The significance of the Cherry Blossom tree on Elfhelm and the goal of the God Hand

This will be a very long and also my first theory, so bear with me :casca:

When i read Volume 34 way back, i always wondered about the significance on showing the God Hand after the birth of Fantasia. At that point, what did Miura mean? Was it a sign of showing that the God Hand finally can move around freely due to the astral and physical layer merging? This was what i assumed initially, but with the information we got on Elfhelm regarding the Blast of the World, the spirit trees and the world tree i started thinking about how all this connects together. But the biggest factor on all this speculation comes from the reveals of the latest episode.

In episode 358, we finally get to learn that Griffith wants to build an empire. Not just an empire, but more specifically an empire for humans.



This detail is very important as it goes hand in hand with what we have been seeing in the missions that the Demon army has been undertaking. Territories are taken over, Giants are getting wiped out. Ultimately this goal means the exterminations of astral creatures.

The more i thought about this, the more it made perfect sense. As much as the God Hand and Apostles are demonic, at their core they come from human desire. And at some point, be it a God Hand member or an apostle, they were human. Beyond that, we also know that the Idea of Evil was born through such desire.
The astral creatures on the other end? Be it dragons, trolls, giants or even the other side of the spectrum like elfs and brownies, they are all inhuman.

In episode 345 we get to know that in ancient times, the worlds were intermingled at some point. Something happened back in the day which led to the world we used to know before the event on top of Ganishka.




As we know around 1000 years ago, there was another conqueror like Griffith who had created the first big empire of the Berserk world. Now why is Gaiseric important in all of this?



We know that the Skull Knight has connections to witches such as Flora, but even to places such as Elfhelm. This detail is important as even though Griffith puts his goal in creating an empire in juxtaposition to what Gaiseric did, the difference lies in Gaiseric working together with witches and astral creatures, not against them.

Now to the speculation part. My thoughts on this is that in ancient times when Gaiseric was conquering the world, he was cooperating alongside witches. Ultimately at some point, Gaiseric had to make a decision about astral creatures and their longing in the world, as certain creatures like Giants, Dragons and so forth were causing too much chaos for humanity. But instead of trying to exterminate them like Griffith did, Gaiseric decided to hetch a plan with the witches out of respect for them and their connection to nature. With that perspective in mind, mages started setting up spirit trees all around the world. Something that most likely bugged a certain wise man who had other values on astral creatures.




But why?

This gets explained in Volume 39, as we know of a certain witch who did the same. In volume 26, Griffith sends a portion of his army to go after Flora and burn down her spirit tree. As Shierke asks the mages on the significance of this mission, they answer the question by explaining that witches did this to maintain the balance between the physical and the astral world. They get into further detail by making it clear that the spirit trees were sucking off the power of the world tree, thus holding the balance between the world.





Now after Ganishkas defeat a big portion of the astral and physical world were merged. Alongside with that, Griffith was preparing to further strengthen the world tree by putting the spirit trees around the world to ashes. Why would he do this?

The answer is pretty self explanatory after episode 358. We know that Griffith wants to build an empire for humans, we also established how this makes sense from the perspective of a God Hand member, but most importantly, by further merging the worlds, the end goal of exterminating astral creatures gets easier. But beyond that, you set up something greater.

We know that Griffith will most likely end up at Elfhelm after his transformation to the moonlight boy. We saw the moonlight boy using the branches of the world tree as means of transportation in episode 331, but besides Griffith and the Boy there is another character said to be able to navigate through the world tree. That character being Sonia.



My ultimate speculation is that we will have Griffith emerging on the Island and sending a signal to Sonia to bring the demon army to Elfhelm through the use of fast travel. The end goal in all of this will be the destruction of the cherry blossom tree to fully intermingle the physical and astral world, causing the appearance of the God Hand in Fantasia.

With the arrival of the God Hand, and the further merging of the worlds by destroying the biggest spirit tree out there, we will enter the most critical and cruel phase of Berserk. The age of Darkness.
 
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Aazealh

そうはいかぬ
Staff member
Hey TheWillOfT, here are a few comments.

When i read Volume 34 way back, i always wondered about the significance on showing the God Hand after the birth of Fantasia. At that point, what did Miura mean?
It's always been pretty clear: when the worlds merged, they came into the corporeal world. This implies increased agency for them without the need for a special ceremony like the one Femto underwent.

In episode 358, we finally get to learn that Griffith wants to build an empire. Not just an empire, but more specifically an empire for humans.
This isn't really new information. The humans vs astral world conflict is something we've been talking about for years (see below). The new information, which was more a confirmation than a revelation, is that they intend to expand their territory instead of staying holed up in Falconia. Having it explicitly stated is a really important milestone for the story of course, but it's not groundbreaking as far as speculation goes.

I've posted about it before, but I could see Midland becoming a relatively safe haven for humans while the rest of the world goes haywire, with apostles patrolling the roads and fighting whatever supernatural threats would come at them. It would be the ultimate opposition of the human-based "magic" that the God Hand and the apostles represent against the rest of the world. Of course things would certainly not be as simple as that (because, well, the GH and the apostles aren't really the good guys), but you get the idea.
One thing I'm wondering about is the natural opposition that is happening of humans (and human-based powers, like apostles) versus astral creatures in general. Is that the natural order of things? Or is it something that's being manufactured before our very eyes? We know that trolls for example are beasts at the core, creatures that are dangerous in the same way that a pack of starving wild dogs can be. But there are benevolent astral beings as well, like elves. Are people in Midland (and the world in general) going to be able to make the difference, to see that they could ally themselves with benevolent astral beings (like the Lady of the Depths) to fight off harmful ones? Or are they, under the influence of Griffith (and the rest of the God Hand?) going to see all non-humans as threatening and start a campaign to exterminate them all? That could be one of the ulterior goals of the powers that be.
These are just two occurrences but we've discussed it pretty extensively over the years.

