the lost girl of humanity complete breakdown of ymir fritz, her connection to eren and episode 80 of attack on titan ‘from you, 2000 years ago’

ymir was the name of the ancestor of all jötnar (giants) in norse mythology. there is lots of nordic influence here, ie the tree she falls into (paths tree) references yggdrasil (world tree) & the ‘parasite’ underneath is a nod to the Níðhöggr that gnaws on yggdrasil’s roots. +

in fact the substance that contains the parasite underneath the tree is likely a reference to the ‘Eitr’. this liquid is the origin of all living things, which aligns to kruger’s words at the end of s3: ‘our ancestor ymir touched the source of all living matter.’ +

this episode reveals the origin of the titan curse, but it focuses on the ‘why’ instead of the ‘how’. it tells us the story of ymir, a girl broken by the world, and the trauma that caused her to create the cycle that has lasted 2000 years. this works because attack on titan +

beyond everything, is a human story. one of the most important themes is dubbed ‘children of the forest’ due to arthur braus’ speech in the restaurant. he explains how cycles of hatred affect children and become self-fulfilling. ymir fulfills this theme symbolically +

as she’s a child in a forest when she connects to the parasite, and literally because war is what forced her into slavery which informed her mindset. slavery is another important theme. as kenny said: ‘everyone is a slave to something’. ymir again fully aligns due to her actual+

slavery, but also fulfills the symbolic side as she remained enslaved even after she became the most powerful being in the world. this is important, she was unable to disassociate from the mentality of a slave as her trauma had left her with no self worth or identity. +

to really understand why, we need to look at her story. she had her home destroyed, her tongue cut out, was forced into slavery and then chased into the woods to be killed after 3 pigs were released. when she returns after gaining the power, she merely obeys instead of fighting +

back. this chase was the last straw, and ymir didn’t grow mentally past this moment at all. we know this because she didn’t regenerate her tongue despite being able to do so, and then in paths she’s the same age and wearing the same clothes as she was that day. +

ymir remains a slave because that’s how she views herself, one visual example is here - she has her arms in the position of shackles despite no actual shackles exisiting. this brings us to an important point: ymir fritz has no agency. character agency is making decisions that +

affect the plot. passive characters are put in situations outside of their control and things happen to them - this is ymir. ymirs trauma left her incapable of her own choices, so instead she attaches to others and merely follows orders, remaining that way all this time. +

her lack of agency is emphasised in the structure of aot. she’s 1st introduced through a book, as a lesson to krista on how to behave. next she is used as a tool of worship that ymir freckles is roped into. finally she’s used a propaganda tool (both sides) in grisha’s backstory.+

even now, we only see her true past because eren connects to her and we see it through him, even then she doesn’t have a voice to narrate it. this also serves as social commentary regarding how victims of abuse often feel as if they have no ‘voice’ to tell their stories. +

however the previous stories help to piece together this voiceless flashback. krista was a ‘role’ played by historia, a girl who also had no agency and did what others wanted in order to be loved. ymir also wanted love/connection and that’s shown on a couple of occasions. +

then through the other ymir we can see how the act of playing this ‘role’ was something that ‘felt good’. due to her horrifying childhood, the small luxuries such as a roof, safety, and purpose suddenly mean the world and they reinforce her behavioural patterns. +

then we come to the spear. she protects the king without having to be ordered to - the first time we see this. looking up at his cold reaction, opposed to the fear and love of her daughters, makes her lose the will to live and so she stops regenerating. however she still can’t+

fully detach herself, so despite her agony she creates a parallel world where she can continue to follow his orders and create HIS world. this is PATHS, the representation of conflicting emotions from a girl who couldn’t fully leave behind the world that scarred her. +

enter eren. he is the first one in 2000yrs to look at ymir as a human instead of a tool and this is due to one thing - he understands her. the major difference between eren and ymir is that he has agency while she doesn’t, but he still connects to a shared feeling of LONELINESS.+

eren’s future memories left him alone, and pushed him onto a solitary path that left his friends behind. this was his choice but he still suffers from that, and can connect to ymir who feels the same emotions of loneliness without the tools to choose for herself. eren gives her +

a choice. stay in paths for eternity or destroy ‘this’ world, the world of king fritz’ titans which had trapped ymir and the world in a cycle of hatred for so long. however it’s important that while eren gives her a choice he doesnt solve any underlying issues for her. +

she is still following someone’s will all that is changed is that she’s able to choose who to follow. her eyes are open showing her reignited desire for freedom but she’s still a child - she hasn’t grown past her trauma at all. the rumbling is a release, a cry of pain and anger +

but just like genocide isn’t an answer for anything, it’s not the solution to a child’s trauma. this is when we see a very cool detail. when eren sees someone’s memories he experiences them + the emotions of the holder fully, but this connection works both ways. +

just like grisha’s crazed expression and rage that led him to stab his hand was partly influenced by eren’s emotions being a part of his experience, the same is happening here. ymirs tears are the tears eren can’t shed. the honest anguish, pain and loneliness that has been +

building up for over 4 years. the rumbling is eren’s choice but it’s a choice that breaks him because no matter how ruthless he may have become, he is still the person he has always been. a person who wanted to save lives along with killing the titans. +

the boy who wanted to stop others from experiencing what he had is now inflicting that same thing upon countless others. all of these emotions, the self loathing and pain, are felt through ymir in her decision to follow him. two souls ‘still wandering in that deep mist’.

for the remainder of the thread i’ll be posting screenshots of further ties/details for those interested: mikasa are a representation of what ymir isn’t

ymir fritz and what her children represent

the 9 titans as extensions of ymir & her trauma/desires

simple breakdown for why titans/paths exist

oh i forgot to add but ymirs titan form having a completely skeletal face is probably a nod to how she has no sense of personal identity

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