Episode 12 – Requiem of the Rose King

We are now approaching the winter of our discontent, which means that this episode brings us out of Henry VI Part Three and in Richard III in terms of source material. That seems fitting for the end of the first part of the series, as it marks an emotional turning point for Richard. She recently realized that she loves Henry, only to discover that her love is, in fact, the man she blames for York’s death (even if it was actually Margaret), that Anne betrayed him, and that her Edward was in actually the prince. , all in almost the same breath. It’s a lot to handle even if you’re not as emotionally unstable as Richard after years of emotional abuse from his mother, and his abuser’s return to his life certainly won’t help him cope.

And so he resorts to violence, which has become his preferred method of coping with things he can’t really handle. We’ve seen evidence of that in early episodes; while Richard is more than capable of emotional manipulation and other forms of scheming, the Wars of the Roses have mostly offered him a bloody way out of his perceived helplessness. Even if he hadn’t experienced some sort of psychotic break after his father’s death (which is debatable), he’s not in a good mental health position, and when we saw him go through Prince Edward, it looked a lot like frustration. of his miserable situation simply overwhelmed him. He was lashing out in response to emotional pain, and that’s what he does again when he visits Henry in the Tower, when Henry starts repeating Cecily’s words about how cursed and evil Richard is and how the world will mourn the day of his birth. , Richard. I can’t handle it. Once again he’s listening to hate spewing out of a mouth that he should have spoken of love (and in this case he really did), and the only thing he can think of to do right now is just make it stop.

What makes this particularly horrifying is that kissing Richard and changing their relationship from (perception of) platonic to romantic is what causes Henry to start repeating Cecily in the first place. Henry was traumatized by the affair of his mother, Queen Catherine, who in Requiem of the King of Roses made her instead embrace as sexless a life as she could, believing it to be more pure and honest than an act that caused her mother to say such horrible things. But when she kisses Richard, she is forced to accept that he too has this lust inside of him, something she has been denying for a long time, and all that old trauma comes rushing back. His words are less an indictment of Richard and more an agony directed at himself for breaking his beliefs. Unfortunately for him, Richard has his own trauma, and hearing the man he loves repeat his mother’s imprecations is more than he can handle, especially right now.

However, it is worth remembering what Catesby told him before he forced his way into the Tower: that he had prepared a corpse to look like Henry. We see Richard stab Henry and Henry falls over, but we never specifically see Henry’s dead body, and when Anne is crying by the red rose-covered coffin in the woods, Richard is quick to tell her that it’s not Henry. Anne interprets that as Henry’s death shell, which made him “Henry”, having gone, but strictly speaking, that may not be what Richard means. Also, I could see the series playing on the fact that Henry VI was buried in Chertsey Abbey, but was later moved by Richard III to St. George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle as a means of supporting the potential idea that Henry was only he was almost dead.

In any case, the title of this episode tells the truth: the Richard we’ve met so far may well be dead, or at least on his way to die. Anne can help save what’s left of his kindness (even if she appears to be in the early stages of pregnancy), but right now that doesn’t seem so likely. Instead, she seems like she’s beginning to embody some of the last words she says to Henry in Henry VI Part Three: “And this word ‘love’, which the gray beards call divine,/ Be resident in men like the others/ And not in me: I am I alone”.

“I am myself alone.” Does that mean he’s nobody else but himself? Or that he feels lonely and friendless, adrift in an inhospitable world? Either one could be true. Time will tell which one it is.


Requiem of the King of Roses It is currently streaming on Funimation.