The Journey Continues: Revenge Of The Sith

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It was an epic year of high school firsts and personal discoveries, of big victories and small failures, and over-all great change in the weeks and months leading up to the release of Star Wars Episode III Revenge of the Sith. And throughout it all, my house was chock-full of minutely detailed fan-theories and wide-eyed conspiracy theories regarding the final fate our galactic heroes and supposed villains. I remember having countless detailed conversations with my dad as to what exactly was going to make Anakin turn to the darkside and become Darth Vader. We all figured it had something to do with Padme dying since we’d all seen what happened with his mother and the rage that lurked beneath the surface, especially considering he loved her so intensely and she definitely wasn’t in the originals. so as sad as it was, it was a safe bet that our badass Queen turned Senator was going to be taken from us somehow. But by whom? How? And why? These were the million-dollar questions and dear god did we have some crazy ideas.

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Looking back at it all, the entire lead-up to the release was completely nerve-wracking and thrilling – the stakes had never been so high for me before with regards to a movie franchise. The only thing that came close was waiting for each new Harry Potter book (and let me tell you was a whole-other level of stress, especially after The Goblet of Fire), but Star Wars was something I had literally been born into, I had lived and breathed with theses character and their stories my entire life, and now with this final episode on the horizon, we were going to be given the answers to every question we as fans had ever asked ourselves. What were we going to do with ourselves once it was all over?!

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I remember when the Sunday paper released the first detailed images of Episode III and Anakin, I was eating breakfast with my family at one of our favorite diners and I just couldn’t take my eyes off the haunting image of Ani surrounded by the black and red of Mustafar. This was it… it was actually finally happening. The Anakin I had fallen in love with over the last two films was about to face the thing that was going to break him, that was going to turn him from the bright happy boy who loved an amazing woman, to the black-clad mechanical monster that terrorized the galaxy. I was going to be with him every step of the way, but this was a perilous journey and I knew we weren’t all going to make it through to the other side. I was almost 16, and this was the first time I had to let a character go. I’d known going in that there was no saving him, but over the course of two films and six years, I had forgotten somehow that Anakin was not mine to keep. That I had to give him back to fate so that he could become the villain he was meant to be. Because the end of his story had already been told, it was the cliffhanger of a middle that was about to be revealed.

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When the film finally soared into theaters May 19th 2005 my parents, my little brother, and I took our seats and I held my breath. This was the last time we wouldn’t know the whole story…or so we thought. It didn’t surprise me to learn that I had been right, that it was the loss of Padme, or rather the fear of losing her, that lead Anakin down the darkest of paths, but I was blown away by how intense every second of the film was. I cried in anguish as Anakin made that fatal decision to leave the Jedi temple to stop Mace Windu from arresting Palpatine, and then again in horror as he marched back into the temple to wreck the destruction of Darth Vader. That scene shocked me more than any other. My Anakin was gone, I had watched him leave, watched him blur into Darth Vader before my very eyes, and no amount of begging and pleading from either Padme or myself could get him to stop and come back to the light. I left the theater stunned and absolutely amazed, telling those waiting in line for the next showing that they were in for a heck of an emotional roller-coaster!

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Fourteen years later and I still feel utter shock and devastation every time I watch Revenge of the Sith. Every time Anakin stands alone in the temple, feeling the weight of Padme’s life on his shoulders I want to scream at him not to leave, not to make this horrible decision. Even as I’ve gotten older and my love of the Jedi Order has faded into a much harsher viewpoint, I still find myself wishing that Anakin could have found another way, that he had just waited for Obi-Wan or something, I don’t even know what really! But his fate was sealed long before his birth, and this was the path the Force set him upon and no amount of tears or wishes was going to keep him from bring balance to the galaxy in the most brutal way possible.

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And in the end that’s what makes this film so epic and timeless. No matter how much time has passed since its original release, fans still find themselves interacting with the moments playing out onscreen, hoping time and again that this time the story changes, that this time Anakin makes a different choice. We sit there entranced as the events unfold before us, the way that they always have ever since 2005 and still we can’t help but have hope. Hope that this time, we can rewrite the story, that we can defy fate. Hope that this time, maybe if we’re strong enough, we can reach through the Force and save the characters we’ve come to love.

elenatintil.blogspot.com

End Of The Month Review: The Phantom Menace

I can’t believe the first month of our year-long countdown to Star Wars Episode IX has come and gone my fellow SW fans and we’re already gearing up for round two! We’ve happily spent the past few weeks together exploring the fandom and breaking down the themes, characters, and meaning behind the first film in the Skywalker saga: The Phantom Menace – and I don’t know about you, but I feel like we covered some hella fun topics along the way!

