Speculations on the proto-God Hand in episode 362


Foolish king
In one of (perhaps?) the most important episodes of the series - 362 - we get a look at what presumably is the first / original God Hand.


But, actually, apart from this image... very little is known. There are a lot of interesting discussions in the official episode 362 thread, but I wanted to focus on the God Hand in particular. Since we lack solid elements to have concrete ideas relatively to this group of entities and the specifics surrounding their birth, I think discussing and comparing ideas could produce some interesting opinions. :rakshas:

What are your personal theories and speculation(s) around those five?

I'll go with mine.

What I speculate is that before Void, there was no "God Hand". One thousand years ago... Void discovered something. Maybe a door to the Astral world, or maybe a way to get in contact with the Idea, in which a new stream of endless, inhuman knowledge illuminated his mind.
And with such knowledge, he became the Idea's agent and decided to prepare and craft - by himself - what actually is the right hand of Idea: the project of the God Hand, the presence of Idea in the Physical world.

The actuation of such project happened via a very unique ceremony, that is the one we can observe in 362, something that can I'll call "The First Incarnation" in this speculation post. A sacrifice ritual is performed, which gives birth to the first 4 members of the God Hand (+ Void, pre-existing to the ritual, ascended to a new level of existence).
Apart from Void, the first members of the God Hand are different compared to the ones of Griffith's Eclipse. But: each one of them is carrying some physical aspects that links him to the original God Hand. This makes me think that those God Hand members - and in general, every living being (even the apostles) we observe in the ritual are... prototypes, blueprints, an Idea of what they should represent. To me, the four GH members almost look like statues. Imperfect first realizations of a theoretically perfect, final concept.

What's Skull Knight's role during The First Incarnation?
We know what he presumably did: he fought until the very end. And he literally saved the world one thousand years ago - or at least, he delayed the execution of Void's and the Idea's project with his heroic gestures. It's hard to say exactly how he lost his life during this tragic encounter, but my speculation is that he was able to actually kill the four former members of the GH. They were prototypes, after all, blueprints: they weren't perfect. But all of that inhumanity was too much even for such an hero...

Void was left alone. He had ascended and could survive Skull Knight's fury, and started a slow process of rebuilding the God Hand, Eclipse after Eclipse. After all, when Griffith ascends in "his" eclipse... there's no former member, his place is empty, waiting for him. And with Femto's birth, the project execution is finally complete.

Feel free to demolish this stream of consciousness and to add yours! :void:


Staff member
Allow me to nitpick on your choice of title: we don't know that this group was called the "God Hand", and in fact no hand motif is visible during this flashback, whereas Femto's ceremony had a giant one dominating the landscape. For this reason I think it's more appropriate to think of them as a "proto-God Hand" or simply to refer to them as Void's previous posse.

As for my thoughts on the matter, I'll just paste what I wrote in the thread at the time:

This episode has given us a first glimpse at the fall of Gaiseric and his empire. It doesn't actually reveal much, but the few elements we get are all extremely significant. I've already laid out a good deal of possibilities in the thread, but I wanted to try and explore all plausible scenarios in depth.


The most obvious place to start is with Void's four buddies. One's immediate assumption would be that they were the previous God Hand. But were they? I think there's no doubt that they were at least beings of the same magnitude. Not just apostles as I've seen a few people mention, but otherworldly creatures with immense power. The uncertainty is more about whether the God Hand as we know it was already fully established. To be clear: was this the early days of the group, or had it been established centuries (if not millennia) ago?

This is a very important point because it recasts the whole story in a different light depending on which is the case. Our current assumption thus far has been that Femto's birth marked the beginning of dire times. With him, the God Hand was complete and their plans could finally proceed forward. And indeed they have. Once Femto was incarnated into the corporeal world, he promptly succeeded in unleashing the Blast of the Astral World, merging the worlds once more and gathering most if not all of mankind under his wing. And he's showing no signs of slowing down, with the creation of a "second empire" already underway. So while we don't yet know what the God Hand's true end-goal is, there's been no doubt that we've been moving towards it at a fast pace.

