5 Point Discussions – Record Of Grancrest War 8: “The Congress Dances”

by Sage Ashford

At last, the history of the two leaders of the rival nations is revealed.  And the Factory Union elects a new leader. 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. So last week, Archduke Alexis was accidentally attacked by some assassins of Pederico Rossini, an old-timey coffin designer who happens to be head of the country Theo hails from, Systina. After Theo pretty brazenly tells Rossini that he’s coming for the throne, Rossini sent some magically-controlled swordsmen to end Theo’s hopes of saving his country once and for all.
Unfortunately for him, Alexis and his royal guards happened to be there as well, along with Theo’s surprisingly useful werewolf maids.  In an unexpectedly gory battle, all of the assassins are brutally killed, but Rossini’s flag spell remains on them as proof of his actions.
Now last week, I said he’d probably go over to the Fantasy Alliance once being banished from the Union, but this episode we learn that’s not going to be an option for him.  In a unexpected twist, Marrine is actually deeply in love with her former fiance Alexis!
This creates a pretty cool wrinkle, as the natural assumption last week was Pederico would simply switch sides.  But with not much chance of that happening, the Rossini family has to be even more desperate to hold on to their lands.   With this series confirmed as two cour, there’s still time for Siluca and Theo’s strategizing to go awry, purely because they can’t control everyone’s actions.

2. Villar learns of the attempt made on Alexis’ life, as well as Alexis’ feelings for Marrine, from Theo and Siluca after he returns to his home.   From there, we go into a flashback of how the two met at school six years prior.
What I love about Grancrest is no one’s ever who they seem to be, but only in the most best of ways.  You expect the “lustful Earl” to be this creep who can’t keep his hands of all the young female mages he’s hired?  Nope, he’s completely respectful towards all his mages and honestly more terrified of getting close to women physically and emotionally than anything. You expect Alexis to be this suave pretty boy because all the women in the area fawn over him, but he’s a goofy idiot who gave his heart to Marrine years ago and hasn’t strayed even when their wedding got ruined and she abandoned him at the altar.  It keeps you guessing instead of letting the story be predictable.
Marrine meets Alexis while he’s staring at cobblestones in the middle of the road, and it’s love at first sight for him.  He immediately confesses but she writes it off, so he spends the next month or so writing her personalized love letters.  She ignores them for weeks, but finally decides to read one of them just so she can turn him down.  ….Of course, she winds up reading all of them because they’re so openly passionate, and she learns he plans to deliver flowers to her that night.  But looking outside, she sees something unexpected: an group of iridescent rocks arranged in the shape of a rose.
Given he was completely ignored this is just a little creepy, but the earnest effort and how he’s not really pushy or forcing her to answer him pushes it just far enough in the opposite direction to be endearing.

3. With Marrine touched by Alexis’ honest effort, she tries to visit one of the parties Alexis is known to frequent  She’s not there two seconds before we see how real creeps behave in this era: one noble forcefully tries to get her to dance, then gets violent when denied.  Alexis tries to convince him to stop, but gets punched instead.  Last episode made it obvious he’s nobody’s tough guy, so he passes out…but the last thing he sees is Marrine giving one of the most satisfying nut shots I’ve seen in months.
He wakes up at Marrine’s side, and it’s obvious she’s impressed by his…well-meaning intentions to do the right thing?  Alexis doesn’t seem to care they aren’t meant to be together, though even here Marrine believes things would only end in tragedy. We’d all assumed Marrine was the person who killed her and Alexis’ father, because she immediately pulled back from their union.  But that assumption was based on us falling for the “Ice Queen” stereotype.   In reality, she saw what happened and immediately realized whoever offed their parents don’t want them to be together.  If they tried again someone would just make another attempt on their lives.  She’s doing this to protect him, which lines up with their relationship this episode.

Really, Alexis wins Marrine over because he’s such a pure, idealistic, lovable idiot.  This episode sees him try to stop a guy from being too aggressive with Marrine, something no one else even attempted.  Then later, we see him teaching children to sing and giving them silver pieces because he thinks it’s the job of a sovereign to make their people happy.  Ashamed of her words and deeds, Marrine does a 180 and decides to become his Queen, which is what led to them nearly getting married at the start of the series.

4. In the present, we get to see the leaders of the Factory Union meet for the first time since the Archduke was killed.  As a whole, the group seems to agree Rossini has to be expelled from the group.
Afterwards, one of the Lords tries to have Villar suffer some manner of consequences for his actions in conquering Alliance territories.  In a brief, but rousing and impassioned political speech, Villar tells them all how much he loves the Union and the freedom it offers, and boldly tells all the people there he’ll defend anyone who chooses to join.
This speech also pushes Alexis over the edge, convincing him that Villar is actually the right choice to lead the Royals.   Villar declines, passing the power right back to Alexis, unwilling to fight his cousin.  But this also raises a legitimate complaint about Alexis.  For someone who claims to care so much about making his people happy, this is the second time he’s tried to foist his job on someone else.  Last week, he was so lovestruck he was willing to give all his power away to be with Marrine.  This week, he’s saying he’s too crappy a leader.  At some point, he’s going to need to sack up and live up to his role as Archduke of the Union if he’s going to make any properly effective changes.

5. Back with the Queen, we get another idea as to why she can’t just be with Alexis: her power base is a lot shakier than we would have believed before now.  We see her looking into why a specific country hasn’t formed an allegiance with hers, and are told it’s due to a lack of an “emotional connection”…whatever that means.  We presume they don’t think she’s equipped to run the Alliance…whether that means it’s because she’s a woman, or because she’s young, or that she’s too peaceful and once tried to ally with the Fantasy Alliance’s sworn enemies.
Either way, she’s trapped under the weight of her crown.  She can barely maintain control over what she has.  At the end of the episode, the Union agrees to attempt peace talks, but she declines and chooses to attack lands close to Villar’s instead.  It doesn’t seem like she wants to be the villain, but the story may not give her much choice.
Record of Grancrest War is available on Crunchyroll and Hulu.

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