Author Topic: Speculations on Griffith  (Read 19332 times)

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Offline noni_moon

Speculations on Griffith
« on: November 09, 2008, 12:01:34 PM »
When I first started reading the Berserk manga, a few weeks ago (LOL! living under a rock, much?), Griffith was possibly the character who impressed me the least.

I remember thinking to myself:"bah! another Gary Stu. booooring" and usualy being midly uninterested with him. but as I kept reading further and further I was quit literally blown away at his amazing character development, his incredible depth and his painfuly human side. honestly, no other fictional character have ever fascinate me as much as he did.

This will be my humble attempt at trying to analyze him based on my own personal interpretation of his character. Since I'm only a newbie I'm not sure if I can do him justice.. especialy that he's one of the most complex 'villains' I've ever seen in any work of fiction.

if any of my points left you screaming your lungs out: "WTF? that no0b totaly mis-interpretated this scene!" or "are you sure we're talking about the same Griffith?" don't hesitate to tell me so, and if you feel that they were terribly repetitive, feel free to ignore me and pretend this tediously long post never happened >_>

A-AHEM!... ok, here it goes...


''The Fallen Hawk''



“I was once too poor to buy a slice of bread. And now I’m able to speak to a Princess like you.” Griffith, Vol. 6 Ch. 6


All we know of Griffith's past is that he was born into poverty and lived his whole childhood as an orphan (I can only assume he was because, unlike other character backstories, there was no parental figures mentioned).

As a young boy running through the streets of that seedy part of town, the noonday sun could not reach his eyes past the cramped buildings.

The brightest thing he ever knew was light reflecting off the castle that towered overhead a top a steep cliff.

“I made up my mind, that was what I was going to win – by any means necessary.” Griffith, Vol. 10 Ch. 2

though he humored his friends by playing war on the streets for cheap trinkets, Griffith had much bigger plans for his future.

He was too proud to tolerate being looked down upon, and too stubborn to let societal limitations hold him back.

He knew he was born different... smarter, stronger and better than the masses who submit to the laws of man and are content to simply live another day.

He was determined to rise above them and forge a life worthy of him.

What do you get when you try to squeeze the spirit of a great man into the body of a peasant? Perhaps it was a spirit too great to be contained in any human body, for that matter.
 
Griffith was larger than life. He had the looks, the brains, the charisma, and most importantly the will to get anything he wanted.

Griffith wanted his own Kingdom even though he was just a commoner. That way he could be sure that his life wasn’t just something controlled by the upper-class, the only way he could feel in control of his life and know that he truly exists. He gave himself a purpose more important than anything that anyone else could try to assign him to do.

But I don't think he went after his dream out of a selfish need for his own happiness (on the contrary he sacrificed much of himself and his happiness for it). logicaky, he might be much happier with a normal and quite life... but it would have been a life fashioned for him in a world ruled by nobles, something he was given, allowed to have. something he didn't MADE for himself.

His sole goal in life was to get his very own kingdom, and his devouted his entire life for it. Little did he know that 'fate' had something bigger in store for him.

“A mere jumping fish cannot change the course of fate. Nothing can make the river of fate return to its course. Nothing can prevent us.” Slan, Vol. 13 Ch. 8

'Fate' in Berserk can be thought of as a river, and Slan here likens a person fighting the natural flow of destiny to a jumping fish. It might briefly escape the current, but it cannot change it, and inevitably plunges back in.

Technically, someone may be able to end the analysis of Griffith right here: he literally had no choice or control over his own destiny. But it's a little more complicated than that. so Moving on...



*********


To call Griffith charismatic is an understatement. He shone with a supernatural aura that beguiled men and women alike. He was very beautiful, and he certainly knew how to use his physical assets to his advantage, but it went beyond than that.

He was nothing short of a savior to his men and inspired worship.

“Everyone gathered around Griffith.” Judeau, Vol. 5 Ch. 2


Griffith’s spirit was a beacon to all the lesser beings fumbling in the dark, and they were drawn to him like moths to a flame.

Though the Hawks were average in their own right, under Griffith’s command they transformed into an invincible force nicknamed 'the Grim Reapers of the Battlefield' for their flawless strategy. But that was not their only way they differed from other armies.

The Hawks were very human. Despite the fact that they came from all walks of life, and many different backgrounds, they remained a family of good friends that cared about one another. More than anything, they were bound by a shared belief in Griffith’s dream and the promise of a better life.


*********


“Just because you were born a noble, you act like a God?” Griffith, Vol. 6 Ch. 10


Griffith stood for equality. Although his crusade was his own, he served as a living example that if you want something badly enough, you can be delivered from social injustice. Griffith did not discriminate between rich and poor, young and old, men and women. He used everyone equally!

He gave every individual the opportunity to prove their worth. Griffith was perhaps the only one in all of Midland to have a woman in his army. And not just in his army, but as his second in command. (Besides, if he saw women as helpless, he would have rescued Casca from the noble that tried to rape her himself instead of throwing her a sword).

“Whether you follow me or not, that’s your choice.” Griffith, Vol. 6 Ch. 10


Unlike the fear-driven minions of standard armies, the Band of the Hawk followed Griffith out of love and admiration. Every single one of them chose to be there. He did not need to use force to implement his commands because they trusted him completely – with their lives, with their hopes, with their futures.


*********


“The thing that killed this child could have been my dream.” Griffith, Vol. 7 Ch. 1


Griffith’s private world was a lot more turbulent than the perfect persona he projected to his soldiers. He took time to get to know each of his soldiers, but that was sometimes too much to bear.

A particularly poignant moment came when he found the body of a young boy on the battlefield. Few people would think much of a nameless corpse, but not Griffith. He recalled that this boy joined the Hawks half a year ago to train, and idolized Griffith as if he was the hero of an epic story.

Now he was dead. Did he dream of becoming a knight? Was he living these dreams in death? Was his death Griffith’s fault?

As battles escalated and the stakes got higher, Griffith had to remodel his thoughts.



“While I tried to avoid confronting my pain, I became cold-hearted.” Griffith, Vol. 13 Ch. 3


He realized that in order to preserve his own sanity he must keep an emotional distance with his soldiers. He could not let himself feel guilty for their deaths. After all, he was not responsible for lives given freely to his cause.

It could be said that Griffith cared by not caring.

A leader distracted by sentimental anxiety would cost more lives than one guided by a clear vision to victory. Griffith’s single-minded pursuit of his dream was the reason why so many followed him. They looked up to him and piled upon him impossible expectations that he was under constant pressure to meet.

The only way to do that was to keep on winning. The only way to keep on winning was to stay detached.

Facing death on the battlefield is the definition of war. There is no way around this.
 
The only difference between Griffith and the other Commanders was that those who fought for Griffith did so eagerly and of their own free will.

In return, he gave them a life more glorious than they could ever have imagined. They went from the dusty streets to the glamour of the palace! They were greeted by cheering crowds and danced at royal parties.

And what could he do for the dead? The only thing he could do to justify their sacrifice was to keep on reaching for his dream as hard as he could, by any means necessary, so that they would not have died in vain.


Griffith actively worked to suppress his emotions in favor of cold logic.

Though it was possible to raise money for supplies through raids, those cost precious lives. Griffith found a less risky way to raise funds by selling his body to an old perverted Baron for one night.

This was a very rational thing to do in theory, and it certainly helped acquire money, but it wreaked havoc on his mind. He denied that it had any effect on him, and insisted it was just a mutually beneficial business agreement, but the image of Griffith obsessively trying to wash himself clean the next morning before clawing his arms to blood is worth a thousand words.


He rose to power at a very young age and had a lot resting on his shoulders. Stuffing his feelings deeper into his subconscious didn’t come without a price. It is quit possibly that while his intellect soared, his emotional growth was stunted... that he simply never had the chance to properly socialize and develop it past the ego of a child!


“A friend would not just follow another’s dream. A friend would find his own reason to live. And if someone were to destroy his dream, he would fight back, even if that someone were me. A friend, in my mind, is someone that is my equal.” Griffith, Vol. 6 Ch. 6

Another transformation in Griffith’s thoughts was more subtle, but much more profound. He could no longer afford to see his soldiers as “friends” in the true sense of the word.

The way he figured, the world was driven by the extraordinary wills of special people. Special people like him, who thought for themselves, fought for themselves, and worked to establish their own identity. These were the only people that mattered, and everyone else were willing pawns in the games played by these great beings.
Yes, to a force such as Griffith, this whole undertaking was a game and the entire world his playground.


*********


Death was the great equalizer. Griffith was inspired by the impartiality of death in war, and took that mentality with him to the upscale arena of political intrigue. Since he was born a commoner, Griffith was often underestimated by the upper class, and he took full advantage of this fact.

It is important to note that Griffith never initiated violence, only exacted revenge. It was simply not worth his energy to do otherwise.

Humble and sweet as his public face was, there was no doubt in Griffith’s mind that he was superior in every way to the overdressed monkeys that called themselves aristocrats. But when one stepped out of line, he would make sure they knew their place.

Nobody could withstand the true intensity of Griffith’s gaze. It stripped away the masks of etiquette and let him see a person’s underlying motives.

He liked to test people from time to time, and if he sensed foul play, he moved quickly to sabotage any developing conspiracy. He would scout the terrain by gathering evidence, close in by enlisting turncoats or spies, and strike at the most opportune moment. It was very much like setting up a battlefield, except that afterwards there’d be no trace of his involvement.


*********


Just when Griffith believed he had all his thoughts in order, enter Guts.

The moment Griffith saw Guts, he instinctively knew that he found someone who approached his ideal of an equal. He would never admit this, of course, and insist he was only interested in gaining a powerful addition to his army, but his actions spoke louder than words.

Griffith also felt that it was worth his while to convince Guts to join the Hawks by force. Guts’ initial refusal intrigued him almost as much as Guts’ peculiar immunity to his charm, but what really endeared him to Griffith was his innovative fighting tactics and ability to catch him off-guard.

Griffith strove to be the best and did not tolerate defeat, so while he made sure to drive his superiority home, he was also thrilled at the prospect of sharpening his skills against a worthy opponent.

Moreover, it convinced him that Guts was someone who would not go down easily. In a career with such a high turnover rate, here was someone he could depend on to stick around... someone who was safe to get close to without fear of abandonment through death.

 
“I want you, Guts.” Griffith, Vol. 4 Ch. 4

Griffith has never said that to anyone before.


Yes, Griffith’s relationship with Guts was different from any he ever felt before. It changed him and made him act irrationally.

Time and time again Griffith went out of his way to make exceptions for Guts, even when it would have been more advantageous for him not to.

“I finally got hold of something excellent. I wasn’t going to lose it in a petty battle.” Griffith, Vol. 5 Ch. 2

Yet the logic of wanting to save an exceptionally powerful soldier broke down when doing so endangered the rest of the army, and especially its precious Commander.

Guts himself recognized that Griffith was acting above and beyond any reasonable sense of strategy by knowingly throwing himself into a hopeless situation.


When confronted about it, Griffith became increasingly evasive. “You keep bringing up that topic. There’s no reason. No reason at all.” He’d stare off into space and turn the question back on Guts, “Is it necessary? A reason... A reason for me to help you. Do I need a reason for that?”



“You are the first person I talk like this to.” Griffith, Vol. 3 Ch. 3
 
Griffith liked spending time with Guts. Guts took Casca’s place as Griffith’s closest confidant, and spent more time alone with him than anyone. But Griffith talked with Guts... well, at Guts... about topics he never felt comfortable talking with anyone else. He shared his deepest thoughts on destiny, morality, and the nature of reality.



“This is so not you. Don’t make it so complicated. Just order me like you usually do.” Guts, Vol. 6 Ch. 4

This was Guts’ response to Griffith pulling him aside and actually giving him an option on whether or not to participate in an assassination plot that he was apparently concerned might infringe on Guts’ morals.

“Can you help me?” he asked. A most unusual choice of words for Griffith, both in terms of effectively admitting he needs help and in leaving the decision up to an underling.

It was almost as if he was asking for Guts opinion, or even approval.

Griffith hadn’t told anyone else about this mission, yet took the time to explain the reasoning for the assassination to Guts. If he meant for it to stay top secret, wouldn’t he keep those reasons classified, no questions asked?


“Do you think it’s terrible? These filthy methods, and not even dirtying my hands. You did all the dirty work. Do you think I’m a terrible person?” Griffith, Vol. 8 Ch. 6
 
This is a more blatant example of Griffith asking for Guts’ opinion/approval.


His elaborate plan was kept secret from the rest of the Hawks, his most trusted soldires.

“It’s not that I don’t trust them. The Band of the Hawk has been through so much with me. I don’t want them to know the bad things about me. I want to leave them with only good feelings.” Griffith, Vol. 8 Ch. 8

Was this statement a case of genuine concern? Or a ploy to preserve his image among the Hawks? A bit of both, I’d say.

Though he trusted the Hawks fully in battle, he did not trust them with the depths of his soul. He trusted Guts on a different level and treated him differently. He felt safe leaving himself completely vulnerable with Guts. He let him see his darker side, and exposed his secrets, believing that Guts would understand and accept him for who he was.

