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Light Novel / Berserk: The Flame Dragon Knight

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"I'm sure you'll become a mighty, mighty dragon. Like that legendary fire dragon. Once you do, nobody will be able to hurt you anymore. Bright red flames will burn your enemies, and your hard scales will break blades. But no matter how strong and hard the scales are that cover you, they can't protect your heart."

Berserk: The Flame Dragon Knight is Light Novel set in the universe of Kentaro Miura's Berserk. Conceived by Miura and written by novelist and screenwriter Makoto Fukami, it takes place before the events of the manga and tells the origin story of the Apostle Grunbeld. Numbered at 187 pages and featuring ten full-page illustrations by Miura, it was published in Japan by Hakusensha in 2017, and in North America by Dark Horse in 2019.

This page is under construction.

Here there be spoilers. Also, this book is not suitable for minors. Or anyone with a weak stomach.


This Light Novel provides examples of:

  • 0% Approval Rating: Grand Duke Haakon Grant is very unpopular because he's disdainful of his own people, taking heavy- handed measures against the old nobility and religion while doing little to rescue subjects captured by Tudor. The fact that he's unpopular makes him angry, which motivates him to actions that make him even more unpopular; with the possible exception of Mateuz, the head of his spies and assassins the Shadow Hands, we don't see any subjects of his who actually like him.
  • Action Girl:
    • Grunbeld's mother Euphemia was a master of the sword, and killed four Tudor soldiers before others managed to restrain her.
    • Sigurd has become the head of the Flame Dragon Heavy Infantry after the timeskip, and is a master of the half-sword technique.
  • An Arm and a Leg: When the Grunbeld Corps takes 2,000 prisoners from Tudor General Dougal's failed assault on the Dragon's Lair, they make a grim example of their captives. They let 1,000 go after cutting off their hands—so that they will never wield weapons against Grant even if they survive the massive blood loss—and abandon another 500 in a field with their feet cut off.
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  • Blind Seer: Kirsten says that Benedikte lost here eyesight to a serious illness after she was born, but in return the great one-eyed god granted her the ability to see the color of people's hearts. When Grunbeld meets her again she has become a priestess. She can also sometimes see into the future with the help of a drug- and dance-induced trance.
  • Blue Blood: The Tudor Empire fills Fort Chester with the children of nobility and knights, hoping to convert them into loyal soldiers. Grunbeld is descended from the once-distinguished house of Ahlqvist; Edvard is the bastard son of Grand Duke Haakon and his mistress Fulda, who comes from house Halvorsen; and Sigurd is of the influential house of Johansen.
  • Can't Hold His Liquor: General Kirsten is proof that big men esteemed as great warriors are not always strong drinkers.
  • Chekhov's Gun: After killing the tiger in the arena, Grunbeld finds a small egg-shaped trinket that had been in the Tiger's stomach and decides to keep it to remember how he, Edvard, and Sigurd won as friends. It's called a behelit, and it's going to come back at the end of the story.
  • The Coroner: The prologue depicts a barber-surgeon—the person most qualified in a medieval setting to perform an autopsy—examining the third in a series of women who've been found tortured and dismembered in the city of Nordcapity.
  • Dead Guy on Display:
    • In the prologue, a barber-surgeon examines the corpse of a woman who was tortured, cut into six pieces, and hung from the top of the capital forum's main gate in Nordcapity. It's the third time in one year this has happened, and they were all popular, beautiful women, not helpless girls from the streets. General Kirsten figures that this serial killer who can kidnap any woman he wants, imprison and torture them for a long time, and then have their bodies put in such a public place without getting caught must be a powerful noble.
    • When the Grunbeld Corps is done cutting hands or feet off of most of their Tudor prisoners, they lock up the remaining quarter in iron gibbets along the highway to die of their wounds and exposure. Some of the corpses become so bloated that the metal bars bite into their flesh, and their bodies have a demoralizing effect on any Tudor soldiers who see them.
  • Deadly Decadent Court: Haakon survived two attempts to kill him with poison: the first time by his elder sister, and the second time by nobles who were pious toward the northern gods and objected to Haakon's efforts to compell orthodoxy with the Holy See. Haakon himself orders people executed or assassinated on a regular basis, and another employer of assassins turns out to be Grand Duchess Fulda, who puts a hit on Benedikte.
