I am not at war with
the universe or with the violent, destructive, tortured side of humanity
that the human God of Berserk represents. I also do not think fighting
fate is always a virtue. In the world of Berserk, where fate is
determined by the collective desires of humanity, I see fighting it as
unwise. Plus we have yet to see if fighting fate in Berserk is even
possible (so far the branded have been explicitly used to progress
What Griffith did was take cosmic responsibility for the purpose that he
was created: to be a Savior King for humans. His dream is to have his
own kingdom, but his actions lead me to believe he wants more than that.
What I see him doing right now is trying to create a kind of Utopia
based on the egalitarian ideals he’s always stood for. He has gained the
power to protect Midland from being overrun by the Kushan, and indeed to
unite people of all races under one flag. He has gained the power to
keep Apostles on a leash, and ushered in the "perfect" world humanity
His dream is more than just his own. It was designed to serve the entire
species. He is not misleading anyone because he is exactly who they
believe him to be. He was elected by their will and comes under the
authority of the God they created to fulfill their desires. He IS the
natural order of things.
But that’s the Berserk world. What does it means to ours? The big moral
dilemma here, I think, is whether the end justifies the means. IF
Griffith’s intentions in becoming Femto were to gain the power to change
the world, to help the world, to create this ideal society, and IF he
succeeds… would it then have been worth it? I know to a lot of people
the answer is a definite "NO," but to me it’s a gray area. Of course, to
me, everything is a gray area.
I love Griffith because I see him as standing for something much greater
than himself; because he actually cares about what happens to the world
at large, and not just his immediate circle of friends. Individuals with
dreams on that scale inevitably wind up in complicated situations where
they're forced to make very tough choices. These choices may fly in the
face of common morality because they're made against the backdrop of a
bigger picture and a bigger motive. The best intentions imaginable can
lead people to do terrible things, even as they hope they're acting for
the greater good. I might not like some of those things, but I
appreciate them in their larger context, and I admire the strength of
conviction that drives people to take those risks in order to be a force
for monumental change. Or, in Griffith's case, to fulfill the desires of
humanity through his own. Because he's not just responsible to Guts,
Caska, and the Hawks, but to an entire species who asked for him from
the depths of their being.
There's overall integrity, but there's also
different kinds of integrity. Griffith's choice went against
interpersonal integrity, in the sense that he harmed his allies. Whether
it goes against social integrity as a whole is yet to be seen depending
on what happens with Falconia. He did not go against personal integrity,
since he stuck to the promise he made to himself and preserved his
identity. He also did not go against cosmic integrity since he took
responsibility for his "holy" role in Berserk's cosmology.
Ends Justify The Means
In general, I agree that ends don't justify the
means. To me, however, there is a point of magnitude where the
overwhelming positive of the ends can justify relatively insignificant
negative means. But Griffith's case is even more extreme, in that the
negativity of his means were practically irrelevant. We have all seen
the inhuman might of the Kushan in both numbers and power. If Griffith
turned down the God Hand offer, even if Griffith was never crippled in
the first place, the entire world would be overrun by them. Midland, the
Band of the Hawk, and everyone who isn't Kushan would have been either
killed, enslaved, or perhaps experimented upon by horrors no less than
the Apostles. It becomes a dilemma of "if the Hawks would have died
either way (and they would have, being soldiers and all), isn't it
better to put their deaths towards a greater purpose, such as salvaging
what's left of the world?" I say yes.
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the Berserk World
deepest layer of the Berserk world we have encountered is the Abyss
(based on Flora’s explanation of the other realms in volume 24), where
the Idea of Evil is implied to dwell. One layer below that is the Vortex
of Souls, or the realm of Heaven and Hell that people are bound to by
their karma. One layer below that is the realm of Angels, Demons, and
the Gods of Polytheism.
What are the God Hand? Flora classifies them as the Five Angels, “who
are the executors of the will of something lurking in the distant Abyss
of the astral world” (that is, the IoE). The God Hand are often shown
with the Vortex of Souls as a backdrop, and seem to know the destiny of
human souls. They refer to the vortex as Hell, and the existence of a
corresponding Heaven has yet to be shown.
The IoE is the God of humanity. It was created by humans, for humans.
This does not make it any less real, but simply means that it has
authority primarily over human affairs. I feel that a huge misconception
about the IoE is that it is “Evil.” It is not Evil. It is the “idea of”
Evil. Its purpose is to give meaning to human suffering. It is the
turbulent sea of the human un/sub-conscious, and an outlet for their
deepest, most intense, and most repressed desires/drives/emotions. It
also represents the will of the human mass consciousness. Whether they
realize it or not, they are the ones driving it.
This is the foundation upon which the human world in Berserk is built.
This is the source of their religion, their morals, their hopes, and
their fears. This is the God intimately connected to humanity, and the
one that answers their prayers without fail, no matter how terrible they
are. Even if humans put on a mask of civility in public, it cannot
compete with the true self underneath. Their repressed desires scream
the loudest, and are heard.
The Berserk world is brutal and harsh. It is no wonder that the IoE is
fueled by so much anguish and despair. And so they cry out with one
voice for their world to be shaken to the core. They ask for wonder and
enchantment, to be part of something larger than life, for extremes of
beauty and horror. They ask for the Age of Darkness. They also ask for a
Savior King, a glorious leader to take them under his wing and deliver
them from the ruins of the past into a new world. The IoE granted their
Thus Griffith was born into conditions meticulously orchestrated by the
IoE for generations upon generations to accommodate the development of
Griffith’s dream, his astronomical rise, and unimaginable fall. He was
chosen, by the will of humanity and by divine mandate, to be the
crucified and risen savior. He was transformed, through a most sacred
and holy baptism of blood, into a blessed Angel. How was it sacred and
holy? Because the IoE is the God of this world, wholly sanctioned by the
will of humanity, and so it is the measure of what’s holy and what
isn’t. The laws governing the Berserk (human) world flow from it.
