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Speculation Nation / Skull Knight and Roses
« on: July 19, 2016, 03:40:51 PM »
Skull Knight is one of the most mysterious and intriguing characters in Berserk. I'm very interested to find out more about him and his past. Skull Knight has a rose and thorns design on his shield as well as thorns present on his sword and armor. So why did Miura choose to use the rose in this character's design? Well, I don't know since I can't ask him.  :slan: What follows is some mythology, beliefs, and symbolism that are associated with the rose that I thought could possibly relate to Skull Knight, but it's all just me speculating since I can't know the source of Miura's inspiration.

There is a lot of mythology from many cultures concerning the rose. Some of the myths I ran into have to do with the rose as a symbol of immortal love that transcends death, such as the Greek myth about Aphrodite and her slain lover, Adonis, where the red rose grows from a pool of his spilled blood. A myth I found very interesting was about the Roman goddess of spring and flowers, Flora, and an origin story of the rose. It's said that Flora found a nymph that she was particulary fond of lying dead in her garden and in her grief she beseeched the other gods to help her transform her dead friend into the first rose. Each god imparts a different gift to the rose; Apollo gives life; Bacchus gives nectar; Vertumnus, perfume; Pomona, fruit; and Flora, a crown of petals. It's been brought up before by other members on the forum that a possibility for Skull Knight's current state could be that he died or was close to death and the witch Flora may have intervened to transform him into the being he is now. It would make sense that Flora may have sought the help of the King of the Flower storm and/or other powerful astral entities to do this. I think it would be kind of neat if different entitites had bestowed Skull Knight with some of his various abilities or equipment or had combined their power to aid in creating his current form.

In a source I found that talked about the rose as a symbol in alchemy it had this to say about the meaning of the rose: “In spiritual alchemy, the single red rose represents the mystic center of a person, his or her heart of hearts – one’s true nature. It also represents the process of purification to reveal one’s essence or the inner “pearl beyond price.” Sufi spiritual alchemist Rumi described this idea when he wrote: "In the driest whitest stretch of pain's infinite desert, I lost my sanity and found this rose." ...the red rose represents a special kind of love in which one “melts away” into the beauty of another, and the old identity is surrendered for that of the beloved or a higher identity within oneself. In this sense, the rose is a symbol of complete surrender and permanent transmutation.” These thoughts are interesting to me in relation to Skull Knight because of the aspect of transformation and transcendence mentioned. Whatever happened to make Skull Knight what he is now probably involved a pretty drastic transformation. I wonder how and to what extent it may have affected his personality and perceptions. Another source also mentions the rose's symbolism associated with transformation : “It is a symbol of transmutation - that of taking food from the earth and transmuting it into the beautiful fragrant rose. In ancient Rome, roses were grown in the funerary gardens to symbolize resurrection.”

Another source mentioned how the rose's form has been interpreted symbolically. “Morphologically linked to the circle, since ancient times the rose has been linked to themes of birth and rebirth, and the speed of its withering has made it a symbol of death and the fragility of existence.” This made me think of how Skull Knight must have died to his old form, to be “reborn” so to speak as his new form. Also, it seems like Berserk overall has a theme about how fragile and yet tenacious human life can be. Skull Knight has been responsible for saving many of the current main characters, such as Guts, Casca, Rickert, and Luka, when they were at some of their most vulnerable points and would have died had he not intervened.

The interpretation of the rose in Tarot is : “the rose is considered a symbol of balance. Here the beauty of the rose expresses promise, new beginnings, hope. This beauty is contrasted with its thorns which represents defense, physicality, loss, thoughtlessness. The rose is seen in the major arcana (the first 22 cards of the Tarot deck) as: Magician, Strength, Death and Fool cards. All of these cards hold strong meanings of balance and equilibrium.” I wonder if the use of the rose in Skull Knight's design could have something to do with his character helping to bring balance to the world of Berserk since he is a force that opposes the God Hand and apostles, who seem to very much have the upper hand right now.

