Monday, August 27, 2012

Tropes & Myths: Royals

What do we know? (updated 3x03)
Well, at the moment, we know a considerable amount more about Sean Renard than we used to. We know that he is a titular Prince at least, by virtue of being the son of either a Prince in direct line from the throne or the King himself. What exactly his official titles might be or what his father is Prince or King of, we don't know. We know that he's half-Hexen from the showrunners themselves, and that he was raised up to a point Europe, schooled in Switzerland, then dragged off to the US by his mother at a young age to avoid a potentially lethal scandal. While he eventually ended up in Portland, their destination at the time was referred to as "the farther reaches of the Louisiana Purchase" by Eric, of which Oregon was never a part. We have seen the Louisiana Purchase mentioned once before as connected to the metaplot, in the context of Aunt Marie's Montana license plate. Other than that, all we have is speculation, which appears below. We know that Renard is considerably monied judging by his places of residence. We know that he's descended at least from Eric's line by his father and most likely from some line involving Italy from either parent going by his comment about the painting (Island of Dreams, 1x15), which is 16th century and Italian. We know that his family on one side or both lost a great deal of power in a revolution, but contrary to common belief we do not know which revolution. There were a number of revolutions around the late 17th and through the 18th century in a number of different countries. We can extrapolate that he is still connected via his mother to some sort of Royal family influence because he knew Wolsey since he was a young man (Love Sick, 1x17) and at the very least he seems to have kept in sporadic contact with him. We know that he wears a wedding ring, We know that he wears a ring similar to a wedding ring but that apparently is not actually a wedding band, which gives rise to all sorts of questions about exactly what the hell it really is. We know that there is photographic evidence in his home of a significant woman in his life and a little girl, but no indication that either are currently present in his life. We know that despite the marriage relationship whether widowed (he could still be married, I suppose?) or separated he is comfortable sleeping with Mia Gaudot, although both rings are removed for the lovemaking scene. We know that he has also had a previous relationship with Catherine Schade, though the exact timeline of his marriage relationship and child in relation to his prior relationships with Mia and Catherine is unknown. He speaks French, German, Latin, English, Russian, and he still commands at least a small network of retainers or workers. We have learned that this network includes at least three people over in Europe (the Parisian, Gustavo, Duvall), two of whom are reported dead by the Parisian (whose name we later learned was Jacques) and one of whom was death-from-aboved on camera. Poor Parisian (Season of the Hexenbiest, 2x12). It is implied though never outright stated that the European associates are/were closer to his equals rather than being retainers. We have also learned (Nameless 2x16) that this network and its origins and goals are in alignment with the Resistance, but not a part of it. Here he refers to needing them "at least until we don't" and implies that their goals are similar: to prevent the accumulation of power by the Royal Families who want a return to imperialistic power. We have also learned that there is at least one other player named Meisner who causes some unease, but no word on who that is, where his allegiances lie (but we do know he is referred to by the male pronoun), or what his goals are. We now know (as of PTZD) that Meisner wears no Royal ring but that he is indeed capable of carrying out an assassination either personally or by hiring local assassins; also that he and Renard use the formal Sie when speaking to each other in German - and not French, as all of the Royal-to-Royal conversations have thus far been. We also know, as far as the man himself goes, that Renard considers what his brother did to his people, his city, or both in attempting to prise Burkhardt/the key out of Portland grounds for an assassination order.

As of this writing (Endangered 2x19) we know very little about Eric RenardWe know that he is a Prince in direct line of succession (to what we don't know; there may be multiple thrones involved), and at the very least he believes himself to have/have had a chance at securing his own throne. We know that he is pure blooded (pure WHAT remains an open question) and that although he is currently unmarried, he has had at least one two blonde female lovers, one of whom is Adalind who may now be pregnant with his child. We know that he takes betrayal poorly and rates it worse than torture or murder on the scale of transgressions. We know that keeps in contact with his Zauber half-brother, enough at least that they're aware of each others' phone numbers. He lives in a castle. He maintains a holding company/shell company/shipping company out of Rotterdam, and that's about it. Speaks German, French, English. (The Other Side, Over My Dead Body, The Kiss, Bad Teeth). By the time he died (PTZD 3x02) we'd learned a little bit more about him, in no small part from his obituary. We know that he was the Crown Prince of the Kronenburg family, which in no way explains the visible lack of wife and heir. We know that he considered controlling Nick Burkhardt and/or the key in his possession of such paramount importance that he was willing to supervise the proceedings in person and throw an entire city into chaos, engaging in an alliance with a Wesen to do so though there is a non-zero chance he planned to eliminate the Baron subsequent to the acquisition of his pet zombi Grimm. He extended an invitation to his half-brother to come back to Vienna and rejoin the family politics properly, taking up whatever he considered Sean's place to be (likely a subordinate/consigliere position), though the sincerity of that offer was in grave doubt.

