Berserk: The Behelits and Their Role in the Medieval Story, Explained

Berserk stands as the late Kentaro Miura's masterpiece in dark fantasy seinen manga, and there are many features in this manga that make it so iconic and compelling, from its Medieval-inspired setting and surprisingly complicated politics to the terrifying monsters that roam in the darkness and far more. But with the power of a behelit, someone like Griffith can call forth the darkness at will.

Most fantasy stories involve a few magical artifacts to move the plot forward, and in Berserk's grim world, those artifacts are behelits, which allow the holder to access incredible powers beyond their imagination -- if a price in blood can be paid. In some cases, the holder might even join the ranks of the God Hand for all time.

How & Why Someone Can Use A Behelit

A number of behelits exist in the world of Berserk, and most of them have a similar appearance and function. They are small stone artifacts shaped like eggs, with the smallest being the size of a chicken egg and the larger ones being roughly melon-sized, which makes them convenient to store or carry around. On their own, behelits don't do anything, being inert stone objects, but if the correct conditions are met, a behelit becomes far more.

The eyes, nose and mouth on a behelit will align to form a face when the artifact activates, and they only activate when the holder wills it. Once activated, the behelit's face will animate, and the artifact cries blood and makes a scream to summon the dreaded God Hand from another realm. Thus, behelits serve as the bridge between the Physical World and the Astral World, and a behelit can be used again after its first activation if desired.

The behelit's holder is transported to the Astral World to meet the God Hand, and for a price, the behelit's holder can obtain supernatural powers or favors. The holder must typically sacrifice another person to appease the God Hand, meaning it's a smart (if cruel) idea to have one or more sacrificial pawns on hand when activating a behelit. If the user has no sacrifices to offer, they will simply be dragged into an ethereal vortex, never to be seen again.

Once the deal is done or the holder perishes, the behelit's facial features become scrambled once again until activated at a later time. Notably, behelits are partially alive, since they can peek at their owners once in a while or even make expressions of discomfort if handled poorly. They will do little else until activated, though.

Notable Uses Of Behelits In Berserk

griffith egg of the king

Behelits appear in most Berserk story arcs, starting with the short "Black Swordsman" story arc. In this story, the Count uses a behelit to summon the God Hand and gain even more power to survive his duel against Guts. In years past, the Count had used a behelit once before to sacrifice his heretical wife and become a mighty apostle, but in the "Black Swordsman" story arc, the Count is unwilling to sacrifice his precious daughter Theresia to appease the God Hand. The Count's tiny scrap of remaining humanity spares Theresia a horrible fate, but at the cost of the Count getting dragged into the vortex.

A more unique behelit appears during the famed "Golden Age" story arc, the "egg of the king." This unique behelit allows its holder to join the God Hand, not just strike deals with them, but the egg of the king demands substantial sacrifice first. The cold and calculating Griffith already had it when he and Guts met, but this little McGuffin wasn't used until the fated Eclipse, when Griffith activated the egg of the king to summon the God Hand and sacrifice the entire Band of the Hawk. With that power, Griffith was reborn as Femto, and only Guts and Casca escaped thanks to the Skull Knight's efforts.

The Skull Knight has a close relationship with behelits, having swallowed a number of them from slain apostles and forging a behelit sword out of them -- a unique sword in the story of Berserk. This behelit-fueled weapon can not only slay monsters but also slash open portals to the Astral World, and when the Skull Knight used it on Ganishka, this set off the Roar of the World and causes the Physical and Astral Worlds to overlap completely. Once again, the behelits transcended all barriers of the universe and created a new reality, but at a great cost. True power never comes easily in the story of Berserk.

Shinobu from Demon Slayer
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