dark fantasy books which have hopeful and uplifting themes (philosophical route would be best though if possible )
By - legz2006
Malazan Book of the Fallen
It's like the OP is describing Malazan. Only thing is that there is no single MC in malazan, a bunch of them share the spotlight.
Lies. Truly the obvious protagonist is magnanimous, humble Kruppe.
True Top Billing for Kruppe but shared with Tehol Beddict. "Such is the irony of life" as Kruppe himself would admit
There's a main character but no main PoV if I'm going to be pedantic about it.
I mean...I'm not even the biggest fan of Malazan but this is the answer.
I mean, Vinland Saga is pretty similar thematically to Berserk, but it's more historical fiction than Dark Fantasy, so it doesn't really fit. Still, if you haven't you should definitely check that out.
I'm not sure how accurate this is since I haven't read it but I have been told that Black Company is fairly similar to Berserk, so maybe look into that?
I want to say **Baru Cormorant** by Seth Dickinson except I'm not sure about the growth and hope part just yet. It's dark, there are philosophical themes, there's an upward hopeful direction in the third book. Waiting on the fourth book to see how it pans out.
If you have the guts fot Berserk ( I know, hilarious ) then you might aswell go the extra mile and read what's perhaps the darkest fantasy that I've read so far, Dark skies. It's all about repeatably crushed hope, misery, duty and escaping your own dogmas. It has over 3000 pages so far and came out in form of 8 e-books that are all accessible for free. Aside from the story/philosphical aspect it also combines what I consider to be a hardcore magic system with a fairly realistic and in depth depiction of medieval society...the only negative aspect might be that it's actually a bit too dark and you will find yourself wishing all the time for things to be atleast a bit easier on the MC and her psyche.
Aight will check out
Re:Zero, there's always a feeling that something will go horribly wrong even though the overall theme is quite hopeful.
Raven's Mark trilogy by Ed McDonald
sometimes I see request posts and know a book or short series which provides the exact opposite.
KJ Parker's early trilogies, Fencer and Scavenger, seem to offer the opposite of what OP requests. I have read a lot of grimdark works and these are pretty far on the scale of 'bleak and unhopeful' for at least much of the story.
Juliet Marrilier's Seven waters books spring to mind (which is weird for semi-romances based initally on fairy tales). Lord do they get dark (espcially Daughter of the forest).
Also Melina Marchetta's Finnikin of the rock series has a full blown genocide but ends on a hopeful note.
Not super philosophical but Brent Weeks' Night Angel trilogy is dark and dives into the issues of what drives a man to do things... i enjoy the deeper side of it, but find the darkness a bit over the top.
The Second Apocolypse books by Scott Bakker starting with the Prince of Nothing. Its very dark and philosophical which emphasize on character's thoughts as they experience events.
However, may be lacking on the uplifting part.
Yeah there is nothing hopeful or uplifting about these books.
"The Traitor God" by Cameron Johnston. The Protagonist is drawn out of self exile to avenge his friend. He is out for revenge. The narrative is in first person and the readers are left to ponder along with the Protagonist if he is outright evil or just a man doing whatever is necessary with the tools at hand. The protagonist is a bit of a rebel both against society and himself. Cool, intelligent, wise(???!!!) and sarcastic with layered depths to his character. Every other character is well written too.
The book and its sequel (which is equally good if not better) get pretty dark at times. Even bleak. But leaves the reader the reader with a feel of hope at the end. It feels like the first day of Spring after a long hard winter.
What I felt really worked was the darkness in the book originates from the action of Protagonist. In reaction to events he not just blurs the line between grey and black but actually does evil things. In many grimdark books the darkness feels a little forced. But here it's organic and the character is so well written that we actually go through the journey along with the Protagonist.
A fast paced novel that is pure entertainment. Satisfying plot with bloody revenge , twists , plot within plots. Brilliantly written.
Sherwood Smith's Inda epic.
Curse of Chalion by Lois McMaster Bujold, might be more on the hopeful end of the spectrum for you, but is an incredible read if you haven't yet.