My perception has always been that the God Hand were aiming for a final, total, and permanent victory. Not merely reaching a goal that would then hit a reset button, but obtaining absolute control over mankind and the world. The notion of a cycle for them goes against that idea, unless the current God Hand is meant to be the final one. The idea of a cycle of God Hands in itself isn't new, and was already being considered over a decade ago. It surmises that every thousand years or so, the God Hand will do something and in that process, four of them die. Only the newest member remains alive. Over the centuries, a new team is built and the cycle repeats. Usually, the dramatic event that causes the renewal is imagined to be a giant sacrifice. I've always found that to be a lazy idea and I still do. Sacrifices are never made for no reason in Berserk. A sacrifice is offered in exchange for power.

So the question is what do they obtain by it? What's the point? And why would beings of such immense power willingly forfeit their own life in order to achieve that goal? What becomes of them afterwards? Do they just join the Vortex of Souls? Not a very alluring prospect. Anyway, going along with the idea, they could choose to "melt down" so that they could suffuse humanity's collective consciousness with their essence, corrupting it more and more as a whole over the ages. That's not very convincing though because members of the God Hand already do that while being alive. Their disappearance could also have served to strengthen the might of the Idea of Evil, or the grasp of the principle of causality over the world, but again, presumably in that scenario these things would already be deeply established and it's not clear how creating then destroying them would do anything.

It could be that each subsequent cycle turns the tide more and more in their favor, but that is again hard to justify in the context of what we know. Pragmatically, it's more interesting to witness the turn of the tide as it happens than the distant result of it, which is why it makes more sense in almost every respect for the current God Hand to be uniquely important (with a focus on Femto) rather than for it to merely be the latest iteration in a long line. Another thing to consider is Void's place within that group. For as long as we've known, Void has been the leader of the God Hand. He leads the ceremonies, he casts the Brand. He's effectively the boss (and not Femto, despite his own very special status).

But was Void ever the new guy? In the flashback we see in this episode, has he just been reborn as a member of the God Hand? This is another pivotal element. The previous speculation I leaned towards was that Void was the original member of the God Hand, the one that had started it all. That made him suitably important to the story, despite not being the main antagonist. A mysterious villain, seldom seen, but whose influence shapes almost everything in the story. The favored emissary of the God created by Man. It's a more compelling notion than him being simply the previous cycle's standard-bearer, a duty he is about to hand over to Femto as he will cease to exist. This brings us back to our first question: were these guys even the God Hand? And my answer is that, for all intents and purposes, they were. They might have had that name or they might not, but there were five of them, they were a team, and they had a nefarious plan. It fits the bill.

Now, some quick remarks on their designs. I've seen some people say their overall look doesn't match that the current members of the God Hand, and I partially disagree. They're certainly different, and a bit more grotesque, but that's not that surprising given that they had to be uniquely different from the Slan, Ubik, Conrad and Femto while still being visually striking. That said, I think the two on the right have a distinct "God Hand" look, with the black material and strange motifs making up their bodies. Notice the neck of the one on the right, similar to Ubik's lower body. The one with the vertical mouth has an interesting design for its ribcage as it kind of forms a face, with a sort of squinting eyes and gaping mouth. Overall a very interesting design, not to mention the lack of pelvic girdle coupled with that "mouth" up there.

The two on the left are a bit more unusual. The small one has a mask for a face, frozen in a scream of sorts. Empty eyes and empty mouth. He has a collar very similar in style to Void's. It's small and has tentacle-like arms and legs, with a novel criss-crossing pattern for its skin. The one on the far left stands out the most to me, first and foremost because he is of a lighter color. Beyond that, his "abs" are reminiscent of the circles that adorn Conrad's back, but his "wings" or "arms" and lower body have a unique look to them, and his crystalline face is also very unique and distinctive, making him stand out even among his own group. It's easy, based on that alone, to wonder if he had a special status among them, but it's impossible to know at this point.

One may also more generally wonder if they had roughly similar "roles" or domains as the current members of the God Hand. It could be, although that is, again, difficult to say at this point. That might go against the notion of them doing whatever they want as individuals.


