I often read comments about how ironic is that Bertolt and Marco died “the same way”, with people pointing out stuff like karma, proving to have a poor understanding and interest for both plot and characters. It’s always easier to say “Character A brutally killed Character B so they deserve the worst death”, even when Character A was clearly forced to do so, crying for their actions and being tormented by nightmares all the time (the sleeping posture thing is due to this, as shown in this smartpass AU).
Problem is that people have no idea of how deep and human Isayama’s characters are. They stop at what they see at first, making out of it the only truth to believe in: Marco is shown to be a kind person, so he is an angel; Bertolt killed so many people, so he is a bastard. Simple as it is. There’s no half way to see things, because most of people are generally too lazy to go beyond the surface (this is applies for everything, not just for reading manga).
Sorry but… Attack on Titan is not a manga for lazy brains. It is supposed to be much more. It is supposed to show the human fight for what they think is right. Beign it inside or outside the Walls, the fight is the same.
Bertolt never displayed any enjoyment for what he did. And what’s fun is that you can clearly see it in the manga, more than once:
It couldn’t be more obvious, so if you read until here and you still think he is evil I invite you not to go any further because we have nothing to share.
So, exactly just like Marco or any other character from the Walls, Bertolt is fighting his war. What clearly puts him under a bad light is that he stays on the untold - not evil - side of the story. I’m pretty sure we would all be able to justify his actions if we read the story from his point of view, just like we so easly justify Eren’s behaviour in the plot. It started with Titans, then he went a little bit mad against humans:
No, I’m not taking this example because I want you to pity Bertolt. I’m using this picture because here Eren just ripped off an ex-comrade limbs and, despite him being unconscious, he is slaughtering him to death.
And look at this:
Eren’s behaviour here is not any better than what Bertolt did to the Walls 5 years ago. He is fighting his war and we can’t absolutely blame him for it. His rage towards Bertolt and the others couldn’t be more justified, because we all know what he has been through. Bertolt is the main reason why he had to see his mother devoured by a Titan, which is together with the loss of his home and the general genocide a very big reason to want him death. Soooo, no ‘good’ or ‘evil’ side, just people fighting for their personal aim.
Now, I hope this introduction helps you to understand what I’m going to say about the difference between Bertolt and Marco. Let’s start from a brief list of what they share:
- Both have a good soul - Both are fighting their war - They were killed by circumstances bigger than them
Now, just take Marco and analyze his life. He comes from the Walls (Wall Rose, I think) and never experienced the terror of the Titans until the battle of Trost. So, we can suppose his life was pretty much normal, not too happy but neither too bad. He strongly wanted to protect the king by entering the Military Police, so the quality of his life allowed him to dream and to take decisions for himself.
Bertolt’s situation is very much different. From the few information we have, we can say he was chosen to be a warrior between his 5 and 7 years of age, and from that moment he was not allowed to take decisions for himself nor to live his life as he wanted. He was given the power of the Colossal Titan and he was sent on a genocide mission against people he was told to be evil at the age of 11. Ah, I almost forgot: he was also condamned to die in 13 years. Believe me or not, but what’s so tragic about his life is not what happened until now. The real pain begins when he discovers that the people living inside the Walls are not what he was told they were. During his three years of training, Bertolt does his best to avoid getting too involved in friendly relationships with the others. He is described as taciturn, different from his friend Reiner who - as we know - recurred to an easier way to cope with his guilt:
But his human nature doesn’t really help Bertolt, because as careful as you could be, friendship is not something you can avoid so easly, especially if you are in your teens and you never had the opportunity to live your life as a normal person (and you probably won’t again, since you have just few years left). So, you end up being involved before you realize it:
As Bertolt himself said, the only moment in his life he considers ‘enjoyable’ was the time he spent as a soldier:
This speech is as clear as the water. Still, although they are a bit confused, it’s not enough for the characters to forgive him or to justify his actions. The only one that shows interest in talking this out is Armin in chapter 78:
Despite Bertolt and Reiner were revealed as the two Titans who caused so much sufference, Armin is still believing there’s something wrong with them. There must be a reason (I don’t want to say good) for them to act this way, so he wants to confront him and see if the same person who was able to show love feelings for Annie is really doing this by his choice. I’m sure Armin have never marked Reiner and Bertolt for bad people. I’m sure he is still looking for the truth behind their actions because he knows Bertolt’s speech in chapter 48 was not a lie.
So, what distinguish Marco’s death from Bertolt’s is their life. They were both left to be eaten by a Titan, but while the first one got the tears of his murderers…
… the latter got nothing but hate and indifference from the only people he spent a nice time with:
Yes: death is death. Marco did nothing wrong to end that way, but allow me to say that Bertolt is as much as a victim as he was.
This theory could easily be wrong of course, it’s called a THEORY for a reason, but it’s fun to write about these things. This one is about the famous theory that Armin is royalty, that he is Armin Reiss(or Fritz). No, this is not based on the fact that him and Historia look alike, this goes much deeper.
