Towards the end of the film "War Horse," Albert is attempting to bid on the horse, Joey, before it is auctioned off by the military. Also present at the auction is Emilie's grandfather (unnamed), who ultimately wins the horse with a high bid.

At first, Grandfather tries to leave with Joey, but the horse insists on returning to Albert's side. Initially, Grandfather only offers Albert his father's military regalia, which Albert had tied to the horse before it was sold to the army in the first place.

Finally, Grandfather relents on giving the horse to Albert, but not after emphatically offering that "[His granddaugher's] name was Emilie." This seems to be the final condition for handing over the horse. Albert nods in understanding, and the exchange is made. As Grandfather is walking away, he again repeats "Her name is Emilie" (which, as an aside, I have seen interpreted as an admission that she's alive).

Why is Grandfather so insistent upon Albert knowing her name? Was it an attempt to guilt Albert into giving him the horse after all? Or, if she was in fact dead, did he use it to humanize a victim of war? Or was it simply to clue us into Emilie's status and illustrate the lengths to which Grandfather would go to get the horse for her?

  • Unfortunately, Emilie did die.
    – user3859
    Jan 12, 2013 at 4:07
  • Do you have evidence for this from the film?
    – jonsca
    Jan 12, 2013 at 4:20
  • Manuela is right, the granddad says so somewhere around the end of the movie. Not 100% sure it's in that same scene though.
    – paddotk
    Apr 16, 2013 at 20:58
  • @poepje He does say so, but whether it is in fact true was the crux of the question.
    – jonsca
    Apr 16, 2013 at 22:24
  • Why would he lie about it? Not because of the horse, since he insists on giving it to Albert.
    – paddotk
    Apr 17, 2013 at 14:25

2 Answers 2


Actually it is Albert that insists upon knowing his granddaughters name, not the other way around. I think Albert wants to know her name because he wants to show the old man that he actually cares- and he isn't just using him for getting Joey. He is just trying to honour the little girl's memory a bit by taking interest in her. And Albert's probably thankful to the little girl for her taking care of Joey. He's just asking for her name so she can be remembered when the old man is dead because Albert probably knows that won't be long, since the old man will either die soon of old age or kill himself because he has nothing now.


Emilie's grandfather does say to Albert

The war has taken everything from everyone, he [Joey- Miracle horse] is all that I have left of her. [...] No no no. Not necessary. [Grandfather says this as Albert takes out his wallet to pay him back for giving him back Joey] He belongs to you. That is, of course, what my little girl "would" have wanted, and she was the boss.

When Emilie's grandfather says "it's what my little girl "would" have wanted." By saying this I'm guessing she is dead.

In my opinion by saying "her name "is" Emilie" I think the grandfather said her name "is" Emilie so that her memory would never be forgotten and to show just how much he loves her.

She did have an illness but I don't think the movie which I'm referring to says nothing about what illness she has, but you see her taking meds, also her grandfather doesn't want her riding which may refer to a bunch of different illnesses.

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