You are a superb warrior. [...] But my mission lies ahead... for my master. As an apostle of the Hawk of Light... I shall finish you!!!
Grunbeld is the leader of the Band of the Falcon giants. Before he joined the band, he became famous during the Hundred-Year War, defending against Tudor's invasion with only his personal force of 3000 soldiers. His backstory is revealed in the novel Berserk: The Flame Dragon Knight.
Appearance[edit | edit source]
Grunbeld is very tall and is not often seen without his elaborate set of silver armor on which is fashioned in the shape of a dragon, the jaws of which reveal his face. Even in his human form his appearance is beastly, having sharp pointed teeth, red hair and reptilian eyes.
In his apostle form, Grunbeld is a great four-legged fire dragon covered with stalactites made of corundum, his face being shielded by a layer of the crystal.
Personality[edit | edit source]
His personality is quite unusual for an apostle, being a man of pride who talks akin to an old warrior. He is a serious man who doesn't like jokes and fooling around. He has also shown a very honorable side, which is rare for a high-ranking member of the reborn Band of the Falcon, and even rarer for an apostle: at the Mansion of the Spirit Tree he questions the orders given to him, telling Guts that it isn't honorable to attack an old woman with so many troops.
Guts calls him out on his supposed "ethics", stating that monsters shouldn't pretend to have such a thing as a warrior's code or pride. Once he realizes how formidable Guts is while in battle against him, he begins to use craftier means of fighting and transforms into his apostle form. Grunbeld congratulates Guts for winning that encounter, then states that from then on, he will carry out his duties as an Apostle to defeat him.
Abilities[edit | edit source]
Physical Abilities[edit | edit source]
Supernatural Strength/Speed: as a giant apostle Grunbeld possesses incredible strength as displayed when he tore through ranks of armored Kushan soldiers with a single swing of his hammer. He is a quick fighter with great speed, and when he transforms into his apostle form, his strength increases dramatically. However, his speed also decreases drastically as a result.
Corundum Skin: In his apostle form, Grunbeld's skin transforms into corundum, a crystalline form of aluminium oxide that is immensely durable and stronger than steel. Although it is damaged in the fight with Guts, Grunbeld does not have a scar the next time he is seen
Flame Breath: In his apostle form, Grunbeld is capable of spitting fire.
Equipment[edit | edit source]
Greathammer: In battle, Grunbeld uses a greathammer. The hammer has a flat surface for smashing opponents and decimating armor, as well as a large spike on the opposite end that can be used for grappling armor and shields, along with piercing through wooden and steel barricades.
Greatshield Cannon: In battle, he also wields a shield the size of an average human man which is sturdy enough to repel cannonball fire. The shield bears the face of a demon and is able to shoot cannon balls. Besides the ability to fire cannon balls, the shield conceals two blades which can be quickly withdrawn and utilized during a fight.
Background[edit | edit source]
Berserk: The Flame Dragon Knight[edit | edit source]
Grunbeld was born in an island nation called the Great Principality of Grant. He belonged to the declined aristocratic clan called Arcbeast. He grew up without a father, who had died in battle, and was solely raised by his prideful and ferocious mother, who always reminded him of who he was and instilled in him the notion that only by dying bravely in battle would he allowed to reach a place called Gods' Manor in the afterlife.
Because he was bigger than the other children, he was always picked on and had constant brawls with other kids. One day, he was ganged upon by multiple bullies, got beaten up badly, and was left for dead. Due to the intense pain, he was unable to move for a while. It was then that he encounterd a blind girl named Benedicte. Although Benedicte could not see, she was able to 'see' with her heart and through it, she could see what others normally could not. She told Grunbeld that he was a fire dragon incarnate. Under her assistance and guidance, he went to a well that had healing properties. Grunbeld immersed in the well and healed himself of his injuries. As he started spending time with Benedicte, he felt his heart soothe. When he left the forest, the forest and Benedicte were nowhere to be seen. The forest was later revealed to be an interstice between the fantasy world and reality.
Soon after, Grunbeld's village was invaded and occupied by military sent by Tudor. His servant was killed and his mother was raped and brutally murdered. Meanwhile, Grunbeld and other Grant children were abducted and imprisoned in Tudor's occupational fortress of Chester. There, the children were subjected to conversion education with the intent of making them faithful to Tudor, as well as military training, by a cruel, callous officer named Abecassis. In Chester, Grunbeld met Edward, the bastard son of Archduke Hokon, who was an influential aristocrat of the Great Principality of Grant intimately involved in sovereign affairs, and Sigur, a noble girl, eventually befriending them. As time passed, Grunbeld continued to resist pledging loyalty to Tudor and adopting the empire's Holy See religious doctrine. After his resistance was noticed, he was forced to duel an officer as punishment. Grunbeld emerged victorious and murdered the officer, who happened to be the same soldier who raped and killed his mother. For Grunbeld's misconduct, Sigur was punished in his stead, consequently raped and tortured.
