Ok so, anti Kylo Ren people - I don’t understand them. Not in the sense that I can’t understand why someone wouldn’t like Kylo - you like what you like or not - but it’s the analysis of the character, something you can interpret on a sliding scale of better or worse accuracy, that strikes me as profoundly odd. It’s completely in defiance not in just to what we’ve been given in the material but also to the things the directors and actors have said themselves explicitly. Which is just…weird. It’s like alternative facts land. It gets especially weird when comparing him to Anakin, which antis always seem to do in a way that treats suffering as a vulgar balance beam of precisely measurable and predictable quantity and quality.
“Unlike Anakin, Kyle Ron grew up with 2 parents who loved him”
No offense but - so?? Barring the very few wrongheaded outliers who label Han and Leia as abusive and uncaring (and to whom antis seem determined to sniff out and then cling to like a barnacle as a way of judging the wider fandom), most of us recognize the genuine parental love Han and Leia have for their son. My question is since when has love alone ever been enough to keep a young man from falling into darkness? Especially when said young man is growing up in a complicated family situation. If that were the case our world would be a less fucked up place than it is now.
Yes, Han and Leia loved Ben. But guess what? You can love your child and still be a dysfunctional family. You can care a lot for your kid and still make bad choices. You can still try to do your best and fail miserably. You can even do these things and inflict damage because you love them so much. Leia recognizes this - she thought she was doing good in sending Ben away to Luke for training. She was wrong and the decision hurt rather than helped, regardless of her intentions. She said so in the fucking movie.
I find it funny that the people who are vehemently against the idea of love, either from Leia or Rey or Luke or whoever, playing a part in Kylo’s redemption because they think love doesn’t redeem bad men and the notion is toxic are the same people who think love should have kept Ben Solo from becoming Kylo Ren in the first place. That’s some outstanding cognitive dissonance. The idea that because Han and Leia loved Ben and he grew up in a materially comfortable setting compared to his granddaddy somehow eliminates for him profound suffering and turmoil or immunizes Han or Leia from making long-lasting errors as parents and human beings is laughable to me.
I grew up with a super critical and moody father. It often felt like he didn’t like me or my brother. It was only later that my dad confessed that he thought he was being helpful by chewing us out all the time even though it had the opposite effect on us. And my dad loved the shit out of me. But he didn’t realize the damage he was doing and it wasn’t intended but his own flaws kept him from realizing that and by then, the damage was done and there was no taking it back. Granted, I didn’t join a murderous regime, but then again I don’t live in a galaxy far, far away.
To refresh, reminder that these are canon facts: 1. Han admitted to being uncomfortable around Ben because of his powers. 2. According to both Carrie (”We neglected him a little”) and Adam Driver (”having these incredible powers and not having his parents really be around”), and supplemental material (Bloodline) that Leia and Han ran a contentious household with their work keeping them divided at times. 3. Ben didn’t even know about his true heritage and he found out not through his family but through someone outing his mother as Vader’s daughter. By then he had already been sent to Luke to learn to control himself.
And honestly, to reduce the Solo/Organa family situation as being informed above all else by the love Han and Leia had for their son is to completely erase the strength that outside forces had in tearing the family apart.
Antis will unfavorably compare Anakin’s life to Kylo by saying “Anakin was a former slave who was then manipulated by Palpatine so it makes him more understandable” but like uh Ben was preyed upon by a dark entity since he was in the womb - since he was in the womb. Mama Leia says even says in the movie that it was Snoke who seduced their son, so I don’t get what distinguishing Palpatine’s manipulations while erasing Snoke’s does except make anti-Kylos look like hypocrites.
And then there is this whole “Han offered Kylo redemption and he didn’t take it so that’s that!”
Yeah. Han offered Kylo a chance to come back. It was the last thing he did. And he did it 6 years after Kylo fell. And after 29 years of constant struggle and misunderstanding that constituted Ben/Kylo’s life. He did so at Leia’s prompting. Not that he didn’t want his son back too - he did and he was sincere about it - but he also showed more doubt than his wife. This is gonna sound harsh but from an in-universe perspective and certainly from the character’s perspectives that’s not good enough. That’s not to downplay the love with which the gesture was made or the wrongness of Kylo’s decision. But what Han offered in that moment was just that - a moment. And redemption needs more than a moment, it requires a journey. Han even acknowledges his failures in the last moments of his life, hoping that Kylo will someday forgive him too.
What Han did wasn’t showing a way back, it was a more of a drop-everything-and-run-away-with-me proposition that did not resolve all the underlying issues subsequent actions that led to their estrangement in the first place.
Again, there is a certain irony that anti-Kylo/anti-redemption folks who quip this line that Han was offering redemption and Kylo rejecting it and killing him therefore his chance are over are often the same ones who scorn the idea of Rey or Leia playing a role in Kylo’s redemption. Yet (putting aside that this is mischaracterizing how most of us envision the redemption arc going) by taking the position of the former, aren’t you contradicting yourself with the latter by acknowledging that yes, redemption can be given through love? Because that is what is being said when you say Han had the solution.
At any rate, the way back must be something that Kylo finds on his own, not have given to him, with others serving as influences and inspirations but not as his patrons of good. This whole analysis of redemption being closed to Kylo Ren, of him being a “privileged white boy” who threw it all away or of his life being so comparatively better than Anakin’s thus rendering any parallels between them moot is just wrongheaded. There is a lot we don’t know yet and have been promised by those involved in the film to see, including Kylo’s “humanity”. If you’re one of those people with the viewpoint that I have spent this entire post taking down, my honest to god non-snarky recommendation is that you either adjust your reading of the material and change your expectations or not see Episode 8 at all. You will be profoundly confused, angered or disappointed otherwise.