|“||He was the kind of person who made me want to be by his side. I guess I’m trying to say that he was almost childlike, in a sense. In both the good ways and the bad.||”|
Gretto Avaro, (グレット・アヴァーロ, Guretto Avāro) was Maiza Avaro's younger brother, Sylvie Lumiere's boyfriend, and a passenger aboard the Advena Avis. Prior to the ship's departure in 1711, he committed several acts of arson against the aristocrats' estates in Lotto Valentino.
After he and Maiza became complete immortals, Maiza told him half of the Grand Panacea's knowledge—knowledge which Szilard Quates obtained after devouring Gretto in his sleep. Gretto thus was the first casualty of the 1711 generation, and his murder the prelude to a massacre which would claim twelve other passengers that night.
Appearance[edit | edit source]
Gretto has wavy brown hair and brown eyes. Aboard the Advena Avis, he wears a brown vest over a white shirt with its collar popped up, and breeches and stocking.
Personality[edit | edit source]
Gretto is remembered by his loved ones as a kind, if fainthearted, young man who was more someone to protect rather than a protector. Up until 1711, he sees himself as a coward, a passive idler who hopes that others will change without forcing him to act. However, his arguments with both his father and his brother in 1711 demonstrate that he has more of a backbone than even he himself had thought.
His frustration with his own passivity, combined with his forced house arrest and longtime disillusionment with his father, lead him to become excited at the sight of Lotto Volentino burning outside of his window and consequently commit multiple counts of arson, inspired to instigate war between the Avaros and House Dormentaire and threaten society as a result.
Chronology[edit | edit source]
Pre-1711[edit | edit source]
Gretto is born in Lotto Valentino as the second son of the Avaro Family, one of the most powerful aristocratic families in the city. He is younger than his older brother Maiza Avaro by several years, as he is still in his boyhood in 1705 while Maiza is considered a young man.
In the summer of the same year, he either witnesses or is informed of a large street commotion and races off in search of Maiza. He finds his older brother on a hilltop in the aristocrat's district; after being sharply rebuked by his brother for calling him "Maiza" rather than "Aile," he reports on the commotion in the streets and explains how it stems from the riots Count Esperanza C. Boroñal quelled the night before.
AS Gretto grows older, he grows disillusioned with his father: a strict, callous man who had exerted power over Lotto Valentino via a drug he commissioned from alchemist Begg Garrott (a knockoff of which the citizens were producing circa 1705). Meanwhile, he falls in love with Sylvie Lumiere—one of the family's maids employed in the manor.
Lacking the courage to openly rebel against his father as Maiza has done with the Rotten Eggs, Gretto secretly rebels by continuing to love Sylvie—as courting women of a lower station is something his father condemns and forbids. His rebellion is a passive one; he bides his time, hoping that external change will someday and somehow allow him and Sylvie to freely love each other.
1711[edit | edit source]
House Dormentaire, in response to Mask Maker assaults against their headquarters, property, and delegation stationed in Lotto Valentino during 1710, seize control of the city by 1711. As an enormously wealthy aristocratic family from Spain, they primarily exert power by influencing the city's economy—using money to sway small business owners and aristocrats alike.
Not unaware of the Avaros' status and power, the Dormentaires offer one or more proposals of arranged marriage with respect to Gretto—who turns down these proposals citing disinterest in the proffered women.
These rejections earn him the wrath of his father, with whom he has a tense-to-heated confrontation in the former's study. He refutes his father's claim that the Dormentaires might use the rejections as an excuse to impose greater control upon them—on the grounds that he does not think the Dormentaires will care much that the proposals failed—and his father concedes easily. Then, in mockingly dismissing Gretto's claims of 'disinterest' as reasons for rejection, he reveals that he knows about Gretto's "witless infatuation" with a "seductress of a maid."
Blanching, Gretto manages to object to the term 'seductress' by insisting that he approached 'her' first and fell in love with 'her' first—deliberately avoiding Sylvie's name in the faint hope his father does not know which maid it is. His hope is crushed when his father refers to Sylvie by her name not a moment later, asserting that he will 'explain' Gretto's tryst with Sylvie using whatever 'truth' he decides upon. If he so wished, he could even claim Gretto lost his mind to a drug.
