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For the new Band of the Falcon, see Band of the Falcon (Reborn).

The Band of the Falcon[3] is a mercenary group founded by the White Falcon Griffith. They play a crucial role in several battles during the Hundred-Year War, most notably in retaking the Tudor-held fortress of Doldrey for Midland, thus ending the century-long conflict.[4] For their efforts, the band is elevated as the White Phoenix Knights and its commanders are granted nobility.[2]

After Guts departs from the band and Griffith, in a moment of weakness, sleeps with Princess Charlotte,[5] the mercenary leader is captured and tortured under the orders of the king of Midland. The band members are then rounded up and pursued by Midland's army.[6] Over the course of a year, the band's numbers decrease drastically, and Casca takes the reins of leadership in Griffith's absence.[7] Hearing of his former comrades' plight, Guts returns and helps the band rescue Griffith. However, physically ruined and demoralized from his year-long torture, Griffith activates his Crimson Beherit, initiates the Eclipse, and sacrifices the Band of the Falcon to be reborn as the God Hand member Femto.[8] While Guts, Casca, and Rickert survive, most of the members are devoured by apostles, leading to the informal disbandment of the Band of the Falcon.

Background

The Band of the Falcon was originally a modest gathering of thieves drawn to the charismatic and militarily gifted Griffith.[9] Its initial principal members included the former coal miner Pippin, the gifted circus performer-turned-soldier Judeau, the former thieves gang leader Corkus, and later, a village girl named Casca.[10]

Story

Meeting Guts

During their defense of a fortress, the band witnesses the defeat of Bazuso by a young swordsman named Guts. Impressed by the swordsman's triumph, Griffith challenges Guts to a duel, defeats him, and formally inducts him into the Band of the Falcon.[11] Guts eventually becomes the band's raiders captain, a position he holds for over three years, during which time the band gains fame as the "Grim Reapers of the Battlefield".[1]

Hundred-Year War

Manga E350 Victorious Falcons

With the band's successful recapture of Doldrey, the Hundred-Year War is brought to an end.

Their reputed strength impresses the king of Midland, who enlists them in Midland's Hundred-Year War against the Tudor Empire. During this campaign, the band succeeds in reclaiming the fortress of Doldrey for Midland, bringing an end to the century-long conflict.[4] For their efforts, the king formally grants the Band of the Falcon's commanders nobility; Griffith is elevated to the rank of White Phoenix General, and the band is knighted as Midland's White Phoenix Knights.[2] However, their peerage is short-lived. While Griffith's assassination plot allows him to eliminate his political enemies, including the queen, his first defeat at Guts' hands, followed by the swordsman's immediate departure, causes him to sink into depression and impulsively bed Princess Charlotte.[5] This act, deemed treasonous, results in Griffith's imprisonment and subsequent torture under the orders of the king, as well as the exiling of the band.[6]


Rescuing Griffith

Manga E70 Somber BotF

Though successful in their rescue of Griffith, the band is forced to accept that the White Falcon will never fly again.

With their leader imprisoned and their numbers reduced to less than a fifth in a single year, the band members find themselves on the verge of collapse despite Casca's impressive leadership.[7] Only when Guts returns is the band's morale restored, spurring the creation of the Griffith Rescue Squad and their infiltration of Wyndham.[12] However, by the time they rescue Griffith from the Tower of Rebirth, he has been tortured to the point of being inarticulate and completely handicapped.[13] To make matters worse, the apostle Wyald and his Black Dog Knights begin to pursue the band, having been sent by the king of Midland to eliminate them once all other attempts to do so had failed. They manage to defeat the forces, but with Griffith physically ruined, the mercenaries are unable to rejoice and forced to come to terms with the fall of their once glorious leader.[14]

Eclipse

Manga E79 Feast

The sacrificed band members are feasted on by ravenous apostles.

After escaping from the rest of the band in an unattended horse-drawn carriage, a tormented Griffith activates his Crimson Beherit and invokes the Eclipse, summoning the God Hand. During the event, Griffith sacrifices the members of the Band of the Falcon to be reborn as the God Hand member Femto.[8] A brutal slaughter ensues, with nearly all of the band's members being devoured by a host of demons.[15] Only Guts and Casca survive the bloodbath, though their suffering is prolonged by Femto's rape of Casca. This results in Casca's mental regression and the mutation of her and Guts' unborn child by Femto's evil essence. With every member of the Band of the Falcon dead — excluding Guts, Casca, and Rickert, who was not present for the Eclipse — the band is informally disbanded.

Legacy

Manga E130 Hill of Swords

The Hill of Swords, crafted by Rickert in honor of his fallen comrades.

Torn by his status as a survivor, Rickert pays his respects to his fallen comrades by crafting the Hill of Swords in their memory.[16]

The legendary exploits of the original Band of the Falcon remain vidid in the minds of many Midlanders. After Femto is incarnated in the form of Griffith and, with his new apostle servants, begins liberating Midland from Kushan occupation, numerous Midlanders ask him to name his growing liberation army after the original Band of the Falcon.[17]

Members

Notes

  • The band's name is inspired by the Millennium Falcon in Star Wars. However, the name "Band of the Hawk" has been popularized by outlets which translate "Falcon" as "Hawk", both meaning 鷹 in Japanese.[3]
    • Furthermore, for the Millennium Falcon Arc (千年帝国の鷹篇), Miura clarified in furigana that by 鷹, he meant ファルコン (Farukon, "Falcon").
  • Kentarou Miura based the members of the Band of the Falcon peripheral to Guts, Griffith, and Casca on his high school manga friends.[18]

References

  1. ^ a b Berserk :: Volume 5, "Nosferatu Zodd (1)"
  2. ^ a b c d Berserk :: Volume 8, "Moment of Glory"
  3. ^ a b Walter Bennet (sender), Puella (translator). "Writing Miura". "'Falcon' or 'Hawk', both mean [鷹] in Japanese. In some dictionaries, 'Falcon' is translated as [隼(はやぶさ)], but there's almost no difference. I used 'Falcon' from the great name of the 'Millennium Falcon' ship in Star Wars." SkullKnight.net.
  4. ^ a b Berserk :: Volume 8, "Battle to Capture Doldrey (6)"
  5. ^ a b Berserk :: Volume 9, "Beginning of the Endless Night"
  6. ^ a b Berserk :: Volume 9, "Demise of a Dream"
  7. ^ a b Berserk :: Volume 9, "Fugitives"
  8. ^ a b Berserk :: Volume 12, "Parting"
  9. ^ Berserk :: Volume 5, "Golden Age (8)"
  10. ^ Berserk :: Volume 6, "Casca (2)"
  11. ^ Berserk :: Volume 4, "Golden Age (6)"
  12. ^ Berserk :: Volume 10, "Infiltration of Wyndham (1)"
  13. ^ Berserk :: Volume 10, "Reunion in the Abyss"
  14. ^ Berserk :: Volume 12, "Requiem of the Wind"
  15. ^ Berserk :: Volume 12, "Feast"
  16. ^ Berserk :: Volume 17, "Feeble Flame"
  17. ^ Berserk :: Volume 23, "Flag of the Flying Sword"
  18. ^ Berserk Official Guidebook
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