Likewise, Griffith is a blessed Angel because the God Hand are the most
benevolent and accessible entities humans know. They do not deceive
humans in any way. They simply enforce humanity’s will and grant their
wishes. They have no agenda outside of this. In other words, it is not
the God Hand who are fucked up, but humans as a species. And so, their
visions of the White Hawk do not lie. Griffith IS the desired Savior
chosen by humanity as their King during the Age of Darkness, and he more
than lives up to the hype. He is “the absolute,” as Schierke says. To go
against him is to go against God’s will, humanity’s wishes, and the
natural order of things.
The IoE has told Griffith that he would “bring pain or salvation to
mankind.” So far (agents of religious competition such as Flora aside)
Griffith seems intent on creating a Utopia. He is doing much
post-Eclipse damage control by putting Apostles on a leash and making
them eat squirrels. He is gathering everyone he can under his banner,
both Midland and Kushan (and Apostles), and continuing his radically
egalitarian style of government. He is going to great lengths to keep
everyone safe, happy, and sheltered from what's going on around them. He
aims to please, even if it for his own glory, because he likes being
liked. I don’t see any reason for him to veer off this course anytime
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Old/New Testament Schism,
Ganishka as the Anti-Christ
Ganishka, by the way, is the closest
thing we have to an Anti-Christ. He fits it in the strictest sense of
being a ruler who wants to establish a one world order, who is in
opposition to the Christ figure (until he saw Griffith’s true form,
etc), tries to win people over by false miracles (artificial apostles),
and makes a mockery of the one true religion(tm). It is said his reign
would be short-lived, and the only king to follow him would be Christ
himself. Which Griffith did. And before you try going this route...
Ganishka was elected by the mass consciousness to be a suitable enemy
for Griffith (as well as a handy reality bomb), not to rule humanity.
Mozgus and the events at Albion constitute what I consider a kind of
"Old Testament"/"New Testament" time junction in the Berserk world's
religion. I don't think that Griffith, who is bringer of the New
Testament, would approve of Mozgus' methods (torture and otherwise).
Griffith welcomes repentant Kushan and gives them a chance at redemption
and equality. Mozgus, judging by the hanging customs of the Holy See in
Vritannis, would have straight out killed them (likely torturing them
first). Point being, Mozgus was not the infallible man of God he thought
he was. He had no authority to speak for the IoE and did not know its
will. He was basically pulling shit out of his ass. (Sorry for mental
image of Mozgus pulling shit out of his ass.)
Griffith, as bringer of the New Testament, represents the end of times
when "God" spoke through prophets, and the beginning of the time when
"God" speaks for itself. So far Griffith seems intent on creating a
Utopia. He is doing much post-Eclipse damage control by putting Apostles
on a leash and making them eat squirrels. He is gathering everyone he
can under his banner, both Midland and Kushan (and Apostles), and
continuing his radically egalitarian style of government. He is going to
great lengths to keep everyone safe, happy, and sheltered from what's
going on around them. He aims to please, even if it for his own glory,
because he likes being liked. I don’t see any reason for him to veer off
this course anytime soon.
Griffith was elected by humanity’s own mass consciousness to fulfill its
desires. He can’t trample on their will, he can’t overrule or put an end
to causality, and he certainly can’t abolish such a sacred cornerstone
of the human religion as the sacrificial ceremony. Aside from it being
literally outside his power, it would actually make him the Anti-Christ
within the context of IoE if he did.
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Age of Darkness
Schierke already explained that the Age of Darkness is the merging of
the worlds, where all the beings from human dreams and nightmares can
coexist alongside humans. It's not fun living next to rapetrolls and
having hydra eat your livestock.
It could be, now that the floodgates of the human imagination
have been blown open, that human desire manifests through causality a
lot faster than it did before. Reality may have become more malleable,
since humans can interact directly with the astral. As for this not
being "dark" enough... is there anything scarier than the human
I also take the mass visions' "word" for what the "Age of Darkness"
means. Were the visions sent by God Hand? Sort of.
The God Hand is the active hand of the
Idea of Evil.
... It is a God born of the
desires of man, so the God
Hand serve the will of humanity
and are in the wish granting business. They don't try to trick humans,
they simply show up to give them what they want.
Don't forget that Griffith is analogous to Jesus in the Berserk
religion. He is the crucified and risen Savior that they craved. ... It
is humans who wished the Age of Darkness
on themselves (kinda like how humans in The Matrix were incompatible
with a blissful Utopia),
but they also wished for a glorious savior king to protect them. You can
even see parallels to this in the popularity of savior
gods and perpetual excitement over some impending
apocalypse in society on Earth.
The Idea of Evil
itself told Griffith that he would "bring pain or salvation to mankind."
It was up to him to choose, which is why he's both the Hawk of Light
and the Hawk of Darkness.
With all the Star Wars references in Berserk (including calling Griffith
the Millenium Falcon, a ship that fought against the Empire and
destroyed the Death Star), I wouldn't be surprised if Griffith pulls a
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Hawk of Light & Darkness
Yes, there is a
duality, but I think that duality is inside Griffith. He is both the
Hawk of Light (reincarnated White Hawk and savior of Midland) and the
Hawk of Darkness (Femto, who is referred to as the "Wings of Darkness").
He has that dual nature, and the IoE told him that it would be up to him
"to bring pain or salvation to mankind." Furthermore, "darkness" is not
necessarily considered "evil" within the IoE, as Femto says: "The one
who shoulders the light, dwells within the deepest shadows. And, it is
exactly in darkness itself, that the true light can be found."
What the prophecy said: "The Angel is
the Hawk of Darkness. The master of the sinful black sheep (Apostles),
the king of the blind white sheep (humans). The one who shall call down
upon the world an Age of Darkness."
