One of the things I’m looking forward to in the eventual next season of Shingeki no Kyojin is watching some of the supporting characters take on bigger roles. For instance, Historia Reiss (formerly Krista Lenz), one of my favorites, has taken a pivotal role recently. Chapter 54, in fact, inferences that the significance of her role is no less than that of Eren’s.
Of course, the Historia we know from the manga is very different from the one we last left in the anime. She’s gone through some painful experiences since then, and we’ve uncovered her traumatic past and felt the pressure that has been put upon her. She had been masking herself with a facade, which has now been lifted to reveal rotting wood underneath. Despondent and unsure of herself, Historia asks Eren if everyone is disappointed in the real Historia.
What follows is a Naruto-esque assertion from Eren which I think rings rather hollow (Eren’s a better character when he’s a mess than when he inspires). Because I think what we’ll eventually find out is that Historia is a kind person – not naturally, but because of the influence of her real mother (I’m guessing that’s the woman from the chapter) and some others, like Ymir. Historia will shine through and do something important, out of love for those around her.
We, too, put up facades – some light and delicate, and others strong and unwieldy. But it’s hard to genuinely love others when we aren’t genuine ourselves. So it’s not a bad thing when trials come or we’re otherwise forced to abandon a self that projects more lovingly than what we feel inside, because then we can demonstrate love that is sincere. We can choose to care for others, and at some personal cost. And notably, that version of love is stronger and deeper than that which we easily and insincerely give away.
Now we’ll wait and see if Historia, stripped of her goddess pretense, will be like us, given a choice – and we’ll find out what she does with it.