survive against overwhelming odds. 'TSL' is on the whole darker, moodier, and almost depressing if not for the reassuring rays of hope near the end. The (incomplete) ending is also a set-up for a third game which, (double damn you to all nine Corellian hells, LucasArts!!) never got made.
(I and other KotOR fans have ranted about this before, but by the demand of LucasArts, who wanted the game out in time for a Christmas 2004 release, 'TSL' was released incomplete, with perhaps 40% of the planned finale intact. Modders have restored most of the planned ending to the PC version of the game, a 'Let's Play' of which I have watched, and I will say in my opinion that if 'TSL' had been released intact as planned, it would definitely have been the ESB to the original's ANH; a worthy sequel that managed to be even better than the original)
Instead, we finally got the 'Revan' novel, written by Drew Karpyshyn, the head writer of the first game, as a sort of substitute for KotOR 3. I have mixed feelings about this novel, and it is both satisfying and unsatisfying to me, particularly in regards to the way 'TSL' was treated.
Major spoilers for 'Revan' ahead; ye be warned.
First of all, my biggest complaint about 'Revan' is its treatment of the main player character of 'TSL', known 'canonically' since the game's release as 'The Jedi Exile'. You customize your character, including the name, physical appearance, and personality, through dialogue options. You can play as either a male or female Exile, though 'canonically' the Exile is female.
The 'Revan' novel finally cements the details of the 'canon' version of the Jedi Exile, including her name.
A name which I have come to loathe. Wanna know what it is?
'Surik' I can accept as a surname. That's fine. But 'Meetra'?! What the hell kind of heroic name is 'Meetra'?
'Meetra' is the type of name you'd see on an NPC you meet once on a sidequest and then never see again, not the name of a freaking central character of the story! I know Star Wars has a history of silly names(especially in the Prequels) but come on, man!
I realize a 'canon' name needed to be invented for the novel out of editorial necessity, but couldn't a little more thought have been put into it? I'm sorry, but it sounds half-assed.
There are further hints that Mr. Karpyshyn doesn't think much of the sequel to the original game he wrote. (Drew Karpyshyn works for BioWare; 'TSL' was made by a different developer, and Mr. Karpyshyn had no involvement in its development) 'Revan' only barely touches on the events of 'TSL', and doesn't mention a single one of its party members by name. I got the distinct impression while reading 'Revan' that Mr. Karpyshyn has never actually played through 'TSL', and just read a summary somewhere. I could be wrong, but that's the impression I got. The Exile also meets (in my opinion) a rather unceremonious end, which annoyed me.
Now don't get me wrong here. I don't hate 'Revan'. In fact, I rather liked it, and thought there were some genuinely good parts. One scene near the end, where Revan watches over and over a holo-recording of the family he knows he'll never see again, actually got me a little misty-eyed. The earlier parts where Revan goes off on one last adventure with Canderous before heading off to the Unknown Regions were quite fun. Most of the action-packed finale and the Epic Final Battle were pretty cool, too. Also, 'Revan' finally explained the 'True Sith' the antagonist of 'TSL' described so cryptically, which I thought was well-done.
The treatment of the 'TSL' elements still annoys me, though. 'TSL' has been screwed over by LucasArts enough already, dude. Was it really necessary to kill off its main character and treat most of its story as essentially unimportant to the larger KotOR-series storyline? Not cool, man. Not cool.
So what set this off, even though I read 'Revan' months ago?
FFnet finally changed the 'Exile' character tag to 'Exile/Meetra Surik', which seems to me as sort of a slap in the face to all the fanfic writers(myself included) who developed his/her character for their own writings. The name 'Revan' works for either a man or a woman, so it's fine to leave that as is, but 'Meetra Surik' is clearly a woman's name, so any Male-Exile writings are now 'right out', as well as any other Fem-Exile stories which might have made up their own name. (Which was all of them prior to the 'Revan' novel!)
In my view, fan-fic is about making the original whatever-it-is mean more to yourself and your readers through explorations of the original plot('canon' scenes from different points of view, perhaps showing the thoughts of one of the other characters present), alternate versions of the original(What if one small thing had gone differently? How would that change things?) or continuations of the story, showing further adventures of the 'canon' characters. Or entirely new adventures set in the 'canon' universe, which can be all sorts of fun, using the original story's concepts and elements in new ways with new characters.
Fan-fiction is taking something you're interested in and at least partially making it your own. Restricting the freedom of fan-fic writers is wrong, in my opinion. On just about all the forums and other fan-gathering places I've seen, KotOR fans are near-universally not impressed with the 'canon' name for the Exile, so it just irks me that FFnet went and shoved it in there. If we don't like something, we fan-fic writers usually show no compunctions in totally ignoring it in our stories. (Granted, this usually results in the sort of crap the mainstream thinks all fan-fiction is like, but I've also seen this used to make some truly amazing stories)
There was absolutely no reason to change the 'Exile' tag. The main character of 'TSL' is customizable by the player, and in my view that should extend to any fan-fiction as well. I despise the name 'Meetra', so I will not be using it when referring to the character, whether in discussions or in my own writings. I developed a name, physical description, and personality for my version of the Exile, and I will be continuing to use it in any and all fan-fic I write about the KotOR era.
Grouch sequence terminated.
Also, FFnet has disabled external links within user profiles(apparently because of spammers or something) so there is now no way for readers to get here from my FFnet profile, or for me to go to other authors' sites which I haven't bookmarked. This also has me in a grouchy mood, since apparently I have to bring back my old 'Ask the Author' forum on FFnet, which I deleted in favor of a link here because it seemed everybody who was on FFnet was also here on DA.