The mysteries surrounding Roswaal L Mathers are too much. Everything from his allegiance to Emilia in the elections to his relationship with the Witch of Greed Echidna have been questioned by fans. His unpredictable actions and taciturn demeanor during the trials of the sanctuary do nothing to allay the doubts that we have about Roswaal and his motives.
In Re:Zero Season 2 Episode 10, it was made clear that Roswaal is aware of Subaru’s Return by Death ability. And he wants Subaru to use this ability to protect (only) Emilia and clear the trials of the sanctuary. This will somehow help Roswaal achieve the goal that he has been desperately waiting to fulfil. While he doesn’t mention this explicitly, his conversation with Subaru before being ravaged by The Great Rabbit does imply it heavily.
But then, what could be Roswaal’s goal? What is the desire that burns in his heart ? What is he trying to achieve? The following part of the article contains major spoilers for Arc 4 (parts not covered in anime) and Season 2 of Re:Zero. Read ahead at your own discretion
What is Roswaal’s Goal in Re:Zero?
Roswaal’s goal is to revive his teacher and his mentor, The Witch of Greed, Echidna at any cost. He has schemed, lied, made enemies and is even willing to sacrifice his own life in order to achieve this.
Echidna’s soul is sealed in her tomb in the Sanctuary. This is also the resting place of her body. Roswaal believes that he can break the seal holding back her soul using the dragon’s blood. However, the dragon’s blood (or the dragon itself) is only accessible to the members of the royal family. This is the reason why Roswaal is supporting Emilia in the race to be Lugunica’s ruler.
He is manipulating Subaru in order to make him do everything in his power to make Emilia the ruler. This explains why Roswaal asks Subaru to focus only on the person he loves the most and not try to save everyone.
If that’s the case then why does Roswaal want to kill the Dragon?
Roswaal states in Season 1 that he intended to kill the Dragon Volcanica who was a key figure in sealing away the witch of Envy Satella. However, there is another small detail relating to Volcanica mentioned in the Web Novels of Re:Zero. Volcanica is the dragon who is responsible for sealing Echidna’s soul in the sanctuary.
Teppei Nagatsuki, the author, had stated previously that killing the dragon is not essentially related to reviving Echidna. We assume it could be Roswaal’s way of taking revenge on the dragon for having sealed Echidna. This part should be revealed soon as the plot of Re:Zero progresses.
Then what is Roswaal’s reason for coming to the Sanctuary?
Roswaal came to the Sanctuary in order to take the Trials of the sanctuary and make the barrier disappear. This would free the sanctuary in the name of Emilia, helping her gain a front foot in the elections and bring Roswaal closer to his goals. However, he was not qualified to take the trials, which led to the tomb rejecting him. Roswaal was gravely injured in this process. That’s the reason why we see Roswaal covered in bandages in Re:Zero Season 2.
But wait, Echidna was a witch who lived almost 400 years ago. And Roswaal L Mathers is only 29 years old when the incidents in the Sanctuary take place. So how exactly does he know Echidna? And what is his relationship with her?
Roswaal and Echidna:
The Roswaal we see in Re:Zero is actually the original Roswaal, Roswaal A Mathers, who has been possessing his descendants’ bodies, with a view to revive Echidna.
Roswaal A Mathers was born more than 400 years ago when Echidna was still alive. He was a prodigy back in his time but was shunned due to the misconceptions surrounding magic at that time. When Echidna comes across him, she realises his immense potential and begins mentoring him. She even fixes his damaged gate and helps him improve leaps and bounds. Eventually he becomes Echidna’s follower. This explains how he possessed one of the ‘true gospels’ which Echidna had made.
As Echidna was the only one who didn’t push him away for being able mage, Roswaal admires her and cultivates deep feelings for her. To him she was the most important person in the world. However, his feelings are not reciprocated as Echidna is a witch who is unable to comprehend human emotions.
When the Warlock of Melancholy, Hector, attacks the Sanctuary before the barrier could be completed, Roswaal fights him, putting his life on the line. By doing so, he buys Echidna some time to set up a barrier using Ryuzu Meyer as a sacrifice. Not much information is available about the incidents that followed this. But, after Echidna’s death, Roswaal spiraled down the dark path to come up with a way to revive his beloved teacher.
Roswaal read all the books in Echidna’s forbidden library in order to find clues to revive her. He might have gotten the idea of possessing his descendants (soul transfer essentially) from Echidna’s immortality experiments that she carried out in the sanctuary.
In addition to all of this, Roswaal has been taking actions based on the things written the Gospel that Echidna gave him. He is the main perpetrator behind most of the incidents happening in Re:Zero, including the destruction of Rem and Ram’s village and also the hiring of Elsa Granhiert both at the start of season 1 and in season 2.
Are you surprised to know about Roswaal’s goal and motives in Re:Zero or were you able to guess it already? Let us know in the comments section!