Helping a dream you’re not part of – Battle of Doldrey
Before the Battle of Doldrey, we see Guts reassuring Casca telling her the battle will be won with Griffith’s tactical genius. During the battle, Casca gets hurt by Adon, who attempted to capture her alive by shooting her with a poisoned arrow. Barely able to walk, Casca remains alone resting against the walls of Doldrey. Guts joins her. When Casca reveals her hurt over the distance to Griffith, we see Guts carrying her to Griffith and by doing so, he still made sure Casca’s dream of being close to Griffith was also not forgotten. Despite of having already departed in his heart, Guts was not only helping Griffith during the Battle of Doldrey.
Before the Battle of Doldrey, we see Guts and Casca hang out with some of the Hawks, where they discuss the Castle of Doldrey. Casca seems quiet, so Guts is asking her if anything’s wrong (because he’s an observant dummy).
Note how Guts is telling her she should not worry about it because he wants to calm her down. Here we get a glimpse of how the tone of their interactions changed completely.
Then she brings up the possibility of Griffith losing his composure in the next battle. The reason for this is Governor Gennon who had an affair with Griffith.
I believe this bit of the Manga is a good example of how Miura, as a writer, misleads his audience into thinking Griffith would make a horrible mistake, when it was Griffith who used his past affair with Gennon against him to win this battle. It was also a nice way to foreshadow Griffith’s eventual fall when Guts left the Hawks: I mean why would they so be concerned with Griffith screwing up? They both KNEW sooner or later he would break under the pressure, and he did – but for unexpected reasons (unexpected at least from Guts’ perspective).
So the battle takes place, and while Guts was fighting on the front line against Boscogne, Casca finally killed Adon and captures the castle.
There are a couple of things that I want to note about Casca before proceeding.
During the fight with Adon we see that…
- Adon constantly tries to make himself look good despite of acting like a complete clown. Casca easily sees through his nonsense. She is smart and observant.
- Casca killed Adon by herself, she didn’t need Guts to do it for her. I have always wondered why Miura didn’t let Guts do it – but I think he decided against this to show that Casca is capable to avenge herself without the help of a man. She is independent and strong.
But back to Guts and Casca dynamics! After this, we see Casca recovering from her poison arrow wound, while the Hawks are all standing on top of the wall to celebrate their victory.
After a while, the Hawks all leave, and she is alone. Note how Guts appears to meet her.
Note how he has no desire to go after Griffith. Note how he gave up on reaching Griffith in the first place and is now focusing on Casca!
He notices she is injured and asks her if something’s wrong. She says that she only suffered a scratch, but at the same time acknowledges it’s possibly more than a scratch – since she has troubles walking – and asks Guts to lend her a hand. Without saying a word he reaches out to her and she grabs his hand.
He lifts her so she could see over the walls.
Casca then sees Griffith in the distance, celebrating their triumph. The sense of distance we see in these pages is also a metaphor for the distance she actually feels. Because she is so affected by the sight she starts crying. We will figure out soon why. Guts notices this:
Casca expresses hurt over the distance, the fact Griffith is out of reach for her. While Guts gave up on reaching Griffith after the fountain speech, he does not like Casca being hurt and sad about it. Also note how Casca happens to have her arrow wound from Adon here, but it can also be taken as metaphor for emotional hurt.
But since Casca still has her dream, Guts tells her she shouldn’t just settle like this. He grabs onto Casca (maybe a bit too tightly, given her “Yow!!”) and is now carrying her in his arms. You can see how Casca’s cheeks appear to be red as he does so. She didn’t expect that.
Then Guts proceeds stating she will not get anywhere close to Griffith by sitting here and cry. He’s lending her a hand, telling her there is something he can do about it.
Because she is unable to walk on her own, he will carry her to Griffith. He’s also explicitly saying “Go to meet YOUR leader”.
Her reaction to this is interesting too. The first panel of the page that follows is her making some kind of realization or emotional reaction. I think the sparks indicate that he actually managed to warm up her heart a little. Then she looks flustered, embarrassed to the side as she agrees with him. Guts then takes off with her.
What’s also noteworthy is this: She says how she is hurt by the fact she is so far away from Griffith, which stems from a feeling of insignificance, and then Guts shows her that she is significant enough for him to make him go and carry her to the man she looks up to. What also happens is that by doing so, Guts low-key acknowledges Griffith and Casca belong together.
Basically he friend-zoned himself – yet he still is supportive and is at her service if she needs him. Can we just… take a moment and appreciate this? Like the dude respects her SO MUCH he puts her needs above his own. For banana’s sake, this boi is too pure and too good for this world.
What I also find noteworthy is the fact Guts WILL be kind towards you if you let him, e.g. by being honest and straightforward with who you are and what you feel.