Before we jump headlong into Attack of the Clones and all its epic Anidala glory, I figured it’s only fitting to tie up our experience with TPM with a little end of the month review! So, if you’ve missed any of January’s posts or are new to Whimsical Mutterings in general, now’s the perfect time to explore the site and get all caught up before Episode II begins! Thanks for coming on this Star Wars journey with me – thank you for every view, like, comment, and share. You guys are amazing, and you make SW and the fandom amazing too!

May the Force be with you ❤

January’s TPM Posts:

The Journey Begins: The Phantom Menace

TPM: Judgement and Consequence

TPM: The Emergence and Importance of Fate

TPM: A Light in the Darkness

TPM: Enter The Gray Jedi

TPM: Shadows In The Force

TPM: The Reign Of A Queen

TPM: A Queen’s Victory

TPM: A Mother’s Love And Legacy

TPM: The True Phantom Menace

Bonus Posts:

Star Wars Episode IX: The Beginning of the End

Epic Fun In The Fandom: #ReyloNight

 

Media Via:

en.wikipedia.org

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KYLO REN IS A HUFFLEPUFF!!!

Yes, you read that title right and I’ll say it again for the people in the back…KYLO REN, MASTER OF THE KNIGHTS OF REN, SON OF DARKNESS, HEIR APPARENT TO LORD VADER, AND THE NEW SUPREME LEADER OF THE FIRST ORDER…IS A HUFFLEPUFF.

Surprising I know but go figure.

I stumbled upon this discovery after reading a hella fun article over on Strangely Pop Cultured a few days ago wherein the writer explained how Kylo’s parents are both actually members of the Slytherin house. As a Snake myself, I was thrilled to have Princess Leia and Han Solo among my ranks because in all honesty, we need all the heroic Slytherin examples we can get — but it left me wondering… if both his parents are heroic Slytherins, what exactly is Kylo Ren/ Ben Solo?

I won’t lie, this question stumped me for a while. Kylo is an extremely complex character wrapped in layers of frayed emotions and self-deceit and I wanted to do him justice. The easy answer and the one I think most would give is that he’s a Slytherin as well, but I think that’s for all the wrong reasons i.e. Slytherin is evil and so is Kylo therefore bad person equals bad house, but that’s unfairly profiling and simplifying both the character and the house. Slytherin is not an evil house comprised solely of evil people. Evil isn’t house specific (I’m looking at you Pettigrew and Lockhart). Slytherins simply idolize cunning and ambition, traits that when wielded correctly can actually be used for great good! And Kylo Ren is one of the most complex, fully realized characters in the sequel trilogy, so to judge him without understanding his motivations would be childish. So again, I asked myself: what Hogwarts house would encapsulate all that Kylo is?!

And the answer was simple.

For all his over-the-top destructive behavior and bravado, cunning and ambitious are not keywords I’d use to describe Kylo Ren. Slytherins are go-getters and he’s reactionary at best. Brave and wise go out the window too and with them, Gryffindor and Ravenclaw – not because he doesn’t have any of these qualities, he does, but they are not driving forces behind his personality. No, Kylo at his core exemplifies dedication, fairness and above all: loyalty. A Hufflepuff through and through.

Still don’t believe me? Let’s break it down a little bit shall we?

First up: dedication… Kylo’s pretty damn dedicated to a few things, namely eradicating the last vestiges of the Jedi and the Sith teachings in the galaxy. As an ex-padawan learner, Kylo saw first-hand how dangerous the Jedi ideology and practice is when his own uncle nearly killed him in his sleep because of perceived darkness. Never mind that Vader actively wielded and misused his inner darkness for over twenty years and was somehow still forgivable, it’s the mostly-dormant darkness in Kylo that warrants an immediate death sentence. This easily demonstrates how unjust and unreliable the Jedi/Sith system is as it houses no room for middle ground and yet is executed with individualistic concerns. That being said, Kylo has spent years methodically searching for his uncle to ensure that that kind of uncompromising lethality is annihilated and if that’s not dedication I don’t know what is.

