When Heine Met Viktor – The Royal Tutor Disappears
Having recently learned The Royal Tutor would soon be ending, I was prepared for a wave of feels from this penultimate episode and I certainly got one. I’ve become very attached to this series, maybe more than I expected, and I was still hanging on to hope that it would continue for at least 20+ episodes. With the end in sight, we finally get a look at the micro tutor’s alleged criminal background and just how he came to meet King Viktor.
After the princes quickly dismiss the tabloid article alleging a criminal has slipped into the palace, Heine reprimands them for jumping to conclusions, suggesting the criminal could be someone who’d been nice to them and even hinting that it could be him. The princes laugh it off as a joke, but Heine comes back the next day with a lesson built around the article. He encourages them to investigate the claim, but they insist it can’t possibly be true. The tutor adds that while tabloids are full of lies, dismissing everything as a lie is just as dangerous as automatically assuming it’s all true. He then poses a question to them: If they were King and their heir had been born, would they still dismiss the rumors? Since one oversight could cost the kingdom dearly, he insists they find out the truth and judge for themselves, leaving Maximilian and Ludwig to escort if they leave the palace.
Unsure of what to do first, Kai suggests meeting with the person who wrote the article. Although the writer’s name isn’t given, he knows who wrote the correction article about him and opts to ask the newspaper company. There they learn the man’s name is Gregor Klein, but they were unable to talk to him as he had quit shortly after writing the article and moved. The princes ask around, but no one in town seems to know where Klein went. On the verge of giving up, Licht suddenly declares that he’s found Klein attending a social hall just outside of town under the name “Karl Fischer” and bragging about making a fortune. That night, they ambush him as he leaves the hall and drag him into their carriage for a chat. Bruno reveals that he looked into Klein’s bank records and found that he’d opened an account under his new alias the day after the tabloid article about Kai was published. Klein continues to deny everything until the princes suggest changing course to a forest cemetery. He then confesses that someone he didn’t know approached him one night and told him he could make a fortune if he wrote something about the palace. He says the man, who “looked like a gentleman,” paid him up front and said the rest of the money would go into an account under the name “Karl Fischer” after the article was published, suggesting that Klein leave town and do whatever he wanted with it.
They then ask about the rumor involving a criminal in the palace, but Klein claims the article is a hoax. He reveals the same gentleman told him about a criminal causing trouble at the harvest festival before King Viktor ascended to the throne and told him to turn the story into an article. Klein admits that he couldn’t find any records of such an incident, but wrote the story anyway because he wanted the money. The princes then decide to search through the records themselves, pulling accounts of everyone imprisoned during the festival just before Viktor’s coronation. Leonhard stumbles across the record of one “Heine Wittgenstein” imprisoned on charges of abduction and the attempted assassination of the then-prince Viktor. In utter disbelief that Heine would try to kill their father and then let them find out, the brothers resolve to ask Heine directly but finding his room empty, they turn to Viktor for answers. Viktor initially insists that he has nothing to tell them, but after receiving a message from his steward, decides to tell them frankly, not as their king but as their father.
Back when he was still a prince, Viktor would frequently dress as a commoner and sneak out of the palace, wanting to see the people’s lives for himself. One night in town, he bumps into some children and after realizing they’ve stolen his pocketwatch, he chases after them. He catches up to them and demands they return the watch. They prepare to fight him, but a voice (belonging to Heine) calls them off. Heine tells the boys to return the watch, which they reluctantly do, and rebukes them for stealing more than they need. He then advises Viktor to stay away before heading underground. Viktor follows him, letting Heine assume he’s a runaway, and finds an open room full of ragged children. He asks where their parents are, but Heine tells him none of them have any parents, certainly none worth relying on.
Noticing their visitor’s growling stomach, Heine tosses an apple to Viktor who follows the urchin’s example of rubbing it with his sleeve before taking a bite. Heine advises the prince to leave once he’s finished, as their “home” is no place for a “sheltered, pampered child.” Viktor starts to protests, but then notices a little girl staring at him. He offers the child his apple, even though he’d already taken a bite, which she happily accepts and Heine follows suit. He then formally introduces himself to Viktor, who omits his surname for obvious reasons. From then on, the two began meeting up whenever Viktor snuck into town. In caring for the children, Heine taught Viktor ways to get by, such as how to stay fed and find a warm place to sleep. Viktor was shocked by the gap between the rich and poor and how the orphaned children had to band together just to survive. One night, Heine approaches Viktor with a bottle of Niederglanzreich white wine. Viktor then offers his pocketwatch in exchange for the wine, suggesting Heine sell the watch to buy blankets and warm clothes for the children to get them through the winter. He then promises them a warm place to sleep, plenty of food, and access to education, expressing his desire to make Granzreich a peaceful, prosperous nation. Heine laughs it off, saying he’d do anything if he could live in a “dreamland like that.”
Sometime later, on the day of the harvest festival, Viktor sneaks out once again to meet Heine. However, unbeknownst to him, the palace had discovered his absence and scrambles to find him, believing he’d been kidnapped. In their efforts to avoid the guards, the boys are cornered and Heine drops the pocketwatch. The guards recognize the royal family’s crest on the watch and assume Heine is the kidnapper. One of them fires at him, but Viktor steps in front of Heine and ends up taking a bullet in the chest. Devastated at seeing his friend hurt, Heine flies into a rage and attacks the guards who claim he used Viktor as a shield. Viktor recovers enough to stop Heine who is then captured by the guards, calling out for his friend.
A few days later, Viktor regains consciousness to find that Heine had been imprisoned for kidnapping and attempting to kill him for material gain, having only then learned his new friend was the crown prince. Rather than plead his innocence, Heine only prays for Viktor to live. Sure enough, Viktor comes to retrieve Heine after explaining the situation to the King and securing a pardon for his friend. Sometime after, Viktor was crowed King of Granzreich and built a small church for the orphaned children he had met. Despite having been unable to read or write before, Heine became their teacher and was respected and loved by all.
Believing Heine must’ve spent an inordinate amount of effort to attain that much knowledge, Viktor called him to the palace as the Royal Tutor. He explains to his sons that although Heine’s background is a closely-guarded secret, he decided to tell them in anticipation of unfounded rumors circulating and wanted them to know the truth. Even knowing people would likely create wild stories like the tabloid article, the two promised each other that if Heine’s past ever came to light, he would leave his post without a word. Viktor then reveals the message he received from his steward was Heine’s resignation.
Since I’m an emotional person, I expect to cry a little but I was literally sobbing by the end. Now I’m holding onto hope for a second season or the very least subbed footage of the stage musical. When Viktor comments about a child bringing him wine, it’s interesting that Heine protests being called a child (since he was probably more of a child then than he is now). Based on the final preview, I assume the princes will naturally attempt to keep Heine as their tutor or at the very least to keep him from leaving the palace. Like them, I don’t want this to end either.