Is Kreia a Mary Sue? [KOTOR2]

This time we’ll be looking into whether Kreia is a Mary Sue.
A Mary Sue is an overpowered and perfectly good character with no explanation given for that power level. A Mary Sue is typically instantly liked by all of the established characters, yet at the same time a Mary Sue doesn’t have much of an actual personality. Mary Sues are also instantly liked for no apparent reason, and because of this Mary Sues feel like a wish-fulfilment fantasy more than they feel like actual characters in the story. Finally, being perfectly good and overpowered, typical Mary Sues are also never embarrassed and never fail in important ways, which is one reason Mary Sues are typically considered bad screenwriting.
So let’s find out if Kreia is a Mary Sue.
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First, we’ll look at whether Kreia is overpowered. This answer is clearly in the positive; as seen when she one-shots three Jedi masters with a single force power. She can also overpower Atton’s mind, even though Atton is trained in resisting Jedi mind probes. She manipulates others easily, brings people back from death, and manages to conceal herself from the Jedi council throughout most of the story. We are also repeatedly given hints that Kreia is very powerful, such as when we are told that only the strongest force users fought in the Mandolorian Wars, which is something that she did. And the official game guide even tells us that Kreia has access to many esoteric Force Powers that are not known by the Jedi and Sith.
So Kreia is clearly very powerful. But is she also overpowered? We’ll answer that in conjunction with our next point.
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Our next itinerary on the Mary Sue index is to find out whether Kreia’s power level is unexplained. Here, we could say that, yes – Kreia is shown to be very old. Her past is shrouded in mystery, and even the things we do know of her do not tell us why she should be so powerful. So it seems that Kreia’s power level is indeed unexplained.
However, even though her powers are unexplained, Kreia doesn’t fit the Mary Sue mold all too well. A Mary Sue is typically young and/or the main character. In the original Mary Sue story, A Trekkie’s Tale, which coined the term “Mary Sue,” the Mary Sue is only 15 and a half years old. If you have a character who is older and wiser, and fills the function of acting as teacher to the main character, that character is typically not a Mary Sue, but a paragon.
Obi-Wan and Yoda are paragons to Luke in the original trilogy. Both are older and wiser, and teach Luke as Kreia teaches the main character. And both are shown to be more powerful than Luke. Likewise, though some of their backstory is later reveled in the prequels, their past and the way they acquired their powers are still shrouded in mystery. By itself, this doesn’t make Obi-Wan and Yoda Mary Sues, since as characters they don’t fulfill the same role in the story that Luke, Anakin, Rey, or the main character of KOTOR2 do.
Going strictly by the numbers, we could therefore say that, yes, Kreia does have an unexplained power level, but no, that does not count towards her Mary Sue-ness. But you know what? Just to be extra fair, let’s just say it counts anyway and give Kreia a point for having an unexplained power level.
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Next we will look at the question of whether Kreia is perfectly good. Throughout the game, Kreia is repeatedly shown not to be perfectly good. Then again, she isn’t exactly evil either. She gives the main character a barrage of lessons, all from different points of view. She aims to broaden one’s view of the implications of one’s actions, and views both good and evil as faulty extremes. She will scold you for committing overly strongly to either the light or the dark side of the force. And she teaches that there is value in deception, suspicion, and betrayal, just as there can be value in preventing suffering. Thus, for our purposes, we can clearly conclude that Kreia is not perfectly good.
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Let us look at whether Kreia has a personality, then. There are many ways to answer this question, and all of them lead to a definite yes. Kreia is intelligent, haughty, disagreeable, immodest, nonconforming, rational, intellectual, strong-willed, goal-oriented, and individualistic. If we take someone whom we would say had no personality, we would think of someone who had few definite or unique characteristics; someone who seems to drift along, acting on default instinct and morality without adding much in terms of personal values or atypical reasoning to their actions. We would think of someone like Rey. Kreia is the complete opposite of that. She is modeled on the German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, who said that most people’s lives are a quotation; an imitation of the values and expectations that have been handed down to them and taught that we need to go beyond these defaults to become who we truly are. Fitting in with neither Jedi nor Sith, this is exactly what Kreia has done, whereas Rey, on the other hand, has so far spent two movies just drifting along, letting herself be defined by whatever conditions she finds herself in.
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We also have to answer the question of whether Kreia is instantly liked for no apparent reason. Here it is clear that she is not. Most people who come into contact with her dislike her. We have already mentioned that both the Jedi and the Sith cast her out. We can add that she must manipulate the people around her in order to get them to do what she says. She also manipulates the main character of KOTOR2 into believing that their force bond is lethal, so that the main character will stick with her and protect her, even though it is not. In general, Kreia tricks people and uses her power in order to get others to accept her and stand her company. Kreia even tells us herself that she is not well-liked. So the answer is clearly in the negative here.
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Does Kreia feel like a wish-fulfilment fantasy then? A wish-fulfilment is like a daydream where the typical frustrations of life are turned upside down. Someone who is not very beautiful, rich, powerful, or well-liked experiences a fantasy where they have all these qualities in abundance. However, as we have already touched upon, Kreia’s role in the story is that of paragon, not main character. It is difficult for the audience to identify with her in the same way that many might be able to identify with Luke or Rey. Likewise, though she may be powerful, Kreia is old, not beautiful, not well-liked, and has several alienating qualities. We have already mentioned how her personality does not fit the bill of a wish-fulfilment fantasy. And likewise, her indifference to her physical health, her inability to make true friends, and her lack of sympathetic qualities all count against her seeming to be a wish fulfilment too.
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Finally, we must turn to the question of whether Kreia is embarrassed or fails. Here it is clear that she fails a number of times. She is rejected by both Jedi and Sith, she loses her hand to Darth Sion, she loses the final battle against the main character, and she fails in her ultimate goal of bringing death to the Force.
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Thus, tallying up the final score, Kreia gets 2 out of 7 for being overpowered and for having an unexplained power level. But that is only if we are being generous and following the letter of the law. If we allow for the fact that Kreia is a paragon, not a main character or everyman, her true Mary Sue score is 0 out of 7, leaving her final Mary Sue score at 28.6% — or 0%, depending on how you look at it.
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“But wait!” you may say, “I thought the reason people don’t like Rey was that they were afraid of strong woman characters; that they feel threatened by strong women. I mean, JJ Abrams and Daisy Ridley, , basically told us as much. So isn’t it odd that Kreia is one of the most well-liked characters among the fanbase – and a woman? It’s almost as if people’s problem with Rey isn’t that she is a woman, but that she is a horrible, boring character and a perfect Mary Sue. But what do I know? I mean, *I* wasn’t the one who came up with the masterpiece that was The Force Awakens.

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