Shifting Identities and the Force

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Re: Shifting Identities and the Force

Post by guardienne on Sun 16 Oct - 21:40

@sangharen you are welcome to any and all observations about identity. i'm really excited i've had so many good responses already and i've been able to play with other ideas. that's my favourite thing to do anyway.

so, yeah, please don't worry.

i've posted about the knights because people a whole lot quicker than i am have already referenced them in connection with kylo ren and after spending the evening digging around randomly, i'm thinking, gosh, this is really bloody interesting. especially if you see the dark side neutrally as a path to enlightenment. it's a hard sell at the moment but we're working on that Wink

i feel like some of the things i posted, the steiner stuff is really about absolute dedication and i see a lot of that i him and i also see a kind of way of absolutely wanting to shed his legacy. and you do wonder, how is he so desperate not to be himself anymore. or, of course, is he more himself now?

and you were saying that you think kylo is a more courageous version of him. and i think i personally believe that you don't simply shed an identity and become a new person, you very much stay that person and simply dedicate your life anew? i don't know. i think much of our human identity is shaped by our circumstances and the adversity we face. and i like thinking that the light is a temptation to him. but how has he experienced this previously?

one of the recurring themes with regard to this character is the lack of community. of course it is possible that he destroyed the force community he had with luke, but i find that unlikely (still), but how did luke not become his community? normally you are initiated into a group, but there is never a group he meets. he is so other that rey is literally the only person on his level. it must be very alienating.

so, if he was initiated it would have been a secret event, not an official 'coming out'. that robs the transformation of some of its power, i think. and because not even the audience has witnessed it so far, unlike with anakin, we don't know how devastating it was. or maybe not at all. maybe it was liberating?

and anyway, i find this fascinating.

the other thing that fascinates me is that the death and rebirth this way must have already happened off-camera. we are all expecting that some of this will still come to pass so he'd have it twice? i think of neo from the matrix a lot who is being born into reality and then gets reborn in the matrix when he finally seizes power.

so, maybe there's a different grasp of power in his future?

If she is not a savior anymore, who is she?

this is really cool to me because it is very often that people define themselves through their function. rey is not rey, she is a scavenger. kylo is the master of the knights of ren. but what if that fell away? what if you could live without those definitions?

and you're touching on some of these things, how we are singled out by characteristics and they become our identity. and ben i think has the weight of everything on his shoulders, of his family's politics, their history and their power. but has he ever been himself?

@snufkin not sure what to believe about the 'massacre'. i don't think it's straightforward and i think that his relatively late 'fall' in his early twenties indicates other motives rather than just wanting to align with power. i think he is actually spiritually dedicated and to him temptation is a real thing. i'm not sure about the straight love interest either (it'd be an obvious and overt choice and it's ok) i kinda see his confusion and attraction to her in a different light. i think we tend to frame it in terms of sex and love because these are very close relations but i'm spending a lot of time thinking there might be a prophecy.

i think he takes his commitment serious and thus she's a temptation in every aspect of her being. not just because she's a woman etc.

i'm not sure his development is arrested. but maybe i'm wrong. i also think he may have known what being at the dark side entailed. i think this was some of what i've already touched on. if he was initiated voluntarily, he would know, and he would also have known that he might have to kill his father. it is like he is seeking the rigidity of this and the anonymity. he wanted to die to his old life, no?
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Re: Shifting Identities and the Force

Post by snufkin on Sun 16 Oct - 22:52

I think this is why he's so heavy on both the Knights Templar & samurai imagery (not to mention the actual creepy monastic chanting in the background for Snoke's theme) - he's taken vows and given himself over to a higher cause. Which is why she's more than just the standard temptation from an order a la the PT. She's that, plus even more dangerous in being equally as powerful as he is in the Force and a literal pull to the light.
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Re: Shifting Identities and the Force

Post by guardienne on Mon 17 Oct - 16:32

i think for this reason @snufkin, the relationship isn't particularly straightforward. if he consecrated his life to the order, it'll be difficult to let this go. he already murdered his father to show his commitment.

if the knights templar are anything to go by, and why the hell not, this overrides a lot of things. and i think the implication is that he chose snoke over everything else because his old life was not something he could cope with for whatever reason.

one thing that i'm wondering about is why the jedi are not handing out new identities. i mean, canonically they haven't and i can't see luke going down that path all by himself. it's almost like the dark side is the more monastic commitment, whereas the jedi are simply anaemic and not very exciting.

i really love how much texture the new film is adding to something i thought i knew very well already.
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Re: Shifting Identities and the Force

Post by snufkin on Mon 17 Oct - 16:58

guardienne wrote:i think for this reason @snufkin, the relationship isn't particularly straightforward. if he consecrated his life to the order, it'll be difficult to let this go. he already murdered his father to show his commitment.

if the knights templar are anything to go by, and why the hell not, this overrides a lot of things. and i think the implication is that he chose snoke over everything else because his old life was not something he could cope with for whatever reason.

one thing that i'm wondering about is why the jedi are not handing out new identities. i mean, canonically they haven't and i can't see luke going down that path all by himself. it's almost like the dark side is the more monastic commitment, whereas the jedi are simply anaemic and not very exciting.

i really love how much texture the new film is adding to something i thought i knew very well already.
@guardienne

