becoming part ii

6

S I X  O F  C R O W S   →   alternative book covers (part i · part ii)

editorial magazine · vintage hardcover
decorative · handlettering
typography · penguin paperback

I.
You didn’t expect to laugh at her jokes that she said with her air of nonchalance, you didn’t expect to look forward to seeing her everyday. You didn’t expect your heart to warm and shift from blue to yellow when she half smiled and looked down. You didn’t expect to hang on to each word she said as if her voice was dry land and you were drowning in the way she spoke- full of some unspoken intellectual ferocity that fueled and stirred you all at once. You certainly didn’t expect to fall in love with her- the sparkle in her eyes when she gazed at the sky or the way she would push her hair out of her face for it to only fall back into her eyes. You didn’t expect to become a slave to her laugh, the way she would cover her radiant smile in a display of maddening modesty. You didn’t expect to miss her whenever she was away. You didn’t expect her to become a part of you.

II.
You didn’t expect her to be dangerous. You didn’t expect her to leave you when all you wished for was her by your side and you never thought she was cruel enough to turn the “I love you” that blazed in your mouth into bitter ashes. You didn’t expect her to hold your hand only to break your wrists or hold you close only to break your heart. You didn’t expect her to draw blood. You didn’t expect to bleed to what felt like death.

III.
You didn’t expect her to stay after she left. You didn’t expect your heart to lurch when you saw a book that made her eyes glow with passion and lips to part in a smile that bespoke excitement. You didn’t expect her name to taste so torturously like her kisses so you couldn’t pronounce the name that defined your heartbreak. You didn’t expect to think of her when you crossed the streets you once walked together and you didn’t expect to chase her even during your sleep, begging her to return to you. You didn’t expect to tremble with longing when you realized she wasn’t beside you and she never would be again. You didn’t expect her to leave such catastrophic shards of emotion in her wake, like a hurricane that shows no mercy.

—  ap (12.16)
“You Should Be Scared Of Me.” Why Kylo Ren Actually Isn’t A Whiny, One-Dimensional Antagonist

     It was late 2013. News of the Disney acquisition of Lucasfilm had been known and a teaser trailer dropped for a new Star Wars film. Stormtroopers, new characters, a new droid and a familiar ship flash or jump into frame. And then we see a shot from behind of a black clad figure walking in a snowy forest and then ignites a splotchy red lightsabe-wait, woat two smallers blades as a crossguard? Oh how that split the internet.

     My personal thoughts on this teaser and what to expect for this film wasn’t anything eccentric or fanboying. I’m able to set aside my deep love for Star Wars and see it for what it is. Not pessimistic or putting on Star Wars colored glasses; simply unbiased. I didn’t freak out about the teaser, nor the following trailer. I felt this film would be like Darksaber, Shadows Of The Empire, The Force Unleashed (I and II) and what not: Expanded Universe. Where it’s all part of the story, but secondary to the primary canon which is the six films. But I opened my mind to it. I, to an extent forgot about that “The Force Awakens is just EU.” and went with it. I loathe rumors. I know it’s fun to ask what if and speculate, but in this information age it’s quite excessive, and I’m being sarcastic. It’s very excessive. Speculation on a jacket or a staff. But the main reason I hate rumors and speculation is that there is only one truth. There’s only one answer or way something is going to happen, and that’s the only version I care about. Why get your hopes on a really good sounding “Jacket Speculation Theory” and find out the truth only to be let down or have your perception of the film shifted (which is not a good feeling) by the film itself.

     So what I saw about Star Wars from ‘13 to December 16th, ‘15 was selective. I think it’s better to forget about something you’re looking forward to when it’s far away so you’re not continuously reminded of the time inbetween you and opening day. I was asked about Kylo Ren on here and whether or not I would be doing an in-depth on him and I wasn’t the slightest interested. Then I saw the film, twice. I thought he would just be a Darth Maul gun for hire like/iron fist character, but I was wrong. Kasdan, Abrams and Arndt made dimensional characters with layers. Ahh layers, something this guy likes!

     Something else that divides the internet somewhat is this character himself. In this corner we have the people who understand Kylo Ren is a layered and multi-dimensional character who is struggling with emotions.

And in this corner, we have people who were utterly disappointed when the cool mask had a soft, weak face beneath it and he was a….well

     The line between ‘deeply complex and tormented person’ and ‘whiny complainer’ is pretty thick but apparently can be a thin one at times. Kylo Ren is not a whiny child, and through the process of an analysis I would like to defend my point

——————It should be obvious that from this point on there will be major and minor spoilers from Star Wars: The Force Awakens.——————–

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Part I: From Solo To Servant

     Of course, we need to begin by defining Ben Solo. We only know so much, and my only source is the film. He is the son of Leia Skywalker and Han Solo and was eventually a pupil of Luke Skywalker among many in the rebuilding of the Jedi. It is to be assumed that Han was not the best father to his son or maybe not around. Ben resented him for it. This is shown through the dialogue when Ben says “He was weak and foolish like his father, so I destroyed him.”

