In Record of Grancrest War Episode 22, “The Holy Grail,” Emperor Theo Cornaro and his chief strategist, Siluca Meletes, learn that the Pope has declared them heretics and had enlisted many of the elderly and children to stand against his imperial army. Unwilling to slaughter innocents, Theo demands his advisors come up with another approach, and Priscilla offers one: she will meet with the pope to convince him to stand down. Theo reluctantly agrees. Was the timing of the pope’s moves a coincidence, or is there a connection to Pandora? Can even the holy Priscilla, accompanied by Siluca, Irvin, and Aishela, sway the pope and his guard? Or will this papal audience be fatal for our heroes?
Note: This post may include spoilers, so be cautious.
What’s In This Post
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3 Favorite Moments
By now, I think we all have a feel for Grancrest’s, shall we say, distinctive approach to plot and character. Namely, that the show thinks it’s perfectly okay to skip huge sections of action (like the battle between Theo and his forces, including his loyal mages, and the turncoat Artists and Mages in episode 21). According to that thinking, it’s just fine to throw entire new factions into the plot at the last minute, then have our characters deal with them as if they were a long-standing part of this world. It’s in that spirit, then, that I bring you my first favorite moment: Siluca supporting Pricilla’s idea to meet the pope (4:12) — even though it went diametrically against Theo’s wishes. We’ve briefly heard of the pope and the church, but we have almost no idea how they relate to society. But let’s put that aside and embrace the new enemy. The pope in this world is willing to sacrifice hundreds of thousands of people just to make Theo look like the bad guy. How do you fight that? The answer is that you don’t, at least not with an army. You use diplomacy that’s backed up with trickery. I like to think that Siluca saw the logic in Priscilla’s plan (instead of seeing an opportunity to get rid of a rival). I have to wonder, though, if her going against his wishes made Theo angry enough to seem to care more about Pricilla going into danger than his Queen? On the other hand, he did tell Siluca to be careful and asked about her broom (6:50), and he asked Irvin and Aishela to look after Pricilla and Siluca, so maybe he’s just being low key…
Have you ever played cards against someone who was really annoying when they thought they had a better hand than you did? And have you ever had the satisfaction of turning over your last card to show your hand was actually stronger than theirs? Isn’t their astonished expression is worthy of framing! We had such a moment in this episode, when the Sir Joseph (the red-scarfed attendant) called Siluca a liar — and in response, the hooded Pricilla threw back her mantle to reveal herself to the pope the the audience (8:57). In that instant, I think the pope knew he’d over played his hand. Pricilla’s not one to gloat, but I have to believe she and Siluca both felt some satisfaction at the pope’s astonished expression.
Details are cool. In the previous episode, we saw Pricilla heal Aishela. The cost was that Aishela lost the chaos that fueled her artistry, so her strength is now a mortal human’s. In this episode, we saw that she’s still more than capable of fighting, but it’s harder for her now. For example, instead of her spear evaporating her enemy’s mid-sections, it simply disembowels them — and sometimes gets stuck (13:38). So, she had to pause, brace her foot on the dying solider’s stomach, and dislodge her weapon. Poor woman! She has to work three times as hard to inflict half the damage! But — undaunted by adversity as she — she persevered. The fight she and Irvin waged might be the highlight of the whole episode!
Can anyone explain to me why popes in these kind of series are always, always drinking wine? Have they no beer in these kingdoms? Or, you know, tea or water? I know wine can be used as a symbol of decadence, but would it kill writers to try something a little unique or distinctive?
Some of you may know that I have a degree in theology (in one of the “traditional” branches of Christianity). Some of you who didn’t know that may now be pulling back from your screens in disgust. You may think that this episode gave a real good description of why we can’t trust organized religions, especially the major faiths in the world. You may point at the bloody wars, the constant onslaught against personal freedoms, and the attack against the rights of many minorities as your proofs that I’m a complete idiot for having gotten such a degree.
To the extent that you’ve formed your opinion of religions based on these observable and provable moments in history, I have only two things to say.
First: You’re absolutely effing right.
Second: The picture these events paint is incomplete. And this episode, in addition to giving us parallels from our history as a negative example, also included a positive example. I’ll call it the Ernest (Priscilla’s data) Maxim: “But my father, Earnest, founder of our Order, told us repeatedly that we mustn’t force our faith on others (10:08).
Most major faiths have this concept, but I can’t blame you for not hearing much about it. What’s funny is that the quotes are out in the open, but church leaders tend to downplay the importance. For example, there an obvious quote (John 13:34-35) that says, “ I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
According to Christian Scripture, Jesus Himself spoke these words. He should be the highest authority, right? Notice something about the quote? There’s no admonishment to perform certain acts. No specific doctrine to follow. Just the command to love one another.
Not a command to kill those who don’t believe. Not a demand to adhere to the authority of a human claiming to speak for God. Nor is there any indication of the form this love should take. And no, I don’t accept the arguments that this statement is in the context of the rest of Scripture. I mean, “I give you a new commandment” seems pretty clear to me!
In the context of Grancrest, Pricilla represented the idea that faith shouldn’t be controlled by humans. She saw no problem allying herself to someone who not only wasn’t in her order, but didn’t share her faith. She felt free to interpret’s Theo’s actions through the lens of her faith, but she also gave him latitude to make his own decisions, based on his experience and skill. In other words, she trusted him to do the right thing. That he used a different internal yardstick to measure what that meant didn’t bother her.
How much better off would we be if the major religions in our world took her approach? But no, they have to follow the path of the Mage Academy and the pope in Grancrest.
Talk about cliche…
What do you think? Saddened that I have a degree in theology? What were your favorite moments? Let me know in the comments!
Other Posts of Interest
Other Anime Sites
- Reddit Discussion of Grancrest Senki Episode 22
- I Drink and Watch Anime: A Record of Grancrest War Ep 22 – Concern
- 100 Word Anime: Record of Grancrest War Episode 22: So Now Theo’s The Enemy of the Church, Only Not Really?
This Site (Crow’s World of Anime!)
- Record of Grancrest War Episode 1: Contract
- Record of Grancrest War Episode 2: Ambition
- Record of Grancrest War Episode 3: Battle Flag
- Record of Grancrest War Episode 4: Decision
- Record of Grancrest War Episode 5: Forest of Eternal Darkness
- Record of Grancrest War Episode 6: March
- Record of Grancrest War Episode 7: The White Prince
- Record of Grancrest War Episode 8: The Congress Dances
- Record of Grancrest War Episode 9: The Black Princess
- Record of Grancrest War Episode 10: Blade of Betrayal
- Record of Grancrest War Episode 11: The Fall of Castle Unicorn
- Record of Grancrest War Episode 11.5: Reminiscence
- Record of Grancrest War Episode 12: A Treaty Formed
- Record of Grancrest War Episode 13: To the Homeland
- Record of Grancrest War Episode 14: The Liberator of Sistina
- Record of Grancrest War Episode 15: Return
- Record of Grancrest War Episode 16: Outpost
- Record of Grancrest War Episode 17: Two Heroes
- Record of Grancrest War Episode 18: Leader
- Record of Grancrest War Episode 19: The Awakening of a Noble
- Record of Grancrest War Episode 20: Pitched Battle of the Three Forces
- Record of Grancrest War Episode 21: Purge
- Record of Grancrest War Episode 23: Castle Walls
- Record of Grancrest War Episode 24: Grancrest
- Record of Grancrest War: Pandora’s Warning