It won't be easy or pleasant, but I fully expect he'll end up breaking those vows because of her. And besides the religious order, the story is a Dark Fairy Tale. So think of Snoke as the archetypical Fairy/supernatural creature offers a bargain. Which ends up being a trick with a price the mortal can't pay (this is played with a lot in Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell with the Man with the Thistledown Hair offering bargains which end up entrapping/destroying characters). Snoke basically does this to Ben, and the bargain is that he's become a Beast/Monster/Creature who's committed patricide in exchange for the supposed power of the Darkside. I also fully expect that having him together with Rey at ye olde ancient Jedi temple will reveal that Snoke offered him an illusion and manipulated him into making these vows/commitment while withholding the truth.
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Re: Shifting Identities and the Force

Post by SanghaRen on Mon 17 Oct - 20:55

Are all dark users getting new identities? The Siths did, I guess, but Snoke and Kylo are not Sith. I wonder who wanted the change of name. Did Snoke ask him to change his name and dress like a dark knight or did Ben choose that? Snoke does not seem to be into the dark knight costume thing so would seem as though Ben decided to do that. But based on an existing "concept" or his own creation?

Are the KOR really an order? Did they exist before Kylo or did he create them? The first one means less freedom to forge his new identity. The second one would mean he's owning his KR identity even if based on manipulation by Snoke. There's the third option that it's an ancient order being revived by him and *cough* some of Luke's former students.

Somehow it reminds me of Mad Max Fury Road. Snoke would have built a shiny legend with some spiritual goal like Immortan Joe for the young desperate young men to sink their teeth into and before you know it, they are ready to do whatever he demands "go, my war boys, die for me and I'll meet you at the gates of Valhalla". And as in Mad Max, his most dedicated boy will be the one who brings him down. Hopefully not with the same ending because I cry every time Nux sacrifices himself. Still, it does not fully fit because war boys are all the same to Immortan Joe while Snoke grooms Kylo.

And if it's the KOR in the force back, I don't think they're Luke's former students. They look more like a group of (spiritual?) thugs with Kylo probably having had to survive their beating before becoming their leader. Why did I start with the KOR again when they might actually only have a blink-and-you-miss-it appearance in VIII.... The 4th option is KOR is just a gimmick, there is no order and higher aims, and Kylo is really just a Vader fanboy being spoonfed fantasy stories by Snoke. That'd be a letdown. And it does not fit with Kylo being unhinged even before things started to go south.

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Re: Shifting Identities and the Force

Post by guardienne on Tue 18 Oct - 14:30



reposting from the trauma thread. (i don't know why it became tiny just for highlighting?) (oh, it's from achilles in vietnam)

i think this is consistent with the whole 'your son is gone' rhetoric.

@sangharen

at the moment with the knights templar stuff i'm clinging to an idea of them having been persecuted for their force use?? it'd be too neat but why not. they were definitely around before kylo existed (according to pablo) so it'd be interesting to think of them having a spiritual path by themselves. one that is unwelcome with the new jedi order.

i think the implication wrt the name change is that he was initiated into the first order. and that snoke employed the rhetoric of saying that he had died to his old life. i think this is consistent with any initiation. the problem is, amongst other things, that he is continuously confronted with his old life. so, even in disguise, his old identity keeps cropping up and it it's a very painful confrontation. which is why i think the reason he chose a new life is that he wanted to be dead to this.

the other things is that he never came out publicly, as far as we know, he disappeared and kylo popped up. this isn't a good way to do a ritual, snoke loses points for inconsistent ritualising here.
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Re: Shifting Identities and the Force

Post by SanghaRen on Tue 18 Oct - 15:21

@guardienne

The thing is I am not sure the KOR and the First Order are an entity. They seem to be ruled both by Snoke but the First Order seems to be a purely military organization while the KOR or whatever other order that Ben was initiated into seems to be a separate spiritual one with its own rules.

I have the sensation that Snoke was not so strict in the initiation/transformation process and it's rather Ben out of anger / despair (you name it) that went all Dark Knight. Snoke would have known which buttons to press and would have played with it, but it would have been Ben who really wanted to forget part of his origins. That would explain why he thinks it's too late for him because he realizes that Snoke might have nudged him, but he is still the one who went down this road. Kylo seems like quite the passionately persistent one, who once convinced of something, will dive into it fully, flowing hair included. I don't know but I cannot see Snoke as someone leading some spiritual order with initiation ceremonies and all, more like a master of manipulation that would be ready to use all tricks possible. I actually don't know why I see him this way. Maybe because of the big hologram which looks very wizard-like. I think it's @Darth Dingbat who mentioned that Snoke might actually be the muppet of some bigger / darker power as in the 5th Element.
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Re: Shifting Identities and the Force

Post by guardienne on Tue 18 Oct - 17:21

@sangharen

at the moment my money is on nobody knows nothin' Wink

there was some interesting writing on snoke potentially being a kind of high priest rather than a politician but i can't find it right now.

i agree that initiation might not have been done through snoke. but it seems likely to me, seeing as he refers to snoke in the movie and clearly looks up to him (literally and figuratively).

and i don't know whether there was a formal ceremony of any kind. it seems both likely and unlikely to me. likely because you don't bind someone to something like this in a slapdash manner but also unlikely because it seems incomplete.

i think ben wanted this and not just for reasons of anger/despair. he does have a plan of some sort whether that's deluded or not we don't know. i'm trying to entertain the thought that not all of his ideas are bad simply because of where he is. so it may be that snoke knew which buttons to press and took advantage of him, and i agree that ben probably didn't have all the facts, but it's unlikely he didn't know what he would be in for and that it would be a difficult path to take. and if he feels pulled to the dark side, snoke seems like the only option.

