A sad, but real view of Reiner and Bertolt relationship
I always said I don’t care who you put Bertolt with: ships and
friends are always welcome to me as long as Bertolt gets the love he deserves.
This helped me realizing what is the real thing between him and Reiner.
I’m really sorry to say so, but Bertolt didn’t get any love from his friend. I agree with the theory that Reiner has strong feelings for him, maybe even romantic (as hinted many times after the herring dialogue with Ymir), but he was never able to show them. You may think he didn’t because he was aware of his feelings to be one-way, since he pointed out more than once that Bertolt has a crush on Annie (and I believe this is true), but it’s sadly not because of that.
It’s because Reiner is a coward, and probably loves himself more than anyone, even Bertolt. Since we could get some development for his character, we started noticing how much this guy does his best to keep himself away from sufference. He even built up another personality for this purpose. Ymir’s words in the forest were clear: he developed mental problems because he was not able to cope with his guilt, not because he was born that way. No sickness involved.
So yeah, he is indeed the weakest of the duo, yet the only one who felt a total failure until the end was Bertolt. And this is not what I call love: it’s what I call being selfish. Reiner let him go thinking he was a coward with no will, as he has always made him feel. He has always been cold with the most precious thing he had (after himself). If he really cared about Bertolt more than about himself and his pride he would have never recommended him to be careful like this:
It’s as clear as the water that he is using cold tones to
make sure Bertolt to do his best to survive, but these could be his last words
to him (and they will be) so why being an asshole until the very end?
Because Reiner is too scared to ever show his feelings. He is too scared to suffer, so he rather make the ones he loves to suffer instead. He is too afraid to use his love as a weapon to give courage to his friend. He rather uses Annie, once again, who’s not even there and whose they’re not even sure is still alive:
But this was just the last proof of his selfish behaviour. During their time as trainees, Reiner deluded himself multiple times in the soldier play, believing to be a normal recruit like the others. He even had a crush on the girl everybody like, so just like a regular cadet. He has been seeking for normality all the time, forgetting his only friend, who was probably like the Devil to him. Bertolt was the one who used to bring him back to reality, that one reality Reiner was escaping. It was in those moments that Bertolt proved himself to be reliable, something that Reiner was probably too busy to see.
And now… now it’s a little too late to go back:
It’s not the Walls, Reiner: it’s you. Ymir wrote that letter because she knew she wouldn’t have seen Historia again. She accepted the idea to die (and I honestly hope she died in the end, since I have enough of fake final speeches) because she had no regrets or remorses. She told Historia what she wanted to tell her, because she learned and was able to admit to herself that you can’t live for yourself, even if you get a second chance. And you’re not going to have it anyway, Reiner, because Bertolt won’t never come back to hear what you were never had the guts to tell him (I’m not talking in a strictly romantic way, I’m talking about feelings in general).
I honestly hope we are going to see Reiner figuring out how
much selfish he was, because if he really cared for Bertolt more than himself
he must let his fears go and clearly tell us what his regrets are.
He must speak to us, which is not
what he did with Bertolt. A quick, single page showing a flashback of him and
Bertolt standing on the Walls is not enough: I want to hear his rage towards himself, I want him to prove me wrong, or his character will
be totally fucked up.