Thoughts on Symbolism Throughout the Conviction Arc

I had recently been re-reading the conviction arc, and I noticed some really neat symbolism involving Griffith, Falconia, and the Egg Apostle. I thought I’d share my thoughts here and see what you guys think, or if you had other interpretations.

Before we get into it all though, I think it makes the most sense if I preface all this with what I think the behelits represent. I believe the behelits are a symbol for the sacrifice made at one’s lowest moment (hence the face contorting in agony upon activation). At the lowest moment, the owner of the behelit must choose to either bear enormous suffering, or sacrifice whatever it is that is causing them such pain. In a sense, behelits are a way of avoiding the harsh reality of the world the characters of Berserk live in. Rosine didn’t want to accept that the world was as painful and dull as her life with her parents made it out to be, so she ran to the misty valley. Likewise The Count couldn’t bring himself to kill his wife, yet also couldn’t accept her smug smile of victory, so he found a way out. Of course, the primary example is Griffith not being able to accept that his road down that alleyway had finally come to an end.

Now, if you more or less agree with that take on the nature of behelits and sacrifices, then this next part will hopefully follow as well. Let’s start with the set up of the Conviction Arc, when Guts arrives at the refugee camps beneath the tower. All of these people have gathered before the tower of god for shelter and food. Every time the gates open, crowds gather to beg and plead for more rations or medical aid. However, when aid IS rarely provided, we see that it comes with a cruel price (the mother who was tortured for some fabricated sin).

While some refugees turn to the heavens for an answer, others looked in lower, darker places for respite. The hedonistic demon worshipers also offered a form of relief from the day to day desperation the refugees lived in, but clearly their ritualistic festivals also had a lot of darkness in them, and that’s putting it lightly haha.
Whether they searched above or below, they were all looking for a way out, some sort of answer that would just “fix” all the terrible things in their lives.
Switching gears real quick, let’s look at the Egg apostle. He was completely abandoned by the world, left to rot in some hole, never even having a name. All he wanted was to be of significance, to somehow be important, and so his sacrifice wasn’t to gain some personal power like most other apostles. Instead, his sacrifice turned him into “The Egg of the New World”. This allowed him to be the vessel that brought Griffith into physical existence. By bringing Griffith back into the world, he became instrumental to changing the entire world as we knew it (Astral Blast). The Egg apostle stated that what he had chosen to sacrifice was the ugly world that had ignored and rejected him. His wish was brought about through Griffith fundamentally altering the world he had lived in with the merging of the realms, “sacrificing” the old world.

Moving back to the refugees now, the Egg’s desire for a new world was almost synonymous with their own. They wanted a world without suffering. A beautiful new world that would make the old seem like a bad joke. As Griffith is reincarnated, and everyone is gathered before the tower, it says they intuitively sensed that the one they desired, had come. Now, how on earth was Griffith an answer to all their prayers? Well, take one look at Falconia. Griffiths deepest desire is limitless domination of the hearts and minds of all there is. And what better way to attain that domination than to become the people’s messiah? As a side note, I see a lot of people ponder why Griffith pretends to play by the rules when he’s a God with untold powers. To me, Griffith was never after just raw power, he was after domination. Hence why he couldn’t stand the idea of Guts being his equal, or somehow immune to his charms. First thing he does when he regains his body as Femto is assert his dominance over the one person he couldn’t before.

At any rate, Griffith has created this desired world where all the old problems the world suffered from have vanished. However, let’s zoom waaaaay out for second. From my perspective, it looks like most of humanity has made a sacrifice through the Egg apostle. Just like Rosine, The Count, and Griffith himself, humanity didn’t want to face the ugly reality they lived in. While most apostle’s sacrifice somehow transforms their own body, this sacrifice transformed the world itself, leading to Falconia. For me, this is the clearest sign that Falconia will never be a true Utopia, it is a false front, just like how apostles have human, sometimes even elegant forms, they all hide the hideous monster underneath.

Last two things I’d like to touch on are Guts and the Idea of Evil. While Guts is as human and fallible as the rest of us, the quality that Miura illustrates through him the most is directly confronting suffering. Instead of searching for some outside reason or God that explains away all the turmoil in his life, he tried his best to struggle through his suffering and still find purpose and joy in his life. All throughout the golden Age we see Guts work his way through an existential crisis about who he is and what he should do with himself. Instead of enduring the indecision and inner discord that can come from such pondering, Miura shows us that several characters look outwards for external things to define them, such as the church, or just thoughtlessly following our base desires. A great example of this is Farnese. She had built her entire identity on the church, and used it to hide her darker traits. When Guts shows up, she starts questioning her own views and loyalties, to the point she scares herself and often retreats further into her religion. Up on the wall, when the demons are surrounding her, she almost drops her torch, to once again pray to be saved from her harsh reality. Guts shows her that the only way to truly change her situation is to pick up her own torch and begin struggling.

Afterwards, she seeks Guts out to continue learning about the truth that she glimpsed at the top of the wall. Instead of dogmatically giving her a new set of rules to live by, Guts offers no advice, but allows her to come with them. I think this once again demonstrates that it’s not some particular set of rules or realizations that are just suddenly going to make life a breeze, it’s one’s own willingness to pursue the truth, and struggle valiantly to find one’s own personal truth, that actually brings some peace to people. I’m afraid I’m not conveying this idea clearly, but I’m trying to get at the idea that the only way to deal with suffering is to confront it, not hide it away through religion or hedonism as the refugees did.