After pointing out Sylvie's absence in the manor that morning, he announces he has already sold Sylvie to governor Boroñal. The revelation outrages and sickens Gretto in equal measure, as he is all too aware of the Count's reputation as a despicable philanderer, and he accuses his father of cruelty. His father counters he has been merciful, and warns he might just do away with Sylvie in an 'accident' if Gretto continues to defy him.
As a last resort, Gretto invokes Maiza's name. This only incenses his father, as does the accusation that he destroyed Lotto Valentino with drugs, and he forbids Gretto from stepping foot outside the manor until further notice. Several servants proceed to drag Gretto out of the study at his summons, Gretto struggling in vain to break free.
Gretto is shortly confined to his room, where, through his window, he is shocked to see smoke rising across the city. Fearing for Sylvie's safety, he looks to the governor's manor and finds it unharmed; relieved, he turns his eyes upon the streets instead to wonder what is transpiring in the city. At the same time, seeds of hope and courage are sowed within him: hope that the smoke might just be a sign of the change he has been longing for; and courage to take action himself.
Over the next week, Gretto watches Lotto Valentino burn. All across the city, Dormentaire-linked buildings, facilities, and ships are set alight with explosive fury—and with nothing else to occupy his time, he gives the inferno and chaos outside his window his undivided attention. AS the fires grow, so too does Gretto's courage alongside his desire for change, and by the week's end he has been excited into action.
Exploiting gaps in the manor's security (the Avaros, like other noble families, having resorted to hiring untrained street thugs as guards during the reign of fiery terror), and potentially bribing the servants, Gretto spends the next three nights sneaking out of the manor and setting fire to various aristocrat estates—taking care not to set fires too close to either his or the governor's manor.
Gretto's acts of arson (effectively committed in the Mask Maker's shadow) are an attempt to draw the aristocrats into the war between the Dormentaires and Mask Makers, all but a wild bid to destroy the world his blue blood chains him to. With libraries also being targeted over this three-day period, Gretto's estate fires noticeably disrupt the established target patterns of the past week.
A full ten days after the first explosion, Szilard Quates' alchemy workshop-cum-ship explodes in the harbor and is quickly consumed by flame. Gretto notices the subsequent frenzy in the streets from his window and the red hue to the sky near the harbor; by the end of the ensuing hour, the fire is brought under control and the streets return to uneasy peace.
Having extinguished his lights, Gretto sits in the dark all a-jitter with excitement at the site of his world—Lotto Valentino—crumbling before him. He is muttering "I knew it...it's not over" when he feels a draft that should not exist—as the window was meant to be closed—and when he turns, he finds an intruder beyond the windowsill, their Mask Maker's mask illuminated in the moonlight.
The intruder identifies herself only as an ally of Sylvie before accusing Gretto of setting fire to the aristocrats' manors at night. She warns him that some have begun to suspect the Avaros and their servants as the culprits; claiming that she does not want Gretto to fall into Dormentaire clutches, she hands him a ceramic sphere and instructs him to go to the Third Library and clear himself of suspicion. Before she leaves, she wonders how much Gretto is willing to risk for Sylvie's sake.
Gretto is willing enough to set his room on fire via the ceramic bomb. The resulting fire is small and readily contained, but Gretto suffer minor burns in the process nonetheless—all the more tangible proof that he is an arson 'victim' rather than arsonist. At first, Gretto is meant to receive medical treatment at the Meyer Family workshop—but Fermet is able to have him moved to the Third Library for treatment instead.
There, professor and doctor Renee Parmedes Branvillier attends to Gretto's burns while he rests on one of the infirmary beds and Fermet watches from a corner. During the time he and Fermet are in contact, Fermet informs him that Maiza plans on leaving Lotto Valentino via the ship Advena Avis.
His bandages are still fresh when Sylvie arrives and throws herself into his arms, causing him to flinch in pain—pain which only doubles when Renee crashes into Sylvie in the middle of admonishing her. Elmer C. Albatross introduces Sylvie to Renee, and leaves Sylvie to begin summarizing the past ten days to Gretto while he speaks with Fermet.
Not a minute later, Maiza flings the door open and rushes to Gretto's side. His initial relief at the minor state of Gretto's injuries morphs into reckoning as he asks Gretto if the Mask Maker hurt him, and Gretto 'admits' that a person wearing a mask tossed a ceramic sphere at his wall, the ball starting a fire upon impact. Where Maiza naturally suspects the Mask Maker, Fermet suggests that the culprit could be someone else entirely, asking on a personal grudge against Gretto while trying to foist blame on the serial killer.
