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One of the more interesting sub plots on Grimm has to do with Portland Police Captain Sean Renard. The series may eventually get around to finally answering who or what this enigmatic character might be but in the mean time we can only speculate.
Grimm has mostly been based on, or at least inspired by a variety of old and more modern folk tales. Grimm’s Fairy Tales (obviously), Japanese Folk Legends, and even John Steinbeck’s “Of Mice and Men”. So any speculation would have to consider any relevant literary sources.
So lets have some fun imagining who or what Sean Renard could be. Lets start with his name.
What does the name Renard mean?
Renard is a derived from the combination French/Norman/Dutch/English word Reynard.
A Reynard is a male fox. In many fables worldwide, a fox is depicted as a cunning trickster.
In German, the word is Regin which translates as something with divine power and strong counsel i.e. one who is wise, clever, and resourceful.
There is no doubt that Renard fits that description and since Grimm is centered around characters being some form of creature, it would not be out of the possibility that Renard is a Fox-like creature, possibly a Fuchsbau.
However, the Fuchsbau (Foxhole), as described by Crawford Grimm, is an extremely shy creature who is often involved in shady transactions. Renard definitely can’t be described as shy but he hasn’t exactly been an upright citizen either when it was revealed he had received monetary kickback from the Lowen games director, Leo Taymor, to allow those illegal games to continue. So whose side ends up benefiting with Renard’s clever and cunning traits has yet to be determined.
On a side note, the name Sean is an Irish dialect for the French name Jean (John). In the 13th century Ireland was invaded under the direction of William the Conqueror by Norman Knights from France, which eventually resulted in Norman nobility replacing Irish nobility which had the affect over time of mixing French and Irish dialects.
Now lets try and speculate how Renard came to be.
Is Renard based on a specific Fairy Tale Character?
We know he speaks and reads Latin. Renard explained that ability by saying he had once planned to be a doctor.
The Grimm Fairy Tale Dr. Knowell, tells of a peasant who desires to be a doctor. The peasant is advised by another doctor to just get some healing books and study them, acquire some medical tools, and make a sign to hang out announcing his practice. So now that he is a “doctor”, he and his wife get invited to various upscale dinners.
Without going into a lot of detail, he inadvertently convinces some servants, who had stolen some gold from the wealthy host of a dinner he is attending, that he knows they are the thieves. So the servants offer him some gold in return for his silence, in which he agrees. The servants tell him where the gold is buried, so the “Doctor” also receives a reward for telling the host where the gold was buried. The Doctor soon acquires great wealth and power.
Could it be that Renard at some time in his past, faked being a doctor or some other position of privilege in order to accumulate great wealth and power?
In another “Fox” oriented Grimm tale entitled The Wolf and the Fox, a Fox, in order to escape the control a Wolf has over him, takes advantage of the Wolf’s gluttony to escape.
Could Renard be a man (or creature) on the run from some mysterious source of power who once had control over him? Or has Renard gone “Rogue” in order to get away from that source that is trying to control him?
There is even a third possibility that Renard himself now poses a threat to some internal Wesen society power struggle, as evidenced by The Ferrat.
Who or what is the Ferrat?
Could that source of power within the Wesen society be the mysterious Ferrat that expressed displeasure with Renard through a representative on the phone? The Ferrat may be an individual or an organization.
If the Ferrat is an individual (human or creature) then that could tie into the word Ferret (a long weasel like creature) which in turn is the Latin word Furittus which means “Little Thief”.
The odds are favorable that if this Ferrat is an individual he/she/it more than likely obtained any power or wealth by nefarious means.
Ferret creatures themselves were used by the Roman Emperor Caesar Augustus to control the rabbit plagues in England in 6 B.C.
This Ferret seems to wish to control Renard, who may be considered a pox (plague) on the house of Wesen itself.
It is strongly accepted that Renard is some type of royalty within the Wesen world.
How did he become royal? Was he born into a royal family, as implied by a recent comment that his family once owned a valuable painting from the 17th century, or did he obtain the status of royalty based on his own endeavors? This could open up the possibility that Renard is very old or even immortal.
History has shown us how families developed into royalty through many generations by either acquiring great wealth (legally or otherwise) or through “forced confrontation” (war), enabling them to acquire large tracts of land.
