Skull Knight's goal and the extent of his knowledge

This will be mostly conjecture, but I just want to put out there something that's been on my mind for a couple of weeks.

Skull Knight's first appearance is the most enigmatic one, but it firmly establishes that he has knowledge of what is yet to come, or is in contact with somebody who can procure said knowledge. The prophecy he gives Guts is detailed enough to mention the broken sword he uses to cut his arm off. He also mentions that „the gears has indeed begun turning." It means that he doesn't just know that the Eclipse will happen, he knows who will trigger it and that Guts departure from the Band of the Falcon was an important component. So if he knows so much about Guts and the significance of his decision, it's safe to assume that at that point in time, he knew who Griffith was.

Now, if that is the case, why not kill Griffith in advance and prevent the Eclipse? Well, if the Causality truly can't be outsmarted, then it's not possible. If the IoE's influence is as vast as stated in episode 83, it must have foreseen such a possibility. If SK tried to strike down Griffith then, I think something similar to episode 69 would happen (when Zodd killed Wyald and saved Griffith's life). SK's next appearance when he saves Rickert's life from the Count and Rosine. And what's important, he doesn't kill them. The self-proclaimed foe of the inhumans blatantly spares two apostles that just slaughtered innocent lives for their own amusement. He only interferes when Rickert is about to die. When he depart's there is one panel of him looking back from above, possibly gazing at the distraught Rickert. It was not yet his time to die. He has some significance and will play a role in the future. Whether SK just acted out his own agenda, or if it's also a part of IoE plan, we don't know.

Next up, the Eclipse. Why save Guts and Casca? If his goal at that exact moment was to deal as much damage to the God Hand as possible, I don't think he'd even bother trying to save them. Sure, he attacks Void and dispatches several Apostles on his way, but he doesn't even try to attack Femto, he rushes right past him to pick up the two remaining Falcons. He specifically came here to their rescue. The God Hand reminisce over it, claiming that it was something unforeseen by them, but that it very well might have been fated to happen. We later see that it was more likely the latter (Albion). What i find even more confusing, is that in episode 92 SK denounces his intent and claims all of it was "incidental".

And this might be it – SK is, albeit unwillingly, another agent of Causality. But he knows the significance of Guts and doesn't want him to die yet, and I don't believe he does so out of pure sympathy for him. But there is another character in the series that shares a similar sentiment. Zodd. At Doldrey, him throwing the sword to Guts so that he won't die to Boscogn is never really justified. Sure, maybe he did not want a potential rival to die, so that he could fight him in the future when he gets stronger, but at the same time, after SK rescues Guts from the Eclipse, Zodd is genuinely surprised that he managed to survive.

And then their next encounter. The vow of retaliation. What SK says about the Brand and destiny greatly angers Guts, as if he is riling him up on purpose. When Casca gives birth, Skull Knight utters some words that may be very, very significant in the upcoming episode 360. "Someday it will bring woe upon you both." It may just be common sense, since, you know, it's a Demon Child tainted with evil, so it may not be the brightest idea to keep one around when you've been branded. But I believe he was, once again, referring to a certain event in the future. Specifically, who's body will the Child become a part of, and what it means for it's parents.
And then, just before he leaves, SK tells Guts that if he wishes to get revenge, he should follow the "voice" of the Brand. It may just be me, but it kind of sounds like he encourages Guts to set out on his two year journey of hunting Apostles. To abandon Casca.

They meet again, few days before the Incarnation Ceremony, and the smug bastard again knows exactly what's going to happen. He states that the God Hand exist everywhere where negative thoughts swirl in large concentration, and if it reaches a critical point, one of them can be incarnated. Now, what kinds of beings does the Brand of Sacrifice attract? Combine that with the state in which the Albion is, and...
He refers to himself and Guts as mere shadows on the water, and says that the Incarnation will be the same – a shadow of the Eclipse. But then he also says that at the temporal junction points, „minute, singular " things can occur, that even the God Hand cannot foresee. Moreover, he admits he'll gamble everything on that one point. So he intends to do something. Just like he the last time.

And when Femto is incarnated... Skull Knight does nothing. The only explanation I can think of is that at that moment SK realised that in the current state of the world, he is powerless against the Falcon of Darkness. That, or the Incarnation ceremony was not the temporal junction point at which he meant to strike.

