The Mandalorians was the name for the inhabitants of Mandalore and worlds under its influence. Coming from a long tradition of warfare, Mandalore sided with the pacifist ideals of the New Mandalorian government during the days of the Clone Wars.
Still, history would see the Mandalorians fight once more, thus becoming a renegade group of refugees that mostly worked as bounty hunters following the specific code of honor.
The Mandalorian Code was a code respected by Mandalorian soldiers; it allowed them to invoke a one-on-one duel. Sabine Wren used this code to fight Fenn Rau of the Protectors after the latter injured her friend Hera Syndulla in the Concord Dawn system.
The rest of this article is going to be an in-depth analysis of the Mandalorian Code of Honor. We are going to analyze all the aspects of the code, which is very enigmatic, we have to admit, as well as answer some burning questions, such as those concerning the Mandalorian oath and the Mandalorian slogan.
What Is the Mandalorian Code of Honor?
Not all Mandalorians were bounty hunters. The Mandalorian Code of Honor is a very specific set of rules that are followed by some fractions of the Mandalorian people. It is defined as a code of honor defined by the Mandalorian warriors and was primarily used to allow for the possibility of invoking a one-on-one duel, but the code later expanded and became a symbol of the Mandalorian people.
It was heavily featured in Legends, the former canon of the Expanded Universe, with Sabine Wren using the code to challenge Fenn Rau to a duel after the Protector had injured Hera Syndulla in a battle over Concord Dawn.
As stated, the Mandalorian code was very common in Star Wars Legends, where it was heavily referenced, with various examples such as the Canons of Honor, Resol’nare and Supercommando Codex established as having been introduced over the centuries of Mandalorian history.
Although this doesn’t seem to be its full index, the Mandalorian Code of Honor seemingly has three parts. Let us examine each of them.
Canons of Honor
The Canons of Honor is a collection of Mandalorian laws and codes of conduct. It was formed on the basis of ancient religious laws that guided the Taung society, the original founders of the Mandalorian culture. The primary goal of the Canons was to help the ancient warriors achieve personal glory and honorary titles.
The text of this collection was a direct extrapolation of the Resol’nare, the six principles on which all of Mandalorian culture was based. If a warrior followed these dogmas throughout his life, made a special emphasis on loyalty to the clan and the conduct of battle, then it was believed that the laws were observed and personal glory was acquired by right.
Over time, the veneration of the Canon of Honor began to wane. After the Mandalorian Excision, the Republic’s attack on Mandalorian worlds, the New Mandalorians, a pacifist sect, abandoned the warlike codes of their predecessors altogether.
New life in the Canons of Honor was breathed by Jaster Mereel’s obtaining the title of Mand’alor, the traditional ruler of all Mandalorian clans. Mereel revived and refined the old code by creating his Code of Supercommando, a new set of guidelines for Mandalorian behavior.
Since then, everyone who wanted to take part in the fighting became a simple high-paid soldier and had to behave like an honest mercenary.
They were heavily referenced in Star Wars Legends, including various books, comics, and the Star Wars: The Clone Wars television series.
“I adhere to the Resol’nare. The core of what it means to be Mandalorian. A sacred law giving us direction and purpose. Education and armor, self-defense, our tribe, our language, our leader—all help us survive. We must educate our children as Mandalorians, obey the commands of Mandalore, speak Mando’a and defend our clans.“―Akaavi Spar
Resol’nare, or the Six Actions when translated from Mando’a into Galactic Basic Standard, were the guiding principles in the life of every Mandalorian:
- wear armor;
- speak the same language;
- to raise and educate children of new Mandalorians;
- protect yourself and your family;
- support your clan, and;
- respond to the first call of the leader of all clans – Mand’alor.
Tradition required that anyone who considered himself a Mandalorian should be guided by these principles and abide by them throughout their lives. Those who, for whatever reason, did not follow the Resol’nar were considered to be dar’manda – individuals devoid of Mandalorian heritage, devoid of a Mandalorian soul.
Mandalorians have always feared this status due to the belief that having lost their soul, they would no longer have a place in Manda, the Mandalorian afterlife.