     It wasn’t just this one thing or any other family troubles that would bring him to the Knights Of Ren. It was Snoke. This mysterious person is the Supreme Leader of an opposition to the New Republic. If you think about it, The First Order is the new Rebellion, it’s just been flipped from the good guys to the bad. The First Order is rebelling against the major galactic government, this time it’s the bad guys. Snoke knew of Ben Solo and that the blood of the Skywalker ran through him. He would be a powerful ally to his rebellion against the New Republic. He elevated his resentment to his father and convinced him of his political ideas (maybe) and made him a Knight of The Knights Of Ren.     It’s not a stretch to believe that Han was right, and that Snoke is using Ben for his own gain. But Ben’s hatred blinds and pushes him forward. The more he goes down the dark path, the further down he’s buried from the light. But we enter at a time where he isn’t totally Dark Side. “I feel it again, the call to the light.” We can call our conscious screaming at us many things other than what it is. This state of denial while we’re trying to believe these ideals that are wrong. His insecurities have been magnified by Snoke to control him. It’s emotions and placating his ego and dark desires (like for his father to pay for his negligence). Ben is so distracted by himself and his anger that he becomes  Snoke’s servant.

Sound familiar?


Part II: Psychosis Analysis     A better analysis can be written with more information. At least the remaining two films and some other canon material. But as of what we know, Kylo Ren is quite the temperamental man. On two instances, we see him ignite his lightsaber and go to town on a wall of controls on his Star Destroyer. It’s flashy, raw, spontaneous and unsettling. Or at least it should be. What this should convey to the audience is unpredictability with violent tendencies. We need to understand that he could be anywhere from 19 to 32 years old. Let’s say he’s in his twenties. Ignoring his parent and possibly parents, we have a rebellious teenager, sure, but there are many different types. You can be overly sensitive, short tempered, violent or many other things depending on who you are. Ben has his grandfather’s temper but with less control.      

     This is partially due to his environment compared to Anakin’s. What was it like in Ben’s youth? Where did he live? Did he move around? Another part is his parents. Leia was a wonderful mother, let’s face it, I mean can you imagine? She has the heart and the firmness to discipline and raise a beautiful young man, rich in strength and compassion, like his grandmother Padme. As a Skywalker, it’s a 50/50: do you become the love and strength of Padme or the immaturity, insecurity and temper of Anakin. Luke became like Padme; Leia, who was raised by an entirely different family and world, was assuredly Padme. The children turned out well. And Ben turned out to be Anakin. He coincidentally was tempted by evil. And when you get insecure and temperamental mixed with evil seduction, well, we get this     

     Luke or Leia didn’t turn out to be like their father, Ben did. It seemed to skip a generation in likeness. Then we have Han. His negligence just helped to spike Ben’s anger and with that anger and angst at a young age puts up walls and stunts maturity. This explains his tantrums. It’s not that he’s a baby, but he isn’t very controlled in his emotions. His inner conflict contributes to this. When you’re confused and conflicted, you can be edgy or short tempered to outside things such as someones failures or annoying you at a wrong time. Kylo has anxiety, he has anger issues and he’s shutting out the people he loves. He loves his father; he loves his mother, but he’s angry and nothing’s comforting that. Resolving these issues is personal, and Snoke butted right on in and distorted his perception on it all.

     The tone of his voice when talking to his father and when he’s by himself, as well as his facial expressions show his conflict. The light in him isn’t too far away, and the film showed us that he needed one more thing for initiation.


Part III: In Defense (What Ren’s Character Really Is)

     There are many complaints about the Force Awakens. While there is assuredly praise for it, with a current 93% on Rotten Tomatoes and an 8.4 on IMDB, major YouTube movie reviewers such as Chris Stuckmann, Shmoes Know and Jeremy Jahns kindly praising it and others like the Nostalgia Critic liking it. The majority of the people who didn’t like it are unintelligent. Whether they’re not very familiar with Star Wars, don’t really understand Star Wars or are just unintelligent people with valueless opinions. But people who understand and don’t understand Star Wars might feel the same about Kylo Ren. It takes looking closer to understand that…

…is not true.

     Of what I could gather (from hearing many negative review videos ranging from 8 minutes to over an hour long), as well as other self-aware and lighthearted approaches here on Tumblr in fan art and gifs that people perceive Kylo Ren as a ‘whiny bitch’ or an ‘Anakin 2.0′. People hark back to 2002 with Hayden Christensen.

‘kay I’m gonna stop right there and clarify something.