Alas, poor Anton Krug, we knew him not very well and cared not a bit to know him further. For him, we know that he was a cousin to the brothers Renard, no inkling on which side. If it's father's, Wolsey was the Renards' retainer as well as the Krugs' and the Renards kept tacitly in touch with Sean's mother, if it was Sean's mother the Krugs aren't related to the Renards much at all. He has a German-speaking paternal family, from Zurich or at least near enough (or has business interests there) that he flew out of Zurich. We can guess he is/was likely considered expendable. Speaks German, French, English. (Love Sick)

As for the mysterious Mia Gaudot, we know that she is unmarried and has enough power within the Families to negotiate terms for them unaccompanied by any male member of her family. We know she is un-ringed, but not the meaning of that. We know she is a former lover of Sean Renard. That she has or is building connections to the Dragon's tongue. She speaks English and most likely Japanese. (Over My Dead Body)

Renard's canary is another one we know little to nothing about. We know that he's a royal, he has a ring. And access to Interpol databases. We know that he speaks French and English, that he considers himself allied with Renard in some endeavor that runs counter to at least one Royal Family's interests, and that he has reason to want to help Renard protect Nick or the key or both. We can infer from his reactions to proximate violence that he is unused to it. Most of all that isn't very helpful, though. We can add to that that he knows Meisner and has a more direct or more secure or both connection with him. He was the one to pass along the kill order on Eric Renard, and appeared more subordinate to Renard in that conversation than in any interaction previous. (Quill, The Good Shepherd, Nameless, The Ungrateful Dead) As of 3x03 we do have a name for him, though! Sebastien, who also seems to have upped his clandestine abilities and/or brushed off an old set of skills. We're not sure which, as yet.

We know that Papa Renard exists via a phone call to Eric Renard, though nothing beyond that, not even what he sounds like. Given the obituary in PTZD, we are clearly meant to infer that he's the king of the Kronenberg family, though it's possible that's a deliberate red herring.

We know that Renard's mother exists and that she is pleased by Eric Renard's death and believes (rightly) that her son was responsible. Also that she wants to talk to him in the future, with an implication that this will be an in-person conversation. Based on Renard's reaction to the phone call, we may safely assume that she's been out of contact with him for quite some time. (PTZD)

As for Royals in general, we know a little more. Most of them have rings, or at least all the men do, some sort of silver signet ring. We know that they employed Grimms starting from some point in the past going at least as far back as the second Crusade, (no data available on what the terms of this employment were or how and when this changed, though in Cat & Mouse Ian referred to some change that sounded recent as compared to an 800-year history, so 'recent' could be highly relative) and had a relationship with the Verrat. We have heard that they formed the Verrat in 1945, but considering we also have evidence for the Verrat having existed in 1936 it remains to be seen whether or not this is accurate. We know that they are diminished in power and that at least part of that diminishing coincided with a historically documented revolution. We know they participated in the Crusades or at least the Second and Third Crusades, they employed knights, and were pissed off when the knights didn't hand over the ultimate weapon to them. (Bad Teeth/The Kiss/One Angry Fuchsbau)

What can we safely assume?
The safest assumption we can make about the Royal Families is that, with very small exceptions, everyone is backstabbing everyone else. Certainly all of the power players are. Mia has her own agenda and is backstabbing Renard, Eric is backstabbing Renard and most likely his father, Renard gives no fucks for what the rest of the Families want and is playing everyone else off of each other, etc. This is a safe assumption for two reasons. One, because we've never seen any member of the Royal Families treat an alliance between themselves and any other member with anything other than caution at best and outright disdain at worst. And two, because manipulative and darkly conspiring Royal Families in fiction are nearly always backstabbing each other, and only slightly less so in actual history. When it comes to power grabs and stepping on other people's heads and hands to get higher up on the ladder, everyone is fair game. Everyone.