I've explored above the idea that this group was just the previous God Hand in a long repeating cycle of them, and I've expressed my reservations about that idea. Another scenario is that they formed the first God Hand, or at least the first group of that kind. Void could still have been their leader, and even maybe the first to transcend his humanity. They could even have all been reborn at once, or in short succession. Why all five members created at once? Well, maybe it made sense to form a full group right away to achieve their objective rather than spread it out over a millennium. I mean, when you see it like that, it makes sense. The current God Hand had to do things differently because it was constrained in what it could and couldn't do.

Anyway, I'm going to do some deep speculation here for the sake of the discussion. Keep in mind Miura could take things in a very different direction. Gaiseric was a prodigious warrior and leader of men. Early in his life, he met a brilliant man, well-versed in strategy, politics and likely science and magic. Since we're speculating, let's go all the way and call that guy Gaspar (ガスパール). With his help and that of many others, Gaiseric conquered all of the human tribes on the continent, eventually unifying them under his banner as one giant empire. What was his goal? We don't know. Maybe to carve out a place in the world where humans could thrive in peace. Maybe simply to end the endless warring among humans. Either way, these two men eventually came to a disagreement. Likely regarding the course of action they each wanted for the empire.

Maybe Gaiseric had a change of heart. For example after sailing out to the island of Skellig and meeting with the sovereign of the elves. Maybe he realized the error of his ways in wanting a world just for humans. Maybe he realized the means he had been using to reach his ends were wrong. Or maybe he had left the management of the empire and the construction of his city up to his trusted right hand man while he went to war to finish unifying the empire, and was dismayed at what he found when he returned. There's a myriad possibilities here, including that of a failed coup d'état, but they all end the same way: Gaiseric felt betrayed. Yet he couldn't resolve himself to kill that man who he had been so close to, so he exiled him instead to a place we know as the Temple of Saint Albion. Side note: Maybe I should name him Albion instead, huh? It is, after all, well-known to be perfidious (no offense to our UK friends

Anyway, here is where various scenarios split up. Here's a few:

First hypothesis: Neither the God Hand nor beherits existed before Void. As a man, he was an exceptionally gifted magic user. Upon being imprisoned, he reached out in his body of light and went deep into the astral world, deeper than anyone ever had. There he met the Idea of Evil, and was reborn. As Void, he reaches out to his former supporters/disciples within the empire and sets things up for a great sacrificial ceremony. During that massive ceremony, the entire capital city gets branded, including Gaiseric and his woman, and Void's four disciples are reborn as well. They intend to rule the world on a whole other level.

Second hypothesis: Neither the God Hand nor beherits existed before Void. As a man, he was a twisted magic user. He experiments on humans and astral creatures. Not unlike the kind of things Daiba and Ganishka did. In that process, he creates the brand. He also discovers a curious stone: the crimson beherit. Maybe he offers it to Gaiseric, earning it the name of "Egg of the King"... But upon being exiled, the beherit makes his way back to him (perhaps is even handed back!), his despair activates it, and he casts the brand on Gaiseric and the woman. As Void, he reaches out to his former supporters within the empire and sets things up for a great sacrificial ceremony. During that massive ceremony, the entire capital city gets branded, including Gaiseric and his woman, and Void's four disciples are reborn.

Third hypothesis: Neither the God Hand nor beherits existed before Void. As a man, he was maybe an experimental magic user and/or the leader of a religious cult. All his life, he has felt the influence of God everywhere he looked. He sees a pattern of causes and effects. During his exile, he has a revelation that confers him the means to escape. He rejoins the capital city and sets up a gigantic sacrificial ceremony, during which he and his four acolytes are reborn as the God Hand.

Fourth hypothesis: A version of the God Hand already existed, as did beherits. As a man, maybe Void is the leader of a religious cult with dangerous undertones. He wants to lead mankind to glory, to lead them to the true path of God. Maybe a variation of the Brand is the symbol of that cult. He comes across the crimson beherit during his lifetime. Upon being exiled, he activates it. He sacrifices Gaiseric and the woman, both of whom were very dear to his heart. Some time later, he presides over a massive sacrificial ceremony that destroys the empire. We don't know its goal, nor what came out of it. This hypothesis has the downsides that we don't bear witness to the creation of the first beherit, nor do we learn how the God Hand came to be, since they existed before all of this.

