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Su’cuy (hello)!

Have you ever been driving along, lost in thought, when you suddenly realize you don’t remember how you got from point A to point B during a portion of your drive? Obviously, your subconscious took over, and guided you safely to your destination.

Well, the same thing happened to me in my journey of Star Wars fandom.

Sort of…

Somewhere between Bloodlines, Republic Commando (both by Karen Traviss), and The Clone Wars, I fell in love with Mandalorian culture. How did that happen?

Let me preface the rest of this entry by stating that I am in no way an “expert” on Mandalorians. I have just picked up a information here-and-there, being attracted to certain aspects of the people and their identity. Sort of like threads in a quilt square. Someday, I hope to piece it all together, and have one, big Mando quilt with which to wrap myself! 🙂

There are so many things about the culture that have somehow blazed a path through my emotions and my psyche. These are the things that seem to have impacted me the most, and have piqued my interest even further. Let me take you on a little “Mando road-trip…”

As a people, Mandalorians originally had no homeworld, per se. They were nomads, creating their own culture. In this way, they are very much like the Jedi and the Sith: cultures that created themselves through a shared sense of purpose. This is noteworthy, because it shows how strongly devoted its people are to upholding their traditions and customs.

Eventually, many Mando’ade (Mandalorians) settled on Concord Dawn, which is where Jango Fett is said to hail. He was actually adopted. Mando’ade were known for their adoption practices. If a child needed a home, you could be sure a Mandalorian family would welcome him/her into their home. What a noble commitment these people have to the family as a pillar of the community! Some of this adoption is out of necessity: with a lot of Mando’ade being warriors, bounty hunters, mercenaries, etc. (obviously a high job accident rate), adoption helps keep the culture alive and strong.

Speaking of family, men and women are pretty much expected to perform the same jobs, even though there are some “traditional” roles that are carried out. There are actually no gender-rules in Mando’a (Mandalorian language). Both men and women are expected to be warriors, raise their families and defend their homes. Men train the boys to be warriors (from the age of 12 or 13, I think). Women see it as an insult to be called gentle, fragile or delicate. Now, if you call her a bad mother…watch out!! To me, this is an amazing example of an equalitarian society, where gender does not pigeon-hole you as being one thing or another. Cool.

Marriage and adoption are as simple as stating that you are married, or that you are family. No big, court-driven procedures. You simply state a certain pledge, and it is done. I imagine this is because with their nomadic ways, many Mando’ade couldn’t exactly drive to the nearest court room. I like this idea, because it seems as though the commitment comes straight from the heart, not bound by a piece of paper. It may not be the most practical for legal division of property and possessions, but I just like the notion of the “intention” behind the pledge. Very noble. Aliit ori’shya tal’din (family is more than blood)!

Ahhhhh.the armor! Beskar’gam. It translates into “iron skin”, which just goes to prove how incredibly central the armor is to the Mando’ade. I have learned that true beskar’gam is made from beskar, which is a type of metal made from an almost impermeable type of iron, coupled with the wicked iron-working skills of a Mando metalworker. Tough stuff! It is passed down from one generation to the next, which is how Boba got Jango’s armor. Again, this transfer, albeit a possession, is a symbol of commitment, and a pledge to uphold tradition.

photobucket-1398-1320246226912Me, trying my hand at wearing some beskar’gam: Boba-style!

 

One thing I wish the powers-that-be would’ve kept in the original work-ups of Boba’s armor for Episode V is the usage of jaig-eyes. These are placed on a helmet as a symbol of skillfulness or expertise in battle. There has been a lot of debate about the use of jaig-eyes in cosplay costumes, but we’ve obviously seen them quite a bit – Captain Rex being the first example that comes to mind.

RexPhase2close-SWE Jaig eyes  jaig-eyes-sidebar160

All of the markings on beskar’gam have a certain mystique to them, a personalization to the armor that makes each and every one as unique as a fingerprint. With the upcoming Star Wars: Rebels, we will be treated to the armor stylings of the artistically talented Sabine! Love it. (By the way, if anyone can hook me up with someone who can help me make a Sabine cosplay costume, I’d appreciate it!)

star-wars-sabine-biojpg-23ee30Sabine, Star Wars: Rebels

Farming. Mando’ade are as skilled at farming as they are in battle. This has always appealed to me because for the past 23 years, my husband and I have owned a dairy farm. Only recently have we made the decision to leave that life, and let me tell you, it was one of the hardest decisions we have ever made. I understand what it is like to BE the farm. It’s in your veins, your soul. I have no doubt that this is yet another reason I’m in love with Mandalorians!

