Spoilers ahead for Legend of the Galactic Heroes up to episode fifty-four.
Yang’s defeat at Vermilion was cruel and unfair; perhaps this is similar to the feeling of the Dolchstoßlegende, though in Yang’s case it’s less a myth, more a reality. If this was not, so far, an exquisitely balanced and many-faceted story I’d be throwing it – figuratively – at the wall right now, but, because it is an exquisitely balanced and many-faceted story, Yang’s cruel defeat was the result of prompt and heroic action on the part of Hildegard von Mariendorf.
I think her decision to disobey Reinhard by intervening to save his life boils down to a recognition that, from the point of view of history and also his friends (if he has friends), Reinhard’s capable of acting like a perfect idiot for the sake of personal satisfaction. (Insert sentence describing Yang’s tendency to act, from the point of view of history and his friends, like a perfect idiot for the sake of democratic ideals here.) Anyhow she (and my inner characterisation fiend ‘shipper) are rewarded with the sight of Reinhard not being entirely sure what to say! admitting personal failings! asking for time to compose himself! It’s just like watching Itazura na Kiss, I tell you.
I notice that Reinhard gets to put the crown on himself. Who, if anyone, gets to crown an emperor is something of a vexed in European history. Popes are, however, nowhere to be seen in Legend of the Galactic Heroes.
So far, the priests we have seen have spent most of their time planning nefarious things, though the show hasn’t revealed quite what things. I’m rather amused by the unambiguously evil portrayal of the Terraist cult: whenever they appear on screen they make things worse (as with their protection of Job Truniht when Bucock was about to kill him) and the cult leaders take style tips from Palpatine. But then the Legend does have characters for whom we’re meant to feel little or no sympathy – Truniht’s a good example, as are the reactionary aristocrats defeated earlier in the story by Reinhard – so this is really par for the course.