Fate/Zero’s 11th episode is an aggregation of royal kings for a more eloquent method of determining the one worthy of the grail – as burly servant Rider does so call it, a “Grail Dialogue” instead of a Grail War.
Saber slowly treks through the trashed Einzbern manor – as does the wife of her master, Irisviel, both assessing the aftermath of a destructive battle between Saber’s master Kiritsugu, and a master of magic craft, Melloi. Kiritsugu is gone however, and now in his absence Irisviel senses an approaching danger.
A fashionably suited Saber rushes over to Irisviel at the sight of her collapsing – subsequently recognizing an entity blasting full speed towards their direction fearlessly from the front, not making the slightest effort to conceal their advance, with lightning striking in many a direction. This of course could be none other than the hearty servant Rider.
Cleaving through the front doors of the apparently drab and dusty castle, Rider, after concluding his assessment of Saber’s villa, questions the lack of her snazzy suit and instead armor clad body, before finally prompting her to show him a fine garden fitting of a discussion amongst kings as they drink. Do notice the difference in attire as while Saber is outfitted for a fight, Rider is merely sporting a shirt quite too tight and some jeans he acquired after much effort.
Now sitting in the center of a courtyard of the Einzbern mansion, Saber rests perplexed only a short distance across from the uninvited Rider as Irisviel and Waver stand off in the distance, cautious of the other’s servant, and both equally as curious and oblivious as what is to come. There’s no regular humans running this show, Rider is calling the shots – quite literally in fact as he enjoys a drink whilst also offering Saber some as well.
He mentions that rather than make meaningless battle, if the issue they face is simply to determine who is worthy of holding the grail, this can be accomplished in a far more civilized manner of a verbal debate, or a “Grail Dialogue” if you will. It is this cheap swill he brought which Rider insists shall be more effective a tool in concluding who amongst them is most deserving of the grail. They speak for a moment regarding kingship and the grail, drinking a bit, before a third party shows up – Gilgamesh.
Having crossed paths with this unmissable gilded fellow in town, Rider thought only appropriate to invite him as well – a meeting of three kings now takes place. Gilgamesh wastes not a second in pitying these two “pretenders” – he ridicules Rider’s beverage of choice, then graciously, from kindness only found within the bottom of his heart, offers them both a chalice of drink distilled by the heavens themselves. This liquor proves so impressive that aside from the praise Rider gives in return, even Saber seems to be stirred by its taste.
As they indulge now in the finest of wines, Waver still wavering off the side, Irisviel cowering as well, the kings resume their conversation of the grail. It comes down to the question of why does each of them seek it so strongly. For Gilgamesh, this is not so, and Rider realizes it. Gilgamesh couldn’t care of the grail in the least, however he says all treasure of the world at some point was within his possession, making the grail rightfully an item belonging to him, and any who chase it to be no more than thieves – thus, he simply wants to punish them properly.
This answer from Gilgamesh was one surprisingly logical and quite reasonable in fact if it indeed is true. Rider’s aspiration is fairly unexpected in frequency as well – of all the things this “King of Conquerors” could want, he desires true incarnation, i.e. he doesn’t merely want to dissipate into thin air after the completion of the Holy Grail War. He wants to be reborn a human, living out a fresh life of relaxation – much to the dismay of his master Rider.
Finally does the question come to Saber, what could the beautiful King of Knights long for so deeply?
She pursues the grail in hopes of saving Britain from devastation – as the story of King Arthur goes, a war broke out which led to his, or in this case, her crowning. However this dream of hers is one ridiculed by both Gilgamesh and Rider. Having reigned triumphantly on many lands, Rider states a king’s role is to receive from his followers – not merely expend his existence in favor of them, as had Britain not fell into siege, neither would Saber have ever become a king.
Disbelief nearly overcomes us for a moment as we see Rider begin to boast how the ideal king must be a greedy individual who considers only himself – yet as he goes on, his point becomes apparent, and admittedly, he’s correct. The reason a king should be high and mighty is to incite his legion to follow suit after their king – if the king is nothing more than a weak soul ridden with worry, the population of the nation shall surely suffer likewise.
And as Assassin now arrives unsolicitedly in all hundred of his flavors, shooting down the gift of drink from Rider’s hand, they leave Rider no choice but to engage in the option alternative. Rider stands, winds start to gust violently from his back as he asks the last question of this banquet.
“Does a king stand alone?”
This is a question to which Saber could say nothing but “Yes” – yet as Rider then shows her, the answer is “No” a king is not alone. A reality marble manifests engulfing everyone around – all members of invitational meet, masters real and fake, as well as all hundreds of Assassins now find themselves within a deserted desert of a world. Here Rider shows them all his endless army – a collective of brave soldiers exceeding infinity in numbers.
And as everyone, save for the amused Gilgamesh, baffles at this sight, mesmerized and stunned – Rider proclaims the king is not alone as with him is his army, and the greatest asset he holds being the bond they share. Needless to say, Assassin is totally massacred as this stealthy servant was never made to hold ground against over 9000 strong in a plain field.
Once all has come to pass, they return to the courtyard and Rider prepares to depart – his final line being he no longer recognizes Saber as a king. Gilgamesh is merely entertained by the sight of Saber – stating she indeed should continue her quest she believes right as he finds it a form of admirable merriment to watch.
Saber, like it or not, has been beat in discussion – this doesn’t necessarily mean her view is incorrect, yet clearly as many of us may recall from Fate/Stay Night, she herself is uncertain in her course of action. She can’t justify it, nor is she assured of what would be the best thing to do. She’s still traveling lost on a dark path without even recognizing this to be the case. Yet we can say that we’re confident Rider will eventually come to think highly of the King of Knights once again as the series carries on to the end.