Hi! Yeah, as a theory by itself, I’ve seen a lot of cool imagery and thoughts on it, the symbolism of Vader’s “birth” to Padme’s “death”, the heartbeat and breathing starting/stopping with each of them, the back and forth scenes between the two of them inviting a lot of cool speculation.
I’ve always seen it as thematic, rather than literal, that Anakin survived on pure hate + the Force being so strong in him, rather than Palpatine stealing her life force. Though, after TROS establishing that life energy can be passed from one to the other, that Palpatine was interested in that kind of thing, it could fit with the established lore even better now.
Where the theory loses me is in exactly what you say–that there needs to be some explanation for why Padme would have died, as if her grief and giving up on life wasn’t enough of a story or that she was “better than that”. The idea that this makes Padme weak, that this explanation is somehow beneath her, that it makes her lesser, less worthy, unsettles me sometimes, because it makes me wonder about how my own struggles with these topics would be treated.
Padme is a character that was shown to have isolated herself more and more as time went on, we see in the movies and even in the supplementary materials that she never really talked to anyone about her marriage and the emotional turmoil she was going through and the impending motherhood that was just over the horizon for her. There’s no one there to talk to in Revenge of the Sith, she’s a woman crying alone in her apartment, even her faithful droid isn’t someone she can confide in. Even during the Clone Wars, she doesn’t talk to her handmaidens anymore, they seem to be slipping away from her more and more as time goes on.
Padme’s character is one who started strong, but her will to stay true to her boundaries crumbled over time. We saw that in Attack of the Clones as well, that she knew getting into a secret marriage with Anakin was a bad idea, but her heart won out over her head, and she never really dealt with that, nor did she deal with Anakin’s murder of the men, women, and children on Tatooine. She set these things aside for understandable reasons, but I’ve never seen her characterization in ROTS as coming out of nowhere, that, as someone who has struggled with depression and suicidal thoughts for as long as I can remember, I felt that isolation and desire to give up on life. That I can’t say I wouldn’t have done the same thing in Padme’s position.
I’ve never felt that anyone is obligated to like or appreciate the way the story was written for her, especially since I can’t hardly say for certain that this was the intention behind it, that it wasn’t just that she was written to further Anakin’s story, rather than because she herself had one at the end.
But I definitely do strongly disagree with the idea that a character with depression and/or suicidal urges isn’t weak, not even if they lose the battle to these things. Padme deserved help and understanding for what she was going through, she deserved sympathy for the struggle she faced and that she didn’t get that help that she needed or knew who to turn to. She wasn’t weak for struggling with something like this and she has all my empathy because I’ve been there and it’s a hard as hell pit to climb out of.
So not sure how much it might matter to people, but Takotsubo cardiomyopathy (the “broken heart syndrome”) is a legitimate thing that exists even if it’s rare. I *have* met patients who were hospitalized from it. It doesn’t matter how “strong” a person is, or if that person had been healthy, or if they’re young, they can still suffer from it and possibly die from it. Considering how much stress, physical AND emotional stress Padme was under, I can totally buy it.
Yeah, there are indeed potential explanations, both medically and psychologically for it! As mentioned in the notes, I will never try to force anyone to agree to any headcanon about Padme’s character arc, because nothing in the canon itself or in WOG have specifically said that she was struggling with depression or suicidal urges, so this is in the realm of character interpretation and/or headcanons, just like interpreting Anakin with anxiety or a multitude of the characters in SW as having PTSD are in the same boat. They can make a ton of sense and I actually do hardcore subscribe to them, but the intention here isn’t to say “You have to interpret Padme’s character arc through this lens!”
But instead to say, it’s fine if someone disagrees, especially because I very much do agree that Padme was written to further Anakin’s story, rather than her own, and I think a lot of people are picking up on that it feels like she was written this way just to tie off a loose end, rather than because it felt logical to that part of the audience.
At the same time, though, Padme’s experiences through the lens of interpreting her as having depression, being suicidal, possibly having PTSD, or like you say, Takotsubo cardiomyopathy as brought on by an incredible amount of stress, are entirely reasonable explanations, there’s plenty of room for that interpretation, whether one subscribes to it or not.
Given how much stress she was under by the end of the war, with the baby due very soon, her husband off on this insane tear, her entire civilization collapsing around her, and literally no one to even talk to about any of it, as shown over the course of quite some time, given her crumbling defenses even as far back as AOTC and over the course of TCW, it’s really, really easy for me to believe that Padme was stressed out and just couldn’t fight any longer.
That sometimes depression and the urge to no longer be alive just hits people, there don’t even need to be external factors for it to happen, sometimes we just have fucked up brain chemistry and brain weasels chewing on the wires in our heads. Whether or not that was the intention with Padme, it’s something that’s very dear to me, even if she lost that struggle, just as Anakin lost his struggle with anxiety, it reminds me to keep trying for myself, that these people deserved better and deserved to accept the help that they would have been given, and then so do I.