but it explains nothing about the KOR.

i'm trying to keep both ideas alive at the moment, that snoke is a good manipulator but also that snoke might actually want to forge the bestest apprentice under the sun. and how do you do this, through discipline.

in a neutral scenario the things that snoke is proposing are simply not for everyone, just like the ways of the jedi are not for everyone.
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Re: Shifting Identities and the Force

Post by SanghaRen on Tue 18 Oct - 20:21

@guardienne

I think we are on the same page more or less. I certainly think Snoke uses discipline but also releases the leash once in a while. I guess what I mean about Snoke not being the fully spiritual guide is that I am not sure he truly believes in his own preaching. Now that I think about it, all powerful dark side users would fit the bill because in the end all they want is power for themselves. Was there ever any senior management dark side user that did evil for a greater cause? The middle management ones might be believers in a greater cause and might also get eaten alive by the senior dark side users - yes, I work in a corporate environment.

If anything, I would see Snoke as a sect leader that feeds his believers nice stories while he's counting the dollar bills or force points in this case. I guess the reason why I see him this way is the Vader fanboy act. We don't really know what story he built around Vader but it certainly helped him separate his cash cow or force cow from his connections. And now he can use Kylo's powers until there's no more - Han's warning. Aren't sect members actually also changing their names usually?
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Re: Shifting Identities and the Force

Post by snufkin on Wed 19 Oct - 6:11

This is long and very stream of consciousness, but might be of interest/relevance - essay that ties in themes from the PT to do with identity and a personal revelation I won't spoil here:

164 Days

I am again drawn to Anakin’s character both despite and because of the film’s insistence on showing us in awful detail just how unbalanced he has become. The boy who had once been a child prodigy has grown into an uncomfortable young man. He’s very good at his work and – on paper at least – is meeting every developmental milestone as a Jedi. But there’s something wrong. The sense of endless potential he used to feel every day as a boy on Tatooine has been stifled by the rules and expectations of an Order that has no interest in changing their educational approach to fit someone who is, from the outset, troubled. What he needs most is a father figure, but the father figure he should have had died on Naboo when he was nine years old. In place of the fallen Qui-Gon Jinn he has many teachers and a few friends, but none step forward to provide the guidance he so desperately needs.
   
There’s something wrong. He’s unaccountably violent. He shouldn’t have been separated from his mother: it’s increasingly obvious that the Jedi Council were right. He was too old to be trained as a Jedi . . . because being a Jedi means being indoctrinated from infancy into a thousand-year old cult of self-denial. Anakin doesn’t have patience. He’s also dangerous: he becomes infatuated with an older woman who is unable to properly rebuff his increasingly aggressive advances because he’s already one of the most powerful people in the galaxy. She becomes trapped in an abusive relationship with someone who spends their entire “marriage” gaslighting her. She convinces herself this situation is satisfactory because she loves him too, albeit probably not with the same intensity with which he loves her.
 
Emotionally, Anakin is fragile and often hurting. He doesn’t know how to talk to people naturally so he talks to women like he learned it from watching TV, which he probably did. His affect is flat and his dialogue preposterous, because he’s still a little kid in the body of a professional killing machine with the powers of a god, and he’s just repeating lines he’s heard other people say to produce the desired results. He gets frustrated when he can’t make himself understood. No one quite believes what he says because there’s a frightening insincerity in the way he comes across, but he can’t see it. He’s just not a healthy person, emotionally, and the fact that countless experienced Jedi masters pass off his obvious mental health issues as “growing pains” is the strongest indictment of the Jedi Order of the Prequel era as dysfunctional, sclerotic, and passive. The only person who bothers to try to relate to Anakin on the level of an actual affectionate parent figure is the last person in the galaxy to whom he should ever listen.

.....

During the last week of April 2016 I was reading Thus Spake Zarathustra with my class. Because I am increasingly bored with teaching I have written a series of increasingly odd and difficult syllabi that challenge my ability as a teacher as much as my students’ abilities as writers. On the weekend of April 30th I read these words:

   Man is difficult to discover, most of all to himself; the spirit often tells lies about the soul.

There is no better way I can describe what happened to me. Every lie I had ever told myself was revealed in a single instant, a single statement spoken with the quiet authority of armageddon long delayed.

But there is always a reckoning. We can only hide out from ourselves for so long. And so we must continue, we must press on until we reach the moment of truth, however painful.
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Re: Shifting Identities and the Force

Post by guardienne on Wed 19 Oct - 8:36

i was thinking that anakin's initiation, if you can call it that, is very much done in a slapdash manner,



he is given his new name and that's practically it (kudos to ian mcdiarmid for milking the scene for all the creepiest vibes you can wish for).

anakin is someone who very much seems to fall into a role again here, whereas i think with kylo you don't get the same sense. the kid is much more privileged.

what i would find interesting is for snoke to have been overt about his 'leanings' and for ben to have asked to be initiated repeatedly and snoke refusing it. it'd make for a nice contrast with his grandfather. but it's probably difficult to convey in the story now.

with the wedding analogy it's interesting that there are no witnesses. and who would be there to bea wintess anyway, but it's such a weird lack of ceremony. i'm guessing this is why people thought it was rushed?

that's a long-a** essay @snufkin but i'll read it anyway. thanks much for sharing.
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Re: Shifting Identities and the Force

Post by guardienne on Wed 19 Oct - 12:31

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Re: Shifting Identities and the Force

