Cross-posted from Tumblr; written for Asexual Awareness Week.
One of the things that makes me happy about the aroace Luke Skywalker headcanon I’m so fond of is that it subverts the old trope about the ultimate expression of love being romance and ergo sex.
His capacity to love is a major point in Luke’s journey. Hell, he managed to redeem Darth Vader thanks to his ability to love ol’ Vader despite his flaws. (And while I love Anakin dearly, there is bad decision-making and then there is Anakin Skywalker a few kilometres out. It’s a lot easier to feel sorry for the guy when your galaxy isn’t the one he made scrambled eggs of.)
And if Luke’s love and compassion for Vader aren’t a pretty significant display of the Power of Love, I don’t know what is. We are talking about pulling an entire galaxy out of two decades of tyranny here, just by reminding one guy that he isn’t irredeemably unlovable.
But if Luke is aroace (and my headcanon has him be aroace in much the way I am, because my headcanon), it makes the way he loves and expresses love deviate from what our amatonormative world assumes. Obviously in dealing with his father, everything’s based in familial love, but hey, let’s not pretend like folks who are none the wiser don’t occasionally assume that no romantic/sexual love is the same as no love at all.
Personally, I’m still deeply uncomfortable using the word ‘love’ to describe my feelings about people (unless it’s about fictional characters, because they’re not here to take it the wrong way). We do not live in a world that recognises any significant feelings about other people that I might have as legitimate or important, because the things regarded as the ultimate expressions of love are both beyond my experience. (I’m still cranky about that assembly one teacher gave where he got onto the importance and beauty of romance.) It’s isolating, and perhaps more importantly, embittering. And bitterness is an emotional paralytic.
Luke being able to express his own love without it looking like what Western culture often reserves the word ‘love’ for makes the galaxy far far away much more welcoming to people like me. And hey, it’s fantasy-with-science-words media, escapism is kind of the idea! It also gives back a bit of the emotional agency that stereotypes painting people like me as ‘heartless’ try to take away.
Plus Mark Hamill said that Luke Skywalker can be whatever fans want him to be. So there’s that.