Speculation: I think this is a pagan prophecy which predates the current
God Hand cycle. I base this on the fact that it is recited by Schierke
and on the terminology used in it ("blind white sheep" and "sinful black
sheep" are not very flattering terms for either the humans that follow
the IoE religion, or the God Hand and Apostles made holy by their
closeness to the IoE). The Holy See knows of it too, but if we are to
compare Berserk with Earth religion, it is not at all uncommon for
Christianity (and especially Catholicism, which the Berserk religion
most closely resembles) to incorporate pagan traditions into its
practice. And if the prophecy is pagan, the terms "black" and "white"
would not necessarily represent "evil" and "good," since the pagans
revere nature in all its wildest and sometimes hostile manifestations.
The Femto quote shows that the distinction between "dark" and "light"
(and maybe by extension "black" and "white") is also very blurred within
the IoE. In fact, that quote in itself shows how Griffith can be both
the Hawk of Light and the Hawk of Darkness (in addition to the IoE
confirming that duality with the "bring pain or salvation" quote).
But the greatest evidence for Griffith being both is in his iconography.
Femto is obviously the Hawk of Darkness, even having the epithet "Wings
of Darkness." Neo-Griffith is obviously the Hawk of Light, a title
("White Hawk") he was known for before becoming a God Hand, and one that
was reinforced by the mass visions of his return. Even an Apostle like
Ganishka recognized Griffith as the Hawk of Light. There's countless
associations of Griffith with both light and darkness. He even bathed
the whole world in light to bring about the Age of Darkness.
The "light" and "dark" metaphors in Berserk are very much two sides of
the same coin, so I don't see why it's unfounded to say they are also
reflected in Griffith's nature. It can be said that Griffith's Femto
side is the one that could bring "pain" to mankind, and his
human-looking side could bring "salvation." He has demonstrated as much
through the actions of those two aspects.
This duality probably exists in all humans, which goes towards answering
where the other half of human nature is. But it's a tough question, and
one I don't think we have an answer to yet.
Initial Hawk of Light Prophecy:
"Each night an utter darkness fully enveloped their world. Then, amidst
such discord, they caught sight of it. A single, Shining Hawk, sundering
the thick darkness, alighting upon the bloodstained land. They believed
instinctively: this was their Desired." (Narrator, vol. 17)
Griffith in the form of a Shining Hawk is also called "Desired" by both
the King and Zodd, amongst others (including Ganishka later). Recall the symbolism of
the crucified white hawk rising out of a Behelit.
Fulfillment of the prophecy at Albion when Griffith is reborn: "And
they sensed intuitively that the one they had Desired had come."
(Narrator, vol. 21)
"'Tis the Hawk!! The Goddess of Flame's revelation! The Hawk shall
alight!! After it repels the barbarians, it shall lead us to be one
nation!!" (Heretics holding up a crucified crow, vol. 18)
Children of Windham: "We all had the same dream. Like the one we had
once before about the Shining Bird. On a night when you can't see the
moon, all the fog in the city clears away. Then all the Kushan soldiers
and monsters in the city and castle go away with it. ... Morning comes,
but it doesn't come. A big black shadow hides the sun. It's very scary.
It's big enough to cover the whole city. [pic of Mega Ganishka] But it's
okay. The Bird comes. The Shiny Bird calls up a big storm. It blows the
black shadow away. Then the real morning comes. It's what everyone's
been looking forward to -- the True Dawn." (vol. 33)
Fulfillment at Windham when Ganishka is defeated, the hostile Kushan are
driven out, a diversity of peoples are unified under one nation, and
Fantasia descends: "People
fear them, yearn for them, yet cannot catch or escape them. Thus have
they gone on imagining this other half of the world, and it now lies
before their eyes: mankind's desire: Fantasia." (Narrator, vol. 34)
Griffith's Duality explicitly includes the Light:
Guts' Hellhound about Griffith: "May we run rampant with hatred and joy
just to crush with these fangs the True Light that burns us." (vol. 33)
Locus about Griffith: "Before long, day will dawn. The True Sun will
shine upon the world." (vol. 33)
Femto to Ganishka: "He who bears the Light exists in the deepest shadow.
And it's within Darkness that True Light is discovered." (vol. 34)
Ganishka about Griffith's significance to the Apostles and the rest of
the world: "The appearance of the Hawk. It signifies the transfiguration
of the world. And cleaving to the Hawk is surely paramount for us
inhumans. It is like drawing near to and being embraced by God." (vol.
Ganishka later sees Griffith as the Hawk of Light: "That's right. That's
the thing I wanted... that Light." (vol. 34)
The inherent Duality of the Age of Darkness:
"The time of Darkness descends. Wickedness, Sacredness. Illusion,
Reality. Hatred, Love. Hostility, Hope. The Dead, the Living.*" (God
Hand, vol. 13)
"Beasts and Men. Wolves and Sheep. Dream and Reality. Life and Death.
They were now hand in hand." (Narrator, vol. 34)
Hawk of Darkness Prophecy:
"The angel is the Hawk of Darkness. The master of the sinful black
sheep, the king of the blind white sheep. The one who shall call down
upon the world an Age of Darkness." (Farnese, vol. 14; Schierke, vol. 22)
Who are the Blind White Sheep? Quote
regarding Albion False Eclipse and Griffith's rebirth into human
incarnation: "When the sky falls at the holy ground where Blind Sheep
gather and erect a pillar of fire. The Desired will come." (Zodd, vol.
17; Guska, vol. 17)
Who are the Sinful Black Sheep? Ganishka
about Griffith: "This is the Hawk. The Master of we Reincarnates [ie:
Apostles], the Absolute." (vol. 32)
The Sinful Black Sheep are Apostles, and the Blind White Sheep are
ordinary humans. So, Griffith (ie: Hawk of Darkness) is Master of the
Apostles and King of the humans. This
is fulfilled at Albion and Windham.
"The Hawk... He appears to be human, but spiritually he cannot be called
that. An existence that no one in the physical world can rival alone.
