you know why I like redemption narratives? because a redemption narrative says: no matter how broken or wrong or bad or stupid or ridiculous or harmful or sad or terrible, you can atone.
there is still a road back. it might be rocky and steep, complicated and messy. walking it may take all your life. you may lose your foothold, slip and fall back into the abyss, but the wall is still there. the ascent is still there. hard is not the same as impossible.
you are never too far gone. you are never beyond saving.
How do we know Ben understood this? And why does it matter?
Luke Force projects himself on Crait to face Ben, in a Space Western like showdown, where dirt has become salt and stings the bleeding wounds of Ben’s psyche.
But Luke is not there to save him. No!
He actually says it twice, to Leia first, then to her son. He is there to admit his guilt to the person that was hurt the most by his actions. “I failed you Ben, I am sorry”
He is there to atone.
Facing Ben, means facing the tragic moment he thought he should kill his nephew and finally taking responsibility for ALL the consequences. He is giving Ben a chance to act on his anger in a cathartic and healing way as @huntedbyacreature explained, but doing so, he is also punishing, literally sacrificing himself, because he knows, this will kill him.
He is taking away the guilt that Ben could have felt if he had truly killed him, while still allowing him to release his resentment. Watch Kylo/Ben pouring all his hatred into striking Luke’s image, where he appears exactly the same as the day he raised his lightsaber to his nephew. Luke is not only taking Ben back to this moment, but himself too. He is accepting of his fate, by lowering his lightsaber this time.
At the end of the showdown, we see Ben realising:
‘that man’ is only a ghost image of his uncle.
As he understands this, he whispers ‘No’…
Ben knows that Luke is now dying.
During his first Force connection with Rey, when he sees her he says:
“You’re not doing this. The effort would kill you”
Ben knows that such Force projection is at the cost of one’s life!
I think this barely audible no, was not said in anger and frustration but in shock at understanding Luke’s sacrifice, which is meant to help Ben heal his wounds and compell him to face the guilt of killing his father.
A little more on the context: The entire planet is covered in salt layered over a bleeding like earth. The colour red is striking against the white mineral. Salt hurts when placed on a wound but is also used to disinfect and cleanse.
Salt is traditionally seen as a symbol of life, friendship and healing.
The planet is, in a way, a metaphor for guilt and the pain that has to be endured during the healing process.
So I am coming back to my theory that Kylo/Ben experiences an epiphany at the end TLJ.
He has cleansed the gaping wound that created Kylo Ren, therefore the healing process can start. He is now ready to face his own sins, instead of focusing on his anger and those who wronged him.
No more excuses. No one else to kill. Just him and his conscience.
you know how there was all that “Son,Sun” symbolism tied in with Kylo in The Force Awakens?
Well remember how Holdo quoted Leia,
“Hope is like the sun. If you only believe it when you see it you’ll never make it through the night”.
And the direct parallel with Leia saying “the galaxy has lost all its hope” and “I know my son is gone” in a dark room with little sunlight, after Leia was looking through the giant bunker doors into the sunlight, and then turning away and closing it, effectively shutting out the Sun (her hope). Then when Luke walks in his shadow sort of looks like Kylo from force awakens with light behind him and it seems like hope has arrived.
But Luke is just an illusion alluding to the actual hope that exists with Rey (of light/hope), and neither Luke or Rey have lost hope for Ben, they just realise he’s got to save himself.
And then Luke having parallel phrases like “No ones ever truly gone.” to Leia and “Hope is not lost today,” to Ben.
And Rey was all like “Then he’s our last hope.” to Luke about Ben, at night after the sun had set on Ach-To. This after seeing a vision that was misinterpreted about the future of Rey and Ben from their own points of view, but was most likely still the truth.
And the broken saber, aka the fact that the kyber inside broke in two, and Kyber comes from the heart of the strongest stars/suns. So BASICALLY THE HEART OF THE SUN/SON IS BROKEN, just like his cracked bleeding heart reflected in his own kyber crystal in his light saber, where it was once silver and whole and blue. And now the heart/kyber is in two, representing ‘TWIN SUNS’ that will still work on their own but are stronger together. Two suns of hope, a Rey/ray of light and ‘Help me Obi-wan (Ben) Kenobi. You’re my only hope.”
And then there were all those sunbeams falling on Ben in his last scene, driving out the darkness that surrounds him and that had surrounded Leia, about lost hope being regained and or reborn (in a place where the rebellion/hope was “reborn”).
Also as other awesome people on this sight have pointed out (I’m sorry I can’t remember which blog it is so say if this was primarily you) about the sun rising and setting symbolism. And the last thing Luke sees before he enters the force, after having hope live with Rey and his belief in his nephew Ben, is not one, but TWO suns, both a call back to the start of his journey with the binary sunset, and a symbol of him passing on the torch.
That even though the “suns” pass beneath the horizon with his passing, they will both rise again tomorrow - and he sees it and passes away with “Peace and Purpose” - twins suns, and twin souls, of hope.
… imma just leave this here. Bring it J.J.
(apologies for the continuous ‘Ands’ I was in a mad dash).
This scene in itself resume so well the character of kylo ren , the pain, the conflict, the angst & drama, the strength, and the struggle.
… this is sooo intense, so powerful.
Adam plays it perfectly, you can read it in his eyes , at this moment , he his, kylo Ren.
This is true perfection.
i am cutting my hair off and dyeing it again, wearing new colors, painting my face different shades. watch me exchange girl for battlecry, silence for thunderstorm, this body for a clean one. i am going to be new. i am going to be a girl you never hurt, a girl you’ll never know about. i do not want to be beautiful, i want to be so goddamn untouchable that no one will ever lay a hand on me again. watch this disaster unfold. this is not pretty, like fire, it is only destructive. it is only biting. i am only teeth.
Anakin…exists relative to the state of the galaxy. He is not Luke, he is not the youth of western literature on a journey; that is Luke’s role. Anakin’s role is that of the demi-god of Greek and Roman origin. When Anakin rises, the galaxy rises with him, when Anakin is in turmoil, the galaxy is in turmoil, when Anakin falls, so falls the galaxy. Anakin is intrinsic to the galaxy because Anakin, like so many other mythological demi-gods, is an avatar for the gods or, in the case of Star Wars, the Force. Regardless of any one person’s views on the Force (which are extremely disparate and widely varied, so we won’t broach that subject here), this fact is indisputable. Anakin, as the Chosen One who will “bring balance to the Force”, is its avatar. When Anakin is claimed by the Dark, the Jedi Order’s zenith is reached, the Balance is tipped, and the Order descends into darkness with Anakin, just as his return also signals theirs.
The title ‘Return of the Jedi’ doesn’t just reference Luke becoming a Jedi, but Anakin’s return to the Light, and with it, the ability for the Jedi Order to once more flourish. In this he is much like Beowulf, when the Geatish hero sacrifices himself to defeat the dragon at the end of the epic poem. Failure would spell ultimate destruction for Beowulf’s people and country, just as, had Anakin failed to destroy the Emperor, the Jedi and the galaxy would truly have been wiped out. Anakin himself has to die, however, because he is what tips the scales. Once he dies and becomes one with the Force, only then is balance restored.
This right here is absolutely fundamental to understanding the entire purpose of the Skywalker saga, as Lucas so painstakingly told it. The destruction of the old Jedi Order that had ‘lost its way’ and forgotten its true role in the galaxy, and the founding of the New, heralded by Anakin’s return to the Light, and Luke’s essential role in reminding him—and us all—of what it means to be a True Jedi.