Guts is Special III

“It ain't like you. Just cut to the chase, and order me to do it. Like always.” Guts, Vol. 6 Ch. 4

This was Guts’ response to Griffith pulling him aside and actually giving him an option on whether or not to participate in an assassination plot that he was apparently concerned might infringe on Guts’ morals. “Can you help me?” he asked. A most unusual choice of words for Griffith, both in terms of effectively admitting he needs help and in leaving the decision up to an underling. It was almost as if he was asking for Guts opinion, or even approval. Griffith hadn’t told anyone else about this mission, yet took the time to explain the reasoning for the assassination to Guts. If he meant for it to stay top secret, wouldn’t he keep those reasons classified, no questions asked?

“Does it seem cruel? I involved you in this filthy scheme and I didn't even get my hands dirty. Do you think that I'm cruel?” Griffith, Vol. 8 Ch. 6

This is a more blatant example of Griffith asking for Guts’ opinion/approval. It involved an elaborate plan kept secret from the rest of the Hawks, in which Griffith played along with an assassination plot and faked his own death in order to catch those who conspired against him off-guard. He forced one of the conspirators to turn on his colleagues by kidnapping his daughter, and set fire to the rest of them while they were all gathered in one room. He returned the daughter unharmed, but had Guts kill both the agent sent to poison him and the kidnappers who he himself hired. However, he let both the daughter and her father live, which was unusual for Griffith, who likes to keep a clean slate against blackmail.

“Ain't this part of the path to your dream? You believe that, don't you? So what's with this crap? Now, of all times.” Guts, Vol. 8 Ch. 8

This was Guts' reply to Griffith's question. It was simple enough, but Guts' input was so important to Griffith, that it would replay in his head a couple more times during key moments in the plot. Right now, it relieved Griffith's doubts about himself and about Guts' feelings.

“Guts, don't tell the others about this. It's not that I don't trust them. The Hawks are bound by one fate, after all. But I don't want to reveal to them my dirty side... They need only feel as though we're rising up.” Griffith, Vol. 8 Ch. 8

Was this statement a case of genuine concern? Or a ploy to preserve his image among the Hawks? A bit of both, I’d say. Though he trusted the Hawks fully in battle, he did not trust them with the depths of his soul. He trusted Guts on a different level and treated him differently. He felt safe leaving himself completely vulnerable with Guts. He let him see his darker side, and exposed his secrets, believing that Guts would understand and accept him for who he was. Guts’ feelings, opinions, and input were very important to Griffith. Did this mean he already saw him as an equal?

“A man should envision such a lifetime once. A life spent as a martyr to the god named 'Dream.' Ultimately to be born, and to then simply live for no better reason... I can't abide such a lifestyle.” Griffith, Vol. 6 Ch. 6

Griffith valued ideas more than people, and his most sacred principle was that life had no purpose without a dream to guide it. So powerful was his dream that it overcame obstacles insurmountable for lesser wills and drove him forward. It was his greatest form of self-expression. It was also something that Guts sorely lacked, which is why Griffith’s speech about dreams and friendship made such a huge impact on 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.