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I really love all the little off-screen adventures.

Once again, in this week’s Frieren: Beyond Journey’s End, we are left with two separate stories. The first is about Frieren meeting one of her few “old friends” and another about Sein’s attempt to find his adventurer best friend after a decade apart.

The interesting thing about these stories is that they connect rather well on a thematic level. Both are about the Beowulfian version of immortality—that by doing great deeds in life your legend will never die. Thus, as you are remembered in the minds of the living, you will metaphorically live forever (and, to be fair, it’s worked well enough for Beowulf so far).

The unfortunate issue with Beowulfian immortality is that it has it’s limits—especially in a pre-industrial world like Frieren’s. We see this clearly with the statue of Kraft and his companion. While the villagers have been taking care of it for generations, no one knows who is depicted or what they did that was heroic enough to be deserving of a statue—well, other than the nebulous claim of “saving the world.” In fact, if it weren’t for their chance encounter with Kraft a year before, none of Frieren’s party would have known who was featured either. Simply put, Kraft’s actual immortality has caused him to outlive his Beowulfian immortality.

As an elf like Kraft, Frieren finds herself in a unique position. With a fantastic memory and unending life, she has the ability to grant Beowulfian immortality to anyone she chooses. However, the issue is becoming important enough for Frieren to bother to remember you—which brings us to Voll and his impact on her life.

Voll, as a dwarf living for hundreds of years, has found meaning in his long life by giving Beowulfian immortality to his human wife—and protecting the town that was important to her for far beyond the lifespan of your average dwarf. This inspires Himmel to ask the same of Frieren—to remember him, Heiter, and Eisen across the infinite void of time.

To Frieren, this was simply a request she had no reason to refuse at the time. Now, 80+ years later, it is her lifeline—the catalyst allowing her to change and begin making true connections with the mortals in her life. Because of Voll, Frieren is now filled with memories of Himmel—memories that allow her to not only share his wisdom with her new party but also, in doing so, become closer to him despite the fact he’s been dead for 30 years.

In the present, however, Voll is finally nearing the end of his life. His wife’s memory—already tenuous even inside his own mind—will soon disappear completely from this world. Yet, it is here that Frieren enters the story again. By granting Voll a place in her memory, she is also doing the same to his wife as part of Voll’s story; he will always be remembered by Frieren as the dwarf who loved his human wife so much he spent his long life in memory of her.

When it comes down to it, that is what this series actually is: a chain of Beowulfian immortality with Frieren herself as the anchor. She moves into the future carrying with her not only all those she cared about but those that were apart of their stories as well.


Random Thoughts:

• If the final scene with Voll, where he remembers his dead wife’s face and voice for the first time in years, doesn’t bring you to tears, you have no heart.

• I’m not saying an impactful name will grant you Beowulfian immortality but it certainly won’t hurt.

• In the statue, Kraft is holding a sword—implying that he didn’t become a monk until after his world-saving heroics. This makes sense considering what we know about his reasons for believing in the goddess.

• Sein has a real dilemma ahead of him: does he continue on alone on his personal quest or stay with the party who convinced him to head out on that quest in the first place.

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Episode 16 – Frieren: Beyond Journey’s End