vow-of-poverty

Rebirth of the “Son”: the art of Kylo Ren’s redemption

Many would say that The Force Awakens has a rather ambiguous conclusion, leaving the future of its main characters and storyline very open for debate. However, by analyzing the text — or in this case, the film — we can discover potentially eye-opening clues about the future of the Trilogy, particularly in regards to one plot-point: Kylo Ren’s redemption arc.

This meta will focus on deconstructing The Force Awakens by analyzing characterization (behaviour and dialogue) and foreshadowing and symbolism found in The Force Awakens. It will not discuss how he will be redeemed in detail, just the myriad of suggestions that we were left with.


Part 1: Characterization

This first part will deal mainly with deconstructing Kylo Ren’s characterization in the simplest possible manner. I will be analyzing his behaviour and dialogue in the context of the entire movie. Why? Because we must acknowledge every scene and every action in order to give reason to even one.

But first, let’s get a starting definition. Most people would know what “characterization” is, even if they don’t know it by name. The basic deconstruction of characterization is taught in high schools around the world. I’m sure we can all remember reading Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet or Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men as a class and discussing the characters in an academic setting.

A quick refresher:

Characterization is the concept of creating characters for a narrative. […] Characters are presented by means of description, through their actions, speech, thoughts and interactions with other characters.

Characterization is broken down two separate sections: direct characterization and indirect characterization.

Direct characterization involves the author telling us what a character is like. This is generally done through descriptions, or by the characters themselves. Imagine a character saying or thinking that they “like the beach”. This would be an example of direct characterization.

Indirect characterization must be inferred by the audience by interpreting a character’s dialogue, mannerisms, thoughts, actions and interactions with other characters. Imagine a character walking barefoot along a beach, staring wistfully at the water. We can easily infer that this character “likes the beach” without having the character actually make any kind of statement.

This first section of the meta will deconstruct Kylo Ren’s direct and indirect characterization.


1.1: THE “LAST” SKYWALKER

We must first start by summarizing Kylo Ren’s background.

“Apparently the awakening was not just for Rey, but Kylo as well. Adam Driver spoke about Kylo and his motivations. Driver said that the character was mainly motivated by the feelings of abandonment from his family.”

“Abrams also added some backstory saying that Han couldn’t stay in one place and that Leia couldn’t stop fighting. His nature as a rogue and her nature as a freedom fighter clashed. Against that backdrop, Snoke targeted Kylo because of his powers and potential. The implication was that in the absence of solid parenting, Kylo Ren emerged.”

— “Secrets of the Force Awakens” Documentary

As we all know, Kylo Ren—once Ben Solo—is the fallen son of Han Solo and Leia Organa. He was seduced to the Dark Side by Supreme Leader Snoke after he was sent to train with his uncle Luke Skywalker. Snoke viewed the young Ben Solo as the perfect focal point of the Light and Dark Sides of the Force. He was being twisted and manipulated from the shadows since childhood, but it appears as though he managed to stave off complete seduction until he was a young adult, at which point something happened. He gave in to Snoke, turned to the Dark Side and left his family in ruins.

However, he was never able to completely extinguish the Light from which he was born.

It would not be unfair to suggest that Kylo Ren is currently the most important character in the Star Wars universe. He has a direct blood relation to almost every previous main character, his betrayal tore apart the Original Trilogy heroes, and he connects every player in the Sequel Trilogy together: the fallen son to Han and Leia, the ex-apprentice and nephew to Luke, the pawn to Snoke, the Knight of Ren, the anti-villain to Rey’s hero, the man who killed Han and left Finn in a coma, and whom Rey scarred with his grandfather’s saber when she almost crossed the threshold to the Dark Side. Rey went from defeating Ren with his legacy saber to hugging Ren’s mother to boarding Ren’s legacy ship to finding Ren’s uncle, who exiled himself because of Ren. It all comes back to one character: Ben Solo.

You must remember who Kylo Ren is and what franchise we’re dealing with in order to even hope to make accurate predictions. Star Wars is first and foremost an optimistic, idealistic coming-of-age fantasy directed toward children. It presents core messages of family, love, friendship, redemption and hope.


1.2 COSTUME AND MANNERISMS

Kylo Ren’s garbs in The Force Awakens serve the purpose of imparting vital indirect characterization. He is swamped in black clothing that covers even his face, hands and neck, leaving not even an inch of skin showing. This immediately conveys to the audience that he has something to “hide”, despite the fact that we eventually discover that he is an average human man. He could even be described as shameful, unprepared to place himself in a position of vulnerability, quite literally playing dress-up in his grandfather’s attire.

Kylo’s garments also plainly echo the real-life historic Knights Templar, which certainly begs a few questions about Ren’s upbringing with and indoctrination by Snoke. Alas, this is not the meta for that discussion, but I will leave you with this quote referring to the vows knights had to make in order to be accepted into the order, two of which I find particularly telling with regards to my own personal interpretation of the character.

“Full members of the order took the standard monastic vows of poverty, chastity and obedience.”

Like his fellow character trinity members Rey and Finn, Kylo portrays many qualities that can be attributed to children, particularly young children. He is incapable of controlling his emotions, presenting a seemingly collected demeanor only in the film’s introductory sequence. He doesn’t seem to have a firm grasp on complex human emotion, perhaps because he was never given a proper outlet to explore his more innate feelings, or because Snoke simply did not allow it. He has violent tantrums, his fists are always balled and his eyes always seem to shimmer with tears. He trusts inanimate objects more than real people, he has an obsession with relics, he watches Rey sleep, crouched on the ground, head tilted. There is an air of submission in him, as out-of-place as it may appear.

This is one of the major reasons Kylo often comes across as “weak”. He is an evocative male character, brimming with emotion that seems completely unable to tame. He is not really a man, a child or a monster, he is all three.


1.3: JAKKU VILLAGE

In the film’s opening scene, we are introduced to Poe Dameron and Lor San Tekka. Poe is a Resistance pilot who is retrieving a piece of a map rumored to lead to the missing Luke Skywalker. The mission, however, does not go as planned. Poe is captured by the First Order and Lor San Tekka is murdered by Kylo Ren.

LOR SAN TEKKA
The First Order rose from the dark side… you did not.

KYLO REN
I’ll show you the dark side.

LOR SAN TEKKA
You may try, but you cannot deny the truth that is your family.

Suddenly Kylo Ren raises his LIGHTSABER – IGNITES IT – PERPENDICULAR SMALLER BLADES AT THE HILT, A UNIQUE BUZZ – YELLOW/RED ENERGY, SPITTING SPARKS AND SMOKE –

KYLO REN
You’re so right.

And as he RIPS IT DOWN ACROSS SAN TEKKA!

Above we have the sequence from the final script. Kylo Ren’s response appears to be quite collected, but… why did he kill Tekka? Surely Tekka had seen the map? His mind was ripe for reading; he even could have been a valuable war-prisoner. Kylo Ren had yet to be made aware of Poe’s existence, let alone the fact that BB-8 had been given charge of the drive containing the map. Yet he killed him. Why?

Because this was a man from his past who reprimanded him about his origins, his family. There is even a small smirk visible on Tekka’s face as he converses with Ren, as he chastises him for “denying the truth that is his family.”

These are things we later come to realize bring Ren to a conflicted place, heightening the pull to the Light within him. Although his response to Tekka was swift and cold, the rage behind the action was not fueled by indifference. Hate and love are not opposites, they are two sides of the same coin, and it’s quite clear that Ren is far from indifferent when it comes to his family. This was a personal murder, not a war crime.

The movie illustrates that Kylo Ren only kills when the situation becomes genuinely personal. He leaves Poe alive after interrogating him despite having already retrieved the necessary information. He lets Lieutenant Mitaka live as well, and on Takodana he immediately goes for Rey and BB-8 without engaging in battle with anybody. This is vital indirect characterization. We are meant to infer that, while Kylo has likely killed many innocent people, we as an audience don’t see him kill impersonally. Anything beyond that is speculation.