Post by guardienne on Thu 20 Oct - 18:16

priming myself on the knights templar a little more...



i wrote a sort of running commentary.

this is pretty good. apparently the first group of knights were only 9?

and they were all related Razz

f**** this is so accurate... to become a knight templar you had to be nobly born already a knight and willing to give up all your worldly possessions.

god i love the people who researched for this movie

especially trained and especially ruthless special forces

i really hope the KOR aren't going to make a one-off appearance only

if they left the order, they would have faced execution or life-long slavery. they were like kamikaze fighter. you don't leave the battlefield until the templar flag went down.

wasn't bernard de clairveaux also in ladyhawke XD can i just say that i'm having a sudden urge to watch ladyhawke?

they were under leadership only from the pope himself... god this sounds wonky. the pope could command them is what i'm saying

they had a grandmaster. so that would be kylo?

essentially they become corrupted by wealth. but when we meet the KOR they aren't in that position yet. they are treasure hunters. but i like the idea that we don't actually know what the sangrail is.

that's something that should pop into the story i think but we can't know what it is yet. dammit

i think some of this is about how uneasy a trained warrior makes people unless they are subjugated to serve you directly. you are allowed power but only if you are serving the right people. that's what i'm getting from a lot of the reylo fics, that kylo once he pledges allegiance to the rebellistance he's fine to wield his power, but he's too dangerous to be left alive if he works for snoke. no thanks

oh so the initiation was illegal according to church laws because it was not done by a priest...

omigod they are getting on to john the baptist! is this about luke?

i live near tempelhof in berlin btw Surprised

luke can't be a relic yet, but he may have a priceless relic?

ahahaha switzerland was founded on the stray knights templar military skills

well that was pretty good.

i loved the bit where they are sharing a horse because they are too poor to have enough horses.
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Re: Shifting Identities and the Force

Post by guardienne on Sun 23 Oct - 20:34

@snufkin i found another quote in this very long interesting essay even a little more relevant:

Anakin has the choice to do one of two things, depending on who he chooses to believe. He can follow what appear to be his first instincts to ultimately back the Order despite his terrible miscalculation - or back Palpatine which will mean ultimately standing against the Order. I’ve thought about this moment a lot over the years and what I believe is that in the last moment before he makes his decision Anakin realizes that he was wrong about Palpatine and had completely misjudged his mentor. And that moment of revelation, when he realizes he was wrong and that Palpatine had been manipulating him for over a decade, he experiences the most profound sense of disappointment in himself. He knows he’s failed and everyone around him will have to suffer the consequences. And he hates himself so much that in a single impulsive instant he succumbs to the pull of the Dark Side and destroys his life.
   
That’s when the battle is lost. Anakin has fallen so deeply into the pit of his own self-loathing that he’s willing to murder half the galaxy rather than admit that all his problems were of his own making. He loses his mind. He wants to die so badly he goes into battle against the one person in the universe he knows can never defeat. The battle is close but Obi-Wan demonstrates the virtue of Jedi self-discipline by fending off Anakin’s attacks long enough for the younger fighter to exhaust himself. Which he does. What Obi-Wan fails to account for is just how deeply his friend has fallen: he wants to die because he can’t stand the thought of living with the memory of what he’s done. And for the rest of his life Anakin hates Obi-Wan for the "mercy" he showed on Mustafar - for refusing to kill his former pupil.

i think the author plays on the crisis that ensues that comes with having the rug pulled from under you like this.

when i think about vader being created it's interesting that vader comes about through a number of events. seeing as we are the only ones to witness the naming ceremony, it's the characters who have to believe something has really taken place then. i believe lucas pulls a similar trick he did wrt vader's parentage in the OT, i think he lets obi-wan bear witness later through a holovideo so that it becomes a fact rather than a figment of either sidious' or anakin's imagination.

and it's interesting to think that vader is created in stages, through the massacre at the jedi temple, through betraying his wife, through the duel with obi-wan, through being transformed into the fearsome villain. there is transformation there but there is no celebration and no ritual.

the more i think about it, the more i hope that kylo joined the FO and the KOR without coercion, with a knowledge of what lay ahead. at the moment this is perhaps counterintuitive but i like the idea of struggling with commitment wanting to simultaneously leave a legacy behind but also create on for oneself.

i think he may have believed himself weak and insufficient and snoke offered an identity that wasn't.

SanghaRen wrote:@guardienne

I think we are on the same page more or less. I certainly think Snoke uses discipline but also releases the leash once in a while. I guess what I mean about Snoke not being the fully spiritual guide is that I am not sure he truly believes in his own preaching. Now that I think about it, all powerful dark side users would fit the bill because in the end all they want is power for themselves. Was there ever any senior management dark side user that did evil for a greater cause? The middle management ones might be believers in a greater cause and might also get eaten alive by the senior dark side users - yes, I work in a corporate environment.

