I’m rewatching TFA for the 2187th time and every time I wonder about that “Don’t be afraid, I feel it too”. I haven’t read much about it from the fandom, but I guess it’s been discussed over and over in the first months after the movie release.
I’ll start by saying that, in my country, this line has been translated with something that in English would be “you’re afraid, I feel this too” aka “I feel your fear”. Which, for me, is a completely wrong translation (and one of the reasons I’m scared of what the dubbing might fuck up in TLJ).
In the original, I think the words refer to what is happening between them in that moment. My theory is that, given they had visions of each other and all of that, Kylo kind of expects to feel something ‘special’ when searching through her mind. It’s probably because he knows how the Force works better than Rey, so he expects a certain kind of feeling, while Rey is completely clueless. So when they start feeling this ‘connection’, we have a confused Rey and a ‘knowing’ Kylo (I don’t know how to describe it, but his expression when saying those words is almost a ‘I knew it’ expression. Not satisfied, but close to it? His lips even crook into something that looks like the beginning of a smirk, while a moment before he was dead serious).
I also got the feeling, watching the scene, that he’s comforting both her and himself when saying those words. Think about it: he had visions of her, he has this strange feeling that their destinies are intertwined and it’s all very confusing to him, but when confronting Rey, he realizes she’s as confused as he is. They’re both in that situation, he finally found another person who might understand him. So that “don’t be afraid, I feel it too” sounds like “you’re not alone, we’re in this together”.
What Kylo doesn’t expect, of course, is that Rey is strong enough to read into his mind as well. He probably thought that an untrained Force-sensitive person wouldn’t be able to do that, hence the shock when Rey reveals his deepest fear. Plus, I’m sure no one knows about the Force-bond, given that it’s a topic that hasn’t been really explored before (yes, we have that glimpse of a Force bond between Luke and Leia in the OT, but they never really go further into explanations), so he doesn’t really get what is happening.
I’m not sure how to finish this, except by saying that I’m very excited to find out how they’re gonna explore the Force-bond topic in the next movies!