The Mandalorian: A Mini-Study in Character Transformation

Character growth is an important part of a well-told story. Readers and viewers like to see a character change within the framework of the character’s personality, nature, and behavior. The Mandalorian, Din Djarin, (aka Mando), superbly played by Pablo Pascal, exemplifies character growth during the course of Seasons 1 and 2 of The Mandalorian. He’s on a hero’s journey and that journey is changing him.

When Mando reveals his face, his action isn’t capricious nor confusing. He makes a sacrifice of his deepest belief each time he is in the crucible of a dilemma. Sacrifice is an aspect of character change, a heroic action. The Mandalorian Creed bars him from showing his face in sight of another living being, but his situation with Grogu challenges Mando’s belief in the Way. Outside of Mando removing his helmet when he’s alone to do ordinary things like eat, as he does in Season 1, Episode 4 (Chapter 4) Sanctuary, Mando sacrifices a piece of his belief in the Mandalorian Creed each time he removes his helmet and shows his face in order to save Grogu. 

There are three important moments in Seasons 1 and 2 of The Mandalorian when Mando is forced by circumstances to uncover his face. 

Moment 1 occurs in Season 1, Episode 8 (Chapter 8), Redemption, when Mando, stalwart in his belief in the Mandalorian Creed, and near death with a fatal brain injury, at first refuses to let the droid IG11 remove his helmet to save his life. IG11 isn’t a living being, thus Mando allows the droid to remove his helmet and heal his brain injury. IG11 provided a solid resolution to Mando’s dilemma, and by the end of that episode, Mando loses his hatred of droids. There it is—character change.

Moment 2 occurs in Season 2, Episode 4 (Chapter 12), The Siege, after Moff Gideon’s Dark Troopers take Grogu (aka Baby Yoda, aka the Child), Mando gathers a team and they set out to rescue Grogu, but first they need the location code of Moff Gideon’s ship and the only way to get it is to infiltrate a secret Imperial remnant base, a mining hub, run by ex-ISB (Imperial Security Bureau) and access the computer containing the location codes of Imperial starships. 

With the help of New Republic Marshall Cara Dune, Mando recruits his old enemy, the felon Mayfield, an ex-Imperial sharpshooter serving time on a prison planet.

 Accessing the location code database requires a face scan. Neither ex-rebel shocktrooper, Cara Dune, nor Guild assassin Fennec Shan, wanted by the ISB, nor Boba Fett, who expects his face would be recognized, can risk it. Mando volunteers to accompany Mayfield, both of them disguised as Imperial guards, to deliver highly volatile rhydonium to the base and get their chance at accessing the computer.

Once they make it to the base and are able to get to the computer, Mayfield sees an officer he once served under and fears being recognized. He refuses to enter the room. Determined to get the location code, Mando says he’ll do it. Mayfield reminds him his face will be scanned, but Mando will take any risk to rescue Grogu from Moff Gideon. 

He attempts the scan with the Imperial helmet on, and it fails. He then removes the helmet, exposing his face, and is successfully scanned. He gets the location code, but you could see his discomfort. When an officer confronts him, he has no choice but to face him. Once again, circumstance force him to break the Creed.

Moment 3, Season 2, Episode 8 (Chapter 16), The Rescue. Mando rescues Grogu from Moff Gideon and the time has come to deliver Grogu to a Jedi Master. He and Grogu are about to be separated, perhaps forever. For Mando, it’s like a father giving up his son. This was a heart-wrenching moment. Grogu wants to see the face of the man who has kept him safe against the odds and Mando, without hesitation, takes off his helmet and lets Grogu see him for the first time.

These three transformative moments mark an important turn in Mando’s character, and result from at least two previous “setup” sequences.

In Season 2, Episode 3, (Chapter 11), The Heiress, Bo Katan tells Mando he’s a Child of the Watch. She explains that the Mandalorians who raised him practice an extreme version of their tradition and are a radical sect. For the first time Mando learns that the Creed isn’t the alpha and omega of Mandalorian life. He rejects what Bo Katan tells him, but he can’t un-hear her words.

In Season 2, Episode 7, (Chapter 15), The Believer, Mando has his belief in the Mandalorian Creed further challenged by Mayfield, who accuses Mando of not being consistent with the Creed he professes to follow, pointing out Mando easily changes the rule when he’s desperate, and stating there’s a difference—either Mando can’t take his helmet off or can’t show his face. Either way, Mando walks a fine line, and between what Bo Katan told him and Mayfield’s cynicism, he’s got something to think about.

In the world of story, there is no growth without some form of sacrifice–psychological, physical, or spiritual, and sacrifice is painful. Having responsibility for Grogu and finding himself between a rock and a hard place in his determination to protect the Child, who is a son to him, Mando is forced to reassess his belief in the Mandalorian Creed and every time he reveals his face it’s done at a cost to that belief. By the time he shows his face to Grogu, he has undergone a definite psychological change in his perspective. 

The Mandalorian bounty hunter we meet in the first episode is a changed man by the end of Season 2. He’s suffered near-death, he’s found himself being a father to and protector of a powerful alien baby, he’s tasked with returning that baby to a Jedi Master, and he’s experienced significant challenge to his core belief in the Mandalorian Way.