The first sequence of the film creates an image for the audience. It would be called a character defining moment, and it’s used to great effect. Kylo seems similar to Darth Vader, perhaps with an added youthful edge. This image is quickly torn down as we witness Kylo unraveling. He goes from murdering potentially important war criminals to desperately following his “personal interests” to praying to an inanimate object. Kylo unravels like a ball of string, shedding physical and metaphorical layers until he is left a beaten, scarred, patricidal wreck at the film’s conclusion.


1.4: COMPASSION

Immediately after murdering Tekka, Poe makes himself known when he tries to shoot Kylo Ren. Kylo stops the blaster-bolt and the two men share a brief interaction that ends with Kylo ordering the Storm Troopers to take Poe on-board. Kylo gives the Troopers permission to annihilate the village — probably one of his darkest and most unforgivable acts. While Tekka’s murder was personal and driven by secret longing, this was something very different.

Yet this scene is followed by Kylo Ren’s first clearly bizarre decision.

Kylo Ren heads back toward his ship. But then he STOPS. Feels something. TURNS AND LOOKS AT OUR STORMTROOPER for a LONG MOMENT. Our Trooper can barely meet his gaze; knows he’s doomed.

Kylo Ren then heads off – passes the FROZEN BLAST, which, after a beat, GOES FREE AND SLAMS INTO A NEARBY STRUCTURE, scaring the hell out of our Stormtrooper.

As Kylo is preparing to depart on his ship, he seems to sense something. A Trooper is disobeying him, refusing to shoot down the villagers. Ren locks gazes with him, seeming prepared to kill him… but then he walks away.

This single moment serves as the inception of the entire adventure. The Trooper breaks Poe free, and together they crash on the desert planet Jakku, where BB-8 has already encountered a mysterious scavenger named Rey.

Ren should have destroyed the Trooper, but he didn’t. Perhaps it could be argued that he just didn’t care about an underling’s actions, but it doesn’t take long for us to learn this:

Kylo researched the Trooper’s title. He knew the Trooper was showing strange “signs”, he knew the Trooper by name, yet he kept the information to himself. Why? Why did Kylo Ren let the Trooper go?

Because he felt compassion for him.

This might seem like a leap to some, but it’s the only thing that makes sense to me, given Kylo’s apparent inner-turmoil about the situation. Kylo also felt something for Rey—as will be discussed below. We know he dislikes the Trooper program (he thinks as much in the novelization, and he subtly tries ot tell Hux that they should be using Clones in the film). We know he hates Hux as well. It only makes sense to take into consideration that Kylo may have consciously allowed FN-2187 to go free simply because he saw himself in the rogue Trooper.

The young women and men who become Storm Troopers in the Sequel Trilogy are stolen from their families as children and brainwashed into serving as killing machines. The process should be ringing a bell in your mind, because it’s remarkably similar to what happened to Kylo Ren.

With this in mind, it should be easy to infer that Kylo may have felt compassion for Finn, and walked away as a result. The single moment haunts Kylo, and we can imagine that he may have battled with himself mentally about whether or not to inform Hux or Phasma about their rogue Trooper. Obviously a side of Ren he would rather deny emerged victorious, because Finn managed to escape, and Ren doesn’t forget it.

The next time Kylo mentions Finn, he uses the term “traitor”. He does this one more time before the end of the film, after he has murdered his father. He screams the word at Finn, who is cradling an unconscious Rey. This is an incredible example of indirect characterization mixed with direct characterization. Kylo Ren isn’t just labeling Finn an “traitor”, he’s using the term to describe himself, hating himself for going through with the ultimate act of betrayal. He punishes Finn in the forest of Starkiller Base, using him as an outlet for his frustration and masochism. He beats his own wounds physically and metaphorically.

“You have compassion for her.” (The Force Awakens novelization)

— Snoke

It is made far more obvious in the film that Kylo Ren feels some kind of attachment to the heroine, Rey. I have discussed this at great length in a separate analysis, but I’ll allude to it here simply for brevity’s sake.

Kylo Ren sees himself in Rey, just as he saw himself in Finn. When he reads her mind, he finds that he relates to her loneliness, her fear and her desperation. Ren’s sentiments of compassion lead him to place himself in a position of vulnerability two times while in Rey’s presence, and both instances are considered iconic in The Force Awakens.

First, he removes his helmet for her in the interrogation sequence. Second, he offers to “show her the ways of the Force” in their final battle. This reminds Rey that she too is capable of channeling the Force, allowing her to defeat him. These are two of Ren’s biggest mistakes, and the implication is they were born out of compassion.


1.5: PERSONAL INTERESTS

GENERAL HUX
Careful, Ren. That your “personal interests” not interfere with orders from Leader Snoke.

While it is difficult to say what Kylo’s motivations are right now, it’s quite clear that he isn’t Snoke’s loyal puppet. He goes against his orders multiple times. In fact, I would have trouble thinking of a single moment in which Ren does follow Snoke’s plans without fail. He seems to react upon instinct more than anything, doing whatever he sees fit, but there is an underlying idea—as presented by Hux in the above excerpt—that Kylo has “personal interests” in finding Luke that go completely against Snoke and the First Order. This line basically foreshadows Ren’s entire developmental (or unraveling) arc in The Force Awakens. 

GENERAL HUX
Supreme Leader Snoke was explicit. Capture the droid if we can, but destroy it if we must.

Obviously Snoke isn’t particularly invested in finding Luke (he just doesn’t wnt the Resistance to find Luke), but Kylo certainly is. There is no way to know just what he wants from him. We’ll have to wait until Episode VIII for that information.

KYLO REN
Forgive me. I feel it again. The pull to the light. Supreme Leader senses it. Show me again, the power of the darkness, and I will let nothing stand in our way. Show me, Grandfather, and I will finish what you started.

This is perhaps Ren’s most obvious “personal interest”. The sequence poses so many questions that have been deconstructed in separate analyses that I won’t waste too much time on it, but the implication here is that Kylo shares certain sentiments with this mask alone. It is his guardian, his relic. It is the only thing in the world he genuinely trusts, and he feels a connection to it, and a shame for not living up to its “expectations”.

Then there is one of the big questions to come out of this film: what did Darth Vader start? I have my own theories that don’t necessarily belong in this meta, but I’ll leave it at this: writers don’t emphasize an ambiguous theme in a villainous character only to reveal an equally villainous motivation. Chances are whatever “Vader started” will lead into the inevitability of Kylo’s redemption.

KYLO REN
What girl?

KYLO REN
The girl I’ve heard so much about

GENERAL HUX
Ren believed it was no longer valuable to us. That the girl was all we needed. As a result, the droid has most likely been returned to the hands of the enemy. They may have the map already.

Throughout the Third Act of the film, Kylo Ren finds a brand new “personal interest” in Rey. Ren appears to become attracted to and infatuated with Rey as he is in some way seduced by the Light she embodies. You don’t need to look far to see that he treats her differently than he treats any other character.

When he sets foot on Takodana and hears that the girl and droid have fled into the woods, he immediately follows them. When he finds Rey he decides to take her second-hand version of the map and not bother looking for the droid itself, allowing it to fall into the hands of the Resistance. In the interrogation, he removes his mask when she expresses fear, gets way too close to her and fishes through her personal thoughts before even attempting to search for the map. In their final battle, he offers himself to her as a teacher. This characterization is some of Ren’s most unexplainable… and it only makes sense if you accept that he also appears to be attracted to her in some fashion.

“The Supreme Leader believes Ren to be the ideal embodiment of the Force, a focal point of both Light and Dark Side ability.”

— The Force Awakens Visual Dictionary

It is interesting to note that Snoke actually encourages Ren to maintain control over both the Light and Dark sides of the Force that naturally coexist within him, but Ren is completely dismissive of this notion. When he feels a pull to the Light, he expresses to Darth Vader’s helmet that it must “show him the power of the Darkness”. He also insinuates that the battling Forces he commands “tear him apart”, and actually cause him pain of some kind. He wants nothing to do with accepting the Light, which appears to manifest as unwanted link to the life he left behind.

Once more, we can see that Ren is going against Snoke’s desires.