Four years later, Grunbeld became viewed as problematic. Abecassis arranged for Grunbeld, Edward, and Sigur to fight a tiger in an old coliseum. Edward came up with a plan and asked Abecassis to hold the fight at night. They were each issued a wooden sword, and an exceptionally large war hammer was placed near the tiger cage, with Abecassis eagerly hoping for the youths to try and fail to wield the weapon in despair. The trio used torches to illuminate the arena, and Grunbeld managed to wield the war hammer. While his friends distracted the tiger with their torches, Grunbeld dropped the war hammer on the tiger and slaughtered the beast. Afterward, Grunbeld discovered a mysterious face-like white stone in the pool of the tiger's blood, taking the fetish to later fashion a bracelet with it. Just as Abecassis ordered the youths to be executed by archers, Grant soldiers flooded into the coliseum. Abecassis escaped and the man leading the raid, General Kirsten, who was the supreme commander of the Grant Army, explained that they needed permission from the Grant royalty to finally attack.
Later, Kirsten took Grunbeld under his wing as his protégé. It was discovered that Benedicte was Kirsten's grandaugher and Grant's high priestess. After the celebration, Grunbeld and Benedicte conversed at the spring.
Fourteen years later, Grunbeld had become a knight and the leader of the Grunbeld Brigade, a unit composed of three thousand strong Flame Dragon Knights, as well as the army of Grant's most reputed leader. Edward was his second-in-command, while Sigur led the heavy infantry. During a battle against Tudor, Grunbeld joined the fray in a chariot drawn by eight horses, despite it being an obsolete tool of war, due to his great weight while armored. He decimated the enemy force with his war hammer – now his signature weapon. Afterward, he went to a temple where Benedicte was and they discussed his beherit.
However, his life soon took a turn for the worst.
Edward's father, Archduke Hokon of Grant, was an extremely unstable and corrupt individual. When he was young, rival aristocrats and even his own sister tried to assassinate him. Traumatized by these events, he became violent, paranoid, and distrustful of others. He relieved his stress by secretly kidnapping the women from Grunbeld's village and torturing them. He became jealous of Grunbeld's fame and support, but his jealousy grew even worse when his wife, archduchess Fulda, expressed her wish to bear Grunbeld's child. One day, he got in contact with Abecassis, and the two men plotted to eliminate Grunbeld. Abecassis offered the traitorous archduke marriage to Tudor's royal family, and in return, Hokon would sell out his country to Tudor Empire for annexation.
Hokon decided to exploit Edward's jealousy toward Grunbeld, who, despite seeing Grunbeld as a friend, also yearned to be acknowledged and to escape from Grunbeld's shadow. To make matters worse for Edward, he suffers an unrequited love for Sigur, but Sigur secretly loved Grunbeld. Hokon's scheme was to mentally corrupt his son by having Fulda, Edward's mother, married to Grunbeld and arrange Sigur's marriage, taking Sigur away from Edward. When this was announced, the people of Grant automatically assumed that Hokon chose Grunbeld as his successor over his son, and this flamed Edward's inferiority complex.
Meanwhile, there was an assassination attempt on Benedicte's life, which was thwarted by Sigur. The attempt had been engineered by Fulda, who tried to eliminate Benedicte, who was like a sister to Grunbeld. Fulda then attempted to seduce Grunbeld, but Grunbeld showed no interest in her. After Grunbeld left, Edward, who wanted to discuss some things with Grunbeld, burst into the room to find his mother naked. Psychologically shattered, Edward accused his mother of exploiting his best friend for her own selfish agendas and killed her. Hokon, who did not expect his son to go that far, was impressed and acknowledged Edward as his son. Hokon then instructed Edward to succeed him by removing Grunbeld.
Hokon and Edward's schemes, combined with the Tudor invasion led by Abecassis, pushed Grunbeld into a corner. Tricked by a false information, Grunbeld led 1,000 men into battle, where 20,000 Tudor troops laid in wait. But even against such odds, Grunbeld and his men managed to score a miraculous victory and routed Tudor by wounding the Tudor commander Abecassis. As Grunbeld was returning to his headquarter, he discovered Benedicte and Sigur gravely injured. Prior to going to battle, Grunbeld felt uneasy about leaving Benedicte unprotected in her temple, so he entrusted Benedicte's safety to Sigur. Unfortunately, Edward's troops barged into Benedicte's temple, raping and butchering all maidens they encountered. Benedicte and Sigur barely managed to escape and attempted to reach Grunbeld, but Edward, who first wanted them captured alive, suddenly changed his mind and ordered the two women to be shot dead. Sigur and Benedicte were shot by arrows from Edward's troops as they fled.
