「灯火の女神」 (Touka no Megami)
“The Goddess of the Divine Torch”
A MOUNTAIN TO CLIMB
A lot of Will’s pure heartedness and compassion shone through this episode–as well as the vestiges of his previous unhappy life. If you’ve read some of my previous posts, you might know I often speak about trauma stories and how these surface and affect thoughts, feelings and behaviors in our day-to-day lives. Such was the case with what happened this week. Before his reincarnation, Will lived as a severely depressed hikikomori. Since the first episode we’ve repeatedly seen a flash of his parents’ ashes in his hands. The ongoing software running at the back of his brain whispers of how he failed to do anything for them before they died, of how much of a burden his existence weighed on their shoulders.
How could the present situation be any different than back then? Mary, Blood and Gus will die and he has caused nothing but trouble in return. He’s done nothing. He is nothing but useless garbage, is what he tells himself. That’s one heavy emotional load to carry and unfortunately not unusual or unheard of. As a matter of fact, I’d say many of us have had these thoughts–or similar ones–about ourselves at some point.
“And you, Ring-bearer,’ she said, turning to Frodo. ‘I come to you last who are not last in my thoughts. For you I have prepared this.’ She held up a small crystal phial: it glittered as she moved it, and rays of white light sprang from her hand. ‘In this phial,’ she said, ‘is caught the light of Eärendil’s star, set amid the waters of my fountain. It will shine still brighter when night is about you. May it be a light to you in dark places, when all other lights go out. Remember Galadriel and her Mirror!’
– The Lady of Light Galadriel, The Two Towers by J. R. R. Tolkien
From an outsider’s perspective it’s easy to see how these judgements Will makes about himself are not true at all. But when we’re being emotionally drowned there hardly seems to be space for logic and rationality. Yet light can shine through even in the darkest of places. There is a reason why Will holds this belief so close to his heart, and it’s because he doesn’t want to repeat the same mistake again. He wants to be of service to his parents, he wants to give back to them and to live a meaningful life. Mary’s slap not only snaps him out of the darkness in his heart, it also makes him realize how this attachment was ironically steering him further away from his goal. Shutting off is not the way, self-hating won’t get him where he needs to be. If he wants to nurture a healthy relationship with his family and his environment, he must first have a healthy relationship with himself. Unshackling himself from his own prison, Will is able to stand tall and face Stagnate head on, even in the face of real death.
THE TEMPTATION OF WILL
There was never an ounce of fairness in Stagnate’s deals, not with Will nor with his parents. The god of the underworld has his own agenda: a stagnant world devoid of death entirely ruled by him. He’s nothing short of a megalomaniac tyrant, not too different from the High King—makes a lot of sense as to why he wanted to be rid of the guy. Not only was the demon king a threat to the life of the god(s), but also to his specific ambitions.
At first glance his offer sounds very tempting: a position of status and power, immortality and the protection of his family. But to accept this offer would be to go back to Will’s old patterns. To break a deal with Stagnate is to react to his fears. Our young paladin comes about the insight that to live right is to die right, thus swearing an oath of Gracefeel, the godddess of light–also the one who guided his soul to his new life and will guide him once more when he passes. Another much underrated and beautiful insight he shares is that it’s thanks to his memories from his past life that he is able to consciously live a meaningful life this time around. And while reincarnation in a fantastical land might not be on everyone’s itinerary, the possibility of change certainly is.
Full-length images: 36.