What exactly are all these “personal interests” used to push in the context of the narrative? To create a clear distinction between Kylo Ren and the First Order, to separate him a little from the evilest aspects of the Order. He is his own character, not an extension of Snoke. He places his “personal interests” above Snoke and the First Order on every occasion. That demands a certain level of attention in itself.


1.6: SIBLING RIVALRY

The Force Awakens introduces us to General Hux, an important official in the First Order. Ren and Hux share a bitter relationship that seems to echo a sibling-rivalry, with Hux seeming to constantly interfere with Ren’s more paternal connection to Supreme Leader Snoke.

Hux and Ren are given multiple scenes together, and it becomes quite clear that the character exists as a direct contrast to Ren. We are meant to compare their reactions as they are faced with similar orders.

KYLO REN
How capable are your soldiers, General?

GENERAL HUX
I won’t have you question my methods.

KYLO REN
They’re obviously skilled at committing high treason. Perhaps Leader Snoke should consider using a clone army.

In the above sequence, the film spells out that Ren has nothing to do with the First Order’s indoctrination of child-soldiers. Ren is specifically Snoke’s foot-soldier and a Knight of Ren, not Hux’s partner (as has been discussed, Ren hates the Trooper program). Ren and Hux barely tolerate each other. When you consider the fact that Hux is a twisted, genocidal, power-hungry, sadistic maniac absorbed with self-importance and lacking even a single redeeming quality, it should be obvious that Hux serves the purpose of humanizing Ren, of making him look “better” by comparison.

Hux watches, his eyes WILD WITH POWER AND EVIL.

TIGHT ON KYLO REN as he watches the Starkiller firing.

Hux’s Nazi speech is also entirely his own. Ren isn’t even present on Starkiller Base when the weapon is fired at the Hosnian System. He is watching it from afar, fists clenched. We are given a description of Hux’s eyes, but we cannot know what Ren’s might look like at this exact same moment. He is leaning over the window, watching the weapon fire. It is meant to make us question what Ren really thinks of all this.  

Hux repeatedly rebukes Ren for going against Snoke. He seems to have an innate desire to embarrass Ren in front of his Master. Hux is also fully aware of Ren’s wavering conviction, which makes him all the more dangerous as an antagonist.

SNOKE
Good. Then we will crush them once and for all. Prepare the weapon.

Kylo Ren is stunned by the moment – that isn’t what he meant at all

KYLO REN
Supreme Leader. I can get the map from the girl. I just need your guidance.

Above we have perhaps the most telling comparison. Hux and Snoke decide to destroy the Illeenium System—where Leia Organa, Kylo Ren’s mother, happens to be. Ren is completely against the order, and even tries to offer up another solution, but he is shot down as Hux walks away, giving him a snide glower.


1.7: LIES AND TRUTHS

Despite being the main antagonist of The Force Awakens, Kylo Ren is a surprisingly truthful character. He only lies once in the entire film, and it is clear at this exact moment that Ren is an absolutely abysmal liar. He and Snoke are discussing the droid, which has fallen into the hands of Ren’s father through a series of odd coincidences. Ren reacts to the news in the following manner:

Kylo Ren reacts with subtle, but real, surprise.

KYLO REN
He means nothing to me.

This scene is closely followed by the famous “pull to the Light” sequence in which Ren reveals that Snoke was fully capable of sensing his deceit. Han Solo does not mean nothing to Kylo Ren.

KYLO REN
You’re my guest.

REY
Where are the others?

KYLO REN
You mean the murderers, traitors and thieves you call friends? You’ll be relieved to hear that I have no idea.

Kylo Ren stops, considers her… then reaches up, unlatches and REMOVES HIS MASK. Rey reacts, stunned. It takes a moment before she regains her own mask of defiance.

When Rey wakes up in the interrogation scene, Kylo doesn’t bother lying to her even once. He could have told Rey her friends were dead, but instead he expresses the truth: he has no idea where they are. He also removes his mask when she reveals her (understandable) mistrust. He is very honest with her.

KYLO REN
… You’re so lonely… so afraid to leave… At night, desperate to sleep… you imagine an ocean. I see it – I see the island… And Han Solo. You feel like he’s the father you never had. He would’ve disappointed you.

He’s also open about what he sees in her head, even going so far as to “warn” her that Han Solo would have disappointed her if he really was her father.

KYLO REN
I’m being torn apart. I want to be free of this pain. I know what I have to do, but I don’t know if I have the strength to do it. Will you help me?

Perhaps the most controversial example can be found in Kylo Ren’s conversation with Han Solo on the catwalk. As an audience, we should have been able to infer that Kylo Ren never bothers to lie, opting instead for the truth.

This indirect characterization gives us all we need to know to understand that Kylo is in no way attempting to manipulate his father. He goes through with Snoke’s orders for a “personal” reason, in order to be “free of [his] pain.” He truly could not have kill his father on his own, and genuinely expresses to Han that he needs his help. The scene is heartbreaking on many levels, particularly when you realize that Han resting his hand on his son’s cheek is likely the first true human contact Ren has felt in years.


1.8: THE FATHER AND THE SON

Adam Driver said it himself, Kylo Ren is mainly motivated by what he considers to be feelings of abandonment from his family. His sentiments about his family are complex to say the least, with Ren mentioning them several times throughout the film. As always, Ren reveals far more of himself than he intends to.

“He means nothing to me.”

As we have already discussed, this was proven to be an outright (and pathetic) attempt at a lie.

“Han Solo. […] He would have disappointed you.”

Han Solo disappointed Ren.

“Your son is gone. He was weak and foolish, like his father. So I destroyed him.”

Ren considered his father to be weak and foolish for “something”. Is this the same “something” that caused him to harbour so much disappointment in his family? We can only speculate right now, so I’ll leave it at that.

We must also notice that Ren only starts to cry when Han expresses that “we [Han and Leia] miss him”. Ren’s feelings about his mother are perhaps even more difficult to comprehend than those about his father.

Always remember that Han Solo died as any father should, loving his son, forgiving him, and hping that he can someday find his way home.

An extra layer of intricacy can be found between Snoke and Ren. There is clearly a dependence of some kind between them, perhaps because Snoke was there for Ren when Han and Leia weren’t, using his loneliness to manipulate him. The notion is quite tragic, but we simply don’t know enough about the topic yet.


Part 2: Symbolism, Metaphor and Foreshadowing

Now that we have a clear understanding of the most important facets of Kylo Ren’s characterization, this second part of the meta will focus on the artistic devices in The Force Awakens, particularly the use of symbolism, metaphor and foreshadowing that directly pertain to Kylo’s redemption arc.

Once more, a quick refresher on some important terms.

Symbolism is the practice of using an object or word to represent an abstract idea. An action, person, place, word of object can all have symbolic meaning.

Foreshadowing is a literary technique through which an author hints at what is to come.

A metaphor is a figure of speech that identifies something as being the same as some unrelated thing for rhetorical effect that, usually, provides clarity; thus, the implied conceptual relationship rhetorically highlights the similarities between two ideas.


2.1: THE HELMET AND THE SABER

It was revealed in an interview with Adam Driver that Kylo Ren’s lightsaber and helmet are meant to be a metaphor for his character, that he is “unfinished” and “unpolished” and appears as though he might crack at any moment. It can thus be assumed that, in order to develop, Kylo will eventually have to become “finished”, “polished” and “in control”.

Interestingly, some people use this as evidence supporting the notion that Kylo will never be redeemed, that he will become eviler and eviler until he kills Luke and Leia. Hilarious, I know.  

We must realize that treading further along the path of Darkness would not lead to Ren being “finished” or “whole”. He is the focal point of the Light and Dark, and until he accepts both sides of his being he can never be whole, he can never mature naturally or discover his true purpose. That is the true metaphor behind the saber.


2.1: THERE IS “SOMEONE” WHO STILL COULD

We PUSH IN ON REY as RAIN BEGINS – and DAY TURNS TO NIGHT – and she LOOKS UP – we TILT UP –

To see we’re LOOKING UP AT A WARRIOR as he is STABBED BY A FIERY LIGHTSABER! He screams and falls to the ground – we FOLLOW HIM, revealing Rey again, now in a nighttime battlefield. She gets to her feet, frightened by what she sees. We PIVOT AROUND HER to REVEAL KYLO REN, and the six other KNIGHTS OF REN, who flank him!

