Author Topic: Charlotte, Griffith, and the snowdrop  (Read 7512 times)

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Offline JMP

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Charlotte, Griffith, and the snowdrop
« on: July 06, 2015, 01:14:56 AM »
Yup, I'm going to talk about flowers again. This time I was thinking about the flower that Griffith leaves for Charlotte. It looks to me like a snowdrop. It's in volume 9, right after their sex scene. Here's a pic of a snowdrop flower for comparison:

Charlotte wakes up to find Griffith gone, but he left her the charm she had given him, along with a snowdrop flower. So was there a reason Miura chose this certain flower to be the one Griffith leaves Charlotte?

I guess the simple answer would be that the setting seems to be early spring. The snowdrop is one of the first flowers to bloom, so it would have been one of the only flowers available at that time of year. It could be that this is the reason it's the flower to appear in the story. After learning more about the snowdrop, though, there are some things that lead me to think there might be more to this choice of flower than just that.

As I mentioned earlier, the snowdrop is one of the first flowers to bloom at the end of winter, and as such it is associated with hope for the coming of spring. They are plants adapted for frigid weather and are said to have a natural antifreeze that prevents them from being killed by the cold. It's also commonly thought that the snowdrop actually produces its own heat, causing the snow around it to melt. I find these meanings and qualities of the snowdrop tie in interestingly with what the king of Midland says in his speech to Griffith: “In this bloodstained, meaningless world...if there is one single ray of hope to be found ...it is...warmth. Only warmth covers and protects me from this world. You've taken the one flower that gives me that warmth and plucked it!”

Besides "hope", which fits well because Charlotte represents Griffith's hope of attaining his dream of becoming ruler of his own kingdom, another meaning for the snowdrop, according to the language of flowers (which is a way of communicating using flowers), is "consolation or a friend in adversity". Griffith is certainly in search of some kind of consolation, being devastated by Guts leaving, when he comes to see Charlotte that night. Charlotte is also in need of consolation, as she expresses to Griffith, she's felt very alone during all the sad and frightening events that have happened. Later, Charlotte proves herself to be a friend in adversity when she helps with Griffith's rescue and it could also be said that Griffith comes to Charlotte's aid when he rescues her from Ganishka, although he did have somewhat self-serving reasons for doing so since he wants to use Charlotte's status to be recognized as a legitimate king.

 The snowdrop was considered to be an omen of sadness or death in some parts of the world, probably because the flowers could often be found growing in cemeteries. Some superstions held that it was bad luck to bring a snowdrop indoors. Through this we can see how causality used the snowdrop to bring Griffith to his bad fortune of being captured and imprisoned. :puck: ...or maybe that's stretching things just a bit! :schierke:  :ganishka:

Where I found my info:
http://www.leavesnbloom.com/2011/02/galanthus-nivalis-snowdrop-bulb.html
http://www.botanic.cam.ac.uk/Botanic/NewsItem.aspx?p=27&ix=119
http://carolynsshadegardens.com/2011/02/09/are-snowdrops-thermogenic/
http://en.heilkraeuter.net/flower-essences/snowdrop-essence.htm
http://www.joellessacredgrove.com/language.html
http://www.badwitch.co.uk/2009/02/snowdrops-in-fable-and-folklore.html
http://www.plant-lore.com/1224/snowdrop/
« Last Edit: August 18, 2015, 01:39:22 AM by JMP »
A good sword, even if it rusts and dulls, has good steel that never rusts left over in the wick. That steel's the ultimate steel. Even if it cracks, if you return it to the fire, it's sure to be reborn. - Godot

Offline Rupert Sinclair

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Re: Charlotte, Griffith, and the snowdrop
« Reply #1 on: July 06, 2015, 01:49:44 AM »
I appreciate the amount of research you put into these threads.  It's very interesting stuff, whether there are connections or not.  Perhaps a Skull Knight and roses thread is in order next.  :SK:

Offline JMP

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Re: Charlotte, Griffith, and the snowdrop
« Reply #2 on: July 16, 2015, 08:54:21 PM »
I appreciate the amount of research you put into these threads.  It's very interesting stuff, whether there are connections or not.
Well, I enjoyed writing it and I'm glad you found it interesting!  :guts:

