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A New Found Respect For Uncle Owen

A New Found Respect For Uncle Owen

img_beru_lars

It may not be known to a lot of CWK readers and listeners, but right after Star Wars Weekends ended, my personal life went crazy. Out of nowhere and in the blink of an eye, our happy family of 3 grew by one as we added a foster child to our numbers. For the purpose of this blog, we will call her Ahsoka. Our new lil padawan is only 2 and half years old and has greatly changed our lives. This wasn’t something we sought out, much less something we were ready for. Everything happened so fast too. From the time of the phone call asking us to take her to the time she moved in was only a couple of months. Now that there are 4 of us and there doesn’t seem to be enough hours in a day. Laundry doesn’t seem to ever be done, and potty training has reemerged as a dominating factor of my days again. Its created an extra stop in the morning to drop Ahsoka at the Jedi Academy preschool, another in the afternoon to pick her up. An extra bath time in the evening, and extra plate to set at meal time. This lil padawan has added a lot of work and at times stress into our lives.

Yet, as I sit here right now typing this with one hand as I’m holding her while she is coughing and running a fever, I would not want my life any other way. Even though Ahsoka’s arrival added a lot of complications and work into our lives, her arrival has added more good. She has added a lot of hugs, laughs and love into our lives, lives which we thought were pretty complete. Why am I telling this story you ask. It’s for this reason, through all the experiences of the past few months, I began to analyze my views on a lot of things. This time of analysis and self exploration let me to realize I have been too hard on one of the most crucial characters in the Star Wars Saga, Owen Lars.

Owen Lars? Crucial to the Saga?

Yes.

“To Tatooine. To his family send him.” Yoda, Episode 3 Revenge of the Sith

Owen Lars in A New Hope

Owen Lars in A New Hope

When I first saw A New Hope, I thought Uncle Owen was just a mean old man, always worried about the farm and how the next harvest would come in. A grouchy man who didn’t want to let go of the cheap labor offered by his nephew Luke Skywalker. He lied about who Ben Kenobi was, he lied about Luke’s father, and who he, Luke, really was. I held Owen Lars in very low esteem. Even after seeing the younger Owen in Episode 2 and 3, I wasn’t convinced my views were wrong. Matter of fact, I questioned the wisdom of Yoda sending him there. There was no guarantee when Obi-Wan arrived with Luke that the Lars family would be willing to take him. What would they do then?

Then lil Ahsoka entered our lives and my views changed. Like my wife and I, Owen and Beru didn’t ask to have Luke. They really weren’t given an option. Obi-Wan Kenobi shows up with a baby boy, who they are told is the son of Anakin Skywalker, and hands him to Beru. Beru then in turn takes Luke to Owen who, like Luke in A New Hope, is watching the binary sunset.

Lars Family watching the binary sunset of Tatooine.

Lars Family watching the binary sunset of Tatooine.

Can you imagine the thoughts going through Owen’s head at that point? The costs involved in raising a child, educating a child, whether or not he and Beru were ready to be parents at that moment, and how to keep this child safe. Whether or not Owen knew that Anakin had fallen or not is in question, but we do know that Order 66 was issued and that the news of the Jedi executions were probably flying around the galaxy. Knowing Luke’s Jedi connection, he did the only thing he could do to protect him, he lied about who Luke’s father was. Out of fear for Luke, he kept Kenobi and the truth as far away as possible.

Like Owen and Beru, my wife and I are faced with some of those same decisions. There is a lot of paperwork, visits, meetings and so on. Unlike Owen’s concerns for Luke, our situation is not a life or death one. Ahsoka does have some slight medical issues we are working with, but its a life we love living right now.

Ahsoka, Me, and my daughter Kailynn. Due to foster rules, can't show Ahsoka's face.

Ahsoka, Me, and my daughter Kailynn. Due to foster rules, can’t show Ahsoka’s face.

Owen raised Luke as if he was one of his own kids, teaching him how to be a moisture farmer, but out of the concern for Luke, he tried his hardest to keep him on the farm. After all, anything Jedi was outlawed and most likely Luke would have died if his secret was discovered.The farm was the only place Owen could keep Luke safe, or so he thought.

Owen and Luke

Owen and Luke

I’m sure Owen had some of those days where he was done and just wanted to call it quits on baby Luke. I have had those days too, when everything that could possibly go wrong is going wrong, yet when I’m at my wit’s end, all it takes is lil Ahsoka to run up, throw her lil arms around my legs with a big squeeze and just look at me with the biggest smile. Can you imagine Luke doing that to Owen? When a moisture vaporator has gone out, droid labor is malfunctioning, and suns are setting. Owen is grumbling about life when lil Luke jumps in his lap and gives him the biggest hug.

Owen Lars wasn’t the harsh man Episode 4 lead us to believe. The evidence is at the end of Episode 3, when Beru walks up to him holding Luke. He leans over touching Luke, then both Owen and Beru look off into the binary sunset together, each pondering what the future holds for their new family. The most touching family moment of the Saga.

Beru introducing baby Luke to Owen.

Beru introducing baby Luke to Owen.

After seeing the Star Wars saga now as a foster parent, I understand better the sacrifices made by Owen and Beru when they took in Luke. I understand better the worries they had  in raising him, and the fears they had for him. I have found a new respect for Owen Lars. Behind the rough exterior, he was really a caring father.

I’d love to hear your thoughts! Comment below or email me at aharris@coffeewithkenobi.com. You can also find me on Twitter @taharris121079.

May the Force be with you, always.

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8 Comments

  1. Letetia Duke
    September 28, 2014 at 15:51 Reply

    You are so right, such a touching essay. I had goosebumps reading this. You are right on the money about Uncle Owen he was just trying to protect Luke at all costs and it cost his life a well as Beru’s. I think it is wonderful what you and your wife are doing to give this child a good life. Keep up the good work!!

