Wings of the Hawk

“Eyeing the castle in the sky. Taking it by piling up corpses endlessly. That is you.” Void, Vol. 12 Ch. 9

The God Hand did not lie, but they did blow the truth out of proportion. There was nothing about Griffith that uniquely qualified him to become the fifth God Hand. Yes, the only way to the castle was through dead bodies. That is the nature of war! Every King, every Baron, every General traveled that road to claim their rank. They taxed and bullied their subjects, and obligated them to die for politics they cared nothing about. Compared to them, Griffith was a saint! Though he was ruthless, he was also highly efficient, and didn’t destroy more than he had to. Even after scoring a decisive victory against a most hated enemy, his orders were to “If they flee this place, well enough!! Slaughter every last one who offers opposition!!” He never struck first, but if somebody did oppose him, his vengeance was undeniably swift, brutal, and cruel. None of these things made him a monster.

“Bury everything in exchange for the past, in the ruins of your dream.” Slan, Vol. 12 Ch. 9

The God Hand were essentially giving Griffith the chance to start over. They could take all his pain and despair, and make this whole nightmare go away. But first he had to choose between the pursuit of his dream and the lives of his comrades. This was a choice he made many times before, although it was never presented quite so literally.

“Chant the words 'I sacrifice' in your heart, and you shall be granted raven-black wings upon which you shall soar in the heavens, higher than any summit.” Void, Vol. 12 Ch. 9

The Hawks that followed Griffith to this place were his most loyal soldiers. They loved and trusted him as a person, and would stand by him even if the dream they fought so hard for was in shambles. They weeded themselves out from the rest as unknowing but willing sacrifices through whom Griffith could truly live again. Each of them would become a feather in the wings of the hawk reborn. It was a great honor to nourish the birth of a god! The God Hand insinuated that his soldiers would forgive him, and would welcome his transformation. When they saw Griffith was still having trouble coming to terms with all this, Void gave him an ultimatum.

“If even now, that castle is in your eyes more dazzling than anything, then pile it up, take all you have left.” Void, Vol. 12 Ch. 9

There is a running theme of "brightness” in Berserk. Brightness symbolized the intensity of a thought, desire, or concept in one’s mind. About Griffith, Guts once said “the more dazzling he is in my eyes.” About Guts, Griffith said “he shines so glaring within me,” when he realized that his desire for Guts was overriding his own dreams. The brighter the thought/desire/concept, the more power it had over the psyche. Now Void was asking Griffith to decide once and for all what was brightest in his mind, what was more important to him, Guts or 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.