Final part right here, I swear! The Idea of Evil is the antithesis to confronting suffering. Fate, or causality, enables people to point fingers instead of grow internally. As the IoE states, people desired reasons for their suffering, they wanted there to be some cause that justified their inaction, their unwillingness to look suffering in the eye. And through the concept of causality, the IoE is able to give such reasons. In a world bound by the chains of causality, every single event is necessary, and there is nothing, even the will of man, can do to change it. In the same sense that people desired reasons for their problems, the refugees wanted a savior of some sort, hence why Griffith and Falconia fill that role. Of course, through the positive characters in Berserk, we know that the world isn’t quite as deterministic as the God Hand and IoE make it out to be.

I’m afraid I’m not a very talented writer, so I’ve used way more words than I should have and repeated what is probably the same old ideas several times throughout this post, but I’d love to discuss these topics with other fans! For everything that doesn’t add up or lacks clarity I’ll try to explain it better, just ask away!
 
Even though I don't agree with some leaps to conclusions or comparisons you made (ie. what the behelits are, that most of humanity has made a sacrifice, etc.), I like how you articulated that the antagonists of the story have chosen a form of escapism, a way of not dealing head on with their own problems; and that Guts and his companions function as an antithesis of that, facing their hardships and enduring the pain and suffering those problems cause them.

Of the many themes Berserk has to offer, I think that's the one I like the most: when in trouble, no matter how dire, struggle your way out of it instead of taking an easy way out that might harm others (though that doesn't mean rejecting a helping hand if offered one).
 
Even though I don't agree with some leaps to conclusions or comparisons you made (ie. what the behelits are, that most of humanity has made a sacrifice, etc.), I like how you articulated that the antagonists of the story have chosen a form of escapism, a way of not dealing head on with their own problems; and that Guts and his companions function as an antithesis of that, facing their hardships and enduring the pain and suffering those problems cause them.

Of the many themes Berserk has to offer, I think that's the one I like the most: when in trouble, no matter how dire, struggle your way out of it instead of taking an easy way out that might harm others (though that doesn't mean rejecting a helping hand if offered one).
Thanks! As for what the behelits are, I didn't mean to propose that I know what their origin or maybe mechanical reality is, just what their purpose has been in the story thus far. I think I came off too strong with saying most of humanity has made a sacrifice like that. Realistically, very few people in the world of Berserk end up making a sacrifice anywhere near as dramatic as the apostles. Plus we are shown that several characters Like Luca are anything but the sacrificing type. However, the masses gathered before the tower of god all seemed to fall into that category. They were willing to burn or trample whoever was necessary to avoid confronting the demons at their door.
 

Aazealh

Administrator
Staff member
Like you said in your conclusion, none of this is really new or anything, but since you're interested I figured I would reply to point out specific nuances and details.

Before we get into it all though, I think it makes the most sense if I preface all this with what I think the behelits represent. I believe the behelits are a symbol for the sacrifice made at one’s lowest moment (hence the face contorting in agony upon activation). At the lowest moment, the owner of the behelit must choose to either bear enormous suffering, or sacrifice whatever it is that is causing them such pain.
I have a few remarks. First, when we say they make a sacrifice, in Japanese the precise meaning of the phrase is "to offer something as a sacrifice". It's a subtle nuance but it matters in that its meaning is narrower than "making a sacrifice" is in English. It's not like someone sacrificing themselves for a cause or anything for example. Second, beherits (with an R) have only one true master: the Idea of Evil. Third, there's not much we don't known about what beherits are. We know where they come from, how they are made and how they work. They are both a token than the Idea of Evil has got its eye on you, and an item that links one to the Abyss and brings them there when the time is right. And they are activated by that despair and suffering you mention. So I think it's reductive to say beherits just symbolize the sacrifice, because they're a very concrete key to these ceremonies that play a well-defined role.

In a sense, behelits are a way of avoiding the harsh reality of the world the characters of Berserk live in.
To be more specific, and to paraphrase Void, they are sent to certain people who are then offered the power to subvert their destiny.

All he wanted was to be of significance, to somehow be important
I don't think it's true in the sense you mean it. What he wanted was to exist, basically. To be a human among other humans. But, at the end, he realized his life had only served one purpose: to become the egg and end up like he did. A remarkable moment of clarity.

The Egg apostle stated that what he had chosen to sacrifice was the ugly world that had ignored and rejected him. His wish was brought about through Griffith fundamentally altering the world he had lived in with the merging of the realms, “sacrificing” the old world.
It's worth noting he means specifically "the world around him". That's the tower and the encampment surrounding it, but he didn't sacrifice the whole Earth. That said he was indeed instrumental in everything that came after, since, like a beherit, he played a key role in bringing about Femto's incarnation.

As Griffith is reincarnated
Griffith was not reincarnated. Reincarnation is that idea that the soul, upon death, returns in another body. What happened is that Griffith was reborn as Femto during the Eclipse. Then Femto was incarnated as a new Griffith. This might seem like nitpicking, but it's important because the man Griffith was during the Golden Age arc doesn't exist anymore.

Now, how on earth was Griffith an answer to all their prayers? Well, take one look at Falconia.
You're conflating different things. It's true that people desired a savior (it's all part of a grand design), but Fantasia and Falconia can't be said to be a bonafide answer to those prayers. I mean a whole lot of people have died, and the world has been dramatically changed. This isn't paradise on Earth. More importantly, it's important to note that the masses were manipulated all along, and still are, for the benefit of the God Hand. From the events creating mass desperation to the idea of a savior, it's all the same scheme.