  • Defiled Forever: Sigur puts on a brave face after suffering rape at the hands of Abecassis and his guards, but her resilient manner hides damage to her self-esteem and she carries a social stigma. To Edward she remarks that an arranged marriage to someone of status is better than "damaged goods" like her had dared to hope for, and she confides to Benedikte that Grunbeld knowing what happened to her makes it hard to confess how she feels about him.
  • Everyone Can See It: Grunbeld is shy about his feelings toward Benedikte, but Edvard tells him that everyone who knows the two can see they're meant for each other, and wishes they would just get together already.
  • Eyepatch of Power: Edvard wears a leather patch over the one eye which was clawed by the tiger. This didn't stop him from becoming Grunbeld's vice-commander, nor does it affect his aim with a lance.
  • Fantasy Counterpart Culture: The northern, traditionally pagan Grand Duchy of Grant is a pastiche of Scandinavia, while the Tudor Empire resembles the Holy Roman Empire which waged wars of religion in the Holy Land and Eastern Europe.
  • Faux Affably Evil: Sir Abecassis speaks with feigned paternalistic concern to the captive children whom he brutalizes. His catch-phrase whenever he's about to horribly punish somebody is "Oh no... now your teacher's sad."
  • Foregone Conclusion: Those who have already read Berserk will know that Grunbeld will have to experience true despair and sacrifice the one(s) he loves in order to become the Apostle who will later join Griffith's Band of the Hawk.
  • Friend to All Living Things: Wild animals act tame in Benedikte'sb presence. Her best friend is a giant silver wolf named Ludwig, and when Grunbeld first meets her she rides on the back of a moose.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: Edvard tries to be content with his position as Grunbeld's number two and strategist, but he wishes that Sigurd loved him instead of Grunbeld, and increasingly resents Grunbeld getting all the credit from the people. He eventually reaches a breaking point when he thinks Grunbeld is going to marry his mother and claim the throne of the Grand Duchy, which enables Haakon to turn Edvard against Grunbeld.
  • Groin Attack: A hapless attendant of Grunbeld's family gets his genitals cut off by Tudor soldiers with a dull, rusty knife.
  • Hope Spot: Invoked by Sir Abecassis when he sets up Grunbeld, Edvard, and Sigur's fight with the Tiger. He merely gives them wooden swords because he can't let them have a real chance of winning, but since it's no fun if they won't put up a struggle, he also leaves an enormous 200 pound warhammer in the arena to give them a false hope. It would surely kill the tiger if anyone were able to actually swing it, but Abecassis knows that even Grunbeld isn't strong enough to do so. It'll be fun to see Grunbeld try and fail, he thinks. The problem is that Grunbeld actually pulls it off!
  • Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: Grunbeld is a giant who towers over ordinary men, while Benedikte is petite and small. The sight of such a little lady glomping the bashful giant when he comes back from battle is very amusing to the onlookers.
  • Impoverished Patrician: The Ahlqvist family was once distinguished, but by the time Grunbeld was growing up they were ruined nobles living on an old rural estate with only a few servants.
  • Innocently Insensitive:
    • Kirsten says that Benedikte can see a persons secrets and deepest feelings with her mind's eye, and when she was little she would just say whatever she observed. That caused people to dislike her, which hurt her feelings deeply.
    • Played for drama as Grunbeld's Fatal Flaw. Although he loves his friends Edvard and Sigurd, trusting them completely, that alone turns out not to be good enough. He doesn't recognize how his fame and popularity are overshadowing Edvard and making him feel resentful, especially in light of Haakon's unexpected decree. His biggest mistake is in chapter 3.7 when he brushes off both Edvard and Sigur in his haste to ensure Benedikte's safety. It's understandible that he had tunnel vision in that moment, but if he'd stopped for even one second to look at how unstable Edvard looked, or if he'd ever bothered to talk to Edvard about his parental issues, he would have seen that Edvard needed him, and since he left in such a hurry Edvard ends up having no one to talk to about it but good old dad.
  • I Want Grandkids: While Benedikte dances for the troops at the Fire Dragon's Lair, Kirsten tells Grunbeld he'd like for him to hurry up and get with Benedikte so he'll be able to see his grandkids.
  • I Will Punish Your Friend for Your Failure: Grunbeld is the most disobedient and defiant of the children in Fort Chester for "Conversion Education," but Sir Abecassis doesn't want to kill him because of what a splendid soldier he would make if converted. It would also be undesirable to make a martyr of him, as long as he could potentially be turned into a role model of submission for the other children. This still leaves the problem of how to punish him, especially because he stoically ignores any physical pain. Abecassis eventually wises up and takes Sigur away to be gang-raped, refusing Grunbeld's pleas to spare her on the grounds that hurting his friend is the only punishment he will understand.