Second up is fairness and again, it’s easy to see in both films. Kylo is extremely reactionary, he’s a tit for tat character when it comes down to it, you strike out at me, I strike out at you. Fair is fair. We see this best when he faces his father Han Solo. Whatever our preconceived notions of Han, it is made abundantly clear in the supplemental reading and The Force Awakens itself (Kylo telling Rey Han would have disappointed her as a father) that Kylo has unresolved issues with his father. In Daniel Jose Older’s novel Last Shot, we see a young Ben Solo distraught when his father leaves him for a mission that almost ended with baby Ben being killed by his unqualified babysitting droid and we’re left with the sense that this forced separation will be a reoccurring theme in their relationship. And once he’s older, Ben is sent away to Luke for training (an act again that almost resulted in his death) so it’s not hard to imagine the resentment that comes from being constantly left behind or sent away. Therefore, after all the years of unnecessary painful goodbyes and resulting near-death experiences and a lifetime of Snoke whispering poisoned words in his mind, it’s no surprise that a severely conflicted Kylo redresses the issue and strikes a blow for himself – in the worst way possible of course, but morality aside, Kylo finally stands up to his father and makes it clear: you hurt me, now I’m hurting you. Again, worst possible way to make this point, but it’s a space opera and it’s go-big or go home. This goes double for when he faces Luke in The Last Jedi. Whether or not he completed the act and whether or not it’s understandable, Luke tried to kill Kylo and Kylo definitely returned the favor. Fair is fair after all.

Last, but not least, the epitome of Hufflepuff traits: loyalty. Broken and used as he is, Kylo Ren is undoubtedly loyal…to those who deserve his loyalty. He doesn’t bestow it lightly, it’s made clear that until Luke’s ill-fated attempt on his life, Kylo struggled with the darkness inside his head, never giving into it until that final act of familial treachery. Betrayed by his uncle, sent away by his parents, Kylo made his way to the only constant presence in his life: Snoke. He does all that he can to become the person Snoke wants him to be, aka the next great Vader. He constructs a mask for himself, literally and figuratively, drawing any tangible or perceptible lightside qualities deep into himself until he is left with Kylo Ren, a deception, a mask in every definition of the word. The loyalty that binds him to Snoke takes him down the darkest paths, nearly destroying him, but he endures it and it’s not until Snoke proves un-loyal in turn by first tasking him with killing his own father and then again by using his connection to Rey for nefarious purposes and then demanding he kill her that Kylo retracts that loyalty. For a moment we think that loyalty will be given to Rey, but Rey isn’t quite ready or deserving of it yet. She doesn’t know enough about Kylo, his motivations, or the galaxy at large to be deserving of a Hufflepuff’s loyalty, she can’t see past what she herself wants and so for the time, Kylo is loyal to the only person he has left: himself. I imagine that will change in Episode IX, but for now it’s for the best, he needs to heal before he can give such a large piece of himself away to another person and another cause.

And there you have it, Kylo Ren is a clear-cut Hufflepuff if I ever saw one: dedicated, fair, and above all, loyal. Destructive and dangerous, it’s easy to take his actions for those of a “stereotypical” Slytherin, but he’s not. He playacts as one, trying so desperately that it comes off as unauthentic and that’s because at his core, Kylo Ren embodies the very best of the Hufflepuff qualities – they’ve just been twisted by negative forces both outside and within. But there is still hope for his future. As my favorite Gryffindor once said: “We’ve all got both light and dark inside us. What matters is the part we choose to act on. That’s who we really are.” (J. K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix). I think we’re going to see a whole new Kylo Ren in the next film, a Kylo who chooses for himself for once, someone who had taken the time to examine the mistakes and hurts of his past and has resolved to be better in the future. Not a perfect person mind you, because as Luke famously said himself in The Last Jedi, “It is time for the Jedi to end.” The galaxy doesn’t need perfection, it doesn’t need absolutes, it needs people who truly understand themselves and can act with both passion and clarity. It needs a middle-ground. Souls with a touch of darkness and a taste of light.

Media via:

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Legacy Of A Star Wars Queen

I don’t know about you guys, but one of my favorite things about reading Star Wars novels are those awesome aha moments you randomly get that connects what you’re reading now to the those stories we already know and love. It’s almost like the entire galaxy aligns for a split second and you can see the past, present, and future all at once and if you just try hard enough, you might be able to reach in and touch the very fabric of that galaxy far far away. Perhaps alter the story or at least walk in the hallowed footsteps of your favorite heroes! I’m overthinking it I know, but I’m a writer, that’s what I do 😂 Anyway, since I’m rereading Leia, Princess of Alderaan by Claudia Gray, I figured I’d share with you one of my favorites moments that I just stumbled across again! Warning: spoilers head!