The second safest assumption we can make is how the line of inheritance goes. We've seen four male Royals at this point, and one woman who we assume is a Royal but we lack outright proof of that. Mia might be a mistress, for all the information we have, though given the amount of power she wields (negotiating with a Japanese Foreign Minister by herself) it seems unlikely. Therefore, traditional European firstborn male inheritance is safest, with the standard heir-and-spare attitude toward producing sons. There may even, given Eric's story about the circumstances of Renard's birth, be a system in place for legitimizing bastard sons who aren't half-Zauberbiest into the line of succession. Basically, the more sons, the more virile, the more your power is secured in case the eldest son dies, the second son dies, and the third son burns down falls over and then sinks into the swamp. (Excepting, of course, your sons backstabbing each other and then you in order to get to the throne. If you've ever seen Lion in Winter, you know exactly the tropes we're talking about here.) This puts the Royals in the position of upholding agnatic/patrilineal primogeniture along with Salic law, which should be just fascinating if we ever hear anything else about women in the Royal Families.

This is safe for several reasons: one, they're playing off traditional European royalty already, particularly leaning on French and English history in their visuals and their politics. Two, we've seen four men and one woman holding any kind of status within the Families, and Mia wore no signet ring indicating her lineage or status. Which means either she's not a Royal or her lineage doesn't count in some way. Considering even Renard the half-Zauber bastard has a ring, we have to assume that this is because she's a woman. Three, there are at least two Renard sons and, again, it's implied in Eric's story about his brother that Sean might have been in the line of succession (and thus the spare) had his mother not been discovered to be a Hexenbiest. Bastards can inherit, in both historical and fictional royal tropes, but it's generally preferred that they not be halfbreeds, in whatever form of prejudice a universe takes. (Usually commoners, which says some interesting things about Hexenbiests' actual place as relates to Royals.) Now, with the greatest power and status being reserved for pure-blooded eldest males of their generation and immediate family, that leaves a lot of members left over to jockey for power, backstab, plot, and otherwise attempt to secure their position or claw their way up from what they see as lesser status. See above about everyone backstabbing everyone else.

History of European Royal Dynasties in a nutshell:
Because they're pulling on so many traditional European monarchy tropes, and because they've already tied in show mythology with historical persons and events, we can further assume that at some point this will tie back into a number of historical bloodlines, including but not limited to: the Carolingians/Merovingians/Bourbons, the Plantagenets followed by the Lancaster/Yorks and the Tudor/Stuarts, the Hapsburgs, and/or the Medicis. The Carolingians dated from the mid to late 7th century CE and going all the way through to the 11th, most famous for Charlemagne who we fully expect to be mentioned at some point, and containing a lot of Charles's and Louis's. ETA: As of Natural Born Wesen 2x14 we have a Charlemagne connection! Charlemagne has not been directly mentioned but there was mention of a council happening in Schwaben/Swabia (a region in Germany) where Charlemagne is from. As of Endangered 12x19 we also have indications that the map on the key is of ancient/older Swabia, indicating that the treasure is there. This is also a fairly specific, nominally obscure, and geographically small spit of land to set a Grimm-politically important Council at let alone a world-breaking treasure, which gives us more conviction that one or more of the significant bloodlines, possibly Charlemagne, is going to pop up at some point. means our credulity in this particular coincidence is non-zero but not very far above that. Related to the Carolingians are the Merovingians, who aren't much used in fiction at all and are most famous for being represented by a smarmy program in the Matrix played by a Frenchman. The Plantagenets overlap that, roughly, as the ruling dynasty of England and are most famous in fiction for Richard the Lionhearted, not that you'd know it because he's always called Richard the Lionhearted. Close behind him is Eleanor of Aquitaine for notoriety. Other Plantagenets who were powerful and historically significant who might show up (considering Grimm doesn't seem to restrict itself to the commonly used historical figures) are Geoffrey and Mathilda, Henry II, John the Pustule (seriously, his elder brother Richard called him that, there are records), and so on through a couple of Edwards, the Black Prince and Longshanks. Now, we'll pause here in this very very brief encapsulation of monarchical history of Europe to note that Grimm has been staying the hell out of Great Britain's monarchy line, one might say, conspicuously. For all that they've referenced the Crusades, the great boil-up of Revolutions in the 18th century, most of the Axis countries in World War II, and Royal Families controlling the world in general, they've been staying remarkably out of British politics and the British monarchy. Which, considering Britain and France swapped territories like horny teenagers swap spit for centuries, is no mean feat. I'm just saying, it makes us wonder what they're up to.