We see his psychological change in these two seasons and can expect that Mando’s hero’s journey will transform him—which is what a hero’s journey does to the individual–and why stories like The Mandalorian fascinate us and are wonderful to enjoy and vicariously experience.

Winner!

Camp NaNo–Yay!

My goal was to edit 20,000 words of A Lamentation of Swans. Final count: 20,843. I could have set it higher, but I was afraid of getting caught in the weeds if I tried for 50,000, and I’ve got other projects going on so I played it safe. May schedule more work on it during another Camp Nano.

I’ve not posted in a while, but I’ve got a list of blog posts to do, just too busy working on manuscripts. I completed the second draft of Loose Daddy, and now I’m starting the third and (I hope) final draft. I’d like to start submitting it to agents in 2021.

What else am I busy with?

o Grinding Time, a novella (or it might become a long short story)

o Writing Emotion, a non-fiction ebook

o A Haunting of Roses, a murder mystery fantasy novel

o A Fall of Diamonds, a fantasy historical romance

o The Serene Widow, a Regency novel

All that will certainly carry me through the end of the year, and it’s fast approaching! I want to have Loose Daddy done and I would be very happy to finish the first draft of A Haunting of Roses. I know that’s too many projects, and I’m spinning between them. Most of my focus is on my literary novel, Loose Daddy, because it’s so close to being completely finished and ready to go. And I may finish Grinding Time, also a literary work.

We’ll see.

coma

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Yesterday Mac’s hard drive fell into a coma. I’m shipping it off to Apple for repair. Took considerable working time figuring out what the suspicious knocking/clicking/whirring noises meant. Finally called Apple, determined the hard drive was failing–most likely; poor baby.

No worries; iCloud has my stuff. I cleared everything off the desktop a while ago and work directly from iCloud so my most recent work is backed up.

I did my 1000 words on A Fall of Diamonds old-school. I like writing longhand, seems like the words come easier and I get into a rhythm. I used to write longhand all the time. Thinking I might write the whole novel that way now. I wrote 1022 words and completed a new scene. Going to push for 2000 today.

Must get to it!

Salzburg Outing

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Late in the afternoon on Monday the weather turned rainy, but not for long. We travelled to Linz, Austria and was docked by dinner. Linz is an industrial city on the Danube. I didn’t do the Linz city tour, opted instead for the bus ride to Salzburg. It was a beautiful drive through pine and fir-forested Austrian countryside, passing by villages in pretty valleys. Mist hung over the deep forests, weather rainy and cool. We stopped for a rest break at Mondsee (Moon Lake).

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In Salzburg, my friends and I had lunch at the oldest restaurant in Europe, established in 803 A.D.

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Not so much with the castles on this tour, mostly churches and abbeys and royal sites like the Hohensalzburg Fortress above the Benedictine monastery.

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MOMMIE

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February 29, 1940 – October 8, 2007

Mommie  was the second child of George and Ethel Mae Kinchen of Franklin, Louisiana, younger sister to Arthur, older sister to Edward and Delores. Her father called her ‘Peaches.’ She was a Daddy’s girl, a tree-climber, a joyous tomboy. She grew up in Assumption Parish and attended segregated W. H. Reed High School where she ran track and played basketball. In 1956, she married Pvt. First Class Moses Raymond Young and for the next 20 years she followed her Air Force husband and lovingly shuttled the five of us from state to state and country to country. She loved talking to people, and her cheerful smile invited friendship. She was a great mimic. She used to have us in stitches telling stories about her cousins and elders. She lived her life every day with compassion and laughter and love. We miss you, Mommie. Roses

An Archangel, A Journey, A Sacred River, The Folk Process and A Spiritual!

Great article!

The Immortal Jukebox

Or, to put it another way:

Four takes on, ‘Michael Row The Boat Ashore’

‘… They were tones, loud, long and deep, breathing the prayer and complaint of souls boiling over with the bitterest anguish.’ (Frederick Douglas)

‘And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great Prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as there never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, everyone shall be found written in the book.

And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to eternal life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.’.
(Book of Daniel Chapter 12 King James Version)

‘Jordan River is deep and wide, hallelujah.
Meet my mother on the other side, hallelujah
Jordan River is chilly and cold…

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i’m beginning to resent the sound of tearing flesh

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What’s up with naked dead women? Why’re people always hacking each other with chainsaws, axes, butcher knives? When the girlfriend is dead, quit talking to her! How many ways can you create a zombie? As many ways as there are stars apparently. Why’re you performing taxidermy on yourself? How come you’re walking barefoot through a black basement holding the weakest flashlight in the world? Dummy! Are there really that many abandoned asylums around? Oh wait–the latest thing is experimental addiction treatment centers. Best stay on the drug. Who really thinks swimming in a pitch-black lake out in the middle of nowhere surrounded by decaying forest is a good idea? I don’t care if you are camera-crazy, trespassing in the neighbor’s decrepit house so you can what–take cutting edge gothic photos of whatever you think you might find in the creepy basement? Really stupid. You know what happens to the girl who decides to walk to the country store through a forest at midnight to hitch a ride home ’cause she had an argument with her boyfriend? No matter ’cause we never run out of them. Rock music and screams get on my nerves. Country music and screams get on my nerves too.  If you move into your new apartment and the guy next door is shy and sweet, keep your distance, unless you fancy leaking blood from your eyes in due time.

(Sigh) Really must cut down on the horror movies.