The Dynamic between Kylo & Rey and where it can go: A parallel analysis with the Shatter Me trilogy
This meta is a collaboration between my friend @sillylovesongs17 and me. We decided to do this after I told her to read the books because I didn’t want to scream alone about this series. We think this is a wonderful example of what a relationship between Kylo and Rey should look like in the next movies and we hope you have fun reading this meta.
WARNING: There will be spoilers about Shatter Me and Star Wars.
Shatter Me is a book series written by Tahereh Mafi. Followed by Unravel Me and Ignite Me, Shatter Me tells the story of Juliette Ferrars, a girl that can kill with a single touch. After being locked up for 264 days, she gains a cellmate, a boy she thought she would never see again as the Reestablishment (the new government in power) has plans for her, Juliette must make a choice: be a weapon or be a warrior.
In this meta we will discuss the possibilities for Kylo and Rey’s relationship and where they might end up at the end of the sequel trilogy comparing them to the very similar relationship of Juliette and Warner in the Shatter Me trilogy.
We are aware that these stories are not the same but both dynamics are similar, sharing a lot of common traits so we’ll only analyze these characters and their dynamic only.
In the surface, Rey and Juliette share little in common. Rey starts of as a very capable scavenger, she can hold her own against enemies because she had a lot of time to learn how to defend herself in Jakku. In contrast, Juliette starts as a fragile girl, she’s locked in a cell for quite some time because of her lethal abilities and is on the verge of losing her mind.
But they do share similarities. Both girls were born with powerful gifts: Rey is force sensitive and Juliette has a lethal touch. She was abandoned by her parents because of her abilities and if the leaks about Ep. VIII are correct Rey’s parents did the same to her making both wish for belonging.
Rey and Juliette are destined for great things and one more thing they share is their uncommon relationship with the antagonist.
Kylo Ren and Warner share very similar traits, both in personality and their actions. Aaron Warner is the leader of Sector 45, viewed as a cruel sociopath by his soldiers and enemies he hides behind this mask not allowing anyone to see the real him until he meets Juliette.
With Kylo we have the same pattern, his descent into darkness is only stopped when he meets Rey. He senses that she’s special and their connection only grows after their first interaction.
Both Kylo and Warner are trying to please their leaders who abused them mentally and, in Warner’s case, also physically. In Star Wars, the Leader is Snoke, someone that according to the book “Aftermath: Empire’s End” has been watching and manipulating Kylo since before he was even born.
In Shatter Me, the Leader is Anderson, Warner’s father who treats him like shit. He taught Warner to be merciless and cruel hoping that would destroy the gentle nature of his son.
Warner and Kylo are both murderers, they don’t deny it but find no pleasure in harming someone. They are passionate and intense characters with a great sense of style and beautiful hair (sorry).
The point is, Shatter Me is a trilogy, divided exactly like the Star Wars movies. So, we will show how their dynamics are similar and with luck Mafi’s books will illuminate us, the reylos.
Shatter Me and The Force Awakens:
Presenting the Characters
The book starts with Juliette in prison after years of passing through countless reformatories and mental institutions, her last home is now a solitary cell where she’s been locked for 264 days without no one to talk to but herself.
The only thing that keeps her from losing her mind entirely is the bird she dreams about it:
“Instead, I ignore the desperation sticking my fingers together and watch for the bird I’ve only seen in my dreams.”
“I’ve dreamt about the same bird flying through the same sky for exactly 10 years. White with streaks of gold like a crown atop its head.
It’s the only dream I have that gives me peace.” – Shatter Me. Chapter 6. Pg. 21.
Everything changes when a boy joins her. Adam is someone from her past but he appears to no longer remember her. They talk sometimes but never touch until she discovers that Adam works for the Reestablishment and he was only there to evaluate her.
She’s brought to the headquarters of Sector 45 and is immediately interrogated by Warner. His looks and youth weren’t what she was expecting it:
“I’m immediately struck by his youth. He can’t be much older than me.
It’s obvious he’s in charge of something, though I have no idea what. His skin is flawless, unblemished, his jawline sharp and strong. His eyes are
the palest shade of emerald I’ve ever seen.
He’s beautiful.” – Shatter Me. Chapter 8. Pg. 25.
This is a great parallel with Rey and Kylo’s first meeting. When Kylo removes his mask, Rey is expecting a disfigured almost robotic person and his looks caught her off guard:
“She just stared at him in silence.