Griffiths deepest desire is limitless domination of the hearts and minds of all there is. And what better way to attain that domination than to become the people’s messiah?
I think you're taking a bit of a leap in assuming what Griffith's deepest desire is. He is definitely characterized by his endless ambition, but it's never been defined as precisely as you're doing here.

As a side note, I see a lot of people ponder why Griffith pretends to play by the rules when he’s a God with untold powers. To me, Griffith was never after just raw power, he was after domination.
This is another discussion entirely, but:

1) Griffith hardly plays by the rules
2) He's not a god with a capital G and does not have infinite power
3) Griffith's personal goals are part of a wider objective, that of the Idea of Evil
4) The goals the God Hand and its master seeks to achieve goes beyond merely ruling a bunch of people

At any rate, Griffith has created this desired world where all the old problems the world suffered from have vanished.
Again, I don't think that's really true. How many people are left in the world now compared to how many there were before? How many were just eaten by monsters? And other problems have appeared, like being unable to live outside of Falconia. You should be wary of taking shortcuts in your reasoning.

From my perspective, it looks like most of humanity has made a sacrifice through the Egg apostle.
See what I said at the beginning: it's not how it works. The beherit apostle is the one who offered the world that surrounded him as a sacrifice. That included himself and every living being in that area. All were destroyed so that Femto could take flesh. And that was a very distinct event from the Blast of the Astral World, which had other causes and key actors.

For me, this is the clearest sign that Falconia will never be a true Utopia, it is a false front, just like how apostles have human, sometimes even elegant forms, they all hide the hideous monster underneath.
To be honest, none of that complex reasoning is necessary to say Falconia isn't an utopia. First off, it already isn't one, and it's growing more fascistic every day. Second, it's no secret that Femto and his kindred are very bad guys.

While Guts is as human and fallible as the rest of us
Haha, I don't know if I would say that.

A great example of this is Farnese. She had built her entire identity on the church, and used it to hide her darker traits.
I don't think that description does her justice. She had a troubled childhood and was traumatized. She found refuge in blind belief, but encounters with otherwordly events broke it down, revealing to her that she was still the same scared child. Thus she sought Guts out to learn from him how to be strong, how to confront the darkness. And that her led down the line to embrace the practice of magic, which is synonymous with learning about and understanding the world. It's more nuanced than "you gotta be struggling!".

I’m trying to get at the idea that the only way to deal with suffering is to confront it, not hide it away through religion or hedonism as the refugees did.
Sure, but you don't take the best example. It's easy to say "look at Guts" and compare him to random people. Even Farnese is out of the ordinary, as her redemption proves. The better example is the one Miura provides us with Joachim and Nina. They are weak and petty, but decide to face adversity together, come what may. That's an important part of the Conviction arc, that deep look into ordinary, shitty people.

they wanted there to be some cause that justified their inaction, their unwillingness to look suffering in the eye.
No. They wanted reasons for why they suffered. Let's not fall into the trap of saying "well, everybody could just pull themselves by their bootstraps, look at Guts!". When people fall ill and die because of a plague, what's to do? Die with your chin up? Things are more complex than that.

And through the concept of causality, the IoE is able to give such reasons.
Through the principle of causality. It's not a concept, it's a law of nature in the world of Berserk.

In the same sense that people desired reasons for their problems, the refugees wanted a savior of some sort, hence why Griffith and Falconia fill that role.
That is correct, but as I said above, it's important not to get confused as to the, uh, causality of things here. :idea: It's not as if Griffith's existence is the result of people wishing for a savior. Rather, people wished for a savior because it facilitated (and still facilitates) the Idea of Evil's plans. Namely the merging of the worlds and the uniting of mankind under a single banner against the rest of the astral world. And more is yet to come obviously.

I like how you articulated that the antagonists of the story have chosen a form of escapism, a way of not dealing head on with their own problems
I get your meaning, but I don't think this is a correct description of what the apostles and the members of the God Hand go through. They don't escape from their problems, they don't run elsewhere. They are offered the power to thwart their problems by transforming themselves. For example, could Femto be described as seeking escapism and not taking matters into his own hands? He's literally remaking the world so that it fits his desires.
 
Thanks for taking the time to read. So, onto the points.



I have a few remarks. First, when we say they make a sacrifice, in Japanese the precise meaning of the phrase is "to offer something as a sacrifice". It's a subtle nuance but it matters in that its meaning is narrower than "making a sacrifice" is in English. It's not like someone sacrificing themselves for a cause or anything for example. Second, beherits (with an R) have only one true master: the Idea of Evil. Third, there's not much we don't known about what beherits are. We know where they come from, how they are made and how they work. They are both a token than the Idea of Evil has got its eye on you, and an item that links one to the Abyss and brings them there when the time is right. And they are activated by that despair and suffering you mention. So I think it's reductive to say beherits just symbolize the sacrifice, because they're a very concrete key to these ceremonies that play a well-defined role.


I wasn't aware of the distinction between Japanese and English, but that is good to know. I certainly agree that not all forms of sacrifice are associated with evil in Berserk, clearly self sacrifice is shown to be a positive attribute as you point out. You are correct about the beherits origin, but seeing as this was a reddit post initially, I just wanted to quickly run people through the idea the beherit symbolizes the sacrifice so that they would compare the beherit to the Egg apostle. Wasn't trying to be reductive.



