Now we're getting somewhere! With the fall of Doldrey and the neighboring Kingdom of Tudor surrender, Midland is finally at peace and the Band of the Hawks have earned reward and praise, but backstabbing highborn nobles, indignant at Griffith's fame and popularity have other things in store for the Hawks. This volume really hits a storytelling high-point in the narrative and Miura shows his ability to do more than marionette complicated battles. The political maneuvering here is layered (but not surprisingly or shockingly so) and there are several rather dramatic and rapid turns of events that pick up the pacing substantially. This particular volume is also notable for the deep character transformations in both Guts and Griffith and the subtlety with which Miura handles their changed relationship - something that had been happening all along, but might have been difficult to pick up on until now. Combined with the endings rather surprising ability to tug on your emotions all of a sudden, this volume is the promised land for those who've stuck with the series to this point.
Up until now, it's been difficult to tell where the stories marking points have been because of the uneven pacing. It's odd...you get to volume eight and try to reflect and all of a sudden you see those points very clearly. One of the central themes of Berserk is fate and causality and that definitely comes across by this reading. It's a testament to Miura's storytelling skill that the story of Guts's life feels like your own - you don't always understand the import of day-to-day events to your overall life. You get a feeling that they're significant - that certain events are more important than others - but you never know where they fall in the order of things until one day it all hits you. Volume 8 is that day for this story.