Requiem of the Rose King: Richard and Henry Find Salvation in Each Other

WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Requiem of the Rose King, Episode 4, “I'm Afraid I'm Going to Lose the Answers I've Gotten and...Everything Else,” now streaming on Funimation.

Despite all the issues surrounding the production of Requiem of the Rose King, Episode 4 was much more compelling due to its focus on two characters. Richard and Henry are taken out of the politics of war and ensconced into their own isolated version of paradise, pulling them closer without either one realizing the other's true identity. Richard is no longer the boy seeking revenge for his father, and Henry is no longer the king who doesn't want any more blood to be shed. Their identities are stripped away, leaving two men who are vulnerable and feeling raw.

Episode 4 sees them find solace in each other. Richard, having lost his father only recently in Requiem of the Rose King, finds himself spiraling while Henry is seeking to escape from a life he never wanted. The two were feeling somewhat lost in their lives but have found something of themselves in each other.

requiem of the rose king henry embraces richard

The newly instated King Edward opted to take Richard with him when he went on secret romantic rendezvous to meet Elizabeth and, ironically, it gave Richard the chance to unintentionally have one of his own with Henry. Edward abandoned his pretense of being a shepherd and told Richard that he was a traveler who had been searching for him all this while. As a wanderer, Henry had nowhere to go and no home to speak of. For him, home was a person -- Richard -- rather than a place.

Richard initially dismissed it but after seeing how sincere he looked, he allowed Henry to stay with him back at his lodgings until the rain stopped. Being faced with Henry's unconditional love, Richard feels a bit wrong-footed. It's not a surprise; when Henry tells him he likes him for who he is, regardless of his identity, the latter is quick to doubt. Ever since he was born, Richard had been told he was a demon and a monster and that identity has been ingrained into him, affecting his views of himself. He doesn't think anyone will ever love him, and the one person who did is now dead.

As he spends more time with Henry, Richard's feelings grow more complicated. He wants to keep a distance between them for a few reasons. The first is that next to Henry, his awareness of his 'otherness' is exacerbated; the second is that he's afraid of losing Henry if he falls in love with him. He fears that once Henry knows who he is, he'll abandon him -- and Richard won't be able to take it. But his denial of his feelings is wearing thin, as shown in the scene where Henry speaks to him through the closed door. The shadowing effect of the two men also demonstrates the disparity with Henry's being white to symbolize purity, while Richard's is black to represent his emotional turmoil and internal hatred.

Realizing he and Henry were more alike than he thought, Richard allowed his barriers to break down and opened up his heart. He slept in the same bed as Henry, which was comforting as the two of them have always felt so alone.

The fairytale Edward tells Elizabeth about the fated lovers coincides with Richard and Henry's story. In Edward's tale, despite all the obstacles in their way, the young couple manage to find their way to each other time and again. Richard constantly wonders why he seems to cross paths with Henry, not yet knowing their fates are tightly intertwined. Not only have the two fallen in love, but Richard will now have to contend with the fact that this man is also his greatest enemy. But for now, the two can live happily in ignorance thanks to Requiem of the Rose King's fleeting moment of paradise.

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