The Ancient Magus’ Bride Episode 11: A Lonely Heart and Secrets Long Hidden

Quick Summary

In The Ancient Magus’ Bride episode 11, “Lovers ever run before the clock,” Lindel continues telling Chise Hatori about how he took on Elias Ainsworth as his apprentice. Apparently, it was quite a surprise — for both of them! The tale includes a nearly-fatal run in with villagers who mistook Elias’ shadowy presence for evil and lashed out on Lindel. How do you think Elias reacted to their attack on his master? Hint: You’ve seen how protective Elias can be if the people in his life are threatened…

Note: This post may include spoilers, so be cautious.

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Quick Episode Summary
3 Favorite Moments
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3 Favorite Moments

Elias can be remarkably consistent. For example: he’s fiercely protective of the people in his life. Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

Do you have many pet peeves? I have more than my share, and a particularly strong one is mobs. I detest mobs! Fear in one sparks fear in others and builds until everyone’s acting on base instincts. That happened in this episode when a girl with the sight saw Elias in Lindel’s shadow (4:45). Within moments, the adults in the house had amplified her fear until they accused Lindel of intending to steal the sick child he was actually trying to heal. The two mages tried to escape, but someone in the mob threw a rock that struck Lindel’s head. He fell, bloody and dazed. Did Elias just stand aside and watch? No. Just as we saw him do in episode 7, Elias transformed, stood above the fallen Lindel, then turned to face the mob (5:38). He roared and attacked. I’m not sure if any of the mob would have survived had Elias not obeyed Lindel’s order to stop.

Hatori has come a long way to the point where she’s beginning to fashion her own destiny by carving her own wand. Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

Two things struck me about this scene: First, Elias already cared greatly about Lindel and was willing to protect him. Second, he respected Lindel’s authority as his master enough to halt his attack. The mob got off better than they deserved!

Seeing Hatori’s character grow and begin to assert more and more control over her life is one of the joys of watching this show. That’s why one of my favorite moments is Hatori beginning to carve her own wand (15:04). She’s sitting on a blanket, and she’s resting her back on Ruth, who’s curled up behind her. It’s a scene almost unimaginable to the Hatori at the beginning of the series. She’s not only taking control of her life, but she’s surrounded by people who love her for who she is. Quite a beautiful change of fortune!

Lindel’s spells can take the form of song — a very Tolkien-esque idea! Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

I can’t think of a show that has captured, well, the magic of magic with such beauty and grace. Near the end of this episode (17:30), Lindel tells Hatori that his “spells are songs,” and he then gives her an example. He begins a song that calls the elves, who had made the Land of Dragons, to dance in the moonlight as the moss flowers bloomed. The animation was fanciful and the song uplifting, but in typical Ancient Magus’ Bride tradition, it was more than just window dressing. It was important to the plot. As the elves asked a reluctant Hatori to dance, Lindel said, “Listen carefully to the sound, to the song, to the sound of the wind, to the wound of the water. Humanity still remembers the sounds that filled out bodies from long ago, before even language itself. Magic is the same way. Listen to what is around you, and offer out your hand.”


Elisa is beginning to realize the warmth that Hatori brings to his life. He’s even beginning to try to tell her about it! Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

“Home is a bit cold without you,” Elias says to Hatori through the water mirror (20:47). He struggled a little to get the words out because he’s so unfamiliar with his own feelings. That struggle, along with tidbits from Lindel’s story, drove home something that I think I knew, but hadn’t articulated: this story is as much about Elias growing up as it is about Hatori.

Hatori’s tragic childhood represented a more immediate trauma, so she deserved our attention first. But consider what we’ve learned about Elias in the last couple of episodes. He’s clearly an intellectual creature. He learns quickly. He’s dexterous. But as Lindel said, Elias see things as if he’s on the outside. He could mimic Lindel’s cooking preparations, but his meal was terrible — precisely because he mimicked and did not prepare the ingredients and cook from an understanding of cooking.

For Elias (and some of us!), feelings are hard. It takes a lot of work to put them into words, and even more work to share them! Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

Have you ever felt that way? Felt that you couldn’t really, really understand how the people around you felt as you interacted, so you tried to build a social protocol interface that mimicked it? If your answer’s no, please consider yourself fortunate! Such an interface is hard to maintain. For one thing, it’s exhausting. The sheer number of calculations and decisions you need to make in even a casual encounter is overwhelming. Second, you can’t predict when you’ll make a mistake. Folks get mad for seemingly no reason, and you’re left feeling confused and frustrated. I’m certain it’s not really “no reason.” It’s likely that they think I’m insincere since I’m speaking through an emotional translator rather than directly from the heart.* But the fact remains I really don’t understand the emotional nuances of most of the people around me even as I try to act otherwise. So I get where Elias in coming from.

What this means for the show is that not only do we have an amazing, well-developed, and sympathetic lead in Hatori. Her co-star is every bit as nuanced and interesting. It’s hard for most shows to field a single character with such characteristics. Unsurprisingly, The Ancient Magus’ Bride goes beyond and gives us two.

I have a feeling the show has even more amazing character lying in wait!

What do you think of Lindel’s revelations about Elias? Let me know what you think in the comments!

* Whatever “from the heart” means. That’s an emulated expression as well!

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