August 12, 2022

“The final episodes of Requiem of the Rose King are dark and gritty. It is a tragic conclusion to the series and yet beautiful.”

Requiem of the Rose King has now come to an end with its second cour. Between war, deaths and betrayals, how does the series conclude?

LOVE

Richard and Henry Buckingham’s love story goes deeper, an attraction that goes stronger and stronger to the point that they see themselves as one person. Except Buckingham desires Richard for himself while Richard is consumed by his lust of power, which means he will always be more interested in the crown than in Buckingham. Richard is a complex character – because he needs Buckingham’s love, it gives him life but at the same time he needs the crown, he needs power.

But keeping the crown means he can never truly be with Buckingham. Because Buckingham wants him all for himself. Plus, they have to love each other in secret. And that destroys him, just like it destroys Buckingham. For Buckingham, it hits the point of no return.

Furthermore, both of his love interests are named Henry. In a way, that is Richard trying to continue his relationship with the original Henry, except, it is not the same relationship at all. Like I said before both relationships are extremely different. When Richard brings Buckingham to the old cottage where he spent a loving night with Henry illustrates that perfectly. He has two very different experiences there. With Buckingham, he tries to recreate what he lost with Henry, except it is not possible. Henry was a light in Richard’s life, Buckingham helped Richard accomplish his desires of power.

There are so many layers to that relationship. In a way, it is toxic because Buckingham helped Richard going further downhill and they both have different desires. But it is also a beautiful relationship. Because despite everything, they deeply love each other. They do need each other.

TRAGEDY

Whether, it is Henry or Buckingham, all of Richard’s love stories end in tragedy for different reasons. He can never truly be happy and this is so heartbreaking to witness. With Henry, he was too focused on power and revenge. But with Buckingham, he fell in love with a man who was enabling his lust of power. And in true Shakespearian tragedy, Richard’s relationship with Buckingham ends in an heartbreaking way. Episode 22 is an absolute tearjerker.

ARE TYRELL AND HENRY THE SAME PERSON ?

Tyrell, the assassin that Buckingham uses is more and more teased as being Henry who survived except he has lost his memories from his former life. It is quite obvious when the two look exactly alike. Tyrell wants to learn how to love because in this new life, he is just a killer devoid of love. Though, he can sense it is not who he truly is. So this is an interesting story as he is mixed up with Buckingham. Which ultimately leads back to Richard.

From the moment Richard finds out, he is more tormented than ever. The two share an emotional scene in the final episode. That scene shows him that yes, Henry is Tyrell. But the Henry we knew is gone. Without, Buckingham, Richard is lonely. It makes him realize that even if he needs power, he also needs someone to hold him, to be with him. He accepts to be Tyrell’s light but he ultimately chooses power over love. It is Richard’s curse. He cannot truly be happy because he will always choose power in the end.

ENEMIES IN THE SHADOWS

Despite, Richard’s rise to power, his enemies are still there plotting to get his crown. His reign can never truly be peaceful. On every level, Richard is facing challenges whether it is love or power. And he cannot do anything to avoid that. Whatever he does, there is also more troubles arising.

Though, the biggest trouble of Richard’s reign is Buckingham’s betrayal. Because it is a betrayal both to his heart and his crown. Moreover that betrayal helps Richmond revealing himself and enacting his plans of taking the crown. Thus, the war of the Roses starts again.

THE DOWNFALL

Since Richard has reached the top of the world by becoming king, the only way forward is down. And the final two episodes are all about his downfall. During the second cour, he has lost everything. Catesby is the only person that is left with him. It all started with him. It makes sense that he is the one by Richard’s side in the end.

And instead of choosing a path where Richard can survive, he chooses war, he chooses death. Death means he keeps his power until the very end. Because if he lives, he looses power and he cannot accept it. It is heartbreaking to see Richard loosing himself. As the audience, we have seen Richard be human at times and we know he can be human. Even though, we know it is not happening, we still root for him to redeem himself.

It makes sense that Richard’s final stance is on the battlefield. He dies the way he wants while holding power. There was no way this story could end well. It was a tragedy from the start and it ends as a tragedy. But maybe, Richard’s true redemption is in death. It is the only way he can truly find peace. So, I would argue that despite being a tragedy, I think this ending is Richard’s happy ending. Indeed, in death he is surrounded by all the people he loved and lost. He no longer has to care about power, he can just be with them forever.

VERDICT

Requiem of the Rose King has been a deeply moving ride with complex characters. It has been a great six months of storytelling. The final episodes are dark and gritty. It is a tragic conclusion to the series and yet beautiful.

Requiem of the Rose King is now streaming on Crunchyroll.

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