I don't think it's true in the sense you mean it. What he wanted was to exist, basically. To be a human among other humans. But, at the end, he realized his life had only served one purpose: to become the egg and end up like he did. A remarkable moment of clarity.

I re-read the egg sequence again, and I think you are right, it wasn't just importance that he was seeking. I drew that conclusion from his initial introduction where he emphasized how forgotten and unknown he was, but towards the end of his conversation he no longer seems so bothered by it.



It's worth noting he means specifically "the world around him". That's the tower and the encampment surrounding it, but he didn't sacrifice the whole Earth. That said he was indeed instrumental in everything that came after, since, like a beherit, he played a key role in bringing about Femto's incarnation.

No arguments here, I believe his particular sacrifice was just the immediate world around him. I just wanted people to see that his form wasn't some accident, beherits must always have a user, and while he wasn't literally a beherit, I think Miura chose that form for him to show how he was symbolically being used to channel the desire of the refugees for a savior.


Griffith was not reincarnated. Reincarnation is that idea that the soul, upon death, returns in another body. What happened is that Griffith was reborn as Femto during the Eclipse. Then Femto was incarnated as a new Griffith. This might seem like nitpicking, but it's important because the man Griffith was during the Golden Age arc doesn't exist anymore.
My bad, used the wrong word there. When you say that the Griffith we know from the Golden Age doesn't exist anymore, do you mean that you view Femto and Griffith as two different characters? They share the same memories, the same will and desire right? Of course his body was changed since he was granted "wings", but I don't believe Femto is some entity entirely separate from Griffith.



You're conflating different things. It's true that people desired a savior (it's all part of a grand design), but Fantasia and Falconia can't be said to be a bonafide answer to those prayers. I mean a whole lot of people have died, and the world has been dramatically changed. This isn't paradise on Earth. More importantly, it's important to note that the masses were manipulated all along, and still are, for the benefit of the God Hand. From the events creating mass desperation to the idea of a savior, it's all the same scheme.
Oh Falconia is absolutely a false front, and its plain as day to us readers. However, the blind white sheep do indeed view it as an answer to their prayers. At a superficial level, the city lacks a lot of the suffering they used to have to endure. Plenty of food, "non-corrupt" leadership, less discrimination, relative safety from war and the outside world. I think we agree here, Falconia is only a utopia if from the perspective of the layman who knows nothing of its ruler or how it came to be.



I think you're taking a bit of a leap in assuming what Griffith's deepest desire is. He is definitely characterized by his endless ambition, but it's never been defined as precisely as you're doing here.

Right, this is how I view his character. I draw this conclusion from how he reacted to Guts leaving and his thoughts right before he crossed swords with him.

This is another discussion entirely, but:

1) Griffith hardly plays by the rules
2) He's not a god with a capital G and does not have infinite power
3) Griffith's personal goals are part of a wider objective, that of the Idea of Evil
4) The goals the God Hand and its master seeks to achieve goes beyond merely ruling a bunch of people
Haha, I think that was a typo. I don't view Griffith as a God in the sense that a capital G implies. As for playing by the rules, we agree? I said he pretends to play by the rules. I'm not certain that Griffith himself believes that his goals are part of a wider objective. When he questioned the IoE, it merely told him to "Do as he willed". So I think that is exactly what Griffith has been doing. On the hill of swords, he himself stated to Guts that "nothing had changed." As for the collective purpose of the God Hand and its master, that is a whole nother ball park, but I'd be interested to hear what you believe their ultimate purpose is.


Again, I don't think that's really true. How many people are left in the world now compared to how many there were before? How many were just eaten by monsters? And other problems have appeared, like being unable to live outside of Falconia. You should be wary of taking shortcuts in your reasoning.
I think I've done a poor job of communicating my stance here. I am completely aware of the reality surrounding Falconia. I imagine the better part of the population was eaten by unstoppable astral monsters. Falconia is an absolute farce. However, to those few who made it there, compared to their previous lives, I imagine they are more comfortable in Falconia.


See what I said at the beginning: it's not how it works. The beherit apostle is the one who offered the world that surrounded him as a sacrifice. That included himself and every living being in that area. All were destroyed so that Femto could take flesh. And that was a very distinct event from the Blast of the Astral World, which had other causes and key actors.
I agree that the pseudo eclipse at the tower was mechanically very separate from the Astral Blast, but you don't think there is some connection with him claiming to "bring about the new world" and the Astral Blast? What he did was give physical from to Femto, which in and of itself I wouldn't claim really changes the world that much. But if we view the Astral Blast as being a consequence of Griffith finally being reborn, then it makes sense to me that the merging of the realms is the new world that the egg spoke of.


To be honest, none of that complex reasoning is necessary to say Falconia isn't an utopia. First off, it already isn't one, and it's growing more fascistic every day. Second, it's no secret that Femto and his kindred are very bad guys.
Once again, of course. The point of the post wasn't to convince readers that Falconia wasn't paradise, that should be apparent to anyone who has read the series. The point was that to those blind sheep, it appeared like a utopia.

Haha, I don't know if I would say that.

Don't get me wrong, I believe that Guts is an incredible human. It just feels like I constantly have to argue with people when I raise him up on a pedestal, because they want to point out that, yes, he has done terrible things and is still a flawed person. So it's more of a disclaimer than anything haha.


