The Age of Darkness - Past, Present, or Future?

When is the Age of Darkness?

  • Past

    Votes: 1 2.5%
  • Present

    Votes: 16 40.0%
  • Future

    Votes: 11 27.5%
  • All of the Above

    Votes: 12 30.0%

  • Total voters
    40
  • Poll closed .

Walter

Administrator
Staff member
To be clear, there is no answer to this puzzle at this stage. The descriptions of the age of darkness as specified at the Eclipse don't leave us with much to cling to. But I wanted to lay out everything we (think) we know about the age of darkness, and see if we can come to a kind of broad consensus about the topic.

THE CASE FOR THE PAST
By the definition laid out by the God Hand, the earliest the Age of Darkness could begin is after Femto's birth as the fifth and final member. The years that followed were undeniably darker than the Golden Age due primarily to three massive occurrences — the spread of the plague, the tumultuous post-Hundred Years War economy, and of course the Kushan incursion. Amidst all of these things, life got progressively worse for the people (at least in Midland...) very shortly after the appearance of the Red Lake. But for subscribers of this theory, there's a ray of hope. The black clouds that enshroud humanity will soon be parted by the appearance of the Falcon of Light!

THE CASE FOR THE PRESENT
The next chapter in the Age of Darkness' likely footprint is where we currently sit. The God Hand has monopolized human survival by inviting an apocalypse onto the world. Astral creatures roam and terrorize the unprepared humans, destroying any hope of foothold for human civilization outside Falconia's walls. The splendor within Falconia has even ensnared a few readers of Berserk, but that's only because Miura has been so coy about life outside the walls. There is no reason to believe it's anything but a wasteland for humans now. That's pretty dark. What also makes this theory convincing to me is that "Age" implies a clear cut ending for the former way of life. The blast of the astral world certainly provided one. The current way of life makes the former one, in the shadow of the Golden Age, look almost cute. But there's still a big unknown ahead of us, and that's the horizon as envisioned by the God Hand.

THE CASE FOR THE FUTURE
The God Hand needed five members before they could execute their master plan. And while Femto has certainly been the busiest on the surface since he arrived on the stage, most of the happenings of the other members have been shrouded in mystery. Certainly we saw a few of them contribute to the overall decay of the world, shaping the conditions that paved the path for Griffith's ascent as de facto leader of humanity. But will that be their only role? Infernal infrastructure workers? Probably not! The God Hand have a plan for the world, and since the story began, we've seen the scales tip away from humans having agency in their own futures in favor of the God Hand having more express control. For 1,000 years, the God Hand has operated from the shadows, subtly manipulating humanity's story like pieces on a chessboard. Perhaps the TRUE Age of Darkness will be a time in which the God Hand are empowered to the extent that even the whiff of free will that humanity currently possesses will be snuffed out entirely.

THE CASE FOR ALL OF THE ABOVE
This kinda speaks for itself, but every domino that has fallen for humanity since Femto took up residence as the fifth member of the God Hand has placed them one step away from humanity having agency, and being in control of their own destinies. Countries can't exist anymore, except through the will of Griffith. That's a shitty place to be.
 
I'd rather squarely bet on the present, mainly because the Blast does seem to have plunged everywhere outside Falconia and Elfhelm into total chaos (just judging by the spreads in Volume 34), and if the Jötunn and Trolls are anything to go by, it's not pretty for anyone not already under Griffith's wing (no pun intended). Plus, with how aggressive and fascistic Griffith's "Second Empire" is shaping up to be, things might actually get uglier in the immediate future.

That said, the "Future" theory intrigues me. Just how would the presence of all five of the God Hand affect things in Falconia or the world as a whole? Maybe they would come as false prophets to "aid" the Second Empire, and rule over it as some kind of Grand Council.
 
In the prophecy Farnese talks about, she mentios how the Hawk of Darkness will call an age of darkness upon the world, but she also says how he will be the master of the sinful black sheep and the king of the blind white sheep. To this day, her prophecy still holds up as he was able to unite both humans and apostles. We already know that he is the master of the apostles and he has been leading humans ever since his incarnation, but one thing that did not happen yet is his coronation. And that is the one thing im not sure about. the pontiff mentions how he will put the crown on Griffiths head and make him marry Charlotte before he dies, but is an official coronation really needed to not see him yet as the King of the blind sheep?

And yeah, even then this prophecy does not truly specify that he needs to become a King for the age of darkness to officially start, but this is the main reason why i voted for the future. Most of the things have obviously already started moving into that direction with everything happening outside of Falconia, but i think the God Hand have something special planned to officially jumpstart this occasion. I also expect a future chapter or arc to be named after the Age of Darkness.
 
