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The Dawn of the Witch Episode 9 Review – Best In Show

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The Dawn of the Witch Episode 9 Review – Quick Summary

In The Dawn of the Witch episode 9, “A Stone Cast Into the Pond”, Cervil felt shocked at the return of his memories. That is, he would liked to have felt shocked. But he felt nothing. His utter lack of emotional response bothered him. He turned to Holt for help. But will her feelings for him compromise any help she could offer? Meanwhile, an assassin goes after Coudeau. Has the Tyrant gone rogue already? Or is there another force at work in the village?

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

Favorite Quote from The Dawn of the Witch Episode 9

The Dawn of the Witch Episode 9: Roux has an endless supply of smug expressions

Roux has an endless supply of smug expressions. Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

This show has been giving us some realistic little character moments. Like in this episode, after the Tyrant had captured the young assassin sent by heretics in the church. The main characters stood around the bed discussing what to do with him.

In an effort to sound strong, that seeming like the thing to do with the Tyrant watching over all of them, Coudeau announced loudly that he wouldn’t feel sympathy for the assassin, even though he was just a kid. “He tried to stab not just me, but Professor Roux, too!” he said (13:57).

Come to think of it, maybe he was also posturing for Roux. Regardless, Roux decided to have some fun with him. 

“Thou dost have sympathy for him, right?” she said, flitting from one side to another as he tried to look away (14:16). “Very well! I am fond of compassion that overcomes even hatred! Here, I shall pat thee for it!”

It’s tough getting one past Roux.

Best in Show Moment for The Dawn of the Witch Episode 9

The Dawn of the Witch Episode 9: Cervil struggled to understand his own feelings

Cervil struggled to understand feelings. But commitment? That was something he could understand. Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

Setup: Romance Has Many Forms

Can someone explain why we haven’t met Lady Hearthful before now? She seems like a way less evil version of Alicia Crystella from How Not to Summon a Demon Lord. At least, I hope she’s less evil. The way this show likes to dabble in political intrigue, I guess it’s hard to say. But I like her character already!

For my favorite moment in this episode, I’m going to choose something that came this close to being amazing in how it could have broken stereotypes. As it is, it still came close, and it left the door open for a potential return to the idea. I’d better explain that, huh?

I don’t know about you, but I’ve often thought that the “traditional” idea of romantic feelings made an awful lot of assumptions. At least in western cultures, we seem to place a huge emphasis on the physical response to potential or actual romantic partners. That’s all fine and good, especially since that approach seems satisfying to the majority of folks. And it benefits propagation of the species.

Wow, is that a romantic phrase or what? And no, the IETF still hasn’t approved a sarcastic tag.

The Dawn of the Witch Episode 9: Holt experiences emotions in a way Cervil can't understand

Holt seems to understand the emotional aspects of romance very well. Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

But what about people who aren’t wired that way? Should we exclude people who don’t have that intense physical response from the idea of romance? Put another way, is a primarily physical or emotional response the only valid response?

The answer takes on new meaning as any given individual ages. Physical intensity wanes. So does raw emotional intensity. When those things fade, does it necessarily mean that romance is dead? Conversely, if those things were not present because an individual is not wired to support them, does that exclude them from romance?

Delivery: Can Cervil be Romantic?

Take Cervil’s conversation with Holt early in this episode, for example. Cervil’s emotions are suppressed, have been burned out, or were never present. Likely a combination of the first two explanations. The lack of emotion is starting to really bother him, especially since his memories are starting to come back. It bothered him so m uch that he bluntly asked her (01:11), “What is it like to have feelings for someone?”

Ignoring how flustered his question made her, especially when he mentioned causally that Roux told him Holt had feeling for him, he asked what it was like to have feelings for someone. She stammered, saying that it means the other was special. 

This is where I thought the show just might take an unusual and interesting approach. Cervil said, “You are special to me, Holt. Is this love?”

The Dawn of the Witch Episode 9: Holt doesn't think Cervil loves her

Holt didn’t think what Cervil experienced was love. I wonder how she can be so sure. Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

I’ve always maintained that among the variety of types of love, a dedication of will – an assertion that “I will be with you and I will protect you, no matter what” – can be a form of romance. That opinion seems to be in the minority, and that’s fine. But just for an instant, I thought this show might support that idea. It let me down a little when Holt said she didn’t think it was.

But that doesn’t mean the show has abandoned the discussion. And as far as I’m concerned, even bringing up the question made this my favorite moment in the episode.

What did you think of the political developments in this episode? What were your favorite moments? Feel free to let me know in the comments!

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