Guts’ feelings, opinions, and input were very important to Griffith.  He even looked relaxed after hearing Guts answer to his quistion.


Did this mean he already saw him as an equal?


“Every man, within his lifetime, should at least hope for a life he can sacrifice to the god of dreams. The life that seeks just to live another day... Is unacceptable!” Griffith, Vol. 6 Ch. 6

Griffith valued ideas more than people, and his most sacred principle was that life had no purpose without a dream to guide it.

So powerful was his dream that it overcame obstacles insurmountable for lesser wills and drove him forward. It was his greatest form of self-expression. It was also something that Guts sorely lacked, which is why Griffith’s speech about dreams and friendship made such a huge impact on Guts.


The main difference between Golden Age!Griffith and Golden Age!Guts: when Guts received love and friendship he didn't fight it.. he fights FOR it, and he allows it to make him stronger. (This also was because Guts wasn't a man who dreamed of bigger things, so he never had to put himself in that position).

Griffith is someone who received idolization, admiration, and love but used it as means to be stronger and get what he desired, rather than something to be cherished.. and saw any emotional attachments to them as weakness.



*********


Guts realized that despite all he had accomplished, and everything he had done for Griffith, it only amounted to glorifying somebody else’s existence.
 
Guts could never hope to stand beside Griffith as an equal until he found his own reason for living. It ate away at him ever since, but he was not the type to run off on a whim. The Hawks were his family and Griffith was still his best friend.

He would stick around through the end of the war. After Griffith was awarded the highest rank in the Midland army – White Hawk General – and the rest of the Hawks were promoted to nobles, Guts waited about a month for everyone to settle into their new roles before breaking the news: he was leaving to find himself.

Griffith, however, was definitly NOT pleased.


“Do you really want to leave? This badly… You want to get out of my hands!? No way. There’s no way!! I’ll not permit it. I will not let you go!!!” Griffith, Vol. 8 Ch. 10
 
Of course, he wouldn’t actually say that out loud. This was the first time (and one of the very rare moments in the series) that we started seeing inside Griffith’s head, and sometimes it wasn’t pretty.

He thought he had everything firmly in his grasp, he believed he could anticipate every possible outcome, yet Guts’ announcement took him by surprise.
 
Griffith quickly analyzed his environment and debated several strategies that would help him overcome Guts’ advantage of a much larger, much heavier weapon.

He found one he thought would work, but it had a chance of killing Guts in the process.

This worried him for a moment, “But... If I can’t keep him here... It doesn’t matter!!”. Yes, Griffith was in ‘if I can’t have him no one can!’ mode.

I don’t even think it was even a matter of possessiveness, this was pure and utter desperation.


He charged in with perfect technique, and would have won, but Guts’ sword cut clean through his blade. Though Guts stopped short of actually injuring Griffith, it was an enormous blow to his pride – in front of his men, no less.




Guts believed that Griffith was so strong, so determined, so inspired by his goals, that he couldn’t truly hurt him. But Guts was wrong. Griffith’s iron will was founded on denial of his feelings, and now that false sense of strength was about to unravel. The world of emotion was uncharted territory for him.

Guts didn’t know how much he meant to Griffith because even Griffith didn’t know how much he meant to Griffith.

All Griffith knew was that the only person he believed he could trust with his innermost thoughts, insecurities, and darkest secrets was leaving. He felt abandoned and betrayed.

It is here that the logic of keeping Guts around as a military asset fails completely. The war was over and the only path to claiming his own kingdom was through Princess Charlotte, not Guts. Griffith’s reasons for wanting Guts to stay were 100% personal.


In many ways, Guts was Griffith’s anchor to sanity. While everybody else held him to the standard of an infallible god, he felt he could relax and be himself around Guts. Although Guts knew that Griffith was very special, he was also able to accept him as a human being, with mortal weaknesses and flaws.

Guts was always outspoken, but never judgmental, and truly the closest thing Griffith ever had to a friend. More than that, Guts was the only person Griffith ever truly cared about. “Why do I always realize it when I’ve already lost it.”


Griffith had no clue how to deal with the torrent of emotions that assaulted his painfully rational mind.

What the hell happened? Things were going so well. Why would he want to leave? Did he do something to drive Guts away? How could he not foresee this? Should he be feeling angry, sad, or bitter? Why did he care so much?

He could manipulate his surroundings better than anyone, but he could not handle losing control over himself.


This lead him to a reckless self-destructive act when he slept with princess Charlotte, not out of lust or to speed up the process of becoming royalty.. but as a way to release all the pain and sadness that ate him inside when he lost Guts.

after Charlotte fell fast asleep, he sat restless on the bed nursing the mark left by Guts’s sword and then curled up in a fetus position and cried... apparently longing for someone else.



That didn't end up well, of course. He was cought and locked up in the lowest level of the Tower of Rebirth.


*********



Griffith was stuck there for a whole year, drifting in darkness, with time measured only by pain of torture.

Or did he even care about that? Griffith seems to have a very high resistance to physical pain. The only things that really troubled him were his thoughts and his eroding sanity. He was losing touch with reality, his identity, and his memories.

“Amongst all the images that rise in my mind, only one comes out clear. That ‘thing.’ At night, it feels like thunder inside my brain; moving around, trying to burst free. It follows me, again and again. It feels like the waves of the ocean crashing onto my brain, and all my affection goes along with it. Frustration, friendship, envy, emptiness, unhappiness, pity, unbearable, hunger. I want to go back to that old thing I felt affection for.” Griffith, Vol. 10 Ch. 2


More than anything, Griffith missed Guts.

Through the jumble of fragmented memories, Guts was the single spark of coherency. His image was seared into Griffith’s brain, reinforced by a storm of conflicted emotions. Their power was overwhelming.

“But not just the one thing. I want back everything that I used to feel affection for. Because now I feel nothing for any of those things, even though their images are clear in my head, crystal clear. I want to keep the feelings of those things with me...” Griffith, Vol. 10, Ch. 2

In truth, Guts was the only thing Griffith felt anything towards anymore. He had vague recollections of his old life, his army, his comrades, but the substance behind those memories was rapidly fading. He knew they were important to him, and he tried very hard to cling to these shattered pieces of his humanity, but it was getting progressively more difficult.

The fact that Griffith lasted as long as he did, and held onto his memories for as long as he did, is a great testament to his inner strength, and perhaps even his goodness.


He had a lot of time to reminisce about Guts in the prison.

He could no longer deny that his feelings about Guts were very different from any he’s encountered before.

He did not know when the balance of power shifted, but he resigned to the fact that Guts had somehow usurped control of their relationship.

These realizations did not come without a sharp stab of pain, however. Griffith blamed Guts for his predicament. But how much, and in what way? Was it love or hatred that was keeping him alive? Was it his inability to answer that question that was driving him insane?


Griffith also blames Guts for bringing down his dream. No, overpowering his dream. All his talk of life purpose and equals pales in comparison to his feelings towards this one man he once considered his inferior.

On the one hand, these feelings were a weakness that he violently opposed.  On the other hand, they were a warmth that he desperately longed for.

How could he allow himself to get so close to someone who could so easily walk out on their friendship? Of course the tragic irony was that Guts left in order to strengthen their friendship.


Just a couple of volumes ago, it was Guts gushing over how grateful he was to have found someone to watch over him, and that despite Griffith’s harsh standards, “in my eyes, he’s even brighter.”



Now their roles were reversed. It was Guts’ turn to watch over Griffith, and Griffith’s turn to be blinded by Guts’ glory.



When the Hawks’ rescue party broke into his cell, Guts was the only thing Griffith responded to.

At first he reached for Guts’ throat – whether out of tenderness or malice was unclear.

But when Guts broke down sobbing and embraced him, any bitterness Griffith clung to seemed to melt away. His beloved friend had come back for him, and he was relieved to simply hold his hand.



*********


“.............” Griffith, Vol. 10

It is fascinating that Griffith is robbed of his power to speak just when his input would be the most telling about his mental state. Frankly, for someone who just survived a year of unspeakable torture, he seemed a little... normal. That’s kind of creepy in itself.

What’s more, he seemed strangly softer and genuinely grateful at being rescued (He convinced the Princess to leave for safety by mouthing the words “I will come back for you.” True, he could’ve simply realized that she was slowing them down, but it was nevertheless a sweet gesture).

He was also vigilant as ever and was very perceptive of his surroundings (He managed to alert the team of an exit they have overlooked. He noticed right away the chemistry between Guts and Casca, and was concerned that Guts appeared to be enjoying her touch).
 
As time went by.. Griffith quickly realized that a lot had happened while he was gone, and it took him some time to figure out how would he fit again into this new world.


Nobody yet realized the true damage done to their flawless leader in that dungeon. They thought it was only a matter of time before he returned to his former glory, and encouraged him by saying he would soon get better.

Griffith was even inclined to believe them. Being crippled certainly didn’t diminish his warrior instincts. When Guts or Casca were fighting Wyald, he did everything in his power to help them.

He tried grasping his sword, but all he managed to do was knock it over.

He tried breaking free of his human crutches, but only fell down.

It made him so aggravated to watch helplessly from the sidelines that he clenched his teeth to blood.



“You guys thought you could rise to the top again by following him. Sorry, but it’s all over. This guy’s fighting days are over. He can’t even talk. Swinging a sword is way beyond him! No, he isn’t even able to stand on his own! Crawling around like a bug... From now on he can’t live on his own.” Wyald, Vol. 11 Ch. 10

Judeau and Casca knew the dark truth of Griffith’s injuries, but they wanted to break the news gently to Griffith and the rest of the Hawks.

Now all hope for that was gone. Wyald tore off Griffith’s bandages and revealed to his troops everything Judeau and Casca were trying to hide.

This stripped away any illusions Griffith had about his condition, and the gravity of the situation finally sank in. Furthermore, he was humiliated in front of his entire army in the worst possible way.


*********


“Griffith... You were always looking up, climbing higher and higher. That was all you cared about. Rising up to the top, like a lone hawk. Yes, you never lowered yourself to our level. Us lowly mortals who are bound to the earth.” Guts, Vol. 10 Ch. 3

No analysis of Griffith would be complete without discussing his icy sense of pride. He was always above everyone and held the whole world in his hands. He came from nothing and soared to unimaginable heights, only to drop down lower than he started with.

He was an inch away from achieving his ultimate goal, but one mistake was enough to take away not only his accomplishments, but also his dignity.

All the people he towered over in his prime, who loved and admired him as a living god, now looked down on him with pity.

He was deeply frustrated and lonely. at one point he even was desperate to 'cling' to his most loyal soldier.. the one who always showed him, like the princess, her unconditional love and admiration... Casca.

In his mind Guts had already taken away everything that made him a strong and a 'happy' individual, so he wanted to have what was rightfully his.  I believe his 'lunging' at Casca could have just been a desperate attempt to claim ownership of her.


But now his whole existence was at the whim of others. Many of his remaining soldiers gave up on him, until only the most loyal were left.

 
But at least he still had Guts ...?


“If you’re Griffith’s friend, you must go. You... must go... Alone.” Casca, Vol. 12 Ch. 2
 

... and now Guts was leaving him – again!

Casca reminded Guts of Griffith’s speech about dreams and friendship back at the Prom Rose Palace, and told him that if he truly considered himself Griffith’s friend and equal, he had to follow his own dream.


“Yes... I’ve rested long enough. I have to go. This playing hasn’t ended yet. ” Griffith, Vol. 12 Ch. 3


Griffith snapped – again – and when Griffith snaps and does something stupid, bad things happen!

It was bad enough for him that he lost his good looks, his fighting prowess, his reputation, his army, and his ability to do basic tasks, but he was also being abandoned by the person he cared about most in the world. A person whose undivided attention he no longer had, because he was in love with Griffith’s second favorite person in the world, and this effectively took both of them out of his reach.

Griffith’s fall from grace was now complete. He had nothing else to hold onto, not even his sanity. Everyone had forsaken him, so he would forsake them to pursue his ambition.



Stranded in the middle of nowhere, with no horses, no wagon, and newly broken bones, Griffith couldn’t help but to laugh, in a fit of madness, at how utterly weak and pathetic he’d become.


His first impulse was suicide, but no, that didn’t quite work out. He was still terrified of death. He missed his throat and only accomplished a stream of blood trickling down his arm... and left trembling and crying with utter despair.



“You thought of killing yourself to escape from your hopelessness... But, in that hopeless moment, was under the wheel of destiny.” Ubik, Vol. 3 Ch. 2

Even though this line isn’t about Griffith, but it certainly applies to him just the same.

His Beherit was lost in the prison, carried away by an underground river. But as fate would have it – literally – his splashing about in the lake brought it back into his hands.




“Griffith...!! Was it me? That pushed you over the edge... Was it me that changed you!? What should I do...!? Why’d you want me!?” Guts, Vol. 12 Ch. 4


Somewhere, deep down, Guts felt responsible for all this. Now, it's completly unfair saying the ensuing carnage was Guts’ fault. But the facts still remain... if Guts hadn’t left, none of it would’ve happened. Casca certainly thought so..

.. and so did Griffith.


But luckly she had her chance to fully forgive Guts... Griffith, however, did not.