The rose's thorns have represented suffering and sacrifice as well as the sins of the fall from paradise. Maybe the use of the thorns with Skull Knight's character could have something to do with Gaiseric's fall from power or the suffering and sacrifice he had to endure to become what he is now. They could have to do with some kind of price he had to pay to become what he is and gain the power he has. I've wondered if maybe Skull Knight was in some way a reverse apostle for lack of a better term; willing to sacrifice himself for what he held most dear rather than sacrifice what he held most dear for himself.

Another thing I came across that I thought was interesting was the rose's use as a sign for secrecy or confidences to be kept, “the rose is also symbolic carrier of secrets or tacit understanding. The term “sub rosa” means under the rose and comes from the practice of Romans hanging roses above meeting tables. Here it was understood that anything said at this table, beneath the hanging roses, was forbidden to be repeated elsewhere.” Mainly I just thought this was cool. The only reason this made me think of Skull Knight is that he has been such a mysterious character so far and hasn't revealed much about himself yet.

Here are references I used:

Speculation Nation / Flower in the rain
« on: August 17, 2015, 09:17:03 PM »
I think the flower in volume 1 that's shown being hit by a raindrop right before Guts' encounter with the traveling priest and his daughter, Collette, is a harebell. Here's some pictures of harebell flowers and their leaves for comparison:

If the flower in the manga is a harebell, then I find that interesting because according to the language of flowers, which is a way of communicating using flowers, some meanings for the harebell are submission and grief. Guts submits to his dark side when he decides that he doesn't care if something bad happens to the priest and Collette and it certainly ends in grief for everyone involved.

There is also some interesting folklore about the harebell. It was believed that it could assist people in seeing into the realm of fairies, but that it could also reveal and even attract evil spirits, so it was regarded as bad luck by some and was called Aul Man's Bells, the “Aul Man” being a reference for the devil without the danger of actually invoking his name. Another name for this flower was Dead Men's Bells because it was thought that to hear them ring was an omen of death. Not sure how you hear flowers ring, but I guess if you do it means you're in trouble.  :magni:

I wonder if Miura was hinting at the woe to come by using this flower at the beginning of the story. I like to think he might have been.

P.S. I'm working on gathering info for a Skullknight and roses post. As far as the language of flowers goes, the meaning of the rose seems to be mostly tied in with its color. Does anyone know what the color of the rose on Skullknight's shield is? I guess with the manga being in black and white it might not be known, but thought it couldn't hurt to ask. I looked through my manga volumes (at covers and inside foldouts) and my Berserk Illustrations File, but couldn't find a color work of SK where his shield was shown. The emblem on it looks like it's a darker color because of the way it's shaded, so I at least don't think it's white, yellow, or a lighter color like that.

language of flowers -
more info:,,

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

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

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

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

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

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

Where I found my info:

Character Cove / Berserk Dads
« on: June 18, 2015, 03:43:46 PM »
With Father's Day approaching, I thought I'd take the opportunity to mention the dads of Berserk. Once I started listing them all I was surprised by how many Berserk Dads there are.

Traveling priest – Collette's father – Seems like a decent and well-intentioned guy. I have doubts about his judgement, though. He insists on giving a shady looking stranger who claims he's being pursued by legions of evil spirits a ride in his wagon with his young daughter.

The Count – Sadistic, people-eating slug apostle though he may be, you certainly can't say he doesn't care about his child, Theresia. Faced with death and being dragged into hell, the Count is clearly terrified for himself, but his love for his daughter is stronger and he chooses not to sacrifice her to save himself.

Vargas – Formerly the Count's physician. He appears to feel a lot of guilt that when his wife and two sons were murdered his overriding emotion was fear. He seems like a pretty brave person to me, though. Even when being attacked by Zondark, who turns into a horrifying monster, Vargas is not frozen by fear, but protects Puck at the risk of his own safety.

Gambino – The leader of a mercenary band and Guts' father figure. Gambino's not all black, but I'd say a pretty dark shade of grey. He's good at being a mercenary, but definitely not at being an adopted father to Guts, not that he asked to be.