During the Mandalorian Wars, as well as before them, members of other races were considered soulless from birth until they joined the Mandalorians and lived according to the Resol’nar. Very often, this happened under the threat of death, so many adopted a foreign culture out of fear of being killed.
Over time, this fanaticism faded away, the Mandalorians became less and less religious and more and more secular society. To better understand all the points of Resol’nare, Mandalorian children learned a special verse, and parents, as their children grew up, explained each of the principles given.
The Resol’nare was, thus, an ancient ruleset that formed the basis of the Mandalorian Code of Honor, but it was heavily expanded upon with the subsequent additions to the code, that were influenced by the Resol’nare. This is the code most often quoted by Din Djarin in The Mandalorian.
The Supercommando Codex is a guide to Mandalorian behavior developed by a male Mandalorian soldier named Jaster Mereel after he assumed the title of Mand’alor in 60 BBY. A man of high moral standards, Mereel found that many Mandalorians were unhappy with the dishonest and unnecessarily savage practices prevalent among their brethren.
Wishing to revive the honor of the clans, Mereel took the long-forgotten Canons of Honor of the Mandalorian Crusaders and Neo-Crusaders as a basis for a new set of rules, creating several hundred guidelines for the Mandalorian warrior, united under the name of the Code of Supercommandos.
The Code, like the Canons of Honor before it, was largely based on the Resol’nare, the six core principles of Mandalorian culture. Through the Code, Mereel hoped to ensure that any Mandalorians wishing to fight would not become raiders, but highly paid soldiers, posing as honorable mercenaries.
However, Jaster Mereel’s reforms were not unanimously adopted, and not all Mandalorians agreed to obey the Supercommando Code.
The new Mandalorians, being pacifists, rejected violence even in the form of Mereel’s innovative martial code, and the extremist Mandalorian group, led by Thor Vizsla, formed the Death Watch, relentlessly opposed the Code and other reforms of Mereel.
The Mandalorian Civil War has erupted between the Death Watch and an army of super commandos loyal to Mereel known as the True Mandalorians. Although the True Mandalorians were defeated and the Death Watch was later destroyed by Mereel’s adopted son Jango Fett, the descendants of the True Mandalorians, represented by the Mandalorian defenders, continued to follow the basic tenets of the Code.
The Supercommando Codex was heavily referenced in Star Wars Legends, and is tied to the important character of Jango Fett.
What Is the Mandalorian Oath?
As you can see, the structure of the Mandalorian Code of Honor is rather complex and there are several sources from which different rules are derived.
Depending on the fraction you’re a part of, you will respect one or more segments of the complete code, which makes the situation even more complex. As for the so-called Mandalorian oath, there is no precise phrase that could be described as an official oath.
“Strength is life, for the strong have the right to rule; Honor is life, for with no honor one may as well be dead; Death is life, one should die as they have lived.”
Taken from the Code of Honor, the above-quoted phrase would be the closest thing we have to an oath, although we’re not exactly sure whether the Mandalorians had to utter this as some kind of oath before becoming a full-fledged Mandalorian.
The whole structure of the code is confusing and the Code itself was never fully written out in any of the Legends works, which is why we have to deal with fragments, most of which have been rendered non-canon after Disney’s acquisition of Lucasfilms.
So, this is what we have. As far as we know, there is no official oath that the Mandalorians use, but this phrase is the closes thing we have to anything that might resemble an oath.
What Is the Mandalorian Slogan?
The Mandalorians don’t seem to have an official slogan. They refer to their code as “the Way” and use the phrase “This is the Way” to identify themselves, but also to explain their behavior. This is not really an official slogan but is used so often that it has, unofficially, become one. It was made popular in The Mandalorian television series.
“This is the Way” is a very traditionalist phrase, used only by those who adhere to the core principles of the Mandalorian code, the Resol’nare. It is a designation of their loyalty to ancient standards and traditions, as well as their religious zealousness. Still, the number of these traditionalists is very small and they’re a minority among the surviving Mandalorians.
Did Din Djarin, the Mandalorian, Break the Mandalorian Code?
And now, we can focus on Din Djarin, the titular Mandalorian from Disney’s show, who basically inspired this article. Were it not for Din Djarin, we probably wouldn’t have written this article, which is why it is only fair to dedicate a whole section to him.