*********


Durning the eclipse Griffith was as confused as everyone else because he didn’t plan for this to happen. He had no clue how the Beherit worked.
 
Wyald did mentioned something about summoning some “guardian angels,” but Griffith didn’t know who they were or how to do that.

“Stay back... Stay back!!!” Griffith, Vol. 12 Ch. 4



When Griffith heard Guts calling his name, with the other Hawks not far behind, he did not want him to approach.

Did somehow realized the event was centered around him, and (despite being highly unstable at that moment) didn’t want his friend getting hurt?

or was it something else?

most likely, Griffith didn't want Guts to take 'care' of him any longer. Griffith desires to be in control of his own destiny, and not be treated as a helpless cripple. If Guts would bear him on his shoulder, Griffith would lose his free will; turned into someone cared after.


And then, that final warning before everything went to Hell:

“I’ll never again forgive...” Griffith, Vol. 12 Ch. 4

Forgive what? Forgive Guts for leaving? “Again”? Would that mean that the first time Griffith forgave Guts was during the reunion in the dungeon?


Despite what he wanted to beilive, Griffith had feelings.. and he certinaly had his limits. He would not tolerate his heart being broken twice.



“I bid thee all welcome to this time and place. O, ye’ lambs who hath created God! Welcome thee hither and partake in the Holy Festival! The Honorable Child, chosen by the Law of Causality, the Hawk. You are the Chosen One. This time and place has been chosen just for you. We are kindred. The blessed Kings for which they crave.” Void, Vol. 12 Ch. 6
 
A lot of Berserk truths squeezed into a very cryptic paragraph. Void started off by welcoming the humans to this realm, addressing them as beings who have created God – the Idea of Evil spawned from the darkness of humanity’s unconscious.

He then turned his attention to Griffith, the chosen one through whom the infallible Law of Causality brought this time and place into being.

He was one of them – a mighty Demon King ready to claim his throne.

Of course none of this made any sense to the Hawks except for Griffith, who was slowly beginning to connect it to his demonic visions in the dungeon.

He’s had a wide-eyed deer-caught-in-headlights look on his face ever since the eclipse. Was it fear, denial, doubt, guilt, or a mix of all of them?

Trembling, he started to ‘say’ something, but was cut off by Guts.


Guts would not be intimidated by them! He jumped right in to defend his best friend’s innocence, drawing some softer glances from Griffith.

 
“Such a beautiful friendship. I’m sure you’d make a wonderful sacrifice. A precious sacrifice, in order to become a Demon King.” Slan, Vol. 12 Ch. 6

Guts immediately assumed it was these monsters who wanted to change Griffith by killing the rest of them, but Slan assured him this was not the case. “This is his will. Griffith has offered you all as a sacrifice.”

This was news to Griffith, and he was as shocked as anybody, but that didn’t matter. The God Hand spoke in past tense because fate was absolute, determined the moment Griffith first acquired the Beherit.


“Everything is within the flow of Causality. All has been decided. Your lives were woven to meet this point. So we shall hold the ‘Ceremony of the Coming Lord.’” Void, Vol. 12 Ch. 7

The ground shook and a huge pillar rose under Griffith and Guts. They tried to hold on, but Guts fell on the way up, and only Griffith was taken to the very top of what grew into the huge Hand altar of the God Hand. This was significant because Griffith was now alone in the grips of the God Hand, isolated from the only humanizing influence in his life.

 
*********

“Are you frightened? Does one such as you even feel such things!? Do you fear higher beings such as we? Or do you fear to tread into the future?” Void, Vol. 12 Ch. 8

Unlike the rest of the world, they did not talk down to him or pity him. He was their guest of honor, and their equal.

They surrounded him with great anticipation, because they were eager to become whole again, like a spine-chilling family reunion. Ubrik explained to Griffith that “before going into the future, you may once again return to the past, and know what kind of person you are.”

The God Hand gave him a symbolic vision of his past, and though they claimed that “this is no illusion, this is the reality of your conscious world,” they also guided the experience for their own purposes.


“Excuse me, granny, which way’s the castle?” Griffith, Vol. 12 Ch. 8

It is interesting to note that in his mind’s eye, Griffith reverted to his childhood persona.

Aside from the fact that these early years were the decisive crossroads of fate, was it also reflective of his core inner self? Was this the point at which his emotional development shut down and he dedicated himself entirely to his dream, setting in motion a chain of events that would make him incapable of dealing with feelings beyond his control?

Or was it simply a longing for more innocent times, when things weren’t so complicated, and the consequences for actions weren’t so severe?


“This is the only way to reach that castle. There is no other path.” Granny, Vol. 12 Ch. 8

This was, indeed, the only road to the castle. It was paved with the bodies of thousands of comrades, tens of thousands of enemies, and even nameless bystanders. The more bodies he piled up, the closer he would get to the castle, and if he stopped, he may join them.

Yes, the only way to the castle was through dead bodies, but That is the nature of war! Every King, every Baron, every General in history traveled that road to claim their rank. They taxed and bullied their subjects, and obligated them to die for politics they cared nothing about. Compared to them, Griffith may considered a saint!
 
Though he was ruthless, he never destroyed more than he had to.
 
Even after scoring a decisive victory against a most hated enemy, his orders were to : “Let them flee!! But exterminate any who oppose us!!”


He never struck first, but if somebody did oppose him, his vengeance was undeniably swift, brutal, and cruel.

None of these things made him a monster.

Was he selfish? yes.

Arrogent? maybe.

Emotionless and naturaly evil? NO!


“They are willing to sacrifice their lives for my dream.” Griffith, Vol. 6 Ch. 6

Griffith never took anything that wasn’t his. He had never lied about his intentions, or the lengths to which he would go to see them done. His men admired him for that. All the Hawks swore to die for his dream.

No matter how selfish his dream was, it didn’t make him evil to ask of his troops that which they would freely give him: their loyalty and their lives.


“It was you who made them like this in the first place, was it not?” Granny, Vol. 12 Ch. 8

hmmm.. so You’re going to guilt trip Griffith about dead people now? Dead people who chose to follow him?

The first to emerge from his subconscious was the little boy whose death drove Griffith to seek financial help from a Baron by questionable means.

The fact that this memory came up at all proves that Griffith was capable of feeling remorse.

But it didn’t end there. More dead soldiers came out of the mists, demanding to be taken to the castle. Griffith didn’t know what to tell them besides stating the obvious: “You can’t go with me...!! You’ve all died...!! You’re not alive anymore!! So I can’t take you to the castle... I can’t do it!! Sorry... I’m sorry...”


Granny scolded him for being so mean to his friends: “Everyone came to follow you. If you hadn’t said that you were going there, things would not have happened this way.”

“Why couldn’t you be satisfied with looking at the castle from below!?” Granny, Vol. 12 Ch. 8

Why should he be?! Why should anyone?!

Even those who followed him weren’t satisfied with their quality of life either!
they chose to follow Griffith of their own free will, for their own reasons.

Yes, they believed in his dream, but more importantly, they believed he could lead them to a better life for themselves along the way.

And Griffith delivered. They went from being beggars and thieves to heroes and nobility! They knew what they were getting themselves into, and it could be said that they used him as much as he used them.

Most of them left the moment they saw he could no longer provide for them.

The only person Griffith ever forced to join the Hawks was Guts.

“If you wish to charge further to that castle, you must pile up many more bodies. What’s wrong? Are you frightened? Do you want to return!? It’s no good!! You must not think it over!! The next time you’ll join your comrades’ bodies!! Look!! Look at your own hands!!” Granny, Vol. 12 Ch. 8

Ahh, and now comes the manipulative fear-mongering. Little Griffith’s body began to waste away – a poignant reminder of the older Griffith’s physical deterioration. It was either him or them, and he had to choose fast!

From fear-mongering, granny progressed to outright coercion: “It’s not too late! Pile these bodies before anything else!! This is the only thing you could do now!!”

We finally see that the granny is a puppet controlled by Ubrik and Conrad.


Ok... now don't tell me that the God Hand didn't have a bias they wanted to impose on Griffith’s subconscious.


“No use in regretting now. What can I say to the dead now? No use in regretting my crimes. I can’t apologize for what I’ve done. This is the road I came for myself for the sake of taking hold of my desire. I cannot apologize. No, I will not apologize...!! If I apologize, or feel regret, everything will be over. I’ll never be able to reach that place.” Griffith, Vol. 12 Ch. 8

He could not let himself feel responsible for those who chose to fight his battles. He had done all he could for them, but he could not turn back. He had gone too far, climbed too high to let it all end now.

The twisted flashback reminded him how much he hurt and why he cut off his feelings in the first place.

It started as a way to avoid emotional instability in battle, which divorced him from his humanity, and mutated to rationalize pursuing his dream over the lives of others. Finally, it evolved to protect the only thing he had left – himself.


*********


“Make a single chant, ‘This I sacrifice.’ Then shall you receive wings of jet-black, so that you may be carried to heaven.” Void, Vol. 12 Ch. 9

The Hawks that followed Griffith to this place were his most loyal soldiers. They loved and trusted him as a person, and would stand by him even if the dream they fought so hard for was in shambles.

They weeded themselves out from the rest as unknowing but willing sacrifices through whom Griffith could truly live again. Each of them would become a feather in the wings of the hawk reborn. It was a great honor to nourish the birth of a god!

The God Hand insinuated that his soldiers would forgive him, and would welcome his transformation. When they saw Griffith was still having trouble coming to terms with all this, Void gave him an ultimatum.

“If that castle is the most radiant thing in your eyes, continue to build, use all you have left.” Void, Vol. 12 Ch. 9

There is a running theme of “brightness” in Berserk. Brightness symbolized the intensity of a thought, desire, or concept in one’s mind.

About Griffith, Guts once said “in my eyes, he’s even brighter.” About Guts, Griffith said “his brightness hurts my eyes,” when he realized that his desire for Guts was overriding his own dreams.

The brighter the thought/desire/concept, the more power it had over the psyche. Now Void was asking Griffith to decide once and for all what was brightest in his mind, what was more important to him, Guts or his dream?



*******


“Aim for that castle in the sky. Continue to pile upon those bodies. That is who you are.” Void, Vol. 12 Ch. 9

Notice one VERY important thing... the God Hand didn't say to Griffith:"here's our offer.. now take your time and think about it carefully". NO.. what they told him was basically: "there is no time left! you should DO this or else you shall join the dead. do it.. do it for the sake of your dream and for thoes who died BECAUSE of you! oh, and don't worry.. your friends will surely forgive you in the end!.. and besides.. this IS your destiny".

.. and he eventualy beilived them. forget the fact that he was entirly unstable at the moment.. those were GODS, infinite and all-knowing beings, helping him rationalize this decision by re framing the scenario into one where sacrificing everyone was the noble thing to do.

The God Hand did not lie to Griffith or brainwashed him, but there was definitely an overwhelming sense of 'manipulation', or to put it more correctly: 'convincing'.

if Griffith was 'evil' all along then they wouldn't even bother to convice him that this was the right thing to do, insteed they would just simply remind of his dream and nothing else.


“Return everything from the past. Bury them in the ruins of your dream.” Slan, Vol. 12 Ch. 9

The God Hand were essentially giving Griffith the chance to start over.

They could take all his pain and despair, and make this whole nightmare go away.

But first he had to choose between the pursuit of his dream and the lives of his comrades. This was a choice he made many times before, although it was never presented quite so literally.


Would've he said: 'yes' if he have been just severely injured (like Gambino)?...

No one really knows.

Personaly, I think he would never have sacrificed his men before the prison incident – Not because he's too noble to do such a thing.. but because he had far too much pride and confidence in himself to accept the offer of the God Hand! 

But with EVERYTHING else taken away from him, they were his last trump card, and he was willing to use it.


This may raise the question of whether he cared about his soldiers at all, or merely saw them as stepping stones on his path to glory.

Let's see...

the reason he gave himself to the Baron at all was because he wanted to lower the death toll of his troops, inspired by his sympathy for a little boy that died under his command. This could be interpreted in either a purely caring or a purely rational way, but that boy’s appearance in Griffith’s guilty conscience showed it was at least both.


“A sacrifice can’t just be any flesh and blood. It has to be someone dear to you... Someone who’s part of your heart.” Slan, Vol. 3 Ch. 2

Ironically, it is the fact that the Hawks qualified as sacrifices that proves how much he cared about them. You NEED people you care about for the ritual to work! There absolutely no way around this.

However, the only person that Griffith truly loved was Guts. And Guts was the only person on Griffith's mind as he finaly uttered the words: 'I sacrefies'.
 


*********


“You'll be cut from humanity, and the evilness will possess your mind.” Ubrik, Vol. 3 Ch. 2


The real meaning of the ritual is less about the physical act of sacrifice, and more about the symbolic sacrifice of your own humanity.

It serves to sever ties with the human race. Of course, in order to sacrifice your humanity, you must first have it, and once you lose it, you’re not completly yourself anymore. You're an empty vessel which, according to Ubrik, gets taken over by "evilness."

Everything that was human about Griffith’s human soul disintegrated during the transformation.

However, Femto at his core IS STILL Griffith (only that he his ego has been tainted by being infused with the negative flow of the abyss.. which what turned him into a demon).

they are very different yet they are still the same.