In the ensuing chaos, Grunbeld was told of Edward's treachery. Edward then arrived, commanding 10,000 troops, and showed him the decapitated head of General Kirsten, who committed suicide rather than become a hostage. Even worse, Abecassis and his soldiers appeared at Grunbeld's rear and surround him. Grunbeld was surrounded everywhere by enemies. But even so, Grunbeld refused to give in and fought back ferociously, inflicting his enemies appalling losses. But Edward's scheme, combined with the handicap of having to protect an injured Benedicte, severely limited Grunbeld's fighting capability and this disadvantage eventually began to take its toll on him. The end of the road for Grunbeld came when he was subjected to cannon attacks. Although he withstood the first shot, he was unable to endure the multiple following shots. Grunbeld was still standing, but bloodied, broken, exhausted, and unable to go on. Seeing Grunbeld's life decreasing by the minute, Benedicte prophesied Grunbeld would survive by sacrificing her and Sigur, then would search for the Falcon of Light. As situation seemed hopeless, Grunbeld's blood smeared onto his Behelit, which, after rearranging its face to proper form, activated.
Just then, black clouds suddenly gathered, and a hurricane enveloped Grunbeld. From within the vortex, the four members of the God Hand, Void, Slan, Ubik, and Conrad, appeared and told Grunbeld to join the force that would be led by reincarnated Hawk of Light in the future. Grunbeld pondered the prophecy made by Benedicte, which coincided with God Hand's testament. Grunbeld then asked them what price he would have to pay, to which the God Hand showed, through an opening in the vortex, Sigur, who was on the verge of death and about to be raped by the now insane Edward, and Benedicte, who was also barely alive. Grunbeld, realizing that he too would die soon, forcefully declared that he was a dragon, and would offer his most important people to the God Hand. No sooner than he said this, the Brand of Sacrifice was engraved onto the bodies of Sigur, Benedicte, and Edward (even though Edward betrayed everyone, he was still a dear friend to Grunbeld). Immediately after being reborn as a fire dragon, Grunbeld devoured Edward's lower body and killed his former friend for his treachery. Just before he died, Edward regretted all the tragedy and grief that he had caused.
Grunbeld then focused his attention to the dying Benedicte and Sigur. Grunbeld told them that he loved them too much to allow them to be violated at the hands of their enemies and told them that they would live on inside him. Both Sigur and Benedicte, who understood and wished to let Grunbeld live, willingly submitted to their fates and were consumed by Grunbeld's flames. Grunbeld, now an Apostle dragon, proceeded to annihilate the Tudor army, killing Abecassis by torturing him slowly before burning him alive. Grunbeld then returned to the capital of Grant and killed Hokon. Afterward, Grunbeld destroyed every single one of the Tudor's military strongpoints in Grant. Grunbeld became a legend for saving Grant from the Tudor Empire and his story was told among the people of Grant for generations. However, no one in Grant knew the savage and bloody truth behind Grunbeld and what really happened.
A few years later, Grunbeld was seen traveling through Midland, set on finding the Falcon of Light Benedicte mentioned in her last words.
Story[edit | edit source]
Millennium Falcon Arc[edit | edit source]
Having aligned himself with Griffith as a member of the new Band of the Falcon, Grunbeld makes his presence known during the liberation of Shet after it was just conquered by the Kushan invaders. Grunbeld breaks down the gate the Kushan attempted to seal and incinerates several with his shield, proceeding to wipe out the army. After the battle is won, he kneels before Griffith alongside all of the other apostles.
Grunbeld is later sent with Zodd and a handful of War Demons to destroy the Mansion of the Spirit Tree and its' caretaker Flora. Deeming that killing an old woman is not honorable, Grunbeld eagerly takes on Guts as a chance to display his loyalty to Griffith. However, due to Guts' injuries by Slan, Grunbeld became disappointed before being held back by Flora's golems. After Guts dons the Berserker Armor, Grunbeld was taken off guard by Guts' new found strength and was defeated after assuming his apostle form. Grunbeld attempts to keep Guts and his party from escaping, but he is blocked from pursuing them further by the wall of fire Flora conjured in her final moments.
Notes[edit | edit source]
- While a secondary character in the main series, Grunbeld is the main protagonist in the novel Berserk: The Flame Dragon Knight.
References[edit | edit source]
|Four Kings of the World|