We finally know exactly why Historia is so important to Attack on Titan. Her role is much bigger than anyone could’ve previously realized (especially Captain Levi and his squad) and it has everything to do with who her father really is. In a way, he’s just become a much bigger villain than Kenny the Ripper or even that strange Beast Titan.

Spoilers follow for Attack on Titan Season 3, Episode 2: “Pain.”

“Pain” aired Sunday, and with it came a story bursting with Levi vs. Kenny action in the first few scenes before veering off into political machinations (and some torture). With Eren and Historia captured by Kenny and his troops, Captain Levi’s squad kidnaps the merchant Dimo Reeves to then capture Djel Sannes and another soldier named Ralph. Through torturing and manipulating Sannes, Hange Zoë and Levi get him to admit that “Reiss is the true royal family.”

This is a huge deal because it means that Historia will eventually be the rightful heir to the throne and her father, Rod Reiss, a legitimate contender for the throne right now. So who, exactly, is Rod Reiss?

Rod Reiss as he appears in the 'Attack on Titan' anime.
Rod Reiss as he appears in the 'Attack on Titan' anime.

Who Is Rod Reiss in Attack on Titan?

Rod Reiss is the rightful king of the kingdom inside the walls, which also makes Historia his only heir. The current king, who goes by Fritz, is a puppet placed by Reiss so that he can operate behind the scenes. That’s why in most throne room scenes, this “King” remains mostly silent and despondent while the advisors do all the talking. Most nobles understand this, but it’s unclear at this point on the anime exactly why the situation is set up so strangely.

The news that Hange Zoë delivers to Commander Erwin is crucial because she’s come to understand that Titan Shifting powers transfer when one Titan eats another Titan that’s a Shifter. That’s why Ymir became a Titan Shifter after eating Marcel, which means that Rod Reiss’ plan is to either eat Eren himself to gain his powers — both Attack Titan and the Co-ordinate — or have Historia do it. That would effectively restore power to the Reiss family.

Manga readers will know how and why the Reiss family lost its power, but for anime viewers, that’s a hugely important question that remains a mystery.

Attack on Titan will be available to stream via FunimationNow, Crunchyroll, and Hulu around 2 p.m. Eastern every Sunday.