• Mattie Stu

Maz Kanata's Castle - SW: The Force Awakens Lore

Located at the shore of a freshwater lake on the planet of Takodana, Maz Kanata’s castle stood for thousands of years. Atop an ancient battleground between the Jedi and Sith, the watering hole offered appraisals, loans, medical assistance, food (offered by Strono “Cookie” Tuggs), room and board, navigational updates, basic repairs and games of chance. Speaking of which, games of chance became a popular pastime within the castle as they offered a non-violent way for extremely competitive cutthroats to prove their mettle. Aside from casino classics like sabacc, pazaak and dejarik, other popular games included the board game Deia’s Dream, and droid ball fighting, where spheroid droids bashed each other in a square arena table, with droids of the same colour being able to clump together to form formidable fighters. Prashee and Cratinus loved a good game of chance, and even used their identical appearance to swap identities in profitable swindles. As a poet and painter, Maz offered board to travelling musicians in exchange for their performances. As a result, the aspiring and sometimes desperate bands illuminated the castle’s main hall. One such band included Taybin Ralorsa, Infrablue Zedbeddy Coggins, Ubert “Sticks” Quaril, and Sudswater Dillifay Glon. Due to Takodana’s location in the Tashtor sector, which offered access to major trade routes connecting the Inner and Outer Rim, the watering hole became a popular departure point for every type of star traveller. It offered the last taste of civilisation for those willing to brave the lawless Outer Rim or Western Reaches, and a last gasp of frontier living for those heading Coreward.

The relaxed atmosphere of the castle attracted a wide array of outlanders, spacers, grifters and pirates. With so many criminals and clashing personalities contained within a small area, matters of politics and warfare had to be left outside, though flaring tempers occasionally caused small scuffles. Business overruled all matters of diplomacy and protocol within the building, and emissaries of galactic governments were not given any special treatment. The castle was a neutral territory, which allowed spies from the First Order and Resistance to find sanctuary there. GA-97, for example, was an unassuming servant droid plugged into the Resistance’s intelligence network, whilst Bazine Netal had a direct line with the First Order. She viewed everything that transpired within the watering hole from her vantage point, the lap of Grummgar. The Dowutin was a self-centred big game hunter and gun-for-hire, who was obsessed with trophies, whether it was illegally poached wild animals from distant worlds, or head-turning females attracted to his brutish nature. Grummgar was not the only dangerous castle guest, however; Captain Ithano and his First Mate, Quiggold, were renown for smuggling and were not afraid to kill, Jashco Phurus was a dangerous pirate who often roamed the Arrowhead region east of Coruscant, Pru Sweevant robbed commerce ships, and the Hassk triplets were all too keen to cause trouble in the castle’s main hall.

Although every castle guest was linked in some way to criminal activity, some were not as dangerous as others. Whilst Wollivan was an interstellar scout and hyperspace trailblazer who sold, or gambled away, valuable astrogational and scavenged trinkets to smugglers and traders, Sonsigo and Mundari were gemologists who appraised precious stones harvested from newly catalogued worlds, and offered top prices to fuel their attraction to glittering gems. The main hall also housed reformed criminals. Praster Ommlen, for example, was a former gunrunner who put his life of crime behind him to worship the Sacred Ramulus and offer spiritual guidance to other criminals. But Perhaps the most interesting character in the watering hole was ME-8D9. The droid was rumoured to have been as old as Maz herself, and some believed it was part of the ancient castle population.

Unfortunately, Maz Kanata’s castle was destroyed during the First Order-Resistance conflict. When Han Solo and his companions entered the ancient watering hole, the aforementioned Bazine Netal informed the First Order, who sought the droid BB-8. Not long after, First Order forces decimated the castle in the Battle on Takodana. All that Maz had worked for over the previous thousands of years was destroyed within the blink of an eye…

Now it’s time for this week’s question: were you glad to see Maz Kanata’s castle in The Force Awakens, or do you believe it was too similar to the Mos Eisley cantina? Let me know in the comments below.

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