If anything, I would see Snoke as a sect leader that feeds his believers nice stories while he's counting the dollar bills or force points in this case. I guess the reason why I see him this way is the Vader fanboy act. We don't really know what story he built around Vader but it certainly helped him separate his cash cow or force cow from his connections. And now he can use Kylo's powers until there's no more - Han's warning. Aren't sect members actually also changing their names usually?
@SanghaRen

like i'm saying above, i think the transformation may have happened because ben wanted to shed this person. and it's convenient for snoke, i'm not denying that. the force is real for these characters, snoke is not offering imaginary powers and renunciation, he's offering the real thing (as presumably luke was) and he's offering a way to break with the past. i think this break with a potentially very painful past is probably key plus another factor which i assume is something to do with destiny. and because snoke kindly offers this break and the haven of being able to leave everything behind, and he lets ben commit to this. and i would absolutely love an initiation that wasn't coercive. so, that's all my bias but it makes sense to me that it's an honour to join the order, that it's something not everyone gets to do (the knights templar have very strict entry requirements) and your dedication is key.

and we see that this is a struggle. but these kinds of commitments will always be a struggle. i think kylo is someone with great dedication to service and he's doing this because his life becomes more meaningful in the face of how he can be serving the greater purpose of whatever the force is. his sacrifices, however difficult and painful they are, are small in comparison to the greater destiny of the force. something like that.

in the knights templar analogy, snoke would be the pope the sole commander of the KOR, apart from kylo who is their master. based on that i would guess that the knights operate on their own and serve their own ends. but snoke as a papal figure, corrupt as they can be, i can well imagine.

i think where i'm going with this is less vilification of the dark side and more nuance wrt what it means to be religious and to devote your life to a greater cause.

i also love that the dark side this way becomes about secrecy, which we knew from the prequels, and because the powers you access aren't for everyone.

but anyway, sorry for taking so long. i put the snoke meta in a post above, in case you're interested Waves Lolilol
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Re: Shifting Identities and the Force

Post by snufkin on Sun 23 Oct - 21:42

guardienne wrote:@snufkin i found another quote in this very long interesting essay even a little more relevant:

Anakin has the choice to do one of two things, depending on who he chooses to believe. He can follow what appear to be his first instincts to ultimately back the Order despite his terrible miscalculation - or back Palpatine which will mean ultimately standing against the Order. I’ve thought about this moment a lot over the years and what I believe is that in the last moment before he makes his decision Anakin realizes that he was wrong about Palpatine and had completely misjudged his mentor. And that moment of revelation, when he realizes he was wrong and that Palpatine had been manipulating him for over a decade, he experiences the most profound sense of disappointment in himself. He knows he’s failed and everyone around him will have to suffer the consequences. And he hates himself so much that in a single impulsive instant he succumbs to the pull of the Dark Side and destroys his life.
   
That’s when the battle is lost. Anakin has fallen so deeply into the pit of his own self-loathing that he’s willing to murder half the galaxy rather than admit that all his problems were of his own making. He loses his mind. He wants to die so badly he goes into battle against the one person in the universe he knows can never defeat. The battle is close but Obi-Wan demonstrates the virtue of Jedi self-discipline by fending off Anakin’s attacks long enough for the younger fighter to exhaust himself. Which he does. What Obi-Wan fails to account for is just how deeply his friend has fallen: he wants to die because he can’t stand the thought of living with the memory of what he’s done. And for the rest of his life Anakin hates Obi-Wan for the "mercy" he showed on Mustafar - for refusing to kill his former pupil.

i think the author plays on the crisis that ensues that comes with having the rug pulled from under you like this.

when i think about vader being created it's interesting that vader comes about through a number of events. seeing as we are the only ones to witness the naming ceremony, it's the characters who have to believe something has really taken place then. i believe lucas pulls a similar trick he did wrt vader's parentage in the OT, i think he lets obi-wan bear witness later through a holovideo so that it becomes a fact rather than a figment of either sidious' or anakin's imagination.

and it's interesting to think that vader is created in stages, through the massacre at the jedi temple, through betraying his wife, through the duel with obi-wan, through being transformed into the fearsome villain. there is transformation there but there is no celebration and no ritual.

the more i think about it, the more i hope that kylo joined the FO and the KOR without coercion, with a knowledge of what lay ahead. at the moment this is perhaps counterintuitive but i like the idea of struggling with commitment wanting to simultaneously leave a legacy behind but also create on for oneself.

i think he may have believed himself weak and insufficient and snoke offered an identity that wasn't.

@guardienne

I thought the article was definitely interesting because of the quote you cited above, plus the pattern the writer used in going back and forth between different experiences in his life to finally culminate in
Spoiler:
the moment when he finally realized and came out to himself as being transgender. Which the entire essay (which I had thought while reading was strictly about depression) builds up to that point.

I agree with you that will likely be depicted will be about somebody who's struggled with self perception, seeing himself as weak and insufficient and being made an offer by Snoke to leave that person behind and become somebody who isn't that way. He tells Han as much, seeing himself as being "weak and foolish," like his father, and that he destroyed that part of himself (which we can guess Han knows better and will be proven right). That's most likely the person Rey saw when she was able to push back and enter his mind, the person she'll feel conflicted about.