I think his conversation with Slan in the Qliphoth supports the former. Why did he come there in the first place? To aid Guts? It's likely – it was SK who asked Flora to help him on his journey, so he clearly still cares that Guts doesn't die yet. But his visit in Slan's domain might have had another goal in mind. "So, you were the only one summoned." Was he expecting the others to come? Or did he want firsthand (no pun intended) confirmation, that the worlds had already started to overlap?

If he is indeed Gaiseric, then he must have taken part in, or at least known about the mechanism behind the separation of worlds that occurred 1000 years ago. Perhaps in his very long life he came to a conclusion that it in the long run, it had been a mistake.

In "The Proclaimed Omens" he describes incarnated Griffith as someone who exists outside the reason of this world. He likens the attempt at his life to a fictional character trying to hurt it's author. So how do you defeat a being so powerful? Well, how about merging the world in which the story takes place with the one the author resides in?

"Causality is brought to fruition with this sword stroke."
Upon hearing that Griffith knew about what was to happen, Skull Knight seems to act surprised. (Or at least that's my interpretation of the panel at the bottom of page 4, episode 304) It's hard to tell whether he was expecting something different to happen, or if Femto truly outsmarted him. I just find it very strange that someone like Skull Knight would make such a grave mistake.
At this point the worlds are merged, which means that the other God Hand members could very well be within SK's reach. If he indeed expected this to happen, we should see some interesting developements in that regard, when he and Guts meet again.

Just putting my thoughts out there. I hope that you at least had some fun reading through them.
 
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Aazealh

そうはいかぬ
Staff member
Hi TRJJB, I think you're slightly mistaken about causality and the "junctions of times", which in turn throws off your speculation.

Now, if that is the case, why not kill Griffith in advance and prevent the Eclipse? Well, if the Causality truly can't be outsmarted, then it's not possible.
It's not so much a matter of outsmarting it as it is to be able to go against its flow. Causality is a principle, a law of the world. The one weaving it is the Idea of Evil. So the reason the Skull Knight doesn't try to kill Griffith then is the same reason he intrudes during the Eclipse: because it's only during the "junction of times" that he has a chance to derail the Idea of Evil's plans.

The self-proclaimed foe of the inhumans blatantly spares two apostles that just slaughtered innocent lives for their own amusement. He only interferes when Rickert is about to die. When he depart's there is one panel of him looking back from above, possibly gazing at the distraught Rickert. It was not yet his time to die. He has some significance and will play a role in the future. Whether SK just acted out his own agenda, or if it's also a part of IoE plan, we don't know.
The Skull Knight definitely had an agenda here. He wanted Rickert to survive. Why did he not kill the apostles? Likely because he meant to keep a low profile, and to avoid disrupting things too much beyond what was absolutely necessary. His strategy, throughout the story, is always to interfere as little as possible but to have as big an impact as possible. In this case it's a success: Rickert survives.

two remaining Falcons
Nitpick: Guts and Casca were members of the Band of the Falcon. There was ever only one "falcon", and that was Griffith.

in episode 92 SK denounces his intent and claims all of it was "incidental".
The original is actually not at all as clear cut as that. It can be interpreted several ways, including to mean that "it was a good chance for him to do what he wants" or that "it serves his goals". Even if you go with DH's interpretation, it wouldn't mean that it was unplanned, but more like something he did on the way to doing something else.

And this might be it – SK is, albeit unwillingly, another agent of Causality.
Well it really depends what you mean by "agent". Causality is a principle of the world and the Skull Knight is not exempt from it. He does try to fight back against the Idea of Evil's influence, and I would say that he has had a few successes that we know of, but he's also had failures.

Sure, maybe he did not want a potential rival to die, so that he could fight him in the future when he gets stronger, but at the same time, after SK rescues Guts from the Eclipse, Zodd is genuinely surprised that he managed to survive.
It's not that complicated. Zodd had taken a liking to Guts and gave him a chance to win that fight.

What SK says about the Brand and destiny greatly angers Guts, as if he is riling him up on purpose.
I don't think SK's intent was to agitate Guts on purpose.