Surely he is the Absolute. If he is the incarnated form of the Fifth
Angel recorded in the revelation... If he is the Hawk of Darkness, then
he is dreadful." (Schierke, vol. 24)
"Normally this could not happen. The astral and physical worlds so
distinctly overlapping each other. Trolls and ogres, elves and spirit
creatures. Ethereal life-forms are being perceived by humans almost as
if they had physical bodies. They were originally inhabitants of our
mental world... in nocturnal dreams and fantasies. If they were to end
up existing in the physical world... the world would be transformed.
No... perhaps it has already started happening, with the appearance of a
certain person. [picture of Griffith]" (Schierke, vol. 25)
Griffith fulfilled the Hawk of Darkness prophecy when he triggered the
merging of the worlds atop Ganishka as Femto. Indeed,
Femto's title is Wings of Darkness (vol. 13). According to Schierke,
Fantasia IS the Age of Darkness. An Age that defies common sense:
Locus regarding feudal politics: "Such a trivial matter of this
transient world no longer holds any meaning for this war." (vol. 33)
Sonia commenting on the appearance of Mega Ganishka: "The reason of the
worlds ends now." (vol. 33)
Anyway, Griffith being Hawk of Light doesn't make him some kind of
benevolent saint. The prophecies can be rather ominous considering their
fulfillment ushers in humanity's desired world. They also don't
contradict the prophecy of the Hawk of Darkness, which Griffith also
fulfills. I think they are the same prophecy, really, just told from
different perspectives. That's why he's so often referred to by all
sides as simply "the Hawk."
rest of that line says "An age when every darkness shall eclipse light.
Yes... as when the moon covers the light of the sun." I interpret this
through the distinctions of "true light" and "true sun" made in other
parts of the series (some of which I quoted above). The "true sun" may
be the eclipsed sun that we now have in the sky of Fantasia, and the
"light" that the "darkness" eclipses may be a superficial "light" which
transforms into "true light" when it's engulfed in "darkness" (according
to Femto et al.).
Whatever that means may depend on perspective. The "true"-ness of
Fantasia is very debatable. On the one hand, it is "true" because it
tears back the veil between worlds and exposes humans to the goings on
of the astral, on the other hand, it is a fantasy world where the
imagination spawns dreams and nightmares with abandon. Either way it is
quite dangerous to humans.
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Not Bored With Kingdom
I keep seeing this line of reasoning
and I really don't understand it. The way I see it, Griffith wanted a
kingdom. I don't think he saw getting a kingdom as some mountaintop to
climb just to plant a flag in and say he did it. He actually wants to rule a
kingdom. ... If he just wanted a kingdom for the hell of it, and didn't
care about what kind of kingdom it was, he could've taken it by force at
any time since he reincarnated. The fact that he's doing things
legitimately and putting effort into taming the Apostles, rehabilitating
the Kushan, and winning the love and trust of the people tells me he
cares about the quality of his kingdom. So no, I don't think he'll get
bored. There's lots of things for him to do as King, especially since
the worlds merged.
Kingdom = Land + People = Griffith's Dream
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Quality of Kingdom/Cares
Human Griffith cared a lot about
people. He really, really did. Maybe not the way you do, but he liked
seeing them happy and did everything he could to minimize battle
casualties. He even minimized losses for enemies, and he never attacked
anyone unprovoked. You can see how much guilt he bore for those that
died under him during his Eclipse flashback and elsewhere. And besides,
if he didn't care, he couldn't do a sacrifice. He especially cared about
Guts and Caska. Unbearably so about Guts, even to the point of eclipsing
his dream. This still doesn't mean he's above self-preservation
Current Griffith cares about people too, but in a much more transcendent
way. As a godlike being, he looks at the big picture. He cares about his
dream, of course, but his dream involves the people. He didn't want a
castle. He wanted a kingdom. This means taking care of his land and
subjects. I don't think it was just about attaining some goal, he
actually wanted to rule a
kingdom. He won't get bored. There's plenty to do. Based on his track
record (and I really don't see how you can deny his track record), maybe
he wants to create a Utopia: the kind of society he wished he had lived
in, and the kind of society that humanity as a species asked for of him.
Remember, Griffith does not need to win people over the way he is doing.
If he wanted to abuse power, he could've easily taken the throne by
Even if you want to ignore his entire history and pretend he's just some
guy playing with action figures in a dollhouse, he would still care
about the dollhouse and want to make it as pretty and happy as possible.
Remember that Griffith's dream wasn't his alone. His soldiers believed
in his dream, benefited from it, and willingly died for it in battle. If
Griffith's dream were to end, all their sacrifices would have been in
vain. Griffith's current followers also believe in his dream and benefit
from it. It is really for their sake that he sacrificed - not in some
kind of selfless way, but in the sense of them being his dream
(kingdom = subjects), similar to how Caska is Guts' dream.
Even if Griffith is a good King, it doesn't mean shit won't hit the fan
at some point, for one reason or another. But for now it looks like
Griffith may present a more complicated moral dilemma for Guts than
simple revenge, and isn't that the true horror?
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Myth of Selfishness & Blame
Everybody saying Griffith used his soldiers... used them
how? for what?? to fight battles?? OMG!! How dare he!! How dare he allow
people to fight in his army! How dare he pick up random thieves and
mercenaries and elevate them to nobility! How dare he teach Caska to
stand up for herself! Griffith is like the least sexist character in
Regarding Griffith "using" people. This has always puzzled me. Used
people how? Used willing soldiers to fight in a war that was already
going on? This is a problem how...?? This is what soldiers do: they
fight battles. This is what commanders do: they tell the soldiers how to
fight. Griffith has never let any harm come to his people outside of the
general risks of war. In fact, he minimized those risks. Drastically.
