Who exactly is under the woman under the Armorer’s helmet? This has been a question among fans ever since her character appeared in the Mandalorian as the de facto leader of the Children of the Watch.
No character seems to know her name. We’ve never seen her face, nor do we know her history. She is simply the keeper of The Way, and this goes unquestioned by her followers.
Is she friend or foe? What is the Armorer’s identity and what are her motivations? If she has a dark past, does it matter today? What are her intentions regarding Din Djarin and Bo-Katan Kryze?
I will break down what we know of the Armorer and some popular theories regarding her origins.
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The Armorer leads the Children of the Watch –who are they?
First, let’s take it back to the beginning. When we are first introduced to the Armorer, she is shown as one of the many perpetually helmeted Mandalorians in Din Djarin’s ultraorthodox sect. She is the leader and creates the weapons for the tribe. These weapons have spiritual significance, and thus she is the spiritual leader as well.
The Mandalorian series is the first time we encounter the Children of the Watch. They’ve never appeared in Star Wars Rebels or The Clone Wars. Of course, they sound very much as if they are related to Death Watch. This was a Mandalorian terrorist group during the Clone Wars that fought against Duchess Satine Kryze’s pacifist reformation of Mandalore.
Bo-Katan Kryze, Satine’s sister, was once a member of Death Watch before that group split into two, and Maul led one faction (which would have the Super Commandos), and Bo-Katan led another. It’s a lot to go into, and I encourage you to read the linked Wookieepedia page in the previous paragraph or watch the Clone Wars for more information.
But I bring this up because most fans (myself included) suspect the Children of the Watch are literally just that. They are foundlings taken in by a faction of Death Watch.
Bo-Katan Kryze is aware of the Children of the Watch. But she was certainly not a member. The French subtitles for the episode in which Din Djarin is taken in by Mandalorians also calls them “the Heirs to Death Watch”.
This gives us a good picture of who the Children of the Watch are. They are foundlings and splinter members of Death Watch, and likely from those that were aligned with Pre Viszla and later Maul. Both those people are dead. But let’s not forget about Maul, because that matters in the next section.
Now, let’s think back to the Armorer. Unfortunately, we don’t get to hear too many voices of the other Mandalorians. But we can tell that Paz Viszla is of comparable age to Din Djarin. And that the Armorer is not a young woman, but most likely Bo-Katan’s age or a little older.
Theory: The Armorer likely created the Children of the Watch herself
Whatever her reasons, the Armorer most likely founded the Children of the Watch. But why? For one, many Mandalorians were eradicated by the Empire, regardless of their previous political affiliations.
But why does the Armorer insist on the sect wearing helmets at all times? After all, not even Death Watch in its original form believed in wearing helmets in front of everyone. Personally, I wonder if the Children of the Watch is truly a conservative form of Mandalorianism, and instead reactionary in nature.
In our real world, there have been many “traditional” sects or cults that broke off of other larger groups. These extra strict sects will claim heritage to a more traditional way, but in reality their rules are completely contemporary and even simply made up by a leader or leaders. They are not conserving an earlier form of their beliefs or culture, but creating newer, stricter ones in reaction to perceived or actual deleterious changes in their group.
Getting back to the fictional Children of the Watch, I think the Armorer insists on everyone wearing helmets as a way of keeping members safe from persecution, but she may also seek to hide her own identity.
If so, her reasons for keeping everyone helmeted may truly be beneficial for the others, but may be more self-serving towards herself. Remember that every rule mentioned by the Armorer is only supported by her.
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Theory: The Armorer is Rook Kast.
This is a popular theory among Star Wars fans, and I think it has legs. I don’t believe the Armorer’s identity is necessarily hers, nor is it required for the story. However, if she is not Rook Kast, I believe it likely she is at least someone else in Maul’s sect of Death Watch.
There are several reasons why the Armorer could be Rook Kast. Visually, there is a similar color palette in both the Armorer’s current clothing, and in Kast’s armorer as a younger woman with Maul. Most notably, the Armorer has small horns on her helmet, similar to her former Zabrak leader Maul.
