"Why on earth is the White Hawk sneaking out of the palace at this hour...?" Guard, Vol. 9 Ch. 2

Not only did Griffith’s plan fail as a distraction from Guts, it blew up in his face. His muddled thoughts made him reckless, and he was spotted in Charlotte’s room by a servant who reported it to the palace guards. Moreover, he carelessly let himself be cornered because he didn’t bring a weapon, and was hauled off to prison.
What follows is my attempt to explain a one-page scene of Griffith in prison in chapter 3 of volume 9 that has always puzzled me. It involves the word "worthless," variously translated outside of Dark Horse as "boring" or "tedious." The following interpretation is not standard at all, and can get convoluted at times, but I haven't seen it elsewhere, so I present it here for your consideration as an alternate take on these scenes. Take from it what you will.

"The great King on the throne of Midland, once renowned with majesty throughout all lands, is actually nothing more than a lonely, miserable old man who can't find any reason to live beyond his beloved 17-year-old daughter." Griffith, Vol. 9 Ch. 3

Deflowering a Princess was a charge of high treason, made worse by the fact that the King had a “thing” for his own daughter (she was beginning to look too much like her dead mother). No amount of sweet-talking could get him out of this one. So... he stopped trying. Instead, he went off on a philosophical tirade, some of which could apply to himself as much as it did to the King. This line in particular paralleled Griffith's own worldly renown, which he unwittingly threw away over his love for Guts due to his simultaneous deep-seated loneliness.

"While you were born to the sword called the throne and held it, it was nothing more than a burden to you. You've done nothing more than not fail. How worthless..." Griffith, Vol. 9 Ch. 3

The King was born to the sword called "the throne" while Griffith was born to the sword called "destiny," but were they really that different? Griffith's own dream felt like a burden to him sometimes, weighed down as it was by the corpses of those slain in its name. While the King practiced "not failing" by sitting on his ass and Griffith practiced it actively on the battlefield, and the end of the day, wasn't "not failing" all he had accomplished? Or, as an alternate translation would put it, he "merely didn't make a mistake." Griffith calls this worthless (or "boring"), because now - now that he did make one stupid mistake and doom his dream - what was all the rest worth anyway? Was there something amidst that big jumble of memories that had worth beyond worldly success and failure?

“You are young. No doubt your heart burned with dreams and ambition. If you had but known your place, you might possibly have attained them. ... It's disappointing. ... This is the end of your dreams, you ambition, everything. The Hawk has fallen to earth. It will never take flight again.” King, Vol. 9 Ch. 3

They locked him up in the lowest level of the Tower of Rebirth and threw away the key.

“...Yes ...Worthless. This is worthless.” Griffith, Vol. 9 Ch. 3

Here is that stand-alone, one-page scene of Griffith in solitary contemplation. I find it unlikely that this line deserved its own scene if Griffith was simply expressing his annoyance at being stuck in prison. He uses the same "worthless/boring/tedious" word here that he used during the King's interrogation, so I correlate these two scenes.* And what did he associate it with then? With Kingship and therefore with his dream. So, I wonder, is this the exact moment when Griffith begins to consciously acknowledge that Guts had outshone his dream, and that the prospect of it seems boring/worthless without someone to share it with??

* Honestly, I can't be too sure that it's the same word in Japanese. I am assuming this since two different sources translated it the same in both scenes. Alternate translations quoted from here.

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.