In itself the narrow face that looked back at her was not remarkable. It was almost sensitive. If not for the intensity of his gaze, Ren could have passed for someone she might have met on the dusty streets of Niima Outpost. But there was—that gaze. That, and what lay simmering behind it.” - TFA Novelization, Chapter 14.
“That happens when you’re being hunted by a creature in a mask.
Kylo Ren stops, considers her… then reaches up, unlatches
and REMOVES HIS MASK. Rey reacts, stunned. It takes a moment
before she regains her own mask of defiance.” – TFA Script.
The majority of the book is Warner trying to unlock Juliette’s power while she falls in love for Adam who has feelings for her. She discovers that he can, somehow, touch her and they start a relationship without Warner knowing about it. He tries to test her powers and pushes her to her limits using not so good ways to do it but it works with Juliette discovering her super force.
On TFA we see Kylo trying to get inside Rey’s mind. This works like a test, and she discovers she is Force Sensitive. Then Kylo Ren and Rey also create a bond (a deep connection, a link…). For Warner and Juliette this came with him touching her without being killed.
Juliette escapes with Adam leaving Warner in all his anger and confusion. Adam is Juliette’s love interest throughout the first book and since Rey doesn’t have a love interest in TFA there isn’t much to compare. Finn, who is Rey’s companion in the movie is more like Kenji Kishimoto, Julliette’s best friend.
While Kylo’s feelings for Rey aren’t explicitly stated, Warner’s feelings towards Juliette are very clear throughout the first book and even Adam notices that he treats her differently but all she feels for him is hatred and disgust:
“I hate you.”
“So much passion.” He laughs again. He looks so calm, so genuinely amused. He stares at me with eyes softer than I ever expected them to be.
I turn away.” - Shatter Me. Chapter 14.
Juliette and Rey are girls that never had someone who cared for them so the thought of losing Adam and Finn is horrible to them. Warner and Kylo both commit an act of violence against them making their hatred only to solidify. The word “Monster” is used by them to describe Kylo and Warner:
“You’re a monster.” My voice is too even, my body filled with a sudden rage. “Why don’t you just kill me?” - Shatter Me, Chapter 9.
“Ren held his lightsaber, poised to strike. “I could kill you right now. But there is another way.” Breathing hard, Rey looked up in disgust at the man looming above her. “You’re a monster.” – TFA Novelization.
Even with their feelings made clear both men still want these powerful women by their side:
“You and I, Juliette—together? We could be unstoppable.”
I will not look at him though I feel his gaze touching every inch of my body. “No, thank you.”
We’re in the elevator. The world is whooshing past us and the walls of glass make us a spectacle to every person on every floor. There are no secrets in this building.
He touches my elbow and I pull away. “You might reconsider,” he says softly. - Shatter Me. Chapter 13.
“No. You need a teacher.” He was beseeching and insistent all at once. “I can show you the ways of the Force.” – TFA Novelization.
At the end, they both fight. Who wins? Yes, the girls. Rey uses the Force and kicks Kylo’s ass. Juliette uses the attraction that Warner feels for her and shoots him. Then both women runaway with their friends and find their resistance. The men are hurt, but still alive.
Unravel Me and The Last Jedi:
Finding Common Ground
Since The Last Jedi isn’t out yet we will analyze the events of Unravel Me and compare to what may happen in TLJ based in what we know so far.
After scaping from Warner, Juliette and Adam are brought to the resistance by Kenji, their friend. There she meets Castle, a mentor for her, that wants her to train and learn more about her abilities but it’s hard for her. She can’t concentrate in her training and everything seems out of place. As her relationship with Adam starts to crumble, her dreams come back and she doesn’t understand:
“The dreams are back.
They’d left me for a while, shortly after I’d been freshly imprisoned on base with Warner. I thought I’d lost the bird, the white bird, the bird with streaks of gold like a crown atop its head.
(…) It was my one piece of hope in the bitter darkness of the asylum, just until I met its twin tattooed on Adam’s chest.
(..) I thought it was a signal, a message telling me I was finally safe. That I’d flown away and finally found peace, sanctuary.
I didn’t expect to see the bird again.
I’ve had the same dream every night for the past week, and all 7 mornings I’ve woken up shaking, shuddering into the earthy, icy air, struggling to steady the bleating in my chest.
Struggling to understand what this means.” – Unravel Me. Chapter 4. Pg. 28.
The belonging she thought she had found with Adam and Castle’s resistance isn’t real, she still feels incomplete like something is missing.
The same can be said that this might happen with Rey. After her forceback, Maz tells her that the belonging she seeks it’s not behind, in the past, but ahead in her future. Rey thinks it’s about Luke and becoming a Jedi but she might find out that the belonging she wants rests with another person.
