How I Met Your Mother: Rey Skywalker Edition – Symbolism and Narrative

Written by Josey, robotical712, HypersonicHarpist, Pale, ravenclawmind and Needs_More_Sprinkles

In ‘The Tide and Its Significance’ we laid out why the Tide philosophy is important to both the setting and Luke in particular. Now, we get into the narrative and symbolic reasons we believe Legends of Luke Skywalker strongly suggests the origins of Rey’s mother.

Part of the Finding SkyMom series

Shared Imagery and Symbolic Parallels

A number of symbols and images present in the depiction of Lew’el serve as striking parallels to (or contrasts with) ones we have seen in the saga of the Skywalker family. Many of these parallels seem like they were created with the definitions of the Taoist concept of Yin and Yang in mind. Yang is characterized as masculine, active, bright, hot, and dry. Yin is characterized as feminine, passive, dark, cool, and watery. The philosophy of the Jedi could be considered to be defined by Yang as the Jedi way was to actively seek out wrongs to set right. The Tide philosophy of Lew’el could be considered to represent Yin, as the people of Lew’el are pacifists and decline to intervene in the affairs of the galaxy.

Perhaps the most immediately evident sign of a Yin-Yang duality is the Skywalkers’ desert origins on Tatooine juxtaposed with Lew’el’s oceanic landscape. Even the term “The Tide” makes reference to Lew’el’s culture being tied to water and the sea, further driving home the concept. Parallels to the Skywalkers (especially Luke) crop up with the character of Aya, Luke’s guide to life on Lew’el. Aya is herself a “pilot” of sorts, riding a “wind-truster,” a large bird with 4 wings arranged in an X-shape, just like Luke’s X-wing. The bird in the story is described as being blue; Luke’s X-wing is described as having five red stripes on each wing. Aya is descended from a long line of Force-sensitive people, while Luke is from a newly-created Force-strong bloodline. Moreover, Aya  has a fraternal twin brother named Tonn, just as Luke has a fraternal twin sister in Leia. Both Tatooine and Lew’el are described as being “farthest from the bright center” of the galaxy. Both Luke and Aya at one point in their lives hope to leave their homeworlds and explore other planets as soon as they get a chance.

These highly personal connections between Luke’s life story and the one of his companion on Lew’el suggest that Luke’s time on the planet has a deeper influence on story of the Skywalker family than one might initially think. (Interestingly, both “Lew’el” and “Aya” are palindromes–in other words, both words comprised of two mirrored halves).

The imagery of Lew’el also connects quite intriguingly to Rey’s story. Her recurring dreams of an island in the middle of an ocean are referenced in The Force Awakens, and crop up again when she speaks to Luke in The Last Jedi (prompting him to ask her “Who are you?” for the second time). According to the Last Jedi visual dictionary, “Rey has had visions of the island Ahch-To, or at least a place very much like it. When Rey arrives on Ahch-To, she realizes she has dreamed of the island there, “or at least a place very much like it.” This appears to hint that Rey’s dreams may not have been of her future travels to Ahch-To, but of Lew’el, which is the only other island-dotted oceanic planet currently established in canon. It is not outrageous to consider that Rey has been dreaming not just of her future, but of her origins as a child of Lew’el.

Complement to Luke

One of the criticisms of Star Wars is its tendency to downplay the importance of mothers or ignore them entirely. If our theory is correct, then Lucasfilm has made efforts to avoid the appearance that Rey’s mother existed simply as a plot device, to birth Rey and to die tragically for the sake of others’ emotional pain. (Alas, it seems logistically unlikely that Rey’s mother could be alive as of the Sequel Trilogy, though she might appear as something akin to a Force ghost). Rey’s mother being from Lew’el would make her Luke’s equal rather than merely his student as they both would have aspects of the Force that they could teach each other (and are both of significant lineages). She would also be invaluable to Luke during his quest for Force lore, as she would be able to bring a different perspective and knowledge base to the search. Indeed, Luke’s time on Lew’el seems to have had a significant impact on him, far in excess of what the story would suggest.

We’ve previously discussed the Tide as a philosophy that counter-balances balance to that of the Jedi, but the Jedi is also a balance to the Tide. Aya, the story’s protagonist, is riding her wind-truster when she is caught in a great storm. She trusts the Tide as she was taught, “but the Tide offered no warm embrace, no illuminated path out. She reached out with her mind, but all she could find was the same tumultuous confusion, the same cold indifference, the same dispassionate marshaling of grand forces that cared not for the fate of an individual girl or bird. The Tide felt just like the chaotic storm around her.” Lightning kills Aya’s mount and she waits for death, but then “an impossible sight: a giant bird with white-glowing X-shaped wings, five red streaks on each, was swooping out of the storm for her.” Right before she blacks out, Aya wonders, “Is this how the Tide welcomes those new to it, with spiritual wind-trusters?”

The storm symbolizes the Tide’s flaws as a philosophy – impersonal, concerned primarily with the “big picture,” and without a sense of moral direction or progress. The appearance of Luke’s X-wing represents what the Tide lacks – compassion for the individual, self-determination, and a powerful sense of morality. Later, we are shown how the Tide “completes” Luke’s more traditional perception of the Force by underlining the importance of trusting one’s instincts and awareness of one’s connection to one’s environment and to others.

