On my Tumblr blog, I have been posting a lot of Star Wars meta lately. One that has gotten me a lot of attention is my meta on "Why I hate Obi-Wan Kenobi."
I like to say I hate Obi-Wan for the shock value of it. Because Obi-Wan is a huge fan favorite to the point where everyone in the Star Wars fandom has accepted that “Everyone loves Obi-Wan, it’s a fact.” The very idea that someone would *gasp* hate him is such an unheard of idea that I deliberately prey on that by stating that “I hate Obi-Wan Kenobi.” I’m going to insist on saying that I hate him for that reason.
Speaking for the franchise, Obi-Wan is a very important character to the story, and he fulfills his role well. He is a significant part of the Skywalker family, specifically Anakin and Luke. I don’t hate Obi-Wan because he is weak or useless. I respect his role in the franchise.
In-universe, Obi-Wan has his pointers, and they are indeed strong ones. I thought he was great in The Phantom Menace, and I liked the book “Kenobi.” He’s a level-headed guy, he is a good critical and analytical thinker, and he is very loyal. He is also strong of will and mind since he is able to hold himself together after all he has been through.
Obi-Wan is also, as I often put it, emotionally constipated. He is not a good listener. He is a hypocrite. He is prideful. He is narrow-minded. He is idealistic.
For example, remember that big speech he gave in the Citadel arc about how the Jedi Order must stick to their values and not compromise, blah blah blah. And yet throughout the Clone Wars, Obi-Wan slips into behavior that is very un-Jedi like. Like that fake surrender which was essentially a war crime? Like that Jedi Mind Trick that Obi-Wan was only hesitant to use because it could destroy Bane’s mind, not because it was a VERY WRONG thing to do? Like when he used Anakin’s love for him to manipulate Anakin before he went undercover? (more on that in a bit) All very un-Jedi like, and yet Obi-Wan insists that they have to stick by their morals. Hypocrite.
But the thing that makes me hate Obi-Wan the most is this: he’s not honest about his mistakes. He would not admit that he has a superiority complex, or that he has done some very un-Jedi like things, or that he needs to be more open about his feelings.
Like for me, authenticity is a must for a character. There is a huge difference between a character who is an asshole and will openly admit it, and a character who is an asshole and believes they are in the right. This is why I sometimes end up preferring characters who are mass-murderers over characters who are peacekeepers. If you’re a fictional character and you’re going to be a big dick, you have to be willing to admit it. You can’t waltz around in all your dickheadedness and assume you’re as noble, good, and true as you think you are.
Back to Obi-Wan in the Deception arc. Again, he USED Anakin’s love to his own advantage. Obi-Wan KNOWS that Anakin has a problem with attachment and he knew exactly how his fake death would affect Anakin, and he did it anyway. But it’s all okay because he makes up for it, right? Uh, no. Obi-Wan still insists that he did what was necessary and it was best for the mission’s sake. He tells Anakin to his face that using Anakin’s love for him to manipulate Anakin was necessary. He doesn’t even try to confess that he might have made a wrong decision. And I truly believe that Obi-Wan’s actions in this arc helped sow the seeds of distrust in Anakin for Obi-Wan and the Jedi Council. This would, in turn, contribute greatly to Anakin’s fall to the Dark Side. And Obi-Wan insisted he was in the right the whole time.
This is slightly off-subject but it ties into why I hate Obi-Wan. This fandom sure gets off to giving Anakin a hard time, calling him trash, a disaster, a dick, and so on. And duh, Anakin has made some horrible choices. But out of these two characters, who is the one who openly admits that he has flaws and he has made mistakes? Who is the one who bravely tells their former Padawan that they understand wanting to leave the Order? Yup…it’s not Obi-Wan, IT’S ANAKIN. And yet somehow Anakin is dubbed the “trash lord” of the fandom. If anyone is the king of trash in Star Wars, it’s Obi-Wan.
Obi-Wan is very much to blame for Anakin’s fall to the Dark Side. Obi-Wan is the person who should have helped Anakin the most, but helped him the least. He should have been a better listener. He should not have manipulated Anakin as he did - and on top of that, he didn’t even try to make up for it. He wasn’t there for Anakin when Anakin needed someone to trust. And while I know Obi-Wan did care about Anakin, he seemed way too caught up in his own ideals and pride to go out of his way for Anakin.
You know what the worst part of this is? It took the loss of the Jedi Order, the rise of the Galactic Empire, and Anakin’s fall to the Dark Side for Obi-Wan to finally admit he had failed Anakin. He had to have his whole way of life ripped away from him just to admit that he may have done a thing or two wrong. He doesn’t even confess to Anakin that he failed him until Anakin has already become a Sith and they are engaged in a battle to the death. Suffice it to say I think he earned twenty years of exile in the desert.
You’d think that after all that Obi-Wan would have learned to not make that mistake again…except, he doesn’t. He still remains dishonest to Luke years later, and when Luke calls him out for his dishonesty, Obi-Wan STILL insists he was pretty much in the right. Like if he didn’t learn anything after twenty years of exile does that mean he spent the whole time weeping over how sad and alone he was??
ON TOP OF ALL THIS, the fandom’s treatment for Obi-Wan makes me physically sick (as I already described in the first paragraph). Everyone is supposed to love Obi-Wan. He’s so flawless. He’s so perfect. He’s so amazing. We all love him. And yeah he may be an asshole sometimes but we love him for it anyway because he drinks tea and flirts with everyone.
No…no we don’t all love him. At least, I don’t. He physically repulses me.
Bottom line, Obi-Wan is a good character, but he is extremely problematic and I cannot stand characters who make mistakes but insist they’re in the right. And more than not, the fandom hasn’t helped my views on Obi-Wan either. I certainly appreciate his character, but I’m tired of all the idolizing and babying he gets, and how his flaws are horribly overlooked.
So starting now I’m putting my foot down…Obi-Wan is a dick.