I’m sure everyone’s heard the phrase “a snake in the grass”…oh, wait, you haven’t? Well then, it means, essentially, “a treacherous person.” (Feel free to use that for people on Facebook or what not.) And I feel like it’s a pretty safe logical leap to assume that we can all agree on Supreme Leader Snoke being a snake in the grass. I mean, his name is practically “snake.” In fact, I go in depth about what his name could mean (twice, actually…I have a problem) on my blog, so I’m not going to get into it here, but, short answer, “snake” comes up in quite a few different ways. So right now you’re saying to yourself, “alright, this guy’s just stating the obvious…so?” And that’s a good point, Snoke’s a dark side Force user, they tend to run on the treacherous side, big deal…well, let’s examine some implications of his snake-like behavior and see if we can’t come up with some potential big deals…and away we go!
It’s safe to say that I am fairly infatuated with Snoke’s character; I want to know everything about him, and, yet, even after the release of The Force Awakens, we still barely know anything…like, for example, how did the mysterious leader of a segregated group of ex-Imperials that are supposed to be staying status quo so not to tip off the New Republic that Leia and her Resistance aren’t gun-toting, right-wing nut jobs (no offense to any such people reading) manage to find, contact, and then persuade not just any promising pupil of Jedi Master Luke Skywalker, but his very own nephew? Well, maybe he takes a page out of Satan’s book and transforms into something less obvious; in this case, though, not a serpent, but a relative, Ben’s grandfather, Anakin Skywalker, AKA Darth Vader. That would explain why Kylo says, “show me again the power of the darkness” – clearly he’s heard from grandpa before, but, considering we see Anakin’s Force Ghost appear to Luke as the young man he was before he was tainted by darkness, I don’t believe it was actually Darth Vader he was speaking to, but Snoke in the guise of Darth Vader, using the boy’s innate curiosity about his grandfather and about the forbidden fruit of darkness to lure him away from the god-like figure of Luke and into the open arms of a more interesting teacher that will show him, paraphrased from Palpatine, all aspects of the great mystery of the Force.
Reaching way back to what’s often considered the first great piece of literature, the Epic of Gilgamesh offers a glimpse of another snake in the grass being, well, a snake in the grass…in this story, and this is drastically oversimplified, mind you, Gilgamesh is searching for immortality (sound familiar?), but, upon finding what could be the key, it’s then stolen by a serpent who sheds its skin and leaves. Now, I know the “Snoke is Plagueis” thing has been beaten to death and mostly (if not completely) debunked, but, shhh, just hear me out, but what if when Palpatine kills his master in his sleep, he wakes up enough to steal the secret of immortality that he’d shared away from Palpatine (which is why Palpatine has to admit to Anakin that he doesn’t know the secret, even though he says in his story that Plagueis taught his apprentice, i.e. Palpatine, everything he knew), and then sheds the skin of Plagueis that he’d be living in, and goes off in the Force to find another body to host? Yeah, I don’t buy it either…if he could do that and just inhabit another body, why choose the messed up body Snoke has and not some virile young man? Maybe he can only inhabit a body that can touch the dark side, and maybe whomever Snoke was before Plagueis so rudely took over his body was the most powerful dark side user he could find at the time…yeah, I still don’t buy it either, but it’s interesting…now, what if we delve deeper into this concept and assume, like I do, that Vader actually learns the ability to keep himself from dying inadvertently while he’s dismembered and burning on Mustafar by stealing the Living Force from Padme via their connection and his incredible Force power (thus the explanation for her losing the will to live, because Vader is taking it from her). So, now Vader is the possessor of immortality, but, in that moment on the second Death Star when he saves the life of his son by destroying Palpatine, he actually loses the Vader part of himself as well…and that just so happens to be the part that has the secret to immortality, so, in a sense, Vader could be the snake that steals immortality away from Anakin before shedding the skin of the black suite and disappearing…no, you’re right, Anakin gets immortality anyway in the form of a Force Ghost, but that’s not the same. That’s not physical immortality. And maybe the reason Kylo is shown the power of the darkness from his grandfather is because the Darth Vader part used that secret of immortality that he snaked away from Anakin to become something akin to a Force Ghost for the dark side, and he’s the one who’s behind not only Ben’s transformation to Kylo Ren, but he’s pulling the strings for Snoke as well…Vader’s the brains and Snoke is the brawn, because, well, Vader doesn’t have any brawn anymore…yeah, no, I don’t really believe anything I’m saying, but it’s compelling to think about, and that’s really the point of all this.
And I Am a Snake Head Eating the Head on the Opposite Side
Last but not least, let’s discuss the ouroboros, the snake that eats itself. Often a symbol of cyclical renewal or something being constantly recreated, I like to think of it as a visual aid for the Force itself, and its constant struggle to remain in balance. That said, at the end of Return of the Jedi, the Force is out of balance. The predominant dark side wielders are both destroyed at the same time, leaving the scale leaning too far to the light. To compensate, I believe the Force itself unleashes an awful dark power into the world in the form of part of a trio that also represent a sort of ouroboros on their own…I am speaking, of course, of the Father, Daughter, and Son of Mortis. I don’t believe we saw the complete destruction of Mortis during our visit with Anakin, Obi-Wan, and Ahsoka. I think we saw their version of Mortis, and, regardless of what happened in that incarnation, as soon as the outsiders leave Mortis, recreates itself anew, once again perfectly balanced, waiting for new travelers to disrupt them so the snake can eat itself once again. However, as I mentioned, in the case of the total destruction of the Sith, the Son manages to break the cycle and break free from Mortis thanks to the Force releasing its hold on him as an attempt to return balance to the Force by adding darkness back into the equation. The transition to the material world is not an easy one for the Son, though, which is why he, i.e. Snoke, is seen to be so damaged. And like any good deed, it doesn’t go unpunished as the Son uses his power to manipulate Ben into joining him and destroying the other Jedi thus throwing the Force back out of balance toward the darkness…enter Rey and the awakening, the Force realizing its mistake and working to rectify it.
So there you have it, folks, the first installment of the Weekly Scoundrel is in the books, and I, for one, happen to think it was a pretty first-class read. If you didn’t, however, please feel free to shoot first and let me know in the comments, and if you did enjoy it, check out my personal blog My, Myself & Star Wars for more wacky theories and other Star Wars-related goodness. You can also keep up with my random thoughts on Twitter @blivengo. And, regardless of how you felt about this post, be sure to check in on TGR regularly to read posts from authors that make much more sense than I do, and give the podcast a listen while you’re driving to work or what have you, or if you just need that little extra bit of Star Wars in your life…and, I mean, who doesn’t?