So. The Plantagenets are followed by the War of the Roses, the houses of Lancaster and York going at each other's throats, followed by the Tudors and the Stuarts going at each other with only slightly less venom and more religion. And that is largely contained within Great Britain, albeit with consequences elsewhere due to alliances and the supplying of troops and resources. Back on mainland Europe you also have the Hapsburgs from the mid-16th century roughly to the early 20th century CE. The capital of which, I note for you all, was Vienna for most of the period of their rule. They ruled a good chunk of Europe in that time, including modern day Italy and Spain, two other countries we know have been namedropped in Grimm's historical records! Note that we're discussing the Hapsburg dynasty, here, not the Austro-Hungarian Empire or the Holy Roman empire; since we're dealing with the Royal Families here, we're concerning ourselves with bloodlines. Finally, we also have the Medicis, who were in power from the 15th century to the 18th. While the Medicis never wielded the kind of direct political power that other families did, they married into a number of families and produced a truly ludicrous number of religious heads including Cardinals and Popes of the Catholic Church.

Hey, speaking of the Catholic Church. We're going to bore you with some more history here, because traditionally monarchy and religion were tightly bound together. Specifically, Western European monarchy and Catholicism. After the First Crusade (hey, remember the Crusades? because we do) Christianity began to split into the Eastern Orthodox churches and what became Catholicism, and around that point and after it became strictly intertwined with the right of a monarch to rule. Divine right of kings, and all that. This lasted until some jerk (Martin Luther) nailed a piece of paper (the Ninety Five Theses) to a door, sparking the Protestant Reformation and splitting the Christian population again into the Catholic Church and the Protestant Church. We should also note, while we're on the subject, that the year in which the Wesen Code of Swabia happened was the same year in which the (most significant) Diet of Worms happened, chiefly remembered for the denunciation of said Martin Luther. The political damage was finally mended with the Treaty of Westphalia, but it did redraw the Western European political map pretty thoroughly. And as simplistic as this renders several hundred years of history, we've already touched on events relating to the Catholic-Orthodoxy split with the Second Crusade. We've seen our dear Prince step into a confessional in a Catholic church and use some very ritualistic words to call on a priest to carry out his sentence on one of his subjects. We feel pretty confident in saying that this is going to be a Thing, even if only in terms of historical events leading up to the current power dynamic.

What can we guess?

This goes by character, because it's the easiest way of sorting it. We can guess that Renard's mother may have had something to do with Nick's parents' deaths. Renard knows Aunt Marie had the key, he apparently learned that either before or around the time Nick showed up in Portland, and he had to have found out about that somehow, and it's looking increasingly likely that he's better informed on the history of that particular key than anyone in his Family. That bit about the farther reaches of the Louisiana Purchase dovetails with where Aunt Marie ended up, going by her license plate. And there's also some time overlap with him having known Wolsey for nearly twenty years, and Nick's parents being killed nearly twenty years ago. Wolsey would likely have been a young man at that point, depending on his actual age at the time of his murder, and given that he seems to be a bodyguard/enforcer type it's not unreasonable to assume he might have been asked to put a couple of Grimms who had both three Coins of Zakynthos and one of the seven keys into the line of enemy fire.

We can also guess that Renard's mother, and probably his wife lover and daughter are dead. We can mostly guess this by their absence; Renard's mother is obviously nowhere in his life even in pictures, and Renard clearly has an idea of how involved mothers should be in their children's lives, even adult children. (See: "What makes you think I'd know [where Adalind is]" "You're her MOTHER." Bad Teeth, 2x01) As far as his wife and daughter, there is no sign of anyone living with him or anyone present in his personal life, toothbrushes aside. It would be clearly very dangerous for him to have a minor child dependent on him, and he feels comfortable enough in his relationship status to sleep with a woman who is not his wife lover. While no, this is not necessarily an indication of him being either separated or widowed, and given the Catholic attitude towards divorce I'd say widowed, his personality and sense of integrity doesn't seem to allow for having an affair with Mia while he has a living spouse whom he considers himself still married to. Which he seems to, since he still wears the wedding ring. We now know that the non-signet ring on his left hand is not a wedding band, which is significant for several reasons, the first of which being that there aren't many things visible in popular culture that look like a wedding band. The other significant thing relevant to this post is that there are one or two pictures around in his house of an adult woman, and that child came from somewhere. It's theoretically possible that the girl is Renard's niece rather than his daughter, which would explain the comment about betrayal as well as why she's not around, but at the moment the stronger signs are that she's his daughter, and we have no proof one way or another. And all of that said, his personality and sense of integrity also don't seem to allow for him having a relationship with a woman, having a child with her, and subsequently shutting them both out of his life for anything less than a damn good life-or-death reason. Even if he and the woman did fall out of love, it's likely there would be some present sign of the child in his life.