None of these are perfect, they all have more or less big gaps and flaws, but I think they're useful as a starting point to try and determine the least unlikely chain of events. However to do that we also need to pay close attention to the actual scenes we are shown in episode 362.


Looking at the flashback scene, it quickly becomes apparent that Gaiseric witnessed a unique event, one of a kind we have never quite seen before. It immediately evokes an Occultation ceremony, with the Vortex of Souls playing the role of the "Black Sun" and the half-tentacle, half-snake monstrosities forming a grotesque hallway of sorts. But there is no hand, merely a pedestal for the group (the... God Band? God Bunch?). Because of the Vortex in the background, it's hard to also not be reminded of the ceremony in volume 3, when the Slug Count's despair awakens the beherit and brings him, alongside Theresia, Guts and Puck, to the God Hand's lair. There are some major differences though.

During the Count's ceremony, we see the God Hand arrive their separate way, and start to leave each on their own at the end after the Count is taken away. They remain each on their side, as if to signify that they are coming together for that ceremony, but otherwise may be dwelling elsewhere. In episode 362, they all stand together, there is no apostle candidate that we can see (nor someone to offer as a sacrifice), and there are underlings creeping about that attack Gaiseric on sight. It's consistent with an Occultation ceremony. Not to mention that getting into an apostle's ceremony like Guts did is a real stroke of (bad) luck. In every respect, the sensible conclusion is that this was a major ceremony. But what kind exactly?

Was this the birth of Void as an agent of the Idea of Evil? Was Gaiseric there because he was offered as a sacrifice? And was he really alone there? These interrogations bring us back to whether or not a God Hand existed before Void. This can't be definitively answered at the moment. I will point out that the slithering hellscape (this is a made-up name, in no way official) looks and feels very different from the ceremonies we've seen until now. Interestingly enough, I feel like it would be very well-suited to Slan, but she wasn't part of the picture so it's a mere coincidence. It's completely different from the Escherian dimensions we see in volumes 3 and 10. It does however feel like an appropriately eldritch equivalent to the sea of faces that serves as the scenery for Griffith's ceremony.

One might remark that it's a lot less expansive, looking more like a ballroom or a large hallway, with the tentacles even forming the beginning of a ceiling. An explanation for this might be the place the event began in and who it was about. In Griffith's case, the beherit was activated in a lake surrounded by plains and hills. The faces on the ground and in the sky can be seen as a reflection of the "mountain of corpses" he has had to pile to get to that point, although this is merely an interpretation and not explicitly stated. In the slithering hellscape's case, maybe the event started in Gaiseric's throne room, hence why it holds that shape. And maybe the tentacles are thematically relevant to some detail we don't know yet... or maybe they're just horrifyingly cool. It's worth noting that there's different types of these appendages: some with scales, some more fleshly, some looking like vertebrae, some with suckers, some with eyes...

Like I said, my main assumption right now is that this was a ceremony. There is only one conceivable alternative to me, which is that Gaiseric forced his way to these beings' lair to confront them. How he would have done so is a mystery. Presumably with some heavy magical assistance, although he would have somehow ended up there alone. His motivation for doing so, other than revenge for them having previously wronged him (for example by offering him as a sacrifice), could have been to try to stop them from enacting some evil plan. A plan that could have involved, say, the destruction of his capital city. In this context, the scenery being different from the Escherian architecture we've seen before could be explained by the fact Void wasn't the leader of the God Hand at the time. A different style for a different time. However Void is literally front and center in those scenes, which goes against this notion. Besides there's no reason to assume those representations are tied to Void specifically.


Back to what kind of ceremony are we seeing here. Occultation? Incarnation? Presumably this happened a thousand years ago. And a thousand years later Femto was incarnated. When Gaiseric holds his woman in his arms, we see a Brand burning in the background, just like it did during Femto's incarnation. Case closed then? Well, except we do start up with that shot of the God Bros in their tentacle room. This is a major conflict for our interpretation of events, but one that might not be so hard to go around. Like I mentioned earlier, that ceremony looks very unique. There's no solar eclipse to speak of, no black sun. If we think this was before the current cycle of Occultation ceremony was created, before the God Hand was we know it came to be, then we're freed from having to reconcile two types of events.

