#3 A Sad Girl in the Snow (Garo: The Carved Seal of Flames)

I’ve seen this cliche before, where a lost hero gets rescued by a woman of similar age. She helps the hero recuperate and reflect on his actions, perhaps even fall in love with him, and the hero becomes comfortable with his new situation. Unfortunately, the most valuable thing she would ever give the hero is her death, which propels the hero to return to fighting evil and exacting justice. Garo does this exact same thing. Well, kind of. As bad of a trope as it is these days, there are methods of making this work.

What makes Lara’s death work so well, in the short time she’s been introduced, is that her family’s fate is so inextricably tied to the land she lives on. From our perspective it’s hard to imagine that you could live within a few square miles of land for your entire life, but that’s exactly what Lara and her family does. In living off the land, they are stuck tending to it. Though they’re good at tending to the land, it’s pretty much all they ever know. Which makes them a simple sort of people, unprepared for and unknowing of the literal and figurative horrors of the outside world. I doubt Lara has any idea of the things that go on outside of her farm.

As such, travelers like Leon are both a point of interest and a reminder of her stagnant future. Fortunately and perhaps tragically, Lara has already accepted this fact and is comfortable admitting this to Leon when he asks about it. She’s not an adventurous person, and certainly not a very powerful one. Perhaps she finds it useless to think about those things anymore. After all, if she’s absent from the farm it forces more work on the rest of her family, and effectively destroys the farm since she wouldn’t be around to inherit it.

So at first, she’s comfortable with the fact that he’ll leave someday, as it is a traveler’s disposition to never stop moving. However, as she develops feelings for Leon, she becomes more fearful of his eventual departure.┬áIt’s not a question of whether she can join Leon when he eventually leaves. It’s a question of when Leon is eventually going to leave her behind. She never entertains the idea that she could escape her own future, nor does she think about Leon’s relationship with the prince and how he could possibly help support the farm in Lara’s absence. Sadly, she’s already accepted her fate.

In doing so, Lara shares in her family’s demise: dying to an invading Horror. She takes to her grave what she represents to Leon: a pastoral life, valued strongly even in its meager output. As long as horrors continue to prowl the land, Leon is not allowed to rest. And whoever wrote these turn of events felt that Leon had rested for long enough, his feelings be damned. Perhaps in another universe, another story, we’d see Leon settle down with Lara and live the rest of their days off their undisturbed plot of land. Unfortunately, that’s not how the world of Garo works. It is a brutal, uncaring world filled with strange creatures and even stranger ways to die. And as long as those things exist, nowhere is truly peaceful. And it takes Leon the greatest sacrifice of his life to realize this. He is the one that has the power to protect the land, and in doing so, the people tied to it. Lara’s death serves as a reminder that a tragedy of her kind shall┬ánever happen again.

Addendum

  • The death also works because the ED fuckin’ lied to me cmon garo that’s fuckin’ low
  • and also the creative decision to show lara’s eyes slowly burn out and then cutting to the dead dog i mean cmon garo why would you do this
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One comment

  1. Like the parallel between a Makai’s ties to protect the people with the farmer’s ties to tend to the land. They’re both bound in similar ways to their responsibilities.

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