I would hazard a guess that Renard's mother and Catherine were friends. Catherine found out that he's not entirely human from somewhere, and Adalind didn't seem to know. She's also clearly older than Renard, may have at first exercised authority/influence/power over him due to greater experience? It is, of course, also possible that Renard told Catherine himself, but between his iron control and his reluctance to trust anyone, I don't consider that likely. There's a rumor going around that Frau Pech is Renard's mother, but I also don't consider that likely. The chief evidence for Frau Pech being Renard's mother is that she's the one Adalind called, she has information about the players involved and specifically the brothers Renard, and she's very clearly Hexen, none of which is probative any which way. Evidence against it is her non-involvement in Renard's life as far as we can tell, see above, as well as it being an odd thing not to come out in the meeting discussing Renard's potential child. We know his mother loved him enough to pull him out of school and disappear with him elsewhere, when she could just as easily have left him there; it's not likely that she wouldn't react to someone turning up with his child. Thematically, there is evidence for Renard's mother being alive and unknown to Renard, since Renard is being set up as Nick's dark mirror and Nick's mother was very much alive, and if that's the case, conservation of characters would indicate that she knows or is Frau Pech. But which if any part of that is true, we don't know. Now that we know that his mother is alive as of post-dismembering Frau Pech (PTZD), it's safe to say that our initial assertion that she isn't Frau Pech was correct. And given Renard's astonishment at hearing from her, we can keep running with this dark mirrors/parallels theme all the way to Siberia. We can't rule out her knowing Frau Pech or Stefania or any of the other Hexenbiests we've seen on screen, but we can't conclusively prove it, either, especially since she's been in hiding from her own son. (Despite that, she doesn't appear to have faked her own death, so she has a leg up on Kelly there.) He was extremely formal with her, indicating a strained or highly formal relationship, but didn't appear scared of her (to our eyes), so they may have a distant but cordial relationship, which would roughly fit with our expectations. However, her resurgence in his life and indications that she's getting back in the political/royal ring, pun intended, does scare him, possibly because he's putting pieces together about what this means relative to the power vacuum he just created.

We can also guess that Renard's mother has ties to Italy and/or Russia. We have no other likely source for the Florence coat of arms, Waltz's reference to that city, or for Renard speaking Russian. More accurately, we have seen no ties on Eric's side of the family that would indicate these things come through their father.

It seems as though Renard was raised with his siblings as a young child. Eric speaks very casually of his father's mistresses (heh, plural), Renard's private Swiss school,  and has a clear memory or impression of Renard's mother's flight. Too, he almost always refers to Renard as his brother, only once adding the "half-" and at that, possibly to see if Adalind was paying attention. Renard likely also still keeps in contact with Eric, since Mia believed that Eric's terms might be enticing enough for Renard to at least consider coming back to the Families and Renard's comment of "we always find a way to work things out."  Which is somewhat ominous but also speaks to an uneasy truce if not friendship between the two of them. Finally, we have the surprise with which Eric takes Renard's rejection of his terms, indicating that he believed he knew his brother well enough to predict his actions, and that Renard's actions would be favorable to Eric in the end. By all of this, we can also guess that Renard makes regular trips to Europe and some place he might consider home within Europe, if only once a year or so.

More recently, we've established that Renard has a decent network of contacts, some of whom are retainers/employees and his subordinates, some of whom seem to be his equals at least in intelligence and capability if not in rank within the Families. Given this, it seems plausible that he's working with or at least parallel to the Lauffeuer in some way, though why and to what purpose are still unanswered. We've now had it confirmed that he and his coterie are working with the Resistance (which presumably is the Lauffeuer's more common/more used by Royals name) but keeping themselves separate from them, at least within their point of view and most likely within any oaths that might be made. The only stated goal we have for him personally and his coterie by extension is an end to the Families' schemes to return to imperialistic power and overthrow democracy. He doesn't seem to care about the key for the power it represents so much as in order to keep it out of his brother's hands. Unfortunately, all his named contacts in Europe are dead (as far as we know), we're still not entirely certain of the canary's loyalty (being the only survivor after a number of deaths in your conspiracy cell is highly fucking suspicious), and if that was a cell of conspirators, Renard is now completely very nearly alone in his efforts to prevent Eric from world domination/whatever it is he's really doing. If the canary is a spy, he's well placed and there's now been an attempt on his or Renard's life that was just competent enough to make it seem as though he hasn't been excluded from the death or near-death experiences, and just incompetent enough to leave them alive. And while right now there's no evidence one way or another on where the canary's true loyalties lie, let's just say that if he turns his coat it won't exactly come as a surprise to us. Hopefully not to Renard, either. With recent evidence we can guess that the canary is merely incompetent at fieldwork and spycraft and is placed where he is for his access to resources and information, though we will still remain unsurprised if he turns coat either because Renard pushes him for too much (has pushed, maybe, with ordering Eric's assassination) or because someone learns his current loyalties and coerces him into it. We have also met Meisner, who seems to be, for lack of any better term, a loose cannon. And a very dangerous ally for Renard to be courting, though Renard seems highly aware of that fact. We will not be in the least surprised to see those two crossing swords in the future. Meisner's interests most likely coincide with the family group Renard referenced; however, without knowing what that is we cannot with certainty state the likelihood of initiating hostilities.

