By: Peggy Wood | @peggyseditorial
You know that song, “[What If God Was] One Of Us” by Joan Osborne? I Choose the Emperor Ending reminds me a lot of that song, mainly because Marina, better known as Rino or the Technician in the story, is the world’s “goddess” without anyone knowing it. That, I think, is something we can all agree on. But, what if Marina’s chosen character role isn’t merely that of an Eastern slave? That’s the topic I’m planning to discuss here today:
An issue I see with Marina’s role as a player in this story is that even if she was starting at the bottom, it wouldn’t make much sense for her to have been given a slave’s body. Even if she decided to take the harder route by beginning at the lowest social position in their society, by the time she sees the main character of her story, Duke Edward Allen Dihas, several days have passed and they have not passed easily given the way Marina looks when we see her in the slaves’ cell. Granted, some of that was played up for dramatic effect, but ultimately she’s looking paler and thinner than at the start. Maybe this is a reflection of her real-world body before being found and put in a hospital, or maybe not. Regardless, time is passing, and her role is not well chosen for the game.
This wouldn’t be the first time such a thing happens either, several mangas and other manhwas of this genre have depicted the creators of a story being reborn or transferred into their creative works–often with the undefined, but general feeling, that they’ll have to live out the rest of their lives in this new world. Luckily for Marina, it seems she’ll be traveling back and forth (or maybe unluckily?).
If you examine the cover image of this comic, you’ll be able to see a lot of hints to how long Marina will be trapped in this story. For example, in the comic’s cover image, Marina’s hair has grown longer by several inches, and even Edward looks a bit older, though not by much, which implies that at least a few years will pass in the course of this story. It also means that we’ll be following the story until Edward has crowned Emperor (which we know to be the ultimate end of her novel).
That being established, whose body did she take in this transfer to the new world?
If we look at the title of Lasnarok, the book version that Marina’s brother shows her is in the middle of being written (chapter 52), we can tell that Marina has not taken over the cover character.
AND YET, it’s hard to make the decision that she hasn’t when the book is written from Marina’s point of view regarding the events of her story in the game-world thus far.
The easy assumption would be to say that Marina has taken over the body of an Eastern Royal who was hidden within the crowd. It would make sense for the game aspect as that would give her a level of importance beyond “slave” to warrant meeting the lord of the castle and progressing the story.
We’re given hints early on to this idea. This appears as early as Chapter 1, where we view Marina, disguised as a boy, through Edward’s eyes: “‘He was a boy with a peculiar look. Despite his low class, he looks down on others like an insolent royal.’” Edward ratifies this in Chapter 6 where the preview from Chapter 1 is expanded upon, “He was a boy with a peculiar look… Did more easterners come to this area…? Hair too light for an Easterner, oat-colored skin as clean as an aristocrat child’s, He definitely looks like an aristocrat even though he is a foreigner. And there’s something about his gaze.”
He’s not the only one that will note this difference between Marina and the other Easterners, Lavine–the weaponry technician–says Marina has “too much of an aristocratic air about him to be a slave,” and Lavine’s assistant notes that Marina is too fluent in the language to be an uneducated slave. Granted, the Easterners are considered savages, so the slaves who were held may or may not have been well educated for their country, but that’s not clarified. One other thing to note here is that in Chapter 4, we learn that only the Eastern royal family has been given the knowledge to create “sticky fire” (Greek Fire, also known as Napalm). So that set’s her role as an Eastern royal, correct? Maybe not.
Again, we turn to the cover image of Lasnarok, the story of a story within our story. I assume it is the image of their world’s goddess because of her placement among stars on the cover and because she somewhat looks like the statue of the goddess we see in chapter 11.
Here is that image of the goddess, btw:
Fool, that is your goddess.
Now some of you may disagree as the woman on the cover does not have wings, and their clothes are different; however, I would direct naysayers to look at the similarity of their hair, which is parted in such a way that the left side remains unseen. Besides, even if they don’t look that alike, we could write it off as the artist and people not truly knowing what their goddess’ true form is or would be–which is my main point.
I believe that, from the perspective of those inside the book, Marina is their goddess brought down to human form. This would not be unlikely as gods in real-world mythos often took the forms of impoverished people to test their worshippers’ hospitality and heart. In fact, I think Ovid mentions Zeus and Hera doing such a thing in Metamorphoses. To me, oddly, it seems like this makes more sense than Marina being an Eastern Royal turned slave despite all the hints leading to such an idea. My reasoning for this largely lies in the analysis of the comic’s cover.
For example, the crown we see Marina placing upon the duke seems French-inspired due to the fleur-de-lis, (men’s imperial medieval crown fleur de lis gold). “Since France is a historically Catholic nation, the fleur-de-lis became “at one and the same time, religious, political, dynastic, artistic, emblematic, and symbolic.” Then we see that Marina holds the Sceptre in her arms or rather it is leaned against her. The “Sceptre, also spelled Scepter, ornamented rod or staff borne by rulers on ceremonial occasions as an emblem of authority and sovereignty. The primeval symbol of the staff was familiar to the Greeks and Romans and to the Germanic tribes in various forms and had various significances. The staff of command belonged to God as well as to the earthly ruler; there were the old man’s staff, the messenger’s wand, the shepherd’s crook, and, derived from it, the bishop’s, and so on.“ In essence, by the cover’s depiction, Marina is the person choosing who to crown. She has done so in her writing of the VR game and is doing so again via her own work in the story during her time transferred there.
We know she is the goddess in terms of our reading since she created the world of the story, HOWEVER, is she that in the story, or is she someone else? I think that it will come out that she is both the goddess born to their world and an Eastern Royal turned slave within the story, but it could also be only one of those things. Who is to know until more is released? And what are your thoughts?
Let me know!