The Eldia vs. Marley War from Attack on Titan explained

Photo Credit: Funimation
Photo Credit: Funimation /

The mega-popular anime series Attack on Titan has recently finished airing its fourth and final season and you’re probably suffering from some major Levi Ackerman withdrawals right now. You’re probably also suffering from some major confusion as to why the show shifted from a setting in Paradis to a setting in Marley, and don’t worry, you’re not alone.

As the season rolls out, the anime series aired tons of new characters, gave us a new location, and even gave us a new perspective on just why all the chaos that does happen in the Attack on Titan world goes down to begin with.

We’re here to give you a brief, but thorough breakdown of who the Eldians are, what their involvement with Marley is about, and what’s at stake for both islands.

Note: This explanation is beginner-friendly, meaning that there will be several omissions of characters and events for the sake of clarity and conciseness. Additionally, there are heavy spoilers from this point on.

Who are the Eldian people?

To understand who Marleyeans are and what they want from Paradis, we must first tell you about the Paradis inhabitants, the Eldians.

The Eldian race are people who descend from Karl Fritz, a king of Eldia 2,000 years ago, and they carry a special kind of blood that was passed down through Fritz’s wife Ymir Fritz.

When she was younger, Ymir Fritz came in contact with a mysterious power that made essentially made her the first titan to ever exist. Amazed by this power, King Fritz abused Ymir’s abilities and forced her to used her titan powers to build a strong Eldian society. Soon after, Ymir Fritz bore three children, Maria, Rose, and Sina (Sheena).

Becoming a stronger and more terrifying empire, King Fritz’s life was in danger, but Ymir sacrificed her life to protect the king.

It was imperative that her special power didn’t die with Ymir Fritz, so King Fritz had to think of a way to pass down the power of the Titans and protect his subjects, especially from outside forces. (We’ll get into that in a second.)

Having no other choice, King Fritz ordered his daughters to eat their mother, and doing so passed down the special power of the titan to the three children who then went on to create a race of Eldians called the Subjects of Ymir, the only race who can turn into Titans.

Though Ymir Fritz was one Titan, the power was split into three with her three daughters. Once they repopulated, the power eventually split into the first nine titans with Ymir’s power, forming the Nine Titans that you know of.

The Nine Titans consist of: the Beast Titan, the Armored Titan, the Female Titan, the Attack Titan, the Colossal Titan, the Jaw Titan, the Cart Titan, the Founding Titan, and the Warhammer Titan.

Additionally, the Nine Titans were split up amongst eight powerful houses within Eldia including the Tybur family.

Sounds like a regular Marley-free situation so far, right? Here’s where it takes a turn.

The Nine Titans had a huge advantage against the rest of the world because of their incredible abilities, but what was supposed to be an advantage only used in dire situations became a tool that threatened anyone who wasn’t Eldian.

The 145th King Karl Fritz (not to be confused with the previous Karl Fritz) used The Nine Titans to plow through lands and countries he wanted to occupy. These countries included Marley, who faced immense oppression through Fritz’s rule.

Finally achieving the ultimate, King Fritz and the eight houses found that there was no one else to conquer and in their boredom and paranoia, started trouble within. In the midst of the internal conflict, Karl Fritz conspired with the Tybur family to end the conflict by having everyone eliminate each other.

Each house used their Titan to fight amongst each other and in the midst of their vulnerability, Marley saw the opportunity to cease power. This conflict became known as The Great Titan War.

In the end, Marley secured seven of the nine Titans, which severely weakened the Eldian people.

Eldia’s perspective

Once the Eldian people were weakened, they now became oppressed by the Marlyeans and had no other choice but to flee. Most Eldians were able to escape from the Marleyeans’ grasp and went on to distant lands.

The Eldians continued on and eventually established Paradis Island. This is the land that Eren and the other main characters of Attack on Titan reside.

To protect the Eldian people from the seven Titans that they no longer possessed, King Fritz used his Founding Titan power to create hundreds of walls full of colossal Titans. Once finished with this, he used his power to erase the minds of all Eldians and instilled in them a will that forced them to never use their powers to oppress other nations. (This would later show to be a huge problem for Eren Jaegar and the rest of Paradis.)

The Eldian people lived in harmony after their flight from the Marlyeans, but that peace was disturbed once the Marlyeans decided to launch an attack against Paradis.

Eldia’s Endgoal: With the help of Eren Jaegar, obtain freedom to be able to live in a peaceful world without the threat of Titans. 

Marley’s perspective

Once the Eldian people were weakened, they now became oppressed by the Marlyeans and had no other choice but to flee. Most Eldians were able to escape from the Marlyeans’ grasp, but there were quite a number of them who suffered a worse fate.

Flash forward years later, and the Eldians who were left behind were now second-class citizens in the Marlyean society and would live their day-to-day life in misery, atoning for the sins that their fellow Eldians committed.

(Important Note: Some Eldians had a few more rights and were honorary Marlyeans on the premise that they dedicate their lives for Marley. This meant that they would train to eventually hold the power of one of the Nine Titans. Annie Leonhardt, Bertolt Hoover, and Reiner Braun are some of these Marley warriors.)

Now that they were an oppressed people, a group of Eldians called the “Eldian Restorationists” which included Eren Jager’s father, Grisha Jaeger, worked endlessly to return Eldia to its former glory.

However, anyone who dared to oppose Marley would be “sent to Paradise,” which means that they would be forced to turn into mindless Titans–who have no special powers or abilities to transform back into humans–through an injection serum. Unfortunately, hundreds of thousands of Eldians suffered this fate and were turned into mindless Titans that can’t help but attack Paradis Island.

Grisha Jaeger was supposed to suffer the same fate as these mindless Titans, but due to a hidden ally who had one of the nine Titan powers, he was able to obtain the Attack Titan and was one step closer to restoring Eldia.

Grisha, now in Paradis Island, then went on to obtain a few of the other Nine Titans including the immensely powerful Founding Titan. (This Titan is the only Titan who holds the ability to start “the rumbling“, which is an event that would decimate the entire world including the Marlyean people.)

Marley’s Endgoal: Obtain Eren Jaegar who now possesses the Founding Titan as well as stop the rumbling which would destroy the entire world.

Who’s right? Elida or Marley?

It’s hard to say who is in the right as both Islands went through oppressive phases, however, most fans of Attack on Titan are on Eldian’s side due to the fact that the series begins solely with this race’s perspective, and we’ve seen some of our favorite characters die due to Marley’s interventions.

However, it’s safe to say that no one is really in the right, as thousands’ of blood was shed due to wars and battles that could’ve been avoided altogether.

The anime leaves us with forces from the Eldian people, the Marlyean people, and people in between, who will fight to the death for their own sense of freedom.

As the second part of season four is on its way next year, we will finally see the conclusion to this amazing anime. In the meantime, be sure to read more about Attack on Titan, as there are some huge easter eggs that will help you understand everything and everyone a lot clearer.

Until then, dedicate your hearts and fight on!

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