  • Kill 'Em All: As you'd expect from an Apostle's origin story, the ending is a bloodbath for major characters. Edvard strangles Fulda to death, beheads Kirsten, and mortally wounds Grunbeld with his lance; Benedikte and Sigurd, meanwhile, have been mortally wounded by Edvard's archers. When Grunbeld turns into his dragon Apostle form, he bites Edvard in half, burns away Benedikte and Sigurd, lays waste to Abecassis and Haakon's armies, de-limbs and then fries Abecassis, pays a visit to Haakon, and destroys all Tudor bases within the grand duchy.
  • Large Ham Title: Apparently, the crazy unit names are a Tudor tradition, not just an individual quirk of Adon Coborlwitz. General Dougal has the Amphibious Raid Wild Beast Knights.
  • Lord Country: The Grand Duke of Grant' first name is Haakon, and his last name is Grant.
  • Love Dodecahedron: Edvard loves Sigurd, who loves Grunbeld, who has something going on with Benedikte and is also pursued by Fulda.
  • Ludicrous Gibs:
    Grunbeld swung his war hammer and scattered the spearmen. The weapon smashed spears and sent enemy heads flying. Helmets and skulls smashed as easily as apples. Brains, eyeballs, and bone scattered about. A bright red mist spread out explosively in accordance with the hammer's movements. Pulverization: that was the most fitting word for when Grunbeld and his hammer were killing.
  • Luminescent Blush: When Sigur dismounts from her horse to fight on foot, Edvard quips, "You like it better from the front better than being on top, huh!" Sigur's face turns red and she shouts, "Jerk!"
  • Make an Example of Them:
    • Abecassis will kill or torture any Grant child who disrespects his authority in order to keep the others in line. He pays particular attention to Grunbeld since all the other children look up to him as a symbol of defiance.
    • The Grunbeld Corps makes sure that any Tudor soldier they capture either goes home mutilated as a living warning to those who make war on Grant, or dies gruesomely where their body is likely to be seen by their fellow troops.
    • After a group of nobles tried to assassinate him for his religious policy, Haakon made an example of a prominent aristocrat by breaking all the bones in his arms and legs before drowning him in a tank of water.
  • Murder the Hypotenuse:
    • Fulda sends assassins to kill Benedikte, so that she can sink her claws into Grunbeld more easily.
    • Edvard arranges Grunbeld's death partially out of jealousy that Sigurd loves Grunbeld instead of him.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: An enraged Edvard strangles his mother to death after discovering what she did with Grunbeld, but when he comes to his senses and fails to revive her his regret is immediate.
  • Neck Lift: When Sir Abecassis overhears a Grantian boy mutter "Shove your one god and your Emperor up your ass", he lifts the child into the air by his neck and snaps it.
  • Not Blood Siblings: Grunbeld becomes like a brother to Benedikte when her grandfather General Kirsten adopts him, but the General sees the hint of romance between them and would be happy to see them get married.
  • Old Soldier: Grand General Kirsten is a grizzled veteran, described in the prologue as sixty years old and white bearded, but still powerfully built.
  • Panthera Awesome: After four years Abecassis finally decides he needs to get rid of Grunbeld, so he brings in a Kushan man-eating tiger that's about nine feet long and over six hundred pounds. Bad news for Grunbeld and friends, but the resulting fight is awesome.
  • Patient Childhood Love Interest: Edvard and Sigur were already childhood friends before they met Grunbeld, and their parents must have had some vague intention of betrothing them. However, Edvard's romantic love for Sigur has so far been one-sided. He recognizes that she's only got eyes for Grunbeld, so he feels all he can do is bide his time and hope that Sigur will eventually get over Grunbeld enough to notice him.
  • The Quisling: Grand Duke Haakon, upon learning that Tudor is coming with an invasion force of 100,000, is persuaded to sell out his country in exchange for an upgrade to his lifestyle and the chance to get rid of everyone in Grant who opposes his agenda.
  • Rape, Pillage, and Burn:
    • The Tudor soldiers who sack Grunbeld's hometown kill the men, rape the women, and capture children for "Conversion education".
    • In chapter 4.2, Edvard and Mateuz lead about a hundred soldiers in a sack of the Temple of Extinguishment. The soldiers kill the temple guards, then rape the priestesses and hang them from tree branches.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: When he's reborn as an Apostle, Grunbeld goes after every single person responsible for his despair. Because of his dragon form, none of them stand a chance.
  • Serial Killer: Some maniac has been committing bizarre murders of women in the capital city, no fewer than three in the space of a year. Turns out to be Duke Haakon.
  • With This Herring: Abecassis throws Grunbeld, Edvard, and Sigur into an arena against a six hundred pound tiger with nothing but wooden swords and an impractically large hammer.

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