Perhaps a Skull Knight and roses thread is in order next.  :SK:
That would be cool. I could see what I can find. Since not much is known about SK it might be difficult to make correlations, but on the other hand it might make for some interesting speculation about his character. :badbone:

A good sword, even if it rusts and dulls, has good steel that never rusts left over in the wick. That steel's the ultimate steel. Even if it cracks, if you return it to the fire, it's sure to be reborn. - Godot

Offline slothqueen

Re: Charlotte, Griffith, and the snowdrop
« Reply #3 on: September 14, 2015, 07:55:28 AM »
Only thing that comes to my head while reading snowdrop scenes - Griffith jumping out of the window to pick a flower, then climbing up on the tree, then leaving again, with nothing but a "YOLO" on his mind, and guards watching him with WTF from behind the hedge.

But overall topic is indeed interesting.

Offline JMP

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Re: Charlotte, Griffith, and the snowdrop
« Reply #4 on: September 16, 2015, 06:08:10 PM »
Only thing that comes to my head while reading snowdrop scenes - Griffith jumping out of the window to pick a flower, then climbing up on the tree, then leaving again, with nothing but a "YOLO" on his mind, and guards watching him with WTF from behind the hedge.
Picturing that gave me a chuckle.

Another possiblity that I somehow neglected to think of before was the purpose of the snowdrop as a message Griffith is sending to Charlotte. Upon finding the snowdrop and the other half of the lodestone charm pair that she had given Griffith, Charlotte at first looks like she's pondering it. Of course this may just be her wondering what it was that she found beside her, but perhaps she sees some meaning in it, like “hope that Griffith will return”, just as the lodestone has been returned to its other half with the snowdrop standing for “hope” or “hope that we will be together again”. Something like that, anyway. Seems like at least a possibilty that Charlotte did see such a meaning judging by her expressions and how pleased she looks by it.

I hope I haven't given the impression that I think these events are all romantic and nice or something. I mean, perhaps it could be seen that way to some degree, if there was any reason to believe that Griffith harbored feelings for Charlotte beyond that of “stepping stone to my dream”, which I believe is all he sees her as. I think Griffith, being the manipulative and opportunistic person he is, took advantage of how sheltered and naďve Charlotte is and also took advantage of her feelings for him. After she impetuously throws herself at him, telling him about how she has felt and that she wished he had come to see her sooner, showing her vulnerability and affection for him, he sees his chance. He gets that weird focused look and goes into operation “bed the princess” mode. In his desperation after losing Guts, he seeks to draw closer to the second most valued thing to him, his dream of becoming king and of course Charlotte is the key to that. She is no more to him than another means to an end and he's just playing on her heart strings in an attempt to get what he wants.
A good sword, even if it rusts and dulls, has good steel that never rusts left over in the wick. That steel's the ultimate steel. Even if it cracks, if you return it to the fire, it's sure to be reborn. - Godot

Offline Aazealh

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Re: Charlotte, Griffith, and the snowdrop
« Reply #5 on: September 16, 2015, 10:18:13 PM »
Upon finding the snowdrop and the other half of the lodestone charm pair that she had given Griffith, Charlotte at first looks like she's pondering it. Of course this may just be her wondering what it was that she found beside her, but perhaps she sees some meaning in it, like “hope that Griffith will return”, just as the lodestone has been returned to its other half with the snowdrop standing for “hope” or “hope that we will be together again”. Something like that, anyway. Seems like at least a possibilty that Charlotte did see such a meaning judging by her expressions and how pleased she looks by it.

I think it's pretty clear from the scene that Griffith left it as a token of his commiment to her (which is also how she took it).

I think Griffith, being the manipulative and opportunistic person he is, took advantage of how sheltered and naďve Charlotte is and also took advantage of her feelings for him.

I would say that's obvious.

He gets that weird focused look and goes into operation “bed the princess” mode. In his desperation after losing Guts, he seeks to draw closer to the second most valued thing to him, his dream of becoming king and of course Charlotte is the key to that.

I think you're mistaken here. The dream isn't second to Guts at that point. Griffith is distraught because he had come to rely too much on Guts, not just during battles or to dirtily further his political goals, but also as a kind of mental crutch against his insecurities (Casca tells Guts about this in volume 9). Guts was an ace he knew he could always pull out of his sleeve in case of trouble. Losing that made him doubt. And then of course there's the way it happened, the fact he was utterly vanquished in front of all his lieutenants and what that did to his ego. Sleeping with Charlotte was a way to reassert himself, to boldly get back on track after that bad episode. And it would have worked, had he not been captured.