In episode 345 we get to know that in ancient times, the worlds were intermingled at some point. Something happened back in the day which led to the world we used to know before the event on top of Ganishka.
This is also more a confirmation than a revelation. We've known that magic was more prevalent in the past for a long time. Schierke touches on it in episode 206 for example. It has been assumed ever since the introduction of elemental magic into the story that the primitive state of Berserk's world was that of merged worlds.

We know that the Skull Knight has connections to witches such as Flora, but even to places such as Elfhelm.
The Skull Knight has a link with elves, and it's safe to assume that he's connected to Elfhelm, but we don't actually "know" it. Just a nitpick, but it's important to get the facts straight.

My thoughts on this is that in ancient times when Gaiseric was conquering the world, he was cooperating alongside witches.
Given that the Skull Knight has stated and demonstrated that he was close friends with Flora, that's pretty much a given as long as you assume he and Gaiseric are the same person.

Ultimately at some point, Gaiseric had to make a decision about astral creatures and their longing in the world, as certain creatures like Giants, Dragons and so forth were causing too much chaos for humanity. But instead of trying to exterminate them like Griffith did, Gaiseric decided to hetch a plan with the witches out of respect for them and their connection to nature. With that perspective in mind, mages started setting up spirit trees all around the world.
It's hard at the moment to conclude whether it was Gaiseric's decision or not, but it's pretty self-explanatory from what we're told in the story that a group of leading magic users decided to separate the worlds. The real key point though isn't so much that Griffith is taking a different approach, but why he is taking it. It's related to the God Hand's overarching goal, which is still not fully clear to us.

Something that most likely bugged a certain wise man who had other values on astral creatures.
That's pure conjecture at this point.

My ultimate speculation is that we will have Griffith emerging on the Island and sending a signal to Sonia to bring the demon army to Elfhelm through the use of fast travel. The end goal in all of this will be the destruction of the cherry blossom tree to fully intermingle the physical and astral world, causing the appearance of the God Hand in Fantasia. With the arrival of the God Hand, and the further merging of the worlds by destroying the biggest spirit tree out there, we will enter the most critical and cruel phase of Berserk. The age of Darkness.
I have a few problems with this speculation. The first one is that when the boy is in control, well he's in control. Is Femto conscious and can he (and would he?) send a message to Sonia during that time? Secondly, Sonia's already left earlier that day and might already be traveling the world. I've also speculated that she might go to Elfhelm herself, but I have trouble with the idea of her leading an army of apostles to destroy the place.

I'd rather see her find it on her own, or maybe do so because she's seeking Schierke. Since Vritannis, it's been clear that Sonia will be faced with a dilemma at some point: Schierke and the forces of good vs Griffith. Regardless of her choice, I think right now is too early for it to happen. She needs doubt instilled in her, and it needs to grow over time. Maybe her going to Elfhelm could be planting that seed of doubt.

As a matter of fact, while anything is possible, it would feel like a really grievous defeat if Guts & co were to lose to a group of apostles while having the help of a powerful magic users. I don't envision Guts losing to Grunbeld again, for example.

Lastly, as far as I'm concerned, the God Hand is already in the corporeal world. We haven't seen them yet, but that doesn't mean they aren't at work. And I also would argue that "the Age of Darkness" is already underway. People are doing fine in Falconia (for now), sure, but what about the rest of the world? Again, just because we haven't seen something doesn't mean it isn't happening.
 
It's always been pretty clear: when the worlds merged, they came into the corporeal world. This implies increased agency for them without the need for a special ceremony like the one Femto underwent.
If this is truly the case then it obviously changes everything i said. Obviously everything i said is based on them not being corporal yet and that their showing in volume 34 was more about showing the first signs of them taking a big step into the same direction. Since we dont know the details behind how much Ganishka absorbed, i was set on the idea that there is more behind all the talk of spirit trees besides explaining why Floras mansion got attacked.

These are just two occurrences but we've discussed it pretty extensively over the years.
Very interesting and cool stuff that you guys were already having this idea back then.

I have a few problems with this speculation. The first one is that when the Boy is in control, well he's in control. Is Femto conscious and can he (and would he?) send a message to Sonia during that time?
I can definitely understand your doubt as the scenario was not something i had deeply thought about. Griffith just randomly taking over the body right at Elfhelm and calling over for Sonia and the demon army would definitely seem random. Since we dont know the details on that, its hard to speculate. Regardless, i think its pretty likely that Griffiths absence off Falconia will be a subject that will be important for later, same for Sonias ability to navigate through the trees and also her going on a trip as stated by her in the last episode.

As a matter of fact, while anything is possible, it would feel like a really grievous defeat if Guts & co were to lose to a group of apostles while having the help of a powerful magic users. I don't envision Guts losing to Grunbeld again, for example.
I agree, but i dont think that it would be a total one sided battle even if you have the demon army alongside with Femto there. For a fact, i could imagine losses on both sides, moreso on the side of the inhabitants of Elfhelm obviously. Although this is pure speculation, an incoming second duel with Grunbeld on Elfhelm in which Guts beats him wouldnt be something i couldnt imagine.

Besides that i think this would be the perfect display to show how twisted this end mission of the God Hand is. That its more than just getting rid of Giants and astral creatures that are of opposing nature against humans.
 

Aazealh

そうはいかぬ
Staff member
Obviously everything i said is based on them not being corporal yet
One important thing that might not have been clear from my post is that I don't think the other members of the God Hand will ever be incarnated like Femto was. I don't believe they will receive corporeal bodies like the one he has. It seems more likely to me that their role will play out differently, although I do think they're currently able to manifest themselves physically when they need to, and more easily than they were able to before.

i was set on the idea that there is more behind all the talk of spirit trees besides explaining why Floras mansion got attacked.
Well there is more to it than that: it shed a lot of light on the world of Berserk, on the World Spiral Tree, on what happened in ancient times, etc. It was very important information.

