Griffith Invictus: Griffith & the God Hand
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Griffith Invictus: Griffith & the God Hand

I have to say that I originally wrote Runaway Dream as a way to cope with Griffith's decision - a kind of apology for what he did. What you'll find on this page is no longer an apology, not even a justification, but a heartfelt affirmation of what he is and what he stands for.

My view of Griffith has evolved over time from admiration of his steadfast loyalty to himself and his dream, to a much more esoteric understanding of his place within the context of the Berserk world. To me he represents surrendering to the will of the cosmos, awakening to your purpose, and acting in complete harmony with the flow of the universe, thereby becoming an unstoppable force of nature. I see him as transcending the relatively limited scope of humanity to see the big picture and gain deep wisdom about the underlying fabric of reality. As Schierke says, he is the Absolute.

The following are what I consider my most important posts on The Black Swordsman forum, and links are provided to view the posts within the context of their discussion thread. Since these posts were made an indefinite amount of time apart from each other, the same information is sometimes repeated, but each of them have some piece of information the others don't.

Role in the Berserk World
Old/New Testament Schism, Ganishka as Anti-Christ
Age of Darkness
Hawk of Light & Darkness: Hawk Symbols
Not Bored with Kingdom
Quality of Kingdom/Cares About People
Myth of Selfishness & Blame
Myth of Deception
Will Not Sabotage Own Dream
Sacrificing His Subjects
Apostles: Driven to Obey God Hand
Apostle/God Hand Feelings
Griffith & Guts: Endings
Griffith & Guts: Flaws


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 fate).

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 craved.

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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Role in the Berserk World

The 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 wish.

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 soon.

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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 imagination?

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 Darth Vader.

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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.
/end speculation

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. 27)

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."

*The 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.

(Hawk Symbols)

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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 About People

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 instincts.

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 force.

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 Berserk ever.

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 better life.

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 considered.

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 people.

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 ceremony.

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 reaction.

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 will.

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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 IoE.

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.

The 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 relations.

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 durable now.

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 buried.

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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Neo-Griffith has 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.

[Omphaloskeptical wrote: 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.

[Pupukummu wrote: Can you PROVE that the so called "truth" Griffith saw was the one and only truth?]

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 it.

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.

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 feelings.

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: Flaws

I 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 "belonging" depends.

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DISCLAIMER: Berserk and all the characters, story, and art therein is copyright Kentaro Miura.