The transformation of things.
Buried in season one, we see a very short but very significant insight into Lau’s past. While he recounts the famous daoist proverb by 莊周, The butterfly dream, we see what can only be a reflection of his past.
What we see is a field of poppies (used to make opium, which Lau sells), and two children running through it. Lau reaches for a butterfly, only for it to be set ablaze along with the entire field. He is left holding the other child’s severed arm, and a hoard of faceless, distinctly British styled men approach through he flames.
I think it’s fair to assume that this took place during the second Opium War (1856-1860, Black Butler is set 1888-1889, therefore it’s reasonable to assume Lau is in his late thirties.)
But what I find particularly interesting is the relationship between Lau and this dead young girl. I like to think that this is his sister.
Now, Lau constantly talks about selling dreams to people who cannot face the cruelty of reality. Even his character song makes reference to this (I turn my back to reality and forget about my own self/Drowning in desires, drowning in love.)
Lau also refers to Lan-Mao as his sister, but qualifies by saying that they are not related by blood.
I think Lau cannot get over what happened to his younger sister, and has pressed this complex onto Lan-Mao, so deep is the illusion, so deep the obsession.
I find it fascinating that this man, who presumably lost everything in the Opium Wars, would turn to selling the very thing his sister died for. In the country that was responsible for his sister’s death and that crippled his homeland.
He sells people dreams while escaping his own nightmare.
Lau is p cool.