Regardless, i think its pretty likely that Griffiths absence off Falconia will be a subject that will be important for later
That's assuming he stays gone for more than a night, which is just speculation for now. It's also possible he'll be back by morning as usual. We don't know the exact details of how the flow of time is altered in Skellig. Isma's mom just warns against a prolonged stay. We'll see!

same for Sonias ability to navigate through the trees and also her going on a trip as stated by her in the last episode.
That will play a role for sure. I do expect her to use this power to travel the world and to be enlightened in the process.

I agree, but i dont think that it would be a total one sided battle even if you have the demon army alongside with Femto there.
Honestly, if Femto's there and using his full power, does he even need apostles? Either way that kind of battle would certainly be quite a sight.

Besides that i think this would be the perfect display to show how twisted this end mission of the God Hand is. That its more than just getting rid of Giants and astral creatures that are of opposing nature against humans.
Sure, but I don't think there's a pressing need to show that the God Hand is evil. It's established quite early in the series. And I believe that their wickedness isn't going to just be a matter of killing elves, but of damning mankind as a whole.
 
I'm not a believer in the theory that the "ancient chaos" occurred during the same time as Gaeserics conquests. We don't see any sign of astral creatures in any of the flashback scenes. Also Gaeseric seems to be just as bad as Ganishka in terms of bloodthirsty conquest, I doubt the witches we are familiar with would ever cooperate with him. Though perhaps he had a legion of his own magicians like Daiba more concerned with conquest than conservation, maybe Void was his Daiba lol.

I do beleive like T, that the God Hands current goal is to obtain corporeal forms, not by body snatching like Griffith, rather bringing the physical world to them, they've been working towards this the entire series after all. However I have doubts as to whether the Cherry tree will fall, destroying the big bonanza of spirit trees would be a good way of transitioning to the Age of Darkness as you put it, but we've already seen this plot play out before in volume 26, it would be repetitive to tread the same ground again but with an even bigger tree. Plus I just don't see Muira being willing to subject cute little Elfhelm creatures to gruesome deaths at the hands of apostles. Berserk has been dark, but there have never been any gratuitous elf deaths before.
 
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Aazealh

そうはいかぬ
Staff member
I'm not a believer in the theory that the "ancient chaos" occurred during the same time as Gaeserics conquests. We don't see any sign of astral creatures in any of the flashback scenes.
There are no flashback scenes. We see three panels in volume 10 when Charlotte relates the legend of Gaiseric as it was told to her. These panels illustrate her tale more than they serve as a true window into ancient times, and said tale is clearly incomplete. It's presented as having different versions (e.g. number of angels involved) and generally not being very reliable.

That being said, it is possible that the separation between the corporeal and the astral worlds was already underway during Gaiseric's time. However we know that Flora was an integral part of that process (she was one of the witches who dedicated herself to a tree), and we also know that she and the Skull Knight were companions when they were young. Given these elements, plus the fact we know something momentous occurred a thousand years ago, it makes sense when it comes to storytelling efficiency that they'd be concurrent events.

Also Gaeseric seems to be just as bad as Ganishka in terms of bloodthirsty conquest, I doubt the witches we are familiar with would ever cooperate with him.
As I said in a previous post, it's established in the manga that the Skull Knight was friends with Flora when he was still human. And we know from Puck that he has an elfin aura about him. So unless you think he and Gaiseric are different characters...

I do beleive like T, that the God Hands current goal is to obtain corporeal forms, not by body snatching like Griffith, rather brining the physical world to them, they've been working towards this the entire series after all.
I would argue that at this point we don't know exactly what they've been working towards. Bringing them into the corporeal world was certainly a milestone in their plan, but I don't think the main objective is for all of them to obtain physical bodies. Femto received one because it served a purpose. But it also limits him in a way, compared to what they can do when formless. If we assume they're working as a team (which they are as far as we know), then I believe they will play a different role.
 

Walter

Administrator
Staff member
i always wondered about the significance on showing the God Hand after the birth of Fantasia. At that point, what did Miura mean? Was it a sign of showing that the God Hand finally can move around freely due to the astral and physical layer merging?
It's a little mysterious, but I don't think it should be treated as a complete unknown. Those pages in Ep 306 are all about astral creatures coming into the world (they're literally marching all in the same direction for several pages), and the God Hand moved with that flow. We're supposed to see those two movements happening in tandem. The implication being the God Hand moved in as well. To what degree, we don't know, but they didn't appear hindered or shackled to me.

In episode 358, we finally get to learn that Griffith wants to build an empire. Not just an empire, but more specifically an empire for humans.
Well it was never going to be a land for humans and magical creatures. And we've known Griffith's take on such matters as far back as Vol 26, what with his assassination attempt on Flora, and even more conclusively at the end of 337 as Rickert sees Falconia gearing up for war on a mass scale. And as you rightly concluded, the God Hand, the apostles, and the Idea of Evil are all about humanity, the Vortex of Souls is all about humanity, etc., etc.

With that perspective in mind, mages started setting up spirit trees all around the world. Something that most likely bugged a certain wise man who had other values on astral creatures.
I like where your head is at, but it's way too early to say, I think. However, I agree that among the easiest stories to build about the presumed fallout between Gaiseric and the wise man was that if we presume the wise man is Void, then he wanted to take the future of humanity down a much different path than Gaiseric had planned.

Now after Ganishkas defeat a big portion of the astral and physical world were merged. Alongside with that, Griffith was preparing to further strengthen the world tree by putting the spirit trees around the world to ashes.
The way it's explained by the gurus, it's the other way around, actually. The torching of the spiritual trees precipitated the astral blast. It was done that way so that when Ganishka went pop, the unhindered world spiral tree was powerful enough to fully manifest.

most importantly, by further merging the worlds, the end goal of exterminating astral creatures gets easier.
I don't know that it's the "most important" part of the plan. From what we know, it's multifold: God Hand manifestation, gathering all humanity under one banner, campaign of extermination for any rival magical/astral powers, PLUS the grand plan that we don't know anything about yet, but I would imagine it's about controlling humanity indefinitely. Until recently, the God Hand have had to act like shadows on the wall of humanity. Since the merging, it's possible they can take a much more bold step in how they manipulate the world's affairs.

