Griffith was the common-born leader of the mercenary Band of the Hawk. Often referred to as the White Hawk, he was brilliant, charismatic, and intently focused on achieving his dream of becoming a king. He played a crucial part in saving the Kingdom of Midland, but his subsequent rise to power set in motion a series of events that led to his fall from grace as well as his eventual return as the fifth God Hand and the prophesied Hawk of Darkness. He began the story as a hero, but he's no longer one of the "good guys," although I have a feeling he may redeem himself, even if only in a small way, by the end.
After Griffith meets a young swordsman and fellow mercenary named Guts, they join forces (albeit reluctantly on Guts's part.) Between Griffith's military skills and ambitions and Guts's swordsmanship and almost inhuman fighting prowess, the Hawks become an unbeatable force. The developing friendship, and inevitable conflict, between Guts and Griffith is fascinating and plays a crucial part in each character's story. Love him or hate him, Griffith is a key character in Berserk and part of what makes the story work so very well on so many levels.
What is Griffith's appeal? To me, it's because he's a classic tragic hero with both flaws and strengths, and one who is ultimately consumed by his ambitions. Griffith's dreams, fears, and flaws have kept him compelling and human despite his extraordinary abilities and all the changes his character has gone through.
And by the end, I have a feeling Miura will make Griffith's fight to be king sympathetic yet again. I don't feel this way simply because I like the Griffith character, but because of how Miura has handled the monsters in his story. If creatures like Roshina and even the count were capable of love and self-sacrifice, then surely a major character like Griffith will not remain unchanged through to the end of the story. Already his current apostle captains are more than monsters and some are quite likable. In his current incarnation, Griffith has already shown that he hasn't broken free of his emotions or ties to the past, most notably to Guts and Casca. Perhaps Charlotte as well, although that remains to be seen.
I have no idea what Miura intends for Griffith -- not that it matters; I'll go wherever the story takes me -- but I can't help but wonder if even an all-powerful God Hand, back in a body of flesh and blood, will find itself struggling with all the attendant weaknesses of the flesh, such as feelings and doubts and needs. As characters, Guts and Griffith are often more alike than different. With Guts fighting to hold onto his humanity, to keep his Beast under control and not lose himself to the darkness, I wouldn't be surprised to see Griffith trying to deny his reborn humanity and prevent his feelings from once again interfering in his goal to rule his own kingdom.
Two-dimensional evil is boring, anyway, and the last thing I expect from either Berserk or Griffith is to be bored.
About the Series
Set in a fantasy world with a (mostly) medieval feel, Berserk follows the journey of a young swordsman named Guts as he battles to defy the odds against him and find a purpose to his life -- and to take revenge against a former friend who betrayed him and those he cared about. Although dark and violent, the story also has its humorous moments, and its strong cast of characters and classic quest theme should appeal to anyone who enjoys epic adventure tales revolving around destiny, fate, and the consequences of chasing after one's dreams.