during the Birth scene (Tower of Conviction)
Farnese was drawn to father Mozgus because she saw a fatherly figure in him. She got to know some of his convictions and faith. Later, she would follow Guts for similar reasons.
When a group of refugees attempt to steal food (“offerings”) from a carriage for the monastery, Farnese witnessed Mozgus mercifulness but it comes with a price. The woman, who accompanied the other refugees on their raid for food, helped them because her child was starving. Because of this, she was still taken away by Mozgus to pay for her sins.
While Mozgus appeared to detest thieves, rapists, murderers and heretics (and seems to have some moral code doing so), he also was just as cruel as them. How the hell do you cure that mother’s baby, just to have her get tortured like that?
Farnese is deeply disturbed and can’t even look at the horrible things that are done to these people. It only takes Miura a couple of panels to show how bat-shit insane Mozgus actually is:
Your love and your courage, which led you to violate the law while trying to save your child should be extolled… but SIN is SIN!
“Entrust all into the lord’s hands, but we’ll torture you anyways for you have sinned for your child!” – Who in their right mind thinks that way!?
Farnese is visibly disturbed. Her witnessing these atrocities also leaves her conflicted about what she is doing. Seeing the horrors in the torture chambers and the suffering in the world around her being as sheltered as she is, she is beginning to question whether what she is doing is right and sound. This is also different from “just” burning people at the stake. She is witnessing torture, suffering, hunger and despair, that takes the whole thing to another level. It doesn’t seem right to her causing more misery than there already is. Here, the refugees were starving, needed food and thus raided the carriages – yet, they were still being punished and tortured for having basic human needs.
The image of a toddler that starved to death she sees later again seems to affect her greatly.
In this scene, Jerome is calling Farnese out, saying she wants to score points with father Mozgus and further because she somewhere down the line is perhaps interested in him as partner: “or maybe it’s her woman’s heart…” Farnese does nothing at this, except grinding her teeth. Her major character flaw, namely being unable to stand up for herself (to confront bullshit and the like) is showing through. At the same time it’s understandable, given her state of mind.
Note how the same guy who is paying hookers to have sex with him (Luca) insinuates that Farnese is after for Mozgus for the same or a similar reason. I am currently exploding from the irony of this – I’m glad Luca ditched his sorry ass. Also note how Adon teased Casca for similar reasons back in the Golden Age.
Then we see how Serpico enters and defuses the situation by (purposefully) dropping a bowl of soup on the table.
After this we see Farnese reaching out to Mozgus because of her doubts. When she later on joins Guts’ party, she would do this with Guts, too.
Before she reaches Mozgus, she talks to one of his henchmen. In this conversation, we see that even Mozgus somewhere tried to do good by giving outcasts a place to call home and a task or purpose. Note the similarities to Guts’ party that would form later.
Mozgus appears to use the pain of his henchmen, being outcasts of society, to inflict even more pain to those he tortures in God’s name. Probably also the reason why you see Mozgus inflicting pain on himself directly after this with his prayer ritual (an expression of self-hate, perhaps?). That creates an interesting parallel to Farnese back in volume 17, where she whiplashes herself. It’s almost like “hurt people hurt people”.
When Farnese eventually confronts Mozgus with her doubts, she is being very reasonable here, for she has started to think for herself. She wonders whether bringing more misery and pain to those in need doesn’t make the situation worse than it already is.
I also like how self-aware she is by “allowing” Mozgus to laugh at her inexperience – we know Guts laughed at her when he was her prisoner. She may have repressed feelings (just like our boy Guts), but at least she has self-awareness.
Mozgus casts away her critical thinking with a story.
What Mozgus’ essentially is saying here is that he does not know whether they are actually helping humanity or not with their cruelty, but instead shall trust themselves to the grand scheming of God. What a sick and twisted view.
What Mozgus states here is also interesting given that the concept of “God” is connected to the God Hand or the Idea of Evil, the latter being a self-made God.
This is a reoccurring theme by the way – I remember Silat making a comment about this exact topic.
Mozgus steers into authoritarian territory with the argument he makes. Do not question the plan of God and do not shy away to commit atrocities in his name – you don’t understand the grand scheme of things anyway.
Honestly? It’s because of people with attitudes like this why the Idea of Evil is thriving.
His advice is also very interesting because I do not think the essence of it is bad: To have FAITH is actually a good thing. Being German, there is a word for this particular thing, “Zuversicht”, which describes confidence that things will turn out okay, like “lean back and let God/the universe/whatever deity you believe in do the rest”. In itself that is good advice, but this only works if you show self-initiative, take opportunities when you see them, try to do the right thing for you and the people around you, attempt to invoke positive change, keep improving yourself and do your best – but not when you’re trapped in the darkness, being scared of taking matters into your own hands or commit atrocities because you couldn’t care less since it’s God’s will anyway
(bitch, are you even trying?). How Mozgus is trying to twist this is really disturbing.