Also Gaeseric seems to be just as bad as Ganishka in terms of bloodthirsty conquest, I doubt the witches we are familiar with would ever cooperate with him.
I think it'd be a mistake to swallow whole the oral tale of Gaiseric, as colored through a millennium of God Hand-dominated history. But you're also discounting the state of the world before Gaiseric's arrival on the stage: Chaos. His empire brought order, just like Griffith's plans to do.

I do beleive like T, that the God Hands current goal is to obtain corporeal forms, not by body snatching like Griffith, rather brining the physical world to them
Like Aaz said, Femto was incarnated into a physical body because the God Hand needed him to be their vanguard in the physical world. He was the perfect candidate, since he had already developed a following as the hero of the age. Wouldn't have made sense for it to be Conrad, for example. So, "Griffith" got a physical body, and ended up merging the worlds as planned. And now his friends can come along, too. But that doesn't mean they need bodies. Before they were "everywhere and nowhere" existing "where there is a great concentration of evil." Presumably, that's not a barrier anymore. And while we certainly can't set down stakes about what the new parameters are, Ep 306 made it clear that they were free to come along with all the other creatures, and I just haven't yet seen the argument about how having a body is an upgrade over the myriad other alternatives for manifesting.
 
There are no flashback scenes. We see three panels in volume 10 when Charlotte relates the legend of Gaiseric as it was told to her. These panels illustrate her tale more than they serve as a true window into ancient times, and said tale is clearly incomplete. It's presented as having different versions (e.g. number of angels involved) and generally not being very reliable.

That being said, it is possible that the separation between the corporeal and the astral worlds was already underway during Gaiseric's time. However we know that Flora was an integral part of that process (she was one of the witches who dedicated herself to a tree), and we also know that she and the Skull Knight were companions when they were young. Given these elements, plus the fact we know something momentous occurred a thousand years ago, it makes sense when it comes to storytelling efficiency that they'd be concurrent events.



As I said in a previous post, it's established in the manga that the Skull Knight was friends with Flora when he was still human. And we know from Puck that he has an elfin aura about him. So unless you think he and Gaiseric are different characters...
I believe Flora came into the picture long after Gaeserics Empire fell, it doesn't fit Flora's character to concern herself with worldly politics, let alone working for the most powerful tyrant on Earth at the time. She isn't privy to information that she would certainly have known if she was Gaeserics friend, she doesn't know who Void is, for instance.

I would argue that at this point we don't know exactly what they've been working towards. Bringing them into the corporeal world was certainly a milestone in their plan, but I don't think the main objective is for all of them to obtain physical bodies. Femto received one because it served a purpose. But it also limits him in a way, compared to what they can do when formless. If we assume they're working as a team (which they are as far as we know), then I believe they will play a different role.
I hate to split hairs but I wouldn't use the word team, since they seldom interact, and Slan doesn't even know where the rest of the members are.

I think it'd be a mistake to swallow whole the oral tale of Gaiseric, as colored through a millennium of God Hand-dominated history. But you're also discounting the state of the world before Gaiseric's arrival on the stage: Chaos. His empire brought order, just like Griffith's plans to do.
I agree that most, if not most of the Skull King fairy tale is bullshit, especially since it contradicts a more accurate myth from Mozgus.
But it's pretty evident from the small clues we have that Gaeseric was a very ruthless person, he wore a skull shaped helmet, his enemies called him galloping death, and he presumably had Void scalped and mutilated. Also he wore a SKULL shaped helmet.

Also, Midlandic history is rather in awe of Gaiseric, describing him as a great unifier that ended perpetual conflict, it's more the Holy See that view him as a sinful king.

Like Aaz said, Femto was incarnated into a physical body because the God Hand needed him to be their vanguard in the physical world. He was the perfect candidate, since he had already developed a following as the hero of the age. Wouldn't have made sense for it to be Conrad, for example. So, "Griffith" got a physical body, and ended up merging the worlds as planned. And now his friends can come along, too. But that doesn't mean they need bodies. Before they were "everywhere and nowhere" existing "where there is a great concentration of evil." Presumably, that's not a barrier anymore. And while we certainly can't set down stakes about what the new parameters are, Ep 306 made it clear that they were free to come along with all the other creatures, and I just haven't yet seen the argument about how having a body is an upgrade over the myriad other alternatives for manifesting.
I dunno dude, four of the most powerful beings on Earth could get up to all kinds of mischief that they couldn't as formless entities relegated to the darkest corners of the Earth, or permanent sacrificial vendors. They could for instance reprise their former roles in life, but on a grander and more twisted scale.
But it's impossible to go into specifics since we know very little about who they are or what they personally want.
 

Walter

Administrator
Staff member
it doesn't fit Flora's character to concern herself with worldly politics,
The issue at hand was not "politics," but how to ensure humanity's survival. Are you saying she's above that? Well, she wasn't as evidenced by what Ged said.

let alone working for the most powerful tyrant on Earth at the time.
Do you really think that's going to be Gaiseric's legacy? A bad guy wearing a scary armor who killed a lot of people?

She isn't privy to information that she would certainly have known if she was Gaeserics friend, she doesn't know who Void is, for instance.
Why do you think she doesn't know about Void?

I agree that most, if not most of the Skull King fairy tale is bullshit, especially since it contradicts a more accurate myth from Mozgus.
Those two stories aren't in contradiction. They describe two different events: One in Albion, one at Gaiseric's capital.

