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To not spoil too much I'm going to put much of my question inside spoiler tags. My question is about Kylo Ren's emotional state during the film.

Whenever even something small went awry he got into a fit of rage and used his lightsaber to destroy things.....then when something unexpected came up he throttled an officer and let him fly his way. With how he was portrayed there he seemed pretty unbalanced emotionally to me (or in clearer words absolutely and utterly insane). If we compare it with Vader.....he would have killed the officer after receiving the bad news.....if it was the officer's fault. And then accepted the apology. He was dark he was efficient and hateful. But Kylo......seems just unhinged with how he acts to me.

So my question is is this impression of his emotional state true? Or where am I wrong there?

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    IMO, this is intentional on the part of the filmmakers. It highlights Kylo's immaturity, and his attempts to copy Darth Vader while being unable to equal him. – Royal Canadian Bandit Dec 21 '15 at 19:30
  • I honestly wouldnt call that immaturity but something else ....worse – Thomas Dec 21 '15 at 19:57
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    Don't be so harsh on Kylo. He's just like a teenager going through an Emo phase. It happens in the best Dark Side families. – Andres F. Dec 21 '15 at 20:26
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    @Thomas: Well, yeah, there's a lot more to it than immaturity. He's not just a bad guy, he's a crazy bad guy. He is pretty unhinged even for a fictional villain (although I can think of more extreme examples, like the Joker as played by Heath Ledger), but as I say that seems totally intentional on the part of the filmmakers. – Royal Canadian Bandit Dec 22 '15 at 9:10
  • I think it says something that you thinking Vader killing a loyal and skilled captain over failing to capture enemies he himself failed to capture or kill somehow make him more mature or stable than Ren, who destroyed easily replaced machines in his rage but let the innocent messenger live... Rule 32 and all that. – Xavon_Wrentaile Apr 30 '16 at 21:44
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We see several clues during the movie that give us some insight into his emotional state:

  • He orders the people on Jakku to be slaughtered telling us he's unfairly violent and ruthless.
  • He throws lightsaber temper tantrums when things aren't going his way telling us he's immature and can't control his temper.
  • He shows devotion to Snoke telling us he's under someone else's leadership and likely doesn't fully understand the meaning and scope of his actions.
  • He begs Vader's helmet for a vision to give him the confidence and clarity to finish what he started. This tells us he's conflicted and his dark tendencies are both unstable and come from external sources (Vader visions and Snoke).
  • He is hesitant to kill his family and cries over the experience, further illustrating the previous point of being conflicted and telling us he's still very emotionally connected to his actions.
  • He beats his wound during combat telling us his pain helps to fuel him

All of these things (and probably a few more examples I'm not thinking of at the moment) help to show us that he is in fact emotional, violent, highly unstable, conflicted, and unpredictable. And I think it's fair to say that he's intended to be portrayed that way.

He reminds me of what a young Anakin Skywalker would have been like had JJ Abrams done the prequels... which makes sense considering

Ren is his grandson.

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    In addition, it makes it clear to the viewer that Ren is using the Dark Side ("Release your anger...") but is young, untrained, and inexperience. Most Dark Side users do not let their emotions control them. They use their emotions to fuel their Force powers, but they hold the reins over those emotions. Kylo Ren cannot maintain that control. – Fatbird3 Dec 21 '15 at 21:08
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    I've been reading a lot of Q&As over the last couple of days on here that focus on "Why did Kylo Ren act like this? Why didn't he overcome this?" This answer should be required reading IMO, it's a great explanation of his tantrums and personality. +1 :) – Luna Dec 22 '15 at 0:51
  • I mostly saw a lost young man trying to figure out by himself a motivation to go deeper into the dark side and all he knew about it was that anger, pain and other similar emotions were leading there. He tried his best to get there. Any situation that he could tap into those emotions, he tried to. – Jonathan Drapeau Dec 22 '15 at 14:12
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    @Thomas - When the guy force chokes everyone who delivers bad news, would you want to be the jerk that tells him after the job interview, "Uh, yeah, we decided to go a different direction with the position"? – TheIronCheek Dec 22 '15 at 18:42
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    He reminds me of what a young Anakin Skywalker would have been like had JJ Abrams done the prequels Indeed ... – jeroen_de_schutter Dec 23 '15 at 13:15

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