The biggest theory we have regarding Eric is that he may be lining up the Royals to overthrow their father and eventually secure world domination for himself. I would add 'and his family' but I'm not entirely sure this isn't a just him thing. Starting with the fact that Eric has terms, according to Mia, distinguishable from the everyone else in the Families' or the Renard Family's terms. Eric's give-no-fucks attitude belies a clear intellect and some as-yet-unknown goals, and it's well within narrative convention for him to work within his Family's goals (i.e. the key and the subsequent ultimate weapon) right up until the acquisition of whatever power that brings. Mia also speaks of Renard's brother consolidating his power, and given the context of their earlier conversation we can assume she means Eric. We see later this described and potentially substantiated by the canary reporting Eric's presence in Guangzhou, which is a major city in a lot of ways However, it's important to note that this is just an assumption. If this assumption is correct, though, Mia also speaks of Families, plural, lining up behind him, which could quite possibly make Eric the High King. And that's a rather scary thought. Even post-death we have no evidence to contradict this line of reasoning, and a great deal to support it, given the number of resources Eric was willing to expend in Portland for the sake of the Grimm and/or the key. What's more frightening in the wake of his assassination is the massive power vacuum that his death leaves in Austria, and the very strong likelihood (to certainty, considering casting spoilers) that more Renards/Kronenbergs will show up and have every intention of taking over Eric's assorted resources. Power vacuums are good for exactly nobody except the people strong enough to claim them.

Along those lines, we're currently guessing that Eric has (or had) an older brother. Primarily this is because Eric is unmarried and appears to have no heirs, which is wholly inappropriate for the oldest male member of the family. Unless, of course, inheritance law differs drastically from current appearances. We know Sasha Roiz spoke of brothers and half-brothers, as well as nephews and cousins, in an interview, and while Eric also spoke of his father's mistresses, plural, it again wouldn't be out of the realm of possibility for Eric's father to have more than one child by his legitimate wife. Finally, Renard felt the need to clarify Mia's question about his brother's terms by naming Eric, indicating but not confirming that there is at least one other brother who has the influence and status to dictate terms for Renard's return. An alternate/additional option to Eric having no heirs is that he was sterile, which would mostly make us laugh. And facepalm.

Along those lines, we also have a guess that Eric's mother is not the first wife. Again there's the aspect of mistresses, plural, one of them could easily become a wife, and a wife who began as a mistress might be threatened enough to kick up that much of a fuss as she is implied to have upon discovering that Renard's mother was a Hexenbiest. Eric is as yet unmarried, which again is a dangerous thing for the direct heir to the throne if not the next in line to the throne (still also a theory) and even if he is the direct heir that doesn't mean he always was. Plus, his mother seems a bit cutthroat. Possibly literally. Which brings us around to another Eric theory, that his and Sean's father is is incapacitated in some way, possibly kept secret. Well, almost definitely kept secret, it would have to be. But Eric's power playing is going on awfully long and widespread for a father interested in keeping his seat to just ignore it. See also: Eric's ambitious/possessive mother. See also: Fisher King, for those of you who remember all that symbology we were poking the show for. We're adding another theory to this, actually, that Eric's mother was the Royal and their father married into the royal line, which would fit with the available data given her rage over the affair and the relative unimportance of their father so far to the plot both past and present. It even makes it more likely that there's a Fisher King/impotence (of power, not literal, we've got at least two proofs against that) line playing out with Papa Renard. It also means that there would be no male relatives in the line of succession in the generation prior to Eric and Sean's, which wouldn't be surprising per se but we have no corroborating evidence for it. Or proof against it, for that matter. Isn't this fun?

Note the assumption we're not making: That Eric has had a steady lover/fiancee/wife ever in his life. Which says all KINDS of things about his psychology. Starting with the way he was raised to treat women and the example his father set with his many mistresses, and running the gamut of unstable, incapable of commitment, unable to trust anyone, unwilling to try to trust anyone (probably because every time he did he was slapped down for it as a child), a probable general distaste for the pressure to marry and breed that he likely felt as a son in direct line, and despite the woman in his bed there's not an unreasonable chance he prefers men to women and feels obligated to keep up appearances. It's almost certain that he relates better to men than to women simply because of the way women seem encouraged to behave within the Royal Families, the vanishing likelihood that he knew any other women other than servants or other schoolchildren under restricted circumstances, and again, trust issues with finding his own friends.