Lastly, I am completely enamored with the whole concept of training the Clones. Why did the Republic decide to hire men like Kal Skirata to instruct them, specifically requiring the troops to be trained in Mando tradition, customs and language? They even called him “Kal’buir”, which means “Papa Kal.” Why would the Republic want that instilled in the troops? Doesn’t that foster a sense that they hailed from somewhere else, thus planting the seed that they weren’t “just soldiers?” I have pondered this question time and again, with no satisfying answer…Vode an (brothers all)…! You can also read more about my obsession with Clones here:

Jay’s Galactic Espressions: I Think I’m A Clone Now

Kal Skirata 250px-Kal_Skirata

I will leave you with a few links that I, myself have bookmarked. I’m determined to learn Mando’a (the Mandalorian language)! Hopefully, with the help of these resources, I finally can!

Thanks to Johnamarie Macias (@BlueJaigEyes) for allowing me to link her tutorial videos!
http://mandosays.wordpress.com/

The second is actually a Quizlet site! For those of you who may be students or teachers, you are probably familiar with it:

http://quizlet.com/12883373/mandoa-phrases-flash-cards/

Next, is the original dictionary from Karen Traviss, who wrote the Mando’a language herself (there is a downloadable file if you click directly on “dictionary”).

http://www.karentraviss.com/page20/page26/

Lastly, I added a video link for the song “Vode An,” which is sung by troops in battle. It was popularized by the Republic Commando PC game. My youngest son was obsessed with the game for a while, so I got to hear it quite a lot (yay)! I included it for no other reason other than it gives me the chills every time I hear it!

Vor’e (thanks) for reading! If you have any questions, direct comments, or ideas for a blog subject, you can contact me directly:

jayk@coffeewithkenobi.com
@JoyceKrebs (twitter)

You can also find me as Rogue 7 at Star Wars in theClassroom:

http://www.starwarsintheclassroom.com/rogues/members/rogue_07.asp

Remember – this IS the podcast you’re looking for!

References:

Captain Rex pic: http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Jaig_eyes

Jaig Eyes images:http://thewookieegunner.files.wordpress.com/2014/01/jaig-eyes-sidebar160.png?w=160&h=127

Sabine Image: http://boards.theforce.net/threads/sabine.50018458/page-13

Kal Skirata Image: http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Kal_Skirata

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16 Comments

  1. pambruchwalski
    August 18, 2014 at 09:56 Reply

    Love the way you tied this in with road trips and quilts (want!) because this entry weaves through Mandalorian culture in a way that only you can. I’ve never quite understood it all, but you give this all a depth of which I have been completely unaware. Love the pics and the information. You’ll enlighten me yet, Jay!

    1. Jay Krebs
      August 19, 2014 at 15:21 Reply

      Thanks you, as always, for your encouraging words! 🙂 Glad I could enlighten you! There is SO much more I wish I could’ve discussed in this entry. I fear I would’ve written pages if left to roam with my thoughts!

  2. The Wookiee Gunner
    August 18, 2014 at 10:24 Reply

    Ner vod, that was fantastic! You already know my deep love for Mandalorians, and like you, I haven’t read much on them. The Republic Commando series and The Clone Wars really did it for me and I’ve been a fan since. I’ve added the latest phrase to Mando Says! Hope you all enjoy!

    1. Jay Krebs
      August 19, 2014 at 15:23 Reply

      Thanks so much for stopping by with your feedback! 🙂 Yes, I had so much fun talking Clones with you on Twitter that one evening! There’s just something about those boys…I could prattle on and on… 🙂
      Can’t wait to check out your latest phrase!! Thanks again for your contributions!!

  3. pambruchwalski
    August 18, 2014 at 14:06 Reply

    Just read this again. Two more things stand out. I know how much your farm meant to you. (((hugs))) and that description, that comparison tells me a LOT about who the Mando’ade (I’ve never typed that in my life) are. Also, I’d love to know more about the ties between who we see as clone troopers and the stormtroopers they eventually become. I mean, that transition has interested me since the PT first came out. Do we just chalk up the “disposable” nature of the stormtroopers in the OT to the fact that they didn’t have a story at the time, no background? Even Boba Fett, so popular though he is, has no real story in the OT. This makes me want to know more, of that makes sense.

    Awesome blog as always.

    1. Jay Krebs
      August 19, 2014 at 15:29 Reply

      I know you understand the whole farming thing from my POV. Much better than some of my own family…

      It’s fun to type “mando’ade”, huh?! 😉

      You know, seriously, you read my mind on the clone/stormtrooper evolution…I wondered about it the other day when I watched that newest Sabine clip from Rebels with her in full beskar’gam. She called THEM bucketheads…! It just made me wonder about how the Mando’ade felt about seeing a “distorted” version of their beloved armor on these troopers, be it Clone or Storm …

      …and your comments make complete sense to me! 🙂

      1. The Wookiee Gunner
        August 19, 2014 at 15:48 Reply

        Actually, I wrote up a quick thing about Sabine on my blog and how she sees the Mandalorians as “legends” and how there are not that many throughout the galaxy besides Boba Fett who carries the armor. Personally, I think the clones were phased out quickly. They were rapidly replaced by volunteers and clones were either shipped off to do manual labor, left to fend for themselves, or kept for training. The Emperor didn’t want them around in Imperial ranks because of the individualism (oh the irony). Their Phase 1 armor resembled Mandalorian armor the most because of Jango Fett’s involvement in the creation of the army, but at this point in time, I don’t think anyone makes the connection anymore.