Come back around to Rey, soaking now, as the RAIN STOPS and SUNLIGHT illuminates her – she turns to look – we PIVOT – and see…

A little girl. Rey as a child. She is sobbing, hysterical. Unkar Plutt’s meaty hand holds her thin arm. She is on Jakku, watching a starship fly into the sky, abandoning her.

YOUNG GIRL
No, come back!

Rey discovers that she has some kind of connection with Anakin’s lightsaber as she touches it and is thrust into a terrifying Force Back. She sees past, present and future, and is pursued by the only individual who seems to acknowledge her presence in the dream sequence: Kylo Ren. He is the focus of her vision more than anything, which is quite interesting when you remember that the saber (according to Ren) belonged to him at one point. Does Rey feel bonded with the Skywalker saber, or with Ren himself? Only time will tell.

Maz Kanata’s speech to Rey directly following the Force Back is one of the turning points of the film. Maz insinuates that Rey’s family is never returning, and that the belonging she seeks is ahead, not behind.

Dear child. I see your eyes. You already know the truth. Whomever you’re waiting for on Jakku, they’re never coming back. But… there’s someone who still could.

There is someone who still could come back. Rey immediately assumes Maz is referring to Luke, but what if she’s actually insinuating that Kylo Ren can still [come back to the Light]? It would make for a brilliant example of foreshadowing in the long-run.

The end of the Force Back scene is also edited in such a way that it appears as though the little girl is speaking directly to Ren. We hear her say “come back” before the child is revealed, and right after we see Ren approaching Rey on the rainy battlefield.

This notion opens up the possibility that the belonging Rey seeks may lie in the focus of her Force Back, in the true owner of the saber: in Kylo Ren. And who is she about to meet in the forest? Who is directly ahead of her?


2.2: THE LIGHT AS SEDUCTION

“I feel it again, the pull to the Light.”

— Kylo Ren

Kylo Ren is quite the tortured soul indeed. He does everything in his power to quiet the call of the Light—which he literally refers to as a seduction—but no matter what he finds that he “feels it again”.  It seems simple enough. Ren is a Dark-affiliated Force-Sensitive who is in great inner-turmoil as a result of the longing for the Light he can’t seem to shake. However small, it is his greatest foil, his most significant element of characterization.

So what is this pull to the Light? Ren makes it quite obvious that whatever connection he maintains to his family incites it. The mere mention of Han Solo causes him to confess his sins to his grandfather’s helmet. It is a pull to his family, to his old life.

But how exactly does Ren’s “pull to the Light” ultimately manifest itself? What is most representative of the Light in The Force Awakens—or more specifically, who?

Rey.  

Many fans have recognized that Kylo Ren develops an unusual fixation on the heroine after first encountering her in the forest of Takodana. Some have postulated that he has an interest in her power, while others say that he is genuinely attracted to her in some fashion, be that physically, mentally or through the Force that flows between them.

I’m much more inclined to believe the second interpretation, because it takes into account Kylo Ren’s characterization and his context in the narrative. He feels genuine compassion for her, he cannot help but bond with her loneliness and her fear. These are not hallmarks of an individual enamoured by power, but rather, by something far more human. That is why combining the themes of Force-related seduction with romantic and sexual seduction are paramount to comprehending Ren’s role in the future of this Trilogy.

Rey is a symbol in herself. She represents everything Kylo Ren has denied himself. She is a beautiful young woman who is highly connected to the Light side of the Force, and he quite literally cannot help but be willingly seduced by her Light.

“By the grace of your training, I will not be seduced.”

— Kylo Ren to Snoke

This is classic foreshadowing and irony in the vein of Vader’s famous “There is no conflict” or even Leia’s “I would sooner kiss a Wookie”. When a character expresses that he won’t be seduced in this manner in the first Episode of a Trilogy and proceeds to become completely fixated on a woman who happens to represent the Light by which he expresses he “will not be seduced” they might as well be spelling out that they will be seduced. In a manner of speaking, methinks Kylo doth protest too much.

We must also remember that this film concluded with Ren being rescued by Hux in order to “complete his training”. By the grace of Snoke’s training indeed.

“There was too much Vader in him.”

— Han Solo

Too much Vader… but too much of “what” exactly? This is left open to interpretation. Vader was a Sith Lord, but he was also Anakin Skywalker, the man who gave his own life to save his only son, the Jedi who fell to the Dark Side because the Emperor manipulated his undying love for his wife. Just as Anakin was prepared to do anything for Padme, Ren may ultimately be willing to go to great lengths for Rey, regardless of whether or not his sentiments are ever outwardly reciprocated.

This definitely ties into the fact that Rey and Ren’s themes are essentially Across the Stars in reverse.

Rey is under a spotlight, practically emanating light. Her light is extending toward the crouched figure of Ren, who is watching her submissively. Ren can’t seem to take his eyes off the glowing young woman.


2.3: THE SUN AND THE SON

Although the new superweapon received a great deal of criticism from fans for being “just another lame Death Star”, Starkiller Base happens to be one of the most effective and blatant symbols in the entire movie. From absorbing a “sun’s” light as power to transforming into a “reborn sun” at the film’s conclusion, the metaphor created is both telling and very artistic.

“It uses the power of the sun. As the weapon is charged, the sun is drained until it disappears.”

— Finn about Starkiller Base

“Snoke is using you for your power.”

— Han about Ben Solo

The comparison here is just begging to be made. Starkiller Base manipulates the “light” of a sun as a weapon. In English, the words “sun” and “son” happen to be the same. This is a pun that has been used throughout English literature and even biblical texts to describe the “prodigal son”. Ren is of course the “son” (to Han and Leia), the fallen legacy who wants nothing more than to subdue the light within himself.

“I am too much I’ the sun.”

— Hamlet

The “sun” and the “son” is a powerful symbol that cannot be used lightly, but it only becomes more obvious as the film progresses:

And just then, the LAST BEAM OF SUNLIGHT streaming through the open hatch VANISHES.

Han actually smiles – and reaches out for the dark weapon – but with the light now gone, KYLO REN’S EYES FILL WITH DARKNESS.

At this moment, Kylo Ren murdered his father. Starkiller Base sucked the life from a sun, casting a shadow across the planetary weapon, and across Kylo Ren. The sun’s death heralded Ren’s darkest act. As hope was lost, so too were Ben and Han Solo. The sun, the son and father fell together.

Kylo Ren is somehow WEAKENED by this wicked act. Himself horrified. His SHOCK is broken only when –

We must also take into account Ren’s reaction to killing his father. If this sounds like someone who has gone Full Dark to you… I think you missed the point of the movie.

Something amazing happens at the end of the film:

The X-wings ROAR OFF, skyward as the MUSIC SOARS, the PLANET IMPLODES – THE SUNLIGHT IT CONTAINS BURSTS FORTH, and as we get further and further distance from what was Starkiller Base, we witness the REBIRTH OF A SUN. Light restored to a corner of the galaxy.

This is about as descriptive as any script is going to get. We witnessed the “rebirth of a sun”. Rebirth of a sun… or rebirth of a “son”?

Poe and the rest of the pilots destroyed the oscillator that was containing the sun’s trapped energy and light. This happened in unison with Rey defeating Kylo in the snowy wood. In a story that surrounds the concept of Light and Dark as two sides of a coin and that involved a sun dying to symbolize the loss of hope as a character violently murdered his own father, having that same sun be “reborn” in a flurry of light is very telling. Kylo Ren was filled with darkness as the sun fell, but after being defeated by Rey (interesting how Rey’s name is also a pun on a sun “ray”) he was “reborn” along with the new sun, his father’s eternal resting place.


And if all that symbolism doesn’t drive it home for you, take a look at this Easter Egg from The Force Awakens soundtrack. Two themes are connected by a horn solo, the moment we hear Kylo Ren’s theme for the very first time in “Attack on Jakku Village” and the exact moment the sun is reborn in “Farewell and the Trip”. The same solo can be heard in both songs, referencing the theme of the reborn sun (or in this case, the reborn “son”).