Furthermore, those same soldiers used Griffith as their vehicle to a
Regarding Griffith being "selfish." (Who in this world isn't selfish,
anyway?) In Griffith's case, his selfishness involved wanting his own
kingdom, which relied on him having a successful army, which meant he
took good care of his army and made them happy. Again, this is a problem
how...?? It is a win-win situation.
Griffith does evaluate himself, and even though his evaluation is more
along the lines of "how do I more efficiently achieve my goal?", he
shows that he does consider "ethics" as part of the equation and
ultimately decides based on what makes the most sense to him, all things
You see this with the boy that died, which drove to Griffith to whore
himself out to the Baron to curb losses in his band. He did this
for the practical purposes of achieving his goal, but also because he felt
genuine guilt and remorse (see clawing arms to blood as he struggles
between his dream and the sacrifices of his soldiers) - a theme which
comes up all through the series. In this first case, he resolves that he
never forced anyone to follow him (Guts being a notable exception) and
they choose to die in battle of their own free will (which is true), so
the best thing he can do for them is to be the greatest leader and
provider that he could. Griffith didn't start this war and you can't get
around people dying in battle. The fact that Griffith's soldiers died
for what they believed in (instead of being controlled by fear of the
nobility) is a mark in his favor, not against him.
You later see it after the assassination of the Queen, when he asks Guts
whether Guts thinks he's a terrible person. Griffith genuinely cares
about what Guts thinks (especially about him), and I think his question
was meant to elicit reassurance about his path. Griffith is aware that
his actions raise ethical concerns, although they are by no means out of
line in the society he lives in. All he's done at this point is
retaliate against those who tried to kill him.
You see it again during the Eclipse, when the guilt and remorse he
carries about his fallen soldiers overwhelms him. He felt that if he
were to choose anything else he would betray their sacrifice, and that
he owed the completion of his dream to them as much as to himself. It's
a very tough situation to be in. Unlike Guts, Griffith had always been
responsible for more than just himself, and has always struggled to
resolve this with his own desires. A person
needs to employ some coping mechanisms to stay (arguably) sane under
that kind of pressure. Griffith's chosen coping mechanism was rationalization, but I
think his reasoning was sound. There was more at stake than just him, or
just the Hawks.
There can be no blame here, so there is no treachery. It was a horrific
sequence of events that set up an epic tragedy. This is the path of all
fated to the Behelit. First your life gets destroyed in ways
specifically tailored to your worst fears, until you are completely
broken in mind and/or body. And then, at your absolute lowest point of
despair, the God Hand shows up, playing on those weaknesses and offering
you a way out. It is explicitly designed to be an offer you can't
refuse. It was not a flippant decision either (or a particularly
rational one), and I think anyone that says they wouldn't choose the
same a hell lot faster when backed into such a ridiculously awful corner
is lying to themselves.
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Myth of Deception
Griffith is not deceptive, and neither
are any of the other God Hand. He does not hide his abilities or the
true form of the Apostles. Him being backed by the Pope and by the
Princess are not lies, either. People know he is God Hand. That is, the
God Hand are the five holy angels of the Berserk religion and people are
treating him as such. The Pope pronounced him as such. There's also no
reason for him to talk about rape since that is not related to his
subjects or to his current task.
Griffith is who the people elected as
their King and Savior. He is The Desired. This is who they wanted. What
does it matter what his motives are so long as he's giving people
everything they wished for (on the subconscious level)? So long as
Griffith's dream and the dream of the people are in alignment, all is
well. Griffith wants a kingdom, and a kingdom means land and subjects.
The people of Midland are his
dream so he will protect them. Even if (especially if) it is for his own
glory, it is my opinion he wants to make people happy and benefit the
world. At least that's been his trend thus far.
I don't see how showing himself as
Femto is relevant. He is exactly what the people think he is, and what
shell that role comes in doesn't matter. I will say again that he did
not hide the true form of his Apostles from the masses, and they took
that well. I don't think they'd freak out over his Femto form either.
Why does it matter what he looks like? Are you saying that "ugly" things
are evil and "pretty" things are good? Him showing himself as Femto
wouldn't change a thing about who he is or what he's done for the
The people DO know of the existence of
God Hand. They are the five angels of the Berserk human religion. Their
entire way of life is based around this dogma and the iconic image of
the reborn hawk. And again you miss the big picture. The Berserk
God/religion is driven by the will of the mass consciousness. They
recognize Griffith as their Desired, with their entire being.
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Will Not Sabotage Own Dream
People in general are not trustworthy,
but you can always trust Griffith to not screw you over if screwing you
over would screw over his dream. And that's what Falconia and his
subjects are: his dream. I think there's a lot in the manga to support
that Griffith would be a "benevolent" ruler, such as... his entire track
record so far. Over and over again he has promoted a very fair,
egalitarian atmosphere among his followers, which does not discriminate
based on sex, race, age... species. He is very skilled at keeping people
safe and happy, and has a personal vendetta against class-ism.
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Sacrificing His Subjects
Are you saying sacrifice in battle or
are you saying sacrifice via an Eclipse ceremony of some kind? If you
mean in battle, maybe. If you mean in an Eclipse ceremony, that seems
extremely unlikely at this point. By "at this point" I mean given what
we currently know about Behelits and sacrifices.
A sacrificial ceremony happens for the purposes of transformation,
typically from a human to an upgraded version of a human (Apostle, God
Hand... both of which I classify as "human" since they are under the IoE,
which is a strictly human God, but you can call them "demons" or
"angels" or what not). Right now Griffith is a God Hand, which is the
most powerful thing we know of besides the IoE (polytheistic gods are on
the same level as God Hand, according to Flora). He is already the
perfect being and the pinnacle of evolution in the Berserk universe, so
there is nothing for him to upgrade to unless he is to become the IoE
itself. Therefore, no reason for there to be another sacrificial
A sacrificial ceremony also requires a Behelit. We only know of 3 kinds
of Behelit. One that turns you into an Apostle, one that turns you into
a God Hand, and one that reincarnates a God Hand into the physical
world. Griffith has none of these. Even God Hand can't initiate a
sacrificial ceremony without a Behelit. With that third kind of Behelit
(Eggman), they even had to use Guts/Caska/SK to help trigger the
ceremony. Therefore: no Behelit = no sacrificial ceremony.