Let’s begin with the very start, before Armin was even born. Who were his parents? We know nothing about them, but what’s strange is that we know everybody’s parents except for his. We’ve seen the parents of jean, connie, eren, mikasa, levi, erwin, annie, Sasha, historia, grisha and so on, which makes it weird that Armin has been left out since he is a main character. But we do know his grandfather well and I found something interesting about them, please look at Armin and the grandfather well and tell me what they have in common… Go Google them and then come back to this… Take your time, look at them well. Got an idea? Cuz I don’t. They look nothing alike! Armin is blonde and has blue eyes and the grandfather has brown eyes and hair. This might just be a genetic thing, but from a writer’s point of view, it could mean something. But the grandfather himself is very odd. We know that he was the one who named Armin and was with him until the very end and even gave him the outside world book, but I’ll back to that later. All this made me realize that Armin was closer to him than he was with his parents. To be honest, I think they didn’t care for him at all. He was constantly bullied but they did nothing at all, they left him behind, they even allowed him to go out with the book that could get him in trouble and even Armin spoke about them harshly, saying “You’ll die in a stupid way like my mom and dad,” Which is not a good way to speak about the dead! Especially about your parents! You may argue that his parents died differently in the manga, but don’t forget that every change done in the anime was by isayama himself, so that can’t be used as an argument. So about the book, where did it come from? Shiganshina is the poorest place in the walls, so how could they get their hands on the book about the outside world? Remember who else had books about the outside world? Grisha, and where was he from? Far from the walls. That’s a hint, but a little one. Speaking of, Grisha was told by Dina (royal blood) that her kind is hiding somewhere, that royal blooded people are lost, so maybe we could use that info too to explain why Armin’s parents ended up there. (ps: those couple in ch55 aren’t his parents, because there were no confirmations). Where would his parents go? I’m sure hey knew that the world outside was full of titans! Were they idiots? Leaving their son to die? Maybe they’re alive, or dead as we were told. Not sure. They left before the attack, did they run? But why the hell would they ever encourage their kid to want to leave the walls where hell is waiting? I wish I knew. About the similarities between Historia and Armin are many, besides their looks, the main one being childhood. Other kids beat them up daily, their parents abandoned them and yes, they look alike, so alike that Armin once even was mistaken for her and kidnapped, remember that? I do! That scene couldn’t be there for no reason! Every scene in aot is a hint to the future events (or isayama just wanted to draw armin in drag lol)
Another argument I hear often is “But Historia makes Eren remember things when she touches him,” And yes, that is true, and so does Armin. It’s very silent, but once you notice, you’ll understand why I’m taking this so seriously. First, we know that if they make skin contact, Eren remembers things, so let’s begin with episode 5, where Eren grabs Armin’s wrist to save him. Eren remembered nothing there, why? Because when he grabbed Armin’s arm, he grabbed his sleeve. It’s a tiny detail that could be missed, but they didn’t touch skin. Next ep where they did was the ending of ep 8, where Armin holds Eren’s hand. How does the next ep start? Eren remembering being inside the titan which he forgets when Armin lets go. Next is ep 13. People ignore the fact that Armin woke up Eren! He entered in consciousness and woke him up, which only a Reiss could do. Then in the manga when they once again hold hands, the panel is drawn as if their hands are glowing (he didn’t remember anything cuz right before Historia already helped him remember his past), crazy right? It all fits, or I’m just overthinking. How come nobody ever talks about the fact that Armin freaking heard his titan talk in ch 85?? That has never happened before and we’ve seen every other shifter talking about how their titans work, but this has not once happened!!! That scene creeped me out! The titan cried too! Some said that it might be Bertholdt, but even if that’s true, we’ve never seen Eren talking to Grisha(the previous owner)!! It’s like something only royal blood can do, because nobody else did it in the entire story. And don’t forget that the Owl said to find Armin and Mikasa! so there’s something more the world needs from him, because rn the war/attack is starting (maeley vs eldians) and it’ll be a bloodbath. Armin rn is the colossal titan! Imagine if he’s royalty too. They could win the war. But why am I fighting so hard for this theory? Because of what isayama said about ch 89, This is so important!
See how in ch 89 he corrected his writing from “eating royal blood,” to “Touching the royal titan” and right after that scene, the panel shows Armin looking at Eren zoomed in. (so to activate the coordinate, eren must touch a royal titan, not a human) I wonder who that titan could be that eren could use for the coordinate… Nothing can save the main characters rn, except maybe this. IF Armin ends up actually being royalty, then it means that they can use titans to fight against the Marley and actually survive and even win. Armin could save them all, because nothing else can. This is the only hope I have left to see my characters win against the world, because them alone is not enough for the war they’re in. and don’t forget that the story is ending, we’re reading the finale arc, so something like this could bring the story to the big climax, the main one being ”freeing the wall titans” as armin said would one day happen. That WILL happen and this theory is how I think it’ll be. Armin and eren working as one. We know zeke wouldn’t be the one to do it because the marley are afraid of the walls being broken down and the titans escaping, and can zeke even control the titans? Probably. But so can eren, but not without the help of a royal titan. These hints were dropped for a reason. Look at how his titan looks just like the other reiss titan we’ve seen. Isayama never had unnecessary details in his story. All we can do is wait and see what will happen next.