Holy Week: The Patient Magus Bride

This week is known by many different names: Holy Week, Passion Week, and Resurrection Week, among others. It commemorates Jesus’ final entrance into Jerusalem and his march toward Calvary, leading to his death and resurrection. To commemorate this on our blog, starting today and through the week I’m going to talk a little bit about what all of that means in relation to the final few episodes of The Ancient Magus Bride, whose second cour recently came to an end.

Elias Ainsworth, the titular magus, is almost childlike in how he interacts with Chise, a trait that often leads him to do things of which she disapproves. Chise is quick to forgive, however, until Elias, conspiring with Ruth, attempts to trade Stella’s life for hers to save Chise from a curse, setting into motion the events of the last few episodes from the season.

Despite Elias’ sin (what he does goes beyond simple ignorance into the realm of evil—child sacrifice!), Chise does forgive him. She offers him restoration, and Elias, humbled and afraid, goes along with whatever Chise says, obeying her as she hatches a plan regarding Joseph (more on him in the coming days this week). She is able to forgive Elias, even though he planned to do something that would have created such guilt and anger that it would have been a curse much stronger than anything Chise had encountered before.

When I think of Chise’s patience, I’m reminded of Palm Sunday. Jesus entered Jerusalem on a donkey, symbolic of a king coming into the city to bring peace. The people praised him, honoring him as that king, but less than a week later, they would call out to Pilate, responding that they had no king other than Caesar, and demand that Jesus be crucified. Despite all that, despite a people so fickle that they would go from worshiping God’s son to calling for his blood, the Father went through with the plan of mercy and grace. God stood firm in his love, in his forgiveness.

Ultimately, despite the horror of those moments, despite awfulness of our own personal sin, God remained patient with us, not wanting any to perish, even though we were the reason his son was to be humiliated, tortured, and nailed to a cross. All this because of who we are to him.

At the end of the season, Chise shows Elias (and the audience) once again who she is to him—she is his bride. Despite Elias’ many faults, she stands by him as his bride, and even offers him a ring as a seal of that love. Elias has done awful things, but those things are not enough to separate him from Chise.

And we are the same. As Elias does the unthinkable, so do we. As Elias fights against Chise’s wishes, we are in rebellion against Christ. As Elias chooses a path that shows a lack of understanding and love for Chise, we dethrone Christ and demonstrate through our lives that he is not king. But God is the ever-patient groom; he stands by us when we do the unthinkable, with the assurance of his love in this, that we only need remember just how far he went, through space and time to live among us, and then up a hill and to his death, to bring his his great love, to bring his bride, to bring us, back to him.

Stream The Ancient Magus Bride on Crunchyroll.


4 thoughts on “Holy Week: The Patient Magus Bride

  1. Let’s not forget that Elias finally manages to get Chise to agree to think a little before she acts because almost everything she does is a sacrificial gift of herself for others. Considering her background, initially this behaviour of hers is because she values herself less than everyone else since that’s what she has learned from the way her family self-destructed. However, as we progress through the series, she changes and acts that way because she knows she can and feels that the people she tries to save are worth it. Elias values her more than she seems to value herself but that’s not quite correct – Chise /wants/ to spend her life quietly with Elias but can’t stand the thought that this peace is bought by the sacrifice of others, or by ignoring their need for help. To her, that would be selfish.

    Chise’s pretty aspirational. When you think of the show that way, Elias is the character that represents “us” – a strange idea when he’s the all-powerful, fairy-kind, ageless mage.

    1. Ohh, that’s great insight! It’s so interesting how each of these characters can represent us (Elias certainly, as you mention, but also Chise is how her flaws and background and fear prevents her from moving forward), but also how each can represent God, or in a sense, how we can be when we imitate Christ. Such a powerful series, and so great for reflection!

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