Eric has been sold out/betrayed by his brother at least once in his life, badly, going by Eric's snarky commentary about Adalind knowing betrayal well if she knows Sean. Given the circumstances, it seems plausible that said betrayal was over a woman, perhaps the woman who chose and married Sean the half-Hexen bastard, but that's purest speculation. Regardless of his feelings about Sean and betrayal, Eric does have some affection for his half-brother, which seems largely one-way. At the very least, Eric accepts Renard more than the other way around. We pull this from his tone of voice, more gentle than snide towards the later half of the conversation in The Kiss, in his word choice by always calling him brother except when he needs to make a point to Adalind. Eric seems to be more affectionate or at least calm and accepting, rather than Renard, who is snappish and bitey.

Renard's canary is probably another cousin or half-sibling; whoever he is, he's not likely to be in the direct succession for the throne nor does he have much power on his own. This was recently reinforced when he appeared in Portland: the fact that he felt he was unknown or unrecognized enough to send a double to a likely Family-controlled city (Venice, for the record) and have no one recognize that he wasn't actually there speaks volumes for who he believes knows his face. i.e. few of any sort and none of name. Possibly another Wesen-Royal hybrid, considering the extent to which the canary went to get Renard the data he needed, the servile attitude. Someone living that close to power, possibly within Eric's own castle, would have more of it were he capable of holding onto it either by dint of bloodline or intelligence. As of The Hour of Death, we have reassurance that he's still alive and that the Duval who was tortured and killed was somebody else. (Possibly a member of the Lauffeuer.) As of Nameless we have evidence that he is being surveilled (or was until Renard killed the tail) and may be marked for death. We also have faint micro-expression signs of nervousness and, again, being the only survivor of a systematic campaign to wipe out a cell of a conspiracy is suspicious in and of itself. We don't, as yet, have any more solid evidence one way or the other as to whether his loyalties are as they appear. We have some serious suspicions as of PTZD that he might be the Chancellor as mentioned in the obit, largely due to the latter's expressions of shock and the former's instructions from Renard to remember to try and look shocked when he called the canary to order the hit. It would go a long way to explaining the canary's access to information, and if he's a figurehead for the Royal family, it would explain the nervous tics and his apparent lack of confidence/personal power and charisma that we would expect out of a lifelong politician.

As far as Anton Krug goes, he was most likely a low-level, expendable cousin who was just close enough to the direct line of succession to be desperate for a task such as the one he was given and for several people to breathe sighs of relief when Renard killed him. Mia mentions it offhandedly, without rancor or much emotion at all, and while Anton certainly felt arrogant enough to throw his weight around, no one came calling later on to threaten Renard over his death. Even the Reaper whose ear Renard sliced off got more than that. That's just sad. Possibly the reasons for Anton's expendability involve him being a sister's son for the less important matrilineal connection, or a brother-of-Eric's-mother's son and only cousin to Sean by marriage rather than blood. More likely the latter, since he did say "Ist Vater auf ihn jetzt?" referencing a father whom he felt was important enough to call while on his little business trip. It's also possible he was never expected to come back with the key, only there as a test of Renard's strength and resolve. Our justification for this is that he was an incompetent moron, but his task was important enough to send a retainer with whom Renard was familiar with and had some feeling for. Whoever sent Anton to test Renard, it was most likely without Eric's approval. All Eric's prodding and testing has been at Nick, not Renard himself. Also that was damn fool heavy handed. Not that the Mauvais Dentes wasn't, but again, it was directed at Nick rather than Renard. It would have been heavy handed to send a Mauvais Dentes against Renard directly, but were that his agenda, Eric might have taken a different approach.

Mia Gaudot has a number of theories, too, the first one being that she never loved Renard. Because really. We suspect Mia's family is either more powerful than Renard's or she considers a half-Hexen to be beneath her, or a bastard, or something, because her greeting him with "Hello, my sweet" smacks of superiority and cavalier attitude to their connection. Probably it has to do with him being a   bastard, since the half-Hexen may or may not be well known. She also thinks she can pull one over on him, which doesn't say much for her estimation of his intelligence. She very definitely seemed to be setting Renard up for a fall. Encouraging him to go after his 'rightful place'? Really, just what place does a bastard half-Hexen have in the Royal families? Sucking up to him with the comments about how she never agreed with how his family treated him, implying she's on his side both in the episode and in the deleted scenes. Pretending to confess why she's "really" there when he's perhaps in a more biddable mood for him to come back. And there's the bit with the hotel room in the end, where she was quite clearly setting him up for at best to be humiliated by an empty hotel room and at worst to be ambushed and killed. All of these make her seem like she's attempting to bat him around like a toy, only to be dismayed when he outsmarts her in return. There's a final theory that she's coin-touched, being as she's ambitious and has connections to the Dragon's Tongue, who are looking for the coins. That's a very loose theory, though.

