Ten minutes into episode 40 of Attack on Titan, I decided to read the Wiki article on Rod Reiss, whom the episode revealed as Historia’s father, to help jog my memory since it’s been so long since I read this portion of the manga. But the article on Reiss was so convoluted that I gave up a paragraph or two in. This is the challenge of season three, when action largely comes to a halt—how can the anime make these conspiracy theories, involving new characters and old, captivating and memorable?
The key to this might be with focusing on those characters we’ve come to love. This episode veered toward that by spending time exploring Erwin’s backstory and of course, Historia’s. Still…I find it difficult to love her character, to feel for her even knowing her tragic background. Even though I once claimed was my favorite AoT character, I’ve come to realize that I don’t really have any great affection for.
I think of it this way: this whole world of Attack on Titan is full of tragedy, so how can I feel special sympathy for Historia? Showing young, moe Historia helps, but not a lot, especially since I don’t feel any thread of connection to her. My past doesn’t resonate with hers, either in the heights of her tragedy or on any metaphorical level.
The thing is…some people do feel a kinship with Historia. Some people have been betrayed and hurt by their mothers, abandoned by their fathers, and have hidden their true personalities for a variety of reasons. More importantly than caring for Historia, I want to care for those people as they appear in my life. They’re the ones who are hurting and need grace.
I don’t dispense grace very naturally, though—I would argue most of us don’t. But when I have a repentant heart, one that admits how fallen I am and turns to Christ in obedience, enjoying his love and acting because of it, my heart gets so much fuller (I’m thinking of the Grinch here). I’m able to love people I don’t understand and further, those that like me, don’t deserve love. Historia did nothing wrong—but many in terrible situations have. They need love and grace, too.
So, in that strange way that fiction crosses into reality, I plan to use Historia as a model to help me care for others. She’s a good character to help me be introspective and to consider whether I’m loving God, who is the source of love for the downtrodden and beaten down. So while Historia may be a queen, I’ve discovered that learning to love her is of even more royal character: loving Historia is godly indeed.