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This dynamic would feed quite effectively into a relationship between Luke and a Lew’elan woman. The complementary philosophies of the Jedi and Tide (which Aya remarks might be able to be combined someday into a more balanced philosophy) makes Rey’s mother an equal to Luke. Were Rey’s mother just a Force sensitive woman she would merely be a student, but making her from another Force philosophy would allow her to be able to teach him in the same way he is able to teach her. Similarly, their respective ideologies would help balance out each other’s flaws within the pair as individuals–Luke’s difficulty in trusting the Force, and a Tide follower’s lack of direction. It would also add significance to the status and symbolism of their daughter, the literal product of the Jedi philosophy combining with the Tide philosophy, becoming the one to bring balance to the galaxy.

Fusion of the New and Old

One of the most intriguing revelations contained in Fishing the Deluge is that the Lew’elan people’s ancestors were once some of the most important in the galaxy. Much like the Sith and the Jedi, some chose to use their abilities to dominate while others opposed them. Their wars affected the entire galaxy and resulted in the survivors voluntarily removing themselves from it and swearing to never exert their will upon the Force again. Their descendants have managed to endure and pass on their gifts for thousands of years with that philosophy.

What happened in these ancient wars? What finally brought them to an end? Perhaps the effects of these wars reverberate to the present. Does the galaxy and Force still bear wounds from these ancient conflagrations? If so, then perhaps the Skywalkers came about in part to heal those wounds. If her mother is indeed descended from those ancient people, Rey would be descended from the old and the new, and perhaps destined to heal the wounds caused by both, and redeem the legacies of both families.

The Force, the Tide, and the Heroine’s Journey

If Rey’s mother were from Lew’el, she would play an integral and beautiful part in Rey’s Heroine’s Journey.   The Heroine’s Journey cycle begins with the Heroine in a “feminine” role. Often this “feminine” roll keeps the Heroine in a place of limitation. The Heroine, close to the beginning of her story, tries to break free from this place of limitation by rejecting the  “feminine” in favor of “masculine”. At first things go well for her, she gains allies and initially successfully overcomes adversity. Ultimately though, embracing the masculine leads to the Heroine failing to achieve her greatest goal. After her failure the Heroine reconnects with the “feminine”. In the end, by integrating the “masculine” and the “feminine” the Heroine is able to achieve victory.

Rey’s story in the Sequel Trilogy begins with her waiting on Jakku for her family to come back for her.  Her attitude represents both the strength and the failing of the Tide philosophy. Patience is a strength for Rey, but passivity has trapped her in a life that is much less than the life she could have. When Rey leaves Jakku she takes on a more active role. In taking on a more active role she repeats Luke’s Original Trilogy arc throughout both The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi.  Ultimately, however, this leads to failure, as she is unable to attain victory through redeeming Ben Solo the way Luke attained victory by redeeming Anakin. It’s possible that IX will show Rey learning about her mother or possibly even reconnecting with her in some way.  Rey’s victory in IX will come through merging the philosophy of the Force and the Tide and embracing the teachings of her father and her mother.

One interesting way that Rey integrating the Force and the Tide could be shown visually would be to have her reconstruct the broken Skywalker saber with something that once belonged to her mother.  The visual message would be: the Jedi philosophy is broken, the Tide philosophy is incomplete, together they can make something better.

The Balance

So what would this new philosophy that merges the Force and the Tide look like? Arguably we have already seen it.  Whatever the original philosophy of the Jedi, the organization became less focused on the Force and they seem to have disconnected from the natural rhythms of life as they became more focused on dogma. This weakness was exploited by their ancient enemies, the Sith, who manipulated them into abandoning their position as peacekeepers to become generals during the Clone Wars which led to their downfall. The philosophy of Le’wel is to never influence the Force itself, only use it to guide.  Their stance has led them to become irrelevant in the galaxy when they are capable of doing great good. These two positions are not incompatible and in fact overcome the weaknesses of the other. Luke shows that at the end of Return of the Jedi when he refuses to kill Vader, throws down his lightsaber, and declares “I am a Jedi, like my father before me.”

He proves it again at the end of The Last Jedi when he confronts Kylo as a projection.  He never lands a blow, never causes any harm to anyone, but his actions allow the Resistance the time to escape.  In both cases Luke confronted evil through non-violence, the first time was what made him a Jedi and the second was when he took up that mantle once again.  This will likely be the balanced philosophy of the new Jedi, what the Jedi always should have been but lost. They will be the peacekeepers that confront hatred with compassion, anger with calm, and violence with power but not aggression.  There are times when one must act, but times, as well, when one must listen to the will of the Force.

Something interesting is how well the new Force powers that have been introduced in the Sequel Trilogy tie into this idea.  Freezing a blaster bolt in mid air, freezing someone in place, knocking someone out with the Force, and Force projection are all really good abilities to have if you are trying not to hurt your opponent.  As we’ve never seen Jedi use any of these tricks before, it’s possible that they were developed by Luke and Rey’s mother as they were merging the philosophies of the Force and the Tide. It’s possible that Luke still has much to teach Rey about the ways of the Force using lessons learned from her mother and her people.


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