Saying that Femto and Griffith are two separate entities is just as absurd as sating that Femto and Griffith are EXACTLY  the same.

I don't think Griffith would have raped Casca, sane or not.  indeed, He was at some point so consumed with anger and hatred towards Guts but I beilive he would never hurt him and Casca like that... because Griffith was a human being, a twisted human being, but Femto was a Demon...

yet a Demon who commited an act that is so personal and human (in all of its inhumanity) while staring at Guts in spite the entire time. A demon who was full of all the negative feelings that ate Griffith-the human- alive inside... a manifestation of the 'evilness' and the darkness in Grifith's heart..

but now he was finally free.. free to take his reveng and do 'what ever he wishes' without any pity thoughts or emotions such 'regret'.

It's so very ironic because for being the most surreal-like godly character in the manga for so long, so much of what Griffith did was painfully human.. even when he was no longer human.



“Everyone’s dead. I’m through it... I want... to die... Never to think... Never to feel.” Griffith, Vol. 13 Ch. 3

 
Griffith was tricked into believing his choice would make him feel better, but it only made things worse... much worse.

He was confronted by the tears he froze to protect himself, and how meaningless it was now. He didn't like seeing his 'friends' slaughtered.

I can't say if he regretted his decision, but he didn't want to deal with it anymore. He couldn't face their pity before, and he couldn't stomach their horror now. He just wanted to die. To shut off his mind and his heart, close his eyes and never wake up.

and now Femto became the sterile, callous personification of not his dream, but his ambition.



"Violence and loneliness... This place is filled with all kinds of blurred negative feelings. It is truly the will that defines human nature." Idea of Evil, Ch. 83

The Idea of Evil was created by humans, for humans. It existed to explain all the misery, suffering, and absurdities in the world.

It was willed into existence by humanity, and shaped destiny to reflect the desires of humanity as a whole.

These were not necessarily conscious wishes. The power of the rational mind is weak compared to the irrational force of feelings.

Feelings of vengeance, hatred, and despair that most people try to hide. But they don't go away, they fuel the Idea of Evil, and create a world that reflects them.

It was a swirling mass of every negative emotion that cried out for meaning. Those feelings ran deep, deeper than joy and happiness, deep enough to create this great being. It was the collective unconscious of the species, and as such it was a very human place.

By this logic, maybe the sacrificial ceremony wasn't about severing ties with humanity at all. Rather, severing the superficial ties and developing a stronger connection to the mass consciousness in order to see the bigger picture.


"Everyone is trying to survive this big river called destiny, and everyone vanishes. When one reaches the last moment of life, s/he won't even know who s/he is." Griffith, Vol. 3 Ch. 3

Griffith was always fascinated by the whole "destiny" idea. He knew he was special, but he was afraid he would disappear before he ever truly understood who he was, just like everybody else. He had a dream, and he wanted to make that his destiny, but he still longed for confirmation.

But after that dream crashed and burned to the ground, he thought he was lost. Was he following the wrong path all along? Would he die ignorant like all the rest he crushed along the way? He thought he would. For a little while, he even wanted to.


"...The destiny... My... God! What do you want from me?!" Griffith, Ch. 83

Yet here was God itself! He could ask these questions straight to its face! It gave him hope, and the will to live.

"Be as you will... Do as you will, Chosen One." Idea of Evil, Ch. 83

Mmmm... "Chosen One." Griffith likes being chosen. Griffith likes being special.

Apparently, his destiny wasn't just to become King, but to become a god! And here was THE God basically telling him that, since he was also A god, he could create his own destiny!

"I dwell deep in your heart, I am a part of you. You are part of your kind's consciousness, a part of me. Your desire is my desire as well." Idea of Evil, Ch. 83

Not only was God telling him all this, but a God speaking for the will of humanity. It was humans who elected Griffith to become one of their five immortal Kings!

"Change this physical field that is your body into a shape suitable for your task." Idea of Evil, Ch. 83

Here we have a much more assertive Griffith. He's ready to OWN this whole choose-your-destiny thing! His body is not disintegrating. On the contrary, it is fully formed... and he wants wings, damnit!

This would mean that Griffith is very much conscious as himself as Femto, so Griffith = Femto? True, but keep in mind that this is a Griffith who has not only went through hell on earth, but also the literal hell of the Idea of Evil.

It taught him to stop running away from his pain and embrace it as the driving force in the universe. It became a source of power! His mind had definitely mutated. It was infused with the mass consciousness of the world and now had a transcendent perspective on life.

Griffith has found his calling in life, and it was greater than he ever dreamed of. His delusions of grandeur have become a reality.


As for reborn Griffith? Well, currently he is nothing short of an enigma who's definitely set up to do great things in the future of the manga.

There was too much effort put into the development of Griffith's personality, his history, and his relationship with Guts and Casca to have him flatline into just another purely evil character.

There is still struggle inside him, and I believe his dual nature will decide the fate of the Berserk universe.



********


Griffith's downfall, his betrayal and his raise again from the ashes was the most compelling case for turning to the 'Dark Side' that I have ever seen in any work of fiction!

It was the story of a street urchin who, inspired by a beautiful dream, took himself and those who followed him all the way to the top.

And just when his dream was within reach, he was torn from it in the cruelest way imaginable. After being mutilated and tortured for a year, he lost not only his reputation, his friends, and his freedom, but also such basic human dignities as talking, walking, and feeding himself.

With his sanity hanging by a thread, he even came close to losing himself, but he would not let that happen.


They say the road to Hell is paved with good intentions. Just as Lucifer was once the most radiant angel in Heaven, so too was Griffith’s rise and fall a result of his enormous pride.

It is people like this who make or break the world. But how far would you go? How far should you go? At what point do the ends not justify the means?


It’s not that Griffith didn’t care about others, he just cared about himself more.

When it came to Guts, he sometimes cared about himself less.


"Every man, within his lifetime, should at least hope for a life he can sacrifice to the god of dreams." Griffith, Vol. 6 Ch. 6

« Last Edit: November 09, 2008, 03:36:04 PM by noni_moon »

Offline eldritchdose

Re: Speculations on Griffith
« Reply #1 on: November 09, 2008, 10:47:02 PM »
Despite being very long winded, I did not find your post to be tedious. In fact I commend you for writing it. That is not to say that I agree with everything you said, in fact I found many of your opinions to be misguided. This may simply be due to the translation you read. It seems to me there were many differences in the wording of the quotes you presented to what I have read in the Darkhorse translation. Despite this you did mention quite a few insightful statements. Anyway, I'm not going to pick apart all of your opinions, I will leave that for others. I do however, have a few opinions of my own to add.

I liken Griffith's pride and sense of emotional distance to other humans not as any conscious decision on his part but just a part of his nature due to being constantly viewed by others as great. I have also found many similarities in Griffith's character to the Nietzschean Overman, the ideal of a man who transcends man. I invite anyone to research this connection.

It would be interesting to hear some other users thoughts on Griffith.


Offline noni_moon

Re: Speculations on Griffith
« Reply #2 on: November 09, 2008, 11:41:40 PM »
Quote
Despite being very long winded, I did not find your post to be tedious. In fact I commend you for writing it.

yeeeeah, I know.. this got too ridiculously long xD I commend you for reading it till the end!  :serpico:

honestly.. I originally had WAY more stuff to add but I had to cut a lot of it out >_> I-I think I even forgot to mention several semi-important points along the way *kicks self*


Quote
That is not to say that I agree with everything you said, in fact I found many of your opinions to be misguided. This may simply be due to the translation you read. It seems to me there were many differences in the wording of the quotes you presented to what I have read in the Darkhorse translation.


hmmm really? :0 any specific quotes?


Quote
Despite this you did mention quite a few insightful statements. Anyway, I'm not going to pick apart all of your opinions, I will leave that for others. I do however, have a few opinions of my own to add.

oh, by all means.. feel free to completely disagree with me! I like a good debate :)


Quote
I liken Griffith's pride and sense of emotional distance to other humans not as any conscious decision on his part but just a part of his nature due to being constantly viewed by others as great. I have also found many similarities in Griffith's character to the Nietzschean Overman, the ideal of a man who transcends man. I invite anyone to research this connection.


no no, I definitely don't think it was a conscious decision at all. I think he desperately tried to convice himself that he didn't feel anything for his soldiers, out of an unconscious desire to stay focus.. to survive. one of the many running themes in the manga is the need to 'struggle'.. Guts is described as a 'struggler', and I believe Griffith had his own struggle too.


I'd definitely love to hear what you have to say about the connection between Griffith's character and the Nietzschean Overman.


Online Walter

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Re: Speculations on Griffith
« Reply #3 on: November 10, 2008, 12:04:03 AM »
First off, welcome to the boards and thanks for this mammoth post. This section has needed a good dose of revival for years now.

That being said, I come bearing bad news:
hmmm really? :0 any specific quotes?
I'd say most of them are off, since it appears you based all of these quotes on The Hawks' work, which is full of mistranslations.  :void: It'd really be a task to point out each and every one that's off, and spell out why it's off. I'd suggest you read through Dark Horse's translations or those offered on our own site: http://skullknight.net/manga

I like the post in general, and I think it fits well in this section, which is purely to dissect characters. And next to Guts, there's really no other character more rife with discussion potential than Griffith.
:femto: :slan: :ubik:

Offline noni_moon

Re: Speculations on Griffith
« Reply #4 on: November 10, 2008, 12:20:00 AM »
Quote
First off, welcome to the boards and thanks for this mammoth post. This section has needed a good dose of revival for years now.


thanks! :D I'm really glad to hear to that.

Quote
I'd say most of them are off, since it appears you based all of these quotes on The Hawks' work, which is full of mistranslations.   It'd really be a task to point out each and every one that's off, and spell out why it's off. I'd suggest you read through Dark Horse's translations or those offered on our own site: http://skullknight.net/mange

OH SHI- really?! I'm suprised I didn't make a complete ass of myself then xD *note to self: save some money to buy the frecking manga!*  :puck:

Online Walter

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Re: Speculations on Griffith
« Reply #5 on: November 10, 2008, 02:01:01 AM »
I  had some time, and looked over your quotes. It's exaggerating of me to say "all" of the ones you used are wrong. But here are some examples of where some seriously OFF translations can cause misunderstandings, especially in key moments in the series.

HAWKS:
Quote
“A mere jumping fish cannot change the course of fate. Nothing can make the river of fate return to its course. Nothing can prevent us.”
CORRECT:
Quote
Even if a fish jumps, that cannot change the flow of the river...


HAWKS:
Quote
“While I tried to avoid confronting my pain, I became cold-hearted.” Griffith, Vol. 13 Ch. 3
CORRECT:
Quote
Voice (actually it's The Idea of Evil): You've shed the last of your crystal tears.
when one is experiencing the agony, that destroys himself
it leads him to freeze his heart. [It makes that person emotionless]

HAWKS:
Quote
“You'll be cut from humanity, and the evilness will possess your mind.” Ubrik, Vol. 3 Ch. 2
DARK HORSE:
Quote
"A fissure will open up in your heart into which evil will pour." - Conrad (and it's Ubik not Ubrik)


Regarding what Griffith says just before the Beherit activates in volume 12, he actually DID finish that sentence that left you hanging.
Quote
Griffith originally said "ill never be able to forgive you." in the Young Animal, but it was changed and edited out in the published manga.

Still, after reading the whole post now, I can say I'm genuinely impressed by your understanding of the manga so quickly. These kinds of posts are generally placed in the middle of threads in an ongoing conversation, and just detract. But here, where you can show the progression of Griffith's development, it's a logical and cohesive post. Which is RARE.

Many of our members have been reading the series for years and still make missteps in their interpretation of events, but most of  yours are rather spot-on. You also touch on several concepts of threads that we've been talking about recently (the sacrifice thread comes to mind for me) and you succinctly state what took several members dozens of posts to understand. So, bravo!
:femto: :slan: :ubik:

Offline eldritchdose

Re: Speculations on Griffith
« Reply #6 on: November 10, 2008, 04:44:05 AM »
Yeah, The Hawks translation is... Kinda bad actually. When I first got into Berserk after watching the anime I was forced to resort to online scans, after getting the actual manga and reading that I found out right away that it is much better worded. The only failings of it are the back of the book descriptions and the horrible sound FX captions that start appearing around book 12 I think.

Here are a few links that may provide an introduction to the concept of the Overman as well as some other concepts that seemed relevant. I cant vouch for authenticity of these individuals personal opinions on the subject but short of actually reading Nietzsche it may be the best information available. Any relations to Griffith I leave entirely to your own judgement.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Übermensch

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_man_theory

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charismatic_authority


Also, it may be worthy to note that the concept of the Overman is one of the most misunderstood themes in modern philosophy. As such I don't expect everyone to grasp the idea let alone agree with it...

Offline Okin

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Re: Speculations on Griffith
« Reply #7 on: November 21, 2008, 03:32:10 AM »
Welcome man! First I have to say, thank you for such a pleasant essay. You really have developed your views, definitely far more than most members have on their first post. (I'm a terrible example.) I actually want to share your post with a few non-Berserk readers.