Go to 4:18

The first version is more ominous, as it is combined with Kylo’s dissonant theme.

Go to 0:46

The second is hopeful and triumphant, and even melds with the Force Theme. The solos are exactly the same, however. This hard-evidence proves to me beyond a shadow of a doubt that the writers intended to have Starkiller Base’s rebirth as a “sun” represent Kylo’s own metaphorical rebirth.


2.4: THE BATTLE FOR A SOUL

Kylo’s final fight with Finn and Rey is perhaps one of the most artistically significant moments in the entire Star Wars franchise. From pursuing the duo into the icy forest to being branded by Rey, Ren is quick to reveal the results of his physical, mental and emotional unraveling as he engages Finn and Rey in battle. If a viewer has failed to comprehend Ren until this point, Ren’s behavior will go completely over their head.

Finn, Rey and Ren contrast each other beautifully. They were all children who were separated physically from their parents, and who dealt with the emotional trauma of abandonment in different ways. Finn was brainwashed, but maintained a high level of humanity; Rey dreamed every day of her family returning; Ren gave in to the Darkness that was tugging at him. Acknowledging the fact that they are all foils of each other gives their battle so much more emotional impact. They are fighting themselves as much as they are fighting each other, lost souls who may ultimately need each other to find their way home.

“It’s just us now. Han Solo can’t save you.”

The fight begins with this line. Strangely enough, it appears as though he is speaking only to Rey (translations corroborate this). However, it should be clear based on Ren’s prior characterization that he isn’t just stating that “Han Solo can’t save Rey”. In reality, he’s acknowledging the tragic fact that Han Solo can no longer save him.

“That lightsaber, it belongs to me.”

Ren doesn’t acknowledge Finn until after he has knocked Rey out after she attempted to shoot him. Finn takes up the Skywalker saber in order to protect Rey, running at his ex-superior—the man who allowed him to disobey direct orders—with a lion’s heart.

TRAITOR!”

Why would Ren call Finn a traitor once again. Why would any character who just murdered his own father title someone else a traitor? Because Ren isn’t reprimanding Finn; he’s reprimanding himself, punishing himself physically and metaphorically. We already know that Ren saw himself in Finn, and he still does. He beats his own wounds during their fight, filled with self-hate and rage. Ren is grieving in his own way, his emotions causing him to lose all sense of self. He burns Finn, and finally slashes him up the spine, putting him temporarily out-of-commission just as Rey wakes up.

“You need a teacher. I can show you the ways of the Force.”

Rey and Ren’s battle is—as Harrison Ford once said—fantastic visual storytelling. There is so much occurring on-screen that it becomes almost overwhelming to take in.

It begins with Rey catching the Skywalker saber. All the tension leaves Ren’s body as he gazes at her with his old saber in her hands. It should be clear that he does not view this girl the same way he views Finn. While he was furious and masochistic in Finn’s presence, there is something very different in his countenance with Rey.

He is enamored by her Light, totally and utterly fixated. His expression is one of complete awe, and he maintains it throughout the fight.

He chases her through the wood, battling her as he attempts to disarm her. They are perfect opposites, moving in unison, dancing while in the midst of an epic clash. There is certainly a beauty to it, with the red and blue sabers seeming to create a shade of mauve just as Starkiller Base begins to fall apart. A crack appears in the planet, spewing fire just as they cross sabers.

As they attempt to stave each other off above the abyss, they seem to share a moment. It is at this point that Ren offers himself to her, declaring that “she needs a teacher” and that “he can show her the ways of the Force.” It is interesting to note that Ren doesn’t use the terms “Dark Side/Darkness” (as he did throughout the film). Of course he isn’t offering to teach her about the Light, but we are meant to question his behavior. He isn’t fully trained himself, yet he wants to teach her, to run away with her, to be with her?

Rey takes the opportunity to channel the Force for the first time, and suddenly she gains the upper-hand. She starts to chase him, stabbing at his clothes and body. She is as brutal against him as he was against Finn, and when they grasp arms and balance each other’s sabers, there is an undeniable example of symbolism. Rey is burying the dark saber in the snow, and he looks fully prepared to have it extinguished, to be rid of it once and for all.

She overcomes him physically, mentally and emotionally, leaving him scarred on the forest floor. Rey almost taps into the Dark Side, and has to stop herself from killing him, from wiping out the representation of the Darkness that took away her father-figure and first true friend.

Ren’s scar is an interesting shape, curved just like the Yin and Yang symbol. The scar is a threefold symbol of Rey’s connection to Ren, to the moment she almost crossed the threshold to the Dark Side, and to Ren’s duality. He no longer has to wear a mask to be a “monster”.

Ren is left beaten, but the symbolism of the reborn sun tells us that the Light within him has not been extinguished. There is still a chance for Ben Solo, as his mother rightfully expressed to her husband before he performed the ultimate sacrifice.

LEIA
There’s still light in him. I know it
.

Leia is not about to give up on her son. When Han died, she reacted to Ren’s suffering more than anything (the cut happens just as Ren seems to realize what he has done). I suspect neither Luke nor his sister would be willing to abandon their living link to Han… their true legacy: Ben Solo.


CONCLUSION

Episode VII ends with Rey handing “Luke’s” lightsaber back to its rightful owner… but we must remember that this saber may very well have also belonged to Ben Solo. Again, I have to wonder if Rey’s connection really extends to the Skyalkers at all, or simply to Kylo Ren? Only time can tell.

Well… I guess that’s all I have to say on this subject for now. I’ll conclude this meta by making it clear that there is zero foreshadowing pointing toward this story taking any other direction. If the writers are competent and made use of all these classic literary techniques in good faith, then we can be assured that Kylo Ren will be receiving quite the redemption arc in future Episodes.

If not, I’ll be keeping my money.


EDITS: To add pictures/fix spelling mistakes.

anonymous asked:

I don't want to die in poverty but I also don't want to go ancap. Is it possible to accumulate capital without condoning the system of capitalism? if you don't feel like writing out an answer, I'll take a book recommendation.

eh… don’t remember taking a vow of poverty myself, anarchists are just like every other working class person, we’re not a bunch of guilt ridden puritans self-flagellating because we want a comfortable life (ok maybe some of us are, often the formerly rich ones)… but you’re not condoning capitalism by avoiding poverty - we all have to work whether we like it or not so you may as well get the most tolerable, highest paid job you can, and then fight to get better pay and conditions… there is no righteous anarchist purity in poverty, fuck that

Some TAZ:(K)Nights headcanons, because these lost children technically run an entire organization now and they are going to have to do politics at some point. 

  • Tom’s bar becomes a base of operations for the Beasts of the Ring, despite his protests. He just wants to run a business, but it’s so convenient to work from there. And everyone loves his drinks! His regulars slowly get used to the fact that they now drink with the City’s most notorious thieves and ruffians. The backroom is where deals happen and sometimes wanted criminals live in the cellar. 
  • Tara gave him a few extra employees when he signed on, just so he could keep the place running while he trained, and now half of Tom’s staff treats him like he’s Don Corleone. He can’t make them stop kissing his hand. They refer to his solely as The Boss. Barfights have completely stopped because the new dishwasher is an ex-pitfighter with biceps bigger than some people’s heads. 
  • Lenny realizes he can take advantage of his new power to make people listen to his music. Mandatory concerts ensue. 
  • Tara gives them control very slowly and sporadically. Sometimes she’ll run things for weeks on her own, sometimes she’ll drop by and give them five days worth of pay chits and ask them if they want to start a gang war. (Lenny does, but he gets outvoted.)
  • Troth is more religiously observant than she is religious. Ask her about theology and she’ll be at a loss, but she says her prayers on the regular and keeps to the same strict diet and vow of poverty she was raised with. 
  • She does get Tara to give her some of the proceeds of the Beasts’ work, so she can help fund some of the better charities in Underton. Then, because a lot of charities are corrupt as hell, she and Tara accidentally set up their own. They are barely talked out of building an orphanage, on the grounds that there’s no way that will end well. 
  • Lenny and Troth have their own unique ways of trying to help Tom through his anxiety. Troth tries to teach him to meditate (he goes into a trance and starts screaming) while Lenny pats him on the back excessively.
  • Tara grew up surrounded by the Beasts of the Ring, she was everyone’s baby sister. Lenny was playing at the Collins bar since Tom was a tyke. There are embarrassing baby stories about both of them to spare, and Lenny and the older Beasts are all too happy to share them. 
  • One time in an attempt to reassert control over the rowdier corners of the organization (who weren’t to happy about an eccentric young woman and three randos ending up in power) they planned and executed a complicated power grab that involved faking a seance with Canis, pretending Tara and Troth were dating, and the successfully convincing everyone that Lenny was a long lost scion of one of the Families. Also Tom had to wear a complicated wig. Half of it ended up being useless, but it worked really well. 

anonymous asked:

Was the Church corrupted back then bc of the indulgences that it was selling to ppl or was there anything else beside this? Thx.

