The Hand of God  

“In this world, is the destiny of mankind controlled by some transcendental entity or Law? Is it like the hand of God hovering above? At least it is true, man has no control, even over his own will.” Narrator, Vol. 5 Ch. 3

You see, there’s something you have to understand about the Berserk universe.[1] The Law of Causality controls all, fate is absolute, and God is no different from the Devil. Indeed, the only God-figures we have to go on are the God Hand: a quintet of souls who have forsaken their humanity to become Demon Lords. But these are not the true God of Berserk. The true God was revealed in a lost chapter of the manga (removed because it told too much too soon), and is called The Idea of Evil (the God, not the chapter). Born from “the darkness that dwells in every human heart” because “they wanted reasons for the destiny that kept transcending their knowledge,” it is “an ocean of feelings all humans have deep in their souls, a common consciousness that transcends individuality” and controls fate.[2] Yes, folks, this is the foundation of the Berserk universe. Cheerful, isn’t it? Yet not as farfetched as you might think! After all, many of our own religions arose from the need to explain the suffering in the world.

“The leaping of one fish would never disturb the flow of the river.” Slan, Vol. 13 Ch. 8

Fate in Berserk can be thought of as a river, and Slan here likens a person fighting the natural flow of destiny to a jumping fish. It might briefly escape the current, but it cannot change it, and inevitably plunges back in. Technically, I can end my analysis of Griffith right here: he literally had no choice. But what fun would that be? Moving on...

“The Behelit. Also called the Egg of the King. You see, it's said that whoever possesses this is destined to obtain the world in exchange for his own flesh and blood.” Griffith, Vol. 5 Ch. 2

Several questions might be popping up in your head right now, such as "what is a Behelit?" and "why is Griffith naked?" The first is easy enough to answer. The second? Well, that is one of the many tantalizing mysteries of Berserk! Anyway, the Crimson Behelit was a very special, very evil artifact that surfaced once every 216 years to mark the birth of a new God Hand member. It allowed its bearer to trade that which is dearest in their heart for the realization of their dreams. Griffith bought it from an old gypsy woman when he was little. He didn’t know what it was or how it worked, but thought of it as a good luck charm that helped him focus on his goals. He carried it with him always, and it saved his life on numerous occasions. This gave him further confidence to push for his dream.

DISCLAIMER: Berserk and all the characters, story, and art therein is copyright Kentaro Miura. No copyright infringement is intended, and I hope that this essay inspires more people to read/watch Berserk! Translation in the text is by Dark Horse, translation in the images is by The Band of the Hawk, unless otherwise specified.