My only relevant comment would be, like others have noted, that you discussed Griffith's subconscious decisions in great length, but didn't really clarify how they differed from his conscious ones. I still understood what you meant though, and you presented your view of Griffith as morally decent individual very well.

I wouldn't go as far as saying that Griffith ever forgave Guts for leaving him the first time, nor do I think he knew Guts was planning on leaving again.
Sho has turned over to me, the responsibility to send you to hell...

Offline EndlessSky

Re: Speculations on Griffith
« Reply #8 on: December 08, 2008, 08:48:14 AM »
There is no doubt that Griffith is a complex individual if not one of the most complex in the Berserk universe.

I actually agree with a lot of your interpretations of the story. I don't think that deep down in his subconscious that he will ever forgive Guts for leaving although Guts didn't mean for what happened to happen. A lot of the reason I think this is because when he met with Guts on the hill of swords after his "rebirth" he said he basically wanted to see if he felt anything towards Guts as a threat or otherwise. My speculation is this, perhaps there was also a subconscious feeling to see if he still blamed or felt Guts betrayed him by leaving him because he wants to break away from the pain and the past.

This goes back to the whole I don't think the Godhand and the Idea of Evil are actually evil per say as they all were human once and driven by hardship and suffering to what they have become with the exception of the Idea of Evil of course since he was basically created by man. I think that Griffith and a lot of the apostles and maybe even other Godhand just wanted to make themselves happy and escape whatever pain they were suffering and shed their humanity to try to achieve it. I think Griffith is no different in this regard as even if he is a great man and very charismatic etc he was still only a human being. I even think his pain was increased because of the type of man he was being so special from all others so he really had no one and that where Guts comes in. Guts was the only one he could confide in and feel some kind of connection or friendship to. So that made him leaving even more painful to Griffith.

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Re: Speculations on Griffith
« Reply #9 on: December 17, 2008, 05:57:24 PM »
HOLY SHIT

Offline Oburi

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Re: Speculations on Griffith
« Reply #10 on: December 17, 2008, 06:18:01 PM »
This goes back to the whole I don't think the Godhand and the Idea of Evil are actually evil per say as they all were human once and driven by hardship and suffering to what they have become with the exception of the Idea of Evil of course since he was basically created by man.

No, they're evil...pure evil. And the Idea Of Evil wasn't human at any point. It was litterally created from the evil in human subconscious. There's plenty more wrong with your theory but this one statement seemed to stick out.

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Re: Speculations on Griffith
« Reply #11 on: December 17, 2008, 06:56:54 PM »
Man, I wish I would have seen EndlessSky's post earlier. There are a few things to correct here.

There is no doubt that Griffith is a complex individual if not one of the most complex in the Berserk universe.
I don't know about that last part. But he's certainly one that Miura has given the reader a lot of face time with.

Quote
I don't think that deep down in his subconscious that he will ever forgive Guts for leaving although Guts didn't mean for what happened to happen.

A lot of the reason I think this is because when he met with Guts on the hill of swords after his "rebirth" he said he basically wanted to see if he felt anything towards Guts as a threat or otherwise. My speculation is this, perhaps there was also a subconscious feeling to see if he still blamed or felt Guts betrayed him by leaving him because he wants to break away from the pain and the past.
Wow, no. That's really not the issue, I don't think. It's really not as simple a matter as Griffith spitefully agreeing to let his comrades die because he's pissed at Guts. Griff just said Guts was the only one who made him forget his dream. He and Guts were back on relatively good terms even throughout the whole Eclipse ordeal.

Here's Griffith's big fault: His calculations didn't count on him becoming so attached to someone that he'd lash out and risk his dream, as he did when he seduced Charlotte out of anger and fear directly after Guts left. His downfall was caused by his own emotions -- and he knows it. Which is why, on the Hill of Swords, he said he wanted to visit Guts again, to see if now, in his new body, if his heart would waver upon seeing Guts. It didn't, so he said, but of course, minutes later, his "heart" becomes preoccupied with our intrepid couple because of a wholly different reason.
:femto: :slan: :ubik:

Offline shadowfox6

Re: Speculations on Griffith
« Reply #12 on: March 03, 2009, 06:24:15 PM »
Wow, that was a great post & analysis  :guts:

I'm really fascinated by the character development of Griffith. At the beginning I thought he was another cold manipulative future bad guy, but as I read through the manga I realized he represents the human side of a great man with a grand ambition. He had a certain dream, a goal in his life & it was far away for a poor, orphaned kid. I remember that I thought if I was in his place, thinking of myself after I fell so hard, so fast & too low...I wouldn't know what to do. He lost everything he can possibly cling to: pride, status, looks, power, sanity, comrades, ,friends, love, respect...he can't even talk anymore...this is horrible   :sad:  even seeing the woman who cared so much for him "Casca" cleaning off the wounds of Guts's face & seems to enjoy it..that was too sad..I mean she could have done that later not in front of a broken man   :puck:

Griffith is an amazingly complex character & at the same time a simple human package of emotions & thoughts. He thought of all ways & possibilities to achieve his dream but forgot how vulnerable the human heart can be. He never faces his emotions, because they had no use & could hinder his progress, that is why when forced to face them "when Guts left him" he didn't know what to do..and just acted irrationally & desperately. Griffith is by no means a cold blooded killer or a stupid evil guy, he has noble emotions & believes in equality but he faced a bad destiny. He is one of my favorite characters in any manga\anime, because he really made me think of how humans can be so strong & yet so weak. His strong ambition & dedication for his dream inspired me to try better to achieve mine, minus the sacrificing part   :griffnotevil:
"The stronger the light,the darker the shadows fall"
- Berserk Vol. 8 ch. 4.

vanheat

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Re: Speculations on Griffith
« Reply #13 on: March 03, 2009, 11:47:13 PM »
Griffith is an awesome character, but has he gotten less complex now that he is no longer human. Errr that doesn't make much sense. I can't wait to see how he develops past this current fight. So many different possibilities. It seems almost impossible to think of how he'll act. It's so hard to see him acting evil towards everyone even afterwards. If he does than whats the point of his castle. Does he then want to rule over everything including the rest of the God Hand. Is the whole goal to just have one layer/dimension to wreck havoc on. Or is he just a pawn for the Idea of Evil. Which do we even know if (IoE)/ch. 83 is legit. Is the God Hand just simple evil beings that Guts and co. including SK need to kill. So if Griffith turns incredibly evil and stays a part of IoE/GH than is the whole story just Good v.s Evil. It seems hard to believe with the the Moonlight Boy and Charlotte for that to happen. Not to mention that Griffith is aware of IoE and with the amount of time we have spent with Griffith I wonder if he won't want to go along with IoE or at least be more aware or even grow as a character in more directions (Is his char development really done beyond just an evil guy being nice till he gets what he wants). I just can't help but wonder with all these breaks if Berserk isn't about to get a whole lot more complex. I assume Miura is having plenty of time to think about where he wants to go with the story, which seeing how much has been drawn this past year or so. I know he has a lot of planning to do but if this is just G v.s E and the layers merge w/ or w/out the rest of the Godhand it seems like we would still be moving relatively fast like before. If Berserk gets even more crazy I've got a feeling I'll be around for 20or30+ years. 

Gangstap

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Re: Speculations on Griffith
« Reply #14 on: March 21, 2009, 07:01:12 PM »
Wow, great work, you obvioously took a lot of time to write this, and i enjoyed reading every bit of it. It was an awesome read, and just like you, I have been reading a bad translation. Back to chapter one I guess :) Im looking forward to it! Been looking for an excuse to start over, but with school and all, its been really hard; but finding out that everything I read up til now has been a lie, it made the decision that much easier. xP


Neiru2012

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Re: Speculations on Griffith
« Reply #15 on: April 22, 2009, 08:11:15 AM »
*falls over*

First of all, as Griffith’s #1 Fangirl I feel it is my duty to say THAT IS MY ESSAY!! GAAAHH!!! *grrr/hiss/spit* Just kidding, I’m not too mad I guess. I’m flattered you liked it enough to want to share parts of it on a Berserk forum (and add bits of your own commentary). Besides, it's not like I own Berserk or anything. But still, I nearly broke my brain putting it together so it’s MINE! ^^x

The original/full version can be found HERE.

Second of all, I guess I’m grateful that it got posted against my will since I probably wouldn’t have posted it on my own. This way I get to see some valuable criticism, like the translation issue.

So the Hawks’ translation is bad, you say? I used it for two reasons…

1) Continuity: I wanted to include visual evidence for the quotes in the essay and using scans of the Dark Horse version (even if I could find them) would be a more direct copyright violation.

2) Personal preference: I find the Dark Horse translation comes off very clumsy at times, and the fan translation flows better and is more poetic. Of course, that doesn’t matter if it’s wrong, lol. But, thing is, I don’t know who’s right. I would love to cross reference the quotes with the raw Japanese, but I can only read katakana and hiragana and since Berserk is meant for an older audience they don’t include them to decipher the kanji (and trying to use a kanji dictionary would drive me insane). So, yeah, all I could do was cross reference the Hawks’ translation, the Dark Horse translation, and the Anime Works subbed anime translation. I realize that the Japanese language is a lot more vague by nature than English, so I’m sure there’s also several interpretations as to the exact details of a quote which don’t really become apparent until the whole series is taken in context as a whole.

Now, in regards to the quotes you pointed out, Walter, I don’t think they change the essence of the scene. The Hawks’ “jumping fish” quote is long winded but amounts to the same thing. (And, frankly, the fan translations of vol 1-3 are pretty bad, so I don’t really count those :P) Then the “frozen heart” quote, I don’t think it matters who says it, Griffith or Idea of Evil, the point is the same for my analysis of it. The “evilness will possess your mind” quote (did I mix up Ubik and Conrad? oops *fixed*), yeah, I can see that being problematic, but I use other quotes to elaborate on this idea later which puts the “into which evil will pour” thing in the context of the Idea of Evil, so keeps the meaning on track.

The Griffith before Beherit activation quote… I didn’t know that about it being changed. Interesting. All I had to go on was the fan translation of “I’ll never again forgive…” and the Dark Horse translation of “I’ll never again with you…” I made a personal judgment call that the former made more sense in context with Griffith’s relationship with Guts.

The translation that concerns me the most is Griffith’s talk of dreams in vol. 6 ch. 6 (“Precious Thing”). Every source I turn to words it differently, putting emphasis on different things, which ultimately changes the meaning in big ways. I can only assume that his philosophizing is so abstract in Japanese that trying to distill it into exact English is very difficult. If I could choose one chapter to understand the raw Japanese of perfectly, that would be it. I think that is the chapter most revealing of Griffith’s motivations and outlook on life. I’m surprised SkullKnight doesn’t have it translated in the manga section. I would be very curious to see another translation.

SO… my question is: how do I know that the Dark Horse translation is more accurate than the fan translation? (I’m still pissed that Dark Horse didn’t keep Griffith’s “Millennium Falcon” title) I’m assuming some of you can read Japanese (did you translate the stuff on http://skullknight.net/manga yourself, Walter?), and in that case I would be very interested in your opinion on the translations… if there are strengths/weaknesses of each or if the Dark Horse version is simply better across the board.

I really want to update that essay with the second half of the Griffith story, as well as an overview/analysis of the Berserk religions (and the role Griffith plays in them). When I go back over it, I should probably fix the old quotes too. Particularly fix the “Descent into Darkness” section. It’s a mess, with me saying Griffith’s not Femto, then later admitting he is, and the second quote is all wrong, bleh. (But oh well, that’s what “Descent into Darkness Reloaded” is for)

If the Dark Horse translation really is accurate, I can put a note saying that the pictures are from fan translation and the quotes are from Dark Horse. This will give readers a chance to cross reference the two variations for themselves. I will certainly refer to http://skullknight.net/manga as another cross-reference source!

Offline Aazealh

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Re: Speculations on Griffith
« Reply #16 on: April 22, 2009, 08:51:01 AM »
Noni_moon, if what Neiru2012 is saying is true, then shame on you for stealing this essay without giving proper credit. It's a lowly thing to do and you have absolutely no excuse. I expect you to explain yourself promptly.

So the Hawks’ translation is bad, you say? I used it for two reasons…

1) Continuity: I wanted to include visual evidence for the quotes in the essay and using scans of the Dark Horse version (even if I could find them) would be a more direct copyright violation.

It wouldn't be any more direct. It's a copyright violation in both cases. If I were you, I'd remove the text in the bubbles and present the pictures as being illustrative to the essay. In the USA this poses no legal problem at all.

2) Personal preference: I find the Dark Horse translation comes off very clumsy at times, and the fan translation flows better and is more poetic. Of course, that doesn’t matter if it’s wrong, lol.

"Poetic" is not really how I'd describe most of what can be found in those scanlations... And yeah, it's wrong anyway.

SO… my question is: how do I know that the Dark Horse translation is more accurate than the fan translation?

You can't know. You have to rely on people who know better (us).

In any case, regardless of the translations issue, I have to say without any malicious intent that this essay isn't very good at all. It's riddled with errors and misconceptions, sometimes subtle, sometimes more obvious. For the most part I think it's born from your bias toward Griffith, something you admit yourself. The most striking problem to me is that you keep assuming what Griffith feels or thinks when there is no actual indication given in the manga.

