Believe it or not, Alfred, played by Michael Caine, had a role in “Mystic River”: in the end, he’s in drag (or was that Laura Linney?) and gives the same sort of speech to Sean Penn that he gave to Bruce Wayne, played by Christian Bale, repeatedly throughout his brief cameo walk-ins for “The Dark Knight”. His repeated “you’re the king” style speech was in stark contrast to his constant disturbance over Bruce’s crime-fighting obsession all throughout “Batman Begins”. That is, until the end when he gives him the “What do we do when we fall?” inspiration.
Really, Alfred’s entire role in TDK was to keep telling Bruce to go out there and do whatever shit he needs to get the job done, even if it means not being such a good guy when doing it. So not only are his morals somewhat shifted from BB, but he actually is now encouraging Bruce to dive head first into probable bodily harm and possible death. And when he finally gives the “we burned the whole forrest” line in his final speech to Bruce, what was the point of it? No symbolic action of the sort was taken by Batman at all that he wasn’t already doing or hadn’t already set in motion. The symbolism of that ended up being meaningless.