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It has been said that lightsabers are an elegant weapon for a more civilized age. That may be true, but like most things said by old Ben Kenobi, there is far more complexity just lying under the surface.
We’re here to talk about the lightsaber of the dark side force user Kylo Ren, but to tell a complete story, we also must talk about the Jedi, Ben Solo.
Bottom Line Up Front
After his perceived betrayal by Luke Skywalker, Ben Solo would turn his back on his Jedi teaching and seek out the Knights of Ren to join their ranks.
Once he joined the Knight of Ren, Ben was confronted by his friend Tai, whom he also trained with under Luke Skywalker. Tai attempts to bring Ben back to the light but is killed by the Knights of Ren’s leader, “Ren.”
Enraged by the death of his friend, Ben fought and killed “Ren.” Unfortunately, this act of violence would push Ben further toward the dark side. After killing Ren, Ben would become the leader of the Knights and take on the name “Kylo Ren.”
Kylo would continue to use the lightsaber he wielded as Ben Solo. However, because kyber crystals are naturally attuned to the light side of the force, the crystal would need to be “bled,” a process that forcefully changes the kyber crystals’ attunement from light to dark, turning it red in the process.
Kylo poured his hatred and fear into the crystal, and though he was successful in bleeding it, the crystal cracked.
The crack caused the crystal to output more power than usual, making it unstable. Kylo added vents on either side of the hilt to compensate for the extra power, thus creating his crossguard lightsaber.
With its cracked and unstable core, the lightsaber could be seen as a visual analogy to Kylo’s own conflict with trying to suppress the light that still existed inside of him.
Birth of Kylo Ren
Ben Solo, because of his Skywalker lineage, was innately very attuned to the force, and with the help of his Uncle Luke Skywalker, he became a powerful Jedi and his uncle’s best student (despite Luke‘s insistence his student were all equals)
Ben’s prowess with the force would eventually catch the attention of resurrected Darth Sidious, who would use Snoke as his proxy in seducing Ben Solo to the dark side. Luke would sense this, and one night he would see visions of the horrors Ben would commit under the influence of the dark side. In a brief moment of weakness, Luke ignited his light saber to kill Ben and stop his visions from coming to fruition. The moment passed as quickly as it had arrived, but it was too late. Ben had already seen his uncle standing over him with a light saber in hand.
Ben, convinced his uncle had betrayed and was planning to kill him, collapsed the hut on top of Luke and left him for dead.
The Importance of a Light Saber
A Jedi’s relationship with their lightsaber is a sacred one. A kyber crystal powers lightsabers; these crystals are living things with a shared consciousness. Perhaps this fact gives the kyber crystals their natural attunement to the light side of the force. For thousands of years, Jedi younglings would harvest their crystals from Ilum’s Crystal Cave, thus creating a bond with the crystals that would be used to power their lightsabers.
The Kyber crystal would help strengthen the Jedi’s connection to the light side of the force, and in this way, the kyber crystal and, by extension, the lightsaber were reflections of the Jedi. But then, how does a Dark-sider use a Kyber Crystal? With great difficulty.
Because of the kyber crystal’s innate attunement to the light side, dark-siders have to force their will into the crystal, which means that through sheer willpower and aptitude in the dark side of the force, they force the crystal to be used by the dark side. The process is called “bleeding” and turns the kyber crystal red.
However, the bleeding process is not easy. When Darth Vader bled his crystal, the kyber crystal sensed the good in him and showed him visions of what could be if he once again embraced the light side of the force. This was in an attempt to “heal” Vader and return him to being Anakin again. Unfortunately, this attempt was in vain, as the visions nearly drove Vader insane.
To bleed a crystal is to take a living entity and force it to do something against its nature.
Creation of Kylo Ren’s Light Saber
Like his Grandfather before him, Kylo Ren’s turn to the dark side would not be complete, as Kylo would struggle with the good still inside him.
Kylo Ren would choose to bleed the crystal he once wielded as a Jedi. Unfortunately, during the process, Kylo’s crystal cracked under the pressure, thus making it unstable.
Kylo would then use not only the crystal from his old Light Saber but also the hilt. He added an opening on either end of the handle to vent out the excess energy from his unstable kyber crystal turning the light saber into a “crossguard lightsaber.” His “new” lightsaber would require constant fine-tuning because of the erratic and unpredictable nature of the crystal.
To accommodate the need to adjust his lightsaber constantly, Kylo left the innards on the lightsaber mostly exposed to save him the trouble of removing the siding each time he needed to make an adjustment.
The unstable nature of the crystal also led to the erratic and fluctuating appearance of his light saber’s plasma blade.
But none of this would be a problem for Kylo Ren. He preferred the unstable nature of his lightsaber as he felt it suited him better. I don’t know if he realized just how ironic that was.
An Elegant Weapon
The lightsaber can be a reflection of its user. Mainly since most Jedi harvest their crystals and have them for years. A bond is formed. This is also true for Kylo. His crossguard light saber was symbolic of his struggle with the light and dark sides of the force. Kylo Ren was a Jedi killer, and doing so damaged him much like his Kyber crystal. Whether as Ben Solo or Kylo Ren, he carried immense fear and guilt. Kylo felt betrayed by Luke Skywalker and thought the only way to conquer his fear and anger was through the dark side of the force. But he never fully let go of the light side, which led to Kylo being broken, unstable and incomplete, much like his lightsaber.
The Kyber Crystal inside Kylo‘s saber burned hotter and emitted more power than usual. This made it powerful, but it needed constant adjustment because it was always in danger of burning itself out. Likewise, Kylo Ren was powerful with the dark side of the force. Still, he would have destroyed himself without near-constant reaffirmation of the dark side, his inner conflict, and his inability to control his emotions.
Question: What is Kylo Rens Lightsaber called?
Answer: Crossguard lightsaber.
Question: What is special about Kylo Ren’s lightsaber?
Answer: It was modified with two vents on either side of the hilt to vent the energy produced by the cracked kyber crystal.
Question: Why is Kylo Rens Saber unstable?
Answer: It cracked during the “bleeding” process.
Question: Why is Kylo Ren’s lightsaber so different?
Answer: The crack in the Kyber crystal led to the blade’s jagged edge appearance.
Kylo Ren’s lightsaber has a fascinating design that’s only matched by its complex back story. Ren’s lightsaber was fully functioning while also barely holding it together.
I always felt that the saber was not only symbolic of Kylo himself but also symbolic of what happens if we lose sight of what is important and get consumed by our desire for more. So often, we want for “more,” whether it be money, power, influence, or love. We want it so bad that we sacrifice ourselves to get it. As a result, we work beyond our breaking point and lose our health, relationships, and joy.
I’m not saying we shouldn’t work hard for the things we want. But if we sacrifice everything to get it, then what’s the point? Like the lightsaber, if we push ourselves too hard for too long, we might get an overabundance of power, but we risk burning out.
Remember to take care of yourselves, and may the force be with you.
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