I'd gladly give a more detailed critique, but truth be told it IS long-winded and I just don't have that much time to waste.

Neiru2012

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Re: Speculations on Griffith
« Reply #17 on: April 22, 2009, 09:04:27 AM »
In any case, regardless of the translations issue, I have to say without any malicious intent that this essay isn't very good at all. It's riddled with errors and misconceptions, sometimes subtle, sometimes more obvious. For the most part I think it's born from your bias toward Griffith, something you admit yourself. The most striking problem to me is that you keep assuming what Griffith feels or thinks when there is no actual indication given in the manga.

Oh yes, I fully admit I'm biased, but who isn't? Such is the nature of subjective interpretation. My "assumptions" are what Griffith, and what the Berserk story, mean to me. They are my interpretation and they make sense to me with what I see happening in the story. Nobody but Miura can do more than that.

Offline Aazealh

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Re: Speculations on Griffith
« Reply #18 on: April 22, 2009, 12:03:42 PM »
Oh yes, I fully admit I'm biased, but who isn't? Such is the nature of subjective interpretation. My "assumptions" are what Griffith, and what the Berserk story, mean to me. They are my interpretation and they make sense to me with what I see happening in the story. Nobody but Miura can do more than that.

Well the thing is, there's a limit to how much you can interpret something before it becomes misinterpreting it. Berserk isn't an abstract painting, and Miura usually gives enough information that it's not just up to anyone to interpret events as they see fit. That being said, what you wrote isn't completely awful, don't worry, especially considering the fact your essay is for the most part a simple description of what you were reading, scene after scene. But some sentences definitely make me raise an eyebrow.

Some random examples:

Quote
He charged in with perfect technique, and would have won, but Guts’ sword cut clean through his blade.

Would he have? Really? What are you basing yourself on to say that? Griffith was completely overwhelmed at that moment. Not just in terms of strength and speed, but also of technique and experience. Griffith thought he only had this one chance, and he went for it. Unfortunately he was mistaken. He had no chance at all because Guts was undoubtedly superior. The way you say it, it almost sounds like it's just bad luck that he lost.

Quote
But I don't think he went after his dream out of a selfish need for his own happiness (on the contrary he sacrificed much of himself and his happiness for it). logicaky, he might be much happier with a normal and quite life...

Logically? He was clearly not inclined to live a normal life, so I don't think he'd have been happier. His life was hard at times, but overall I'm quite convinced he was happier living it than just being an ordinary guy. So, despite what he endured, I'd say his ambition was quite selfish in the end. He didn't do it for the well-being of others.

Quote
He liked to test people from time to time, and if he sensed foul play, he moved quickly to sabotage any developing conspiracy. He would scout the terrain by gathering evidence, close in by enlisting turncoats or spies, and strike at the most opportune moment. It was very much like setting up a battlefield, except that afterwards there’d be no trace of his involvement.

That seems like pure extrapolation from the one time when he suspected Foss was implicated in a plot against him and took preemptive action.

Quote
... and now Guts was leaving him – again! [...] It was bad enough for him that he lost his good looks, his fighting prowess, his reputation, his army, and his ability to do basic tasks, but he was also being abandoned by the person he cared about most in the world. A person whose undivided attention he no longer had, because he was in love with Griffith’s second favorite person in the world, and this effectively took both of them out of his reach.

What you're saying is that Griffith snapped because Guts would leave again, but that strongly contradicts the scene we see just before/after it happens: his dream of a quiet life with Casca as his wife. It's the prospect of living such a life that made him run away, led on by a vision of himself in his more glorious days.

Anyway, I don't mean to nitpick on everything you said since it was already a big effort on your part (something unusual in most newcomers); I'd rather talk about the translations. What it comes down to is that Dark Horse's edition is preferable to what you used in pretty much every occurrence. Even when DH's edition has errors, the scanlations usually have them as well. And the older translations we have listed here aren't necessarily reliable either, only the more recent ones (from volume 26 on) are guaranteed. So by default, for the average fan who's looking to read all the series, Dark Horse is the way to go, for lack of a better alternative.

Neiru2012

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Re: Speculations on Griffith
« Reply #19 on: April 22, 2009, 04:08:28 PM »
Well the thing is, there's a limit to how much you can interpret something before it becomes misinterpreting it. Berserk isn't an abstract painting, and Miura usually gives enough information that it's not just up to anyone to interpret events as they see fit.

The purpose of my essay was to see the story from Griffith's perspective, since Guts' perspective is already given. To do that, I had to speculate on what goes on inside his head (most of it based on direct quotes). Speculation is unavoidable and necessary in interpretation. There are many ways to interpret the same scene, but the only way to check if you're wrong is if it contradicts the story. I haven't yet encountered a plot point that contradicts my interpretation. I may in the future, and then my interpretation will change.

Would he have? Really? What are you basing yourself on to say that? Griffith was completely overwhelmed at that moment. Not just in terms of strength and speed, but also of technique and experience. Griffith thought he only had this one chance, and he went for it. Unfortunately he was mistaken. He had no chance at all because Guts was undoubtedly superior.

I don't consider this detail central to my thesis, but yes, he would have. I'm basing this on the fact that he expected to be able to deflect Guts' sword at least once. His calculations were wrong (they were based on Guts 3 years ago), but the trajectory of his swing was not. That is why I mean by "he would've won." I also don't think he was "completely overwhelmed." Completely surprised, definitely. To say that Guts was "undoubtedly superior" in terms of strength/speed/etc is your interpretation. It was not explicit to the scene, it was implicit (and therefore an interpretation). I don't particularly disagree with you, though. Griffith had grown out of practice from socializing with nobles while Guts constantly honed his skills in battle.

Logically? He was clearly not inclined to live a normal life, so I don't think he'd have been happier. His life was hard at times, but overall I'm quite convinced he was happier living it than just being an ordinary guy. So, despite what he endured, I'd say his ambition was quite selfish in the end. He didn't do it for the well-being of others.

Ehh, that's actually not my quote.

That seems like pure extrapolation from the one time when he suspected Foss was implicated in a plot against him and took preemptive action.

I consider that retaliation since Foss would/did plot against him. But yes, I do assume that if Griffith does something once, it is part of his behavior pattern. He did pretty much the same thing with Julius/Yurius, except that he didn't directly suspect him beforehand. (He did launch a completely preemptive strike on Flora, but that's Neo-Griffith, and I'll address that whenever I have the time to expand the essay beyond vol. 13)

What you're saying is that Griffith snapped because Guts would leave again, but that strongly contradicts the scene we see just before/after it happens: his dream of a quiet life with Casca as his wife. It's the prospect of living such a life that made him run away, led on by a vision of himself in his more glorious days.

I consider Griffith's "snapping" point to be when he hijacks the wagon (ie: runs away). The scene just before that was Guts and Casca talking outside his wagon, and based on Griffith's facial (eye?) expression, he didn't take it well. This triggered a vision which made him relapse back into his dream. The scene of a quiet life happened afterwards, and he didn't react negatively to it. To quote Griffith, "this peace and quiet isn't so bad" (Dark Horse). Now, I'd be the first to say that Griffith would never settle for a normal life, but his reaction in that scene takes precedence. Given the circumstances (crippling torture), the prospect of a normal life was a welcome alternative. It is only when he got jerked out of his vision and back to reality, landing in a lake with broken bones, horses and wagon gone, that he was reminded how pathetic he was and that even something as simple as a normal life was beyond his reach.

I'd rather talk about the translations. What it comes down to is that Dark Horse's edition is preferable to what you used in pretty much every occurrence. Even when DH's edition has errors, the scanlations usually have them as well. And the older translations we have listed here aren't necessarily reliable either...

Yes, I am genuinely curious about the different translations. The reasons that all of them are off in their own ways is why I cross reference with as many translations as I can. This thread did convince me to put more weight on the Dark Horse translations and I appreciate that. What really concerns me, though, is the translation of the "Precious Thing" chapter, since every translation I look at words it with significant differences. I'd really want to see another translation of it, or just some straight talk on what it says (and how/why each translation arrived at its version).
« Last Edit: April 22, 2009, 05:58:33 PM by Neiru2012 »

Offline Aazealh

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Re: Speculations on Griffith
« Reply #20 on: April 22, 2009, 06:13:07 PM »
The purpose of my essay was to see the story from Griffith's perspective, since Guts' perspective is already given. To do that, I had to speculate on what goes on inside his head (most of it based on direct quotes). Speculation is unavoidable and necessary in interpretation. There are many ways to interpret the same scene, but the only way to check if you're wrong is if it contradicts the story. I haven't yet encountered a plot point that contradicts my interpretation. I may in the future, and then my interpretation will change.

Your interpretation does actually contradict the story at times, despite mostly sticking to describing what happens on the pages you comment on. Anyway, the speculation you mention is part of the problem to me, at least under the original pretense of a "character analysis" that this thread had. If you want to stick to presenting it as your personal version of the story, then I guess there isn't much to be said about it.

I don't consider this detail central to my thesis, but yes, he would have. I'm basing this on the fact that he expected to be able to deflect Guts' sword at least once. His calculations were wrong (they were based on Guts 3 years ago), but the trajectory of his swing was not.

Hahaha, so it's a "thesis" now, eh? What he expected clearly means nothing, given that he didn't expect to lose in the first place (besides, he was perfectly aware of Guts' progress since their last fight, as he points it out to himself). And trajectory means nothing either when you don't take your opponent into consideration. So I'm afraid I'm going to have to say that no, there's no reason to think he would have won.

I also don't think he was "completely overwhelmed." Completely surprised, definitely. To say that Guts was "undoubtedly superior" in terms of strength/speed/etc is your interpretation. It was not explicit to the scene, it was implicit (and therefore an interpretation). I don't particularly disagree with you, though. Griffith had grown out of practice from socializing with nobles while Guts constantly honed his skills in battle.

But he was overwhelmed. He knew that he had no chance of winning if the fight lasted more than one swing. And he lost anyway. Besides, what we see of the battle makes it pretty clear that Guts was already way above Griffith. One wasn't sure his move wouldn't kill his opponent instead of wounding him, whereas the other actually stopped his swing before even hitting his adversary. Seems pretty explicit to me. Just like the fact Griffith did lose. Trying to say it's only an interpretation among others is just an attempt at avoiding the truth. Oh, and Griffith also battled people. See, that's another rationalization where you're implying that Griffith only lost because he fought less often than Guts.

But yes, I do assume that if Griffith does something once, it is part of his behavior pattern. He did pretty much the same thing with Julius/Yurius, except that he didn't directly suspect him beforehand.

The name's Julius, and that wasn't quite the same thing (at least it doesn't fit what you were describing). The fact remains you speak as if Griffith had been doing these things for decades when as far as we know only it happened once.

I consider Griffith's "snapping" point to be when he hijacks the wagon (ie: runs away). The scene just before that was Guts and Casca talking outside his wagon, and based on Griffith's facial (eye?) expression, he didn't take it well. This triggered a vision which made him relapse back into his dream.

Hahaha, now if reading something in his unmoving, staring straight ahead, looking at nothing eyes isn't the epitome of interpreting things that imply nothing by themselves, then I don't know what is. But I'm not disagreeing that Griffith was troubled by their talk anyway (I probably didn't express myself well if that's what you got, so sorry for that). What I meant was that beyond the fact Casca wanted Guts to leave (something that hadn't been decided on yet, and that I suspect might not have happened if Griffith had wanted Guts to stay), it was the fact Casca was only staying with Griffith out of pity that got to him. His dream was over, and what he could look forward to was at the very best a life like the one he saw while unconscious, with Casca as his wife (and even then, I'm not sure they'd have had such a relationship with a kid and all).

That is what sent him over the edge, and that is where I think you're mistaken. Don't forget that while Guts was the key to his rise and fall and therefore at the center of his sacrifice, it's the loss of his dream and his desire to recover it that prompted said sacrifice.

The scene of a quiet life happened afterwards, and he didn't react negatively to it.

Uh, I would say trying to kill himself is a negative reaction.

Given the circumstances (crippling torture), the prospect of a normal life was a welcome alternative. It is only when he got jerked out of his vision and back to reality, landing in a lake with broken bones, horses and wagon gone, that he was reminded how pathetic he was and that even something as simple as a normal life was beyond his reach.

But the dream clearly implies that he's crippled, don't you see? Casca was feeding him while he kept his hands unmoving on his lap... She talked and he was passive, a blanket on his knees like an old man. Despite what he said, that life was not something he could have endured, precisely because he was crippled. And if he hadn't been, he would never have cared for it in the first place, wouldn't even have considered it.

Yes, I am genuinely curious about the different translations. The reasons that all of them are off in their own ways is why I cross reference with as many translations as I can.

Cross-referencing doesn't really help unfortunately. Lousy translations tend to be erroneous in the same parts, precisely because those are difficult to understand.

This thread did convince me to put more weight on the Dark Horse translations and I appreciate that. What really concerns me, though, is the translation of the "Precious Thing" chapter, since every translation I look at words it with significant differences. I'd really want to see another translation of it, or just some straight talk on what it says (and how/why each translation arrived at its version).