Also agree that his decision to defect was likely voluntary, possibly a bargain with the Devil. Or more like the classic example from Fairy Tales where fairies aren't cute little Disney Tinkerbelles, but cunning and vicious who always make bargains with humans which are intended to screw over the humans foolish enough to enter into a bargain with them. Guillermo del Toro references the Fae a lot in movies like Hellboy 1 & 2 (shudder, Prince Nuada and the Tooth Fairy) and Pan's Labrynth, plus there's the Gentleman with the Thistledown Hair in Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell). My own interpretation of Snoke is that he's one of those type of creatures and that he tempted Ben via his insecurities and youthful arrogance/impatience/hubris into becoming his weapon/tool. Again, Han tells him this and Ben knows on some level that he's been tricked and will likely be destroyed once he's outlived his usefulness to Snoke. That's not to negate the very real pain and confusion Ben was likely fleeing in making this decision. Just that the Devil appeared at that moment and offered him what appeared to be a solution. In some ways the solution probably does suit him in feeling stronger, more confident, and probably having a sense of order/discipline/self sacrifice which he craved and couldn't find in his previous life. But it's also a very slow moving trap which will eventually destroy him, especially because he's been neutralized as somebody powerful enough to stand as a real threat to Snoke under the right circumstances. Which cue the entrance of Rey. At the very least, if this is a dark fairy tale, she's there to break the spell he's been put under by Snoke and rescue him from the trap.
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Re: Shifting Identities and the Force

Post by Sacrebleu on Mon 24 Oct - 12:30

guardienne wrote:and it's interesting to think that vader is created in stages, through the massacre at the jedi temple, through betraying his wife, through the duel with obi-wan, through being transformed into the fearsome villain. there is transformation there but there is no celebration and no ritual.

the more i think about it, the more i hope that kylo joined the FO and the KOR without coercion, with a knowledge of what lay ahead. at the moment this is perhaps counterintuitive but i like the idea of struggling with commitment wanting to simultaneously leave a legacy behind but also create on for oneself.

i think he may have believed himself weak and insufficient and snoke offered an identity that wasn't.

like i'm saying above, i think the transformation may have happened because ben wanted to shed this person. and it's convenient for snoke, i'm not denying that. the force is real for these characters, snoke is not offering imaginary powers and renunciation, he's offering the real thing (as presumably luke was) and he's offering a way to break with the past. i think this break with a potentially very painful past is probably key plus another factor which i assume is something to do with destiny. and because snoke kindly offers this break and the haven of being able to leave everything behind, and he lets ben commit to this. and i would absolutely love an initiation that wasn't coercive. so, that's all my bias but it makes sense to me that it's an honour to join the order, that it's something not everyone gets to do (the knights templar have very strict entry requirements) and your dedication is key.

and we see that this is a struggle. but these kinds of commitments will always be a struggle. i think kylo is someone with great dedication to service and he's doing this because his life becomes more meaningful in the face of how he can be serving the greater purpose of whatever the force is. his sacrifices, however difficult and painful they are, are small in comparison to the greater destiny of the force. something like that.

in the knights templar analogy, snoke would be the pope the sole commander of the KOR, apart from kylo who is their master. based on that i would guess that the knights operate on their own and serve their own ends. but snoke as a papal figure, corrupt as they can be, i can well imagine.

i think where i'm going with this is less vilification of the dark side and more nuance wrt what it means to be religious and to devote your life to a greater cause.

i also love that the dark side this way becomes about secrecy, which we knew from the prequels, and because the powers you access aren't for everyone.
@guardienne

Love all these observations!  He struck me as rather monk-like and in pursuit of some profound purpose, willing to dedicate and sacrifice himself to that cause no matter how high the cost (even the murder of his father).  How mightily he struggled with that.  

But reading some fanfics has made me realize not everybody saw him in the film the way I did.  I don't see him as a victim Snoke tortured into compliance, and I don't see him as a petulant foul-mouthed spoiled brat, and I don't see him as a sex-obsessed stalker.  I do believe he's drawn to Rey, including sexually, but I think he has much more important things on his mind than getting into her pants.
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Re: Shifting Identities and the Force

Post by guardienne on Mon 24 Oct - 13:49

@sacrebleu thank you. i think i'm spending too much time with you! Shy

i think none of the melancholy and the pain go away in this reading, they seem to be enhanced.

but it makes the story richer to me at the moment, not the falling in love to be the purpose of it and the motivation to leave snoke, ... i think it could potentially be more exciting than that. i don't know.
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Re: Shifting Identities and the Force

Post by Sacrebleu on Mon 24 Oct - 16:29

guardienne wrote:@sacrebleu thank you. i think i'm spending too much time with you! Shy

i think none of the melancholy and the pain go away in this reading, they seem to be enhanced.

but it makes the story richer to me at the moment, not the falling in love to be the purpose of it and the motivation to leave snoke, ... i think it could potentially be more exciting than that. i don't know.
@guardienne

I would find it a more compelling story if this is something he chose as a competent adult and has to wrestle with the consequences on those terms.  I think there's much more at stake than escaping/defeating Snoke.  The indications are there that Rey will play an important role in his journey, as he will in hers.  But I would prefer that any metamorphosis is aided not by his desire for her or to "earn" her love, but because they hold up a mirror to each other.
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Re: Shifting Identities and the Force

Post by snufkin on Mon 24 Oct - 17:17

sacrebleu wrote:I would prefer that any metamorphosis is aided not by his desire for her or to "earn" her love, but because they hold up a mirror to each other.

That's my guess about how it will happen, both the metamorphosis and the evolution of their relationship from just being pure antagonists. Especially because the script they've already allowed to be released to the public (for the Oscars) states the moment when they briefly have a jolt of energy running between the two of them, which they recognize in each other. They've already gone some pretty standard routes/tropes for the big love story/relationship in the the OT and PT, so it'll be something different for these two. Especially because the OT essentially turned Leia's arc in the 3rd act only into a love story, which they've been trying to make up for in the ST by acknowledging her as FS, a leader, and essentially as the original source (via her DNA) of Ben's powers. It's her legacy that Snoke is targeting.