Gaeseric was a very ruthless person, he wore a skull shaped helmet, his enemies called him galloping death, and he presumably had Void scalped and mutilated. Also he wore a SKULL shaped helmet.
Most of those are qualities Griffith had as a human, and yet he gathered around him some pretty decent people who fought for his vision of the world. Maybe it happened before, too? Is that... crazy?

Also he wore a SKULL shaped helmet.
Sheesh, you mentioned that twice! it must be extra important! But did you now that a character with a SKULL shaped helmet was also a close, trusted ally of Flora?

They could for instance reprise their former roles in life but on a grander and more twisted scale.
So they'd transcend humanity so they could ultimately go ... back to humanity? So if Conrad was a tailor as a human, he'd become.. an EVIL tailor. If Ubik was a corrupt priest of the Holy See, he'd become an EXTRA evil priest. This all sounds like a pretty big downgrade, dude.
 
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jackson_hurley

even the horses are cut in half!
One thing I'm wondering though is if Flora and Gaiseric were friends before shit hit the fan in his (Gaiseric time) or after. Did he somehow survived some kind of sacrificial ceremony and meet her along his path after (learning then a lot of important stuff from Flora or the opposite?)

As in, did they meet before or after his conquest?
 

jackson_hurley

even the horses are cut in half!
Could be. Afterall, Guts met Schierke after the Eclipse, after his life was already mired by tragedy. But of course we have no grasp of the timeline of events between 1000-0.
Indeed. Thats pretty much why Im super curious of their relation ship. Very intriguing and interesting stuff. Do you have any kind of take or personnal guess just for fun?

I would tend to say they met after his tragedy.
 
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Aazealh

そうはいかぬ
Staff member
I believe Flora came into the picture long after Gaeserics Empire fell
She clearly knew him when he was still human. In fact she was the one he entrusted with the Berserk's armor. They could conceivably have met after his empire fell, but "long after", as in two centuries later? I don't think so.

it doesn't fit Flora's character to concern herself with worldly politics
She certainly took an active role in keeping the astral and corporeal worlds separated. And she wasn't always a hermit either.

let alone working for the most powerful tyrant on Earth at the time.
We don't know what his rule really was like. I'd be wary of assuming too much at this point.

She isn't privy to information that she would certainly have known if she was Gaeserics friend, she doesn't know who Void is, for instance.
Speaking of assumptions... Flora knew a lot of things. She hints more than once at the existence of the Idea of Evil, for example. And she actually seems to know a good deal about the God Hand, despite saying they're mysterious. She gave Guts a concise answer when he asked her about them, but that doesn't mean she didn't know more than that. Just like Guts knows more than he lets on.

I hate to split hairs but I wouldn't use the word team, since they seldom interact, and Slan doesn't even know where the rest of the members are.
More assumptions. We know next to nothing about the God Hand. We don't know how often they interact, nor whether they need to at all to begin with. But we know they're kindred, and that they serve the same master. That implies they're working towards a common objective, even if they each have their own individual goals. The other members contributed to setting things up so Femto could play the hero as Griffith. And in turn he brought them into the world when Fantasia came to be. Also, Slan does not say she doesn't know where they are, she says she doesn't care. And in doing so she eludes a question from their biggest enemy.

I agree that most, if not most of the Skull King fairy tale is bullshit, especially since it contradicts a more accurate myth from Mozgus.
The accuracy of Mozgus' little story (which amounts to a single sentence) is not at all guaranteed, nor does it really contradict Charlotte's tale.

Also, Midlandic history is rather in awe of Gaiseric, describing him as a great unifier that ended perpetual conflict, it's more the Holy See that view him as a sinful king.
Not really. Charlotte describes the end of his reign as decadent and punished by God.

I dunno dude, four of the most powerful beings on Earth could get up to all kinds of mischief that they couldn't as formless entities relegated to the darkest corners of the Earth [...] They could for instance reprise their former roles in life, but on a grander and more twisted scale.
Mischief, huh? The Puck Bros have got some serious competition coming! More seriously, this sounds like something you haven't put much thought into. Femto was the ideal candidate for the incarnation because people still remembered who he was. That makes no sense for the others. And Griffith already leads mankind's survivors. What purpose would it serve for four more of them to also play pretend as humans? Do you think they should have their own version of Falconia or something? On the other hand, we've seen a glimpse of how powerful their influence could be without them needing a body, and that power has likely grown a lot since the worlds merged.
 
General question regarding this topic.

It seems assumed in this thread that the Cherry Blossom Tree is one of these Spirit Trees. Is this confirmed, or just something safe to assume considering all the magic and astral creatures around it?

If it is a Spirit Tree, and the spirit trees were strategically set up to limit the World Spiral tree's influence on the world, is it doing anything presently to hold back part of the astral world? Might it be the last Spirit Tree remaining? Would Griffith and co. have any motive to burn this one down as well, and what might that do? As mentioned by others here, we haven't seen the God Hand in the material world since Fantasia occurred. They could very well be in the Pandemonium Dome behind Griffith's Palace, but that isn't confirmed yet.

It could also be a spirit tree that wasn't enough to hold back Fantasia, and now just sits as a locus of astral power for the inhabitants of Elfhelm. If so, then destroying it might not do much or even be in the cards.

Anyway, just wondering if we know if it's a spirit tree and what the implications of that are now.
 

Walter

Administrator
Staff member
General question regarding this topic.

It seems assumed in this thread that the Cherry Blossom Tree is one of these Spirit Trees. Is this confirmed, or just something safe to assume considering all the magic and astral creatures around it?

If it is a Spirit Tree, and the spirit trees were strategically set up to limit the World Spiral tree's influence on the world, is it doing anything presently to hold back part of the astral world? Might it be the last Spirit Tree remaining? Would Griffith and co. have any motive to burn this one down as well, and what might that do? As mentioned by others here, we haven't seen the God Hand in the material world since Fantasia occurred. They could very well be in the Pandemonium Dome behind Griffith's Palace, but that isn't confirmed yet.