I'd say the Age of Darkness is now, humanity wished for extravagant reasons for suffering, and now they've got them. On the other hand, the current state of the world has only been referred to as Fantasia. Perhaps the God Hand only consider the Age of Darkness the point of no return, when their goal is fully realised.
 
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Interestingly, the interpretations for what the Age of Darkness is likely vary in-universe as well. For anyone living in Falconia who's even aware of the prophesy, they would claim that the Age of Darkness would be the past for the reasons you stated. But I imagine that people like the magi of Skellig would argue that it began with the Blast of the Astral World, making it the present age.

Me, I say it hasn't yet been achieved. It's the end goal of the God Hand and something that they are still working towards. And that whatever the Age of Darkness is, it's probably something even more unimaginably terrifying than what we have now.
 
I would say a mixture between the present and the future. As far as we know, the world outside of Falconia (and possibly the village where the Bakiraka clan resides) is near uninhabitable due to the Great Roar of the Astral World fusing the astral plane with the the physical plane. Which in turn brought astral creatures (especially much more dangerous creatures like dragons and hydras) into the physical world. But from what I've seen through numerous panels relating to Pontiff, the Fantasia arc is most likely the advent of the Age of Darkness. Throughout a majority of Pontiff's panels after the blast, he constantly reminds Charlotte, Griffith, and everyone else that his time isn't up til Griffith and Charlotte are married and Griffith is pronounced as the savior of mankind. Because according to the Holy See's scripture, the Hawk of Darkness (Femto/Griffith) is "the master of the sinful black sheep, the king of the blind white sheep". And while he is the master of the Apostles, he is still not officially confirmed as the savior of mankind and an honorary king yet.

To put it simply: the Age of Darkness will kick into full swing once Griffith marries Charlotte and is announced as the savior of mankind by Pontiff.
 
Huh? What do you mean?
I'm sorry for butchering the English language again. According to the Idea of Evil, human beings in Berserk desired reasons for suffering that transcended their understanding, Fantasia grants that twisted wish, it's even described as mankind's desired world.
 
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Walter

Administrator
Staff member
Wow, such split results in the poll, how interesting. Glad I made it!

is an official coronation really needed to not see him yet as the King of the blind sheep?
No, I cannot imagine that is necessary anymore. Humans are already inextricably tied to Griffith. What difference is a piece of paper going to mean in the grand scheme that causality has cooked up for humanity? For years I too wanted Griffith to take a "gloves off" approach to ruling after he got his crown, but the way Falconia has been shaping up, in particular all the plans in ep 358, it's clear that his rule doesn't need a firm hand. He's already subtly manipulated the conditions to get exactly what he wants from a willing populace.

Now I am not ruling out the possibility of some evil drama at the coronation ceremony. In fact, I am pining for it. I just don't think that descriptor in the prophecy is reliant on the actual coronation for things to kick off. Griffith is the de facto king already.

Interestingly, the interpretations for what the Age of Darkness is likely vary in-universe as well. For anyone living in Falconia who's even aware of the prophesy, they would claim that the Age of Darkness would be the past for the reasons you stated. But I imagine that people like the magi of Skellig would argue that it began with the Blast of the Astral World, making it the present age.
Indeed! The dream of the falcon of light cleaving open the dark clouds, that was Griffith ripping away the age of darkness right there. And now... and now, only good stuff, right?

You do raise the point though of how many people actually know about the prophecy, which is an unknown. We know it came from the "revelation" mentioned in vol 14, so among named characters, Azan, Serpico, and Farnese at the very least know about it (yet haven't said shit about it, nice work guys). The Pontiff also certainly knows about it, along with Schierke of course. But do the common people? I dunno... I kind of doubt it.

I'm sorry for butchering the English language again. According to the Idea of Evil, human beings in Berserk desired reasons for suffering that transcended their understanding, Fantasia grants that twisted wish, it's even described as Mankind's desired world.
I thought that's what you meant, but I think it's a leap to connect Fantasia with the Idea of Evil's words. In ep 83 it described the reasons for its existence. It was called into reality by those wishes, to establish a kind of cosmic intent. As a result, instead of all that suffering pouring into a terrifying void of nihilism, each individual human suffering is a pavestone along a path. But it doesn't say what its plan is, or that humanity wished for suffering or Fantasia.

Fantasia may be a byproduct of the God Hand's plans, whatever they may be, but it's not a new world cooked up by the God Hand. It is a return to the "correct" state of the world; a world that had been ripped away from humanity long ago, but persisted in dreams and imagination, that they longed to experience again. So it's not like a very unique present or anything. But to say that the Idea of Evil's fulfillment of human suffering is this is ... A bigger leap than I'm willing to make.
 

