It’s 12.18am in Ho Chi Minh. We’re holed up in a dingy motel, stunned by the news of Carrie Fisher’s death.
We’d read of her heart attack on her travels. We’d prayed and hoped our favourite princess would pull through. On Dec 25, we got news she was out of the ICU. It was a Christmas miracle! Then the unfortunate news of George Michael passing hit. Death always gets his way.
This time Death got greedy – and cruel. After toying with our feelings, he claimed Fisher this morning.
We would spend the next two hours in the dark, silently scrolling through the many accolades, memoriams, past interviews, quotes and tributes from celebrities that came streaming into our social feeds. Yet it did nothing to soothe our void. Our princess was no more.
Even now, we’re struggling with this piece. After all, we didn’t have the pleasure of meeting Fisher. All we knew of her were in her Star Wars movies, her interviews and YouTube clips. There are many more fitting tributes to her majesty. Yet we knew her in our own way.
Growing up with Star Wars, we were impressed with how she stood up to Vader, the most imposing villain of the time. She had the gall to rescue her rescuers on the Death Star. She made fun of our heroes. Instead of falling for the hero in white, she chose the scruffy-looking nerfherder.
Faced with the gross Jabba, she held her own. Even The Hutt had to admit she was “his kind of scum; fearless and inventive”. The princess would later be taken captive and forced into slave gear, a wardrobe that haunted Fisher as she admitted later in interviews. But the Princess got the last word. She killed the Hutt when no one else could.
Carrie Fisher taught us princesses are not demure damsels waiting to be rescued. They are a Force of power. They can take destiny in their own hands and be the hero we all need.
Fisher was a real life hero too. In her public admission of her problem with addiction and her mental issues. She gave strength and courage to people who felt the same way. She was never a quitter. Never suicidal, she said at interviews. She dealt with her problems with wit and humour.
A new generation got to know our princess as General Leia with Episode VII. Scant comfort but we are assured she would be in VIII too. This was a more cool and collected Leia from the feisty one in the 70s-80s. A more assured and confident one. She was the foil to Han Solo’s emotional wreckage. She was the decisive heir to Mon Mothma. We would fall in love with her all over again.
During her promotional tours for The Force Awakens, Fisher said in a Vanity Fair interview that she’d would like it reported that she “drowned in the moonlight and was strangled by her bra” in her obituary. Our princess had left us. Witty to the end, but always on her own terms.
May the Force be with you, Carrie Fisher.