The King of Midland – He seems pretty first. He's a very progressive ruler who values results over status. I never had cause to think he harbored perverted desires for his daughter, Princess Charlotte, until Griffith opened that can of worms and the King attempted to rape her while she was asleep. I'm not saying that Griffith bringing it up caused this. The King must have had those desires already in order for him to be capable of doing that.

Julius – The King of Midland's younger brother, and second in line to the throne. He wants his son, Adonis, to be ready to take his position as a noble and leader of the White Dragon Knights when his time comes. However, Julius is overly rough and harsh with Adonis and it seems like his methods create more harm than they do progress.

Casca's father – A father of six children in a hardscrabble village plagued by border skirmishes, crippling taxes, and starvation. At least when a nobleman offered to take Casca off his hands her father was reluctant about it and didn't just boot her out the door as fast as he could.

Minister Foss – A cunning schemer in the King of Midland's court. When his daughter, Elise, is kidnapped Foss sacrifices his comrades in Griffith's assassination plot in order to secure her safe return. Foss is shown to be extremely shaken upon receiving the news of her kidnapping and when Elise is let go father and daughter run to embrace each other in a tearful and loving reunion.

Guts – Father of the moonlight boy. This father and son got off to a pretty awful start, to say the least. The child has shown interest in his father as well as a desire to protect him, although Guts doesn't know that the being that has manifested to help him when he's been in dire straights is his child. I'm hoping that some day this father and son can come to share a good relationship.

Godot – Brought up to be a blacksmith, he says that working steel was all he knew until he adopted Erika. Raising her gave humanity and warmth to his life that he'd never had before. Not only is he an adopted father to Erika, but becomes a mentor for Guts and Rickert.

Rosine's father – Is a bully who physically and mentally abuses his wife and daughter. He questions whether Rosine is his child because her mother was raped. As shown in a flashback Rosine remembers, the family must have had some happy times together, but overall it seems like a pretty dysfunctional situation.

Zepek – Jill's father. A cowardly, lazy, selfish drunkard and abusive negligent husband and father. Sheesh, can you tell I don't think much of this guy? Anyway, he only seems to want to complain, drink, and hang out reminiscing about the past with his old war buddies, one of whom makes attempts at molesting Jill.

Lord Vandimion – Giorgio, Poliziano, Magnifico, Serpico, and Farnese's father. Head of the extremely wealthy and influential Vandimion family. He is an iron-willed and calculating man of business who wants to have everything under his control, including his family.

Ganishka – The Kushan Emperor. Growing up in an environment filled with assassination plots and backstabbing, Ganishka trusts no one. An air of paranoia pervades his life and he fears his own father and son and is feared by them in return, with deadly consequences.

Isma's Pa – Fell in love with a merrow who swam off, leaving him their daughter Isma to raise. Because of his relationship with a merrow he and his daughter were shunned by the other villagers and lived apart by themselves. He passed away after a fishing accident, which left Isma alone. He must have done a good job teaching her how to fish and survive because she's able to make it on her own.

Dotard Daddy (from flashback with Chich) – A nobleman with some pretty questionable ethics who dotes excessively on his son. The boy seems to be quite a brute, but not in daddy's eyes.

Do you have a favorite or least favorite among the dads of Berserk? Any thoughts on them, favorite moments, or other good stuff like that?

Godot is my favorite, aside from Guts. Godot and Erika seem a lot alike to me, both have a plucky and outspoken way about them. Godot has a crusty exterior and a dry sense of humor, but underneath it all he cares deeply. He is very observant and philosophical in a practical, down to earth kind of way. I just like his personality!

