More Thoughts About Ymir (SnK 93)
I was digging through my Ymir tag recently counting the number of times I assured someone that Ymir was alive and well. At one point I promised the entirely of the snk tumblr community to buy pizza and beer if she was dead because I was that confident she was too important for an off-screen death. Ha.
When I wrote my salty rant last week, I was most upset, not that Ymir was dead, but that her decision to abandon Historia and give her life and titan power to an enemy nation made no sense. Posts explaining that she did it out of kindness or gratitude or a sense of guilt over eating Marcel didn’t ring true. Because that wasn’t Ymir. Yes she kind, and yes she was self-sacrificing but that squishy goodness was nearly always focused on Historia. Everything about Ymir was focused Historia. I felt like something was missing.
During my trip through my archives, I found a post that @snkception wrote 10 months ago. Reading it again, lightbulbs went off, missing pieces dropped into place and sense was made. You can leave me here and go read that now if you want. It’s a long post, beautifully documented. If you are hanging around, I’ll share just one part:
In saving Reiner and Bertholt at that juncture, Ymir becomes partially responsible for the massacre happening in Shiganshina right now, because it’s thanks to her efforts that those two alive to cause all that havoc. However, it’s pretty clear that the massacre would’ve happened anyway, in some form; if not Reiner and Bertholt, Zeke would’ve brought other shifters with him. Now, it’s Reiner and Bertholt there, and that means that Ymir has allies in Historia-protecting on both sides of this fight.
I sort of knew this… or I knew this at one time. It’s likely my anger and heartbreak overwhelmed my sense reason. I knew that Reiner promised to care for Historia. I knew Ymir felt in her heart the walled world was likely doomed. So it makes sense that she took steps on both sides of the battle to give Historia a chance. It’s wasn’t much, but it was the best she could do. It meant leaving Historia in the safety of the walls while using her life to bargain for Historia’s safety.
Ymir’s unreliability as a narrator and “mystery-laden dialog” did nothing to get this message across. Even in her letter to Historia just prior to her death she offers no reason for going along with Bert and Reiner. No wonder Historia’s reaction was “Is that all?”. These two have always sucked at communicating. But there’s reason to believe it will be made clear in time.
“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.
So there’s reason to hope that Ymir’s motives will be made crystal clear in the future. We can expect more of Ymir when that happens. Her offscreen death is still terrible and my heart is still broken, but at least I have confirmation that love for Historia was the WHY of it all.
Oh, and one last thing. The pizza deal was years ago. It has since expired :P