When Casca gives birth, Skull Knight utters some words that may be very, very significant in the upcoming episode 360. "Someday it will bring woe upon you both." It may just be common sense, since, you know, it's a Demon Child tainted with evil, so it may not be the brightest idea to keep one around when you've been branded. But I believe he was, once again, referring to a certain event in the future. Specifically, who's body will the Child become a part of, and what it means for it's parents.
I don't think he was referring to Femto eventually hijacking the boy's body. He's talking about the fact the kid would be haunting them. "Children yearn for their parents."

Now, what kinds of beings does the Brand of Sacrifice attract? Combine that with the state in which the Albion is, and...
This seems like a common misunderstanding of the mechanics that brought on the Incarnation ceremony. It's not just a matter of Guts and Casca being there. They're not the ones who brought on the destruction of the place. It was an event long in the making.

And when Femto is incarnated... Skull Knight does nothing. The only explanation I can think of is that at that moment SK realised that in the current state of the world, he is powerless against the Falcon of Darkness. That, or the Incarnation ceremony was not the temporal junction point at which he meant to strike.
Wrong answer. It's actually much simpler: it was too late by then. The Skull Knight does try to prevent it from happening: that's why he's after the Beherit apostle during all that time. But he fails to kill him, and the incarnation occurs. By that time, he's already failed.

I think his conversation with Slan in the Qliphoth supports the former. Why did he come there in the first place? To aid Guts?
Yeah he came to help Guts. Probably to see what was going on, too.

In "The Proclaimed Omens" he describes incarnated Griffith as someone who exists outside the reason of this world. He likens the attempt at his life to a fictional character trying to hurt it's author. So how do you defeat a being so powerful? Well, how about merging the world in which the story takes place with the one the author resides in?
That's partly true, except Griffith's power seems stronger than ever. And also the current state of the world was clearly what the Idea of Evil (and therefore the God Hand) sought to achieve. The way everything worked out (Ganishka's existence, Griffith letting him go in Vritannis, his reckless use of the artificial beherit) could have only happened if the Idea of Evil meant for it to happen.

It's hard to tell whether he was expecting something different to happen, or if Femto truly outsmarted him. I just find it very strange that someone like Skull Knight would make such a grave mistake.
Oh it's 100% sure Femto beat him at his own game. The Skull Knight went in and took his shot, but the God Hand had seen it coming, and had apparently even been planning on it as the final touch to its plan.
 
Thanks for the response!

It's not so much a matter of outsmarting it as it is to be able to go against its flow. Causality is a principle, a law of the world. The one weaving it is the Idea of Evil. So the reason the Skull Knight doesn't try to kill Griffith then is the same reason he intrudes during the Eclipse: because it's only during the "junction of times" that he has a chance to derail the Idea of Evil's plans.
Oh, so I've been mislead. So, what exactly constitutes a "junction of times"? Is it a moment of such magnitude within the flow of causality, where tiny, unforeseen things can happen? Because this is what Ubik said after SK invaded the Eclipse. But the way this information is presented to us (with Slan saying that they aren't gods and can't foresee everything) implies that the IoE would know about it. And if so, wouldn't that mean that every intrusion made at the junction, actually isn't one?

The Skull Knight definitely had an agenda here. He wanted Rickert to survive. Why did he not kill the apostles? Likely because he meant to keep a low profile, and to avoid disrupting things too much beyond what was absolutely necessary. His strategy, throughout the story, is always to interfere as little as possible but to have as big an impact as possible. In this case it's a success: Rickert survives.
SK saves Rickert => Rickert acquires elf dust => Rickert uses the elf dust to patch up Guts' wounds right after the Eclipse.
Why not cut out the middle man? Yeah, it aligns with the "low profile" tactic you pointed out, but I feel like there was more to it.

Nitpick: Guts and Casca were members of the Band of the Falcon. There was ever only one "falcon", and that was Griffith.
Yeah, sorry, I just have a habit of unnecessarily looking for synonyms.

The original is actually not at all as clear cut as that. It can be interpreted several ways, including to mean that "it was a good chance for him to do what he wants" or that "it serves his goals". Even if you go with DH's interpretation, it wouldn't mean that it was unplanned, but more like something he did on the way to doing something else.
I'm even more confused now :ganishka:
The variation makes it hold completely different meanings. I'm not gonna fight you on the DH translation, since English isn't my 1st language, but I checked my country's official release, and this line is much more precise. "You needn't thank me, I did it by the way."
But this is weird – if we go with this version as well as DH, that would mean saving Guts and Casca wasn't his primary goal. But as I wrote earlier, he doesn't seem that interested in anything other than rescuing them.

