Ahsoka Tano: The One with Enthusiasm

"Jedi Ahsoka Tano" | Art by KaelaCroftArt. Used with permission.

Ahsoka: So, what’s the plan? 
Anakin: Oh, I thought you were the one with the plan. 
Ahsoka: No, I’m the one with enthusiasm. You’re the one with experience, which I’m looking forward to learning from. 

From almost the moment Ahsoka first appeared in Clone Wars, stepping off a shuttle that landed in the middle of a war zone, I adored her as a character. Promoted at the young age of 14 to Padawan status, Ahsoka left behind the safety and serenity of the Jedi Temple and was thrust headfirst into a new world of war, struggle, heroism, and heartbreak. As the show continued, she faced challenge after challenge head on, with that same indomitable spirit that she displayed from the start.

“Ahsoka Tano Fan Art” by kerembeyit (kerembeyit.deviantart.com).

I was 12 when the film premiered in theatres, and suddenly I—a young girl, just on the cusp of entering into a new world of my own—had a character I could look up to; a character I could identify with. Don’t get me wrong—I admired Leia and Padme, and took some inspiration from them, but they were much older than I was, and it was difficult to relate to them because of that age gap. But not only was Ahsoka close to my age, she was a Jedi. For me, a girl who spent much of her free time challenging neighbour kids to lightsaber duels, this was even better than getting a kitten for Christmas. But what really sealed the deal for me was her exchange with Anakin early in the film: “I’m the one with the enthusiasm”—that line has just as much of an impact on me now as it did the first time I sat wide-eyed in that theatre.

At the beginning of her character arc, Ahsoka is eager to learn, good-hearted, and brave. She’s also stubborn, impulsive, reckless, and snarky. These last traits made her unpopular with some early viewers. But to me, she was perfectly relatable. I always imagined that the sort of aptitude necessary for early promotion to Padawan was comparable to the double-edged sword of being considered a “gifted” child. Our personalities don’t always mature at the same rate our minds do, and sometimes that leads to being irritating, impulsive, or even naive. I’ve certainly been called some of those things. Incidentally, the very thing that distanced Ahsoka from some viewers early on helped draw me closer to her.

Ahsoka’s enthusiasm fed her confidence and was integral to her identity, but it sometimes led her to make foolish choices—especially early on. It required tempering to become a true strength. One episode early in the series crystallizes this concept. Ahsoka is placed in command of a squadron of pilots, but her recklessness leads her to ignore orders and results in the death of her men. This incident acts as a catalyst for the tempering of her enthusiasm—she makes a mistake, and she has only two options: face it and learn from it, or let it break her. And she does learn. She deals with her guilt, and her grief, and becomes stronger because of it.

Ahsoka’s enthusiasm fed her confidence and was integral to her identity, but it sometimes led her to make foolish choices.

Though she begins her story behaving much like Anakin—brash, reckless, and ignoring rules—she grows into a skilled leader with a heart for protecting the innocent. Her choice to leave the Order at the end of The Clone Wars isn’t one made lightly or out of anger; she makes the decision after careful contemplation as she realizes she can’t let Anakin or the Jedi define who she is any more. And, unbeknownst to her, this action allowed her to escape Order 66 and play a pivotal role in the Rebellion later.

I feel like I grew up alongside Ahsoka. I saw myself in her flaws, but also her strengths. Like Ahsoka, I’ve faced loss, betrayals, and challenges. Seeing her face her trials without losing what made her unique inspires me to do the same. Ahsoka learned hard lessons and experienced betrayal, but at the end of the day she allowed her trials to form her into a person of conviction who could empathize with others. She would do anything to embody the life of peace and hope she strives for, including walking away from everything she once called home and sacrificing herself for others. That is a role model I can eagerly try to follow as I stumble through my own trials and follow my own beliefs about what is good, right, and holy. Ahsoka reminds me to never let go of wisdom learned—but also to keep that spark of enthusiasm alive.

Cassidy Clayton

Cassidy Clayton

Guest Writer at Area of Effect magazine
As an ENFP, wanderer, and begrudging Slytherin, Cassidy has never been fully content to stay in just one place. As a result, she avidly devours tales of fictional worlds. When she’s not geeking out, Cassidy studies Linguistics at the University of Rochester. Just kidding—she’s always geeking out.
Cassidy Clayton

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