However I'd also agree with some of the comments recently on this board (h/t to @MeadowofAshes) that there's very much a "what is this funny feeling in my pants?" sensation on his part. She's generally just too overwhelmed, freaked out, heart broken, and angry at him to register attraction at this point in the story. Although she's already very much had the young man underneath the persona, the good and the bad of him, already reveal himself to her. And other h/t, but all the Instagram stalking @Darth Dingbat has done - when part of the area they used for filming the Ache-to scenes in a historic old estate that's typically rented for weddings/honeymoons, that'd be a waste of a lot of money if something more than just beating each other up (or platonically feeling the Force together) is what the storytellers have planned. He's for sure committed himself to a situation where he's like a Templar/Samurai - warrior monk following an ascetic lifestyle of sacrifice, discipline, and denial. Likely started when he was studying with Luke. But I'd bet either of you a box of popcorn that a certain Scavenger from Jakku is going to test those vows he's made (something you would've thought GL wanted to show in the PT, but Grandpa never gave a thought to breaking his vows over his crush) and likely by the end of the trilogy he will have broken them for her. At least broken whatever bargain he made with Snoke under false pretenses.
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Re: Shifting Identities and the Force

Post by Sacrebleu on Mon 24 Oct - 17:40

snufkin wrote:
sacrebleu wrote:I would prefer that any metamorphosis is aided not by his desire for her or to "earn" her love, but because they hold up a mirror to each other.

That's my guess about how it will happen, both the metamorphosis and the evolution of their relationship from just being pure antagonists. Especially because the script they've already allowed to be released to the public (for the Oscars) states the moment when they briefly have a jolt of energy running between the two of them, which they recognize in each other. They've already gone some pretty standard routes/tropes for the big love story/relationship in the the OT and PT, so it'll be something different for these two. Especially because the OT essentially turned Leia's arc in the 3rd act only into a love story, which they've been trying to make up for in the ST by acknowledging her as FS, a leader, and essentially as the original source (via her DNA) of Ben's powers. It's her legacy that Snoke is targeting.

However I'd also agree with some of the comments recently on this board (h/t to @MeadowofAshes) that there's very much a "what is this funny feeling in my pants?" sensation on his part. She's generally just too overwhelmed, freaked out, heart broken, and angry at him to register attraction at this point in the story. Although she's already very much had the young man underneath the persona, the good and the bad of him, already reveal himself to her. And other h/t, but all the Instagram stalking @Darth Dingbat has done - when part of the area they used for filming the Ache-to scenes in a historic old estate that's typically rented for weddings/honeymoons, that'd be a waste of a lot of money if something more than just beating each other up (or platonically feeling the Force together) is what the storytellers have planned.  He's for sure committed himself to a situation where he's like a Templar/Samurai - warrior monk following an ascetic lifestyle of sacrifice, discipline, and denial. Likely started when he was studying with Luke. But I'd bet either of you a box of popcorn that a certain Scavenger from Jakku is going to test those vows he's made (something you would've thought GL wanted to show in the PT, but Grandpa never gave a thought to breaking his vows over his crush) and likely by the end of the trilogy he will have broken them for her. At least broken whatever bargain he made with Snoke under false pretenses.
@snufkin

I do believe that physical attraction is a large component of his pull to her, I just think it's one component of several.  With all that he's already relinquished in pursuit of this life he's chosen, indicating the depth of his commitment, I don't see him throwing that all away in the blink of an eye in order to pursue her as a romantic conquest.  I would be more inclined to think he will be as confused and conflicted about this in his way as she is in hers.  He may very well pursue her for other reasons (ostensibly) and not acknowledge the rest immediately.  But eventually, yes, I do think his vows are going to be broken and in more ways than one.
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Re: Shifting Identities and the Force

Post by snufkin on Mon 24 Oct - 18:13

Sacrebleu wrote:
@snufkin

I do believe that physical attraction is a large component of his pull to her, I just think it's one component of several.  With all that he's already relinquished in pursuit of this life he's chosen, indicating the depth of his commitment, I don't see him throwing that all away in the blink of an eye in order to pursue her as a romantic conquest.  I would be more inclined to think he will be as confused and conflicted about this in his way as she is in hers.  He may very well pursue her for other reasons (ostensibly) and not acknowledge the rest immediately.  But eventually, yes, I do think his vows are going to be broken and in more ways than one.

@Sacrebleu

Oh definitely. I was typing this all out in a hurry and forgot to add another factor that will be in play, how they're handling Rey versus Leia. Leia was undercut in the OT by having her arc in RotJ be all about her love story and as Luke's sister. They're going back and fixing that (esp via Bloodline). With Rey, it will be more complicated and complex - she's the heroine and this is her story about coming of age, discovering her powers not just in the Force but as a person, reconciling who she wants to be versus her past, and finding the place of belonging denied to her as an orphan. My guess is that whatever led to her parents' disappearance (likely murder) and her abandonment is tied in with the Force plot and what Snoke's been up to. Her arc mostly likely includes a slow burning, nail biting up until the end LI in Ben, but primarily it'll be about coming into her own as a person and likely also contending with the Forces who led to her being an orphan via finding balance/stopping Snoke. Plus given DR's post TFA projects being with Studio Ghibli and the Eagle Huntress, this doesn't seem like an actress who's very much focused on telling stories for young women about coming of age, finding your own power, and being the heroine of your own story.

