Does Erwin know that Djel tortured and killed his father?
It’s no secret that I think about Erwin Smith A LOT so it’s a rare and special thing when a Completely New Erwin Smith Thought enters my brain. I was so excited that I had to consult a few of my fellow Erwin-stans to see if this was a new thought to them as well. It was.
When chapter 55 came out three years ago, all of my posts were about how Levi and Hange were being affected by torturing Sanes. I payed close attention to Erwin’s retelling of his father’s death and I knew that Sanes was responsible, but I never connected the events this way.
These are the facts:
Djel Sanes questioned young Erwin about his father’s theories and Papa Smith was dead within 24 hours. Erwin thought about that day for the rest of his life.
Sanes was selected for torture because of his knowledge as an Interior MP and because of what he did to Minister Nick. Erwin’s father was not a factor.
Now the supposition:
I believe that as significant as that day was, Erwin Smith remembered every detail including the face and name of the man who questioned him.
I believe that official records do not exist so there was no way Erwin could dig through a military filing cabinet to find actual proof of Sanes involvement.
I believe Erwin was smart enough to put it together.
So, yes, I believe Erwin Smith knew that Djel Sanes was heavily involved in the death of his father.
There is no indication–no subtext at all–that Erwin Smith enjoyed the torture of the man who killed his dad. His face is devoid of emotion. There’s no indication in the manga that vengeance is Erwin’s thing. It’s quite the opposite. We can add to the facts above that Erwin Smith blames himself for the death of his dad and not Djel Sanes.
So the next logical question… do Levi and Hange know that they are torturing the man who killed Papa Smith. I’m going to say no.
Levi is completely impassive throughout the ordeal. I contrast that with his torture of the MP a few chapters later where he lets his anger show at the mention of Erwin on the gallows.
While I don’t think Levi is a vengeful person, he is an emotional one. If he’d known that this was the man responsible for Erwin father’s death, he would’ve made it a bit personal.
I think Hange too was oblivious to this. Had Hange known this man killed Erwin’s dad, it might have assuaged her guilt.
So the tl;dr is that I believe Erwin knew but he didn’t tell Levi or Hange. He didn’t want his personal trauma influencing the situation. Like everything else in Erwin’s life, he carried this knowledge and pain alone.
Thank you anon! This was fun to think about and a joy to write.
But let’s also just go ahead and appreciate squad Levi’s continuing mad skills…
Especially Sasha with her hunting senses. Look at her shooting right through a leg from the roof. But more impressive is when did Jean get equally as good with a gun? I mean look at that. And Connie is kicking some major ass. I’m just so proud of these kids and that’s what I wanna think about instead of the inevitable end of the chapter ugh.