Under @momtaku‘s request, I decided to address the issue surrounding Ymir’s death from my review in a separate post.
More accurately, this isn’t about how it was handled, but more about the circumstances surrounding it. After chapter 89 came out, I saw Ymir’s death coming from miles ahead, for logical reasons. Since Marley lost a shifter power on the road, they have to destitute it as soon as possible to arm themselves from conflict. Moreover, we learned their military relied mostly on titans, unable to expand past the sea, but dominating the land. Hence why they need to mobilize as soon as possible. From that point onwards, Ymir’s survival was ridiculous: they couldn’t let an ex-felon in possession of the titan power.
However, they didn’t execute her in the most tasteless way, the way some Eldians have been treated in the past, according to Grisha’ flashback and Ymir’s letter.
Fay eaten by the dogs (Ch. 86), the Kruger family burned alive (Ch. 87), Ymir being sent for a lifetime as a titan to Paradis, the fate of every Eldian opposing themselves to Marley (Ch. 89)
This world carries a strong hatred for Eldians, not just Marleans, as seen by that scared prisoner from the Middle Eastern Alliance, to the soldiers of the same faction calling them “descendants of that whore”. Yet the way Ymir was executed was rather… merciful.
Ymir about to be executed - Ch. 93
Look at the structure. Very reminiscent of a certain ceremony, isn’t it?
The Reiss passing ceremony. - Ch. 64
And everything there has been reproduced to a certain extent: the chains, the stairs, even the white costume. And in Ymir’s case, it was done for the sake of a single warrior. Not the future king, just a warrior.
Since Marley treats Eldians like canon meat and can execute them without suffering any severe consequences, I wonder if them imitating the coronation isn’t connected to some kind of superstition as the next warrior being haunted by their predecessors if not done correctly.
While this isn’t as efficient as the coordinate, it happens shifters can pass memories between holders, under certain conditions.
Galliard seeing through Ymir’s memories - Ch. 93
Galliard was also able to understand Ymir a little and even felt pity for her sake, almost as if he and Ymir made some kind of connection between the moment Galliard crunched her and the moment he woke up as a shifter. Galliard didn’t say when he saw the memory illustrated above, so I assume it could happen randomly at any point in time.
Now what was the difference between Galliard and the rest of their shifters? Ymir was given a royal treatment for her status: she got to stay prisoner for a bit, ask a last favor to Reiner and delivering her letter to the girl she loves, and got a full ceremony. Others devoured shifters weren’t as lucky.
Shifters being quickly and brutally devoured: Marcel (Ch. 40), Frieda (Ch. 63), Grisha (Ch. 62) and Bertolt (Ch. 84)
I was reluctant onto putting Grisha to the list because he willingly let himself fed to Eren. If anything, it’s Eren who got coerced without much explanation, only agreeing with his father that he’s going to avenge his mother. According to this month’s chapter, Grisha left 22 years ago, where he became the holder of the Attacking Titan. That means he would’ve died 9 years before the present point… just the time needed to pass the power to his son before his time was up. He surrounded himself to his progeny without any further waiting, and is now relieving his memories through him.
Now that any shifter can experience the memories of their predecessor, the coordinate probably kicked in once Eren read through the journals, because Grisha wanted his will to fight to pass down inside Eren, something he did successfully. Him raising his arms in a defense posture makes me think if he didn’t regret what he was about to do at the very last moment, though.
Of course, before succumbing to his fate, Grisha forcefully removed the Founding Titan out of Frieda’s nape. The two of them fought and Grisha won, devouring Frieda alive. We didn’t experience any aftereffect since Grisha died soon after, but Eren caught glimpses of Frieda here and there.
Eren through Frieda’s memories - Ch. 53
The coordinate allows Eren to delve deeper in the memories of his predecessors, but the most blatant so far have been Kruger’s and Grisha’s, since, as Attacker titans, they both shared the same ideology. That’s the reason why Kruger wasn’t in the list: him passing his power to Grisha was in his agenda. He wanted the leader of the restorationists to own it and the latter agreed, after a short conversation.
Grisha finding resolution after hearing Kruger - Ch. 87
This panel clearly shows Grisha is ready to accept Kruger’s power. There’s consenting on both sides.
The same thing happened with the Reiss ceremony: each ruler was prepared for it as their time was near, and each successor did the same, promising they won’t let their ancestors dominate them, asking for their family to pray, and falling victim to the sin of their bloodline everytime.
In the next cases, taping onto memories is a very tedious thing to do:
Ymir and Bertolt discussing Marcel’s fate - Ch. 47
Ymir stated she had no recollection, nor vision of who Marcel was. If she had memories from him, she would recognize Reiner and Bertolt on sight. Bertolt also states he, Reiner and the other warriors don’t have any memories of their predecessors either. What he meant by that could be the temporary amnesia every shifter experiences once they’re reverting back to their human form.
The thing is, the warriors were all submitted to the classical ritual, so the passing method stayed the same. The seven titans always won Marley’s wars and going on Paradis was a first. When Ymir inherited Marcel, it was an accident. Marcel shielded Reiner back then. When he was eaten, Ymir couldn’t remember him or see through him, as if Marcel’s soul sealed itself. That explains why not even his twin brother could see the moment where he died.
And now, probably the most disturbing case: Bertolt.
Bertolt about to get devoured by Armin - Ch. 84
His execution was completely messy and sloppy. Not only did he spend the whole serumbowl completely unconscious, but also gets held on the other side of the house so Armin could take his time to get him. When he woke up, he was completely unaware of his surroundings and got an audience who only wanted Armin to come back as a shifter. Other devoured shifters stayed silent, Bertolt begged for help. As a result, the first image that comes into Armin’s mind is that giant Colossal, screaming in pain. I explained in my chapter analysis how similar it was to Japanese ghost stories, but Armin doesn’t remain affected, from what we’ve seen. Maybe a bit down considering what transpired at the serumbowl, but no doubt Bertolt would do like Marcel did: keeping his secrets well-protected.
Unless he actually made Armin relieve his worst memories but… that’s probably left for when we switch back to Paradis. Him being pictured as sinking ships makes me think something changed in him but it’s more than potential nightmares.
In any case, I think those paths aren’t completely random. They can connect briefly if all the conditions are reunited, especially through a ceremony. That’s why Ymir’s death wasn’t as awful as people made it out to be. We should be grateful enough we’re spared the definite crunch because not even Titan Jesus Uri was granted this…
Frieda devouring Uri - Ch. 64
Yep, clear dismembered king right in front of our eyes. I doubt many of you would’ve been happy to see Ymir’s limbs dangling to the chains while her lower half would just lay there as Galliard was taking back his human form.