Farnese is eating it all up and finds comfort in it, too.
Soon enough, Guts arrives at Albion looking out for Casca. The news of his arrival spreads rather quickly given the commotion he caused. Farnese is absolutely terrified.
Because Nina ran off with Casca, they would quickly stumble upon the cult that operates around Albion. They would capture them both and plan on making Casca, being a witch and all, mate with their leader who has a goat-like appearance.
In the heretic’s cave, when the demon infant summoned evil spirits to protect Casca, the possessed heretics end up attacking the Iron Chain Knights. We see how Farnese is reacting much better in times of chaos: She is actually commanding her men here. The experience she made when Guts took her hostage really paid off.
After the events in the heretics’ cave Farnese and her Iron Chain Knights manage to capture Casca. Farnese brings her to Mozgus, who intends to “examine” her by placing her into an Iron Maiden due to her (perceived) affiliation with the heretics.
Somehow, it appears like Casca’s brand summoned the powers of evil spirits that save her (no sign of the demon infant here, but he will be shown later, so he indeed had his hands in this). This time, however, this created a chain reaction, because the torture chambers were filled with negative energy (pain, hate, agony, despair…), magnifying the strength of the summoned spirits. They only grew larger and larger. Casca was swallowed up, but survived, while others were dissolved completely by this mass.
The fact we have two branded people in the same location possibly also played a role in this – Puck makes note of this later a couple of times.
As chaos ensues, Guts drags Farnese aside and threatens her, pressuring her to tell her about Casca’s whereabouts. She refuses to tell him.
She is absolutely terrified of him for a good reason and because he actually put a knife into her mouth, eventually tells him where Casca is. When he insists that she goes together with him, Farnese is scared crazy and refuses, since she has seen what is inside (the blob of evil spirits). Then Guts hits the marble statue behind her with his iron fist as way to intimidate her further – and apologizes for being so scary (where have we seen this before…?).
When they arrive at the torture chambers, Guts finds Puck and Puck tells him what happened to Casca. He then leads him to the big spirit that swallowed her up (that big spirit was the demon infant, if you look closely at what is happening later: you see Casca inside the blob and the demon infant with her).
Even here, Farnese prefers going after Guts than to be left behind. It’s as if she knew that even how Guts is always threatening to her, he’s still less scary than those things. Reminder he also protected her from them when they first met.
During Griffith’s birth Ceremony
Let’s skip to the final fight during the birth scene where Guts faces Mozgus (who in the meantime was turned into a Pseudo-Apostle by the Egg of the World).
Guts, Farnese, Serpico, Jerome, Isidro, Casca and Nina were stuck on one of the walls around Albion. There, Guts was holding off Mozgus while the others fend off Mozgus surviving henchmen, who also were turned into Pseudo-Apostles.
Note how the masses here think Mozgus’ form is the divine power of God, but Farnese knows better…
The comparison to the normal evil spirits she has already seen (when she was taken hostage by Guts, heretic’s cave, the blob that formed inside the tower’s torture chambers) possibly made her realize that Mozgus isn’t as much of a saint as she thought he would be.
When Guts defeated Mozgus, Farnese was left lost and ruminant. Clearly, she was affected by his death.
But soon enough, Guts would reassure her instead.
Guts appears to know exactly what to do and is going against Jerome’s idea to leave for the tower. Farnese wonders how he can act this way. The answer is simple: Guts knows what despair is and tries not be overwhelmed by it – After all, he’s been through it time and time again (Zodd’s first encounter, Wyald, the eclipse, the fight with Rosine…).
As the blob of evil spirits surrounds them, Farnese gets scared and feels the need to fold her hands and pray – praying, however, would make her stop acting. Guts calls her out on that, tells her to pay attention and actually use the torch.
When the dawn finally sets in, Guts escapes the arriving Kushan army together with Casca. Farnese gets a couple of moments to herself to contemplate about what happened.
The crumbling tower is a beautiful metaphor for her crumbling faith. She also mentions how her faith was empty – something Guts has told her while she held him captive as well:
She appears to realize that her faith was merely a distraction from her fears that she had ever since childhood.
Here, she is taking her armor off and decides to follow Guts. She is also talking about an incident that made her pursue a profession as priest, which is when she set fire to the mansion as we find out later:
She realizes that because she has been in the darkness ever since childhood, it is her destiny to follow someone who has been in the darkness just like she has been: except that person is standing tall and fighting back.
Because she finds it fascinating how Guts holds his ground facing the darkness around him, she’d follow him and even call him her prophet and saint – something which Casca had thought about Griffith during the Golden Age (she almost uses the same wording, too – but the parallels between Farnese/Guts and Casca/Griffith are enough material for their own article).
Guts being able to act in a world of despair leaves a deep mark on her and as she decides following him, she hopes she would find something that will make her feel less helpless in the world.
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