Some of you may have noticed the absence of a crowning ceremony for Henrietta, and there’s a reason for that: Louise didn’t attend. You might think that’s strange, but it would actually be stranger for her to be there — officially, Louise is an agent of the Crown, but that doesn’t automatically mean she would be invited to the ceremony. Actually, it means she wouldn’t: those who were invited, and attended, would be various high ranking nobles and maybe their heirs, not third daughters like Louise or fourth sons like Guiche. Mazarin officiated and the myriad of chivalric orders and palace guards were in place to protect everyone. Other than that, it was not an event that just anyone, childhood friend of the Princess or not, could show up for.
Theoretically, Henrietta could have made Louise part of the ceremony, but it would have been a very powerful statement about Louise’s importance to her, and Henrietta has not yet made her the official heir to the throne. Since she’s already pushing an unpopular policy (equality under the law, for both nobles and commoners) among the peers, trying to be too ambitious in everything would backfire.
Those of you who paid attention may have noticed the wine I chose, too. It’s a really high quality bottle, the sort of thing that goes for $200+ in the real world. However, you won’t find a Chateau Leoville in the real world — you’ll find several. Because of a series of events, Chateau Leoville was divided among separate owners. The actual wine the bottle mentioned in the story is based on is Chateau Leoville-Las Cases, which I’m told is very good, and according to reviews, it’s generally one of the best wines in the world.
What I was looking for in that scene, however, wasn’t simply “one of the best wines in the world,” but “a moderately expensive” one. Eleonore and Louise are likely used to something much more expensive at home — the Halkeginia equivalent of a Lafite. In case it wasn’t completely portrayed, I wanted it to come across as “this is a really good wine, but it’s not the best, and this was the best the inn had in stock at the time.” It just goes to show that the de La Valliere family is on a whole other level when it comes to opulence.
Some of you might feel that Eleonore was bashed in this chapter, and I can understand why you might feel that way. Some of you will agree that this was actually mostly in line with how she acted in canon. The thing with Eleonore is, I wanted her to somewhat adversarial, yes, but I wanted her to be a three-dimensional character, with wants, needs, and a personality. I tried to balance those out, but I feel like she came off as being a little more of a bitch than I wanted.
Why? Because she didn’t get to be very nice, this chapter. She might not get the chance later on, either. The problem with Eleonore is that she’s a “successful Louise.” She’s very much similar to Louise in personality, but she never went through the same doubts and uncertainties, because she’s a talented mage who always achieved what she set her mind to, unlike Louise, who couldn’t do the simplest of magic before she got her hands on the Founder’s Prayer Book. From the beginning, her personality was going to be abrasive and haughty.
Unfortunately for Cattleya, she didn’t get much screentime, and unlike the canon Cattleya, who basically decided, “I’ll support Louise’s decisions, no matter what,” MoZ’s Cattleya is the doting older sister who wants very much for Louise to be safe and happy. If given the chance, she might have tried to smuggle Louise and Shirou out of the castle so they could go fight the war, but since Shirou and Louise are executing their plan to win approval…
For those who caught it, yes, the Duke’s name is the same as the real life Louise de La Valliere’s father. I needed a name for him, and it seemed appropriate.
Also on the Duke, I actually imagined him as a blond Odysseus Eu Britannia in the Duke’s clothing, because holey sheets, that mustache and beard on the canon Duke. I mean, technically, it’s not strange, because Halkeginia is basically Victorian era, culturally speaking, but just…wow. Colonel Sanders on steroids. That’s why I didn’t draw any attention to his face or facial hair, because if you’re a stickler for canon, then you can picture him like that, but if you want my official unofficial word on the matter, MoZ’s Duke de La Valliere is blond Odysseus.
Note: Crossposted from Tumblr.