Reinhold Von Rumpel In Netflix’s ‘All the Light We Cannot See,’ Explained: Does He Die?


There were many characters in All the Light We Cannot See that showed a lot of potential in the beginning, but by the time we reached the climax, they became very one-dimensional in nature. We had high hopes for the antagonist of the series, Sergeant Major Reinhold Von Rumpel, but the way his journey panned out left us dissatisfied and craving more. Maybe the series didn’t flesh out his character the way it should have, or we probably didn’t find his quest too significant, but the crux of the matter remained that he didn’t have the kind of impact that we assumed he would. We think that we would have been fine if he hadn’t been given such importance in the series, and his story would have been one of those subplots that was happening in the background, apart from the main conflict. But Shawn Levy kept the character of Reinhold as the centerpiece, and that’s why we expected it to be a little more multifaceted and deep. But what we witnessed was a man who was just looking out for himself, and his motives were driven by his personal vendetta. There was a scene in the series where we saw Werner being examined by the doctor in the National Political School of Education, and we believe that he could have been a more worthy antagonist compared to the one we got. His rude behavior and his oppressive and discriminatory mindset were the effects of years of systematic brainwashing, and in him, we could see a personification of the ideologies of the Third Reich. So, let’s try to understand why Sergeant Major Reinhold von Rumpel believed in the myth of the Sea of Flames, why he lacked a scientific temperament, and if he was able to get the diamond in the end.

Spoiler Alert

Why was Reinhold after the Sea of Flames?

Reinhold had caught Daniel in Paris, and he took him into custody. Daniel was trying to mislead the Gestapo, but he failed in his endeavors, and he realized at that moment that he wouldn’t be able to make it out alive.  Reinhold was desperately seeking the Sea of Flames because he believed in its myth. It was said that whoever touched the stone became immortal, but some horrific tragedy fell upon their loved ones. Reinhold was a selfish man, and he just wanted to get the boon of immortality, not caring about the consequences it had on anyone around him. Reinhold was suffering from some kind of terminal illness (probably cancer), and he knew that his days were numbered. He was living his life in excruciating pain, and he knew that no matter what he did, he was inevitably moving towards death. He believed that if he had the stone in his possession, he would be able to defy death. That was an intrinsic Nazi quality, where Sergeant Major Reinhold von Rumpel wanted to be in control of everything around him, but he didn’t realize that though he might have oppressed the Jews and made policies that aimed to create racial inequity, there were certain aspects of life over which he had no control at all. That was probably the downside of believing the words of a madman and buying his ideologies. Hitler told them that they were Aryans and were far superior to any other race on the planet. There was no scientific basis for this statement, but when a chunk of the population behaves like nincompoops, not a lot can be done in this situation. The problem was that they were so rigid and obstinate in nature that nobody could even try to reason with them. Reinhold killed Daniel, and then he moved to Saint-Malo, as he had realized that the latter must have left the diamond with his daughter. Reinhold finally found Marie, and he went over to her house while the Americans were bombarding the entire area and were about to take over the city. Reinhold didn’t care about the outcome of the battle, and he just wanted to touch that stone at any cost.

Was Reinhold able to find the diamond?

Sergeant Reinhold was a ruthless man, and he didn’t even bat an eye before taking someone’s life. At times, when we see these depictions of the German soldiers, we fail to understand what would have been going through their minds when they were torturing the others. How could such a huge number of people desert humanity and become worse than savages? How did an entire nation normalize barbarity, and how did they not think that one day, they would have to pay for their sins? So, Reinhold, through a female escort, got to know where Marie lived, and without wasting a moment, he went there to procure the Sea of Flames. Werner also arrived at Marie’s house a few moments later, and Reinhold decided to kill the boy before he took the diamond. Werner and Reinhold entered a scuffle, and Marie used the opportunity to come down from her room and shoot the German officer. The Gestapo fell on the table on which the miniature model of the city was kept, and it all crashed to the floor. The Sea of Flames was hidden inside one of the hollow pieces, and Sergeant Reinhold saw it fall on the ground in front of his eyes. Reinhold was never able to touch the stone, and he took his last breaths, harboring the delusions that had he been able to do so, he would have conquered death.

Sergeant Reinhold, probably at the end of his life, figured out that love was probably the strongest of all emotions, and it gave the person the strength to withstand any kind of storm. Reinhold was probably devoid of love his entire life, and he had never done something selflessly for another person. Probably, that was the curse that was bestowed upon him, and he never knew till he took his last breath how beautiful life could be if you have someone by your side to share your happiness and sadness with. At the end of All the Light We Cannot See, Marie threw away the Sea of Flames into the ocean, as she didn’t want any other soul going on the hopeless quest to defy death.

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Sushrut Gopesh
Sushrut Gopesh
I came to Mumbai to bring characters to life. I like to dwell in the cinematic world and ponder over philosophical thoughts. I believe in the kind of cinema that not necessarily makes you laugh or cry but moves something inside you.

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