    1. Aaron Harris
      September 28, 2014 at 21:33 Reply

      Thank you so much! I have watched these movies for years and Owen’s true intentions never hit me until I watched them again after we got Ahsoka. Since I have beaten myself up for not seeing it earlier, especially after we had our first born.

  2. Erica
    September 28, 2014 at 16:08 Reply

    Wow, I had no idea what you had taken on! I’m so glad little ahsoka has you to care for her. And I think you’re right. Owen is gruff because he is concerned and cares for Luke. I think the other moment you can see that is when beru says Luke has too much of his father in him. The look on owen’s face when he says “that’s what I’m afraid of,” shows a depth of understanding to me. There is a reason for everything he’s doing. He wants to keep Luke safe the only way he knows how.

    I wish you all the best with your new padawan!

    1. Aaron Harris
      September 28, 2014 at 21:44 Reply

      You’re exactly right Erica! When he is sitting at the table in that scene, Owen has that exhausted expression of angst that has haunted him since Luke’s arrival as a baby. I’m sure he had an idea of what Anakin had done to the Tuskan Raiders who had kidnapped and killed his mother. That alone is enough to drive Owen to keep Luke as far away from that path as possible. That kind of long term care and the deception along with it can take its toll on a soul, you can see that in the difference 20 years makes between Episodes 3 and 4 on Owen.

      Thank you for the kind words! I would have to say we are more blessed to have Ahsoka in our lives.

  3. Joe2 Taylor
    September 28, 2014 at 18:18 Reply

    Wow, Aaron, you’ve made me take a good look at my own views of Owen. Much to ponder.

    Since I’ve been privileged to have been told your story already, I’m still at awe of families like yours that take a child in, even if it’s only for a short time. The work that has to be done for that act of kindness to even happen is astounding and makes my head spin. Ahsoka is lucky to have you to care for her, and I’m sure that Kailynn is enjoying her time as a big sister. I hope that Ahsoka is feeling better at the time of this comment. God Bless you.

    1. Aaron Harris
      September 28, 2014 at 21:50 Reply

      Thanks Joe! George Lucas made Owen such a complex character with such little screen time, and he does that with so many of the characters throughout the saga.

      The girls get along great and Kailynn loves being a big sister to Ahsoka. They genuinely love each other and its like they have known each other for years. We are the ones blessed to have her in our lives, for how ever long we do have her. It’s an experience thats life changing in any circumstance.

      As of the time of this post, Ahsoka is still a pretty sick lil padawan. We think she has caught a flu bug. Hopefully she can kick it soon.

      God bless Joe and thanks for sharing your thoughts!!!!

  4. Melinda
    October 2, 2014 at 10:33 Reply

    Oh my gosh, Aaron! I love this entry! 😀

    I must admit I find it fascinating how one’s life changes over the course of time that it causes one’s outlook — one’s point of view — to change. I often reflect on that very theme time and time again. I certainly am not the same person I was 25 years ago, 15 years ago, 5 years ago. Not even compared to last year (although the change between 2013 and now is rather minute. At least in my opinion. 😉 ).

    I’m with you regarding Owen. And Beru. Unlike the Organas — who took in Leia, and truly wanted a child (at least that’s how I interpret the beautiful, touching scene — brief though it was — on the couple’s palace balcony) — I don’t think Owen and Beru were ready to take on the responsibility of a baby. Maybe the young couple had discussed starting a family — some day — but given the fact moisture farming was a tough (at best!) life, I would imagine taking that step would be “some day in the future,” when they might be better able, equipped to deal with raising a family in such harsh conditions. (Of course, I could be transferring my own ideas of when to start a family onto Owen and Beru. lol) Then, Obi-Wan comes along, and deposits this very special baby boy in their arms … and the rest is history.

    Owen (and Beru, too) faced a tough life every single day of his life, watching his own father try to eke out a living as a moisture farmer, and I would be surprised if he DIDN’T wind up at least a little bit of a curmudgeon. 😉 Sure, he comes across as being harsh (in ANH) — like you, I first saw Owen’s treatment of Luke (at the dinner table) as squelching Luke’s dreams … even if it was for only “one more season.” Then again, I was 20 when I saw ANH in 1977 — and that is EXACTLY how I would have viewed an exchange like that!

    more…

  5. Melinda
    October 2, 2014 at 10:45 Reply

    Raising my own daughters certainly has made me see parenting from a different point of view. There have been days when I’ve been exhausted, moments when I’ve questioned my intent to raise 2 independent young women 😉 (not really, mind you. 😉 It’s just that sometimes I think to myself, “MY way is best!” … but they want to do things their own way! lol), and moments of heartbreak when someone has “done them wrong”. I want to shield them from EVERYTHING … and I’m frustrated because I know I can’t! Luckily, these instances have been few and far between, and every single moment with them has been a gift from Heaven. 😀

    So … it is easy to see why Uncle Owen tried so valiantly to protect Luke. Would he have let Luke go on to the Academy the following year? That decision was taken away from him (sadly 🙁 ), but it would have been interesting to see how that conversation would have panned out.

    Which brings me to you, and your family tale you have shared with us. How inspiring your story is, Aaron! 😀 To take a tot into your home — and into your hearts 🙂 — and knowing that all the good Ahsoka has brought into your lives far outweighs the little nuisances and sapping of energy (at times). Truly, there is nothing quite as uplifting as a hug and a smile from a child. 😀 May both your girls shower many upon you and your wife. You’re very special people indeed!

    Thank you so much for sharing all this with us. And thank you for shedding new light on a (sometimes) much-maligned character. 🙂

    MTFBWY 🙂

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