Like with most things, Hayden’s performance was grossly exaggerated by merely two scenes of the film. People find Anakin whiny, mistaking his conflict for whining. First of all, he’s about 19 or 20, he has abandonment issues and is introvertive and he’s cocky as well as emotional. He’s still a kid and a conflicted one. In the overall performance, he’s mostly not whiny. It’s the minority of the film and is taken as the main defining character trait. Lucas was mirroring Luke (because he was whiny too).

ugh

Anyway!

     Kylo Ren is like Anakin in subtle ways. There are parallels and then there differences. Anakin wasn’t temperamental like Kylo was. Of course, Anakin was in the Jedi Temple among practically monks so he was tamed through his training. Kylo Ren had a negligent father and his living circumstances are unknown. Was Han always around? Was the fact they didn’t end up staying together shown in them fighting in Ben’s childhood? Were they always on the move or in danger?

     Anakin, Luke and Ben had their immaturities and whiny moments, but whiny wasn’t their dominating character trait. Actually, Ben wasn’t really whiny. He was introvertive like his grandfather. When you see him sometimes without his mask off, he looks like he’s holding back a burst of rage while attempting to keep a cool face. He’s a mess, but he’s quiet about it.

     When Kylo Ren slashes the wall up in anger, it’s immature. But it’s freaky too. Have you been in a situation where someone suddenly wrecks everything in her or his path? Guys, if we see another guy doing that, we tend to call them out for acting irrational and throwing a tantrum like a baby. Heck, not just guys! But have you been in a situation where it happens to someone you barely know? That unexpected bout of loud and violent destruction. Have you ever felt uncomfortable and afraid of that? The latter is what Abrams is illustrating in The Force Awakens.

     Of course it’s immature, but it shows he’s trying to show he can have his episode and snap back to calm, in which it doesn’t matter to people around him whether they think it’s stupid, they don’t know what to expect and he could get away with it. 

     When we see this scene, the intent is to show he’s chaotic on the inside and making things difficult by believing the Dark Side and Snoke. It’s meant to be a violent and flashy ‘room trashing’ moment that shows someone isn’t in control of his emotions (notably anger) and being it comes out of nowhere, it shows he’s dangerous and unpredictable. It should surprise and make you feel uncomfortable and not aware what could happen next with him. His emotions are not in control and he doesn’t have guidance. He is lost to an extent and Snoke is the only one to fill that void.


Part IV: Conclusion

     Kylo Ren is a mess. He has a conscious that is telling him the truth about his parents and the right side of The Force. But he has fear, anger and uncertainty. He was tempted by Snoke for Snoke’s personal gain. He needed support, validation and counseling for how he felt about his father. Yet he was told by Snoke to fully go Dark Side he would have to destroy the source of his pain. For initiation. And he didn’t want to do it, but his anger wanted to. He used his conflict as an act to bring him close enough to strike. In a way, it was real, but Kylo Ren is in such denial, he’s distant from reality. So he fakes it and Solo falls for it. The tone in his voice when he announces his father is dead to Rey and Finn. The dialogue between Han and his son. It shows conflict and that he’s hiding feelings for the purpose of fueling his anger, which is selfish, and maybe getting power if he’s power hungry.

     He’s selfish and immature, but you don’t see him stomping his feet and pouting. No, he takes his anger out physically and almost at random. Which I feel for and understand reflects his choice to use anger as a channel for the incomplete feeling and anxiety, mixed with the stress and pressure from his master that lies beneath the black cloth. He needs to be validated and comforted. He needs Snoke to be gone because he’s only confusing his already troubled family issues and personal problems. But he’s of the Dark Side now. So what next? What can you do? Let’s hope Rian Johnson delivers on that.

- Matthew Humcke

“Beyond the senses is the mind, beyond the mind is the intellect, higher than the intellect is the Great Atman, higher than the Great Atman is the Unmanifest. Beyond the Unmanifest is the Being, all−pervading and imperceptible. Having realized Him, the embodied self becomes liberated and attains Immortality. His form is not an object of vision; no one beholds Him with the eye. One can know Him when He is revealed by the intellect free from doubt and by constant meditation. Those who know this become immortal.”

-Katha Upanishad, Part II, Chapter III, 7-9

Naruhina does nothing but diminishes Hinata's character. Long ass post

First of all, everyone who knows me knows that I am a huge proponent of Sasuhina. A crackship. This is partly due to the reasons listed below and due to the fact that kishimoto has no grasp on writing love so he can’t fudge up a crackship like he did to the canon ones. I also support Narusaku from the sidelines due to many reasons but this post is about Hinata.

I found that I am one of the very few Hinata lovers who doesn’t like Naruhina as a relationship. I know, I know, blasphemy right? “Don’t you want Hinata to be happy if she’s your favorite character?” Honest to god, I do. I love her with all my heart. I remember she was the kunoichi that I actually liked. Sakura was a bitter 12 year old sasuke fangirl, but even then she grew to be a wonderful woman like the others. 