Like with many institutions the church had systemic problems with corruption, there was of course the question whether priests should have personal wealth and property when they were supposed to take a vow of poverty and live humbly.

Then of course there was the custom that you could pay for your loved ones soul to leave Purgatory and get into heaven, and the general rule that questioning the church on any matter was heresy, all of this created an environment that was ripe for criticism and it was only a matter of time before some one would call for a reform. 

Not to say this problem affected every religious house or every religious person in Europe, there were of course many who lived humbly, took vows of poverty and dedicated their lives to helping the poor, but there was enough people who craved more answers about God and the felt the church was corrupt and hypocritical with no moral authority on the divine.

So there were a lot of reasons for wanting reform and they were a long time coming.

Darkest Dungeon Party Tryouts
  • Reynauld: So what do you do?
  • Grave Robber: Make things be full of knives and also steal from you while you're asleep.
  • Reynauld: Joke's on you, I took a vow of poverty. Next.
  • Man at Arms: I shout lots
  • Reynauld: As it happens, we have an opening for a hooting jackass. And what's your damage?
  • Abomination: REND THE FLESH, TEAR THE VEINS.
  • Reynauld: Haha, alright then. Stay away from me. Okay, you're the last one today. Thrill me.
  • Antiquarian: I was on Antique Roadshow a bunch and collect Hummel figurines.
  • Reynauld: ...
  • Antiquarian: ...
  • Reynauld: ...
  • Dismas: dude i love that show
Tagged by chiefmakube

@chiefmakube

[ WEALTH ]
$ Financial : wealthy / moderate / poor / in poverty (that vow of poverty yo)
✚ Medical : fit / moderate / sickly / disabled / disadvantaged / non applicable
✪ Class or Caste : upper / middle / working / slave / unsure / does not apply 
✔ Education : qualified / unqualified / studying / other / does not apply (He’s an ex-teacher so)
✖ Criminal Record : yes, for major crimes / yes, for minor crimes / no / has committed crimes, but has not been caught yet/depends on how you look at it

[ FAMILY ]
◒ Children : has a child or children / has no children / (kind of) wants children / does not want any children 
◑ Relationship with Family : close with sibling(s) / not close with sibling(s) / has no siblings /sibling(s) is deceased
◔ Affiliation : orphaned / adopted / disowned / raised by birth parents / not applicable / foster parents / ward of the state 

[ TRAITS + TENDENCIES ]
♦ extroverted / introverted / in between
♦ disorganized / organized / in between
♦ close-minded / open-minded / in between
♦ calm / anxious / in between
♦ disagreeable / agreeable / in between
♦ cautious / reckless / in between
♦ patient / impatient / in between
♦ outspoken / reserved / in between
leader / follower / in between
empathetic / unempathetic / in between
optimistic / pessimistic / in between
♦ traditional / modern / in between
♦ hard-working / lazy / in between
cultured / uncultured / in between / unknown
loyal / disloyal / in between / unknown (If you’re on his good side)
faithful / unfaithful / in between / unknown

[ BELIEFS ]
★ Faith : monotheist / polytheist / atheist / agnostic /
☆ Belief in Ghosts or Spirits : yes / no / don’t know / don’t care
✮ Belief in an Afterlife : yes / no / don’t know / don’t care
✯ Belief in Reincarnation : yes / no / don’t know / don’t care
❃ Belief in Aliens : yes / no / don’t know / don’t care
✧ Religious : orthodox / liberal / in between / not religious
❀ Philosophical : yes / no

[ SEXUALITY & ROMANTIC INCLINATION ]
❤ Sexuality : heterosexual / homosexual / bisexual / asexual / pansexual / demisexual
❥ Sex : sex repulsed / sex neutral / sex favourable / naive and clueless
♥ Romance: romance repulsed / romance neutral / romance favorable / naive and clueless
❣ Sexually : adventurous / experienced / naive / inexperienced / curious / inhibited
⚧ Potential Sexual Partners : male / female / agender / other / none / all
⚧ Potential Romantic Partners : male / female / agender / other / none / all

[ ABILITIES ]
☠ Combat Skills : excellent / good / moderate / poor / none  
≡ Literacy Skills : excellent / good / moderate / poor / none
✍ Artistic Skills : excellent / good / moderate / poor / none (between those two)
✂ Technical Skills : excellent / good / moderate / poor / none

[ HABITS ]
☕ Drinking Alcohol : never / sometimes / frequently / to excess
☁ Smoking : trying to quit / never / sometimes / frequently / to excess
✿ Other Narcotics : never / sometimes / frequently / to excess
✌ Medicinal Drugs : never / sometimes / frequently / to excess
☻ Indulgent Food : never / sometimes / frequently / to excess
$ Splurge Spending : never / sometimes / frequently / to excess
♣ Gambling : never / sometimes / frequently / to excess

tagging: @lostlambsofthenight @sancti-peccatoribus @levixthxn-thegirl @mannxro

Ishgard Chronology of the 6th Astral Era

Pulled from this post here

(Figured I’d post the Ishgardian-centric events here, though much, much love to the original poster <3 )


Year 350-360:   A band of Elezen displaced from their ancestral home in central Aldenard come to settle in Coerthas.

Year 360:  Elezen settlers come to the Sea of Clouds, where they commence construction of the mountainside sanctuary to Halone that will later become Saint Thordan’s Basilica. Small villages spring up in the vicinity, laying the foundation for the nation of Ishgard.

Year 370:   The great wyrm Hraesvalgr consumes his Elezen lover, Shiva, entwining their souls for eternity and ushering in an era of peace between dragon and man

Year 545:   According to Ishgardian holy scripture, 545 marks the year when King Thordan is visited by the goddess Halone, who beseeches him to guide his people to the Promised Land of Coerthas. As the legend is told, the great wyrm Nidhogg attacks the caravans on their journey, and King Thordan and half of his men are slain before the dragon is valiantly driven away. The remaining knights, including the king’s son, Haldrath, guide the Elezen survivors to their destination.

In truth, King Thordan and his knights twelve ambush and slay Ratatoskr of the First Brood, devouring the she-dragon’s eyes to acquire preternatural wisdom. Enraged by this betrayal, the great wyrm Nidhogg pursues and kills the king and half of his company, heralding the end of the era of peace and the beginning of the Dragonsong War

Year 550:   The Holy See employs the power of twenty and four dragon eyes to erect a great arcane ward—later to be known as Daniffen’s Collar—that envelops the entirety of Ishgard, as the city steels its defenses against the coming raids by Nidhogg’s brood.

The progenitors of the four High Houses join together with the clergy of the Ishgardian Orthodox Church to pen a historic narrative that omits details of the betrayal and slaying of Ratatoskr. This new myth of the nation’s founding is indoctrinated through the education of Ishgardian children.

Year 563:   The sanctuary to Halone undergoes extensive reconstruction and is renamed Saint Thordan’s Basilica.

Year 761:   The Azure Dragoon Valeroyant repels an attack by the wyrm Nidhogg, who had been dormant for several decades.

Year 787:   The Azure Dragoon Valeroyant leaves Ishgard to defend a small village from the Dravanian Horde, but is slain in battle protecting a group of shepherds

Year 817:   Thirty years after his death, the Azure Dragoon Valeroyant is canonized as a Halonic saint by the Holy See.