Maiza refuses to believe Gretto could have earned such a grudge, and Gretto fervently paints himself as an innocent do-gooder. He shakes his head at Maiza and Sylvie swearing revenge, pointing out that the culprit's actions led to him escaping the house and reuniting with Sylvie. Furthermore, it led him to the Third Library and this chance—which he seizes by asking Maiza if he is not intending to leave the city on the Advena Avis.
At Maiza's shock, Fermet apologizes—he had been so certain Maiza would have told his family about his plans. And at Maiza's regret, Gretto tells his brother he will not ask why Maiza never said anything (or if he ever intended to); in a show of pure courage, he requests that Maiza allow him and Sylvie to board the ship too.
The question angers Maiza—who objects to the couple boarding for the sake of elopement—but Gretto matches anger for anger and the two launch into an argument that sends Renee scurrying out of the room. Dalton Strauss ends the quarrel by offering to write in the couple as assistants on the ship's passenger list, a suggestion which Maiza cannot argue against. The argument hardly matters come sunset: when, in the harbor, a Dormentaire ship said to be carrying Lucrezia de Dormentaire explodes on its way to port.
With Lucrezia presumed dead, the Dormentaires promise deadly retribution against the alchemists whom they suspect (or: will blame) for the explosion. They spend the next several days developing a plan of attack and seize and place the Advena Avis under guard as soon as it makes port—but the alchemists are quick to either flee the city or go into hiding during this time, prompting a manhunt.
Days after Carla Alvarez Santoña and her Dormentaire men storm the Third Library to find it empty, Gretto and Sylvie gather with over twenty alchemists in the basement (catacombs) under the Third Library at Dalton's arrangement. Dalton's plan for them to flee on the Advena Avis has not changed in principle, and he introduces Nile, Denkurō Tōgō, and Zank Rowan as three confreres whom Majeedah Batutah has sent to aid in the transatlantic voyage.
While Dalton fields ensuing questions, Gretto and Sylvie follow Maiza over to Fermet and Czeslaw Meyer, the latter a scared boy of about ten years. After Sylvie leaves with Czes to fetch fruit, Gretto expresses gloomy sympathy for Czes' plight; Begg curses Lord Avaro's name—believing him to be involved in the situation—but when Fermet censures him for speaking ill of the Avaro brothers' father, Gretto darkly mutters that Begg's curse wasn't condemning enough.
The hint of malice in Gretto's voice worries Maiza, but it is Fermet who steps in. Though he understands Gretto's resentment, he urges him not to speak so harshly of his father; if he continues to harbor anger against his family, that malice will someday consume him. While maintaining distance may be presently for the best—perhaps one day Gretto might be able to send his father a letter. Some of the shadow leaves Gretto's face, and he thanks Fermet for making him feel better. Maiza thanks Fermet in turn for his kindness.
Two hours later, a rapid-fire series of explosions rages through Lotto Valentino yet again. Gretto and the alchemists, having made their way for the harbor via the catacombs, take the opportunity to board the Advena Avis while the Dormentaire soldiers are occupied. Once all are on the ship and accounted for, the Advena Avis flees the harbor with a Dormentaire warship in hot pursuit.
The warship doggedly pursues them for at least half an hour, after which time a soot-caked Victor Talbot emerges from the freight hold and orders all to freeze while brandishing a flintlock pistol. He admits to Denkurō that he stowed away in a crate for the past few days; then, he takes aim at Maiza and orders him to stop the vessel.
With Gretto, Sylvie, and others watching in trepidation, Maiza stands his ground against Victor's demands while the warship continues to close in. Nile abandons the helm with the intention of slaughtering the warship's crew once the ship catches up—but the alchemist watching the warship through a telescope exclaims a man on its deck is waving at them.
The warship proves to be carrying three familiar faces: Szilard, Elmer, and Huey Laforet, who board the Advena Avis as last-minute additions to the passenger list. Ultimately, the Advena Avis escapes the Mediterranean for the Atlantic with thirty passengers on board.
During the transatlantic crossing, Maiza successfully summons a demon as per Dalton's tutelage. The demon gives all the alchemists the Grand Panacea—a liquor which grants true immortality—but only Maiza the knowledge how to make it. Alongside his brother, Gretto imbibes the elixir and becomes a complete immortal.