Rian Johnson compared TLJ to Letter Never Sent regarding how the story shifts in the middle surprising the audience. We know that Rey and Kylo don’t have the basic hero/villain dynamic and this could be one of the surprising elements. Showcasing their bond and the connection they feel to each other but for this to happen they need to spend time together.
In Unravel Me, Juliette’s feelings about Warner starts to change when she sees him commit an act of kindness:
“And I wish I’d never seen it.
Because something inside of my heart is ripping apart and it feels like fear, it tastes like panic and anxiety and desperation and I don’t know how to understand the image in front of me. I don’t want to see Warner like this. I don’t want to think of him as anything other than a monster.” – Unravel me. Chapter 20. Pg. 101.
Her doubts about him only increases when she meets him again, this time with his father Anderson, the Leader of the Reestablishment:
“And I see the difference in him now. I see what’s changed.
He’s making no effort to hide his emotions from me.” – Unravel Me. Chapter 35. Pg. 154.
Anderson knows about his son’s feelings towards Juliette and plans to kill her in front of him to teach him a lesson:
“The mistake”, he says, almost announcing it now, “that he always makes, time and time again – allowing his emotions to get in the way of his duty – it’s pathetic”, he says, spitting in Warner’s direction. “Which is why as much as I’d like to let you live, my dear, I’m afraid you’re too much of a distraction in his life. I cannot allow him to protect a person who has attempted to kill him” – Unravel Me. Chapter 35. Pg. 157.
Just as we suspected that this was what Snoke wanted to do with Rey, to kill her in front of Kylo because he felt compassion for her:
“Kylo Ren. It appears that a reminder is in order. So, I will show you the dark side. Bring the girl to me.” – TFA Novelization.
Juliette wins over Anderson and Warner is taken as hostage by their resistance. Once there, Castle states that Juliette must interrogate Warner because he’ll only talk to her.
They spent time together and the connection she feels with Warner is stronger than everything she has ever felt:
“Because there’s something about him – there’s always been something about him that’s intrigued me and I don’t understand it. I wish I could ignore it but I can’t.” – Unravel Me. Chapter 50. Pg. 203.
“But I know that I don’t hate you anymore. I’ve tried,” I say, “I’ve tried so hard. Because you’ve done so many terrible, terrible things. To innocent people. To me. But I know too much about you now. I’ve seen too much. You’re too human.” – Unravel Me. Chapter 50. Pg. 207.
They start a strange relationship, Warner thinks he knows her, knows what she feels and she is confused about Warner, not wanting to believe that he can be more than a monster. She likes to spend time with him and she hates herself for that.
She’s the only person to who Warner is kind. He sees her as his equal and explains why he wanted her by his side:
“He looks at me. Really, really looks at me.
“You’re going to go on to do incredible things,” he says. I’ve always known that. I think I just wanted to be a part of it.” – Unravel Me. Chapter 52. Pg. 218.
When Warner discovers that he has abilities, Castle offers him a place there, in their resistance but Warner refuses. That’s not who he is, he can’t change for a matter of days and forget everything he’s done. He knows nothing is that easy because he can sense other people’s feelings, he can feel the hate they have for him and that’s why he can’t stay:
“Feel what?” I whisper.
“What people think of me.”
“Their feelings – their energy – it’s – I don’t know what it is,” he says, frustrated, stumbling backward, shaking his head. “I’ve always been able to tell. I know how everyone hates me. I know how little my father cares for me. I know the agony of my mother’s heart. I know that you’re not like everyone else.” His voice catches. “I know you’re telling the truth when you say you don’t hate me. That you want to and you can’t. Because there’s no ill will in your heart, not toward me, and if there was I would know.” – Unravel Me. Chapter 54. Pg. 227.
Their feelings for one another are so strong that they almost have sex. Warner wants Juliette to go with him, they fight and he escapes alone.
Now back to TLJ, we know that Kylo and Rey will spend some time together on Ahch-To. According to some leaks, Kylo will go after Rey maybe finding her by their “mysterious connection”. He will be stuck on the island with Rey and Luke. Their relationship will evolve (without the “almost have sex” thing, of course), and they will get out of Ahch-To, so who knows?
We only know for certain that Kylo and Rey need to spend time together, their understanding of one another in TLJ is crucial to their future.
Another thing that we will have to wait and see is the answer about Rey’s family. Mafi’s trilogy could give us a way. Juliette was abandoned by her family and we don’t meet them. She is no one, her parents aren’t important to the story only Juliette and the discovery of her abilities are. It’s a good contrast to Warner’s background, he is like royalty, son of the Reestablishment’s Supreme Leader.