This is supported by what we're told about this flashback, that it shows the death of Gaiseric. It wouldn't make much sense for that to be split between two different events. It's got to be two moments within the same event: when he faced his enemies, and when he died afterwards, holding his dead love and watching his city burn. As an aside, this is also supported by the timeline of Eclipse ceremonies as we know it. They are said to occur every 216 years. This has long puzzled people trying to figure out what happened a thousand years ago based on Charlotte's tale from volume 10. The reason is this:

1080 years ago = 6th member
864 years ago = 5th member
648 years ago = 4th member
432 years ago = 3rd member
216 years ago = 2nd member
0 years ago = Femto is born.

It doesn't fit with the idea that something occurred specifically a thousand years ago. But here's what's great: it doesn't necessarily have to fit. Because the Occultation ceremonies as we know them, involving a solar eclipse, may have come to be after that time. Like I said earlier in the thread, they may even be distant reflections of a long past event. Imitations of the original one, which could be the one we're seeing here. This reinforces the possibility that this unique event, of an incredible magnitude, was either linked to the rebirth of Void or the formation of that entire group.

Because there are problems with the idea that an incarnation occurred a thousand years ago. We see Gaiseric facing off against the non-incarnated group deep in the astral world. Assuming he died before one of them was incarnated, one wonders how come there is even a story. The bad guys should have decisively won already. The alternative is that he then proceeded to defeat them as the Skull Knight, but then why hasn't he been able to reiterate that exploit since? The more plausible explanation is that thwarting their plans took an immense amount of effort and resources and was as devastating to the good guys as it was to the bad guys. This likely involved, of course, the separation of the astral and corporeal worlds by magic users. This is another element that goes against the idea of an incarnation. Why would one be needed if the worlds were already merged? There may have been benefits to having a corporeal body that we don't know of, but all of what Griffith has done so far was already in place (with some fundamental differences of course).

There are still conflicting elements. One is that the capital city gets branded and destroyed, as do its citizens according to what we see at the bottom of the Tower of Rebirth in volume 10, yet Gaiseric faces the God Hand in the astral world. That's not impossible to reconcile, as he could for example have been brought there with them after/during their rebirth, and when he failed to destroy them was cast back to the corporeal world. But that's inconsistent with how things are usually done. Another is the fact we're told a wise man was once imprisoned in Saint Albion by Gaiseric. It's assumed that man was Void. I speculated earlier about possibilities for both events to have occurred, but none makes perfect sense. And a third is the fact Gaiseric was wearing the Berserk's armor when he faced the God Band. Did he have the armor made specifically for that purpose? Or had he already been wearing it for years by then?

There are remaining unknowns here that make for many different possible scenarios, and it will be very difficult to figure them out without more details from Miura.


In the first two-page spread we see in the episode, some things appear to be lurking in the gaps underneath the slithering hellscape. They seem to be the creatures we see crawling out of the gaps in the next two-page spread, creatures who resemble apostles while at the same time having a different vibe to them. They seem covered in fur, and their designs are less varied than the modern apostles we know of. Several of them are almost identical to one another. They also look more primal, like beings of another age. A most appropriate look, although the question remains: are they actually apostles?

In order for so many apostles to have existed at the time, a God Hand or the equivalent would need to have been active for many years. There would also need to have been beherits in circulation and the associated sacrificial ceremonies. So this is again tied to whether or not a functional God Hand existed before Void did. Note that I'm assuming Void lived as a human during the time of Gaiseric and eventually betrayed him, becoming what he is today. It's possible in theory that he's much older and already led the God Hand when Gaiseric was born, but I won't entertain the idea in this post, since I find it weak from a storytelling perspective. I believe now more than ever that there is a deep parallel between the stories of Guts & Griffith and that of the Skull Knight & Void, which I will get it in a later section. So, back to those proto-apostles.