It could also be a spirit tree that wasn't enough to hold back Fantasia, and now just sits as a locus of astral power for the inhabitants of Elfhelm. If so, then destroying it might not do much or even be in the cards.

Anyway, just wondering if we know if it's a spirit tree and what the implications of that are now.
We don't know for sure but I'd say it is likely to be one. Venturing a guess -- maybe the original spiritual trees were grown from saplings from this tree?

As for what benefit there'd be for the God Hand torching this one too, nothing obvious comes to mind. They didn't appear to be restricted in ep 306.
 
General question regarding this topic.

It seems assumed in this thread that the Cherry Blossom Tree is one of these Spirit Trees. Is this confirmed, or just something safe to assume considering all the magic and astral creatures around it?

Anyway, just wondering if we know if it's a spirit tree and what the implications of that are now.

In the Dark Horse translation Shierke refers to it as a huge spirit tree (Episode 346). Who knows if that is truly accurate though
 

Aazealh

そうはいかぬ
Staff member
It seems assumed in this thread that the Cherry Blossom Tree is one of these Spirit Trees. Is this confirmed, or just something safe to assume considering all the magic and astral creatures around it?
The tree is referred to by Schierke as a "spiritual tree" (霊樹) in episode 346, the same word used in episode 345 when talking about the "forests of spiritual trees" (霊樹の森) that parasited the World Spiral Tree.

If it is a Spirit Tree, and the spirit trees were strategically set up to limit the World Spiral tree's influence on the world, is it doing anything presently to hold back part of the astral world?
Well the worlds have merged, the World Spiral Tree has materialized in the corporeal world, and its branches seem to extend all around the world. Maybe the last few remaining trees are holding it back somehow, but if so we don't know yet in what regard. However if you reverse the problem, the fact a few trees remain implies there is still hope for eventually reversing the merger (over a long period of time) if the good guys were to win.

Venturing a guess -- maybe the original spiritual trees were grown from saplings from this tree?
But this is a cherry tree and Flora's tree was not one as far as I can tell.
 
Do you really think that's going to be Gaiseric's legacy? A bad guy wearing a scary armor who killed a lot of people?
Do you mean from a reader’s perspective or from the Berserk World’s perspective? Because only the educated in Berserk know he even existed, and the readers have only gotten three pages of him. Readers opinions of him could change once we get Skull Knight’s side of the story, but from what we know of him now, he’s pretty terrifying.

Why do you think she doesn't know about Void?
When asked who the God Hand are, Flora states that she only knows that they were once human, she doesn’t bring up anything about the wiseman, or the fall of Gaiseric’s capital.

Those two stories aren't in contradiction. They describe two different events: One in Albion, one at Gaiseric's capital.
I think they’re the same event, it’s the biggest sacrifice event that we know of, with hundreds of thousands slaughtered, who’s to say this immense loss of life didn’t extend beyond the capital?

Most of those are qualities Griffith had as a human, and yet he gathered around him some pretty decent people who fought for his vision of the world. Maybe it happened before, too? Is that... crazy?
Griffith never had forest witches working for him though, they’re from two different worlds. Incidentally, Griffith’s PR image was that of the great hero, his darker side was one he kept secret from others, Gaiseric conversely was all about shock and awe, donning the quintessential symbol of death to inspire terror in his enemies.

So they'd transcend humanity so they could ultimately go ... back to humanity...? So if Conrad was a tailor as a human, he'd become.. an EVIL tailor. If Ubik was a corrupt priest of the Holy See, he'd become an EXTRA evil priest. This all sounds like a pretty big downgrade, dude.
To transcend doesn’t necessarily mean to discard, each apostle and God Hand, to a greater extent, is an enhanced version of their former selves. Rosine went from daydreamer, to literally living out her fantasy, the Count was a heretic hunter, and became an even worse heretic hunter.

Griffith went from potential king of a small country to potential immortal demon king of the entire world. Slan went from some kind of courtesan to, whore princess of the uterine sea, their ambitions Are not abandoned, they're broadened, both by the loss of their mental and physical limits as humans, that’s what is meant by transcendence.
 
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She clearly knew him when he was still human. In fact she was the one he entrusted with the Berserk's armor. They could conceivably have met after his empire fell, but "long after", as in two centuries later? I don't think so.
The very earliest the Skull Knight would have lost his human body was 300 years ago, because that's roughly how long Zodd has lived, and since we know Zodd has seen SK in the armour before, he could only have died in this 300-year time period. That still leaves 700 plus years in which Gaeseric somehow lived as a human, he must have survived this long period of time somehow, therefore meeting Flora two centuries after his empire fell isn’t impossible.

Speaking of assumptions... Flora knew a lot of things. She hints more than once at the existence of the Idea of Evil, for example. And she actually seems to know a good deal about the God Hand, despite saying they're mysterious. She gave Guts a concise answer when he asked her about them, but that doesn't mean she didn't know more than that. Just like Guts knows more than he lets on.
It still pales in comparison to Skull Knights knowledge, Flora describes the God Hand in very academic terms, the Skull Knight in comparison is able to attribute personality traits to at least two members, he probably knows the former lives of each of them. I find it more likely that the Skull Knight is keeping Flora in the dark rather than her hiding information from Guts. We even get a scene reinforcing this when she attempts to pry a motive out of an inflexible Skull Knight.

More assumptions. We know next to nothing about the God Hand. We don't know how often they interact, nor whether they need to at all to begin with. But we know they're kindred, and that they serve the same master. That implies they're working towards a common objective, even if they each have their own individual goals.
I veer towards "Not at all to begin with" they were genetically engineered to serve a purpose, they do as they will, but within a context in which each of their individual wills serve a grander plan. In that respect they don't need to check up on each other at God Hand board meetings to plan out an objective.

