ByJack Carr, writer at
You are the Princess Shireen of the House Baratheon, and you are my daughter.
Jack Carr

Spoilers ahead for Harry Potter (seriously, if you need a Harry Potter spoiler warning at this point...) and, of course, Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

Not so long ago in a galaxy pretty close to home, Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince dropped one of the all-time most un-guessable plot twists. Snape was not a Death Eater. He was not Voldemort's most loyal servant. He was not evil.

The man who'd spent years six tormenting Harry Potter, deducting points from Gryffindor and eyeing up Defence Against the Dark Arts like a hawk was not Voldermort's man at all. He was Lily's man. And he did it all for love.

And then he bloody well died, because J.K. Rowling hadn't devastated us quite enough already.

You may be wondering precisely how this relates to The Force Awakens. Allow me to enlighten you.

It all starts with a theory that's been doing the rounds in the strangest, most conspiracy-happy corners of the Internet, the shadowy alleys and damp, darkened caves collectively known as Tumblr.

The theory goes like this: Kylo Ren is not evil. In reality, he is an undercover agent working, presumably alone, to get close to Supreme Leader Snoke as a means of engineering the fall of the Dark Side from within.

Are you insane?

It's certainly possible, but before you write me off completely, let's take a look at the evidence as it presents itself in Episode VII: The Force Awakens.

Firstly, let's look at Kylo's choice of words when addressing the remnants of Vader's helmet: "I will finish what you started."

On a surface level this is read as a promise to do all he can to ensure the success of the First Order, but equally it could be taken the other way: a vow to destroy the Dark Side.

There's a clear contradiction in Kylo, or Ben Solo, as he was once known. Having trained with Luke as a kid, he's known what it means to be part of the Resistance as well as to be a devotee of the First Order - but we don't actually know what turned him to the Dark Side, and that could be crucial.

Kylo Ren art by Hodges-art on Deviantart
Kylo Ren art by Hodges-art on Deviantart

What if the move was calculated? A decision to go so deep undercover that even Luke couldn't know of Ben's true motive - the secrecy had to be absolute for the ruse to pay dividends years down the line - therefore setting into motion Luke's self-enforced seclusion.

Dark temptation

If the theory as I've explained it so far is rooted in truth, there are a couple of problems, namely why kill Han at all? After doing so we see Kylo shoot a look of rage at Finn and Rey, giving chase into the forest for a vengeful showdown.

There doesn't appear to be much reason for his rage unless his own actions - killing his father - took him by surprise, which would make sense if Kylo has been struggling to resist the lure of the Dark Side, having spent so long undercover in its clutches. Irrationally, he blames Rey and Finn for bringing Han to along for the ride, unwillingly facilitating his death at the hands of his son.

Something else to note: He ultimately spares both Rey and Finn, which doesn't exactly feel like the action of a man committed to the Dark Side.

The parallels with Snape are obvious. Ultimately, to orchestrate the downfall of evil, Snape had to touch evil. He had to give everybody reason to believe that his heart was that of a Death Eater.

In killing Han Solo, Ren has unquestionably given everybody cause to believe he's a committed soldier of the First Order, including the one man whose trust he needs most: Supreme Leader Snoke.

If you buy this theory, Han's death can be read in a completely new light: it's no longer the moment the First Order gained significant momentum over the Resistance.

It's the moment the Resistance moved a step closer to victory - they just don't know it yet.


Does Kylo Ren truly belong to the Dark Side?


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