In order to have a sacrificial ceremony, you also need to have a desire
you want to accomplish. Griffith has already achieved his desire for a
kingdom: land and subjects. They are his
dream. Why would he (a) need to sacrifice again? or (b) sacrifice the
things which are his dream?
It is true that Apostles have shown it is possible to use the same
Behelit twice to renew their power. I don't know if this works for God
Hand, but lets assume it does. In order for Griffith to initiate a
sacrificial ceremony to maintain/renew his present form, he would need
an Eggman Behelit. Eggman is dead. He would have to find another Eggman.
However, since each kind of Behelit only surfaces in set increments of
time, this is impossible. The Eggman Behelit cycle is 1000 years.
So, from what we currently know, there is both no way and no reason for
Griffith to initiate another sacrificial ceremony.
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Apostles: Driven to Obey God Hand
At the end, when Ganishka saw/felt Griffith's true presence, he
acknowledged that "I see now... what I wanted more was that light." This
is the same line that another enemy, the King of Midland, used upon
feeling Griffith's true aura and abandoning his former enmity. It is
also one of the terms used to refer to Griffith's current form in
prophecy. Ganishka stopped resisting at all once Griffith went on his
head. In fact, he was downright
comforted by his presence.
Do you really think the same phrase being repeated about
Griffith by his two worst enemies is mere coincidence? or that its
relation to the language in the prophecy is coincidence too? Their
mental state doesn't matter, even their recognition of Griffith doesn't
matter, because this is not a rational process. It's an instinctive
reaction of any human or Apostle when confronted with the pure essence
of their desired/lord. It can actually be said that their mental state
made it easier for them to see him for what he really is: not the name
or persona they identify as Griffith, but the afore-mentioned divine
Absolute. The vast majority of mentally stable humans have the same
Yes, the Apostles do as they will, but
they feel innate reverence and submission to the God Hand. The prophecy
names Griffith "Master of the sinful black sheep (Apostles)." Locus also
calls Griffith "Master," and Ganishka himself acknowledges that
"cleaving to the Hawk is surely paramount for us inhumans; it's like
drawing near to and being embraced by God." He later goes on to
demonstrate how maddening it is to retain one's composure or any
rebellious thoughts when in Griffith's presence. But he still tries to
resist, yes. I think that is because Griffith wanted him to (or he was
fated to, whatever). I think he intentionally didn't reveal his full
aura because the purpose of that meeting was to provoke Ganishka into
becoming mega-Ganishka. Once Griffith actually reveals himself,
resistance is futile.
Ganishka is also a special case, in that
he was designed to play the enemy's role in order to further glorify
Griffith in the eyes of the people. The Apostles do what they will, yes,
but they are still not outside of fate. The same can be said of
humans... they all do what they will, it's just that circumstances
happen such that their natural individual will progresses the collective
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Apostles/God Hand: Feelings
Judging by the fact that [Femto raping Caska] seemed explicitly aimed at
Guts (he hardly took his eyes off Guts the whole time), I think it was
to get back at Guts for hurting him. A "you destroyed everything I
love, so I'll destroy everything you love"
type deal, or "I'll make you feel
my pain," and also a "you thought I was pathetic and crippled, but look
at me now." Griffith's feelings were a lot more complicated than this,
but when he became Femto he threw away the confusion of sentimentality
and saw things purely from the perspective of realizing his dream. As
such, he was very bitter at Guts for distracting human Griffith from it,
and also angry at him for abandoning Griffith. It was his way of telling
Guts that Guts is no longer in control of their relationship. Plus it
ensured a body for his reincarnation.
Do God Hand have
feelings? God Hand are a much more powerful version of Apostles, and
Apostles definitely retain their human feelings. Slug Count and Rosine
still had deep, warm feelings towards the friends/family they did not
sacrifice. Slan has some kind of... umm, feelings... for Guts.
I postulate that this is because Apostles and God Hand don't actually
lose their "humanity." It can be said they lose their ability to relate
to regular, individual humans who have to temper their desires with
empathy to participate in a civilized society. The desires and actions
of Apostles are not bridled by social norms. They know they can do
whatever they want without repercussions, they believe themselves to be
"better" than their mortal human counterparts, and so they are typically
a lot more selfish (a very human quality). They have been given license
to express the most powerful/repressed human emotions that swirl in the
The God Hand are the same, but have a more transcendent quality about
them. They tend to see things from the big picture, where individuality
(other than their own) loses meaning since things born and die in the
blink of an eye. They are more impersonal, and since their vision
encompasses such a grand scale, they are more "emotionally" stable and
less likely to express the more petty of human feelings. They appreciate
the beauty of all things moving to the flow of fate, and how an
individual caught in that flow feels about it is irrelevant. Still,
Slan's comment about Femto going out of his way to rape Caska in front
of Guts is "Such beauty, it touches me. Love, hatred, pain pleasure,
life, death. All are there. This is to be human."
So anyway... it can be argued that, due to their conscious access to the
emotions swirling within the IoE and no reason to repress them like
regular humans do, the God Hand (and Apostles) are a fuller (if maybe a
tad one-sided) expression of human potential than their mortal
counterparts. As such, they are perfectly capable of deep emotions.
