Hey lovely readers!
Today’s post is going to be a discussion about Kylo Ren. In case you didn’t know already, he’s my love and current obsession. I am a huge #Reylo shipper and I totally want Ben Solo to be saved. I’m telling you this so that you know what you’re in for with this post! Kylo Ren redemption! I want to talk about how great of a character Kylo is, why he is not who he seems to be, and why in the end I believe he deserves to be redeemed. I will try to make this as coherent as possible, but my thoughts on this never are so we’ll see how it goes. Settle in, because I have a lot to say. Let’s get started.
Kylo Ren is one of the most amazing villains I have ever seen. Even when his face gives nothing away it’s his eyes that tell the truth, which is why I think he wore the mask. I have made it a point to watch his face when he kills Han, when he hesitates to kill Leia, when Snoke is torturing Rey his eyes tell you of his indecision and his pain. I will be completely honest and say that I did not like Kylo at first. He’s harsh and so so angry. But the more I watched TFA and TLJ (I saw it like 5 times in the theater!) I began to understand why he is the way he is. His parents were absent, they kept secrets from him, and when it mattered most they simply gave up on him. Luke buried his head in the sand, Han ran away, and Leia gave her all to the war. This boy who so desperately needed guidance was pushed away, his family turned their backs on him before he did the same to them. He’s a villain who feels, who makes you feel for him. He hesitates, he hurts, he feels guilt, the pull to the light, the feeling that he is not good enough. And if he can only gain power, he will gain the validation he so desperately seeks. He will overcome his past, the hurt, the pain, the abandonment, the loneliness, the trauma of almost being murdered by a man he trusted.
I want to make it clear that I in no way excuse Kylo’s behavior when carrying out orders for the First Oder. I realize that he has directly or indirectly murdered so many people, but you have to think about why? Snoke. Snoke was manipulating him long before he turned to the dark side. Manipulating his mind and leading him to believe that he was the only one who thought he was worth something. I cannot blame him for seeking acceptance from someone he believed might actually care for him. I do not think he went to the dark side because he’s inherently evil, I think he did it to forge his own path. Yes to follow in Vader’s footsteps, because he believes it’s a worthy cause, because he does not know any other way. And his killing Han? I think he felt that if he did this terrible thing the light in him would be snuffed out forever. He truly believed that he was so far gone that his only option was to embrace the darkness fully. How broken a man must he be, how lost, how hopeless must he be feeling to think that there is no hope left for him?
The first time we see Kylo in TLJ he is being berated by Snoke. He is being told AGAIN by someone he trusts that he is not good enough, that there is something wrong with him. He looks so tired and sad and broken. And he says I have given you everything I have, but still to Snoke it is not enough, he is never enough. And this tears at his soul, hell it breaks my heart for him. For so long Snoke has whispered to him who he could be, how he should act, how he should feel. And the moment when he needs reassurance he does not get it. AGAIN! It’s terrible and heart wrenching. So what does he do? He tries to prove himself the only way he knows how. By showing Snoke that he has killed his past, that Ben Solo is gone. And yet he cannot do it, because he cares! He tells Rey that he didn’t hate Han, I believe him. But he cannot kill Leia, why? Because he knows he’s already done something terrible to one parent and if he kills her he will have no one left that could possibly care. It’s impossible to wrap your head around, I know. The idea that killing Han is okay, but killing Leia is not. But I think this is him reaching a line, a line that even he cannot cross, even if it’s not consciously acknowledged. He is a monster yes, but I think at this point Rey is already in his head, heart, and soul. Not her herself, but her light. Just like I believe his darkness is already starting to take hold, which may be why she goes straight to the dark on Ahch-To.
But with Rey there is always something there in his eyes, in his voice that is different. You can hear it in the way he speaks to her, he feels a kinship that I believe grows to affection, or as close to affection as he can get. He is the one to let her know that she is not alone, that he understands her feelings, and for him to do that says so much. He cares for her. One thing that I really want to talk about is the scene right before they touch hands. Rey goes down into the dark cave and she starts talking about how she knew the cave would show what what she wanted to see, her parents. And at first it seems like she’s talking to herself, but then we see that Kylo is there and honestly this shocked me. Because I started thinking how long had they been talking like that? How did this conversation even start? I really think that when they connected this time he could sense that she felt so achingly lonely and he wanted to offer her some comfort. The only way he can do that is by listening to her and letting her know she’s not alone. I think this speaks volumes for his character.