Becoming “Land Barons”, they were able to hire people to serve them (becoming servants) and allow even poorer (peasants) to live on the Baron’s land, in return for a pittance (taxes) and/or to work the land to provide goods and services for the Baron to later sell or trade to other Barons, thus providing the blueprint for what would later become sovereign countries and creating trade between those lands. The Barons would also provide protection for the peasants through the hiring of soldiers or knights. These peasants, now under the protection of the Barons, who now declared themselves royalty and ruled as Kings, declaring all inhabitants within this land their subjects.
Was this how Renard obtained his “status” of royalty?
A Royal Canton?
Renard has made comments about controlling his Canton. Canton is a French word meaning corner or district. It is basically used for administrative purposes and is set up into divisions within a country. These divisions are generally small, as compared to the overall population, but that in turn provides more direct control over all the residents.
Is Renard a fallen royal, his power now reduced to a limited area, a Canton? Or is his Canton a pseudo-prison, a form of punishment for some grievances against the Wesen society or the Ferrat itself?
Is Renard a Grimm?
We know Renard is a Captain of the Portland Police department but could he also be a “Royal Captain” of an ancient and legendary line of Grimms?
If so, then why would he arrange for the death of one of his own, Marie Kessler? Lets speculate that Renard is indeed a Grimm. What would be some of the reasons he would have her killed?
Did Kessler go rogue and was operating without any rules and restrictions as possibly set up within some original Grimm charter that Renard was pledged to uphold?
This is possible because she seemed to have a tremendously fearful reputation among all the Wesen and she seemed biased in that all Wesen pose a threat and must be eliminated.
So now we ask why would Marie Kessler have gone rogue?
There are several possibilities. We know that it was possible that Nick’s parents (Marie’s relatives) were killed by Wesen, at least according to the Steinadler Farley Kolt, although he may not necessarily be a reliable source since Steinadler’s can be deceptive.
Marie may have had other close friends and/or relatives killed by Wesen that would have caused her to start a vendetta against all the creatures. A vendetta that, if Renard were her superior officer, would have to stop to keep some type of balance and peace within the Wesen world. Renard may have been forced to arrange for her to be eliminated, as she could no longer function within the Grimm organization.
Another possibility that Renard is a Grimm in that Nick has not yet detected him to be a creature. Now it could be that Renard is a type of powerful Wesen yet introduced that can control or cover up his true shape even from a Grimm but we just don’t know enough at this point.
Is Renard the Rogue Grimm?
Another possibility in that Marie Kessler may have come to Portland to not only tell Nick she was dying and that he is a Grimm but to track down and kill Renard on the orders of someone or something (the Ferrat?). Renard was aware she was in town and arranged to eliminate her first. There were things that Marie needed to tell Nick but she died before she could. Was she going to also warn Nick about who or what Renard is and what he was planning?
A Powerful Man caught up in a Wesen Power Struggle?
Renard seems to be caught up in some form of Wesen power struggle. A first we see that he is very powerful. As some form of royalty this is well understood, as he has the Hexenbeist Adalind Schade by his side and Hexenbeist’s are supposedly loyal to royalty.
When Reapers show up to kill Nick, Renard intervenes and makes the Reaper bow down in royal respect then harshly cuts off the ear of the Reaper to remind him who is still in charge and to listen and obey his orders.
So Renard is an all powerful royal figure within the Wesen world whose word is law, right? Not necessarily so.
We have the implied threats of the Ferrat, along with the severed ear sent to Renard in a Reaper box that either proves that Renard is not as powerful as we suspect, or is not as powerful as he once was and is no longer respected, as implied in the episode Last Grimm Standing, whereupon Renard had to arrange with a Wesen assassin posing as a priest, to eliminate the Lowen Games director, Leo Taymor, who seemed to believe royalty ain’t what it used to be.
Renard has also proven he will defend what power he has with those Wesen still loyal to him as he replied to a comment by the Wesen assassin/priest who said, “As it has always been,” in which Renard replied, “So shall it always be.” Obviously, Renard intends to remain in a position of power and regain what power, if any, he has lost.
There also maybe a coordinated Wesen effort to replace Renard himself. The fact that he seems to be protecting a Grimm, obviously does not seem to set well with some other possible Wesen leaders. Renard seems to want to be able to have a Grimm under his control but for what exact purpose is, like so much else about this very mysterious character, unclear….for now.
Coming soon: Speculations on the Evolution and Transformation of the Wesen Society.