Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II - The Sith Lords True Neutrality, Kreia

Kreia the Jedi, Darth Traya the Sith Lord, the companion and the antagonist. Whoever she truly is, there's no denying that she's a great, nuanced character that sets the bar pretty high when both Star Wars and video games are concerned. And if you'd like to know more about the tragedy of Darth Traya, the Lord of Betrayal, you can read this TechRaptor article that takes a close look at what being a True Neutral is like in the galaxy far, far away. A few paragraphs:

Much like Frank Fontaine in Bioshock, Kreia is successful in manipulating the Exile both story-wise and symbolically in the game mechanics. Her teachings have the Exile grow as a Jedi or a Sith, and each subsequent quest line finished in the game leads Kreia closer to her goal. By the end of the game, the wheels are in motion and the plan has been put into place. The latter half of the game is to track down Kreia, once again unveiling her identity as Darth Traya. After defeating her betrayers Sion and Nihilus, the climax of the game has you fight your former mentor, where she showcases her true feelings of compassion with the Exile, the only time she shows emotions other than pragmatism in the entire game. The Exile must then duel her to the death, and depending on the choices made in-game, either use her teachings to rebuild the Sith Academy or restore the Jedi Order.

As stated, Kreia served three functions that were intertwined throughout the plot of KOTOR II. We see above how Kreia fills the role of a mentor, but her ulterior motives twist the role into something much darker. In many ways, Kreia is broken as a character—at least mentally, due to the trauma inflicted upon her. Much like the current portrayal of Luke in Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Kreia feels that the endless cycle of Jedi and Sith must end, as their teachings served no purpose. Her cynicism in pointing out the audacity of the Jedi and Sith teachings coupled with her balanced approach towards the force as a tool, over a guiding philosophy, sets her apart from Jedi and Sith completely. Once again, the game mechanics showcase this belief of hers; despite going through the game and making decisions that reward “light side” and “dark side” points that would influence other characters, Kreia remains neutral throughout the entire adventure, rarely being influenced by the players or their actions. Her “tests” also grant character bonuses to the player, depending on the answers can lead to new knowledge, power, or more that further her goals to sever the connection to the force.

All of this creates great dynamism into her character. Both in-game through the mechanics and in the story, Kreia is unshakable in her convictions. Despite her adoration for the Jedi Exile, she still uses her for her own goals. Her beliefs in the true nature of the force, combined with her experiences as both a Jedi and Sith, make her a very introspective but bitter person in this regard. Kreia, in this back part of the Old Republic, felt it was time for the Jedi to end, and she nearly succeeded in doing so by slyly exerting control over the only person powerful enough to do it.

Part of what makes her memorable ultimately is how unconventional she is in the greater context of Star Wars. Fans are used to the conventional, the standard “light and dark side” forces that populated the world at large. Jedi and Sith are part and parcel with the lexicon, their presence the beating heart of the narrative focus of Star Wars of close to forty years. Yet Kreia doesn’t fit into the mold of either Jedi or Sith, at least not fully. She serves as the arbiter of the middle ground, almost like a “Gray Jedi” in some regards (a Jedi who uses the Dark Side but is not consumed by it) but not totally in the same vein as established characters in the KOTOR universe.

This sort of middle-ground approach, however, makes her stand out among the Dark Lords and Jedi Knights, but mostly due to her philosophy. Kreia is one of the few Star Wars characters to outright say that the light and the dark are both destructive, that power and mastery of the force is a fleeting thing. Her desire to end the force, stemming from her own traumatic experiences, is both a classical villain motivation yet sympathetic due to how the force itself manipulates and guides the actions of its practitioners. To Kreia, balance of the force means removing it entirely, allowing the galaxy to forge its own destiny.