If they are merely the apostles of the time, created through the ceremony we're familiar with, well there's not much more to say. That's how it always been in the cycle since time immemorial. I'm not a fan of that idea as I don't find it very interesting (plus it wouldn't explain their specific design), so I'm going to discard it and focus on alternatives.

How did they come to be if not through the standard ceremony we know of? Well there's no lack of possibilities. They may have been produced through experimentation, like the way Daiba and Ganishka produced Daka and Pishacha. There's a number of ways this could have gone, for example they could be the result of magically altering astral creatures, or fusing them with humans, with evil power copiously applied either way. They could also have simply been spawned by the God Bunch. From corpses, from pools of blood... Who knows. Ganishka's minions, spawned after he trampled his armies, come to mind. As do the ogres Slan easily summoned in the Qliphoth. Another possibility is that they were a by-product of the city's sacrifice... assuming they weren't instrumental in its destruction.

Something that comes to mind is the "Pandemonium" section of Falconia. We know Falconia is a replica of Gaiseric's old city, but reshaped in the image of the Falcon. Did the Pandemonium already exist back in Gaiseric's time? Was it where Void and his disciples conducted their experiments? Was it a prison where dangerous astral creatures were kept captives? In any case, I don't believe those proto-apostles have survived until today. It feels to me like the current apostles are a new generation of underlings, maybe based on that ancient one, but more refined and powerful.

To speculate deeper, it's worth pointing out that the apostle ceremonies are quite involved and require a lot of work. The principle of causality is used to manipulate events so that a desperate human being will offer what is deepest to their heart as a sacrifice in order to receive evil power and keep on living. For that they have to acquire a beherit, a mystical stone that originates from the Idea of Evil and that has the power to open a path to where the God Hand dwells. Then, after they sacrifice, their soul is infused with evil power, which in turn twists their corporeal body into a monstrous shape. That complex procedure is made necessary by the fact the God Hand has (or more precisely had until Femto was incarnated) only a very limited access to the corporeal world. They could influence humanity's collective consciousness to some extent, or manipulate the world in small, discreet ways, but couldn't wield their full power there.

I think that fact might be an important key to help us deduce what happened in the past. For we know that the astral and corporeal worlds were split apart, and we know magic users were the agents of that separation, as they tended to parasitic Forests of Spiritual Trees that sapped the World-Spiral Tree's power. We also know one of the God Hand's objectives was to undo that effort; to merge the worlds once more. That's why Femto was incarnated into the corporeal world, why an elaborate scheme was set where Ganishka, an apostle who refused to become a mere servant, was backed into a corner and tried to absorb as much evil power as he could.... before being popped like a balloon, all that power spilling into the world.

A possibility is that the proto-apostles were mostly astral rather than corporeal creatures, and therefore that splitting the worlds apart banished them alongside dragons, hydras, trolls and the rest. How could one counter that? Well, just turn chosen humans into monsters instead. Because they have corporeal bodies, they can exist in the corporeal world regardless, and are even less sensitive to magic. That makes it impossible to mass-produce them, but if you bet on quality over quantity, and you work over a long enough period of time, the result would be nothing to sneeze at. And it is nothing to sneeze at. Besides, mass-production could actually happen now, whether it's through apostles producing pseudo-apostles or through other means. Even if the result is watered-down compared to the Demon Soldiers, it would still be a useful force. Now, this idea isn't perfect, notably because the God Hand are all about mankind and it makes sense for them to create servants out of humans the way they do now. But I find it compelling, which is why I laid it out.


I also think it would be an additional motivation for the separation of the worlds. We don't know the details of how that occurred or why, but it was undoubtedly an extremely big deal. It's not hard to imagine it being a last resort, a desperate move to avoid an even greater catastrophe. We know that Gaiseric's empire fell, and that he himself was killed. The bad guys couldn't be fully defeated. Maybe sealing them away was the best option left, even though it came at a price. Sealing both Void (as the sole survivor of the group) and the proto-apostles away. Note that this is a possibility for how the four other members of the God Bunch died. Maybe they were at work on the corporeal world, having spread themselves thin, and were wiped out during the separation. Or maybe they tried to stop it and were destroyed in the process.