In The Mandalorian, Din Djarin is a vehement advocate of the Code. As he evolves as a character, he begins to realize that there are some things more important than a set of ancient rules hardly respected by anyone else except him. In this section, we are going to list six times when Din Djarin broke the code in The Mandalorian:
Grogu Helping with the Mudhorn
One of the tenets of the Mandalorian Code states that “with no honor one may as well be dead”, which was illustrated at the start of the first season when Din Djarin admitted that the death of the Mudhorn that attacked him was not honorable because of Grogu’s help. him.
The Mandalorian felt he should have been the one who should have killed the beast, and he knew the confrontation was a great risk and he could be the one to die in battle. This would have been acceptable and consistent with The Way, but with the help of the little Baby Yoda, a powerful Force user, one aspect of the Code was ignored.
Receiving Imperial Beskar
After doing his job for The Client and successfully placing Grogu in Imperial hands, Djarin was well paid for his efforts; a camtono from Beskar. He used it not only to forge new armor from the Armorer, but also to provide the foundlings of the tribe with the surplus for their needs.
While his actions appeared generous, several members of the intelligence service were outraged that he received the Empire’s Beskar. It seemed to violate the code of honor, and Paz Vizsla called him a coward while engaging him in the fight with a vibroknife.
Forcing the Tribe to Flee
After Din Djarin broke the Bounty Guild Code to retrieve Grogu, the client’s agents came to withdraw the Child for further experimentation, resulting in a shootout that cornered him and his wards. A group of Mandalorians seemed to provide cover, just giving him time to escape with Grogu off world.
Mando informed the Mandalorian Heavy Infantry that the group would have to find a new location, as only one Mandalorian could be seen at a time to hide their numbers. If the Mandalorian had not taken care of Grogus’ destiny, he would not have been seen with more than one member of his species and would have put them all in potential danger.
Taking of the Helmet
It was vital for Din Djarin to put on his helmet, not only to protect his identity, but also to respect the Code. If he took off his helmet, he would never be able to put it back on. He did so in the season one finale because IG-11 had to have access to his face due to the extent of his injuries.
Even though IG-11 was not alive, in Mando’s eyes it still violated the code of honor to expose himself to the droid, but he was ready to face the consequences of his dedication to protecting Grogu. Later, when Mando and Migs Mayfeld succeeded in infiltrating Morak’s Imperial Refinery, they were able to accomplish their mission.
But to gain access to the secret files of Moff Gideon’s ship, Mando had to remove his helmet so that the Imperial facial scanner could map his face. This was the second time he’d taken his helmet off in front of someone else, showing just how much he cared for Grogu.
Not Using Mando’a
Another specific aspect of the Resol’nare is speaking the Mandalorian language (Mando’a’), which Din Djarin does not seem to do, even among his own. This seems like an ideal way to determine if Cobb Vanth, Bo-Katan, Boba Fett, or any of the other Mandalorians he meets are or claim to be Mandalorians.
In the series, he has spoken to a wide variety of galactic citizens, from signing up with the Tusken Raiders to attempting to speak Jawaese (his Jawa “looks like Wookiee”). He seems to be trying a variety of languages in addition to his own, but that was disrespectful of the Code.
Clash with Bo-Katan
Well, it wasn’t a direct clash, but the two of them had some issues, while they also did work as allies. In the end, it turns out that Din Djarin knew nothing about the customs of his people. When he met Bo-Katan Kry, he doubted her legitimacy to rule and even the existence of the Darksaber.
One of the principles of the Code is “the strong have a right to rule,” and for rebuking her for adhering to the path followed by the children in custody, he did not take her words seriously, even though she did have the right to have their inheritance affirmed. There is an important part of the Mandalorian Resol’nare, and that is to follow the call of the Mandalorian chieftain.
By all reports, Lady Bo-Katan Kryze was believed to be Mandalore’s rightful ruler, and when she asks him to confiscate an Imperial cruiser for his war effort, he initially refuses.
Din Djarin is not very confident by nature and doesn’t have much faith in Mandalore’s social functions, but he should have complied with her request because she asked him to, not because it would help get Grogu back.