They're called episodes for Berserk, not chapters. Falconia is a chapter. Anyway, I'd like to help, but back-translating every past episode is a daunting task. If you have questions about specific lines, you can post them in the appropriate section (Assorted Translations) and maybe one of our translators will answer if (s)he has enough time. In the meantime and as a general rule of thumb, trust DH over scanlations. It's not perfect but still better than the alternative.

Neiru2012

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Re: Speculations on Griffith
« Reply #21 on: April 23, 2009, 12:25:44 AM »
Your interpretation does actually contradict the story at times, despite mostly sticking to describing what happens on the pages you comment on. Anyway, the speculation you mention is part of the problem to me, at least under the original pretense of a "character analysis" that this thread had. If you want to stick to presenting it as your personal version of the story, then I guess there isn't much to be said about it.

You still haven't shown where it contradicts the story. But yes, this IS my interpretation of Berserk. Not sure if that's any different from "personal version" to you. We all have our subjective "versions" of the story in our heads. Also, I'm not the one who posted it here, remember? I wasn't planning on presenting it as anything. I wrote the essay primarily for myself, because the Berserk story is very personal to me.

I'm not disagreeing with you that Guts' fighting skills improved over Griffith. I do count trajectory as relevant, which is why I put it in the context of "the trajectory was correct, BUT Guts cut through the sword." I don't really see semantics as a major issue. It amounts to the same thing but, again, I take Griffith's perspective.

The name's Julius, and that wasn't quite the same thing (at least it doesn't fit what you were describing). The fact remains you speak as if Griffith had been doing these things for decades when as far as we know only it happened once.

Sending out scouts and gathering evidence then exacting a counterstrike? He did that with both Julius and Foss. With Julius he had a servant girl spy on him and he traced the source of the poison on the arrow, then sent Guts. With Foss, he did the whole "hawk eye" test thing and sent him a letter and then sent Guts. It's similar enough to me. "As far as we know it only happened once"? Fair enough. But the manga is very limited in the cross section of time it presents, so I speculate it could have been a recurring pattern. After all, Griffith had a history of secretive dealings before, such as with the Baron.

Hahaha, now if reading something in his unmoving, staring straight ahead, looking at nothing eyes isn't the epitome of interpreting things that imply nothing by themselves, then I don't know what is.

*Blink* I kinda think that one was pretty obvious and that I'm not taking huge liberties with how he could've been feeling at the time. But yea, it's an interpretation. If you think that's the "epitome of interpreting things that imply nothing by themselves" then, well, I honestly don't know how you can appreciate anything that isn't spelled out for you. O.o

But I'm not disagreeing that Griffith was troubled by their talk anyway (I probably didn't express myself well if that's what you got, so sorry for that). What I meant was that beyond the fact Casca wanted Guts to leave (something that hadn't been decided on yet, and that I suspect might not have happened if Griffith had wanted Guts to stay), it was the fact Casca was only staying with Griffith out of pity that got to him.

Griffith being upset that Casca was pitying him is a valid interpretation. I agree with that, I just don't think it's the main thing that set him off. I think it's fair to say that Griffith cared about his relationship with Guts a lot more than he cared about his relationship with Casca. I doubt he was wondering whether Guts would stay if he asked him to. That's just more pity.

His dream was over, and what he could look forward to was at the very best a life like the one he saw while unconscious, with Casca as his wife (and even then, I'm not sure they'd have had such a relationship with a kid and all).

hbi2k on Youtube once commented that there's no way the prison warden could've done all that to Griffith and ignored his reproductive organs, so the kid in the vision must be Guts' kid. I agree with that version.

That is what sent him over the edge, and that is where I think you're mistaken ... Uh, I would say trying to kill himself is a negative reaction.

I guess that'll just have to remain a disagreement, then, because to me it's pretty clear that his suicide was prompted by getting jerked out of the vision and to the present, not because he couldn't stand a normal life.

But the dream clearly implies that he's crippled, don't you see? Casca was feeding him while he kept his hands unmoving on his lap... She talked and he was passive, a blanket on his knees like an old man. Despite what he said, that life was not something he could have endured, precisely because he was crippled. And if he hadn't been, he would never have cared for it in the first place, wouldn't even have considered it.

You say that despite Griffith's actual thoughts? Now who's speculating? Yes, he would never have considered a normal life before being crippled, but being crippled changed him a little. He was a softer with others after being rescued, he even put thinking about his dream on hold, and he admits this when he says "I rested a bit too long ... That back alley cobblestone path still goes on." Compared to what he had to look forward to, even Griffith would've settled for quiet comfort (hence his thoughts about it). I guess that's another disagreement we have. Of course, when given a chance to truly reclaim his dream and not be crippled anymore, he took it. But that was well into the Eclipse and not lightly. And yea, I know he was still crippled in the vision. :P

If you have questions about specific lines, you can post them in the appropriate section (Assorted Translations) and maybe one of our translators will answer if (s)he has enough time. In the meantime and as a general rule of thumb, trust DH over scanlations. It's not perfect but still better than the alternative.

Okay, thanks, I do have a particular line in mind. Maybe I'll do that.

Offline Aazealh

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Re: Speculations on Griffith
« Reply #22 on: April 23, 2009, 12:52:40 PM »
You still haven't shown where it contradicts the story.

I think I did, see below. Anyway, like I said earlier, don't expect me to reply in depth to everything you wrote.

But yes, this IS my interpretation of Berserk. Not sure if that's any different from "personal version" to you. We all have our subjective "versions" of the story in our heads. Also, I'm not the one who posted it here, remember? I wasn't planning on presenting it as anything. I wrote the essay primarily for myself, because the Berserk story is very personal to me.

Depends on what definition you give the word "interpretation". Some people consider fan fiction to be their interpretation of a story. But anyway, I know that you didn't post it here and that you primarily wrote it for yourself, it's obvious when seeing your website. That's what I meant: that I understand this particular context. And that's why I specified that my answers here are in response of what noni_moon posted in the context of the thread. It's also why I said I wasn't going to nitpick on everything you said. I know you didn't mean to submit your thesis to peer review (let's sound real pretentious while we're at it :badbone:), and actually if you happen to want it removed, feel free to say so. You've been wronged and while the community isn't directly responsible, we'll do what we can to accommodate you.

I'm not disagreeing with you that Guts' fighting skills improved over Griffith. I do count trajectory as relevant, which is why I put it in the context of "the trajectory was correct, BUT Guts cut through the sword." I don't really see semantics as a major issue. It amounts to the same thing but, again, I take Griffith's perspective.

The point is that trajectory isn't absolute as long as your target is moving and can parry/counter/deflect/adapt/react. It cannot be used as evidence that Griffith would have won. Nothing even proves that wounding Guts would have ended the fight, considering how tough he was already. In the end anyway Guts won and that's that.

Sending out scouts and gathering evidence then exacting a counterstrike? He did that with both Julius and Foss.
Quote
He liked to test people from time to time, and if he sensed foul play, he moved quickly to sabotage any developing conspiracy. He would scout the terrain by gathering evidence, close in by enlisting turncoats or spies, and strike at the most opportune moment.

I'm sorry but that doesn't really fit what happened with Julius. Julius tried to assassinate him, and Griffith suspected him instantly. He then sent Guts to kill him. There was no testing or sensing foul play, nor did he need to "scout the terrain" or enlist turncoats. Your description pretty clearly refers to the incident with Foss to me, which is fine, I'm just saying it's not like it happened regularly.

"As far as we know it only happened once"? Fair enough. But the manga is very limited in the cross section of time it presents, so I speculate it could have been a recurring pattern. After all, Griffith had a history of secretive dealings before, such as with the Baron.

What he did with Gennon, we saw. And it happened only once as well. You'd think if conspiracies on Griffith's life had been commonplace we'd have known about it, no? Besides, the political scene in Wyndham wasn't extremely big. Griffith first had the king's brother killed, who was the country's most eminent general. Then the plot he foiled involved practically all his opponents, including Foss and the queen herself. And it was quite spectacular. In that context and given that we never hear about other murders, a recurring pattern seems doubtful.

*Blink* I kinda think that one was pretty obvious and that I'm not taking huge liberties with how he could've been feeling at the time. But yea, it's an interpretation. If you think that's the "epitome of interpreting things that imply nothing by themselves" then, well, I honestly don't know how you can appreciate anything that isn't spelled out for you. O.o

His facial expression is blank in that scene. It's used as a transition to show that he's daydreaming/hallucinating.

Griffith being upset that Casca was pitying him is a valid interpretation. I agree with that, I just don't think it's the main thing that set him off. I think it's fair to say that Griffith cared about his relationship with Guts a lot more than he cared about his relationship with Casca. I doubt he was wondering whether Guts would stay if he asked him to. That's just more pity.

But it's not just a matter of his relationship with one or the other. Casca only symbolizes the fact that his subordinates, who once looked up to him, now just pity him and stay at his side out of duty. The reason Casca embodies this change is because she's always been the most faithful to him, completely idolizing him. And it's pretty evident he was looking for that same idolization in her at the time, seeing how he clumsily threw himself on her. And I'm not saying he was thinking about asking Guts to stay either (because he clearly wasn't thinking about Guts at all, we're shown that he was thinking of his dream), just that Guts would have stayed if he felt that Griffith wanted him to. That his departure hadn't been decided on yet, it was still beng discussed. In fact, like you say yourself, Guts wanting to stay is also more of that same pity that Griffith didn't want. What I think you're missing is that the entire discussion Guts & Casca had mortified Griffith, not just the last panel we see before he starts having a vision (his inexpressiveness actually makes it difficult to know whether he even registers it or was already elsewhere).

In order to interpret his running off with the wagon as the simple consequence of Casca telling Guts to leave, you're ignoring the crucial vision he has of himself saying his dream isn't over yet. And I think that's what it comes down to: you're too eager to make Guts the source of Griffith's every move when his driving force was always his dream (even when Guts' departure broke him down in volume 8, his immediate reaction was to try to solidify his dream earlier, which unfortunately for him was a grave mistake). To go back on what we were talking about earlier, can we even say that he wished for Guts to stay with him and look after him like a father after his sickly child? His reaction when Guts ran to him in the lake says otherwise. He couldn't stand that care, that pity. For someone that had once been revered and envied, it was too much to bear. It was the pursuit of his dream that sent him to the lake, and it was his inability to achieve it that led him to complete despair. Not the fact Guts wouldn't stay with him.

hbi2k on Youtube once commented that there's no way the prison warden could've done all that to Griffith and ignored his reproductive organs, so the kid in the vision must be Guts' kid. I agree with that version.

Well if some guy said so in a Youtube comment it must be true! More seriously though, that dream shouldn't be taken too literally. Griffith couldn't possibly know that Casca was pregnant at the time, and seeing how the kid's called Guts and the dog Pippin, it seems clear that not everything is very coherent in it.

I guess that'll just have to remain a disagreement, then, because to me it's pretty clear that his suicide was prompted by getting jerked out of the vision and to the present, not because he couldn't stand a normal life. You say that despite Griffith's actual thoughts? Now who's speculating? Yes, he would never have considered a normal life before being crippled, but being crippled changed him a little. He was a softer with others after being rescued, he even put thinking about his dream on hold

I say that because his actions show otherwise. Why exactly would being jerked back to the present prompt his suicide attempt? He was seeing the sort of life he could look forward to if he stayed with Casca, Judo and those of his men that'd stay with them. A life in which he'd be crippled. Being crippled changed him how exactly? "Maybe it's not so bad..." Then he wakes up, literally and figuratively, and sees that yeah, it's bad. And tries to kill himself. And when his friends arrived and rushed to him, to get him back to safety, to lead him toward such a quiet, tranquil life... He couldn't stand it. And the beherit did its thing.

You say he put thinking about his dream on hold? But the reason he fled in the first place was because of his dream. And the reason he tried to kill himself was because his dream was over. The reason he sacrificed his men was so that he could achieve his dream. You wanted to know where your interpretation contradicts the story? Well it does right here.

Compared to what he had to look forward to, even Griffith would've settled for quiet comfort (hence his thoughts about it). [...] And yea, I know he was still crippled in the vision. :P

Are you sure you knew about that? Because what you're saying seems contradictory then. You're saying that dream of his future life as a crippled man with Casca taking care of him was a welcome alternative to what he had to look forward to, when that's precisely what he had to look forward to. A life as a crippled man with Casca taking care of him. It just doesn't make sense.

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Re: Speculations on Griffith
« Reply #23 on: April 23, 2009, 10:57:31 PM »
I don't mind if it stays, and I don't really feel wronged, and I don't want noni to be punished for it. I should've just stayed out of it, but I couldn't do that. Like I said in the first post, I'm mainly concerned with the translation issue, since that's definitely something I think is important.

As for the rest, don't think I can say much more about the "winning" thing and the Julius/Foss thing that I didn't already.

His facial expression is blank in that scene. It's used as a transition to show that he's daydreaming/hallucinating.

His facial expression really doesn't look blank to me, given the context. Besides, like you say, he did hear the conversation and was reacting to it (even though we disagree on what he was reacting to the most). The vision afterward seems to me to have a sequential cause-and-effect relationship to the conversation. Conversation came first, reaction came next, vision came last. I interpret that as the vision being triggered by his reaction. And, as you also say, this is similar to the Vol 8 situation with Griffith reverting to his dream and taking drastic action. Maybe Guts' leaving wasn't decided, but as far as Griffith was concerned it was.