One thing that interests me is the scene where Guts gives Gambino the first money he's ever earned as a mercenary. Gambino seems genuinely surprised. I guess he thought Guts would just keep his money. It's to Gambino's credit that he didn't think of exploiting Guts by making him give him his pay at least. Guts just does it on his own, very much a show of how much he looks up to Gambino and wants to earn his approval. Gambino just has such an “every man for himself” attitude that maybe it's not something that would have even crossed his mind for someone to willingly give their money to someone else out of loyalty or gratitude or whatever. Then I think it's really ironic that Gambino repays this respect Guts shows him with the ultimate disrespect and betrayal to Guts, selling him to Donovan for the night. It's like Gambino can't accept or doesn't want for Guts to look up to him and so he does that. Anybody have any thoughts on this? I think it's a really complex situation that Miura puts forward here and I'm not sure I'm completely grasping it, but it's definitely interesting. Once again I'm impressed with how he handles his characters and plots.

Wanted to give a shout out to Walter. I really enjoyed the character analysis in his thread about Gambino.

Shootin' the Breeze / Travel/vacation/favorite places
« on: June 05, 2015, 03:20:47 AM »
I love to travel and see new places. I thought it might be fun to have a travel/vacation/favorite places thread. Maybe get some good ideas for places to visit or just to hear about some different places.

What are some of your favorite places you've been?

Two of mine are The Elms in Newport, Rhode Island and Carlsbad Caverns National Park in New Mexico. (USA)

The Elms is a mansion, or what the wealthy of the day would have called their summer “cottage”. It was built in 1901. The mansion is, of course, very elegant with all the splendor you would expect to find. One of my favorite spots was at the servant's entrance, a round driveway area that's covered by a large canopy of wisteria. There is a great view from up on the rooftop overlooking the grounds and out to the harbor. The grounds around the house are a sight to see, too, with fountains, gardens, and some beautiful old trees.

Carlsbad Caverns is nothing short of amazing. The scenery is so different to anything you would see above ground that it felt like being on another planet. The scale of the place is incredible in parts, just enormous. The caverns are also home to hundreds of thousands of bats. I got the chance to see them fly out at dusk while I was there, which was really cool.

Character Cove / Berserk Moms
« on: May 10, 2015, 03:14:08 PM »
I thought Vixen Comics' idea to talk about love in Berserk on Valentine's Day was a really good one, so I'm going to take a page from her book and take the opportunity to talk about moms in Berserk on Mother's Day.

There are lots of moms or mother figures in Berserk. They're all very different and interesting characters. I've listed the ones I could think of, but I probably left some out.

Theresia's mom – We don't know much about her mothering skills, just that she was a heretic who cheated on her husband with a whole room full of people. Makes me wonder if Theresia was really even the count's daughter.

Shisu – Her care early in Guts' life is probably a large part of the reason Guts is as good a person as he is.

Queen of Midland – Not the most loving step-mom, but does try to keep Charlotte on the straight and narrow, as she sees it, even if it means murder! (I know she had other reasons for trying to kill Griffith, too, but not wanting Charlotte to make a romantic choice that she deemed inappropriate/scandalous was part of it.)

Casca – Clearly cares about her child, has done her best to protect him even in her confused state, and loves to be with him.

Jill's mom – She loves Jill, but is pretty beat down by Jill's dad and has a hard time protecting herself, let alone Jill from him and his friends.

Luka – Very protective and holds her group together like a family, even deals out spankings when necessary (and not just to paying customers).

Flora – Very much a mother figure for Schierke, teaches her to be a wise and kind witch.

Lady Vandimion (Farnese's mom) – Extremely neglectful during Farnese's childhood, but does manage to come through for her daughter at a time when she really needs her.

Isma's mom, the merrow – Absent for most of Isma's life, but she does leave behind a powerful charm that protects her family from harm. Now that they have been reunited she is proving to be a pretty good mom, saving Isma's life and teaching her about being a merrow.

What are your thoughts on the moms and mother figures of Berserk? Do you have a favorite? Are there any “mom moments” in the story that you found particularly touching or interesting?

It's hard for me to pick a favorite, but I really like when Isma and her mom reunite and I found the moment when they sing together to fight the sea god really cool!  :ubik:

Character Cove / Chich and the language of flowers
« on: April 12, 2015, 03:27:39 PM »
I really like Chich, the little flower spirit. She's so cute!  :serpico: I saw on the forum that you had identified her flower as a shepherd's purse. I think it's cool that authors will often use a certain type of flower for a reason. According to the language of flowers, which is a way of communicating using flowers, the shepherd's purse means "I offer you my all." That's certainly what Chich did for Guts. Anyway, I just thought it was kinda neat. Here's a link to a site about the language of flowers if it interests you.