Year 968:   The Temple Knight Ser Toriphaniel brutally slaughters a clergyman of the Holy See known to have abused orphans in his charge. The knight is tried for murder, but earns his release in a trial by combat. Ser Toriphaniel’s actions garner him recognition as the first “dark knight”

Year 1058:   The Azure Dragoon subdues a massive dragon in the western highlands of Coerthas, aided by a contingent of mages from the Holy See who spellbind the foe into slumber. The body and limbs of the great wyrm are enveloped in ash and stone, forming the floating isle known as the Dreaming Dragon.

Year 1146:   The lady dragoon Reinette carries out her revenge on the dragons who killed her lover. She then lays down her spear Gae Bolg, and takes a vow of poverty, living out the rest of her days as a nun in the service of the poor and downtrodden.

Year 1189:   Lady Reinette, the former Azure Dragoon, expires in a nunnery at sixty and six.

Year 1289:   Lady Reinette is canonized by the Holy See a century after her death. Unpopular with the clergy for having abandoned her duties as a dragoon at a young age, she is beloved by the commonfolk for having devoted her life in service of the poor and downtrodden. The See elevates her to sainthood, in what is widely seen as an attempt to distract the public from corruption within the church.

Year 1354:   The mighty Dravanian general Darkscale awakens and leads an army of wyverns in a raid on the villages of the eastern Coerthas highlands. The Temple Knights and dragoons join forces to retaliate and succeed in repelling the dragon threat. A mortally wounded Darkscale tumbles from the heavens and plummets into the depths of Clearwater Lake, and the battlefield is henceforth known as the Field of Glory.

Year 1377:   Stonemason Percelle begins work on a statue of Haldrath to be erected in the western highlands of Coerthas.

Year 1406:   Stonemason Percelle completes the statue of Haldrath in the Coerthas western highlands.

Year 1483:   Skysteel Manufactory is established and begins developing new weaponry to be used in the war against the Dravanian Horde.

Year 1558:   Count Tarresson de Dzemael disburses his own coin to finance the excavation and construction of Dzemael Darkhold, a subterranean fortress and safe haven from dragon raids.

Year 1560:   Upon the death of his predecessor, Thordan VII is ordained Archbishop of the Holy See.

Year 1562:   The mountain village of Ferndale is laid to waste by a recently awakened Nidhogg.

Ishgard withdraws from the Eorzean Alliance, declaring the Garlean threat all but over with the retreat of the imperial forces to Ala Mhigo. Historians agree, however, that the true motivation for the withdrawal was the Holy See’s desire to divert their full military strength to the Dravanian threat in the wake of Nidhogg’s reappearance .

Year 1564:   The construction of Dzemael Darkhold experiences significant delays due to a scarcity of building materials.

Year 1565:   Ishgard places severe restrictions on chocobo exports after grazing pastures are devastated by the Dravanian Horde.

Year 1567:   Voidsent gargoyles attack a team of stonecutters at work in the tunnels beneath Dzemael Darkhold, leaving few survivors. Construction is postponed indefinitely, and the incident besmirches the name of House Dzemael.

Year 1569:   Tarresson de Dzemael relinquishes his claim to the head of House Dzemael and passes on the countship to his eldest son.

Year 1572:   The city states of Limsa Lominsa, Ul'dah and Gridania form their Grand Companies. Subsequent events leading up to and in the aftermath of the Seventh Umbral Calamity are detailed in Memories of the Calamity.

10

Main portal of the church of San Francisco, Lima (Unidentified architect, 1673).

The church of San Francisco is probably the masterpiece of limeño Baroque architecture, built after the collapse of the previous building en 1656. The building of the new church took several years to complete, beginning in 1657, when the first stone was laid, and lasting until 1673 when the temple was finally consecrated by the bishop of Cusco Manuel de Mollinedo y Angulo.

Although the design of the church belongs to Portuguese architect Constantino de Vasconcelos, and its construction was undertook by Manuel de Escobar, - one of the main architects and alarifes active in Lima during the seventeenth century- the author of the main portal remains unknown. Due to its similarities with contemporary retablos , specially with Asencio de Salas’ retablo of the Immaculate Conception in Lima Cathedral, it is assumed that its author was an ensamblador, although his identity is unknown.

This baroque portal is one of the largest in Lima, being three stories high, built in stone and brick. The first story consists of a group of six columns on each side of the arched door, with two larger columns in front of two pairs of smaller columns, a common arrangement in mid-seventeenth century retablos. The columns have Corinthian capitals over a fluted shaft with its lower third section carved with a helicoidal pattern. This feature, and also the female draped heads in the upper part of the shafts, are also usual in contemporary retablos. The shorter set of columns support a small entablature, while the bigger pair of columns support the larger entablature that separates the first story from the second, with similar female draped heads adorning the frieze. 

In the middle section, the entablature breaks to give place to the main niche in the second story, embraced by the arms of the open cornice produced by the breaking of the entablature. Four fluted corinthian columns, with the lower third of their shafts with an amelcochado (zigzag) pattern, compose the second story of the portal, making space between them to three arched niches: in the main niche stands the statue of the Immaculate Conception and the other two contain the statues of Saint Francis and Saint Dominic.The second story is notably narrower than the first, with curious stone lanterns in its outer edges.The four columns previously described support an entablature that arches over the main niche.

The third story is made out of brick covered with plaster, painted in such a way that it resembles stonework. It consists of a large oval window - which gives light to the choir of the church - surrounded with broken cornices, webbed volutes and short fluted pilasters with bracket capitals that support an arched cornice.

One interesting feature of the portal is the presence, under the main niche, of the Pope´s symbols carved in stone: the pontifical tiara and Saint Peter´s keys. The reason for their presence in the portal is this: since the franciscans have a vow of poverty and the building of the church had cost a fortune (an estimate of over two million pesos), the Pope declared it of his property, not the franciscans`, thus avoiding the inconsistency between the order´s vow and the wealth of the church. Pope Clemente X gave the church of San Francisco the same privileges that the Archibasilica of Saint John of Letran, seat of the Pope in Rome, and ordered the carving of his symbols in the portal. In exchange, the franciscans had to make an annual donation of one pound of white wax to show its submission to the Archibasilica.


All photos by the author (2014).

A dervish or darvesh (from Persian درویش, Darvīsh via Turkish, Somali: Daraawiish, Arabic: درويش‎, Darwīš) is someone treading a  Sufi Muslim ascetic path or “Tariqah”, known for their extreme poverty and austerity. In this respect, dervishes are most similar to mendicant friars in Christianity or Hindu/Buddhist/Jain sadhus.

Many dervishes are mendicant ascetics who have taken a vow of poverty, unlike mullahs. The main reason they beg is to learn humility, but Dervishes are prohibited to beg for their own good. They have to give the collected money to other poor people. Others work in common professions; Egyptian Qadiriyya – known in Turkey as Kadiri – are fishermen, for example.

Some classical writers indicate that the poverty of the dervish is not merely economic. Saadi, for instance, who himself travelled widely as a dervish, and wrote extensively about them, says in his Gulistan:

“Of what avail is frock, or rosary,
Or clouted garment? Keep thyself but free
From evil deeds, it will not need for thee
To wear the cap of felt: a darwesh be
In heart, and wear the cap of Tartary.”

Rumi writes in Book 1 of his Masnavi:

“Water that’s poured inside will sink the boat 

While water underneath keeps it afloat.
Driving wealth from his heart to keep it pure
King Solomon preferred the title ‘Poor’:
That sealed jar in the stormy sea out there
Floats on the waves because it’s full of air,
When you’ve the air of dervishood inside
You’ll float above the world and there abide…”

There are various orders of Dervishes, almost all of which trace their origins from various Muslim saints and teachers, especially Imam Ali. Various orders and suborders have appeared and disappeared over the centuries. Dervishes spread into North Africa, Turkey, the Balkans, the Caucasus, Iran, Pakistan, India, Afghanistan and Tajikistan.

