I have been reading Fate/Apocrypha recently. I really enjoyed the Fate/Zero light novel and the recent Unlimited Blade Works anime which is airing it's final episode this coming sunday. Fate/Aprocrypha has been really good thus far too, but am forced to pause as even though the full light novel is release in Japan already, the translator is still lagging behind by quite a fair bit.

Anyway, reading Fate/Aprocrypha and being introduced to Mordred of course reminds me of King Arthur (Arthuria...whatever) and in turn one of the iconic scenes in Fate/Zero. This was the banquet of kings where the three 'kings' put aside their bloody battle for a moment to have a philosophical debate. Yes a little absurd since they were all trying to kill one another but hey, this is a series known for its artistic license.

So I came across this piece written by a random someone:

And the relevant clip that was mentioned:

One thing people familiar with the Fate series would know is that Saber (who is a character based on the actual generally accepted lore of King Arthur) is struck with remorse over how everything ended in the past. It was her wish to go back in time to change things.

A glorious nation that had everything going for it. The Knights of the Round Table, a powerful force for good. Yet in the end the nation was destroyed internally.

But why did it all happen this way?

Saber's story in the Fate series is a tragedy. It is as what the King of Conquerors Rider accused Saber of. She certainly had noble ideals which she kept to, no doubt about that. The problem was that while she set extremely high standards for herself in chivalry, she also expected all her knights to do the same. As she made sacrifices, she demanded that her knights also make sacrifices.

She did not understand them, their own thoughts, desires, needs. Lancelot, the greatest of her knights, rebelled because of that. Seizing the opportunity, Mordred led an uprising and the nation fragmented in a civil war which brought the nation to ruin.

It is something interesting to think about. It's easy to outright reject Archer's idea of Kingship since it is tyrannical. We would be tempted to do the same for Rider, except that it seems that Rider's 'selfish' kingship is met with great support from his followers. How could the perfect ideal of kingship bring a nation to ruin, but the self-serving kingship bring such success to the nation and its people?

You see Rider's idea of kingship everywhere in this world today. More often than not, it is not in the hands of politicians in this day and age, but in top business people and celebrities.

Of course, we would be in error to conclude then that we should instead adopt Rider's model of kingship and not Saber's. It would be a false dichotomy. Instead the more important point is to understand the popular appeal of Rider's model of kingship thus allowing us to deal with it effectively, and at the same time recognise the mistakes of Saber's allowing us to learn from them.

The clip above cuts off when Assassin enters the fray, so the conclusion of the banquet is not seen. However just before the fight breaks out, there was a moment where Rider asked Saber the final question of the banquet: "must the king be alone?"

This is not just an anime / light novel review nor philosophical ramblings based off a fictional story. This is a very real question, though of course you can't take it literally.

I ask myself, must the king be alone?

Saber's answer was that the King has no choice but to be alone.

Does he?