I walked into The Last Jedi expecting to be mildly entertained for two hours while munching a day’s calories worth of popcorn. IN NO WAY did I expect to be enthralled by the darkly erotic energy between the villain and the heroine. When did Star Wars decide to become YA Sci-Fi Romance? It had all the tropes, guys. Naive, lonely orphan who discovers she has enormous power. Dark, brooding villain who we should think is evil but who we really hope is just tortured and complex and worthy of redemption. A mysterious bond. That smile that Rey and Poe give each other when they meet? Hello, love triangle. I knew you’d show up. (Sorry, Finn/Poe shippers). Loaded with bucketfuls of angst and an ocean of sexual tension, The Last Jedi can easily compete against the best of YA Fiction. And I was absolutely into it.
So it was with nervous trepidation that I pulled out my phone on the drive home from the theater and typed in “Kylo Ren and Rey fanfic”. At the age of 30, my journey into the dark and endless world of fanfiction had begun.
Welcome to The Smutty World of Reylo
I’d been prepared for a lot of poorly written Star Wars porn, and the internet did not disappoint. Page after page of disturbing ships (Leia and General Hux, anyone?), questionable consent, and Force-amplified orgasms. I read things I can never unread. Things that will haunt me for a very long time. But I also read some really, really good stuff. My favorite was a whopping 194k words and it was written in TWO MONTHS. For reference, Outlander is around 305k words and was written in 18 months. That’s incredible, and the fact that it’s readable and has a complex plot, and character development, and epic battles? Astonishing. (And sex. Rest assured, it had plenty of believable, quality sex. Read it here). Who knew fanfic could be so satisfying??
Disclaimer: If you’re a hardcore Star Wars fan and currently feeling outraged about how utterly, egregiously wrong and unheathly Reylo is, I want to assure you that I get it. You’re not the only one. Are there a lot of problems with the power dynamic between them? Yep. Does Kylo Ren’s method of seduction sound ickily close to abuse tactics? Well…
Should they end up together in Episode 9? Probably not. Do I still squeal like a teenage fangirl whenever Kylo and Rey make eye contact? DAMN RIGHT I DO.
I certainly wouldn’t encourage my best friend to date a parricidal hottie with anger issues and an unhealthy idolization of his mass-murdering grandfather, but in the safe universe of fanfic? I ship that to the end of the galaxy and back.
Where do I go next?
I’ve wasted so much time, people. So much time when I could have been living in a world where Tonks survives the battle for Hogwarts and ends up with Harry (move over, Ginny), where Jamie never meets Claire because he and Ian are living happily ever after as co-lords of Lallybroch, where Renesmee grows up and kicks Jacob to the curb because he’s basically like her dad (and she changes her name to…anything other than Renesmee). There’s a whole universe out there waiting to be discovered, but I have no idea where to begin. So I’m asking for recommendations.
Here’s a few things to know, things I learned while pouring through Reylo FF at 3 am:
- OOC stories bother me. More than once I yelled “Kylo wouldn’t say that!!!” or “my girl Rey would never agree to that“. I know the whole point of FF is to deviate from the original, but that doesn’t mean I want to read about Hermione banging her way through Slytherin. If the characters don’t behave like themselves (mostly) I just can’t enjoy it.
- I’m into a lot of things. Off the top of my head: X-Files, Lost, the Fever series, Sarah J. Maas, Outlander, The Office, Disney movies, the majority of YA Fantasy, Tolkien, Game of Thrones, Lord of the Rings. If you’ve read any good fanfic involving these, or know of specific sites with these topics, OR just have amazing, unrelated stories you love, hit me with it!!!
Teach me the ways of fanfiction. I’m ready to learn.
*Now that I think about it, in high school I read this Lord of the Rings spoof that might qualify as fanfiction today. But for the sake of continuity let’s pretend it doesn’t.