“But it was real”

Bo-Katan was not a true believer. But, perhaps, she’s now on The Way.

Back in The Clone Wars Bo-Katan was a terrorist who teamed up with Darth Maul to overthrow her sister’s peaceful rule over their home planet of Mandalore. Bo-Katan’s violence led directly to her sister’s death and to Mandalore’s defeat by the Empire. Not good.

Then, in The Mandalorian Season Two, Bo is singularly focused on recovering the Dark Saber so she can rule Mandalore once again. She does not believe in the mythology of Mandalore, but she finds the mythology useful for her purposes. She cynically believes that she can just “wave that thing around” and people will follow her. Failing to win the Dark Saber, however, her one-time comrades ditch her for mercenary work and Bo-Katan spends the start of Season Three sulking on a throne of sadness in an empty castle.

Can we view Bo-Katan sympathetically? Of course. Having received the free gift of undeserved hospitality from the Children of the Watch, she is being renewed in Mandalorian lore and identity. We are watching Bo-Katan’s re-birth, a process unintentionally initiated by her relationship with Din Djarin and her deep dive into the Living Waters of Mandalore to save his life. She began this season isolated. Now she is part of a community. She began this season cynical. Now she is becoming a believer.

“But it was real,” Bo-Katan says in S3E4 The Foundling, describing her encounter with a mythosaur to the Armorer. Bo-Katan reveals to the Armorer, and not to Din Djarin or any other member of the group, that she saw a mythosaur deep in the Living Waters of Mandalore. It makes sense that Bo-Katan would confide in the Armorer, as she is the community’s de-facto high priest and keeper of The Way.

The armorer, being all armorer-ish. This is the Way.

What do we make of the Armorer’s response to Bo-Katan’s revelation? Clearly, Bo-Katan thought the Armorer would have a more emphatic reaction. At first, the Armorer comments that seeing a mythosaur “is a noble vision.” Finding the Armorer’s response dismissive, Bo-Katan explains, “No. I mean a real one. Beneath the Living Waters on Mandalore.” The Armorer responds, “When you choose to walk the way of the Mandalore, you will see many things.” Unsatisfied, Bo-Katan insists, “but it was real!” “This is the way,” the Armorer affirms.

Does the Armorer believe Bo-Katan? I believe she does. Steeped in Mandalorian lore and living an intentional, disciplined life of The Way, the Armorer has long believed in the stories and mysticism of Mandalore. Of course Bo-Katan could have seen a mythosaur, because mythosaurs exist. Bo-Katan, as highlighted above, has long been cynical and dismissive of her people’s mythology. Seeing the mythosaur was for Bo-Katan a come-to-faith moment, shattering her prior cynicism and leading her into a complete re-evaluation of who she is and what the formerly-rejected mythology means.

I’m a Christian pastor in a tradition – the Lutheran church – that does not nurture the ecstatic spiritual gifts of speaking in tongues, faith healing, prophesy, and so forth. Yet, these gifts are told in our scriptures and in our tradition’s stories. I believe they are possible, if rare, gifts that God gives to the faithful. Thus, if a new convert to the faith came to me with an account of receiving the gift to speak another language while a tongue of fire danced over their head (see Acts 2), I would welcome the story and commend the blessing God gave this person. Would I do back flips and otherwise meet their energy with similar dumbfoundedness and awe? Probably not. Such things are within the realm of the possible for those of us who believe. For those who do not believe, or who are at the beginning of their journey of faith, such miracles are paradigm changing and life altering.

“But it was real.” Of course it was. You’ve had a noble vision. Do you want a lollipop? Listen, Bo – a rare spiritual gift has been given to you. Now, what are you going to do with that vision and gift? Knowing that such things are real and possible, how will you now live?

Published by Chris Duckworth

Spouse. Parent. Lutheran Pastor. Veteran. Jedi. Political Junkie. Baseball Fan.

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