Victor

"Don't forget your poison arrows"
I would estimate it has already begun, but has not reached its apogee yet. Miura is definitely preparing something momentuous that will categorically establish it in the annals of history and make it clear for everyone that the hour is here (including us, the readers). Fantasia could very well be just a preface or an Age of Darkness in disguise. I would vote present to future, but since that isn't an option I will go with the future. I expect that the events which are approaching will properly define it.
 
It’s hard to agree with one specific timeline since there is no correct answer. As far for my vote of all the above, it ties back to flora having a conversation with the SK. About time being a spiral. Not quoting exactly haha.
 

Walter

Administrator
Staff member
It’s hard to agree with one specific timeline since there is no correct answer. As far for my vote of all the above, it ties back to flora having a conversation with the SK. About time being a spiral. Not quoting exactly haha.
I remember the line, but I'm not sure how it's relevant to the Age of Darkness. Could you elaborate?
 
I remember the line, but I'm not sure how it's relevant to the Age of Darkness. Could you elaborate?
Yeah it’s seems that SK and flora went down a similar path that Guts and Shierke did. She did mention that maybe they’ll make different choices. And not end up the same since time is a spiral. So in the 1000 years that SK has been around, maybe some form or version of the age of darkness has happened.
 
This is a breath of fresh air as a topic. My vote goes to the present. Well, about the time Ganishka kicked the bucket.

It's a fun thing to speculate. Could be when Femto was put on earth, but I like the idea that its current, being humanity forced into a box. Don't mind the demons and monsters. They need a home too. Fast forward a few years and the headlines are "no one ever expected foul play from the odd looking neighbors!"
 
I gotta go with the future. I think the Age of Darkness is currently a work in progress, but I don’t think it’s officially begun yet.

And if Guts and company have their way, we may never see it.
 
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I vote All of the above.

But, i have one major question about it. It's about The God Hand's Agenda, I can't remind a clear intention during the manga wich make this assumption about "A God Hand's Agenda" like a true motive of the God Hand who work together or separetely for the same goal. Maybe I misunderstood some point, i am reading again all the Berserk and in the Volume 26, when Slan talk to SK about the whereabout of the other member it's more like they have their own way with the world or their own motive than a goal they work about.

In the episode 83 when the Idea of Evil talk with Griffith, when Griffith ask what he want him to do, he said "Do as you will, chosen one", it's surey a shitty translation but It's the very fondation of the Apostle, to do as they will, like Wyald said to Zodd "act following your pulsion" (it's translation for myself from the french edition). Or you mean by that, that they are the tool of a bigger force, like Flora said in Volume 24, when she try to explain what are the God Hand. Are they aware of being use by a suprême being ? If not the case, i don't remember any clue by the God Hand themselve that they have an agenda to execute, as a group.

Maybe it was already express by someone else, if it was the case sorry for the redit.

About the Age of Darkness, I don't have a lot of rock to pose on the subject, the same as Victor.

With the description of the first post, the Age of Darkness begin when the God Hand clame it, in Volume 13, and all the act after concord to it. The humanity suffer since then, and the suffering of the people, progress constantly. It was said in precedent post and in the first post himself, but the present is a peace time only for the people of Falconia, how many are they ? If we compare to Earth population and the supposed historical of Berserk, you have, one billion of human on earth, maximum. More around 800 million, but it's pur speculation. If we consider Falconia is a big city, maybe one million soul live behind his wall, a lot for the period.

All the other, are troll food. Not a good time to live, if less than 0.1% of the humankind are in secure.

And the future is the futur, with Apostle everywhere, I don't believe a second it will be an happy life in long term to cohabite with them.

Final point i want to express. The corronation is not an easy deal, in fact Griffith is the king of mankind, but for the people, who need to attach to some tradition, pillar of their society, the corronation is neccessary. They can't forget about their social structure, even if the world collapse leader are leader and more their title is legitimate, more the power is assured in the mind of the people.

Sorry to hurt your eyes with my writting, i'm not very used to write in english.
 

Aazealh

そうはいかぬ
Staff member
"Do as you will, chosen one", it's surey a shitty translation
No, it's a good translation.

Or you mean by that, that they are the tool of a bigger force, like Flora said in Volume 24, when she try to explain what are the God Hand. Are they aware of being use by a suprême being ?
Yes, that is what it refers to. The beherits, the apostles, the God Hand... They all serve the same master. The Idea of Evil. And the God Hand must surely be aware that they do. Beyond that, it's also a simple matter of deduction. For example it's pretty clear when you look at the big picture that Griffith's rise to power isn't just his own doing.
 