Offline JMP

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Re: Charlotte, Griffith, and the snowdrop
« Reply #6 on: September 18, 2015, 02:46:01 PM »
The dream isn't second to Guts at that point.

I don't understand why you would think that. Guts leaving seems to be all Griffith is really able to think of at this point, despite his best efforts to ehem...distract himself.

Sleeping with Charlotte was a way to reassert himself, to boldly get back on track after that bad episode. And it would have worked, had he not been captured.

Griffith was trying to escape his feelings about Guts leaving by going to see Charlotte, but he didn't succeed. All the while they're doing the deed, Guts leaving keeps popping into his head. Then afterward when Charlotte has fallen asleep he's clearly still tormented. He just can't forget about it or blow it off as easily as I think he may have believed he could. I don't think he even began to understand how much Guts really meant to him until he left.

Griffith is distraught because he had come to rely too much on Guts, not just during battles or to dirtily further his political goals, but also as a kind of mental crutch against his insecurities (Casca tells Guts about this in volume 9). Guts was an ace he knew he could always pull out of his sleeve in case of trouble. Losing that made him doubt. And then of course there's the way it happened, the fact he was utterly vanquished in front of all his lieutenants and what that did to his ego.

I agree that all the things you mentioned here are part of the picture, but I think there's more to Griffith's attachment to Guts than just this. Guts didn't fit Griffith's self proclaimed qualifications of a friend and Griffith may not have wanted Guts to be as important to him as he was or even consciously have admitted it to himself at first, but it's still there. Guts sparks an emotional reaction in Griffith that isn't purely rational and I don't think even he himself understands it. When Griffith is in the dungeon after having endured a long period of time there being tortured, he says that the thought of Guts is the one thing that seems clear to him. Griffith thinks “Only him. Like lightning on a dark night, he rises up within me, blazing. And again and again like a tidal wave, an infinite number of feelings surge upon me. Malice, friendship, jealousy, futility, regret, tenderness, sorrow, pain, hunger...so many recurring, yearning feelings. That giant swirl of violent emotions in which none are definite but all are implied. That alone is the bond which keeps my conciousness from vanishing amidst the numbness.” This bond he felt with Guts is a very powerful and confusing thing for Griffith. It's intense, hot and cold, but nothing lukewarm about it. During the eclipse, when Guts calls his name Griffith thinks to himself, remembering their earlier days when they were together on the battlefield, “Among thousands of comrades and tens of thousands of enemies...you're the only one. You're the only one...who made me forget my dream.” That statement is huge. He realizes that his bond with Guts actually meant more to him than his seemingly all important dream. When Casca was angry at Guts for leaving and she was yelling at him while they're fighting she says “You made Griffith weak!! He's no...Griffith's...no good without you!!!” I think Griffith realizes this, too, during the eclipse and he doesn't want it to be that way. He doesn't want to feel the way he does about Guts because he sees it as a weakness, which led him astray from his goal and caused his downfall. He wants to be rid of all his pain and weakness, to be free of it and able to pursue his dream again, so he chooses to sacrifice.
A good sword, even if it rusts and dulls, has good steel that never rusts left over in the wick. That steel's the ultimate steel. Even if it cracks, if you return it to the fire, it's sure to be reborn. - Godot

Online Walter

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Re: Charlotte, Griffith, and the snowdrop
« Reply #7 on: September 18, 2015, 03:17:50 PM »
First of all, great thread. I kept meaning to respond accordingly, but never found the time. Really cool all the research you put into the origin of that flower. It's certainly not something I would have ever thought to look up.

The dream isn't second to Guts at that point.
I don't understand why you would think that.

I think this can be easily resolved by pointing to your later response here:

Quote
I don't think he even began to understand how much Guts really meant to him until he left.

