Since I doubt it’ll be long before the Paradis forces gatecrash this war, I think it’s time to look at how our new Commander will approach their new battle. I’ve talked before about how I think Armin will try to walk a darker path to live up to Erwin’s example, but Hange has received just as much foreshadowing in that direction.
(Interestingly, the way Sannes describes the role of the torturer is identical to how the Titan Shifter power works - you can never kill all the ‘monsters’, because another will just take its place; and more often than not, it’s the one who killed the previous one.)
Sannes was not the first person Hange tortured. Their experiments on the Titans caused enormous pain to something that still had a human consciousness inside of it. The Uprising Arc, as with all the characters and the series itself, serves to strip away the layers of ignorance and reveal what the characters have been doing all along unbeknown to themselves. Despite, that Hange is, at heart, a compassionate person. They are reduced to tears when torturing a hulking, human-eating monster - yet strangely, they don’t show a flicker of regret at torturing Sannes. Quite the opposite; they feel like he’s received his just deserts.
Because there is a darker side to Hange; one that they believed they had overcome. The burning desire for justice and revenge.
I didn’t notice the parallels between Eren and Hange at first, but they’re starting to become a lot clearer to me. Hange is most renowned for being one of the main brains of the Corps, whereas Eren is…not, but while they bond with Armin on that front, there is a reason why attention was given to their one-on-one conversations with Eren like the one in Chapter 20 above.
The ‘dream’ is Eren’s curiosity, whereas killing the Titans is his rage. And while Eren started off with a dream, was overcome by hatred, and then began dreaming again, Hange makes the reverse journey. They begun with hatred, soothed their rage with a dream…and are now slowly giving into hatred again.
Hange’s dilemma is this: they are eager to find humanity behind monsters, but they are unwilling to accept monstrosity behind humans. Their fury at Sannes comes from what he did to Nick, who they had become attached to; but twenty chapters earlier, it was Hange threatening Nick’s life, for hiding a secret of vital importance to humanity.
Perhaps it will take seeing the Eldian Warrior Candidates of Chapter 91 for Hange to overcome the last of her prejudices…but before that can happen, I’m sure Hange will be a merciless commander towards Marley in the war the come. Having lost both Moblit and Erwin at Shiganshina, they will fight to the last to defend the people who remain to them - and to crush those who threaten to take them away.
A person with such convictions in wartime is a good thing. But when it comes to the chances of an egalitarian peace, it becomes a little more worrying. Perhaps it will take Eren, of all people, to calm their rage before it burns Marley to the ground.