The full piece has hit 2000 words but it’s still not quite done and it’s definitely disjointed because I bounced all over the place in my mild anger. However, here’s a snippet where I talk about why the novelizations burned away what little Rose Tico love I had managed to keep after actually watching The Last Jedi.
If you want to see my incredibly critical thoughts about Rose Tico interactions with Finn in the novelization for The Last Jedi (and how the novelization, like the film, basically ignores Finn’s characterization and arc from The Force Awakens), this 600-word snippet is up on Patreon for everyone at the $1 Tier and higher!
Like you can place Finn and Kylo Ren side-by-side and show them both the exact same tableau and they will each get something completely different out of it
For god’s sake, this happened in canon
Kylo and Finn were BOTH ON JAKKU at the EXACT SAME TIME and were looking in the EXACT SAME DIRECTION
Kylo Ren saw a destroyed village burning to the ground and didn’t think anything of it
Finn saw a destroyed village burning to the ground and saw it as abject, like actually fundamentally Wrong, like Offensive To All Senses, even more than being simply cruel and evil (bc remember, he has no reason to believe that this is anything other than normal; expected even)
Like Finn has been conditioned for this, spent his whole life being trained for it, never considering that it was wrong, and it still looked wrong: wrong to the touch, wrong to the eye, wrong in concept and thought and feeling
It was wrong enough to make him flee
Like even beyond the common Nature vs Nurture questions, Finn 100% embodies the concept of justice and goodness sprouting from places where it had no right to live (and conversely, Kylo embodies the concept of having all the required ingredients for greatness [growing up in peacetime, having heroes for relatives, increased access to ideas etc] , and ends up bad anyway)
Finn is the perfect foil for KR and their dynamic yields more than any other, is what I’m saying
Truthfully, my problem with Finn is his decision to leave the First Order makes no sense to me. It was established that he grew up with no family but his fellow Stormtroopers. He is functionally a child soldier. He knows no other morality.
He should not have seen the massacre as wrong. The villagers had just shot several of his friends. Psychologically, he should be fine with massacring them. He should see it as justice.
The fact that he decides to be good for no reason strikes me as frankly lazy writing.
Finn didn’t “decide to be good for no reason”. In the film, he sees his “friend” die and his peers slaughter largely unarmed innocents on behalf of the First Order.
And then in the books (Before the Awakening and Finn’s Story) you get confirmation of the fact that Finn has BEEN a good person. He’s been questioning the validity of the First Order from before he first is exposed to what they’re really like (trying to help Slip is a major sign):
I suggest re-watching The Force Awakens and reading the supplementary material with a stronger focus on Finn because your opinion on him isn’t supported by either of them and, because of the lack of empathy/understanding you show Finn, smacks of the typical racism he’s faced with in this fandom.
You call it lazy writing but your analysis is… beyond flawed and super frustrating as it doesn’t actually mesh with the Finn in canon.
And on top of that: Finn didn’t decide “to be good for no reason”.
[Caption: A realistic digital painting of Finn from Star Wars. Portrait is from the waist up. Finn is dressed as a Stormtrooper in white plastic armor dirtied from battle and black joints. He’s holding his helmet. Vivid blue light glows from below. The background is purple framed in the same vivid blue.]
To be neither white nor male is already considered an act of aggression in popular media. TV shows like Still Star-Crossed and Pitch have been ripped as unrealistic not because of their storylines, but because they revolved around nonwhite, nonmale characters. For decades, characters portrayed by people of color were regarded as part of the scenery: the sassy BFF to the white ingénue in a romcom, the relentlessly cool dude whose “hood wisdom” is seemingly always misunderstood by the white protagonist, usually with hilarious consequences.
Here’s the thing, though: These are not “everymen”. They are caricatures. And what those who insist that Finn’s character would be ruined if he were revealed to be Force sensitive are really saying is that they need him to fill the role of the background black guy with whom they’ve grown so comfortable. They remain ever so clueless that their argument smacks of “I know I’m not racist because some of my best friends are black”.
For my first guest post of 2018 (and hit me up if you’re interested in doing one), the amazing E. M. Parker (one of my awesome partners-in-salt), wrote a piece about “everyman” characters, how Force Sensitive characters are typically treated, and how The Last Jedi’s (mis)treatment of Finn disrupts the character arc started in The Force Awakens.
Before the events of Before the Awakening, stormtrooper FN-2187 is assigned creche duty. The experience is… illuminating.
In viewing Finn as “a true cinnamon roll”, fandom ignores his actual characterization. Most frustrating, is that many members of fandom ignore that he is a complex character who is literally trying to find his place in the world. It’s a way to look like they care about Finn as an archetype (who is so pure, so perfect, and so put together, that the fandom simply must fall for “bad boy” characters like Hux or Kylo) without needing to care about Finn as a character.
This second installment looks at how Finn being classified as a “Pure cinnamon roll” winds up erasing the complexity of his characterization and leads to dehumanizing pieces of fanworks (even for ships that he’s part of). The piece also talks about the way that characters like Finn are often reworked in fandom to provide/perform emotional labor for non-Black characters (because they’re so pure and perfect that they must be healers for others).
If you’re new here and have no experience with my “Looks Like A Cinnamon Roll…” essay series: