‘Lord Of Misrule’ Ending Explained: Did Rebecca Bring Grace Home?


Lord of Misrule felt promising to begin with, but soon it turned into a confusing mess. The idea of a horror film revolving around pagan rituals and the clash between Christianity and Paganism was quite intriguing, but unfortunately, it failed to deliver. Instead of diving into the ghastly traditions to make it a spooky, gory affair, William Brent Bell’s Lord of Misrule plays it safe, and it ends up being repetitive and boring.

Rebecca Holland and her family arrived at the northern English village of Berrow to spread the message of Christianity. She was a minister at the local church, but from the handful of people in attendance, it was evident that the village folks preferred abiding by their old traditions. But even then, the Holland family was welcomed with open arms, and her daughter was chosen to be the harvest angel at the local harvest festival. While Rebecca baptized a young soul, her daughter, Grace, leaned toward pagan rituals that were sinister. Her interest in secretly causing harm to an innocent creature suggested that she had started to harbor evil.

Spoiler Alert

Who was the first suspect in Grace’s disappearance?

Grace was exposed more to the village culture through school than Rebecca or her husband, Henry. She had started to question the difference between what her mother preached and what the villagers believed in. She was already making poppets using her hair, and that proved how deeply influenced she was. Even though Rebecca noticed changes that she did not approve of, she allowed her daughter the freedom to explore the culture of the village. The festival revolved around the myth of the lord of the misrule and Gallowgog. The spirit brought along the harvest blight, and it was the duty of the lord of the misrule to drive the mischievous Gallowgog out of the village. The villagers rejoiced as a man dressed as the Lord of the Misrule drove Gallowgog out since it symbolized that no harm would fall upon the harvest anymore. It was all fun and frolic before Rebecca realized that her daughter had gone missing amidst the chaos. She was left confused when Grace’s friend, Bryony, stated that Grace had gone away. Rebecca frantically searched for her daughter, and she remembered seeing her in the woods with Gallowgog before she fell into a hollow way.

The next morning, Detective Hythe questioned Rebecca about her daughter’s disappearance, and she could sense that the police were not putting their efforts into finding Grace. Soon, the police came across video evidence of Derry Nash, dressed as Gallowgog, taking Grace into the woods. Rebecca took matters into her own hands and searched for Derry, who had gone missing after the festival. He lived with his grandfather, Graham, at his farm. She was terrified to find a carcass at his house decorated, and a figurine hung from it. Below the altar, the words “he stands in the field” were written with blood. It gradually became evident to Rebecca that her daughter was the target of some strange ritual that the villagers participated in. After Grace disappeared, Rebecca started to spend a lot of time in her daughter’s room, and it helped her feel close to Grace. She could sense that Grace was in pain, and she did not have much time on her hands to solve the mystery and bring her home.

What happened to Jocelyn Abney’s son?

When Rebecca requested the villagers pray for her daughter at the church, Jocelyn Abney protested. He believed that Grace was taken by Gallowgog, and even the Lord Rebecca believed in could not save Grace from him. She was the price the villagers had to pay the spirit to stay away from their harvest, and they believed that the family would eventually learn to cope with her absence.

Rebecca was surprised to witness the lack of empathy among the people of Berrow. As she mourned the sudden disappearance of her daughter, the villagers almost feasted at her place. According to the villagers, Grace’s sacrifice was necessary to keep Gallowgog happy, who would otherwise ransack the entire village. Rebecca learned more about the local folklore through her conversation with Miri Tremlow. To them, Gallowgog was not a demon but a spirit of the land who had once promised to bless the village in exchange for the offerings made to him at the black barn. The old families offered many gifts, but it was the sacrifice of children that satisfied Gallowgog. The church had previously tried to interfere with the beliefs of the villagers, and after years of not celebrating the harvest festival, the old families had now finally decided to hold onto their heritage and continue the celebration. The only difference was that they chased Gallowgog out now, though soon Rebecca found out that what she saw at the festival was not entirely the truth.

Rebecca was shocked to learn that Grace was not the first victim of the rituals; Jocelyn’s son, Thomas, had gone missing during the festival twelve years ago. Rebecca assumed that, since they shared the same grief, Jocelyn Abney might help her find her daughter. But to her surprise, Jocelyn had no interest in finding out about the reason behind Thomas’ disappearance. He was rather convinced that it was Gallowgog who took his son and Grace, and in return, the village would be blessed with miracles. He proudly showed Rebecca all the evidence he had that proved Gallowgog was happy with the sacrifice of Grace, and when the final sign—the gift of the midnight sun—would rise above the black barn, Jocelyn believed they would finally bear witness to the miracle Gallowgog would bless them with.

Why did the entire village conspire against the Holland family?

As time passed, Rebecca’s frustration with the village got worse. She was tired of the vague responses she received and searched for concrete answers. She realized Grace’s friend, Bryony, could be of some help, but the arrogance of the little kid got on her nerves. After Rebecca asserted herself, Bryony spoke about the nature club she and Grace were part of. As innocent as it sounded, Rebecca figured out that it was simply a cover to teach the village kids more about the folklore. There was a secret room where Jocelyn Abney taught the kids about the Lord of Misrule and Gallowgog. Rebecca found out that her daughter was chosen as the gift presented by the villagers for the spirit of Gallowgog. According to Bryony, Grace was at the black barn with the spirit. The reason behind choosing Grace was simple—she was the daughter of the vicar. There could have been no better revenge than offering someone from the Christian family to the spirits they believed in.

In 1621, the church disrespected their beliefs and brutally murdered Tobias Bron, the Lord of Misrule, to put an end to the pagan rituals and beliefs. For years, the old families suppressed their beliefs to fit into the Christian agenda, and now it was their time to not just seek revenge but also pay their dues to the spirit of Gallowgog. With the police shutting down the disappearance case and villagers chanting pagan songs at the vigil organized for Grace, it was a clear indication that the entire village had conspired against the Holland family.

How did Rebecca rescue her daughter?

The gifts offered to the spirit of Gallowgog disappeared in four days at the black barn, and if Rebecca wanted to bring her daughter back home, she had only four days at hand. As it turned out, the first suspect in the disappearance case, Derry Nash, did not share the same beliefs as the villagers. He instead tried to help Rebecca and confirmed that Grace was at the black barn. He had previously tried to help his friend, Thomas, but by the time he reached the barn, Thomas was already taken away. Jocelyn Abney, dressed as the Lord of Misrule, mercilessly killed Derry when he tried to protect Rebecca and Henry from the madness of the villagers. The villagers, dressed in robes and masks, got hold of Rebecca and Henry. When Rebecca woke up, she found herself in the secret room and amongst the congregation.

At the end of Lord of Misrule, it becomes all the more evident that Rebecca and her family were targeted for the brutal murder of Tobias Bron. The clash of beliefs resulted in his death and the establishment of the church. After centuries, they believed it was time that they did the same to a Christian man. Henry was brought into the booing crowd, and his head was covered with a sack. He was torched to death, just like Tobias Bron. Rebecca helplessly cried while watching her husband die right before her eyes. She had no choice but to submit herself to the congregation. During the solar eclipse, Rebecca sang the song of the worshippers and pulled out a strand from her hair, and all of a sudden, she could see the way to the black barn.

Upon entering the black barn, Rebecca found her daughter tied to a tree and her face covered. Rebecca removed the cover, and Grace was finally reunited with her mother. But there was a sense of sadness in her, knowing that she would not be allowed to leave. She was an offering made to Gallowgog, and he would not be happy if she was taken away. The spirit of Gallowgog finally confronted Rebecca, and she got on her knees and offered him her strand of hair. This scene is crucial because it is essentially a negotiation between Gallowgog and Rebecca. She hoped for the spirit to allow her to take her daughter home, but at what cost? Hair is significant in folk magic, and offering a strand of her hand could symbolize Rebecca submitting herself to the spirit. It could be her way of allowing the spirit to take control of her, or she may have promised to always ensure that he received a gift to stay away from the harvest. It is also possible that Gallowgog allowed her to leave after she proved that she was ready to submit herself to him to bring her daughter home.

Rebecca returned to the village with her daughter, and she declared that she was the new misrule. While Jocelyn stared at her in disbelief, the rest of the congregation had already accepted her as his replacement. She did what he never dared to do; she faced Gallowgog and negotiated with him. Her courage and motherly affection helped her fearlessly face the unknown, and maybe the spirit allowed her to leave with her daughter because of her resilience. Rebecca ordered the congregation to kill Jocelyn, and no one dared to question her. Jocelyn was ultimately torched to death, and Rebecca watched him die.

During Lord of Misrule‘s ending, Rebecca was back at the church as the vicar, but there was a shift in her personality. After witnessing what she had previously termed “old stories” come to life, it makes one wonder if the entire experience had shaken her religious belief. Or, did the experience strengthen her faith because, ultimately, she brought her daughter home and made it out of the harrowing situation alive? Lord of Misrule leaves it to the audience to interpret the ending. Maybe the experience helped Rebecca understand the villagers and convince them to move away from the barbaric rituals and adopt Christianity. The alternate possibility is that she pretended to be the dedicated vicar, but in actuality, she took her role as the misrule seriously, and every year, she now has to offer a gift to the Gallowgog as per the negotiation.

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Srijoni Rudra
Srijoni Rudra
Srijoni has worked as a film researcher on a government-sponsored project and is currently employed as a film studies teacher at a private institute. She holds a Master of Arts degree in Film Studies. Film History and feminist reading of cinema are her areas of interest.

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