On a diplomatic mission to one of Naboo’s moons, sixteen year old Leia Organa comes dangerously (and unknowingly) close to her birth mother’s home planet in an effort to prove herself worthy of being named the crown princess of Alderaan. Um…excuse me while I burst into my happy dance! Not only do we get a mention of Padme’s beautiful home world, but we also come face to face with the new Queen of Naboo herself and Leia even wears one of her mother’s most famous ceremonial dresses! *Swoon* It’s sheer perfection.

Perhaps it’s just me, but it makes me so absurdly happy to have Leia so close to her actual mom in some way, even if it’s only through culture, heritage, and a shared burden of responsibility. It’s almost like Padme is there with her daughter, guiding her through the political arena that she herself mastered before her untimely death. Don’t get me wrong — Breha is a WONDERFUL mother, queen, and guide but I just feel as though Padme is unfairly forgotten in the SW universe therefore any mention of her just makes my day! She was one badass SW lady and she definitely deserved more! And it’s heartbreaking knowing that two of my all time favorite Star Wars women will never know one another, especially given how similar they are. Leia could have learned so much from Padme, maybe even have followed in her mother’s footsteps and become Queen of Naboo herself! But sadly, we can’t change the past (or can we Rebels?!) and little moments like these are all we’re given. So I’ll happily take them and always hope for more!

And there you have it, such a quick, little moment in the overall course of Leia’s life, and SW history in general, but Leia’s visit to Naboo’s mining moon is definitely one of my favorite aha moments in the SW novels.What about you guys, what are your favorite aha moments? Is there one you’d like to see in a future novel? Let me know in the comments!

Pictures via:

starwars.wikia.com

Elenatintil.blogspot.com

Legacy Of A Star Wars Queen

I don’t know about you guys, but one of my favorite things about reading Star Wars novels are those awesome aha moments you randomly get that connects what you’re reading now to the those stories we already know and love. It’s almost like the entire galaxy aligns for a split second and you can see the past, present, and future all at once and if you just try hard enough, you might be able to reach in and touch the very fabric of that galaxy far far away. Perhaps alter the story or at least walk in the hallowed footsteps of your favorite heroes! I’m overthinking it I know, but I’m a writer, that’s what I do 😂 Anyway, since I’m rereading Leia, Princess of Alderaan by Claudia Grey, I figured I’d share with you one of my favorites moments that I just stumbled across again! Warning: spoilers head!

On a diplomatic mission to one of Naboo’s moons, sixteen year old Leia Organa comes dangerously (and unknowingly) close to her birth mother’s home planet in an effort to prove herself worthy of being named the crown princess of Alderaan. Um…excuse me while I burst into my happy dance! Not only do we get a mention of Padme’s beautiful home world, but we also come face to face with the new Queen of Naboo herself and Leia even wears one of her mother’s most famous ceremonial dresses! *Swoon* It’s sheer perfection.

Perhaps it’s just me, but it makes me so absurdly happy to have Leia so close to her actual mom in some way, even if it’s only through culture, heritage, and a shared burden of responsibility. It’s almost like Padme is there with her daughter, guiding her through the political arena that she herself mastered before her untimely death. Don’t get me wrong — Breha is a WONDERFUL mother, queen, and guide but I just feel as though Padme is unfairly forgotten in the SW universe therefore any mention of her just makes my day! She was one badass SW lady and she definitely deserved more! And it’s heartbreaking knowing that two of my all time favorite Star Wars women will never know one another, especially given how similar they are. Leia could have learned so much from Padme, maybe even have followed in her mother’s footsteps and become Queen of Naboo herself! But sadly, we can’t change the past (or can we Rebels?!) and little moments like these are all we’re given. So I’ll happily take them and always hope for more!

And there you have it, such a quick, little moment in the overall course of Leia’s life, and SW history in general, but Leia’s visit to Naboo’s mining moon is definitely one of my favorite aha moments in the SW novels.What about you guys, what are your favorite aha moments? Is there one you’d like to see in a future novel? Let me know in the comments!