The reason Casca embodies this change is because she's always been the most faithful to him, completely idolizing him. And it's pretty evident he was looking for that same idolization in her at the time, seeing how he clumsily threw himself on her.

I see what happened there as very similar was what happened in the "Guts leaving alone" scene. Again you have Guts and Casca talking outside his wagon, and again you're shown a shot of Griffith hearing them. Except here the quote he's reacting to is Casca saying she just "wanted someone to be near me." He also overheard her talking about the Hawks being disheartened and therefore more pity stuff, and that certainly adds to it, but I think what followed makes more sense if it's directly related to her "near me" quote. He tries that with Casca specifically because she was always the most faithful to him and wanted to get in his pants for the entire series. I don't think it was out of an attempt to try to "claim her" (yes, the part in the initial post about that isn't mine), but partly to give her what she wanted (someone to be "near" her) and mostly to reestablish his self-image of being needed and desirable with someone he hoped might still be attracted to him that way. That backfired on him too. So, more pity complex.

What I think you're missing is that the entire discussion Guts & Casca had mortified Griffith, not just the last panel we see before he starts having a vision ... And I think that's what it comes down to: you're too eager to make Guts the source of Griffith's every move when his driving force was always his dream ... In order to interpret his running off with the wagon as the simple consequence of Casca telling Guts to leave, you're ignoring the crucial vision he has of himself saying his dream isn't over yet.

I'm not missing that, it was a huge factor, I'm just saying it wasn't the biggest factor. Besides, Griffith was already mortified by Wyald earlier. I can't really say which is worse, if an enemy publically humiliates you in front of a crowd, or if your two most trusted people say the same things about you privately. The latter is probably worse, but I'd put them about equal. It is precisely because Griffith cares so much about his dream that I consider Guts as the driving external factor in Griffith's life. Guts is the only one who is able to affect Griffith's focus on his dream. In the prison Griffith admitted that Guts to him seemed even more important than his own dream, during the Eclipse he admitted that Guts even made him forget his dream. My entire essays centers around the fact that Griffith could never reconcile Guts with his dream until the Eclipse. Griffith's mind wanted the dream to be his unwavering #1 priority, but his heart kept betraying him. He struggled with this a lot, and the vision was his mind's way of reacting to/overriding the emotional pain he was feeling. He didn't want Casca's pity, he didn't want Guts' pity, but mostly he didn't want to be affected what they think or do, and put the focus back on himself (which is synonymous with his dream). It's like a reflex he has whenever he starts to feel emotion, heh.

The reason he fled in the first place was because of his dream. And the reason he tried to kill himself was because his dream was over. The reason he sacrificed his men was so that he could achieve his dream. You wanted to know where your interpretation contradicts the story? Well it does right here.

Yes (see above). Yes. Yes. No. I don't think noni posted the parts of my essay where I go over what Griffith's dream meant to him and how important it was to him but, I assure you, I know. That is one of the main things I admire about Griffith, his purity of will to achieve his dream and preserve himself no matter what. Maybe "admire" isn't the right word, but I don't want to get into the morality of it. I actually believe that Griffith identifies himself with his dream (ie: achieving his dream and preserving himself are synonymous). If it dies, he wouldn't not exist anymore (in his head). He (wants to) exist as a goal and an idea, not as a person, and he tries very hard to stamp all vestiges of person-hood from his mind. And, again, this is why I focus on Guts: as a threat to that dream/mentality.

Why exactly would being jerked back to the present prompt his suicide attempt? He was seeing the sort of life he could look forward to if he stayed with Casca, Judo and those of his men that'd stay with them. A life in which he'd be crippled. Being crippled changed him how exactly? "Maybe it's not so bad..." Then he wakes up, literally and figuratively, and sees that yeah, it's bad. And tries to kill himself. And when his friends arrived and rushed to him, to get him back to safety, to lead him toward such a quiet, tranquil life... He couldn't stand it. And the beherit did its thing.

I can see how my interpretation of that would be confusing. I can't say I like it much, either, especially given how strongly I believe in the previous paragraph. I can only say that I see that scene as Griffith lapsing into being a person again, who just wants to escape the gravity of his current situation. It's an emotional reaction. He has a neutral-pleasant emotional reaction to the calm and quiet of the vision, a peaceful feeling even though he's crippled. It feels nice. Then he's jerked back to his present depression where it's so much worse. The intensity of such an emotional shift makes him unstable and he tries to do something drastic again. He's not thinking "oh here's people coming to take me back to that normal life" because he doesn't feel he has a place with them anymore (and he did feel he had a place in the vision), he's been humiliated too much in front of them. He can't handle waiting for that feeling to wear off and become the peace/quiet of the vision, because he's stuck in the present right now, and that feeling is just too overwhelming. It's an irrational reaction when he's already unstable. That's what I get from those scenes, it makes sense to me on an emotional/human level, and I can't really explain it better than that.

Offline Aazealh

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Re: Speculations on Griffith
« Reply #24 on: April 24, 2009, 02:58:36 PM »
I don't mind if it stays, and I don't really feel wronged, and I don't want noni to be punished for it. I should've just stayed out of it, but I couldn't do that.

Alright, but I'm afraid there will be consequences if she doesn't come explain herself in this thread pretty quickly.

His facial expression really doesn't look blank to me, given the context.

Well it does to me. We don't even see much of his actual face, only one of his eyes, and it's staring emptily.


Besides, like you say, he did hear the conversation and was reacting to it (even though we disagree on what he was reacting to the most). The vision afterward seems to me to have a sequential cause-and-effect relationship to the conversation. Conversation came first, reaction came next, vision came last.

Well he was reacting to his situation in general. There's no direct indication that the conversation he overheard is what specifically triggered his vision. It just happened, and there doesn't need to be a reason for that. It may or may not have been the straw that broke the camel's back, but that's not something that can be determined with any certainty.

I interpret that as the vision being triggered by his reaction. And, as you also say, this is similar to the Vol 8 situation with Griffith reverting to his dream and taking drastic action. Maybe Guts' leaving wasn't decided, but as far as Griffith was concerned it was.

But why would you think Guts leaving was the reason? In volume 8, Griffith's overreaction goes beyond the fact Guts was leaving to travel far away (especially when you consider the way he preferred to see him dead than leaving his grasp): it's that someone he thought was completely under his control decided to recover his freedom and then managed to defeat him with ease. It was a terrible blow to his pride and his vision of the world with himself at its center. Griffith viewed Guts as his property (and his most valuable asset at that, which was true), and well, it wasn't the case. By the time he takes the wagon to the lake, their relationship is very different... And I don't think the prospect of Guts leaving again was terribly distressing to him. What happens when Guts runs to him on the lake pretty much proves it, not to mention all the little things that hint at Griffith's hostility towards him (e.g. grabbing his neck in the prison).

I see what happened there as very similar was what happened in the "Guts leaving alone" scene. Again you have Guts and Casca talking outside his wagon, and again you're shown a shot of Griffith hearing them. Except here the quote he's reacting to is Casca saying she just "wanted someone to be near me." He also overheard her talking about the Hawks being disheartened and therefore more pity stuff, and that certainly adds to it, but I think what followed makes more sense if it's directly related to her "near me" quote. He tries that with Casca specifically because she was always the most faithful to him and wanted to get in his pants for the entire series. I don't think it was out of an attempt to try to "claim her" (yes, the part in the initial post about that isn't mine), but partly to give her what she wanted (someone to be "near" her) and mostly to reestablish his self-image of being needed and desirable with someone he hoped might still be attracted to him that way. That backfired on him too. So, more pity complex.

Actually I don't think it's implied that Griffith heard them. He sees them close to each other but that's all. And what Casca says is very clearly intended for Guts. She says it like that because it's how it's done in Japanese, but she doesn't just mean anyone: she means Guts. So he sees her close to Guts, and not for the first time either since he's witnessed their new relationship a few times during their escape, and he tries to force himself on her. She didn't want him to fill Guts' new role in her life, and she does make it pretty clear to him as it happens. She says no and is evidently embarrassed by the situation. Honestly your reasoning that Griffith wished to give her what she wanted is preposterous to me. He did that for himself.

I'm not missing that, it was a huge factor, I'm just saying it wasn't the biggest factor.

But it was the biggest factor. He ran away because of his vision telling him to pursue his dream. Where does anything hint at Guts? Once again, his reaction to Guts' solicitude once at the lake was not what it should have been from your point of view.

Besides, Griffith was already mortified by Wyald earlier.

Of course, the whole conversation between Guts & Casca, and the Band of the Falcon's reaction in general are the direct continuation of what Wyald initiated. And that's another reason your idea that it's all about Guts leaves me perplex. It's just ignoring so much of the context... Guts would have left if he wanted to anyway, a fortiori if Griffith hadn't been in such a desperate state. But he was actually willing to stay. The whole building up is about his diminished state and how he's reduced to nothing, yet must go on to achieve his dream. Not about how his sweet, tender Guts is going to leave him alone.

It is precisely because Griffith cares so much about his dream that I consider Guts as the driving external factor in Griffith's life. Guts is the only one who is able to affect Griffith's focus on his dream. In the prison Griffith admitted that Guts to him seemed even more important than his own dream, during the Eclipse he admitted that Guts even made him forget his dream. My entire essays centers around the fact that Griffith could never reconcile Guts with his dream until the Eclipse.

I'm not sure what you mean by "reconcile", but you're taking things out of context. The whole tale Griffith spinned about Guts comes from the time he defeated him in volume 8. Griffith acted rashly after his defeat in order to regain some confidence, and it worked well enough from what we see of him in the morning. All might have been well had the king not taken action. That year of torture then took its toll, as Griffith was left reminiscing on his failure. He was obsessed by Guts then for the simple reason that his dream was, for all intents and purposes, over. And he felt it was Guts' fault. He says so himself, and not that Guts is "more important" than his dream. Like Casca would later explain at the waterfall, Griffith was just a man, and he had to rely on others to achieve such a grand dream. He couldn't succeed all by himself. And Guts being as exceptional as he is, Griffith relied on him (to Casca's chagrin, as she wanted to fill that role). A lot. More than on anyone else. He was a vital crutch but also a reassuring presence, an infallible ace Griffith had up his sleeve that could resolve even the direst situations. And by relying on this crutch too much, he became dependant on it... The idea of losing it made him feel insecure. Which is understandable. It's no surprise then that what happened upset him like it did.

Not to mention that it was the first time in his life that he really, truly lost to someone.

Griffith's mind wanted the dream to be his unwavering #1 priority, but his heart kept betraying him. He struggled with this a lot, and the vision was his mind's way of reacting to/overriding the emotional pain he was feeling. He didn't want Casca's pity, he didn't want Guts' pity, but mostly he didn't want to be affected what they think or do, and put the focus back on himself (which is synonymous with his dream). It's like a reflex he has whenever he starts to feel emotion, heh.

His dream was always his top priority. Always. When his heart did betray him, it was because he couldn't be as emotionless as he wanted to, or doubted himself, but his dream remained his ultimate goal all along. Things were different while he was imprisoned because he had no goals he could realize anymore, and no real priority. You're trying to give a clear meaning to his vision of himself as being a way to cope to the possibility that Guts would go away, but there's actually no basis for it in the manga.

Yes (see above). Yes. Yes. No. I don't think noni posted the parts of my essay where I go over what Griffith's dream meant to him and how important it was to him but, I assure you, I know. That is one of the main things I admire about Griffith, his purity of will to achieve his dream and preserve himself no matter what. Maybe "admire" isn't the right word, but I don't want to get into the morality of it. I actually believe that Griffith identifies himself with his dream (ie: achieving his dream and preserving himself are synonymous). If it dies, he wouldn't not exist anymore (in his head). He (wants to) exist as a goal and an idea, not as a person, and he tries very hard to stamp all vestiges of person-hood from his mind. And, again, this is why I focus on Guts: as a threat to that dream/mentality.

Well it's easy to say it's just partial or whatnot, but either the part I originally quoted was from you or it wasn't. I didn't read the whole thing, I just took this part at random. And I don't think Griffith identified himself with the dream itself. Nothing of the sort is hinted at in the story. It's just his unique goal in life, one that obsesses him. I think that's enough as it is. I don't quite make sense of your idea that he didn't want to be a person. The reason that achieving his dream and preserving himself are strongly related is simply because if he dies, he won't realize his dream, and if he can't realize his dream, he has no reason to live from his point of view. That doesn't mean he wants to become a concept, and his (often pragmatic) actions don't imply it either.

I can see how my interpretation of that would be confusing. I can't say I like it much, either, especially given how strongly I believe in the previous paragraph. I can only say that I see that scene as Griffith lapsing into being a person again, who just wants to escape the gravity of his current situation.

I don't know what to tell you; it just doesn't make sense to me, and I don't think it has any solid ground. But if you don't like that interpretation anyway, why stick to it? Because it puts all the rest into question? I know it can be difficult to redefine something we thought we knew, but sometimes it's for the best.