Theo and Siluca meet up with Queen Marrine and Siluca’s father. Will they be able to create some peace between the two sides, or is more war inevitable? Remember, if you like this article and 5 Point Discussions, please share it on Facebook or Twitter! It really helps. And if you’ve got any comments or questions, please hit me up @SageShinigami.
1. I don’t talk about it much, but Grancrest has a pretty shocking level of violence. Much like how the series doesn’t seem afraid to include sex or romance, it’s very much not afraid to get bloody. It doesn’t revel in it, but every fight scene inevitably includes at least one point where I wind up staring, mouth agape at what they let happen. That happened a lot this week, as Mirza continues to tear at Villar’s remaining army, but the biggest one happened when he beheaded someone and their head went flying into the battlefield while the chaos continued. He keeps finding the most vicious ways to go for killing people and I love it.
Sometimes shows this optimistic tend to glaze over the violence of war in favor of more idealized aspects of the medieval era, like the glory and honor of battle. In those cases, deaths either happen off screen or are cool and romantic, but this series is satisfyingly bloody and never shies away from how terrible war really is.
2. With Villar dead, but his country unwilling to simply be absorbed into Marrine’s faction, the remaining Lords of the land come up with the Altkirk Treaty. Signed by all the Lords, it’s basically a sign of their continued devotion to the Union. However, the group is forced to come up with a new leader. They suggest Villar’s brother Signe, but he declines because he wishes to reclaim his home. Thank goodness he passes, because he was a disastrous leader during the one episode we saw him in, and logically he’d just get everyone killed if he took over.
They pass things to Lassic, who immediately tries to pass it to Theo because he only got this far because of Theo to begin with. But the rest of the group turns him down because Theo’s part of the reason they’re in this mess to begin with. They bicker about it for a bit, but Theo eventually acknowledges he shouldn’t be in charge if people don’t trust him, deciding he’ll have to earn their trust.
The story’s heading towards Theo being in charge of everything, but it can’t just be given to him. Between his achievements and the trust he earned from Villar, Theo’s actually the only person in the room who deserves the spot, but if it happened so easily it wouldn’t have felt earned. Plus he also pays for the consequences of his and Siluca’s actions at the start of the series.
3. The key conflict of the episode actually isn’t on the battlefield, though. As Marrine decides Theo’s territory is the one she wants to reclaim before all the others. It puts Theo in a tight bind, but his reputation has preceded him and so he gets an audience with Marrine. The two of them agree to meet in a neutral spot along with their mages, and what follows is a surprisingly cordial discussion highlighting the inanity of war when juxtaposed against politicking.
For the first time since the series began Siluca gets to talk to her father as his daughter rather than as a mage working for “the other side”. They get an embrace that would almost be heartwarming if it weren’t for us knowing they were both planning to head to a battlefield later and try to kill one another. Then even once the summit begins, Marrine is rather polite as she realizes Theo is very much like her former lover, an idealistic man who would rather see her and Alexis reunite and bring a peaceful end to things. This conversation seems like filler, but it isn’t. When characters in series like this discuss politics, it’s tends to function as a big, flashing sign telling you how the tone of the series will develop going forward. Marrine is resigned to her fate as a dictator who’s going to bring an end to the era of Chaos, while Theo is resolute in saying there’s another way. And if you were curious as to how that goes…
4. Just as you were wondering how Theo and Siluca’s relationship was developing, we get this. As they’re leaving the summit, Theo pulls Siluca into a kiss in front of all his soldiers. There’s two things to note about this scene. For one, it’s showing Theo’s growth in terms of understanding both the battlefield and politics. He’s aware of Marrine’s history with Alexis, and after a conversation with her he does something to cause his troops to start cheering about the love he and Siluca share. It pisses Marrine off because it reminds her of the past, and where she (arguably) went wrong in her life when she chose to run from Alexis rather than stay and fight with him. This is a bit of a dick move, but it also motivates his soldiers–they see Theo and Siluca as real people who care about each other, and they want to fight even harder. Guess even people in fantasy medieval periods are willing to die to protect their ships.
Secondly, when a series starts having scores of people promising to “fight for the sake of love”, you know you’re in an optimistic world. Sure, not everything’s going to be easy–but at this point it’s safe to say Theo won’t be getting a blade shoved through his trachea and dying choking on his own blood while he watches Mirza murder his one true love. We’ve seen some dark stuff, but this series isn’t cynical enough to tell the “war destroys everything, humans are monsters, why bother trying” story some narratives shoot for.
5. Unexpectedly, we back off from the Theo/Marrine battle–as it turns out, Marrine gets attacked by some forces from a different portion of the Union. Unwilling to be attacked from two ends, she decides against attacking Theo. This gives him the opportunity to take care of the goal he’s been working towards since episode one: reclaiming Sistina. Siluca points out that in so doing he can impress the rest of the Altkirk Treaty members, and gain a crest powerful enough to match up against Marrine.
It feels weird that somehow the main character’s primary quest has become a side mission…but saving your home country isn’t as big as saving your entire continent, I guess. Though avoiding the Marrine/Theo fight now feels convenient, it doesn’t seem like things are going to be easy–Theo’s invading with a force about a third the size of the one he needs. But in his favor, we get a glimpse of the land of Sistina and the royals there are almost comically evil. It shouldn’t be hard to convince the people to rise up against their lords and take back their nation.
Record of Grancrest War is available on Crunchyroll and Hulu.