You Can Stop Panicking About Ymir’s Curse, Sort Of
Relax. Titanshifters don’t die 13 years after they receive their power. Or, they do, just not in the way you think.
Right, enough crypticness. The reason people think that 13 years is the limit is because Ymir Fritz supposedly died after 13 years herself.
But did Ymir Fritz really die? My answer is: no. I’m pretty confident that our Ymir is the Ymir. I don’t see why Isayama would give such a mysterious character such an important name (and delay our first time hearing her name for 31 chapters after her introduction, at which point we’ve already heard a Titan speak of ‘Ymir-Sama’) unless they are one and the same. Our continuing ignorance of Ymir’s surname also suggests a future reveal that her last name matches that of the pseudo-royal family. The theory that she was named after Ymir is hard to swallow - an Eldian family naming their child ‘Ymir’ wouldn’t go down well with Marley - and even if that was the case, from a narrative perspective it seems an unlikely route to go down unless it’s just a massive red herring.
If you want more evidence, there’s the fact that Ymir was able to read the extinct language on the can of herring at Castle Utgard, and the fact that Ilse, who looks very similar to Ymir
(an astute observation courtesy of my dear tumblrless friend Chloe), was mistaken by the Talking Titan to be ‘Ymir-Sama’.
(Spot the difference?)
So, our Ymir is the Ymir, which means she outlived the 13 Year Limit. If so, then what happened to her?
…Or so she says. But when you’re a mindless Titan, keeping track of time must be next to impossible. Ymir thinks it’s sixty years, but there’s no reason why it couldn’t have been more along the lines of, say…1,807 years.
What if when the 13 year limit is reached, it’s only your human self that “dies”? You lose the ability to shift and remain in Titan form constantly, and you experience the braindeath that forces you to become a mindless titan, like Ymir was for so long? Wherein the only way to save yourself is to chance upon eating a titan shifter and regaining your mind and human form again?
It would certainly fit the theme of “man into monster” throughout SNK. Whether Kruger and the Reiss Family knew that this is what was meant by ‘death’ is somewhat irrelevant, because neither had a convenient nearby shifter to eat anyway so it more or less would be the death of their true self.
So, Eren and Armin aren’t 100% going to die in 8 and 13 years respectively. But they are living on borrowed time. They can keep prolonging it by eating other shifters, which is a gruesome enough concept as it is…but the curse will have its toll in the end.
View of an advertising card for the Schilling Corset Company. Card is a humorous depiction of owls and frogs. Printed on front: “Desperation. Compliments of Schilling Corset Co., Detroit, Mich. Copyright 1886. Richmond & Co., Buffalo, N.Y.” Price list and drawing of corset on back.
Courtesy of the Burton Historical Collection, Detroit Public Library