Political Intrigue

“Those who die on the battlefield are not royalty, nobility, or commoners. They are the defeated who die.” Griffith, Vol. 8 Ch. 6

Death was the great equalizer. Griffith was inspired by the impartiality of death in war, and took that mentality with him to the upscale arena of political intrigue. Since he was born a commoner, Griffith was often underestimated by the upper class, and he took full advantage of this fact. Although he was generally well-liked, there were some who saw his rapid rise in station as a threat not only to themselves, but to the very foundations of society. To Griffith, however, manipulating the interests of squabbling nobles was child’s play. He saw right trough the assassination plots laid down against him, and countered with his own.

"Those eyes... Like he was trying to daunt me. Like he was looking down on some worthless thing... That was his expression. Ridiculous!! I'm royalty!! Second in line to the throne of Midland!! Compared to that common boy, there's a world of difference in both social standing and rank!! And yet it was the same during the hunt. For one instant, like a beast hunting prey... Yes! Looking at me with eyes just like a hawk's...!!" Julius, Vol. 6 Ch. 3

It is important to note that Griffith never initiated violence, only exacted revenge. It was simply not worth his energy to do otherwise. Humble and sweet as his public face was, there was no doubt in Griffith’s mind that he was superior in every way to the overdressed monkeys that called themselves aristocrats. But when one stepped out of line, he would make sure they knew their place.

“You caught sight of my eyes then. I knew from that time that you would never permit my existence. At that instant your eyes betrayed your fear. When a man is faced with something he truly fears he cannot ignore it. He has only two options... He can become subordinate and fall under its wing, or he can strike out and erase the fear.” Griffith, Vol. 8 Ch. 6

Nobody could withstand the true intensity of Griffith’s gaze. It stripped away the masks of etiquette and let him see a person’s underlying motives. He liked to test people from time to time, and if he sensed foul play, he moved quickly to sabotage any developing conspiracy. He would scout the terrain by gathering evidence, close in by enlisting turncoats or spies, and strike at the most opportune moment. It was very much like setting up a battlefield, except that afterwards there’d be no trace of his involvement. When all the pieces were in place, Griffith would unleash upon his enemies his ultimate weapon: Guts.

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.