Causality's countercurrent

Aazealh

Administrator
Staff member
The concept of causality (因果) is prevalent throughout Berserk. It is often confused with that of fate or destiny (運命), but they are different notions. Causality, or the principle of cause and effect, holds that current circumstances are the result of past actions. Both terms are mentioned in the manga, but only causality is presented as a law of the world; a force to be reckoned with.


The first time we hear of causality is in volume 3, when the Count's despair activates the beherit Guts is carrying. Void refers to the Count as one who has been ordained by the principle of causality. This is a fundamental notion in the story: the fact that these ceremonies and the people involved in them are predestinated. Causality is usually associated with the God Hand and their master, the Idea of Evil. We are repeatedly told and shown that these evil beings make use of that principle to subtly influence the world over long periods of time in such a way that it conforms to their desires.

For example, that's how beherits always happen to be right where they need to be when someone is in utmost despair and ready to sacrifice. It's also how as a human Griffith triumphed at every turn and seemed unstoppable, until he suddenly wasn't. And it's how every piece of the puzzle came neatly into place for the Incarnation ceremony during the Conviction arc, or how Midland was ready for him to play the savior and unleash Fantasia in the process.


Given all of this, one might be tempted to assume causality is simply a tool for the bad guys; the privileged domain of the god created by man. But it's more complicated than that. There is actually a countercurrent within causality that is faintly visible throughout the series. It has helped Guts get to where he is now. It involves elves a lot, and specifically Puck. Its other obvious agent is the Skull Knight, who is also perhaps our biggest source of information on causality. Let me list some of these events and see how they form an interesting pattern.

-SK's current state of existence is achieved with the help of elves, leading Puck to feel an elfin aura coming from him in volume 18.

-Chich saves Guts' life during his youth.
-Judo meets Puck early in life, before joining the Band of the Falcon.
-Judo carries a pouch of Puck's elf dust, which helps him survive many battles.
-After the hundred men battle, Judo gives the last of his elf dust to Casca so she can heal Guts.
-The Skull Knight warns Guts about the Eclipse.

-SK saves Rickert from the Count and Rochine.
-Rickert is found by travelers who Puck is staying with, and is given some of his dust.
-Rickert stumbles upon the Eclipse ceremony.
-Judo helps Casca survive the "feast".
-SK saves Guts and Casca from the Eclipse.
-Rickert heals Guts and Casca with Puck's elf dust.
-SK takes Rickert, Guts and Casca to Godot's mine, which was once inhabited by elves.
-Casca gives birth to the Demon Child.

-Guts meets Puck.
-The Demon Child haunts Guts, forcing him to reckon with his deeds.
-Puck veers Guts away from his self-destructive path and keeps him sane.
-Puck also saves Guts untold times during the Black Swordsman era.
-The Demon Child warns Guts about Casca being in danger.
-The Demon Child saves Casca's life numerous times.
-The Demon Child is absorbed by the Beherit Apostle and becomes Femto's vessel.

-Puck suggests they journey to Elfhelm and guides them there.
-The Child still exists within Griffith and is sometimes able to take over.
-Guts acquires a magical armor forged by a dwarf (a type of elf), which the Skull Knight once wore.
-As the Boy under the Moonlight, Guts and Casca's child repeatedly saves his parents.
-Puck guides Guts, Casca and everyone to Elfhelm.
-Casca's mind is healed by Danan.

The list isn't exhaustive because otherwise it would be a slog to get through, but these are some of the main and clearest threads weaved around Puck and the Skull Knight. What do they show us? That while the bad guys have been winning so far, their final victory isn't inevitable. The proof is that Guts and Casca are still alive. They could have each died a dozen times over by now, but they somehow made it. That's thanks to Guts' prowess and determination of course, but not only. They repeatedly benefited from this pattern of happenstances that brought them to where they are now.

So where do things go from here? I don't intend to speculate lengthily in this thread, but my conviction has always been, since I started reading Berserk, that Guts would prevail in the end. The God Hand may have once laughed at his insignificance, but they won't do so much longer. As most of you know, I've also been saying for over ten years now that I expect the Moonlight Boy to be Femto's undoing. The boy cares about his parents, and they care about him. I'm convinced that these unique circumstances will play a key role for the resolution of the story. Circumstances that arose against all odds, through little hiccups in the great machination of the Idea of Evil.

And I also don't think we've seen the last of the elves' impact. After all, Puck has been holding on to that beherit for years now. Maybe enough to sever it from the will of its creator?


Note that there are also other threads pertaining to minor characters that are bearing fruit. For example, remember how the Skull Knight saved Rickert? Well Rickert went on to slap Griffith in front of Charlotte, Sonia and Mule. An action that may have repercussions we have yet to see. In Falconia, Rickert was also assisted by Luka, whom the Skull Knight had saved during the events at Saint Albion. And he was saved from Rakshas by Silat, who trained hard to become stronger after his defeat against Guts. They further received the help of Daiba, who took a backseat during the Kushan empire's downfall after his defeat against Guts' group, and who Luka was lodging in Falconia.

I have no doubt that more is to come on those fronts in due time.
 

Walter

Administrator
Staff member
Thanks for the deep dive, Aaz! Causality is one of those concepts in Berserk that's often taken for granted and not discussed much. And I think that tends to make readers, like the people of the Berserk world, regard it with an arbitrary "well that's just fate!" attitude. When what Miura is doing is far more nuanced and clever.

What do they show us? That while the bad guys have been winning so far, their final victory isn't inevitable. The proof is that Guts and Casca are still alive. They could have each died a dozen times over by now, but they somehow made it. That's thanks to Guts' prowess and determination of course, but not only. They repeatedly benefited from this pattern of happenstances that brought them to where they are now.

A potential argument is asking how we can know those seemingly anomalous movements of causality aren't really threads that link back to the IoE's grand design? One of the ways I'd answer that is that the domain of the IoE is humanity, not elves. It was born from humanity's collective unconsciousness and steers humanity's future. But it doesn't touch astral creatures. This lack of a controlling tether is, as we've discussed in the past, likely one of the reasons Femto is setting out to annihilate them from the world—effectively removing an obstacle and tying humanity closer around his finger in the same campaign.

We can know that these are separate from the IoE's intended design not only because the actions benefit these characters in ways that seem counter to the IoE's agenda, but also because these ripples don't originate with humanity, but with elves.

Note that there are also other threads pertaining to minor characters that are bearing fruit. For example, remember how the Skull Knight saved Rickert? Well Rickert went on to slap Griffith in front of Charlotte, Sonia and Mule. An action that may have repercussions we have yet to see. In Falconia, Rickert was also assisted by Luka, whom the Skull Knight had saved during the events at Saint Albion. And he was saved from Rakshas by Silat, who trained hard to become stronger after his defeat against Guts. They further received the help of Daiba, who took a backseat during the Kushan empire's downfall after his defeat against Guts' group, and who Luka was lodging in Falconia.
Yep, I often think about Luka's little team, because it feels like a glimpse into where Miura's headed. :isidro: I think the conclusion to Berserk is going to be all these anomalous undulations in causality converging in Falconia to take down the IoE's grand design.
 
Given all of this, one might be tempted to assume causality is simply a tool for the bad guys; the privileged domain of the god created by man. But it's more complicated than that. There is actually a countercurrent within causality that is faintly visible throughout the series. It has helped Guts get to where he is now. It involves elves a lot, and specifically Puck.

So...what you're saying is that Puck is more powerful than IOE? And that he's just been holding back his power? :ganishka::troll:
 
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