I hope Chich made it and the other flower spirits were able to help her. After Guts brings her flower to the meadow to be with all the others and the wind takes it away, there was that comment referring back to when Chich was wondering if the other flowers would find her. I was was torn as to whether to take that as a hint that the other flowers do find her and she will be ok or whether it was emphasizing how sad it was that Chich didn't live long enough to meet the other flowers. I like to hope it was the former, though!.

Character Cove / Mozgus and Azan, two sides of the same coin?
« on: April 03, 2015, 04:27:52 AM »
I thought it was odd how similar Mozgus and Azan look. They are both very unusual looking characters, so I find it strange that they share some key features. Do you think this is a coincidence or was it done for some reason? They seem to have more in common than just their stocky figures, wide faces, and large flat noses. Mozgus and Azan both have very strong convictions. They view the world and act according to deeply held personal beliefs and moral codes. Maybe Azan is the positive example of this and Mozgus is the negative example?

Mozgus is way more surreal looking, though. He looks like he's carved out of a block of wood or something, while Azan looks much more normal, so not sure what that means. Maybe to highlight that Mozgus has given himself over to total fanaticism, while Azan hasn't? Mozgus's face is as rigid as his thinking?

What do you all make of this?

Character Cove / Farnese's mother; neglectful, yet insightful
« on: March 27, 2015, 04:10:27 PM »
I found Farnese's mother to be a very interesting character. Upon my first reading through this part of the series I found her puzzling. She has been neglectful for most of Farnese's life, but then takes a seemingly sudden interest in her daughter. Farnese's mother is first introduction in volume 22 and nothing is revealed about her, except that she is a neglectful mother who has lost herself in “dissipation”. The definition of dissipation is “an idle or frivolous amusement or diversion; indulgence in pleasure to the point of harming oneself; intemperance”. So who knows what all she's been getting herself into, but I think it's likely alcoholism and dalliances with men. Since we're told that Farnese's father is basically never around, I guess that isn't too surprising.

In volume 29, when Farnese returns to her family, she is at a low point. Farnese is doubting herself and feeling lost. It's at this point that her mother shows up. Her mother gives Farnese this amazing insight into who she is, how she communicates, and how she is viewed by her father. I feel like through all these revelations she is empowering Farnese, holding a mirror up for her to see herself as she never has before; as this wild untamed creature, who is actually feared by her father, the very person Farnese herself fears the most. At this time in her life when Farnese is feeling defeated and useless these disclosures from her mother are well needed. Her mother is clearly aware that Farnese was severely neglected in her childhood. She doesn't apologize for this, but she tells Farnese how her painful past might actually be something that gives her depth and a kind of honesty she might not have had otherwise. Her mother seems to be a woman who is capable of sizing those around her up with uncommon clarity, but who keeps herself at a distance. She seems to keep herself detached in a way and I don't get the feeling that she is remorseful for her nonexistent parenting. Her mother does tell Farnese she is proud to have her as a daughter, which is probably something Farnese has never heard before. Farnese doesn't appear to hold any resentment towards her mother. Later, at the ball the conversation Farnese's mother has with Serpico also reveals her to be a woman of remarkable perception and insight. Serpico notes that she is very astute.

In volume 30 it's revealed that Farnese's mother is envious of how free a person she is. Perhaps she herself feels very trapped by the world of high society that she lives in and by a family that shows so little love for each other, but seems to be more interested in how they can use each other to their own advantage. Her mother seems to really respect the person Farnese is becoming and to genuinely wish the best for her.

I love how expansive Miura makes the world of Berserk feel. There is so much going on. Through these engaging side characters like Farnese's mother I get this cool feeling of a wide and rich world going on outside the main storyline. I just think it's pretty neat that he's able to do that. It's something I don't remember feeling when reading any other manga.

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