Another hypothesis is that they were defeated before that by Gaiseric's allies (presumably magicians) in an all-out magic war, with Void surviving and still being so strong they had to find another way. Being killed in battle feels both like an easy conclusion and a difficult proposition, given that they were probably extremely powerful beings. It's noteworthy that we see a shot of them up close, meaning Gaiseric managed to reach them in the slithering hellscape. Because the scene cuts there, it's theoretically possible that he got them at that point, but it feels unlikely to me. I'll go as far as to say it would be amazing if he had managed to just wound one of them.

I mentioned earlier in the thread the possibility that they willingly ceased to exist in order to further an agenda greater than themselves. I find that idea extremely unlikely. I guess in that case it would have served to corrupt mankind or even the astral world as the whole, but again, I don't buy it. There's also a scenario where Void double-crossed them. In that one, they were a different group with different rules than the current God Hand. Maybe they didn't have a unified objective. Either way, I also find that to be rather unlikely. Whatever caused it, their demise is another element that will be nigh impossible to deduce without Miura first giving us more clues. What I think is clear though is that it was a dramatic event, and that the way it occurred informed the creation of the current God Hand and the way things have gone with it.

In many ways, I believe the events of a thousand years ago have shaped the story thus far. Both in terms of repeated patterns of people, relationships and events, but also in the choices and contingencies that were put in place by each side. I think this gives a renewed importance and casts a new light on our favorite concept: the principle of causality.


Throughout the story, the Skull Knight has given Guts cryptic warnings about what would come. About the Eclipse, about the Incarnation, about the fact he would not be able to both protect his lover and fight his enemies. How he has known these things is another great mystery of the series. Can he feel the flow of causality? Does he have access to an oracle? These may yet be true, but there is another, simpler explanation: he once lived through similar events. We know that there is a pattern of events repeating themselves in Berserk, what with the Eclipse ceremonies, or how Femto's incarnation mirrored the ceremony of his birth.

In volume 26, as they look down at the Berserk's armor, the Skull Knight says it must be the work of causality that such a relic would end up being worn by Guts. But Flora replies that causality is a spiral and not a circle, and that she believes Guts and the others are not bound to follow the same path she and the Skull Knight took. That they're not bound to repeat their mistakes. This was always a very significant line, it's nothing new. But I think it's important to keep it in mind as we attempt to understand what happened a thousand years ago.

We realized decades ago that there was a strange symmetry to the stories of Guts & Griffith and that of Gaiseric & Void. A conqueror and his closest friend, a betrayal and a sacrifice, one becoming a member of the God Hand while the other went on to survive against all odds and become his sworn enemy. What's interesting of course is that the roles are reversed. Gaiseric was betrayed and is the enemy of the God Hand, while Griffith did the betrayal and became Femto. Yet the similarities between the two of them don't end here, as Griffith now dwells within a replica of Gaiseric's old capital city and is in the process of creating a second empire.

Needless to say, I think this is by design and tells us a lot about the God Hand and their goals. I think it implies that they're pursuing the same objective Void and his buddies were after a thousand years ago. I think they recreated the way the world was, but in a manner that benefits their agenda, with their players in all the key places to ensure nothing can go wrong. No magic users, no serious opposition, a human population that's oblivious to what's going on, and one of them as the emperor.

But this symmetry can be extended farther than that. Griffith was imprisoned in the Tower of Rebirth in Wyndham. Void was imprisoned in the Temple of Saint Albion. Femto was incarnated in the Temple of Saint Albion. The capital city of Gaiseric was destroyed by a ritual on the scale of Femto's incarnation. I'm convinced there is more to that spiral of causality that we have yet to learn about. For example, were Gaiseric and the woman "two branded people", like Guts and Casca were during Femto's incarnation? Does that have a significance? Did the blind sheep gather there and then too, and erect a pillar of fire?

This all brings us back to the core of the series. The people at the heart of the tragedy: Guts, Griffith, Casca. Gaiseric, Void, the woman (of whom Danan seems to be a kind of reincarnation). The Skull Knight's warning to Guts that he must choose between protecting Casca and pursuing his revenge takes an all new meaning when you see that he left his own lover to fight his enemies, and she died as a result. Needless to say, I do strongly believe she was his lover and not someone else close to him. Seeing things in this light underlines how ensuring the survival and healing of Casca, which has been such a long and arduous task for Guts, may prove to be the most important thing in the story. For Guts' own redemption, for the effect that has on the Moonlight Boy (and Griffith as a result), and no doubt for other reasons we have yet to learn about.