Other groups include the Bektashis, who are connected to the janissaries, and the Senussi, who are rather orthodox in their beliefs. Other fraternities and subgroups chant verses of the Qur'an, play drums or whirl in groups, all according to their specific traditions. They practice meditation, as is the case with most of the Sufi orders in South Asia, many of whom owe allegiance to, or were influenced by, the Chishti order. Each fraternity uses its own garb and methods of acceptance and initiation, some of which may be rather severe. [x]

theguardian.com
David Cameron vows to ‘blitz’ poverty by demolishing UK's worst sink estates
Government to spend £140m on rehousing and tearing up planning rules as PM says neglect has led to gangs and antisocial behaviour
By Caroline Davies

Bulldozing working class communities under the guise of eliminating poverty - fuck off.

We go through this process every generation or so, of bulldozing estates and rehousing people in modern estates, which become old estates etc. It does fuck all to tackle poverty. We’re not daft.

Under an amendment to the housing bill, “for every one of these high-cost social houses that we sell, we are going to build at least two new rental houses”, he said.

Will they fuck. That is just not going to happen.

Headcanons for the Nonnatuns playing Pokemon Go:

* Sister Mj would get hold of an iphone from somewhere and Sister Julienne would just give up trying to convince her it wasn’t quite in keeping with the vow of poverty. Sister Mj doesn’t know a lot about Pokemon but is quite entranced by this modern ‘mythology’ as she calls it, and takes it upon herself to go and capture all the Rattata’s in Poplar because surely no one else will want them/treat them kindly after the way the Poplar folk treat REAL rats, so she is establishing a Rattata sanctuary. She is quite pleased when Patsy informs her that people are generally not prejudiced against Rattata’s, so she moves on to rescuing Grass pokemon like Oddish and Bellsprout, for fear people will try to use weedkiller on them.

* Delia hits upon the idea of telling children being given injections to pretend that they are really just young pokemon trainers and that the nurse giving the injection is a Chancey- either the child is comforted or they argue and say that no, the nurse would be THIS or THAT sort of pokemon instead. When Nurse Crane hears, Delia expects to be told it’s all nonsense but instead Nurse Crane tells her that it is a most inventive idea and can she think of a way to make them like the taste of medicine too? (Delia regretfully says she can’t).

* Barbara is the most into Pokemon Go and admitted to Trixie that she was seriously tempted once to enter the chapel during Compline to get a Vulpix. Although she once ran into the kitchen to catch a Charmander, only to discover it was gone. What she found instead was a slightly pink-cheeked Sister Winifred, who was busy stashing her phone into the sleeve of her wimple and looking quietly pleased with herself.

* Trixie only captures the pokemon that she thinks are pretty- she tells Patsy that she has quite enough to do with rats and insects in her day job and she has no interest in chasing after the silly things in her downtime and if she wants to collect Jigglypuffs and Eeevees then she will.

* Fred doesn’t quite get the game- he labours for a good week and manages to catch six Psyducks in hopes that he will be able to establish and Psyduck farm and breed them for profit. It does not work out.

* Patsy insists she has no interest in the silly game, it’s for children not adults and cant they PLEASE talk about something else for a change? She later admits to Trixie this is because of the traumatic experience of having a shiney Charizard card stolen from her when she was 8 and pokemon had just become popular. Trixie promises to keep this under her hat.

The Iconic Cleric - Brother Andrew

Name: Brother Andrew

Age: 56

Race: Human

Alignment: Lawful Good.  Personally devoted to God’s law above man’s, and committed that man’s law should be for man’s good.

History: Andrew was born the middle child of the waning noble house of Bjil.  It was understood early in life that what little influence and wealth his parents still possessed would go to ensure a political office for his elder brother Victor and for a dowry to attract a favorable match for his sister Rachel.  But rather than become bitter, Andrew watched the expectations, demands, and attention heaped upon his siblings and was grateful to escape it.  He mostly kept to his books and to himself as they were groomed for one responsibility or another.

By the time his brother had begun his political career, Andrew had an established love of the mystical and demonstrated a proficiency in the arcane.  He wanted to be a wizard, but he could not secure a position with any of the Wizards, and so he joined himself to a monastery.  While he might not be able to study the arcane, he could still copy sacred texts and continue his passion for learning in that manner.

Andrew spent many years in this simplicity.  His order was known for copying ancient tomes for the city’s wealthier citizens.  They would take the money they made and used it to help feed the poor and destitute.  Andrew spent many years happy with his books and happy with the small but meaningful difference he was making.

Then one day, a plague began sweeping through the city.  His order ministered as best they could to the multitude of victims, putting themselves in harm’s way of the highly contagious disease and offering up their cloister has a hospital and quarantine.  But then Rachel and her husband were brought to the hospital, feverish and close to death.  Andrew prayed and fasted many days and nights for them, until the night he had his vision.  In his vision, a voice from heaven commended him for his humility and faithfulness, and pledged to empower Andrew so long as he continued to serve others.  The following day, Andrew found himself able to cure his sister, her husband, and many others in the hospital.  While he could not save everyone, he exhausted himself everyday doing everything he could to alleviate the suffering of others with his new-found abilities.

Eventually, it was revealed that the disease was mystic in origin.  An investigation was held and Brother Andrew was heavily involved for his protection against the ailment.  After much searching, it was revealed that a group of corrupt officials had concocted the outbreak as a means of increasing their power and control over the city.  In the search Andrew discovered that his own brother Victor was part of the scheme, attempting to restore their household to its former prominence in order to give his sons a more noble inheritance.  The two fought: Andrew imbued with a holy fervor while his brother channeled dark forces and mocked him for his weakness.  Andrew was overcome with fury at the death toll enacted in his own family’s name, bringing even his sister near to death, and as their mystic powers seemed at a stalemate, Andrew struck his brother down with his walking staff.

As Victor breathed his last on the floor, he pointed out the irony that Andrew was now Lord of the house of Bjil; the son from whom nothing was expected was now given everything that was left.  Victor’s wife was arrested with the rest of his co-conspirators, and Andrew could not bare to face their children that he made orphans.  The law may have left the house of Bjil to him, but his vow of poverty forbade him from accepting it.  He arranged for Rachel and her husband to care for Victor’s children until they were old enough to take over the estate, said goodbye to her, and left the city.  

He does not know how he will ever be able to atone for taking his brother’s life, he doesn’t even know if he is supposed to, but he does know that his nephews and nieces need to know that the house of Bjil can mean more than an obsession with power.

Domains: Good & Healing

Signature Equipment: A wooden staff, with his family’s crest clumsily carved in the center.

Appearance: A plain, coarse hooded cloak,

Vows of poverty

and avoidance of a luxurious lifestyle

and luxuries in general;

earthly riches -

because it is indeed a difficult task

to keep your soul

while increasing your profits.

Matthew 19:16-26

16 Now a man came up to Jesus and asked, "Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?”
17 “Why do you ask me about what is good?” Jesus replied. “There is only One who is good. If you want to enter life, obey the commandments.”
18 “Which ones?” the man inquired. Jesus replied, “`Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimony,
19 honor your father and mother,’ and `love your neighbor as yourself.”
20 “All these I have kept,” the young man said. “What do I still lack?”
21 Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
22 When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth.
23 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “I tell you the truth, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven.
24 Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”
25 When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished and asked, “Who then can be saved?”
26 Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

gentleness begets gentleness loooooove

So in the 80s there was a hoboprophet in Rio who went around preaching that people should live by the precepts of “gentleness” and “thankfulness”; at some point he went around the city and painted a speech in 53 pillars sustaining one of Rio’s most important overpasses.

these are actually restorations, as at some point after his death the city council had them painted over under great protest. Nowadays they’re such an important part of local folklore that taggers and street artists will paint around the writings, but never on top of them; the one time I saw any of these murals marred, it was actually a crooked, misspelled claim that Only Jesus Can Expel Satan From People’s Bodies. From which I guess you could conclude something re: zealots and the respect or lack of it they afford people who actually take their poverty vows seriously.

Anyway, I just wanted to show everyone what I always pictured in my mind whenever the Disciple’s Sufferer-related cave-wall paintings were mentioned, in canon and out of it.