        In canon, we have the New Mandalorians–the pacifists. Death Watch upheld the warrior standards from Mandalore’s past. My biggest questions right now involve Mandalore. What’s Mandalore like during Rebels? Sabine is described with “attitude rooted in her Mandalorian heritage,” but what heritage would that be if New Mandalorians were pacifists. Did Mandalore revert back to the old Mandalorian ways and Sabine was a product of that? SO MANY QUESTIONS!

        It’s sad that a lot of the Mandalore’s lore and information we have is part of Legends. Mando’a, for example, is Legends. Anyway, I’ve rambled, haha!

        1. Jay Krebs
          August 19, 2014 at 20:20 Reply

          Girrrrrllll!

          Ramble away! I’m loving this dicussion!! 😀

          You bring up a whole array of things that really hit home for me – I always wondered about the whole Mandalore/pacifist attitude as well. It’s so contradictory to most of what we know about “classic” Mandalorian heritage!

          Interesting what you said about Sabine – I can certainly see her spunky personality fitting the Mando heritage *we* know and love,but maybe not necessarily the Clone Wars version of the Mandalore people and customs.

          The whole “canon” vs “legends”: to me, it’s all kinds of shades of grey. There’s so much that has crossed over from one to the other. Who decides what becomes what…? The first example that springs to mind is the crossover from the EU with “The Courtship of Princess Leia.” Without that book, we wouldn’t have the Witches of Dathomir; now canon due to TCW. I could talk for hours about the tie-ins between these two “worlds”, trust me!

          Soooooo much to ponder!! Meditate more on this, I must!
          (and read your blog entries, I will! 😀 )

          1. The Wookiee Gunner
            August 19, 2014 at 20:37

            I know what you mean! As for who decides, I guess that falls on the Story Group now. The Witches of Dathomir are canon, but anything that doesn’t appear in TCW remains in Legends. It’s quite tricky. So technically, when it comes to Mandalorians, we really don’t know much canon-wise. My best friend and I had exchanged conversation about that earlier and given what exists in canon, there’s not much there. So that’s why I’m really hoping Rebels will reveal some details to piece the gaps. I also want a novel down the line. Something! haha!

            Despite the canon aspect, I will forever love the Mandalorian culture that was developed in the expanded universe. Kal Skirata and the clan still exist in my heart and I will love them always! 😀

  4. pambruchwalski
    August 18, 2014 at 14:08 Reply

    If ^. I hate typos! 🙂

    1. Jay Krebs
      August 19, 2014 at 15:30 Reply

      …then don’t look too closely at *my* typing, lol!!

  5. Erica
    August 18, 2014 at 15:31 Reply

    Whoa, jay, you sure sound like an expert to me! It’s wonderful to have some of what you’ve learned over all of these years put down here. One of my favorite interactions with the Mandalorian culture in the Expanded Universe is when jaina goes to train with them. And I have always loved Obi-wan’s connection to the duchess.

    Thanks so much for a great entry!

  6. Jay Krebs
    August 19, 2014 at 15:32 Reply

    Like I said above, theer is SO much more to be discussed, but I’m very glad you were able to learn some new things!!
    Yes – Jaina’s experience with them made her even more brutal and refined a warrior, if that were even possible 🙂
    Obi-Wan and Satine…. *swoon*!!

  7. Star Wars Animation: TV Spots, Selfies, Halloween Costumes, and More! | The Wookiee Gunner
    August 24, 2014 at 14:03 Reply

    […] Jay’s Galactic Espressions: My Fett-ish With Mandalorians by Jay Krebs | Coffee With Kenobi […]

  8. Melinda
    August 25, 2014 at 11:15 Reply

    What a wonderful read! 🙂 Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge of a little-known culture in Star Wars.

    I developed an appreciation for the Mando’ade, their culture, and the Clones after reading Karen Traviss’ books. Dare I say … she “humanized” the Clones. And then there was The Clone Wars. I definitely will miss that series.

    I loved the way you wove your affinity for and respect of the Clones with your “real-life” analogies. 🙂 Superb, Jay. As always. 🙂

    Until next time … MTFBWY 🙂

  9. Becca Benjamin
    August 26, 2014 at 15:00 Reply

    Holy Mando’a! This is funtastic stuff, Jay 🙂
    You’re so keen on the Mandalorian culture, so cool!

    This stuff would’ve definitely come in handy some … 4years ago when working on Steve’s CV SW LE piece. You are totally my “go to” person for all things Mando 😉

    The whole farming concept has always captivated me as well. Just knowing that they actually respected the land and what it gave them. Which says to me, they are not a wasteful people.

    Great insights my friend 🙂
    Awesome entry, as always.

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