Spice and Wolf II – 5
It really is kind of amazing how people can take certain things for granted.
In this episode, Lawrence takes a huge leap in how he views Horo – or, rather, he takes a huge leap in recognizing how he views her. The natural love and affection Lawrence feels for Horo has been there for a long, long time. (You cannot flirt with someone for that long, and that naturally, without feeling something for that person, after all.) However, it is not until his conversations with Dian and Mark in this episode that Lawrence really quantifies his feelings for Horo. The realization hits him all at once: “Holy shit, I really love her!” (I’m paraphrasing here, haha.)
Even if Lawrence does get back into Horo’s good graces (which he undoubtedly will), this realization does bring along with it a whole truckload of problems. The very purpose of Lawrence and Horo’s journey, for one, is to get Horo back to her homeland. It could just be the language of the metaphor (not to mention the translation) that obscures the meaning, but Lawrence distinctly says, “. . . [A]fter rethinking its [the cargo/Horo's] value, delivery, and destination, I realized I absolutely cannot lose it.” (The emphasis is mine.) I wonder what Lawrence expected to happen once he and Horo arrived at the place Horo comes from? What would he have done if Horo wanted to stay there? Would he have stayed with her? Or would he have kept on going, regret buried deep in his heart? It’s a good thing Lawrence is realizing these feelings now, because it would have been a bit awkward for them to come up later.
(Amusing side note: I cannot imagine Horo would be very happy to hear herself referred to as “cargo” in Lawrence’s metaphor. It is clear to me that Lawrence means no real harm by it, since he is just using what he knows to explain his feelings, but hearing someone for whom you have great affection call you cargo is not exactly the most wonderful thing ever, haha.)
There is also the idea that is thrown out briefly in the middle of the episode and is then not expanded upon – Lawrence asks Dian if there are any stories about pagan gods and humans mating. Dian replies that those types of stories do exist. But here is the question: Do any of them end in a “happy” way? I cannot imagine many of them do. Good things do not often happen when gods and mortals mix. I’d wonder how exactly that could work, but then all sorts of weirdness would flash through mind, and it’s too early in the morning for that.
But, anyway, Lawrence feels weird things, and he goes about winning back Horo by executing a grand plan – he knows Amarty plans to make the money to buy Horo by selling enough Pyrite at just the right price to raise the proper funds. Lawrence conspires to buy enough Pyrite to sell it all off and drive down the price if it gets too high. However, Amarty throws a monkey wrench into Lawrence’s plans in two ways: One, by bringing Horo to the festivities, momentarily messing up Lawrence’s game and giving Amarty a boost of confidence. Two, Amarty completes a transaction with Lawrence by paying him in Lima gold coins rather than Trenni silver coins. Lawrence likely planned to use those coins to buy the Pyrite mentioned to him by Mark and Lanto . . . you know, the ones that the seller said he would sell if the transaction was done using Trenni silver coins.
That Amarty is a crafty man. He probably sniffed out out Lawrence’s plan and used the Lima gold coins as a countermeasure, using the excuse that they would be more convenient for Lawrence to carry. There is also the possibility that Amarty is the one who got to the alchemists’ Pyrite before Lawrence, although Dian seemed reasonably sure that she could get him a decent amount of the stuff. If you think about it, though, to a neutral observer, wouldn’t Amarty have at least a compelling reason as Lawrence to get his hands on that Pyrite? He believes he is fighting to release someone from cruel and unfair bondage, after all. But Dian seems craftier than both Amarty and Lawrence. A big part of Lawrence’s plan will hinge upon how she judges his character and is able to get that across to the other alchemists.
What makes me really suspicious is the minimal role Horo has had in the past two episodes. What has she been doing this whole time? What has she discussed with Amarty? Does she approve of his plan? Or is she secretly working to help Lawrence? Or, maybe, is she just acting as a neutral observer, since she does not really know who to support at this point? Really, I just cannot conceive of someone like Horo sitting back and doing nothing while the humans fight over her. She has something up her sleeve. I would not be surprised if she was working this from the background just to see how far Lawrence would go to get her back.
EDIT: Regarding those suspicions, I read an interesting thought just now. What if Horo is the one who visited Dian rather than Amarty? There could be something to that. She could be using the feathers as a sort of hint to Lawrence. The question there is where would she get the money to scoop up that Pyrite? I can’t remember if Lawrence gave her some fun funds, but even if he did, I don’t think it would be enough to my an amount of Pyrite that is of any significance.
Anyway, tl;dr, a very good episode here. I always like it when Lawrence shows real initiative and dives headlong into a plan. There is always this great tension with him, like, “Is this plan going to work? I really hope it’s going to work!” It really says something about how strong a character Lawrence is that the creators can give the most entertaining character in the series (Horo) a rest, and Lawrence can still carry the episodes and make them worthwhile. More of Lawrence visiting Dian at night, by the way. I love the atmosphere when those two have scenes together. I hope she does not disappear after this arc.