Well it really depends what you mean by "agent". Causality is a principle of the world and the Skull Knight is not exempt from it. He does try to fight back against the Idea of Evil's influence, and I would say that he has had a few successes that we know of, but he's also had failures.
Sorry, I should have been more precise. I meant that SK is a figure whose actions can directly further IoE's goals, even if he wishes for the opposite (i.e. atop of Ganishka). My idea was that he had some far-fetched plan that would somehow subvert this principle.

It's not that complicated. Zodd had taken a liking to Guts and gave him a chance to win that fight.
Makes sense, sorted.

This seems like a common misunderstanding of the mechanics that brought on the Incarnation ceremony. It's not just a matter of Guts and Casca being there. They're not the ones who brought on the destruction of the place. It was an event long in the making.
I have to disagree here. Or maybe just elaborate on what I meant.
During his conversation with Luca, the Beherit Apostle claims that the events in Albion would happen either way, and that he is just slightly "nudging" them in that direction. He also mentions Casca, and how it was Luca who unknowingly led her to a place where the BA wanted her to be. Sure, the Incarnation would happen anyway but the "nudging" quickened it. Puck also mentions Casca's influence later on. The whole thing was pre-planned and, as you put it "long in the making", but to me, it seems like Casca was an important component, perhaps one that triggered the whole ceremony.

Wrong answer. It's actually much simpler: it was too late by then. The Skull Knight does try to prevent it from happening: that's why he's after the Beherit apostle during all that time. But he fails to kill him, and the incarnation occurs. By that time, he's already failed.
If so, why did he even try to derail it? During his talk with Guts he states that "there's no way for man to change the course of this festival". If so, then his attempts would ultimately amount to nothing. Or was he just pursuing the Beherit Apostle out of principle?

Oh it's 100% sure Femto beat him at his own game. The Skull Knight went in and took his shot, but the God Hand had seen it coming, and had apparently even been planning on it as the final touch to its plan.
Oh, then it kinda dismantles everything I had in mind!

The way SK helps out Guts throughout the story doesn't seem all that altruistic. The way Flora ponders whether "the heart of a man" still remains within SK, and her questioning his motives for aiding Guts makes it look like Skull Knight has something planned for him.
 

Aazealh

そうはいかぬ
Staff member
Oh, so I've been mislead. So, what exactly constitutes a "junction of times"? Is it a moment of such magnitude within the flow of causality, where tiny, unforeseen things can happen? Because this is what Ubik said after SK invaded the Eclipse.
Yes. It's a pivotal moment where everything comes together and therefore it's possible to derail things.

But the way this information is presented to us (with Slan saying that they aren't gods and can't foresee everything) implies that the IoE would know about it. And if so, wouldn't that mean that every intrusion made at the junction, actually isn't one?
You don't need to be the Idea of Evil to figure out the Skull Knight will try to disrupt the Eclipse. Zodd guessed as much; that's why he was there. What's unknown is what the result of his intervention will be. Because during that time, anything goes.

SK saves Rickert => Rickert acquires elf dust => Rickert uses the elf dust to patch up Guts' wounds right after the Eclipse.
Why not cut out the middle man? Yeah, it aligns with the "low profile" tactic you pointed out, but I feel like there was more to it.
More to it... meaning what? I mean, saving Rickert isn't just about him finding elf dust. His survival has had deep ramifications and we haven't seen the end of it.

I'm even more confused now :ganishka:
The variation makes it hold completely different meanings. I'm not gonna fight you on the DH translation, since English isn't my 1st language, but I checked my country's official release, and this line is much more precise. "You needn't thank me, I did it by the way."
But this is weird – if we go with this version as well as DH, that would mean saving Guts and Casca wasn't his primary goal. But as I wrote earlier, he doesn't seem that interested in anything other than rescuing them.
What I told you is based on the Japanese line. Japanese is a difficult language to accurately translate into Western languages, and Berserk is a particularly difficult manga to translate.