Perhaps it's folly to try and rate these things, but because Griffith didn't realize how important Guts was to him until after his defeat, I don't think his dream could be second to Guts.
:femto: :slan: :ubik:

Offline JMP

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Re: Charlotte, Griffith, and the snowdrop
« Reply #8 on: September 18, 2015, 04:51:01 PM »
First of all, great thread. I kept meaning to respond accordingly, but never found the time. Really cool all the research you put into the origin of that flower. It's certainly not something I would have ever thought to look up.

I think this can be easily resolved by pointing to your later response here:

Perhaps it's folly to try and rate these things, but because Griffith didn't realize how important Guts was to him until after his defeat, I don't think his dream could be second to Guts.
Thanks, I appreciate that!  :serpico:

What I was trying to get at by bringing all those things up about Griffith's feelings for Guts is that even though he doesn't consciously acknowledge them until after the fact, I believe they were there before Guts left, too.

P.S. I was in no way trying to defend Griffith's choice to sacrifice, just wanted to make that clear.
A good sword, even if it rusts and dulls, has good steel that never rusts left over in the wick. That steel's the ultimate steel. Even if it cracks, if you return it to the fire, it's sure to be reborn. - Godot

Offline Aazealh

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Re: Charlotte, Griffith, and the snowdrop
« Reply #9 on: September 22, 2015, 08:37:44 AM »
I don't understand why you would think that. Guts leaving seems to be all Griffith is really able to think of at this point, despite his best efforts to ehem...distract himself.

I think that because I understand the story and characters. If Guts leaving was really all Griffith could think about, then he wouldn't have tried to further his plans as a result, he would have run after him. Like I said, he went to Charlotte because he was trying to reassert himself, to boldly get back on track (to becoming king) after that failure.

Griffith was trying to escape his feelings about Guts leaving by going to see Charlotte, but he didn't succeed. All the while they're doing the deed, Guts leaving keeps popping into his head. Then afterward when Charlotte has fallen asleep he's clearly still tormented. He just can't forget about it or blow it off as easily as I think he may have believed he could. I don't think he even began to understand how much Guts really meant to him until he left.

You're missing the point. That Griffith felt bad because Guts had not only left, but crushingly defeated him in front of everyone in the process, is utterly obvious. And that's all you're saying here. "Griffith felt bad because Guts left, and sleeping with Charlotte didn't change that." But the act of sleeping with Charlotte wasn't the point. What matters is the fact he won her heart in the process, and what that meant for his dream. That's why he did it, not for carnal comfort. And he didn't have time to get over it because he was arrested by the guards the morning right after.

I agree that all the things you mentioned here are part of the picture, but I think there's more to Griffith's attachment to Guts than just this. Guts didn't fit Griffith's self proclaimed qualifications of a friend and Griffith may not have wanted Guts to be as important to him as he was or even consciously have admitted it to himself at first, but it's still there.

All it comes down to is that Griffith was mistaken during his talk to Charlotte at the fountain. Guts was indeed a friend and meant a lot to him in many ways, first and foremost as the "sword" Casca had herself wanted to be.

When Griffith is in the dungeon after having endured a long period of time there being tortured, he says that the thought of Guts is the one thing that seems clear to him.

And that's the part you should have paid more attention to. It's during that monologue that Griffith comments on the fact that his dream is growing dull, while Guts shines brighter than ever. After a year of torture, and while it's clear he now has no chance of ever attaining his dream... As he's questioning his own sanity... He reflects on the man that made so much of it possible, and yet that he blames (unjustly so) for his downfall. He obsesses over him, and that is the only thing that keeps him going. That is when Guts makes him forget his dream. At that specific point. That is when Guts becomes number one.

During the eclipse, when Guts calls his name Griffith thinks to himself, remembering their earlier days when they were together on the battlefield, “Among thousands of comrades and tens of thousands of enemies...you're the only one. You're the only one...who made me forget my dream.”

See what I said just above. That sentence directly echoes Griffith's thoughts while in his cell. The wording is practically the same.

When Casca was angry at Guts for leaving and she was yelling at him while they're fighting she says “You made Griffith weak!! He's no...Griffith's...no good without you!!!”

This refers to what Casca always understood about Griffith (better than Griffith himself): that behind his ice cold composure, he had doubts and insecurities about his incredible, impossible ambition. She had wanted to be the one on which he could rely to support himself, but he had instead chosen Guts. As a result, Guts leaving (and in the way he did, I cannot emphasize that enough) was a terrible blow to his confidence.