I don't think that description does her justice. She had a troubled childhood and was traumatized. She found refuge in blind belief, but encounters with otherwordly events broke it down, revealing to her that she was still the same scared child. Thus she sought Guts out to learn from him how to be strong, how to confront the darkness. And that her led down the line to embrace the practice of magic, which is synonymous with learning about and understanding the world. It's more nuanced than "you gotta be struggling!".

For sure, you could write a whole book about the intricacies of Farnese's character. I just wanted to briefly touch on her to contrast her growth to those who stagnated while waiting for a savior of some sort.

Sure, but you don't take the best example. It's easy to say "look at Guts" and compare him to random people. Even Farnese is out of the ordinary, as her redemption proves. The better example is the one Miura provides us with Joachim and Nina. They are weak and petty, but decide to face adversity together, come what may. That's an important part of the Conviction arc, that deep look into ordinary, shitty people.
Ah! That is a great point! They didn't immediately come to my mind, but they would have served as the perfect example that struggling isn't always as heroic or dramatic as Gut's or the other MC's make it look. Sometimes struggling is just those tiny little choices that the average joe makes on the day to day.



No. They wanted reasons for why they suffered. Let's not fall into the trap of saying "well, everybody could just pull themselves by their bootstraps, look at Guts!". When people fall ill and die because of a plague, what's to do? Die with your chin up? Things are more complex than that.
I don't mean to imply that life in Berserk is as simple as, "well, just try harder!" There are countless examples where Gut's is at his wits end and must rely on others kindness or capability to save him, so I certainly don't think its as easy as exerting more effort. Farnese herself is a great example. She has realized that she must "struggle" for quite sometime know, but her journey has still thrown several different dilemmas at her that are not solved merely by smiling and bootstrap mentality.

Through the principle of causality. It's not a concept, it's a law of nature in the world of Berserk.
Hrrmm, I'm not sure I understand your position, so let me give you mine and that should clear things up. I don't believe that the reality of Berserk's universe is bound by hard determinism. As Flora puts it, certain events may be preordained, but how the characters choose to react to them relies on their will. Struggling against the idea of an inescapable fate is major theme for Berserk, so it would be surprising to me if Miura ended it by revealing that, as Void puts it, "man has no control, even over his own will."





I get your meaning, but I don't think this is a correct description of what the apostles and the members of the God Hand go through. They don't escape from their problems, they don't run elsewhere. They are offered the power to thwart their problems by transforming themselves. For example, could Femto be described as seeking escapism and not taking matters into his own hands? He's literally remaking the world so that it fits his desires.

I think we are on the same page, but let me throw this out there. I do think Femto is still escaping in some sense of the word. He is using that power to escape having to come to terms with he and Guts relationship, to avoid confronting his crippled body, and to once again be looked upon and desired by others. Rosine is the best example though. She used the power she was given to create her own perfect escape. One where she could pretend the valley really was full of elves, and that all of her hopes for it had been satisfied. The trope of children escaping into fantasies is directly played upon throughout the Lost Children. When Guts comforts Jill at the very end, he says something along the lines of, "There is no paradise to escape to" which reemphasizes the escapism idea.

I think most of our points if disagreement come from me quickly brushing over a topic without doing it justice, because I agree with most of the nuances you pointed out. When I made the post, I was catering to the reddit crowd, who in my experience don't tend to follow the main point if too much time is spent expounding on all the characters nuances.

(plus I gotta excuse my own laziness somehow right? haha)
 

Aazealh

Administrator
Staff member
I just wanted to quickly run people through the idea the beherit symbolizes the sacrifice so that they would compare the beherit to the Egg apostle.
That apostle is literally shaped like a living beherit so I think the comparison imposes itself without the need for additional symbolism.

I think Miura chose that form for him to show how he was symbolically being used to channel the desire of the refugees for a savior.
I think he used that form because:

1) An egg is fitting as a vessel from which a being is created and emerges
2) A beherit is fitting as the key that jumpstarts the ceremony and calls forth the God Hand
3) That ceremony mirrors the one that occured during the Eclipse, meaning there needs to be a beherit

Also, the way beherits work is not by granting the wishes of the people being sacrificed (the refugees), but that of the one sacrificing (the Beherit Apostle). That they wished for a savior (along with all of Midland) played a role, that's for sure, but that's on a different level than simply the shape of the apostle, it's more a matter of collective consciousness.

When you say that the Griffith we know from the Golden Age doesn't exist anymore, do you mean that you view Femto and Griffith as two different characters? They share the same memories, the same will and desire right? Of course his body was changed since he was granted "wings", but I don't believe Femto is some entity entirely separate from Griffith.
They are not completely unrelated obviously, but Griffith underwent a deep transformation when he became Femto. It's not just that his body was changed, and in fact his corporeal body was discarded when he was reborn as Femto. Only his spiritual self remained. Femto then regained a corporeal body when he was incarnated in volume 21. What happened during the Eclipse is that Griffith's soul was infused with evil power, and to a degree that is far beyond what apostles go through. It's a profound change, and that's why it's called a rebirth: the old self dies and a new one is born.