If she is Rook Kast, or someone else who worked under Maul, this would give her the resources to hide the Mandalorian foundlings she would take in later.
Is she currently a villain? A heroine? Neither?
What does the Armorer want today? If she is Rook Kast, has her creation of the Children of the Watch borne of penitence for the loss of Mandalorians? Does she want revenge?
This is where her character gets tricky. The Armorer pointedly reveals little of her own self. I myself can see her character being both a flawed woman that simply wants the best for Mandalorians in the future, and I can see where she is manipulative.
Here’s what we can’t ignore.
She has encouraged the adoption of foundlings, and holds them as the greatest resource of the Mandalorians. She has truly accepted Grogu as one of their members. Din Djarin certainly finds guidance with the Children of the Watch, and purpose.
In season 3 episode 5, “The Pirate”, it can be read that the Armorer is being truly genuine in her desire to see other Mandalorians (ie, mainstream Mandalorians) as part of the same culture and not heretics.
She accepted Bo-Katan Kryze into the Children of the Watch easily enough. Even if the reason feels like empty rituals to the point of absurdity (Bo didn’t remove her helmet by sheer happenstance).
But it’s hard to ignore other matters with the Children of the Watch, when you consider the Armorer is the face and spiritual guide of the group.
- Din Djarin is strangely ignorant of some of the most basic aspects of Mandalorian history. He didn’t know who the Jedi were (despite being the reason Mandalorians created such powerful armor), nor did he know who Bo-Katan Kryze was. The Armorer knows exactly who these people are. Why have a group dedicated to maintaining “The Way”, but leave your members ignorant of its own culture? Yes, the Armorer tells him about these people, but the man is about 40 before he learns.
- The Armorer seemed quite dismissive of Bo’s story of the Mythosaur. But by next episode, she demands Bo-Katan Kryze take off her helmet before allowing her to rejoin the others. What changed for the Armorer? I’ve wondered if she simply wanted to prove to herself that the woman before her was indeed Bo-Katan Kryze. If so, could it have been to ensure this was the right woman to bring together the other Mandalorians? Or is this about revenge for events long past? If the Armorer is acting malevolently, she may be still angry at Bo-Katan Kryze for leaving Death Watch. She may be trying to pit Din and Bo against each other as well. But this is conjecture.
- The Armorer made Din an apostate for simply removing his helmet. Some fans pointed out that she gave him a way to atone. Well, sure. But the Armorer supposedly had no idea the planet Mandalore was habitable, and the mines able to be reached. Meaning, she sent him on a pointless journey.
I think it is highly possible that the Armorer means no harm. If she is Rook Kast or another of Maul’s former Super Commandos, she may have started her group as a form of atonement. She may well have forgiven Bo-Katan for leaving Death Watch and forming her own subgroup.
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But the writing of the series leaves us guessing as to the Armorer’s true motivations. I am personally 50/50 on whether she means to pit Din and Bo-Katan against each other as a way to ensure Din’s ascendance, or even Bo’s. Or she may truly and genuinely value the both of them and what they can do together. I think all the characters here seek the reunification of Mandalore. The question, as always, is whether their means to do so is for the best of all.
I think this season will likely reveal the Armorer’s true motivations and identity. We just learned that Mandalorians extracted Moff Gideon from his transport to his trial.
I don’t think the Children of the Watch are involved. But this conflict may force the Armorer to reveal past allegiances and where she stands today. My greatest hope is that Din Djarin will challenge the Armorer himself.
While the Children of the Watch are not shown to be a dangerous cult, there are aspects of their laws that don’t promote true family and community. It’s one thing to wear helmets around outsiders. But quite another to not even where helmets around your children or even lovers (like maybe Din and Bo at some point?)
We could all see the loneliness Bo-Katan felt eating at a fire shared with no one else. It was an honor with no value–what good is being warm at the fire with no family and friends to share it with?
Grogu is getting close to talking, and this season has made it a point to show Din saying Grogu’s lack of speech means he doesn’t need a helmet. I don’t think he wants his son to wear one.
Neither Bo-Katan, nor Din Djarin has truly challenged the Armorer. However it happens, this is when we’ll see what she really is.