Hinata is a wonderful character. Beautiful, thoughtful, kind, warm, strong, shy and a hell of a kunoichi. She grew stronger and stronger with hard work and became a really admirable woman. She was everything I wanted to become when I was younger. But that changes whenever she is mentioned with Naruto. We never really get to see Hinata without mentioning or bringing up Naruto. Her whole character becomes naruto-centered in Part II unlike part I. In part I, we see her relationship with her father, her cousin, and everything that her character is about. We see her struggles, especially with Neji in Part I. Her development during Part I was absolutely phenomenal. But there are some wrongdoings on her part BECAUSE of her obsession with Naruto that people seem to ignore. They see Naruto as someone positive in Hinata’s life. Giving her strength, but in actuality Naruto has crippled her character. 

When we see the rookies in the written examination portion of Chunin exams, everyone is struggling with the exam. Hinata on the other hand does not. She offers Naruto answers to the exam. That’s great except for that fact that she jeopardized her own team’s success. If caught, they will NEVER have the opportunity to retake the Chunin exams ever again. That put Naruto’s team in jeopardy too. Because she wanted to impress Naruto and help him, she put him in danger instead. 

Sakura on the hand, wants to raise her hand and give up. But why? For Naruto’s sake. She doesn’t want Naruto to give up his dream, so she is willing to give up and try again next year for HIS sake. Instead of jeopardizing other people for the sake of love, Sakura wants to give up because she knows how badly Naruto wants to become Hokage. 

So one relationship helps a person grow(Sakura), while the other breaks the person’s(Hinata) development apart.

As a huge Hinata fan, I was rendered speechless by her sheer admiration of a person she hardly knows to the point where she doesn’t think about her teammates.

This theme also resonates throughout the fighting portion of the Chunin exams. Hinata cheers for Naruto instead of her own teammate, Kiba. She understands it is wrong, but she does it anyway. Why would you cheer for someone you hardly knew instead of a person you’re suppose to cheer for? Have Naruto and Hinata interacted before the chunin exams to the point where it causes her to cheer for him? I understand wanting to support the person you supposedly love, but there is a point where it becomes obsessive. 

Cheering someone other than your teammate is not considered good development. 

While people see Hinata’s love for Naruto as something positive, I certainly don’t because we never see her negative development outisde of her several interactions with Naruto. And don’t tell me it’s because she is a side character so of course it’s revolved around Naruto. 

There have many side characters that have developed without the need to revolve Naruto every single time. 

Besides Naruto affecting Hinata, Hinata didn’t have an affect on Naruto throughout the 700 chapters of serialization. Sakura, Sasuke, Iruka, and many others have impacted his legacy and journey way more than Hinata has ever did. 

Sakura has shown more support to Naruto and encouraged him since the very beginning while Hinata was on the sidelines. That is one reason why Narusaku’s relationship makes more sense. It is not just friendship but they build each other up while their other relationships tear them down. This is a huge part of why i’m a proponent of Naruto and Sakura’s relationship. Just read the manga for their story, because this post isn’t about Sakura.The only reason why people disapprove of this is because they love Hinata more than Sakura. They love Hinata, so they automatically throw her to the main protagonist’s side instead of thinking. That is why I resorted to a crack ship for my favorite character, Hinata. If you follow their journey, it’s obvious which couple has more positive development versus negative. 

In part II, we hardly see Hinata as a character except for when Naruto is brought up. Without Naruto, what does that diminish her character to? Her whole character revolves around Naruto. Without him, she is basically just nothing in Part II. 

In the infinite Tsukuyomi, we can see everyone’s thoughts and dreams. Hinata is pictured dreaming about who? Right, Naruto. Granted, the other girls also dreamt about love. That is another reason why I think Kishimoto cannot write proper female characters. To females, there are more than just love. Dead feminists everywhere are probably kicking around in their graves. Kishmoto writing females like that is misogynistic and wrong. He could’ve had Hinata dream about becoming stronger, becoming the Hyuga clan’s leader, dreaming about Neji being alive, dreaming about having a loving family with Hiashi and Hanabi. Anything but love for Jesus christ. This applies to the other girls too. 

Naruhina not only diminishes her character, but brings nothing but negative development to Hinata. Neji, her team, Kurenai had a bigger impact on Hinata’s character than Naruto ever will. 

Kishimoto has ruined my favorite charatcer by revolving her around one person, stunting her growth in Part II. Her character had so much potential to be something more than just romance fodder. It’s the same thing with Sakura really(and partially why I support Narusaku since they help each other grow), but I digress. 

Kishimoto has no idea of what love is and it is evident in his work. He romanticizes unhealthy relationships and imposes a misogynistic view in his writing. 

These are my personal thoughts on Hinata and Naruhina, and you don’t have to agree with them if you think otherwise.