Why did Guts leave the Hawks?


Guts and Casca Falling off the Cliff

So wait – what does Casca has to do with anything…?!

More than you think!

Guts was faced with the fact Griffith has a dream, and the moment he understood he was out of reach for him because of his values (looking down on people who do not have a dream), he stopped trying to reach him altogether.

Instead, Guts ended up building his relationship to Casca. Maybe he (subconsciously) hoped to have her acknowledge him at the very least, given that she showed him a softer side when she was with him during the fountain speech. He later even admits he wished someone to appreciate him before he leaves the Hawks : “It didn’t matter as long as someone looked my way”.

Now Guts took his chance to do this when Casca was in a moment of weakness and helped her out by saving her from drowning and freezing after she fell off the cliff.

However, it didn’t go as he perhaps planned or hoped. When they get to talk to each other calmly, he found out why she hated him and realized there is no space for him in her life as well, given how devoted she is to Griffith.

Guts is now under the impression that he is the only one in the Hawks who has no goal in their lives. It made him feel dispensable, as if he does not belong here, as if his existence is pointless.

Realizing this filled him with incredible pain and sadness. Guts changes a lot from this moment on. Before the fountain speech his behavior was edgy, brash and confident. And now, he appears to be withdrawn (the kind where you are mourning in silence), thoughtful, even vulnerable. Most of what he is doing seems to be driven by empathy and pain, especially when he gives comfort to Casca.

During the 100-Man-Slayer-Scene, Guts attempted to cope with this pain by swinging his sword and cancelling out his thoughts, risking his well-being to keep Casca safe in the process. He is reminding Casca that she shall return to the master of her sword, Griffith, who is someone she can go back to. Because he does not have a reason to go back, he will stay and fight. He has nothing that holds him here. To him, it wouldn’t have made a difference if he died here. Why was he even alive? There would have been no purpose to his death. But at least he could ensure Casca’s safety and survival and help her achieve her own dream.

Even on first read I had the feeling that Guts was in a state of sadness or melancholy when he says those things to Casca, but I was not too sure about his reasons. After I analyzed this, I understand his position so much more.

Guts’ melancholy and willingness to die during the Golden Age is heart-breaking. At the same time it is heartwarming to know that during the Sea God chapters, he is mentioning that he does not wish to die. Then, directly after this, we see him contemplating about his boyhood, introducing the chapter Spring Flowers of Distant Days. Guts introduces this chapter by saying how back then, he didn’t care where or how he dropped dead. During this chapter, young Guts also explicitly says this.

Him contemplating this in this particular context seems like that is not the case anymore. It’s almost like Guts has regained his will to live for something else, for something other than to fight to survive. It is to be expected he is going to realize his purpose in life soon enough, and it will very likely involve Casca in one way or the other.

I believe knowing Casca’s devotion to Griffith and reasons to join the Hawks was the final straw. During the Campfire of Dreams chapter, we see how he already insinuated how he wanted to leave, he probably already thought of leaving right after the fountain speech. But how exactly Casca was involved in his decision is detailed further in another article: How Guts and Casca Grew Together (Part 1).

In the final page of this article, we examine what Guts thinks and feels right before leaving the Hawks.

6 thoughts on “Why did Guts leave the Hawks?

  1. Another great article, it changed my mind a lot. In the first place I want to point out how the hell loyal Guts is, he’s loyal to the extreme. He entered the hawks against his will but once in and even wanting to leave he stays just because they need him. He waited to leave when all the work was done and apparently he wasn’t needed anymore, the Hawks were in a good situation and all was rolling so good. No one could expect Guts leaving there could cause such a disgrace or at least I’m pretty sure Guts didn’t thought that.

    I used to be one of those who think Guts leave “just” because of the fountain speech, and I’m still pretty sure Griffith was bluffing there to princess Charlotte, but now I see how Guts had his own reasons indeed.

    I think Griffith was bluffing because I believe Griffith indeed blame himself for the whole thing, his lack of empathy and egocentrism doesn’t let him see Guts’ reasons to leave the Hawks. (Now I’m not sure if Griffith was aware of Guts listening him at the fountain, I believe at least he suspects that. I ought to reread the whole manga honestly). Once Guts leave and Griffith suspects it has something to do with his speech to Charlotte he runs to rape her, he’s making her pay the price. If he didn’t try to bluff her at the fountain Guts would have not leave.

    Your text also makes me think about how Guts resembles her inner beast and if he has a Goal yet in his life or not. I think not, he still is a loyal stray mad dog and he just want to serve someone. Now he’s serving “his” own band but I put “his” because he’s just the big guy who chop the enemy into pieces, he’s not the leader of his band. In a way he still plays the same role he played in the Hawks, the role he plays the best in fact.

    I mean it’s kinda weird, the band exist because of Guts, all of them are there following him and admiring his might and that makes his ties to all his companions much more solid but it’s hard to me to say Guts it’s the leader. For instances in the battle against the trolls it was Schirke who was in command, that was magic lol.

    In the Hawks he felt also needed but not in the same fashion, the band was still Griffith’s band and all the Hawks would put Griffith above him, now his responsibility is much bigger, he can not die, he must live, not for him but for his beloved ones.

    It’s poetic, Griffith made a band to pursue his own dream, Guts it’s making a band to help others pursuing their own dreams.

    Since I believe Skull Knight was a person much like Griffith, who has his own dreams and big goals, he doesn’t understand Guts will be fine whatever Casca’s decision is.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for the insightful comment!

      Honestly Guts’ loyalty is admirable but also his greatest weakness. He gets attached to people and losing those he values affects him a lot. E.g. see the Eclipse, or see how hard he struggles to keep his current companions.

      I personally think there was some truth to what Griffith said to Charlotte during the fountain speech, but I also think it probably was also bluffing in part. I want to believe Griffith didn’t care too much about someone having a dream to be his friend in reality, because obviously, Guts was very important to him. Towards the end of the Golden Age, he actually did see him as friend (Zodd kind of implies it in his warning to Guts when they first meet: “If this man considers you a friend, death awaits you”, paraphrased)

      Griffith actually did know! Remember how he eavesdropped Guts and Casca’s conversation when he was resting in the carriage after he was rescued? Casca did mention the fountain speech there and how Guts had to leave because of this. I think knowing that it was him that made Guts leave just because he was trying to impress the Princess actually made him run away in the carriage in volume 12. He couldn’t bear it was his own fault, so he just tried to focus on his dream in despair.

      Yes, it is entirely correct that Guts flourishes most when he can serve others. He finds values in people instead and making them happy, or at the very least, giving them comfort. I think Guts is capable of leading, but his lead is different: I think it’s more like a leading on a deep, “spiritual”-level, pushing those he values closer to their true purpose in life. Through him, people find out who they really are and what truly matters to them.

      Like

    1. Hello Abiola, there are different pages on this article. You can browse through them clicking the page numbers on the bottom of the article.

      Like

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