I meant that SK is a figure whose actions can directly further IoE's goals, even if he wishes for the opposite (i.e. atop of Ganishka). My idea was that he had some far-fetched plan that would somehow subvert this principle.
I think we've pretty much seen all facets of his plan over the course of the series. He takes his shot at the God Hand whenever he has a real opportunity to do so. He created a weapon that could kill them using beherits. He's saved some people as part of his attempts to hinder their plans.

I have to disagree here. Or maybe just elaborate on what I meant.
During his conversation with Luca, the Beherit Apostle claims that the events in Albion would happen either way, and that he is just slightly "nudging" them in that direction. He also mentions Casca, and how it was Luca who unknowingly led her to a place where the BA wanted her to be. Sure, the Incarnation would happen anyway but the "nudging" quickened it. Puck also mentions Casca's influence later on. The whole thing was pre-planned and, as you put it "long in the making", but to me, it seems like Casca was an important component, perhaps one that triggered the whole ceremony.
I don't think that contradicts what I said.

If so, why did he even try to derail it? During his talk with Guts he states that "there's no way for man to change the course of this festival". If so, then his attempts would ultimately amount to nothing. Or was he just pursuing the Beherit Apostle out of principle?
Re-read the full exchange between the Skull Knight and Guts.

The way SK helps out Guts throughout the story doesn't seem all that altruistic. The way Flora ponders whether "the heart of a man" still remains within SK, and her questioning his motives for aiding Guts makes it look like Skull Knight has something planned for him.
Simple: he's recruiting allies in his fight against the God Hand.
 
Skull Knight's first appearance is the most enigmatic one, but it firmly establishes that he has knowledge of what is yet to come, or is in contact with somebody who can procure said knowledge. The prophecy he gives Guts is detailed enough to mention the broken sword he uses to cut his arm off. He also mentions that „the gears has indeed begun turning." It means that he doesn't just know that the Eclipse will happen, he knows who will trigger it and that Guts departure from the Band of the Falcon was an important component. So if he knows so much about Guts and the significance of his decision, it's safe to assume that at that point in time, he knew who Griffith was.
For me, Miura uses him as a kind of plot device.

Now, if that is the case, why not kill Griffith in advance and prevent the Eclipse? Well, if the Causality truly can't be outsmarted, then it's not possible. If the IoE's influence is as vast as stated in episode 83, it must have foreseen such a possibility. If SK tried to strike down Griffith then, I think something similar to episode 69 would happen (when Zodd killed Wyald and saved Griffith's life). SK's next appearance when he saves Rickert's life from the Count and Rosine. And what's important, he doesn't kill them. The self-proclaimed foe of the inhumans blatantly spares two apostles that just slaughtered innocent lives for their own amusement. He only interferes when Rickert is about to die. When he depart's there is one panel of him looking back from above, possibly gazing at the distraught Rickert. It was not yet his time to die. He has some significance and will play a role in the future. Whether SK just acted out his own agenda, or if it's also a part of IoE plan, we don't know.
I asked Skull Knight, Knight of Skeleton, Skeleton Knight and Death Knight about this and he said -
"It is pointless to kill Griffith and preventing the Eclipse, it will just delay my hashtag goals and if that happened then another person will be chosen as the final member of God Hand in the next 216 years. The God Hand especially Void put a restraining order on me and I can only see them during big events like Eclipse. And regarding Rickert, Miura sensei told me to save him."


Next up, the Eclipse. Why save Guts and Casca? If his goal at that exact moment was to deal as much damage to the God Hand as possible, I don't think he'd even bother trying to save them. Sure, he attacks Void and dispatches several Apostles on his way, but he doesn't even try to attack Femto, he rushes right past him to pick up the two remaining Falcons. He specifically came here to their rescue. The God Hand reminisce over it, claiming that it was something unforeseen by them, but that it very well might have been fated to happen. We later see that it was more likely the latter (Albion). What i find even more confusing, is that in episode 92 SK denounces his intent and claims all of it was "incidental".
The rescue was not planned. It was incidental, on the spot. He didn't expect they were still alive when he gatecrashed.
He already failed executing Void, attacking Femto is pointless too so at the least why not save those two and see what happens.

