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Hey, I've been a lurker here for a while but decided to join to post this after something hit me while rereading thru the entire manga this weekend. I'll try to add links to the pages of the manga I refer to in my points after posting.
Let me start by saying that I don't think Reiner and Bertolt are the bad guys here. This first came to me during their tree top discussion with Eren and Ymir, when Bertolt asks Ymir how long she wandered around as a titan and if she could remember who she'd eaten. She claims to have no recollection, and assuming the translation I read was accurate, Bertolt essentially says it was the same for Reiner and himself. This obviously implies that at some point Bertolt and Reiner were mindless titans wandering outside the walls.
Based on their reaction to the Beast Titan and how they respond to Ymir's questions about him, I think it's pretty clear they aren't in league with him. In fact, based on the their answers, and their constant use of the word "warrior", I would hypothesize they are in fact part of a faction (presumably made up of shifters) that are fighting to oppose the Beast Titan and whatever he stands for.
Now for the walls and their origin. Clearly, the walls are made from titans crystallizing themselves in a circular formation. Hange discovers this when she analyzes a piece of the crystal from Annie's titan, and Armin solidifies the theory when he mentions offhandedly that he wonders why the wall has no brick joins (why the wall's surface is smooth, with no signs of mortar between the stones). I would assume the wall is more fragile than the crystal from Annie's titan because it is dispersed over a much greater area, and perhaps because of the duration for which it has stood.
But why were the walls there prior to humanity occupying them you might ask? Well, if you were going to start your own farm, would you go buy the animals before you built the fence? No, you would build the enclosure and then lead the animals inside. I think it's clear from what happened to Connie's village that the Beast Titan is in some way connected to, if not responsible for, the origin of the titans. It's no coincidence that an entire village of humans within the walls suddenly turns to titans (yes they were the titans, yes that was Connie's mom laying on his house) in such close proximity to the Beast Titan.
Why that particular village you might ask? Let me remind you why the trainees happened to be at the farm nearby. After capturing Annie, the government suspected that her accomplices Colossal Titan and Armored Titan were among the members of the 104th. If you weren't sure who they were, but wanted them dead, what better way than to them all in one place, unarmed, and kill them all at once. Sure enough, the Beast Titan and a group of normal titans appear and head straight for where the trainees were being isolated.
Now this part is going to get a little crazy. Why does Eren keep referencing cattle at the beginning of the manga? How would the Beast Titan happen to know that a handful of potential shifters who opposed him were gathered all in one place? Why do Reiner, Bertolt, and Ymir all agree that there is no future within the walls? How do titans sustain/increase their numbers when they have no reproductive organs? The answer to all these questions is that the people living inside the walls are being raised as cattle for the Beast Titan or whoever he represents. Titans can't reproduce, but humanity within the walls is a self sustaining farm for potential titans.
Armin notes that the Colossal and Armored Titans stop their assault on the walls once Eren is discovered to be a shifter. They were content to wipe out humanity at first because they would be doing away with the source of new titans. They stopped tehe attack once Eren transformed because he could potentially be the "Coodinate" who could allow them to turn the titans against their creator.
The final question, what was Grisha hiding in the basement? First, let me say that Grisha is NOT the Beast Titan. The manga clarifies this when the Beast Titan stops a titan from eating Mike so that he can examine his 3DMG and swords. Grisha was well aware of both of these things. However, Grisha was a brilliant doctor who was renowned for saving humanity from an epidemic. Is it then possible that while curing everyone he discovered something (potentially in their blood, idk) that lead him to discover how titans were being created, and to produce the serum he gave Eren?
Last edited by Astartes; November 05, 2013 at 11:22 AM.
Welcome to the forum. I like how you came up to this by yourself, but theories like this one have been around for a really long time, the only difference being people's opinion on Grisha's role in the story and what's in the basement.
I'm inclined to agree with you all points. I don't think RBA are bad guys at all. In fact Reiner is my favorite character I think he is an inherently good self-sacrificing person that is simply carrying out his duty as a warrior. And unlike Annie who is a ruthless cold blooded killer Reiner never directly killed anybody unlikely Annie who would slaughter people unnecessarily when she could have just destroyed their 3DMG, when Reiner was fighting Eren he ignored all the SL soldiers attacking him and only fought Eren with the intention of capturing him. I also believe that if he absolutely had to he would sacrificed himself or shifted to protect his fellow soldiers as well. I think Reiner and Bert to a lesser extent feel absolutely terrible at the lives that were lost as a result of their breach's but they did what they did because it was their duty and most likely for the greater good of their cause.
The whole cattle theory makes total sense and goes in line with the ape titan theory. The ape faction made the wall so they could harvest humans when needed and allowed the royal family and nobility to remain in the inner wall with a guarantee of protection from becoming titans. Also great observation that the Ape Titan was going after RBY it seemed a bit random that he would just go in and turn just one village and leave, it makes sense that he turned the village closest to the castle RBY were at and sent all the titans there. Although I'm curious why he didn't also attack himself, perhaps maybe he realized if they shifted they would most likely kill him Reiner would most likely kill him by himself since he's almost invincible and probably has superior hand to hand fighting skills to the primitive ape titan.
Well, I would argue that Annie had to be ruthless, given that she doesn't have armor quite like Reiner does to protect her neck and they were constantly trying to capture her and/or kill her. But yea, there were certainly kills that she could've avoided, and given her cold personality I'm not surprised that she didn't hesitate to do it. During the clean up after they retake Trost, she looks down at one of the bodies and apologizes. She also tries to talk a few of the top 10 graduates out of joining Survey Corps, presumably because she doesn't want to see them get hurt. But Reiner and Bert are definitely having a hard time with their guilt, especially when they make off with Eren and Bert breaks down while being cupped in Reiner's titan hand.
To me the cattle explanation seems to be the only logical one. There's just way too much going on with the upper levels of their government and society trying to maintain the status quo. I'm still trying to figure out where the Wall Cult fits into everything though. They seem to understand the origins of the wall and therefore probably know its true purpose, but at the same time they're against sealing off the gates that allow the Survey Corps to go out into the world and learn more.
To me the Beast Titan seems more like a mastermind type than a pawn, so I don't see him engaging in any of the battles until he's cornered. He's obviously intelligent and was really interested in their 3DMG to the point where he took Mike's with him to examine it. Plus it would seem that he is able to direct the titans, so assuming he (and now Eren) is the only one who can, risking himself would potentially doom his cause.
Welcome! I think the "humans raised as cattle" theory can be agreed upon by most (if not all) of us at the very least. Even if the final goal isn't to make them all titans, and rather to make them into food for the wall titans or something. Isayama has talked about wanting to destroy his world, and characters within the series are talking about how the world is about to end, so it makes sense that everyone within the walls could go titan at some point in order to fulfill his plans for "Armageddon."
I feel like that scenario will play out and then come down to Eren making a sacrifice in order to save humanity. The first frame of the first chapter really bothers me, because its clearly older Mikasa with her short hair and white buttoned shirt saying goodbye to him for whatever reason. That would really bum me out if it turns out the be the case and shes saying goodbye as he gives himself up for the greater good, because if anything goes right for anyone in this story, I think it should be Mikasa getting to finally just be with him like she's always wanted to.