There were a lot of long comments on my last post about Star Wars.
Rather than respond to them individually, I thought I’d just do one more post on the subject.
It seems to me that Rey’s backstory was an attempt to stop her from being a Mary Sue, and as much as Forbes tries to make the case that Rey is not a Mary Sue, they end end up defining her perfectly as one.
There are two tropes that writers follow in these types of stories and Rey and her ilk, as well as most of the wizarding world of Harry Potter, and the X-Men universe (most superhero universes for that matter), follow one if not both.
One: The Chosen One.
Two: It is the idea that you are born with “it” or not. You have a high midichlorian count, or you don’t. You are born a wizard or you are a muggle. You are a mutant with powers or not.
Once you have A Chosen One, nobody else’s contribution towards the action really matters unless they are directly enabling The Chosen One. If The Chosen One is key to defeating the bad guy, why die in an X-Wing far from The Chosen? Why take on Death Eaters anywhere else in the world? Every good person should just relegate themselves to being a human shield for The Chosen One.
Beyond that, there is just the improbability of events that surround the Chosen One. Everything t Hogwarts revolved around Harry Potter, to the detriment and death of other students.
The nuke the fridge moment for me in The Phantom Menace was when Anakin built C3PO. What did that add to the story except being so entirely improbable in the whole wide galaxy far away, that I couldn’t get over it. In a whole galaxy, the same dozen characters do everything and keep running into each other.
Being “born with IT” is just as bad. Effort really doesn’t matter if you are lucky enough to have IT. Rey doesn’t need a lifetime of training because she has IT. The entire wizarding world is predicated on those with IT are special. X-Men are heroes because they are born with IT.
This is in direct contrast with actual life. Sure, you can tell me it’s fantasy, but that detracts from the story, not adds to it. Natural talent or skill is a good start, but effort makes the man.
Batman is great because he trained and trained and designed all his gadgets.
I think the born special trope is loved by kids because they all think they are special. Reality is they are not and a magic owl is not going to show up with a letter to change their lives.
Incidentally, this is why I don’t like the Harry Potter universe as a whole. Kids identify with the wizards. I identify with the muggles. Once you realize that the wizards think of themselves as Ubermensch, and Voldamort’s motivations seem perfectly in line with history, the muggle persecution of wizards makes sense. When one wizard could subjugate whole nations of muggles, freedom loving muggles have every right to burn a wizard at the stake.
The anti-mutant humans in the X-Men universe are equally justified. When you can control people’s minds or blow up a building by looking at it, what stops a person like that from trying to appoint themselves a god-king? Every mutant would be more like Apocalypse than not.
I much prefer the magical universe of Lev Grossman’s The Magicians (the show is hot garbage, read the books). Sure, natural talent is a good start, but to become a magician takes work (the name of the wizarding school is Brakebills, but the students call it ‘Break-balls’ because of how hard it is). One of the most powerful magicians in that universe was rejected from Brakebills and learned magic on the street. Dedication and work is what did it. In Harry Potter, no muggle, no matter how hard they worked could out magic a Hogwarts graduate.
I’d much rather see training and dedication than “*POOF* your mystical heritage grants you world changing powers because plot.”
Then again, I’m an adult that has to work for things.