Nothing Left

Griffith... You were always looking up. Rising to the top... paying heed to nothing but ascension. Flying along above all... the Hawk. Yes... you would never come down to the land where we crawl.” Guts, Vol. 10 Ch. 3

No analysis of Griffith would be complete without discussing his icy sense of pride. He was always above everyone and held the whole world in his hands. He came from nothing and soared to unimaginable heights, only to drop down lower than he started with. He was an inch away from achieving his ultimate goal, but one mistake was enough to take away not only his accomplishments, but also his dignity. All the people he towered over in his prime, who loved and admired him as a living god, now looked down on him with pity. His life was at the whim of others. Many of his remaining soldiers gave up on him and looked for new leadership, but at least he still had Guts and Caska.

“I wanted someone to be near me.Caska, Vol. 12 Ch. 1  

Griffith spent most of his time huddled alone in a wagon, but now and again he would overhear happenings from outside. This time Caska was telling Guts about the Hawks' dwindling morale after the Wyald incident, but the thing that Griffith took note of the most was her closing statement of wanting someone to be "near" her. Now, Griffith was well aware that Caska had wanted to get in his pants for the entire series. Could her newfound connection with Guts eradicate that desire entirely? Griffith was willing to test that theory in an attempt to reestablish his self-image of being needed and desirable. It backfired. Badly. Her refusal hurt him, and the pity hug that followed only put salt on the wound. The extent to which things have changed - to which he has changed - came crashing down. Despite the fact that Griffith's feelings for Guts were considerably stronger than they were for Caska, it still bothered him that someone so enamored of him in the past could choose someone else. Or did it bother him because that someone was Guts?.

Griffith... He's so small now... so fragile... That proud Griffith... is so... I can't leave him... There's no way I can leave Griffith like that. I'm sorry...” Caska, Vol. 12 Ch. 2

It must be a very special kind of hell... being stuck mute and helpless in a wagon while people talk about how pathetic you are within earshot. One time, when Caska thought he was asleep, she figured it was safe to discuss her plans with Guts. This was the first time Griffith knew beyond any reasonable doubt that Guts and Caska were an item. See, before Griffith became such an inconvenience, Caska was determined to run off with Guts on his quest for the meaning of life. Now she felt obligated to stay. Out of pity. Oh joy, rub that in why doncha? And to make matters worse...

“You have to go. If you’re Griffith’s friend and equal, you have to. Even if it's alone, you have to go.” Caska, Vol. 12 Ch. 2

...Guts was planning to leave – again. Caska reminded him of Griffith’s speech about dreams and friendship back at the Prom Rose Palace, and told him that if he truly considered himself Griffith’s friend and equal, he had to follow his own dream. Griffith would’ve wanted that...

Griffith would’ve wanted that, my ass!! Didn’t the incident from last year teach anyone anything?! Griffith snapped – again – and when Griffith snaps and does something stupid, bad things happen!!

“What do you fear in this place?” Ghost of Griffith's Past, Vol. 12 Ch. 3

It was bad enough that he lost his good looks, his fighting prowess, his reputation, his army, and his ability to do basic tasks, but he was also being abandoned by the person he cared about most in the world. A person whose undivided attention he no longer had, because he was in love with Griffith’s second favorite person in the world, and this effectively took both of them out of his reach. Griffith’s fall from grace was now complete. He had nothing else to hold onto, not even his sanity. As he lay there soaking in the news, Griffith's coping mechanisms kicked in. He was stretched too far one way, so he rebounded in the other. Griffith was visited by a vision of his former glory. It berated him for giving into his fears and promised him that his dream was not yet over.


“Yes... I rested a bit too long. I've got to go now. This playtime still hasn't ended. That back alley cobblestone path still goes on.” Griffith, Vol. 12 Ch. 3

His hope restored, Griffith took up the reins (in his mouth) and hijacked the wagon. Yes, he didn't want Caska's pity, he didn't want Guts' pity, but most of all he didn't want to be affected by what they thought or did. Ever since he was rescued from prison he had allowed himself to become much too dependent on the opinions of others. It was time to put the focus back on himself. Everyone had forsaken him, so he would forsake them to pursue his ambition. He didn’t get very far, though.

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.