lightpoint: portrait of rey with color adjustment (rey portrait sharp)
[personal profile] lightpoint
Ok, seriously canon!Rey...A STAFF? As your only weapon? On an obviously dangerous planet?

I posted a quick author's note on the latest chapter of Counting Days about why, oh why, is Rey packing a staff instead of a blaster?

Jakku is very obviously supposed to be a very dangerous planet. The thin layer of civilization in Niima Outpost clearly isn't quite cutting it, either. Hell, Rey LEFT TOWN to live in an abandoned AT-AT. Canon doesn't give an exact age, but it's implied that she's been there for awhile, and if she was only 19 in TFA, she moved out of what is canonically the ONLY significant city on the entire planet when she was very, very young. Why?

In Counting Days I have her leave at age 12. This seemed pretty reasonable, because at that age most people are going through puberty, which means that she's achieving a higher level of physical capability than they had at, say, 9. 12-year-olds can be pretty sharp. Maybe I wasn't a typical tween, but by age 12 I'd already formed a pretty solid personal philosophy and view of the world, just from my environment and what I saw in the media. Also, adversity can make kids grow up pretty quickly. Rey, even in a Disney-fied Jakku, had a pretty bleak childhood.

Apparently in Rey's 'Survival Guide', there's an incident when she's in her early teens about how 2 other scavengers screw her over - they help her fix a ship she salvaged, and then make off with it before she can sell it to Plutt. BUT she was already living in the Hellhound II. Supposedly that was the turning point wherein she decided that the only person she could really trust was herself. And yet she'd already bailed on civilization.

My opinion on this only got strengthened when I found out about the Niima Outpost Militia. Zuvio et al, while outnumbered and outgunned, still added an element of law and order to what was basically a Wild West town. It certainly fits with the 'Space Western' feel of Star Wars in general...At least Episode IV. And in the Wild West, the only people who lived outside town that weren't outlaws (hi there The Clan and Cerebos' Army) had some form of social support system - they were farmers and ranchers, and had family to back them up. Rey has NONE of this. So either her sense of self-preservation is quite underdeveloped, or her contempt for that thin layer of civilization is profound. Humans tend to band together in hostile situations. Rey left town.

She didn't feel safe.

Yes, it's canon that Plutt 1. controls the food and 2. told everyone dependent on said food to leave her alone because she's just that good at scavenging, but it's also canon that there are people on Jakku that don't answer to Plutt. The outlaws are only mentioned a few times, apparently, but there are definitely people out in the desert that will kill your ass for your food.

If Rey was out in the Graveyard as often as she supposedly was, living waaaay outside Jakku's lame excuse for civilization, and was only packing a staff, I call bullshit on her survival odds. Perhaps the Force allowed her to dodge unwanted attention? Maybe she's NOT as much of a Force noob as TFA implies?

But if you assume that she doesn't know anything about the Force...It's very possible that what she told Han was accurate: She CAN use a blaster (despite the movie's attempt at making her look like she'd never used one before, but then again, that could be an acting issue) and Han knew it, because he's good at reading people thanks to his life on the edge. In fact, she probably uses more dangerous weapons A LOT. We only see her use the staff in town. This is because she's relatively safe in town. Outside Niima is another story entirely. She's living in a freaking tank for Pete's sake. And even inside Niima she carries a weapon. That says a lot.

And the Survival Guide? I smell an Unreliable Narrator.

I think that TFA showed her using a non-lethal weapon because they wanted to avoid the 'Han shot first' characterization. Rey would lean far more towards the anti-hero side of things if we saw her use lethal force. And it's, well, Disney. It's one thing for Jack Sparrow to shoot first, but another for Rey, the probable Jedi Apprentice and one of the heroes of the movie to do the same. They wanted to keep her as clean as possible.

In fact, not once in the movie does she make a definite moral decision. The one time at the end where it was looking like she might have to (the Kylo duel), the choice to kill him while he was down was conveniently removed by that earthquake. And that obvious rage? Hoo-boy. If she knows nothing of the Force, I think that convincing her that using the Dark Side is a bad idea is going to be difficult. After all, she has proof that it works. Luke has his work cut out for him, all right.

So while I don't really think that Disney will 'go there', Rey is definitely at risk for a fast slide into the Dark Side. Meanwhile, the book 'Bloodline' showed that things got bad for Ben, Luke, Leia, Han, and the New Republic very, very fast. And Rey was already on Jakku when all the shit went down, so the whole 'Luke's former student, abandoned on Jakku because Kylo shot up the Jedi school' theory is out. As is the strongest argument for her being Luke's daughter, but THAT is another post entirely.

So. Disney wanted to avoid the 'Han Shot First' thing. But there's a lot of Fridge Horror about Jakku that I think the canon might explore some more, if only in the novels. We'll see.

...Also if we're going for Original Trilogy analogues, Rey has much more in common with Han than she does with Luke. The Luke analogue is Finn. And the Leia analogue is Poe. He's with the Resistance, the droid with the 'plans/map' is his, he gets captured, and basically kick-starts the plot.

Ok, that's it, I'll pick this up later. Too much to discuss in one post.

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December 2016


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