God Hand promise to make you into "a supernatural being who would never
know sorrow or despair," and the most immediate ramification of this is
eliminating "the person you loved the most and hated the most," since
the person can't do it themselves: "The life you couldn't take by your
own hand ... you gave it to us! So that you can bury your fragile human
heart." (Quotes are all from Volume 3.) This way you are set free from
your strongest attachment to the world of ordinary interpersonal
So, they never say you will be devoid of emotion, just... err... certain
kinds of emotion. Though that's kinda weird since the Hell vortex is full of sorrow and despair. Maybe
that's why the Apostles and God Hand are resistant to it, though...
because they've already been bathed in all the madness of the human soul
during their transformation. Immunization?
But that's part of what makes the Apostles/God Hand act the way they do,
I think. Since they've already been at the climax of despair, and have
been exposed to the dark heart of the world, they don't have the kind of
aversion to it that regular humans do. And so they act a lot more
detached to human pain and fear, or even revel in it. Rosine didn't think her "elf" children were suffering when they played
war. She thought - and they themselves thought - they were having fun.
She didn't register "suffering" as en emotion anymore, and she didn't
think in terms of human mortality because her body was so much more
Rosine loved Jill, but she never sacrificed her attachment to Jill, and
Jill never caused her pain. Rosine sacrificed her parents, but even this
came back to haunt her, since as she was dying she apologized to them
too. Yet, for the rest of her time as an Apostle, it didn't bother her.
She was freed from the part of herself that would feel pain, guilt, or
remorse. Maybe that freedom only lasts as long as the new body does.
Maybe it just gets repressed very deep, and if you lose the wish that
you sacrificed for, you have nothing left but the feelings you've
I don't really know if that's a good enough explanation. All I know is
that they definitely feel things, often very strongly, but in their own
way. And I think God Hand feelings are much more expansive and
transcendent than Apostle feelings are.
Not everybody gets their greatest fulfillment from interpersonal
relationships, and most of the chosen ones seem to have a very strong
wish that trumps their human relationships. Griffith wanted his kingdom,
Rosine wanted her elven paradise, Eggman wanted a perfect world, Zodd
wanted to fight the strongest, Wyald apparently wanted lots of sex, etc.
And none of these are "okay, I got what I wanted, now what?" type
wishes. They're all long-term, ongoing experiences that they can
probably enjoy indefinitely, imo. I don't think their violent behavior
results from them trying to fill a void created by sacrificing human
relationships. And they still have relationships, in their own way.
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achieved the complete focus on his dream that he always wanted and
that's part of what I admire about Neo-Griffith.
He has also transcended most ordinary human emotions (or repressed them
even deeper), and I can understand how this is a turn-off for people but,
again, to me, being "less human" isn't a bad thing. I see it as him
having gained a wider, more cosmic perspective on the world as befitting
a divine being, and I admire that. I see him not acting
as an individual but as
a sweeping force in Berserk's cosmology. As Jarif said, "Right now, we
find ourselves in some unbelievable, inscrutable, tremendous current.
Guiding it is the Hawk."
He radiates confidence and serenity. To me he feels wise and
transcendent, like someone who has seen the truth of the universe and
came back, but it still clings to him. He sees the big picture and has a
mission he won't be swayed from fulfilling. That's what I get from him
and it's very inspiring.
Hmm... Seems to me all he has left is that ambition to achieve his
dream. The kindness he exhibits towards people seems... Superficial, but
maybe that's just me.]
I can see how in your context of empty ambition the "kindness" might
seem "superficial," but in my context of "transcendence" there is no
kindness or lack thereof about it, he just does it effortlessly because
it's in the flow of the cosmos. He no longer has the consciousness of an
individual person, but the super-consciousness of a buddha.
I said "a buddha": an
Awakened One in the sense of my previous post ("someone who has seen the
truth of the universe and came back, but it still clings to him"). He
has awakened to the reality of the human mass consciousness swirling
within the IoE, and that is a wisdom that embraces violence and
suffering as an essential part of the human expression/experience. His
strong personal desire is backed by the knowledge that this is what
humans willed him into existence for, and that he is cosmically
responsible to live up to that destiny.
Can you PROVE that the so called "truth" Griffith saw was the one and
There are many truths, all of which make up the universe. The fact that
the Vortex of Souls exists is one such truth. I feel it is a very large
part of what the world is (at least half), and Griffith is intimately
acquainted with this huge chunk of the universe. If the elves and
polytheists know something he does not, then they know another truth,
and that one wouldn't be whole either, because it could be missing what
Griffith knows. But I don't think it's all that different, really. They
all exist in the same universe. Perhaps they're seeing the same things
in different ways... or perhaps they are both right, just within the
context of their respective areas of expertise. I don't think a
"God"/"Satan" distinction exists in Berserk
I do see Griffith as a Jesus/Buddha figure
(Jesus in the sense of sacrificial savior,
Buddha in the sense of
being awakened to a deeper reality), but only within the context of
Berserk's religion of the human God, not in the sense of any similarity
with Jesus or Buddha's
teachings as expressed on Earth.
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Griffith & Guts: Endings
Well, the Idea of Evil is the will of all humanity,
not just Griffith, and including Guts. I kinda use "will" and "fate" a
little interchangeably here, but Guts and SK hating the IoE and
appearing in various places at strategic times is still part of fate (so
far?) and therefore part of IoE's will. Since the IoE's will is equated
with humanity's will and with fate itself, even its own destruction (if
willed by Griffith, Guts, or humanity), if part of fate, would also be
its will for itself. So maybe "will" is a bad term here when describing
potentially antagonizing the IoE, which is virtually impossible to do as
far as I can tell. But you can perhaps be against the idea of
the Idea of Evil...O.o... Point being, even if you can't actually
antagonize the IoE, a collective will to dismantle it can still destroy
When speaking of a "common enemy," I can't say for sure what that
entails. Griffith and Guts can theoretically both wish for the
destruction of the idea of the IoE due to common grievances they have
about how their lives got screwed up. "But what has Griffith to complain
about?" you ask. That's why I concentrate on more biased entities in my
speculation of a "common foe." To me, the most likely common foe (if it
develops) would be the other God Hand. I anticipate the potential for
ideological and/or territorial disputes as the worlds merge. Their
creatures can surely overwhelm Griffith's human forces, and if one other
God Hand is enough to rival Griffith's authority in the eyes of his
Apostles, several combined can maybe overrule him and/or even kick him
out of his kingdom. Again, not saying that's going to happen, just speculating on
what a "common foe" could be.