But he knows the significance of Guts and doesn't want him to die yet, and I don't believe he does so out of pure sympathy for him. But there is another character in the series that shares a similar sentiment. Zodd. At Doldrey, him throwing the sword to Guts so that he won't die to Boscogn is never really justified. Sure, maybe he did not want a potential rival to die, so that he could fight him in the future when he gets stronger, but at the same time, after SK rescues Guts from the Eclipse, Zodd is genuinely surprised that he managed to survive.
It is implied that he is using Guts. Flora asked him and he didn't answer. Silence means yes.
Zodd knows he will play a role (Griffith's trigger), he even gave him a warning.
The fight is not fair, so he gave his own to him. He just needs a weapon.
He predicted Guts to die as a sacrifice that is why he was surprised.

The way SK helps out Guts throughout the story doesn't seem all that altruistic. The way Flora ponders whether "the heart of a man" still remains within SK, and her questioning his motives for aiding Guts makes it look like Skull Knight has something planned for him.
I wouldn't be surprised if he will do a Martino move on Guts.
 

Walter

Administrator
Staff member
Perhaps I'm misunderstanding, but this second-guessing of the Skull Knight's motives strikes me as misguided. When Miura debuted SK before the Eclipse, it hinted at a larger world, unseen until that point. But without any context, as you're still learning about that world, he appears monstrous. It's natural to be skeptical of him, on guard, just like Guts was. But after you see him fight the apostles, the God Hand, rescue Guts and Casca, and learn a bit of his backstory, which establishes the motivation for his grudge — he's not really all that mysterious.

The way SK helps out Guts throughout the story doesn't seem all that altruistic. The way Flora ponders whether "the heart of a man" still remains within SK, and her questioning his motives for aiding Guts makes it look like Skull Knight has something planned for him.
Flora was essentially asking if SK was motivated to help Guts out of sympathy for his plight, or as a chess piece in his campaign against the God Hand. This is valuable insight, because she was calling into question just how cold SK had truly become. But I don't think we can (or need to) parlay that scene into insight about SK's ultimate plan for Guts, because that part should be pretty obvious, as Aaz has already said — he's an ally.

He didn't expect they were still alive when he gatecrashed.
He specifically spoke about how Guts might survive when they first met in Vol 9 — the possibility of Guts struggling on, his broken sword in hand.
 
More to it... meaning what? I mean, saving Rickert isn't just about him finding elf dust. His survival has had deep ramifications and we haven't seen the end of it.
That's exactly what I was meaning to say.

I don't think that contradicts what I said.
It doesn't. I just worded my first post rather poorly, hence the misunderstanding.

Simple: he's recruiting allies in his fight against the God Hand.
Flora was essentially asking if SK was motivated to help Guts out of sympathy for his plight, or as a chess piece in his campaign against the God Hand. This is valuable insight, because she was calling into question just how cold SK had truly become. But I don't think we can (or need to) parlay that scene into insight about SK's ultimate plan for Guts, because that part should be pretty obvious, as Aaz has already said — he's an ally.
Yes, that's a pretty viable explanation that went completely over my head :troll:

Perhaps I'm misunderstanding, but this second-guessing of the Skull Knight's motives strikes me as misguided. When Miura debuted SK before the Eclipse, it hinted at a larger world, unseen until that point. But without any context, as you're still learning about that world, he appears monstrous. It's natural to be skeptical of him, on guard, just like Guts was. But after you see him fight the apostles, the God Hand, rescue Guts and Casca, and learn a bit of his backstory, which establishes the motivation for his grudge — he's not really all that mysterious.
Based on his knowledge of what was yet to come, I assumed that his "foresight" reached much further. Since he seems to know much more than he lets on, I started wondering whether he has some sort of intricate plan that he's been weaving since the first Eclipse. I probably just overestimated hell out of his abilities.

Thanks for clarifying all the stuff that slipped my mind.
 
Silence means yes.
You must have a lot of sexual assault charges :ganishka:

but jokes aside, silence can mean a myriad of things. Maybe skullknight doesn't know himself, maybe SK doesn't really feel like talking about the morality of things he's doing since he's "lived" so long he's like an extra old person with no time for that shit, maybe he doesn't want to hear himself say that he does care what happens to this swordsman that reminds him of himself. I dunno man lots of stuff can be implied or not implied with silence
 
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