Castor and Pollux: Two Roses in Versailles
Heavy spoilers for Rose of Versailles up to and including Volume VIII of the manga!
Oscar’s troops receive a dispatch order for Paris. The night before, she invites Andre to her room. There’s a lot of saccharine dialogue in here, and one page in particular (472 in the second volume of the aizohan edition I’m reading) got so fantastically ethereal I had to go the dictionary several times!
Andre and Oscar gaze into each other’s eyes, and one of them, or both, or each of them alternating (it’s not clear and that’s the whole point!!!) say, as I would translate it:
Do you remember
that fleeting instant (=tamayura) in Spring
when you were with me?
And the dazzling (=mekurumeki) Summer days
(you were right there)
and the figures (=tatazumai) of
and the censures (=soshiri) of Winter?
Oh oh…just like Castor and Pollux
you were there…
you were there…
This word “tamayura” for example, literally stands for “jewel echo”. It first appeared in the Manyoshu, and it seems to refer to the fact that two lovers wearing jewel necklaces would hear the crisp sounds of the jewels clinking against each other when they came together. Wow.
I imagine the censures of winter refer to the growing opposition (mostly from Oscar’s father) to the lovers’ union.
The image of Castor and Pollux resonates very deeply here. Andre and Oscar have been like a brother and sister, and taking into account Oscar’s “male” upbringing, it’s not far off the mark to look at them as brothers. I’m struck immediately by the fact that the song Angelic Androgynous in Revolutionary Girl Utena mentions Castor and Pollux too.
The Dioscuri brothers might also connect into the class issue in Rose of Versailles. Most accounts of the brothers make Pollux be immortal and Castor mortal. As such, Pollux could stand for Oscar (aristocrat) and Castor could stand for Andre (commoner). The story goes that Zeus eventually granted immortality to Castor so he could be in the heavens with his brother. Hopefully Andre and Oscar can derive some comfort from this happy ending 🙂