GUTS & GRIFFITH
As for Guts' ability to forgive Griffith, that's a
complicated subject. First of all, Guts still considers Griffith his
best friend... a best friend who did horrible things to him, but the
closest thing he has to a best friend, nonetheless. His hatred stems
from the betrayal of those deep feelings, not from any inherent dislike
he bears Griffith. Even at the Hill of Swords, Guts was still looking
for some kind of closure or apology from Griffith, and still searching
for some semblance of humanity within him (by asking him a lot of guilt
trip questions). I DO NOT think that Guts can forgive Griffith on his
own. If any kind of resolution happens between them, I expect Caska to
be the driving force and/or deciding factor and/or mediator.
And as for Griffith having any feelings for Guts or Caska still... I
think he does, he's just even better at denying them now. These feelings
are not gnawing at him like they used to when he was human and, so long
as everything goes as planned, they won't surface at all or give him
reason to care. He's too preoccupied by the immanent realization of his
dream to bother with introspection. But, IF things fall apart on him
again, and he no longer has his goals to distract him, he will not be
able to escape the only things he has left to hold on to, that being his
Not so much a prediction as what I want to happen:
I'm counting on the other God Hand to turn on Griffith (possible
territorial disputes, Griffith hogging power, killing too many of their
critters to protect humans, whatever) and the Apostles (except for Zodd)
to side with them and run Griffith out of his kingdom. The Apostles then
take over Falconia and make life there a living hell. Griffith gets to
go through another emotional breakdown and hopefully manage to swing
towards interpersonal priorities this time. He would crawl back to Guts.
Caska is now sane and both of them have been de-branded by the Elemental
Kings. I'm not expecting Guts to forgive Griffith on his own. I'm
expecting Caska to volunteer as human shield to have them work it out.
Provided she doesn't hate him, which I don't think she will. But we'll
see. Anyway, Guts-Caska-Griffith team up again, Griffith maybe gets
converted to polytheism, and then backed by Elfhelm and Griffith's
military genius they reconquer Falconia. Something like that. Who the
hell knows. Then happily ever after?? Hehe.
Griffith has more sway over the hearts and minds of humanity than
anyone. I think the most efficient way to change the mass consciousness
would be, unlikely though it is, to convert Griffith to polytheism. But
that can't happen unless he somehow becomes disillusioned with the God
Hand or humanity's created God, which I think can only happen if his
dream is somehow threatened or shattered again.
This isn't about changing Griffith. The question was how to change the
mass consciousness so that the God it creates would also change. Since
Griffith has the biggest influence on human consciousness right now,
he's the fastest way to reach the largest number of people. Polytheism
was the dominant religion before the emergence of the Holy See, and now
is a rival religion which the human God appears to view as a threat. Its
deities might fall outside the influence of the human God, and changing
the mass consciousness back to embracing this primal religion might
likewise transform the human God into something that follows the forces
of nature instead of human desire.
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Griffith & Guts:
don’t really believe in "flaws" but I’ll try to answer the question
anyway. Keep in mind that each of these "flaws" is also a "strength."
I think Griffith’s biggest flaw is that he has frozen himself in time.
He has invested his entire self into a dream that he is unwilling to
compromise no matter how circumstances change and regardless of whether
it is what truly makes him happy. He identifies with it so strongly that
he thinks if he forgets it then everything he is might disappear.
Everyone around him only reinforced this view and spurred him onward,
and as the deaths in his path snowballed, he simply switched to
autopilot if only to justify his past. He isolated himself emotionally
from others to shut out the guilt accumulating in his heart, and he
resolved to be something immune to human weaknesses.
He believes in the power of his dream very strongly, but a change came
over him when he met Guts. Guts made him truly happy on a personal
instead of an ideal level. Guts made him feel human, which was all very
nice when things were going well. But when Guts decided to leave, it hit
Griffith very hard how much he had become dependent on another person,
and he didn’t know how to process such a weakness inside himself. He was
unwilling to accept that there was something rivaling the dream which he
identified with; that there was something other than his dream that
could make him happy, and how deeply that something had hurt him. And
so, like an oak in the wind that can’t bend like a reed, he broke.
This is Griffith’s stubbornness; his fierce independence and idealism.
His desire to be an inviolate fortress built around a static dream,
unswayed by anything or anyone around him. He failed, and it made him
feel weak, and human, and lost... not "special" as he had always
believed and was constantly told. He was betrayed by his heart and
became his own worst enemy, sabotaging himself and driving himself to
the brink of madness. He was not built to handle something like this
because he was not supposed to, because it was meant to push him to
choose a form better suited to personify his ideal.
So, okay... where did all that rambling leave us as far as "flaws" go?
Stubbornness, fixation on an unattainable ideal, inability to adapt to
changes in himself and his environment, chronic self-isolation from
others, emotional repression. But these are also the very same things
that allow him to fulfill his purpose.
Guts’ flaws are almost the opposite of this. He is a reed that can bend
and not break in the wind. During the Golden Age he had no direction and
was tossed about at the whims of circumstance. He didn’t know himself
well enough to have a rigid identity to cling to, but he was a hardcore
survivor. Though his ignorance could be considered a flaw, the
flexibility it gives him is a strength. He does not limit himself and
runs on sheer willpower. He is slowly finding his own direction in life,
relatively humble though it might be. In doing so he often defines
himself in relation to others, but this makes him open to letting them
into his heart, open to being hurt by them, and open to compromising
himself for them. Unlike Griffith, he is primarily concerned with his
immediate surroundings and protecting those on whom his sense of
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