Oh Falconia is absolutely a false front, and its plain as day to us readers. However, the blind white sheep do indeed view it as an answer to their prayers.
Here's the thing though: you were giving the example of Falconia while talking about the people near Albion. All those people died when Femto was incarnated, to fuel his incarnation in fact, so Falconia can't be said to be an answer to their prayers. I mean I get what you mean by it, but like I said before you should be wary of taking shortcuts. =)

I'm not certain that Griffith himself believes that his goals are part of a wider objective. When he questioned the IoE, it merely told him to "Do as he willed". So I think that is exactly what Griffith has been doing. On the hill of swords, he himself stated to Guts that "nothing had changed."
Keep in mind that episode 83 was removed from the story and is not canon. That aside, Griffith's goals can be part of a wider objective whether he cares or not. His very existence was fashioned so that he would become Femto and pursue the goals he's pursuing. The other members of the God Hand paved the way for him, and in turn he's now paving the way for them in a different way. Remember the Blast of the Astral World? When we see all of these astral creatures spring forth into the corporeal world? We saw something else there.

As for the collective purpose of the God Hand and its master, that is a whole nother ball park, but I'd be interested to hear what you believe their ultimate purpose is.
The Idea of Evil’s grand plan

I agree that the pseudo eclipse at the tower was mechanically very separate from the Astral Blast, but you don't think there is some connection with him claiming to "bring about the new world" and the Astral Blast? What he did was give physical from to Femto, which in and of itself I wouldn't claim really changes the world that much.
Well you would be wrong. =) Read the very last page of volume 21. Femto coming into the world was a big fucking deal. It caused the world to start to change.

Now of course, the Blast of the Astral World was an even bigger change. And of course, Femto coming into the world eventually led to the Blast occurring, so the two are related. But again, you're taking too big of a shortcut here. Just like the Beherit Apostle only sacrificed the world around him, it would be giving him too much importance to say he brought about the Blast of the Astral World. The role he played, to help Femto receive a body of flesh, was already enormous. It's described by the Skull Knight as being a "once in a thousand years" event. More importantly, giving him credit for that would lower Femto's own importance, because it's Femto who made it happen. You could say the Beherit Apostle was instrumental, like the Skull Knight or Ganishka or many others. But remember that these events have their place in a long chain that started centuries before and has yet to end. There is only one being who can take credit for all of them, and it is the God of the Abyss.

Farnese herself is a great example. She has realized that she must "struggle" for quite sometime
Generally I'm not a fan of the idea that "struggling" is a kind of mentality people can just apply to their problems to solve them. "Struggler" is how the Skull Knight refers to Guts specifically. It's not a common word and I don't think it's meant to be a mantra; it just describes the kind of man Guts is.

I don't believe that the reality of Berserk's universe is bound by hard determinism. As Flora puts it, certain events may be preordained, but how the characters choose to react to them relies on their will. Struggling against the idea of an inescapable fate is major theme for Berserk, so it would be surprising to me if Miura ended it by revealing that, as Void puts it, "man has no control, even over his own will."
Hahaha, then you think Void is wrong? I'd be careful of arguing with someone so well-endowed if I were you. :void:

Anyway, tell me something: why can't Griffith be hurt? Why does no arrow hit him in Shet? Why did he soar so high as a man trying to seize his destiny, only to quickly fall so low? And then somehow ended up in that lake at the specific time a solar eclipse was occurring? And, more incredibly still, his old beherit a gypsy had given him when he was a child, something he had lost a year before in a far away place, happened to be there too? And why was he born with such devouring ambition to begin with? Because the Idea of Evil being made it so. It actually tells him so directly in episode 83, but as I said before, that is not canon.

What is canon however is the fact causality is both stated and demonstrated to be a principle (synonymous with "law") of the world in Berserk. That is why, among other things, the Skull Knight does not just try to stab Griffith while he's banging Charlotte. Because it's only at certain very specific points in time, at the "junction of times", as they're called, that these momentous events can potentially be derailed. That's also why the Skull Knight did not manage to kill the Beherit Apostle. Flora is not mistaken either, obviously. She knows what she's talking about. But the God Hand knows better than she did. This is all explained directly in the manga, by the way. And the way the Idea of Evil shapes the world through the law of causality is sitting there in plain sight, if you know how to look.

I think we are on the same page, but let me throw this out there. I do think Femto is still escaping in some sense of the word. He is using that power to escape having to come to terms with he and Guts relationship, to avoid confronting his crippled body, and to once again be looked upon and desired by others.
That particular reply wasn't to you but to Arles. That said, no, it's not escapism. Here is the dictionary's definition of the word escapism: "the avoidance of reality by absorption of the mind in entertainment or in an imaginative situation, activity, etc." To offer people as a sacrifice so that one can receive the power to trump the hand they were dealt with, that is not escapism. And in fact, what Femto is doing is the exact opposite of escapism. He's turning reality into his desired world. I understand what you mean. You mean that choosing to sacrifice is proof of an inability to endure hardships, adapt to them, and resign oneself to one's condition. That is correct, although it's a bit simplistic. But it's not escapism.

Let me take another example. If someone dies and I can't deal with it, so instead I pretend they're still alive in another dimension I'm making up in my head, that could be called escapism. But if someone dies and I resurrect them using magic, and they actually come back to life, that's not escapism. That's me having magic powers and using them to achieve my desires. Just like a man who buys a helicopter so that he can fly is not escapism.
 
