three generations of greatness

Okay so let’s talk about Ben Solo as a child

Imagine, in the scale of the Star Wars universe, in a galaxy of literally trillions, being directly related to at least five of the most historically significant people of the past fifty years. Imagine the kind of pressure that was on him to measure up to the legacy of his family. Even if his being Anakin and Padme’s grandson isn’t common knowledge, he still knows, and everyone who knows him still knows that he’s the son of Leia Organa, general-slash-diplomat-slash-senator-slash-princess, and Han Solo, war hero and infamous smuggler. His uncle is Luke goddamn Skywalker. This kid was born into the shadow of giants. Imagine him growing up with everyone expecting him to be just as great as his parents and uncle (and grandparents). Imagine the terror he must have had of never doing anything noteworthy, of never becoming great, of being the first Skywalker in three generations not to make a name for himself.

Now imagine he goes to train under Luke, where he undoubtedly faced alienation because he was precocious and talented, the best at everything. Either he was a favorite and everyone said it was because he was Master Luke’s nephew, or Luke went the other way and treated him more harshly in order to avoid being accused of nepotism. And if he tried to underperform in order to avoid being the teacher’s pet? Luke knows he can do better, and he’d be disappointing everyone else because he’s obviously supposed to be the best, being a Skywalker and all.

Now imagine a young, probably teenaged Ben Solo, away from home, probably not a favorite among his peers, struggling with the fear of inadequacy that we know he has (”You’re afraid you’ll never be as strong as Darth Vader”), is approached by an agent of the Sith. Imagine how easy it would be to prey on his obvious fears and insecurities, how simple it would be to promise him greatness and glory if he just turns to the dark side. And imagine how fucking tempting it would be to have something that could be his in a way being a Jedi never would be- people would always measure him against Luke, and what if they found him lacking? But if he joined the dark side, the First Order, became Kylo Ren, no one would know who his family was, no one would know anything about him but what he did himself. Darth Vader is his role model, yes, but no one knows he’s his grandson. 

So tempting Ben Solo to the dark side is easy, he’s obviously ruled by his fear of unimportance, and the Sith have no qualms about lying to a kid in order to get him to join them. But then he’s not good at it. It’s hard for him to find the dark side, he struggles with the basic requirements of being a Sith. He’s doing exactly what he always feared- following in his ancestor’s footsteps and failing. More than that, he can’t exactly quit. I highly doubt Snoke would just let him walk out. And even if he did, even if he successfully defected from the Sith and the First Order and went back to the light side, what then? He’d still be of no account- Ben Solo disappeared around the time the Jedi were killed, who’d remember him? And if he told people he was Kylo Ren, they’d be disgusted, he’d be a disgrace. Probably the only people in the galaxy who don’t detest Darth Vader are his kids (and grandson). So he has to just… figure out a way to be a good Sith, because that’s the only option he has now. Do you honestly think that Kylo Ren would let himself believe for a minute that his family would just welcome him back after all he’s done? So he kills Han, because he thinks it’ll make him stronger, and, as we saw in the screenplay, it didn’t. Where can he go from here?

Basically, Ben Solo was young and terrified, he was probably manipulated into joining the dark side (the same way Anakin was, by playing on his greatest fears) and now he’s probably trapped in a life he may not even want anymore, because he made such a huge mistake, and now he’s all out of options.

"Slavery was so long ago"

No…false….my great great great grandmother was a slave. There are pictures of her as a slave, my great great grandmother was first generation free. That’s two greats… not four or five. Three generations. That’s my grandmother to my niece.