So one of the things I love about watching Star Wars: A New Hope after having watched all the other Star Wars movies is how… well… how normal Luke’s upbringing appears to have been.
It’s not just that he was loved. It’s clear that Breha and Bail Organa loved Leia immensely. But she was a princess functionally from birth, and then became a senator at–what? eighteen, nineteen, twenty? Something like that. She was much loved and much trusted, obviously, but her upbringing must have been… “unusual” would be putting it mildly. As a teenager she was learning statecraft and politics–and deception.
And their mother must have been the same way, queen from such a young age, raised and trained to rule. And their father–loved, yes, deeply, and I have no doubt that his mother did her best to protect Anakin from the worst parts of slavery–but he was still a slave, as was she, and there was only so much they could do.
But Luke! Luke got the gift of a perfectly normal childhood. All the jokes about Luke, the whining about wanting to go to TOSCHE station to pick up some POWER CONVERTERS–the snippy teenagery conversation he has with his uncle about waiting “a whole nother year????”–the shooting womp rats in his T-16 back home–the fact that left to his own devices, at the same age that Leia is deciding THE FATE OF HER PLANET, he’s still playing with model spaceships…..
…they’re all signs that he had a normal childhood. That he’s a normal eighteen, nineteen, twenty, whatever year old.
I mean, he grew up in a situation where it was completely safe for him to whine to his parent figures. He knew that Lars and Beru wouldn’t make him pay for his “but I wanted to go to TOSCHE STATION” or for his “I want to go to the academy THIS year” or whatever. Unlike basically every other Skywalker ever he grew up without a ton of extra pressure, without a “oh by the way you’re going to be king of [planet]” stuff, without “also you’re the Destined Future of the Jedi.” They didn’t raise a legacy, or a scion–they just raised a child. (In point of fact, that’s why Yoda almost rejects him: he’s too old, and he was raised too normal.)
And since Owen and Beru obviously knew perfectly well who and what he was, that’s actually an astonishing accomplishment. They were delivered an infant who they knew had the approximate destructive power of a nuclear device, and they still raised him as… a kid, a child, a boy who they loved with the same mixture of exasperation and devotion as any parent-figures.
He grew up as a kid, with a gruff but loving uncle and a sweet-tempered aunt, he grew up skeet-shooting womp rats and hanging out with his friends in Anchorhead when he had an excuse to go into town–and it’s clear how safe he feels with them because he does whine and moan and have fits without any apparent worry that he’s going to pay for it later. He whines and moans in the way I did at that age: in perfect confidence that while my parents might temporarily snap at me, they would never hurt me, and they would always love me. And that all they really wanted for me was to grow up safe and happy.
tl;dr: Luke Skywalker: the last of the Jedi(?) but also maybe the first of the Jedi to grow up in a normally functional childhood.
(I also really, really want to see the story in which he grieves his aunt and uncle for more than ten seconds. Perhaps I will write it.)
“She was so committed to joy and fun and embracing life. She had an Auntie Mame quality to her. I would do crazy things to amuse her on the set. Making her laugh was always a badge of honor.” - Mark Hamill