Skip to main content

SHOW ME THE LOVE: Warrior Bonding

Pamela Jaye Smith and Monty Hayes McMillan explain how to write, direct, and shoot believable warriors and relationships.

From the book SHOW ME THE LOVE! All Kinds of Love for All Kinds of Stories by Pamela Jaye Smith & Monty Hayes McMillan

Click to tweet this article to your friends and followers!

Got Love? Got enough Love? Got the right kind of Love?

No matter your genre or style, a good story needs some kind of Love to engage us emotionally.

Too often people think Love is just the romantic or sexual kind. But wait – there’s more.

Love of adventure, land, community, family, friends, warrior bonding, love of pets, love of learning, love of death and destruction, interspecies love, transformative chivalric love….

This series explores the Mythical and Psychological aspects of different types of love, plus suggestions for the Shining Moment, Cinematic Techniques, and Symbols.

Join us for a journey through many different kinds of love that can enrich your characters, compel your plots, and move your audience. Our articles have addressed Love of Adventure, Chivalric Love, Love for Animals, Interspecies Love, Best Friends Forever, Breaking Up, Love of Land and Country, and Love of Family.

This month’s article will look at “Warrior Bonding”.

SHOW ME THE LOVE: Warrior Bonding


“We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother; be he ne’er so vile,
This day shall gentle his condition;
And gentlemen in England now-a-bed
Shall think themselves accurs’d they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin’s day.”

Shakespeare’s Henry V - St Crispin’s Day Speech

Warrior bonding is a very special kind of Love. It only occurs between people who have faced great danger together, who have shared the fear, the sense of adventure, the fierce protectiveness of each other, the bewildering relief when the danger has passed, and the spectrum of returning home to a hero’s welcome or to not being appreciated by the very people they fought to save. It’s a heady mix and is bound to deeply affect your characters.

Round table knights and grail

Examples in Psychology

The heightened adrenalin of fight-or-flight situations creates deep impressions on the mind. The amygdala which processes fear affects many other parts of the brain; this effect can be seen in PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder).

Soldiers Omaha beach

Military training strips down individuality then creates teams. All you have in battle are those few soldiers right beside you. Some fellow warriors are people you might not like at all in regular life, but you are bonded by the necessity of collaboration for survival.

Shared intense experiences create strong common bonds that can last a lifetime.

Examples in Myth and Legend

Valkyrie with warrior on horse

The Arthurian cycle of myths centering on the Knights of the Round Table. Tennyson’s Idylls of the King is one of the best sources for these stories.

The Norse Valkyries were war goddesses bonded in their mission to pluck dying warriors from the battlefields and carry them lovingly up to Valhalla, the warrior heaven where they ate, drank, and partied for eternity.

Examples in History and Current Events

Alexander the Great inspired such strong loyalties among his soldiers that they followed him all the way from Macedonia to India and back.

We typically think of warrior bonding between males. But what about women and women? Or women and men? As our current day military begins to become more inclusive there will be more warrior bonding between men and women.

Warrior girls Kurds

Examples in Media

Spock and Kirk in Star Trek Into Darkness. Both of them defy regulations to save each other. The telling scene is when they place their hands against either side of the window of the radiation decompression chamber and hold a pure, loving look. Both now know they would always be there for each other, no matter what.

Battlestar Galactica has some of the best Warrior Love ever, on many levels between many characters. Babylon 5 is also rich with that special type of love.

Sharpe’s Rifles and Game of Thrones both feature Sean Bean and are both rich with Warrior Bonding.

In Zulu, a small group of British soldiers fights Zulu tribesmen in South Africa and a number of them survive, even winning the respect of their enemy for being such worthy opponents.


Swords, flags, crossed rifles, clasped hands

Key Element – The Shining Moment

Facing the battle, the fire, the villain and proceeding forward anyway. Not alone, but with the “band of brothers”. You could also add shared slogans and songs like bagpipes and marching chants, regimental songs, and such.

Zulu boys stick fight

Cinematic Techniques

Shooting from the deck in an up-angle to the group charging into the fray; this angle will increase the audience perception of your characters as being larger-than-life.

Or as in Henry V, Independence Day, and Patton, place the person giving the inspiring speech up higher than the others. And show the reverse angle of the troops looking up at the speaker. This posture and angle promotes the worshipful attitude in many of the soldiers towards their good leaders.

Alexander the Great


The Warrior Archetype has been weakened of late by fighting unwinnable wars, imperialist actions for extraction capitalism, and co-opting the term “warrior” for such ignoble causes as holiday shopping and business travel. Regardless, the Warrior Bonding can still occur.

When you write about Warrior Bonding you are touching upon one of the strongest emotions humans can experience. It is forged in the fires of danger and death, it is about loyalty, it is about sacrificing one’s self for the other and for the greater good.


Exercise #1 – Awareness

What is the strongest instance of Warrior Love you can name from myth, history, media, or real life?


Exercise #2 – Writing

Write an exchange of 5-6 lines of dialogue between a troubled warrior who cannot open up to a civilian loved one.

Re-write the scene with the troubled warrior opening up to a beloved fellow warrior.


© 2016 Pamela Jaye Smith & Monty Hayes McMillan

Pamela Jaye’s BOOKS & SEMINARS can be found at the Writers Store and on MYTHWORKS, where you can also learn more about her consulting, writing, and pitching services. Mythic ChallengesAlpha Babe Academy

Get more great advice from Pamela & Monty in their book
Show Me the Love