I get your meaning, but I don't think this is a correct description of what the apostles and the members of the God Hand go through. They don't escape from their problems, they don't run elsewhere. They are offered the power to thwart their problems by transforming themselves. For example, could Femto be described as seeking escapism and not taking matters into his own hands? He's literally remaking the world so that it fits his desires.
Yeah, "escapism" was a rather poor choice of words. Glad you got what I meant, though.
 

Victor

"Don't forget your poison arrows"
I don't believe that the reality of Berserk's universe is bound by hard determinism. As Flora puts it, certain events may be preordained, but how the characters choose to react to them relies on their will. Struggling against the idea of an inescapable fate is major theme for Berserk, so it would be surprising to me if Miura ended it by revealing that, as Void puts it, "man has no control, even over his own will."
One way you can try to visualize causality in the context of Berserk's world and to maybe get a better idea of how it works is in the form of a metaphorical flow or stream that guides everything in a certain direction over a long period of time. In order to do so it makes use of the principle that everything has a cause and an effect, and by manipulating the cause it can influence the effect, in other words how certain events happen. It exists in our world too, and not just in a philosophical or theoretical form, but as observable phenomena; take physics for example. The main difference is that there's no evil entity out there capable of controlling it. (as far as we know at least :magni:)

Back to Berserk, even though it's a natural law, it's not purely deterministic either because it can be interfered with given the right moments (fortunately for our protagonists and the story), as has already been explained by Aazealh.
 
Just as a heads up, I’ve mulled over your points and re-read some parts of the manga pertaining to them, and I think I’m on the same page. So if I don’t respond to a particular point it’s because I’m satisfied with your answer and generally agree!

Well you would be wrong. =) Read the very last page of volume 21. Femto coming into the world was a big fucking deal. It caused the world to start to change.
Ahh! I can’t believe I overlooked that, you are right. I remembered the panels with each of the God Hand beginning to take form, I somehow overlooked that it was because of Griffith’s rebirth.

Generally I'm not a fan of the idea that "struggling" is a kind of mentality people can just apply to their problems to solve them. "Struggler" is how the Skull Knight refers to Guts specifically. It's not a common word and I don't think it's meant to be a mantra; it just describes the kind of man Guts is.
Of course, just calling it struggling is far too simple. I think what I, and many others who use the phrase, mean by it is a willingness to confront a problem. The actual solving of the problem can take a million different forms, but the first step is always going to be a willingness to solve said problem.

Hahaha, then you think Void is wrong? I'd be careful of arguing with someone so well-endowed if I were you. :void:
Well nobody can compete with a mind as we’ll endowed as Voids, so I’ll have to back down on this one haha.

Anyway, tell me something: why can't Griffith be hurt? Why does no arrow hit him in Shet? Why did he soar so high as a man trying to seize his destiny, only to quickly fall so low? And then somehow ended up in that lake at the specific time a solar eclipse was occurring? And, more incredibly still, his old beherit a gypsy had given him when he was a child, something he had lost a year before in a far away place, happened to be there too? And why was he born with such devouring ambition to begin with? Because the Idea of Evil being made it so. It actually tells him so directly in episode 83, but as I said before, that is not canon.
Preaching to the choir on this one, I understand how causality works. My question has more to do with the agency of the characters both in and outside of those special points where the flow can be altered.

What is canon however is the fact causality is both stated and demonstrated to be a principle (synonymous with "law") of the world in Berserk. That is why, among other things, the Skull Knight does not just try to stab Griffith while he's banging Charlotte. Because it's only at certain very specific points in time, at the "junction of times", as they're called, that these momentous events can potentially be derailed. That's also why the Skull Knight did not manage to kill the Beherit Apostle. Flora is not mistaken either, obviously. She knows what she's talking about. But the God Hand knows better than she did. This is all explained directly in the manga, by the way. And the way the Idea of Evil shapes the world through the law of causality is sitting there in plain sight, if you know how to look.
Hmm, Skullknight and the Egg apostle are interesting examples. Skullknight speaks as if he felt an almost mechanical force stay his hand when he was fighting the apostle, but what about smaller scenarios? If we apply hard and fast causality to every event outside of those particular moments, then our characters lose all of their meaningful agency or flavor. Like when Guts decided to allow Serpico and Farnese to join, was that some preordained event that he had no real choice in, or did his will play a factor in the outcome? Or when Guts gives in to the beast, is that his fault? Or do we not hold him accountable since everything is preordained? I can see how causality shapes Berserk’s world plain and simple, but I think it’s much less clear how far reaching causality is. I’m not sold on the idea that every character interaction outside of those special moments is discolored by hard determinism.

That particular reply wasn't to you but to Arles. That said, no, it's not escapism. Here is the dictionary's definition of the word escapism: "the avoidance of reality by absorption of the mind in entertainment or in an imaginative situation, activity, etc." To offer people as a sacrifice so that one can receive the power to trump the hand they were dealt with, that is not escapism. And in fact, what Femto is doing is the exact opposite of escapism. He's turning reality into his desired world. I understand what you mean. You mean that choosing to sacrifice is proof of an inability to endure hardships, adapt to them, and resign oneself to one's condition. That is correct, although it's a bit simplistic. But it's not escapism.

Let me take another example. If someone dies and I can't deal with it, so instead I pretend they're still alive in another dimension I'm making up in my head, that could be called escapism. But if someone dies and I resurrect them using magic, and they actually come back to life, that's not escapism. That's me having magic powers and using them to achieve my desires. Just like a man who buys a helicopter so that he can fly is not escapism.
My bad, I got on a roll replying earlier and didn’t realize it wasn’t addressed to me. I see that escapism isn’t technically the right word, but you got the right idea.