A broken young man that meets a strange powerful girl with who he shares a connection. Sounds like something we know?
At the end of book two, everything goes to shit. Their resistance seems to be over and Juliette and Warner seems to be the only survivors making their mission to destroy Anderson.
Based on leaks, it seems that Luke and Rey get off the island and go their separate ways. Luke goes after Snoke while Rey goes after Kylo. If their connection is truly explained and deepened in this movie maybe Rey asks his help to defeat Snoke (we can only hope).
Ignite Me and Episode IX: A forged Alliance?
This segment is basically our hopes and dreams for Rey and Kylo’s relationship since we have no clue to what will happen in Episode IX.
Ignite me sums up everything that me and Lu want for reylo. Obviously, we don’t know anything about the last movie but we want to show you what happens in the last book of the Shatter Me trilogy. Oh, and dream a little.
Juliette is now a strong woman who wants to make things better for the people. She decides to kill Anderson and stop the Reestablishment. Warner doesn’t change so much, he still cold, quiet, with a beautiful hair and only cares about Juliette, the love of his life.
Juliette and Warner spend the whole book together. He’s now the only one she can trust and their bond only grows as the trust is built between them. Warner believes in her and see her as an equal something that Juliette never had before:
“I like the way I feel about myself when I’m with him,” I say quietly. “Warner thinks I’m strong and smart and capable and he actually values my opinion. He makes me feel like his equal – like I can accomplish just as much as he can, and more. And if I do something incredible, he’s not even surprised. He expects it. He doesn’t treat me like I’m some fragile little girl who needs to be protected all the time.” – Ignite Me. Chapter 25. Pg. 105.
In return, Juliette sees the real Warner, someone he tried to hide for so long that he almost lost sight of himself:
“You allow the world to think you’re a heartless murderer,” I tell him. “And you’re not.” – Ignite Me. Chapter 4.
He tells everything to Juliette about his sick mother, why he freed her in the beginning, about the men he killed and everything he did for her. The girl now understands that he is a soldier and not a monster. Juliette finally understands him completely and she accepts who he is, the good and the bad parts of him:
“I’m not trying to fix you; I don’t think you need to be fixed. I’m not trying to turn you into someone else. I only want you to be who you really are. Because I think I know the real you. I think I’ve seen him.” – Ignite Me. Chapter 29. Pg. 120.
If Kylo and Rey spent so much time together as did Warner and Juliette this would be the kind of development that we could see happening between them. They aren’t black and white characters, both Rey and Kylo have darkness in them and the acceptance of each other’s darkness (and light) is crucial to bring balance to them and The Force.
Juliette finally understands what her dreams meant and (shocker) this is the belonging she looked for:
A white bird with streaks of gold like a crown atop its head.
A fair-skinned boy with gold hair, the leader of Sector 45.
It was always him. All along.” – Ignite Me. Chapter 31. Pg. 124.
Juliette only acknowledges that her feelings for him are indeed romantic in the last chapters of the book. That is something that we would like if it happened to Rey and Kylo at the end of the movie.
“What – ‘’ Warner is blinking fast. His voice is fragile, uneven. “What are you saying?”
“I love you,” I whisper. “I love you exactly as you are.” – Ignite Me. Chapter 55. Pg. 200.
Also in this book, Warner loses his mother and Juliette is the only one there to comfort him. The only thing we know about Episode IX is that Leia is not there but this will certainly affect Kylo’s storyline.
“I’ve never, ever seen him look like a child before. Never, not once, not in all the time I’ve known him. But right now, he looks just like a little boy. Scared. Vulnerable. All alone.
“His eyes are red-rimmed and a startling, striking shade of green, shining with barely restrained emotion. His face is the picture of so much pain.
I almost can’t breathe.” – Ignite Me. Chapter 50. Pg. 189.
Now our favorite part is obviously Juliette and Warner working together. They make an alliance and built their own resistance gathering the survivors of the last battle along with Juliette’s friends to fight against the Reestablishment.
I mean, don’t we all want to see Kylo and Rey kicking Snoke’s ass (or Hux, sorry I’m not sorry at all), using the force bond and being amazing together?
This was basically it. We wanted to show how the writer wrote this very similar dynamic respecting the characters and their development making them a couple you want to root for. We expect reylo to be subtler than a YA book since their audience is PG but if TLJ follows just a bit of this same path we don’t need to be worried about Episode IX at all.