gt-armin-arlert you asked.
This is about things I see in fanfiction regarding Isabel and Farlan. I will likely be salty and rather brisk. I will try not to reference specific fanfictions though.
I’m just really tired of how the fandom treats these two. It’s gotten to the point I DON’T want to read fics with them in it because of how authors normally treat them. If they’re not dead they’re either OoC or really minor characters.
A lot of times Isabel appears in fics as an overactive whirlwind, which I understand, at first glance that’s what she appears to be.
Isabel is not bratty, hyperactive, and she is most definitely not a LEVI FANGIRL. (More on that later).
Isabel is impulsive and snarky (which seems to run in this trio), especially to Farlan. However, of the trio, Isabel is the first of them to actually be interested in the Corps beliefs. Isabel shows a remarkable amount of determination and eagerness, which paired with her impulsiveness makes her a little excitable, but not hyperactive.
Isabel is stubborn and argumentative, but she doesn’t seem all that hot headed actually.
Isabel is also not a female Eren. Yes, yes I know, they have similar faces and are both excitable but do not write her as an Eren clone. One notable difference is that when arguing with someone Isabel is calmer than Eren.
Another thing to note, Isabel can be rude towards though she dislikes. Isabel also says herself that she’s better with animals than people.
Isabel is shown to be good at hand to hand combat (at least when taking on one other person). She also mastered horse back riding quickly, and is very talented with the 3DMG.
She would refuse to be left out of the action by Levi and Farlan, and there’s no reason they would either. The three of them stick together, so if you write a fic where Levi and Farlan go to fight, don’t leave Isabel at home, unless she’s sick or injured. If Levi takes Farlan, he’s probably taking Isabel. If he leaves Farlan behind, then yeah, leave Isabel behind too.
Isabel’s relationship with Levi
Isabel admires and respects Levi. He is the one who saved her life. She wants his approval. Do not write her as “NOTICE ME ONI-CHAN!”
Levi is also very fond of Isabel, he ruffles her hair, he does seem to view her as a younger sibling.
If you’re shipping Levi with someone, please, please, please, don’t just turn Isabel into a shipper on deck, who only talks about Levi with his love interest. (Yes this happens.)
Isabel IS NOT DEFINED BY LEVI. Definitely not in canon, so do not make Isabel’s entire life revolve around Levi and/or Farlan.
Farlan is not an asshole who gets off on annoying those around him and being generally aggravating.
On a similar note, do not define Farlan’s entire character by that one scene where he snapped at Isabel. He obviously sees her as a friend, and that seemed to be a one time event. Farlan isn’t a dick.
Also Farlan certainly isn’t smooth, see the scene where he stops Levi from attacking Flagon again. He’s awkward and clearly nervous. So, yeah, he’s not a smooth talking flirt either.
Farlan is smart, and has a good deal of forethought and is capable of twisting situations to his advantage. However, this is not an constant ability, such as when Levi didn’t fall into his trap.
In the Visual Novel, Farlan was leader of the gang before Levi and the one to steal the 3DMG. He is highly ambitious but he’s also highly loyal, and capable of setting that ambition aside. He is not selfish either, as he cares about Isabel and Levi.
Farlan also has a quick wit, “the Military Police? Shouldn’t they be wiping the King’s ass?” “I’d rather drink sewer water than deal with this.”
Farlan’s relationship with Levi
In a plot twist no one saw coming, Farlan and Levi are actually friends. Levi actually acknowledges Farlan’s existence, listens to his ideas, and sees as a valuable and trusted friend.
I know, it seems really strange, but it’s there in the canon, so if Farlan’s in your fic, Levi’s probably going to talk to him.
I once made a post about the ability to replace Farlan with a potted plant, and this is sadly true in a lot of fics, Farlan is in a scene, but he contributes so little that he might as well be part of the background then an actual character. Obviously he’s not going to talk in every scene but if he's in a scene, don’t just ignore him.
Farlan is a character Levi is likely to go to for advice, and he’ll give decent advice, and try to help Levi as best he can. Also, in canon, while Farlan makes the plans, he does need Levi’s approval.
Farlan is willing to follow Levi because he trusts him. In canon, he sees Levi as his leader and close friend.
Levi does not view either Isabel or Farlan as a subordinate. I wouldn’t call Farlan Levi’s brother but he is definitely a close friend.
Their relationship with Levi
Both Isabel and Farlan are capable of understanding Levi (Hanji also has this ability later).
Levi lets his guard down around Isabel and Farlan, allowing his softer side to show. He doesn’t turn into a marshmallow but does relax around them.
Levi wants to protect them, and thinks of them as important to him.
Their relationship with each other
(I am discussing this entirely platonically not as a ship.)
Isabel and Farlan clash personality-wise, but are capable of working together as a team.
Isabel likes to tease Farlan.
Isabel was willing to die to save Farlan, and her death motivated him to fight the titans, when previously he’d been scared of them. So yeah, it’s safe to say that yes, they care about each other.
Farlan used to tell Isabel stories in the Underground, including how he tried and failed to recruit Levi. He is also seen telling her a scary story about a monster, so this does not seem to be unusual.