Granted we're talking about somebody who's adopted this whole persona in part as a rebellion against being like his father, who we know ended up changing the course of his life for a girl (@reylo1992 mentioned a great French idiom I can't repeat verbatim, but which was about Ben being like Han in that respect, "what bred in the bones comes out in the flesh."). His reasons for going that route are more complex than just rebelling against his parents and differentiating himself from his father. But part of what could happen is showing how very much he is his father's son, vis his actions with Rey.
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Re: Shifting Identities and the Force

Post by guardienne on Mon 24 Oct - 20:10

@snufkin and @sacrebleu whoahey

i'm really tired and i might not be very coherent at this stage and i'm not sure how i feel about vows being broken. i mean, erm...

i think he's a rubbish monk and i guess nobody's ever had the heart to tell him? i'd like that conflict to be played out for longer than it takes to toss an emperor down a shaft to save someone.

when i think of priesthood, i think this is for life but of course it isn't. but you can't really go back on it and un-commit. it's not a job like plumbing is. this is a ramble about catholic priests but i'm thinking they aren't wrong for wanting to be priests, it's the institution they serve in that is corrupt because institutions often end up being corrupt anyway. so, serving the force isn't a terrible idea, it's a deep commitment, but it gets muddled up with a corrupt institution. so, both of these are true, i think. he should leave snoke because snoke wants to destroy him, but the dark side isn't evil.

i think they've complicated it pretty astutely by presenting him with a get out of jail card already that he rejected. i've had so many conversations about this and somehow i'm not yet tired of them. but people who point this out are right. if he'd wanted it, it would have been there for all the good it would have done dramatically. so something needs to shift drastically to change this. and if he already knows that he's serving a corrupt leader (so to speak) then... well, someone else asking nicely simply won't do. he doesn't want to, because he has other plans? or because there's literally nowhere to go.

and i don't see that kind of commitment being overturned by love itself. for all his interest in her, she's not really repaid anything in kind. he can continue to pursue her with renewed fervour ... we simply don't know enough and i keep talking myself into a corner.
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Re: Shifting Identities and the Force

Post by snufkin on Mon 24 Oct - 20:37

guardienne wrote:@snufkin and @sacrebleu whoahey

i'm really tired and i might not be very coherent at this stage and i'm not sure how i feel about vows being broken. i mean, erm...

i think he's a rubbish monk and i guess nobody's ever had the heart to tell him? i'd like that conflict to be played out for longer than it takes to toss an emperor down a shaft to save someone.

when i think of priesthood, i think this is for life but of course it isn't. but you can't really go back on it and un-commit. it's not a job like plumbing is. this is a ramble about catholic priests but i'm thinking they aren't wrong for wanting to be priests, it's the institution they serve in that is corrupt because institutions often end up being corrupt anyway. so, serving the force isn't a terrible idea, it's a deep commitment, but it gets muddled up with a corrupt institution. so, both of these are true, i think. he should leave snoke because snoke wants to destroy him, but the dark side isn't evil.

i think they've complicated it pretty astutely by presenting him with a get out of jail card already that he rejected. i've had so many conversations about this and somehow i'm not yet tired of them. but people who point this out are right. if he'd wanted it, it would have been there for all the good it would have done dramatically. so something needs to shift drastically to change this. and if he already knows that he's serving a corrupt leader (so to speak) then... well, someone else asking nicely simply won't do. he doesn't want to, because he has other plans? or because there's literally nowhere to go.

and i don't see that kind of commitment being overturned by love itself. for all his interest in her, she's not really repaid anything in kind. he can continue to pursue her with renewed fervour ... we simply don't know enough and i keep talking myself into a corner.

@guardienne

He tells Han "it's too late," likely because of both the cause he's committed himself to and also the Devil's bargain he's signed with Snoke. And whatever life he had in the past isn't just dead and buried, but a place he never belonged to in the beginning (think of Maz's words, the belonging applies to the both of them, finding who they are besides developing a relationship as the two most powerful FS users in the galaxy). But his whole awkward behavior towards Rey could turn out to be more on the medieval knight trope, chivalry if they work together and then it turns out like I keep guessing, that Snoke's her actual antagonist and possibly responsible for whatever happened to her and her parents.

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Re: Shifting Identities and the Force

Post by snufkin on Mon 24 Oct - 20:42

@guardienne also it may be too complex a discussion to get into at the moment (you being tired and me needing to get off the Internet and do studying), but his real world analogues might be close to Bowe Bergdahl or John Walker Lindh. Both driven by youthful idealism, fervor, and making reckless decisions which ended with them allied with the enemy/considered traitors. Berdahl was a soldier who surrendered to the Taliban and Lindh was an affluent and idealistic young man who converted to Islam, went to Pakistan to study at a Madrassa, and ended up volunteering for the Afghan army out of disgust/anger at US policy in the region. Not to say he's a pure parallel, the filmmakers seem to be mining characters like the above, along with samurai and Knights Templar in his character.
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Re: Shifting Identities and the Force

Post by Sacrebleu on Mon 24 Oct - 23:22

@guardienne

I'm not using the term broken vows that literally.  I meant it more in terms of his beliefs, including his belief in Snoke, being challenged.  I don't think Snoke's way will ultimately be Kylo's way just as Luke's way was not his way.  He has to find his own way?  And that's where Rey comes in.  Discoveries they will make because of each other, discoveries they will make together?  I'm tired too and not explaining myself very well.  

Star Wars has presented the Force as Light vs. Dark.  Yet the official character description of Kylo is of someone who is the embodiment of Light AND Dark.  Therein lies a clue, I think.
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