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This is quite a spoilerish question for the last jedi so the title is cryptic and some text is here to stop spoilers appearing in the preview.

Luke is determined to burn down the Jedi tree and the books inside. However, there is an intervention from Yoda, who burns it down himself.

At first, I thought this intervention was nice but a little pointless. But at the end of the film, you see

Rey had stolen the books

Which leads to a reassessment of the intervention.

Given that Luke was adamant that he would not pass on the Jedi lore, did Yoda choose that moment to intervene to stop him from finding out what Rey had done?

I found the dialog in that part quite hard to follow so I could have missed the intent. I don't know what Luke would have done in any case, but it seems that it could have been done to prevent Luke from carrying through with his intent.

Was this the point of the intervention?

Anyone who has secondary sources or followed the dialog better may have a more accurate viewpoint.

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    I thought Luke had hesitated burning it down and Yoda did it for him
    – Edlothiad
    Commented Dec 15, 2017 at 12:54
  • He did hesitate, having a long-dead mentor show up out the blue would do that to you and give long-dead mentor a chance to manipulate him once more. Commented Dec 15, 2017 at 13:01
  • 3
    But Yoda showed up long before he hesitated.
    – Edlothiad
    Commented Dec 15, 2017 at 13:02
  • You could be right, I'll have to wait for blue ray to check. Commented Dec 15, 2017 at 13:04
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    Interesting thought for sure! Maybe there will be an answer in the novelization.
    – MooS
    Commented Dec 15, 2017 at 13:24

3 Answers 3

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Yoda actually says to Luke:

"That library contained nothing that the girl Rey does not already possess"

At the time we take it to mean that she already has all the knowledge that she needs to become a Jedi, but later when we see that she has stolen the books we realise that Yoda was talking literally.

From this we can assume that as he knew the books were stolen he was trying to hide this from Luke, presumably to prevent him from trying to retrieve them.

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    Oh, I didn't notice she has stolen the books...
    – IS4
    Commented Dec 30, 2017 at 0:04
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Pretty major spoiler

Luke is being his old, impetuous, self. He blames himself for Ben turning to the Dark Side and his own weakness in dealing with Ben. He wants to burn the books to prevent the Jedi lore from continuing, fearing that the cycle will just go on. But Yoda notes that the books contain nothing that Rey needed. Rey took them because she's plucky and wants to learn everything.

The funny thing about the scene is that, after Yoda lights the tree up, Luke tries to still go inside, only to be knocked back by the fire (it's not clear if Yoda did that or not). I saw Luke trying to go in as having second thoughts.

Yoda's point to Luke was that Rey was going to become a Jedi with or without him, but he was needed now for the battle ahead. I believe that Yoda's pep talk rendered the book theft moot. In his battle with Kylo Ren, Luke declares he's not going to be the last Jedi, clearly referring to Rey. If she was a Jedi at that point, the books meant nothing in that declaration.

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  • Surely it's the opposite. Yoda's intervention meant that Luke wouldn't know that the books were missing, leaving Rey free to restart the Jedi order using the knowledge that Luke was trying to destroy. Had he found them missing, he might have been tempted to go and find Rey so that he could reclaim the books
    – Valorum
    Commented Dec 16, 2017 at 21:33
  • @Valorum Then why bother saving Rey at all? Let her perish with the Rebellion he cares so little for. Kylo Ren would have done the deed for him. The books would have been irrelevant (since nobody else knew where Luke was) and Luke would have been the end of the Jedi. I still stand by my point that Yoda was making the books moot. They weren't the source of Luke's problems. Luke was frustrated with himself. That was the whole point of Yoda's pep talk. Ben turned. Get over it and help the girl out.
    – Machavity
    Commented Dec 16, 2017 at 22:12
  • @Machavity - Luke wants the Jedi to end. That doesn't mean that he wants Rey to die.
    – Valorum
    Commented Dec 16, 2017 at 22:15
  • @Valorum I don't see that as Yoda's motivation. How's Luke going to be able to go after Rey? Though he could raise his X-wing from the bay, it's been sitting in seawater for likely years and is most likely inoperable, since he never intended to go back. Is he going to astral project onto the Falcon and annoy her? Commented Dec 19, 2017 at 16:50
  • @Jeffronicus - He can call a space-Uber
    – Valorum
    Commented Dec 19, 2017 at 17:35
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No.

TL;DR Yoda is not hiding the truth, but reassuring Luke that it really, truly doesn't matter, and that he (Luke) hasn't failed as fully as he thought he did.

I know this is pretty speculative at this time, but I've come to the revelation that Luke is only testing Rey's resolve every time he tells her that the Jedi must end, or that he went to Ach-To to die. This explains why he left a map and why

He becomes one with the force at the end (because he has found his replacement)

I think his petulance in trying to burn the books is the same impulsiveness he felt when

he considers murdering Kylo

I don't think he would have gone through with it.

His reluctance to burn the books is because he thinks he really has failed by pushing Rey too far (into leaving), and the books may yet be needed if he isn't around to teach the next Jedi hopeful who comes around.

Yoda reassures him that he hasn't actually failed, and that this is more like the time that Luke left his own training to save his friends. The parallels are all there, and Luke is just doing what Yoda did and said to him on Dagobah (from a certain point of view). The supposedly deleted scene of Rey's 3rd lesson from this answer here, indicates that Luke is just saying exactly what Yoda told him -- that it would be better to complete his training and possibly allow his friends to die, than to leave to face Vader before he was ready. While out-of-universe it may have been too harsh, I think including this scene would have made a lot more sense in the long run and would have gone a long way toward explaining a lot of what happens. In fact, while I guess that it was Mark Hamill's objection that may have removed the scene, I think the parallels it draws to Dagobah would have served to show that Luke was not the @#%#$! we see him to be, but that he just failed at being Yoda -- probably 'cause he ain't as cute as the little green muppet. Yoda was quite harsh with Luke, too, and nothing Luke did was beyond what Yoda did.

I think we're meant to realize that the same thing would happen if Rey were to return to Luke as happened when Luke returned to Dagobah. ("No more training do you require. Already know you, that which you need.")

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