The Lovers does have the obvious meanings of sexuality and relationships. However The Lover also carries meanings around beliefs and values that are a perfect touch at the end of the series.
Eternal Love begins with the Zone of Absolute Fortune opening over the battlefield. The wave of green light is interpreted by the surviving Zaibach troops as meaning the fall of the empire, and many of the Zaibach troops start retreating.
Dornkirk tells Hitomi that with the Atlantis machine at full power, the zone will grant wishes and absolute happiness. Hitomi points out that this what destroyed Atlantis in the first place.
I'd just like to point out that opening a zone like that over a battlefield is pure idiocy on Dornkirk's part.
In that environment no-one (except Hitomi) is going to be wishing for peace, and the fragile alliance comes apart immediately. Basram attacks Norte to gain an advantage, the Daedalus army launches its own sneak attack, Cesario follows, as do the rest.
The Basram leviship heavily damages the Crusade but they manage to make a "good" landing of sorts.
Van is still trying to focus on Zaibach as the scene switches back to Hitomi and Dornkirk.
Hitomi asks why the allies are fighting and Dornkirk replies that this is what their emotions want.
Dilandau seems to be enjoying himself.
Dornkirk is wondering why the people can't let go of war.
Jajuka is trying to catch up with Dilandau and there's a flashback to when he was caring for a younger Celena. Jajuka clearly tried to protect her as best he could, and the guilt still lingers.
Hitomi begs for the Dornkirk to stop the machine but Dornkirk replies that it isn't possible. If people wish for destruction then there is nothing to do but accept it.
Dilandau finds Van. The resulting fight is quick as Van essentially dismembers Dilandau's guymelef. He's lining up for the final strike when Jajuka arrives, takes the blow on his own guymelef. As he falls he calls on Dilandau to turn back into Celena. Dilandau has a flashback of Celena and changes back.
I think that this is the first time that Dilandau remembers being Celena, and that this was the part of the key to changing back permanently. The other part being Jajuka's wish in the zone of Absolute Fortune that he powers with his own sacrifice.
Van is unaware of this and lines up for another strike. Hitomi intervenes somehow with the pendant, and then Allen is there to save Celena.
After blocking the blow, Allen calls for Van to put up his sword. Van has come to associate all of Gaea's problems with Dilandau and says so. Allen tells Van the truth, claims Dilandau's crimes for his own, and challenges Van as Knight of the Heavens to an all out duel.
[Aside: This is where the scene of Escaflowne and Scherazade duelling in the opening credits comes from]
Hitomi doesn't want to be told that they are fighting because it is their wish.
As the duel continues Dornkirk comments on how happy Van and Allen are (they do seem to be enjoying themselves) and that their wishes have been granted.
Meanwhile Celena has made her way out of Dilandau's wrecked guymelef and is observing from one side. As she does, flashes of the style cause her recognise Scherazade and she calls out to Allen.
In that moment of distraction Van gets an opportunity to strike, collapsing Scherazade's face plate but is just held back from the fatal blow by Hitomi's spirit.
Hitomi tries to persuade him to stop fighting but she can't get him to understand. Suddenly Folken's spirit reassures her that it will work out if Hitomi believes in Van.
Suddenly Hitomi sees that it is her muddled emotions that are part of the problem and admits to loving Van. Hitomi apologises to Van for not understanding and that is the moment when Van backs off.
Allen rushes to Celena who actually recognises him. Allen tells Van to go get Hitomi and Van flies off.
Dornkirk admits defeat and Hitomi quite cheerfully claims that she doesn't believe in predetermined fate. Van's attempt to fly to Zaibach on Escaflowne runs into trouble as the energist fails. Van sprouts his wings and goes in alone.
The falling feathers and the sight of a dragon flying away brings the fighting to an end.
Van flies into the green beam of light.
Dornkirk breaks another of the Evil Overlord rules with a variant of "No! This cannot be" as his spirit fades away. There is another parting comment about love overcoming war and wondering if it can last which is proof that even at the end Dornkirk doesn't understand.
Of course the moment won't last, but it is up to the people of Gaea to work that out and make the next moments themselves.
The skies clear and the battle ends.
We next see Hitomi on Earth looking out over the ocean. Some other school girls to her left are talking about romance and wondering if it will work out. One of them asks Hitomi to do a reading but Hitomi calmly advises them that she's given up fortune telling.
This first scene on Earth is a little out of order, and I'm not sure why.
The next scene is the rebuilding of Fanelia that segues into Van commemorating Folken at shrine in a grove of trees. Hitomi is looking on and Escaflowne is parked nearby.
Van is a lot calmer and removes the energist because Folken wanted Escaflowne to sleep. Van wants to see a Fanelia that doesn't need Escaflowne.
Hitomi wants to see it as well, but knows that she can't. This exchange between the two is more than a little bittersweet, especially when Hitomi gives Van her pendant as parting gift.
As they embrace we see visions of those who have passed resting in peace, but also a future couple of Millerna and Dryden. Spirits of draconians (the ladies seen in the opening credits BTW) circle around them and as Van lifts the energist to sky the pillar of light appears and Hitomi is sent home.
The pillar of light is basically seen everywhere in Gaea so you get final shots of all the characters.
At the last Hitomi is watching over the ocean, sees Van sitting on some rocks briefly, says she's doing fine.
And that's it.
To me the ending of Escaflowne is absolutely perfect.
Until I looked the The Lovers up this evening I didn't know the interpretations beyond the obvious ones of relationships and sexuallity. I actually thought that the series was ending with a reversed card.
Instead the series ends with a clear example of refusing temptation, of staying true to herself, and choosing correctly between right and wrong.
However much she loves Van, Hitomi knows that she is simply too powerful to remain safely on Gaea. It is clear that the option to stay was there but Hitomi voluntarily made the right decision to return home.</p>
This is why I chose Hitomi as my favourite anime heroine in the Thirty Days of Anime posts.
Day 1 - Fateful Confession / The Tower
Day 2 - The Girl From the Mystic Moon / Ace of Serpents
Day 3 - The Gallant Swordsman / Death
Day 4 - The Diabolical Adonis / The Hanged Man
Day 5 - The Seal of the Brothers / Judgement
Day 6 - Capitol of Intrigue / Justice
Day 7 - Unexpected Partings / The Chariot
Day 8 - Sub vs Dub
Day 9 - The Day the Angel Flew / Temperance
Day 10 - Memories of a Feather / Ace of Birds
Day 11 - The Blue-Eyed Prince / Knight of Beasts
Day 12 - Prophecy of Death / The Devil
Day 13 - The Secret Door / High Priestess
Day 14 - Red Destiny / The Emperor
Day 15 - The Gender of Escaflowne
Day 16 - Dangerous Wounds / The Magician
Day 17 - Lost Paradise / The Star
Day 18 - The Guided Ones / Wheel of Fortune
Day 19 - The Edge of the World / The Empress
Day 20 - The Gravity of Destiny / The World
Day 21 - Operation Golden Rule of Love / The Fool
Day 22 - False Vows / The Moon
Day 23 - Reaction of Fortune / The Hierophant
Day 24 - Destiny, Free Will, and Personal Responsibility
Day 25 - The Black Winged Angel / The Sun
Day 26 - Storm Premonition / Ace of Beasts
Day 27 - Fateful Decision / The Hermit
Day 28 - Zone of Absolute Fortune / Strength
Day 29 - Eternal Love / The Lovers
Day 30 - Looking Back at The Vision of Escaflowne