Come nightfall, Maiza begins telling Gretto the secret of the liquor—but he stops halfway at an abrupt epiphany, and refuses to relate the rest. The next day, Maiza informs the other alchemists of his decision to permanently seal his knowledge to some protest, none of which changes his mind.
That evening, Gretto and Maiza retire to their cabin as usual—each sleeping in opposite beds. Szilard sneaks into their cabin in the middle of the night and devours Gretto while he sleeps, Maiza waking just in time to witness the act but too late to stop it.
In the Anime[edit | edit source]
In a cabin aboard the Advena Avis, Gretto admits to Sylvie that he is frightened by Maiza's plan to summon a devil. He is not sure mankind is ready for eternal life, something he is not convinced is inherently wonderful, and insists he does not care when his life ends as long as he spends it with her, a sentiment she echoes.
Huey, having overheard their conversation in the corridor, states from the doorway that there is nothing to be afraid of. He recites a passage from the Emerald Tablet and is pleased when Gretto finishes the quote, positing that "everything is linked" when alchemists dabble in black magic, and that the demons humans have been taught are evil may not prove to be evil after all. Gretto asks if he is not scared, but Huey says he is nothing but interested in what will come next. Despite Gretto's misgivings, he and Denkurō assist Maiza in the summoning ritual, and after a moment's hesitation drinks the Grand Panacea with the rest. When Maiza announces his decision to seal the knowledge of the elixir to the alchemists the next day, Gretto is the first to support Maiza's decision
That evening, unware of Szilard spying at the keyhole, Maiza confides his own doubts about the immortals' future and the future of mankind to Gretto. He asks if he can share with him half of the liquor's secret, explaining that Gretto is the only one he can trust aboard the ship, and that he needs someone to retain the knowledge should Maiza himself ever be eaten. Though Gretto initially tries to refuse, stricken and sure he would not be able to bear the weight of such responsibility, he ultimately relents and accepts the knowledge.
Later, once Maiza has left, Szilard enters and ties Gretto to a chair so he cannot escape. Ignoring Gretto's desperate protests, he calls this Gretto's "punishment" for allowing Maiza to "play favorites" and devours him where he sits.
Trivia[edit | edit source]
- Gretto owes his name to Aniplex producer Shuko Yokoyama, according to an entry she wrote for the 2007 anime Staff Blog on July 10, 2007 (archived). After Ryohgo Narita informed her that 'Avaro' means 'stingy' or 'cheapskate' in Italian, she hit upon the Italian adjective gretto (effectively a synonym for avaro, as it also means 'stingy' or 'miserly') as a potential name for Maiza Avaro's younger brother.
- The official Yen Press translation's usage of 'Gretto' further confirms this is the intended reading. 'Gerd', an alternate Hepburn romanization which saw occasional use when the anime was broadcasting, is thus an incorrect reading.
- Gretto additionally owes his character design to the anime rather than the light novels, as remarked by Yokoyama in her blog entry and independently stated by novel illustrator Enami Katsumi on his personal blog in 2007.
- In the 2007 anime's English dub, Gretto's voice actor Jason Liebrecht also voices Luck Gandor. In the French dub, Gretto's voice actress Justine Hostekint also voices Firo Prochainezo.
- Gretto and Sylvie's dialogue with each other and with Huey in Episode 07 would suggest they are either alchemists or have some knowledge of alchemy, but this is not the case in the light novels; though they are listed as 'assistants' on the ship's passenger list, neither studied alchemy prior to leaving Lotto Valentino.
- In 2001 The Children of Bottle, Sylvie tells Feldt Nibiru the following: that she had once confessed to Gretto she wanted to make the fairy tale of "eternal beauty" a reality for herself; that Gretto had assured her people are more than their appearances, that he thought her pretty just as she was, and that he wanted to spend eternity married to her after becoming immortal; and how, in hearing his response, she wanted to become eternally beautiful for his sake—and so did not drink the Grand Panacea at the same time he did.
- As Sylvie later reveals to Feldt she delayed drinking the liquor (and thus 'became beautiful') for the sake of revenge, it is not clear whether she fabricated this anecdote or whether it was true and her motive simply changed after Gretto's murder.
- If true, Gretto's attitude toward immortality is far more positive than that of his anime counterpart's.