We'll add Adalind to this line of speculation/discussion (with all due thanks to our shadowy knight who reminded me how much Eric's death changes things), because even though she's not a Royal she's currently carrying a child out of a Royal line. Eric was the crown prince to the Kronenberg family, and she is now carrying the only known heir. It would be an awful waste of a plotline for that child to be anything other than a son, which means we have either a 1/4 or 3/4 Zauber heir to the throne. Depending on whether the biology counts from conception or from the re-Hexening of Adalind in time for the birth. Either way, I'm sure the Royal family will be just thrilled by this turn of events. When Adalind learns about this, it's safe to say that she'll realize the value of her child just raised to an inestimable level, possibly making it worth it to her to break her contract with Stefania and jockey for position with the Kronenbergs more directly. This does, of course, beg the question what happens if she breaks that contract, which was signed in Adalind's blood. Nothing good, I'm guessing.


  1. Just one or two things - the Catholic church/royalty connection was invoked once, when Renard went to the priest to execute whatsisface with his illegal gladiator operation. I've been dying for more worldbuilding on that front ever since, but no such luck.

    The other is that we know there are Seven Families, as far as we know we've only seen representatives of one, the Renard's. I assume the seven have been merrily intermarrying for generations, as that was the way of European royalty and since they seem to care about their bloodlines. (If they care about bloodlines and people outside the Wesen world generally can't be brought into it, and they're against mingling their blood with Wesen blood, then that doesn't leave many other options. It does raise the question of whether they're some special kind of Wesen, something more like the Grimms, or even a branch of Grimms that took a different path somewhere way back. It also suggests to me that they can see woge, whether thay have their own version or not--otherwise they'd be uncomfortably reliant on Grimms to control any Wesen.)

    I wouldn't be too surprised to find, though, that Mia could be from a different family--it might explain her powerful status in combination with her tenuous relationship with the Renards. Also possibly cousin Anton? If they've been intermarrying he could be a cousin and still technically of another house, which could help explain the lack of concern. I would really like to understand better how the Seven Families relate to one another, hierarchically, diplomatically, and historically. Perhaps Mia's superior attitude is because her house currently has the upper hand over the Renards', and Eric's power games are focused on the family's place among the Families, rather than his within his family? That might also help explain why we've never seen or heard of any King; if there is one, he's not a Renard.

    AUGH so much to speculate on, so little actual information.

    1. Yeah, that bit's lurking at the bottom of the History of European Royal Dynasties section. US TOO. I was so hopeful when we got The Good Shepherd, and then no, not so much.

      I have to assume that somehow the Royals can see woge or, yes, they're at a major, major disadvantage. I don't have the faintest how they'd even make that work - Grimms could overthrow the Seven Families then, if they worked together. Though it's possible that Grimms are territorial in the nature of big predators and don't play well with other Grimms? At least, we don't have any evidence to contradict that theory. Possibly this upcoming ep we'll get some to support it! I'd dearly love some explanation on the metaplot rarrsmash insufficient data.

      With her last name, I suspect she's either of another house or married (and was widowed?) into another one. Or she's another bastard out of the Renard family, though please god not close kin to our Captain, because ew. I think it's a very safe bet to the point of almost certainty that they've been intermarrying (that is, after all, how peace begins >.>), but we have nothing other than the overall patriarchal setup of the Families to indicate who goes to what family etc. etc. I really, REALLY hope the writers have a massive show bible for the genealogy and factions there, because it's easy to get incredibly tangled otherwise. I would LOVE to know if Eric means throne in the sense of head of their family or throne in the sense of ruler of all seven. Alas, not yet. I am, however, deeply suspicious that whatever King there is is a Fisher King. Assuming there is one; it's always possible the Families set it up so there was an odd number and therefore never a tie in a council-style vote.

      Excuse me, I have to go beat my head against the wall until the writers' murderboards fall out. That'll work, right?

      (Did update with some more speculation on Renard's canary, since I'll be incredibly irritated if that phone call wasn't about a player we've already seen.)