The other members contributed to setting things up so Femto could play the hero as Griffith. And in turn he brought them into the world when Fantasia came to be. Also, Slan does not say she doesn't know where they are, she says she doesn't care. And in doing so she eludes a question from their biggest enemy.
I doubt the God Hand view anyone as a threat, they scoff at the idea of Guts being their enemy, the worst words they could muster for the Skull Knight are “That guy who shows up at temporal junction points”. God Hands have pretty much been very forthcoming since they were introduced, so I don’t buy this idea that they’re hiding information from the Skull Knight because they’re worried about him.

The accuracy of Mozgus' little story (which amounts to a single sentence) is not at all guaranteed, nor does it really contradict Charlotte's tale.
One angel, being made to descend sounds more accurate than four angels meeting out a punishment for sin by destroying Gaserics Empire. Not only does this miss the obvious fact that three members haven’t been born yet, but it’s completely out of character for God Hand members to “punish sin”.

Not really. Charlotte describes the end of his reign as decadent and punished by God.
That’s more Judeau’s tale, but the tale does end with the tower of rebirth “sealing an unclean past”.

Mischief, huh? The Puck Bros have got some serious competition coming! More seriously, this sounds like something you haven't put much thought into. Femto was the ideal candidate for the incarnation because people still remembered who he was. That makes no sense for the others. And Griffith already leads mankind's survivors.

What purpose would it serve for four more of them to also play pretend as humans? Do you think they should have their own version of Falconia or something? On the other hand, we've seen a glimpse of how powerful their influence could be without them needing a body, and that power has likely grown a lot since the worlds merged.
I agree with most of what you’re saying, Griffith is not only the ideal choice for vanguard, he’s the only plausible choice, he’s the only member that can pick up from where he left off, and is the destined king of mankind and apostles. I don’t think the other God Hands have kingly ambitions, but they do have ambitions, their desires are what made them become demons to being with, and I doubt that desire amounts to, “I want to be a formless blob in the deep astral world forever”.

I will admit to a fanboy desire to like totally see how awesome it would be to see the God Hand in a straight up fight, or to see their designs refined by Miura’s current art style. But I believe there is a lot of potential in the story to seeing these immense Lovecraftian beings showing their true strength.

Conrad makes a pathetic attempt to sustain a physical form in volume 17 before being rudely cut short by a flash of lightning, Slan appears as intestines in order to meet Guts. They’re clearly anxious to return to assume physical forms, not as humanoids but as the pale faced monsters we are familiar with.

And from a narrative perspective, if Berserk will get a “good” ending, all of the God Hand members must die, which is pretty much impossible at the moment since they exist in an omnipresent state in the dark corners of the astral world, they seem to only be vulnerable in their true forms, at least from circumstantial evidence we can assume this, since we’ve seen both Void and Femto defend themselves against the Skull Knight.

Sorry about the rambling, but I thought since you and Walter brought up so many points, I thought I'd reply to the two of you separately.
 

Aazealh

そうはいかぬ
Staff member
the readers have only gotten three pages of him. Readers opinions of him could change once we get Skull Knight’s side of the story, but from what we know of him now, he’s pretty terrifying.
Look at what I'm quoting from your own post here, this should be enough of an answer for you. We know next to nothing about Gaiseric, and what we do know was always presented as being unreliable. Meanwhile, we have witnessed firsthand the actions of the Skull Knight and seen one of his old friends (Flora). From all that it's not hard to guess that he probably wasn't some great unredeemable villain.

When asked who the God Hand are, Flora states that she only knows that they were once human, she doesn’t bring up anything about the wiseman, or the fall of Gaiseric’s capital.
She also doesn't tell Guts she knows Griffith was the one who branded him, yet she knows it as she tells Schierke later. Like I said in my previous post, just because her answer was concise doesn't mean she was ignorant. Guts also knows much more than he lets on. So do many other characters. The question you should ask yourself is whether it was the right time to tell Guts about the fall of Gaiseric, and whether it was her place to do so. You should also note that Guts doesn't ask her who they were, but what they are. And so she tells him.

It still pales in comparison to Skull Knights knowledge, Flora describes the God Hand in very academic terms, the Skull Knight in comparison is able to attribute personality traits to at least two members, he probably knows the former lives of each of them. I find it more likely that the Skull Knight is keeping Flora in the dark rather than her hiding information from Guts. We even get a scene reinforcing this when she attempts to pry a motive out of an inflexible Skull Knight.
Honestly I think you underestimate how much information Flora actually conveys in that short exchange, and I think it's a mistake to view her as a mere subordinate of the Skull Knight, to whom he would have only given whatever information he deemed necessary. That's not at all how their relationship is portrayed in the story. The Skull Knight asked Flora to help Guts as a favor to an old friend, and when they talk, her question to him is about his motives and whether he still has a human heart (as opposed to just being cold and calculating, like he often appears to be). It's almost an appeal to his conscience. So I don't see that scene as helping your point at all. I would also point to the scene in volume 26 when Flora finishes carving her seal on the armor. Their conversation there is that of equals, of two friends talking about their past and the future of their young protégés.

And at the end of the day, your claim was that Flora was not Gaiseric's friend, and that is factually wrong since the Skull Knight himself says that they were friends. Now what you could argue is that maybe she didn't know Void personally while he was still human, or that maybe she didn't bear witness to what occurred during the sacrifice. Just like Rickert wasn't there during the Eclipse. That's possible.

I think they’re the same event, it’s the biggest sacrifice event that we know of, with hundreds of thousands slaughtered, who’s to say this immense loss of life didn’t extend beyond the capital?
We don't know how many people died or were sacrificed. I'm sorry to insist on this but I think you should be careful of extrapolating too much from tales that are presented to us as incomplete and unreliable.

Incidentally, Griffith’s PR image was that of the great hero, his darker side was one he kept secret from others, Gaiseric conversely was all about shock and awe, donning the quintessential symbol of death to inspire terror in his enemies.
You're certainly deriving a lot of information about Gaiseric's personality, tactics and style from the helmet he wore. By the way, in volume 5, Tudor soldiers call Griffith and the Band of the Falcon by the nickname "the grim reapers of the battlefield". Just saying. Hero to your allies, feared by your enemies, these two things are not at all exclusive.