Sorry this reply took awhile, work suddenly picked up so I didn’t have as much time to write.


One way you can try to visualize causality in the context of Berserk's world and to maybe get a better idea of how it works is in the form of a metaphorical flow or stream that guides everything in a certain direction over a long period of time. In order to do so it makes use of the principle that everything has a cause and an effect, and by manipulating the cause it can influence the effect, in other words how certain events happen. It exists in our world too, and not just in a philosophical or theoretical form, but as observable phenomena; take physics for example. The main difference is that there's no evil entity out there capable of controlling it. (as far as we know at least :magni:)

Back to Berserk, even though it's a natural law, it's not purely deterministic either because it can be interfered with given the right moments (fortunately for our protagonists and the story), as has already been explained by Aazealh.
Thanks for explanation, but I understand how cause and effect work in the story. My real question comes from how far reaching it is. Outside of those special points, do we believe our characters have agency? Or is every single interaction controlled through causality? I personally think there has to be agency outside of the special points, otherwise none of our characters growth has any significance since they would lack control over their own choices.
 

Aazealh

Administrator
Staff member
Just as a heads up, I’ve mulled over your points and re-read some parts of the manga pertaining to them, and I think I’m on the same page. So if I don’t respond to a particular point it’s because I’m satisfied with your answer and generally agree!
Sure, no problem. They're not meant to all be replied to anyway, I'm just giving my feedback.

I somehow overlooked that it was because of Griffith’s rebirth.
Haha, you're killing me here! Volume 21 is when Femto was incarnated! Volume 12 is when Griffith was reborn as Femto. Not the same thing!

Preaching to the choir on this one, I understand how causality works. My question has more to do with the agency of the characters both in and outside of those special points where the flow can be altered.
Actually it seems to me the problem is precisely that we don't fully understand how causality works in Berserk. "Causality" here isn't just "causes and effects", it's a force with parameters we don't have all the information on... and I'm sorry to say we most likely never will have it.

Like when Guts decided to allow Serpico and Farnese to join, was that some preordained event that he had no real choice in, or did his will play a factor in the outcome?
The answer is: we don't know. We don't know how granular it gets and how deep the control goes. My feeling is that certain key elements/events are locked down and can't deviate or almost. Hence the "junction of times", the point where these tightly-controled threads culminate and can be derailed. Those are related to the Idea of Evil's plans. The farther you move away from them, the less firm is the grasp. I don't think every single thing in the world of Berserk is preordained. That said, I do believe in the idea of a general current, like a river flowing in a direction. A determined fish can swim upstream, but he can't change the way the river flows. For reference see what Slan says at the end of the Eclipse and what the Skull Knight tells Guts in volume 18.

Let me also go a bit further. I believe astral creatures like elves disrupt the Idea of Evil's grasp on the flow of causality. I also believe the end-goal of the Idea of Evil is complete and utter control over mankind as a whole, with nothing left to chance. A completely preordained life for every human, before even being born, forever. I think that's what it's been working towards all along.
 

Victor

"Don't forget your poison arrows"
My real question comes from how far reaching it is. Outside of those special points, do we believe our characters have agency? Or is every single interaction controlled through causality? I personally think there has to be agency outside of the special points, otherwise none of our characters growth has any significance since they would lack control over their own choices.
I wouldn't say it's a perfectly precise mechanism. When it comes to agency, it depends on how you look at it. The way it seems to me is that characters do have the ability to make independent decisions, but in spite of this, they are still not immune to the current's influence and can't change the general direction things are headed towards purely through individual intervention (a theoretical exception being the temporal junction points). Whether their actions are directly influenced or rather accounted for so that they line up with the desired outcome is hard to tell for sure, but what becomes pretty apparent when you look at the world of Berserk at large, and possibly the main thing to take away from this, is that the Idea of Evil's control over causality is not airtight and can be opposed in ways that we might not even know about yet.
 
Haha, you're killing me here! Volume 21 is when Femto was incarnated! Volume 12 is when Griffith was reborn as Femto. Not the same thing!
Ah got it switched in my head, I'll try to keep it straight.

The answer is: we don't know. We don't know how granular it gets and how deep the control goes. My feeling is that certain key elements/events are locked down and can't deviate or almost. Hence the "junction of times", the point where these tightly-controled threads culminate and can be derailed. Those are related to the Idea of Evil's plans. The farther you move away from them, the less firm is the grasp. I don't think every single thing in the world of Berserk is preordained. That said, I do believe in the idea of a general current, like a river flowing in a direction. A determined fish can swim upstream, but he can't change the way the river flows. For reference see what Slan says at the end of the Eclipse and what the Skull Knight tells Guts in volume 18.

Let me also go a bit further. I believe astral creatures like elves disrupt the Idea of Evil's grasp on the flow of causality. I also believe the end-goal of the Idea of Evil is complete and utter control over mankind as a whole, with nothing left to chance. A completely preordained life for every human, before even being born, forever. I think that's what it's been working towards all along.
We certainly haven't been given any concrete limits on causality. I think I agree with the general river analogy though. Thematically the IoE controlling everything and sort of rendering the human soul mute fits nicely with a lot of Berserk's other themes, but I guess we'll have to wait and see.
 
Top Bottom