Ch 93: Not the end for Ymir?
Chapter 93 gave us the confirmation that Ymir has in fact been eaten by Galliard, Marcel’s brother, seemingly marking the ending point of her character once and for all. Given the context of the new episode, as well as the little focus or pages dedicated to her apparent last moments, many of us are very upset with the seemingly lackluster climax of her character arc; and her decision to abandon Historia to save RB and let herself be killed seems to go very much against everything her characterization according to many fans.
The point of this post isn’t to argue about any of that, but instead, to illuminate a possible indicator that we may have not seen the last of everyone’s favorite goddess.
Please let us think back to chapter 50; one of the most impactfull and monumental chapters in the entire series, for many reasons. It marks the only time so far in the story that Eren has successfully manipulated the founding titan within him, the godlike power at the center of the current (and probably final) plot, aimed at his very first enemy; that alone marks a milestone in the series, not to speak of the various character interactions happening along the way. Among others, this chapter also marks the moment Ymir chooses to abandon Historia, the person she seems to care for more than anyone else, despite the fact that the coordinate marks a real hope for the walled world to survive the dangers Ymir is aware of.
Now, despite the fact that this game changing power debuts in this chapter, the narrator this time around focuses on one arguably lesser important event: the aforementioned separation. Let’s look at it.
“At the time, we didn’t know what Ymir’s actions meant. But after that, the armored titan stopped chasing after us”-narrator, chapter 50.
This narration is interesting for various reasons. First of all, it marks one of the rare occasions in which the narrator is not impersonal, but in fact identifies with present characters. Other notable occasions of this include Kenny’s flashback in 69, and Eren’s description of the photograph in chapter 85 (both chapters with heavy plot and thematic value for the story, just like ch 50, if I may add). Here, the narrator refers to himself as part of a group, but opposes themselves against the armored titan, implying narrator is not part of RB’s team, but in fact of the Survey Corps escaping back to the walls (most likely part of the EMA, maybe even Armin himself considering Marina Inoue typically voices the narrator. We should hear that animated soon enough).
That’s not the only thing the narrator is implying though. The use of the past tense as well as “at the time” is crucial. It literally means that, although they did not understand Ymir during chapter 50; at the time of narration, some form of understanding is clearly present. If, at the time of narration, the narrator was still as clueless as back then, there would be no need for “at the time” of past tense, but this particular formulation very much implies that an understanding of Ymir’s actions is very much there in the present time. And here’s the thing: even though Ymir’s death has been confirmed, our characters among which the narrator finds himself have yet to reach a point of understanding Ymir’s actions.
First of, let’s determine “Ymir’s actions”. Ymir herself is a big mystery to our cast, but according to the narrator, Ymir’s actions are what directly precedes the armored titan not following narrator and co; in which case, “Ymir’s actions” has to refer to her abandonment of Historia and her helping out R and B. In that case, the narration above implies the following: the narrator part of the surviving SC forces will eventually come to understand the meaning behind Ymir’s betrayal. Now, as of chapter 93, let’s ask the question: Does anyone present back then understand Ymir?
Ymir herself expresses surprise at her actions, Ymir herself is unsure of her actions when writing the letter, which marks the most recent time anyone inside the walls has received information concerning Ymir. As of chapter 90, the last moment we spent with whomever the ch 50 narrator is, said narrator has yet to reach a point of understanding Ymir. OUR CAST STILL DOES NOT KNOW THE MEANING OF HER ACTIONS, AS FORETOLD BY CHAPTER 50. Isn’t that basically a confirmation that Ymir’s story isn’t done yet?
You may counterargue that its been 4 years and that Isa has changed his mind since, esp since he doesn’t want to drag the story out at anymore. But I find it so hard to believe that, in one of the most important chapters in the series, one that is still relevant to this day, the narrator focuses on this one plot point that simply ends up dropped over the course of the series. Chapter 50 is too important for that kind of redesign, wouldn’t you say? Who knows, maybe it’ll wind up different in the anime and will mark a retrofit by Isayama that fits better in line with 89 being the end of her story, but until we see it animated, I’ll chose to keep doubting that.
As for how Ymir’s story can still be told to our main cast? Here’s one possible option: Galliard
According to the (admittedly bad) fan translation, Galliard understands Ymir and her wish to bring back her titan-something neither us readers nor the narrator in question do as of right now. Granted, this could just be terrible translation, but Galliard could wind up being the gateway between Ymir and the main cast. Or its something entirely different. In a story about time travelling memories, matter that forms out of thin air, and the literal power of a god capable of reshaping the planet and controlling an entire species, death seems like a far too small barrier to stop someone from being relevant to the story, one way or another.
Since the majority of this argument is based off the lines spoken by the narrator in 50, there is a minor chance this is all ridiculous blunder if the official translation turns out to somehow differ from the Japanese original, and if anyone knows if it does, I would appreciate if you could inform me. But otherwise, I personally will start taking those words from chapter 50 as heavy evidence Ymir’s story hasn’t fully been told yet. I don’t want to create false hopes for anyone, but until proven otherwise, I don’t think it’s too unreasonable to believe in it.