The very earliest the Skull Knight would have lost his human body was 300 years ago, because that's roughly how long Zodd has lived, and since we know Zodd has seen SK in the armour before, he could only have died in this 300-year time period. That still leaves 700 plus years in which Gaeseric somehow lived as a human, he must have survived this long period of time somehow, therefore meeting Flora two centuries after his empire fell isn’t impossible.
We don't know whether Zodd has seen the Skull Knight wearing that armor. Zodd knows that the Skull Knight once wore it, the rest is speculation. Furthermore, the Skull Knight tells Guts and Schierke in episode 237 that he wore the armor "long ago, when we were ones who were still within the principle of time". He's talking about him and Flora, and says they were friends, just like Guts & Schierke are. Anyway, I don't believe what he means by "still being within the principle of time" is that he was 700 years old. I believe he means he was still within his normal lifespan. And if we assume he was once Emperor Gaiseric, then that places things about 1000 years ago.

I veer towards "Not at all to begin with" they were genetically engineered to serve a purpose, they do as they will, but within a context in which each of their individual wills serve a grander plan. In that respect they don't need to check up on each other at God Hand board meetings to plan out an objective.
And they might also be able to communicate over vast distances. Either way, they work towards a common objective, describe themselves as kindred, are fashioned after the imagery of fingers on the hand of god, and so I don't think it's egregious to say they're working as a team, even though they are autonomous.

the worst words they could muster for the Skull Knight are “That guy who shows up at temporal junction points”. God Hands have pretty much been very forthcoming since they were introduced, so I don’t buy this idea that they’re hiding information from the Skull Knight because they’re worried about him.
You're mischaracterizing things. Femto refers to him as "the Skull Knight" and says he's been waiting for him. Slan calls him "your majesty". They are obviously aware of him and his actions aren't beneath their notice. Beyond that, it's not even a matter of being afraid of him, just that Slan has absolutely no reason to give him any information.

One angel, being made to descend sounds more accurate than four angels meeting out a punishment for sin by destroying Gaserics Empire. Not only does this miss the obvious fact that three members haven’t been born yet, but it’s completely out of character for God Hand members to “punish sin”.
Hmm, no offense but I have to say you're not very imaginative here. First off, I must point out that Mozgus does not mention the destruction of Gaiseric's capital. He just says the wise man prayed in Albion and then an angel descended. Presumably also in Albion. Now you're free to concoct whatever story you want from that, maybe that an entire country's worth was sacrificed at once and Gaiseric's capital city was within range or something, but the simpler assumption is those were two different events, and/or that the tales aren't accurate. And there are other options for what happened to Gaiseric's capital city than just a giant sacrifice. Yes, I know there are branded skulls down there, but again, that only gives us part of the picture.

What's for sure is that I really think you're taking those oral tales too literally. It kind of reminds me of the people who were calling Guts the Falcon of Darkness (well they were just calling him the "Black Hawk" really) because Farnese and her troops mistakenly believed him to be the one the prophecy warned them about. Not everything every character says in Berserk is always true. Sometimes people are wrong, like when Schierke guessed maybe the Boy in the Moonlight was an herald of the Sovereign of the Flower Storm.

I don’t think the other God Hands have kingly ambitions, but they do have ambitions, their desires are what made them become demons to being with, and I doubt that desire amounts to, “I want to be a formless blob in the deep astral world forever”.
Come on, this is just so pedestrian. They can be formless, but they can also take shape as spiritual beings, as we've seen before. And just like Femto's ambition isn't merely to be a king anymore, their ambition is beyond what you seem to be envisioning. They're about controlling mankind as a whole, for example by influencing its collective consciousness. And they don't need a fleshly body to achieve that, especially since the astral and corporeal worlds have merged.

Conrad makes a pathetic attempt to sustain a physical form in volume 17 before being rudely cut short by a flash of lightning, Slan appears as intestines in order to meet Guts. They’re clearly anxious to return to assume physical forms, not as humanoids but as the pale faced monsters we are familiar with.
Femto did not incarnate as Femto. You're mistaking corporeal body and spiritual body. And I think you're overinterpreting Conrad's intent when his face is formed by rats. Also, it's not cut short by the flash of lightning, that comes after. It's when the specters leave the mass of rats that his figure breaks up.

And from a narrative perspective, if Berserk will get a “good” ending, all of the God Hand members must die, which is pretty much impossible at the moment since they exist in an omnipresent state in the dark corners of the astral world, they seem to only be vulnerable in their true forms, at least from circumstantial evidence we can assume this, since we’ve seen both Void and Femto defend themselves against the Skull Knight.
Haha, but this just proves my point. :guts: You see, when the Skull Knight attacks them during the Eclipse, none of them possess a corporeal body. It's their spiritual body that's at stake. That's because the Eclipse takes place in a part of the astral world. Same thing happens when Guts is taken to their lair (which Flora knows about, just saying) in volume 3. And before you ask, in volume 34 the Skull Knight is using a weapon that can cut through the astral world. So what I'm saying is not actually at odds with what you want.

The God Hand's true forms are their spiritual bodies, that of "pale faced monsters" as you put it. Femto's true form is not that of a warm-blooded, fair skinned Griffith. That's just a shell of flesh he inhabits, and there's actually no certainty that killing that physical vessel would really destroy him. So my point from the beginning is that the other four members of the God Hand don't need fleshly bodies, especially now that the corporeal and astral worlds have merged. Because presumably they should now be able to manifest themselves more fully into the world, as their true selves. You see what I'm saying? Nothing's sure yet, of course, but at this point I don't see why they couldn't have it both ways: wander formlessly and appear as a spiritual being when they want. They were previously only able to form their body deep within the astral world, but things are different now.
 
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