Emma’s Random (Reylo) Thoughts Part 14: Is Reylo a “Twilight Thing?”

It’s been months since I wrote a shameless attempt to get more views, so it’s time for another one!

So, in my last post, I promised that I would talk about the vampire in the room, ie “Is Reylo a Twilight Thing?”

This is a common charge, even among guys who are not hostile to the idea of Reylo.

So, before we begin, what is Twilight?

Well, you are in luck, dear reader, because a year ago, I read about 1/2 of the first Twilight book.

I was inspired to do so by two things.  One thing was a friend, who said that I should read it.  “You’ll be sitting there saying, Wow.  Just.  Wow.”

The other was Lindsay Ellis, a YouTuber I love, posting her apology to Stephanie Myers.

After I saw that, I realized that, in order to fairly react to Twilight, I had to read it.  Plus, I think that she is right, we’re too hard on teenage girls.  I mean, I remember watching this clip a few years ago and laughing hysterically.

Yes, like everyone else, I made fun of the teenage girls, but in the back of my mind, I remember thinking, “If I had been 13 when the Twilight books came out, I would totally have known the answer to the question, ‘How many times did Jacob kiss Bella?'”

I skimmed through the first half of the first book. Bella was a horribly undefined character.  She also called her dad Charlie, which pissed me off.  I mean, I get that in these stories, the father must be dead or useless (in order to make the girl more vulnerable to men) but still, Charlie?  Ick.  Plus, I didn’t really care about the school dance stuff, which is not the fault of the book.  I am in my 30’s, so it’s hard to pretend that what happens in high school is All Important for the future of life.  (Thank God!)

Then Bella confronts Edward about the fact that he is a vampire.

Wow.  Just.  Wow.

First of all, the language.

“And so the lion fell in love with the lamb…” he murmured. I looked away, hiding my eyes as I thrilled to the word.
“What a stupid lamb,” I sighed.
“What a sick, masochistic lion.”

And this.

“Your scent is like a drug to me like my own personal brand of heroin.”

I would send quotes to my best friend.  She replied, “How much longer are you going to torture yourself with this?”

Second of all, this kind of shit only work if the guy is intimidating, and I can’t be intimidated by a 17 year old guy.  (Oh I’m sorry, a 100 year old guy who is stuck in a 17 year old’s body.)  Now, granted, that is not the book’s fault.  I am not the target audience.  No doubt a 13 year old girl would be intimidated by a 17 year old boy.  I find them stupid and obnoxious.  I did when I was 17, and they have only gotten worse as I age.

Third, it’s hard not see that she is trying to make Edward Cullen into Edward Rochester from Jane Eyre.  Sadly, she wasn’t able to make Bella Swan into Jane Eyre.  Jane Eyre is a smart, defiant character with a profound, internal sense of her own worth and right and wrong.  She refuses to be cowed by Mr. Rochester, despite the fact that he is her boss and a very wealthy man.  Bella is none of those things.  She isn’t anything at all.

So, it was about this point that I stopped reading Twilight.  But I know enough about it to come up with a list of some of the qualities that make Twilight, well, Twilight.

1 A female protagonist who is basically a blank slate, without any defining features.

2 The female protagonist has a poor relationship with her father and is separated from her familiar surroundings.

3 The female protagonist falls prey to the attraction of a dangerous male character.

4 The male character tries to dissuade the female protagonist from loving him, emphasizing how dangerous he is.

5 The female protagonist abandons her (nonexistent) sense of self, her world, and her connections in order to be with the male protagonist.

So, let’s go through these points and compare them to Kylo Ren and Rey, as presented in The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi to see if their story matches these qualifications.

1 A female protagonist who is basically a blank slate, without any defining features. 

That’s a hard no.

Rey is a very well defined character.  We know that she was abandoned on Jakku by her parents.  She is a survivor, because she has continued to survive in a harsh existence.  She is also emotionally needy to the point of delusion.  When we first see her, we see a tenacious, intelligent young woman who stubbornly refuses to move on with her life because she can’t come to terms with the fact that her parents abandoned her.

(BTW, it bugs me to no end that people’s first thought when they heard Rey tell BB-8 that her family is coming back for her is “Oh, I wonder who her parents are.”  I keep harping on that, but I just can’t get over it!)

So, setting aside the fact that Rey has the same problem Hermione has (she is far too good with too many things) she is a well defined character with a clear character flaw.

She is a far better character than Boba Fett.  But that’s not hard, almost any character is a better character than Boba Fett.

2 The female protagonist has a poor relationship with her father and is separated from her familiar surroundings. 

This is true.

Rey has no relationship with her biological father.  She has three surrogate father figures: Unkar Platt, Han Solo, and Luke Skywalker.  She only had a good relationship with Han Solo, but he is dead.

She is also separated from her familiar surroundings.  She leaves Jakku early in The Force Awakens and has not gone back.  She has had to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no one…

Oh sorry.  That’s another space story.

3 The female protagonist falls prey to the attraction of a dangerous male character. 

True.  In The Force Awakens, she is kidnapped and held prisoner by Kylo Ren.  However, far more relevant to this discussion, she discovered that she has a Force Connection with Kylo Ren.  As they talk, she experiences a growing sympathy (attraction?) to him and believes that she can rescue him.  Now, it’s different than Bella.  Rey believes that she can free Kylo Ren from his current state; Bella wants Edward to turn her into a vampire.

4  The male character tries to dissuade the female protagonist from loving him, emphasizing how dangerous he is.  

That’s a hard no.  There is only one moment that could kind of be seen in that way, and that is when Kylo Ren and Rey have their second Force Skype session.  Rey calls him a monster, and Kylo replies, “Yes, I am.”  Other than that, we do not see any time when Kylo Ren tries to push her away and she ignores his protestations.

5 The female protagonist abandons her (nonexistent) sense of self, her world, and her connections in order to be with the male protagonist.  

Once again, a very hard no.

The climax of Rey’s story in The Last Jedi involves the moment when Kylo Ren offers to give her an identity and power, in exchange for her abandoning her life and everyone she has grown to care about over the past two movies.  Rey rejects him.  This makes her far, far more like Jane Eyre than it does like Bella Swan.

 

Now, of course, we cannot say definitively that the relationship between Kylo Ren and Rey will not end up like Twilight, because we do not have the third movie.  It is possible that the relationship between the two will change.  It is possible that Rey will try to abandon her sense of self and her friends to be in a relationship with Kylo Ren, and that Kylo Ren will try to dissuade her from that because of how dangerous he is.  That could be Twilighty, but it would also depend how the story ends up at the end.  Does she give in?

I also don’t think that it is a bad idea of Kylo Ren challenges Rey’s deeply held beliefs about herself, the galaxy, and good and evil.  Quite the contrary, it would be the only thing that would give Rise of Skywalker any meaning at all.  I also think that they could include a sexual subtext in this challenge, which would not be the same as having them be in a literal relationship.

Or, it could involve Rey standing her ground and being true to her convictions, and ultimately Kylo Ren having to abandon his life and identity (as Kylo Ren) in order to be with her.  That would be kind of Twilighty, but with a key gender reversal, and with good triumphing over evil.

Or we could find out that Rey is secretly Luke’s daughter and the last movie will turn into a meaningless, stupid fight between Rey, Kylo Ren, and Emperor Palpatine.  That sounds mind numbingly boring, so J.J Abrams will almost definitely pick that option.

We simply don’t know.

But as it stands right now, the relationship between Kylo Ren and Rey, in my opinion, is not Twilight.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements
This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s