Pushing that logic to the end brings us back to our starting point: who was Void? He was no doubt close to Gaiseric, and probably cared greatly about the empire as one of the architects of its creation. But was he also close to the woman? Was there a tale of unrequited love thrown into the mix? Maybe. One of the thoughts that crossed my mind, still on the topic of symmetry, was how Griffith sacrificed his men, the Band of the Falcon. Thinking back to the "God Band", I couldn't help but wonder if the reverse didn't take place. Gaiseric and his queen betrayed by their court, their most trusted advisors. Gaiseric might have thought himself safe with Void exiled, not knowing the others were in on it. I even started seeing clues in their designs: the military general, the court jester... Yeah, probably time to call it a day. =)

I'll conclude this overlong post with SK's lines at the end of the episode: "What you saw was the end of the foolish king. The beginning of a dead man’s endless wandering of the night." In what way(s) was he foolish, I wonder... He didn't see it coming? He thought he could win when he couldn't? He chose to fight for this empire, and lost the most precious thing he had? All of this at once? Time will tell.
I like the (baseless) idea that Void rushed his first attempt to do whatever he wants to do. He subsequently lost to SK & co. and decided
to elaborate a thousand year plan to achieve his (or the IoE's) goal. I can't remember if I read this here or not. But I definitely
read here an interesting post about this topic and about Void's origins. I believe Walter or Aazealh wrote it.


Staff member
I like the (baseless) idea that Void rushed his first attempt to do whatever he wants to do. He subsequently lost to SK & co. and decided
to elaborate a thousand year plan to achieve his (or the IoE's) goal. I can't remember if I read this here or not. But I definitely
read here an interesting post about this topic and about Void's origins. I believe Walter or Aazealh wrote it.

That sounds like my speculation, yes. Void's original attempt was thwarted, and because the corporeal and ethereal realms were split apart, he was cut off from being able to intervene too directly in the affairs of men. So he bid his time instead, and set in motion a surefire plan that would take a thousand years to come to fruition, but would also be infallible (or so he thought!).


Staff member
Per request, a few more remarks:

And with such knowledge, he became the Idea's agent and decided to prepare and craft - by himself - what actually is the right hand of Idea: the project of the God Hand, the presence of Idea in the Physical world.

The God Hand are ethereal beings though, they're not in the physical world. That's why Femto's incarnation was such a big deal.

Also, in episode 83 the God of the Abyss calls itself the "Idea of Evil". Idea is a Greek word, a reference to Plato's Theory of Forms. The Japanese word used for it in that case means "source" or "origin", as in "the source of evil in the world". Since episode 83 is not canon, it's not necessary to dwell on this too much, but my point is you can't just abbreviate the name as "Idea", it makes no sense. Should be the full name "Idea of Evil", "IoE" which I've used before, or simply "God of the Abyss".

The actuation of such project happened via a very unique ceremony, that is the one we can observe in 362, something that can I'll call "The First Incarnation" in this speculation post.

"First incarnation" is not a good word for it. Incarnation literally means "to take flesh". As in, a spiritual entity, which has no physical body, acquires one. It's used specifically to refer to Femto receiving a corporeal body in volume 21. For the birth of a new member of the God Hand, the word "rebirth" is used.

Apart from Void, the first members of the God Hand are different compared to the ones of Griffith's Eclipse. But: each one of them is carrying some physical aspects that links him to the original God Hand. This makes me think that those God Hand members - and in general, every living being (even the apostles) we observe in the ritual are... prototypes, blueprints, an Idea of what they should represent. To me, the four GH members almost look like statues. Imperfect first realizations of a theoretically perfect, final concept.

That's an interesting notion, because it evokes the concept of Platonic idealism I mentioned above. That being said, I think it's too reductive to describe them individually as mere prototypes or blueprints.
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