Imagine… Shrinkyclinks… Where Steve and Buck are walking together through the park during the fall, holding hands and sharing a pair of earbuds and listening to music together like the sappy gay assholes they are, and Steve gets a chill. So Buck takes off his scarf and his big puffy jacket and just wraps Steve in them nice and warm and oh my god they’re so big on this tiny little twig someone help the poor thing before he drowns in fabric

Eremin Basics Part I.

The chapters preceding (and including) 84, several things have struck me about the relationship of both Eren and Armin. There have been several parallels and several references to earlier chapters that I think play an important role in understanding the character dynamics and the upcoming chapters leading to the climax. So I will somewhat be compiling my thoughts about eremin and it’s role in advancing the plot.

I want to address Eren and the dream that is often used as his character compass. It is often mentioned throughout the series and people claim to be tired of hearing about it but the dream is often representative of several things, not just literally seeing the outside world. Eren is more attached more to just the curiosity of seeing the oceans, lava, etc. I’ll explain later.

In chapter 3, we see Eren making his stake about his decision to join the scouting legion, the night before graduation. Here, he outline exactly why defeating the titans is important to him.

Eren makes the case that while yes, he wants to see the extermination of the titan population, he also has a second leg to his goal: to explore the outside world.

In the lower panel, Armin is blushing because he’s surprised by Eren’s heartfelt admission. Here’s why.

Armin thought that Eren didn’t remember the dream because he hadn’t talked about it for about two years. But Eren hadn’t forgotten… He purposely avoided talking about how he was going to conduct his military service (i.e. directly fighting the titans from the SC, then seeing the outside world with Armin) because he didn’t want Armin to follow him into the danger and peril that the SC sees. He wanted to protect Armin from the death and the gore. More so, he wanted to keep Armin alive. Eren was making a conscious effort to direct Armin into another Military branch, preferably one that didn’t come into direct contact with the titans - while he directly fought them. In Eren’s perfect world, Armin would be in working as a tactician/strategists far away from the titans and he would be mowing down titans. The titans would be eradicated and he would take Armin to the outside world. All dreams fulfilled. Except, that’s not how it happened.

His speech practically unraveled all his hard work because Armin decided to enlist in the Scouting Legion because of it. Mission failed. 

So, let’s examine this further. Armin was dejected because he didn’t think that Eren remembered the dream that he had for them. He left Armin wondering if he had even recalled what he had told him before the Fall of Shiganshina. Eren was willing to sacrifice that leg of their relationship for the time-being, just so Armin could live to have the possibility to see the outside world for himself. Long-term, Eren wants them to have his freedom. This is what he was willing to do short-term to ensure Armin had a greater chance to see it. He was a facilitator of sorts, encasing the dream with his heart and implementing a plan to make sure it happens. Willing to sacrifice seeing all the hope and wonder he always enjoyed seeing glow in Armin’s eyes every time he ranted about the outside world. But Eren it was worth it for the end result.

The dream here represents Armin’s happiness/safety and Eren’s perseverance/bravery.

Armin is so flustered because he probably realized that the love that Eren has for him and his dream is on a different plane - stronger than he ever imagined. He realized that Eren didn’t forget… That his true intention was to protect him.
Which is what Eren wanted to do - no matter what it looked like.

These same sentiments arose in Chapter 84: Eren was going to protect Armin (the dream) - no matter what it looked like to others, apparently including Armin.

It was his last resort in order to pull Armin back from the brink of death - to change Levi’s mind. Mention what Armin shrived for. Why he belonged here. Why he couldn’t let Armin die. Why Armin was even a part of the SC in the first place.

Now, did Eren truly “forget” about the dream?

No, of course not. Much like he did not “forget” the first time. At most, he placed the dream to the back burner so he could focus on avenging his mother. But he did not forget. Eren mentioned the dream not long before this battle. Telling Armin that “by this time next year, we’ll be looking at the ocean.” (73.) But we see Eren here, embellishing for the sake of Armin. Again, facilitating the dream and protecting Armin.

As of now, Eren’s worst nightmare had come true. Armin being injured - near death. Much of what he had tried to avoid in the years before Chapter 3, the reason he tried his damnest to prevent Armin from joining the SC. So he presents Armin as he sees him. Hopeful, ambitious, and curious - wishing to explore a world free of titans. Eren wants this too (possibly on a lesser scale than Armin) but he purposely removed his wants/aspirations from the equation. So, he could isolate Armin and his motivations completely- playing up the fact that Armin originally wanted to go outside the walls even before he told him. Retelling the story of the dream from a completely different perspective formed a better case for Armin’s survival even if it wasn’t completely true.

Here, the dream represents Armin’s hope and Eren’s desperation.

And it begs the question - what is Eren really fighting for?

To eradicate the titans? Or bring Armin intense, endless happiness? Both? Or one or the other?

The lines have become blurred as the manga continues.  The dream, Eren’s freedom lies in Armin. Armin is a representation, an embodiment of what Eren is striving for. A life beyond these monsters that roam the Earth. And it’s become clearer by the chapter that Eren probably wants Armin to see the ocean more than he wants to see it himself.

Since we’ve seen what Eren is willing to do, it makes you wonder how deeply Eren’s feelings extend for Armin.