road-building

On war boy culture

War boys live to die. Military is the very core of their society. But war and violence are not its sole defining traits. It’s a society that also includes empathy, culture and arts.

It is impossible to maintain a culture devoid of empathy and meaningful human relationships. That’s why I think the short dialogues between the war boys are incredibly important to potray these relationships and to make the worldbuilding as a whole believable. For example the brief chat of the war boys when Furiosa decides to turn east, or when Nux wants Furiosa’s war boy to move out of the way so he does not accidentially kill him while attacking the Imperator.
War boys are no killer machines 24/7. Water and agriculture are two of the most important elements in the world of Mad Max. They might be called “war boys”, but their daily duties are much more boring than the adrenaline of war. Usually they deliver water, mother’s milk and produce. They are UPS guys delivering vegetables. Vegetables.

There must be oh so much boredom in a war boy’s life. Of course there would be bonding. Especially since they all know about their short life span and since their faith in Immortan Joe and the V8 connects them so strongly even beyond death.
Out of this boredom and inherent need of meaning originates a specific war boy culture not even Immortan Joe could predict, but surely uses for his purposes. The war boys developed an art form of scarification to praise the ancient engines using their bodies as canvas. They can repair, but not build engines from scratch - they must seem like timeless wonders to them. The steering wheels are decorated and customized just as the cars themselves. Nux wrote his name on the pedal of his car. Sure, dying for Immortan is his goal, but he nontheless has a sense of personal worth in the way that he thinks he deserves his glorious death to be witnessed. And he grants this right to his fellow war boys, too (He is no exception with this attitude, as the movie makes clear). War boys do not unnecessarily kill each other in order to achieve their goal, since this might rob a fellow war boy of his deserved chance to go to Valhalla.

There must be strong bonds between war boys and war pups, since the younger boys need mentorship of a kind. Imagine war pups listening to the stories of returning war boys after a feral hunt. Imagine how proud they would be, if they heard that they mentor died gloriously in battle and everyone there witnessed it. Imagine the wheel of his mentor was eventually handed down to him by merit. There is not much perspective in their short lives, so they would all the more cling to this. Nux’ biggest dream is to drive the war rig (after his death wish of course), not to change his miserable life.

Let’s hope we get more background information in the upcoming comic books.