Thanks for the answer and sorry to continue the subject.

They all serve the same master. The Idea of Evil. And the God Hand must surely be aware that they do.
But, if they are aware of it, so Femto. It's not his own doing, he is help by the other, by the circonstance they create for it, but it express the will of his very soul, to be king, king of all, like Guts said, he will not stop with just a Kingdom. I don't believe, he works under an agenda of other than himself. The translation is correct, you have confirmed it, The God Hand do as they pleased and it concord with the will of a suprême being, because if not, The Idea of Evil, wouldn't give to them this power in the first place. What i want to express, i understand when i see the big picture, but i think all the God have their own agenda, or goal, not a goal in common the work together on. It's happen and that's the very reason of their existence, that their action coincides with a bigger plan, The Age of Darkness. But the true finality of it, maybe even the member of The God Hand have no clue about it, they just live as they pleased or this sentance was only for Griffith ? Mmm, i believe i already read this in this forum...

Well, i will stop here. Sorry for the disgression.
 

Aazealh

そうはいかぬ
Staff member
But, if they are aware of it, so Femto. It's not his own doing, he is help by the other, by the circonstance they create for it, but it express the will of his very soul, to be king, king of all, like Guts said, he will not stop with just a Kingdom. I don't believe, he works under an agenda of other than himself. The translation is correct, you have confirmed it, The God Hand do as they pleased and it concord with the will of a suprême being, because if not, The Idea of Evil, wouldn't give to them this power in the first place. What i want to express, i understand when i see the big picture, but i think all the God have their own agenda, or goal, not a goal in common the work together on. It's happen and that's the very reason of their existence, that their action coincides with a bigger plan, The Age of Darkness. But the true finality of it, maybe even the member of The God Hand have no clue about it, they just live as they pleased or this sentance was only for Griffith ? Mmm, i believe i already read this in this forum...
Their personal goals align with those of the being that shaped their destinies. They each have their separate desires and objectives, but these happen to fit with each other nicely to further a larger plan. And the God Hand is still a team. It's literally the hand of god, with 5 members representing 5 fingers. They're independent and autonomous, but they're not rivals or anything.
 
I'm not sure how. The God Hand said they needed all five members together in order to kick things off.
I have a question about that. What are your thoughts about it, and what theories do you have on the importance of there needing to be all five God Hand members to jump start this age of darkness? I doubt its to fulfill a prophecy simply for the sake of fulfilling one, and might have more tangible reasons. Anyways, was just curious on your thoughts about it.

Also, about this thread: the case for the future implies that things are probably going to get a lot worse for humanity. Regarding that, I was wondering about your statement, "Perhaps the TRUE Age of Darkness will be a time in which the God Hand are empowered to the extent that even the whiff of free will that humanity currently possesses will be snuffed out entirely. " Could you elaborate more on what you mean by that?
 

Walter

Administrator
Staff member
I have a question about that. What are your thoughts about it, and what theories do you have on the importance of there needing to be all five God Hand members to jump start this age of darkness? I doubt its to fulfill a prophecy simply for the sake of fulfilling one, and might have more tangible reasons. Anyways, was just curious on your thoughts about it.
It entirely depends on the nature of their master plan, which we cant know yet, but I think it's possble that each member governs a domain related to human nature (for example, Griffith, the guy obcessed with his ambitious dream, has twice been called by the God Hand as "Blessed King of Longing") And if so, they couldn't fully execute their plan unless all domains were accounted for.

"Perhaps the TRUE Age of Darkness will be a time in which the God Hand are empowered to the extent that even the whiff of free will that humanity currently possesses will be snuffed out entirely. " Could you elaborate more on what you mean by that?
As things stand with Falconia, the God Hand have already taken a more active role in the manipulation of humanity. But I meant that perhaps they would take it to the next step, and achieve absolute control over humanity, not just the indirect control they've always had. Instead of manipulation by suggestions, they'd be operators of a perfect machine.
 
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It entirely depends on the nature of their master plan, which we cant know yet, but I think it's possble that each member governs a domain related to human nature (for example, Griffith, the guy obcessed with his ambitious dream, has twice been called by the God Hand as "Blessed King of Longing") And if so, they couldn't fully execute their plan unless all domains were accounted for.
Oh wow, that is a very interesting theory. And I had no idea about Griffith being called that. I would be very curious to know what are the "titles" of the other God Hand members, in this same regard.

Instead of manipulation by suggestions, they'd be operators of a perfect machine.
I can only imagine on what that would look like, but what are your guesses?
 
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