Let’s talk about the amazing throne room scene, since we’re on the subject of Rey. First, the elevator. The second Rey calls Kylo Ben he looks at her with such raw feeling, like she’s speaking directly to his soul. There is no malice in her tone or in his face. It’s clear (at least to me) that they both want the other to join them, maybe the feelings aren’t romantic yet, but I believe they are headed there. Adam Driver does a fantastic job of conveying his emotion through his eyes and I think this is how we get to know the real Kylo Ren. Let’s start with Snoke’s torture of Rey, Kylo cannot even look because it pains him. And even before Snoke commands Kylo to kill Rey he’s decided that he won’t. I don’t think this is solely to save Rey, I think Kylo’s starting to see how awful Snoke is, but I do believe he doesn’t want Rey to die. He saves her life, and then when they fight together it’s so seamless as if they already know how the other works.
Okay now for the infamous you’re nothing line. I know, I know it sounds awful. But let me just tell you the way that I understood it. He’s not telling Rey she’s nothing to hurt her. He’s saying that to her parents she was nothing and as long as she continues to seek them out she will never be who she’s supposed to be. She will be the nothing they treated her as if she continues to wait for parents that just didn’t care. But to him she’s something, someone, she matters. It’s a cleverly concealed declaration of love. Love in the only way he knows how to express it, by offering her power.
And then he asks her to join him! Granted he offers her all the wrong things, but the point is that he did offer it. He recognizes her as his equal and respects her for it. I know that this is partly for his own gain, because maybe he believes she will make him more powerful. But he BEGS her, he is asking because he needs her. That “please” was so full of raw emotion, his eyes so close to tears. Of course she rejects him, because neither of them is really ready to be together. Neither of them is willing to change for the other, and they really shouldn’t.
I really hate that it has to be this way and I hate that Rey doesn’t bother to talk to Kylo. Instead she tries to take the saber and then she leaves him unconscious. Yes he tells Hux that Rey killed Snoke, but I think that’s to protect his reputation because at this point he has to. And of course he feels betrayed, so what does he do? He lashes out. He wants to kill his past, he makes that clear to Luke when the confront each other. He says he’ll kill Luke, he’ll destroy Rey, and the resistance. I think part of him does mean it, but I think a larger part is so hurt that he’s just saying what he knows will hurt the most. As far as Luke and his apology to Kylo, Luke can shove it. Like seriously too little too late dude. Which is why I think Kylo responds so snidely, “I’m sure you are”. But I do think in this moment Luke feels very bad for hurting Kylo so badly, pushing him to this darkness. And I think no one is rooting for Kylo to be redeemed more than Luke right now.
And then we come to those last moments between Rey and Kylo. Yes, she shuts the door on him, but only for now. I do not believe for one second that she has given up on him. They were both incredibly naive to think that the other would change so soon, but I do not think that’s it for them. I think their faces say it all. Especially Kylo’s, he looks so sad, broken, and so alone. His eyes still plead when he looks at her. But do I think he should try and change for her and she for him? Absolutely not! He needs to want to be better for himself, because it will mean so much more. Sure Rey can and should play a factor, but ultimately it should be because he finally realizes who he could be for himself. A good man. This will be his test, believing in himself and Rey’s test will be whether or not she forgives him. Can and should she be merciful? He cannot erase his mistakes and all his wrong doings, but I believe he can make amends. And I believe he will.
Of course if this were real life he’d probably be arrested and killed for his crimes, but this is fiction! And so here’s what I hope will happen in Episode IX. Leia will have died and this will be that start to Kylo Ren’s turn towards the light. Kylo and Rey lightsaber battle #2, Rey in danger, Kylo fights alongside her. Kylo versus Hux (Yes please!!!) Hux dies, First Oder crumbles. This way Kylo is not joining the resistance, because he will never be all light, rather he realizes the dark is not the only way. He and Rey combine forces to balance out the government and the Galaxy. Though neither of them has ultimate power, rather they work with others to establish something that works better. Kylo’s not miraculously forgiven, rather he earns it, though not from everyone. That would be too easy. He and Rey together (#Reylo Forever) work with new force users to incorporate both light and dark. The End. (Though honestly I’m mentally preparing for the possibility that Kylo dies or there is no Reylo, just in case!)
Phew! Okay done! If you’re still here thank you so much for sticking with me! I hope you liked what I had to say and if not I at least hope I gave you some things to consider or re-consider. If you liked this I highly recommend this fanfic here.
Thanks for reading guys! Talk to you soon! ❤ Adrianna
* I do not own any of the images here.