Chapter 122 was one of the most important chapters in the entire Attack on Titan manga. On the one hand, this chapter reveals the past of Ymir Fritz, the little girl who was trapped and serving the royal family in Paths for more than 2000 years. On the other hand, it puts on the debate what the aforementioned “Pact with the Devil of All Earth” really meant. The pact that's mentioned for the first time by Grisha's father in chapter 86. When later, in chapter 88, Krueger comments that in reality there's no correct version of things, it all falls to whoever is disseminating their version of the truth. Even so, these comments indicate an option that seems to be the one that most coincides with the “idea” of origin chapter 122 leaves us. I refer to the contact with the origin of all organic matter. Although this chapter maintains the enigma of what was that spinal creature which gave the powers to Ymir, it agrees quite well with Krueger's words.
Now, the interesting part is that even though he said that, Krueger claims to be true for Grisha that what Gross said about the past of the Eldian empire was in fact true. Therefore, it's implied that the story transmitted in Marley's book told the most reliable truth. What happens with the "pact" then? While there's a clear intention to “demonize” the history of Eldia, which could end up misrepresenting the history, the said pact may be metaphorical if it has the truth of a key moment of said empire. Rather than talking about the origin of the Titans, we could talk about a version of the origin of the Subjects of Ymir, two radically different things.
If we look closely at the composition of the well-known image that represents this pact, it may be a clear metaphor for the moment we see in chapter 122, where the first king of Eldia says that the “prize” Ymir will receive for her great accomplishments in war is that he would make her pregnant with his "seed". Let us understand then logically, the origin of the Subjects of Ymir is related to the first generation of children with Ymir's blood. That's the origin.
The characteristics that indicate this is the representation of the "Devil" as a horned figure, consistent with the helmet worn by the Eldians of the time, including the king and that like him, his eyes can be seen completely in the dark, and the representation of Ymir being like a girl receiving an apple from the demonic figure (he delivers the apple). The apple's a symbol of sexuality, love, fertility, among other things, therefore, it's understood that Ymir is physically giving herself to the king.
Hence, we understand that pact as a pact of slavery, where Ymir sooner or later would end up locked in Paths, slave to the royal bloodline. Let's also say that Ymir looks very indifferently at her daughters; even when they are born, she doesn't seem to form a bond of attachment with them, and even when they are crying when Ymir is pierced by a spear, she simply lets herself die. I mention this because it reinforces the idea that her daughters were basically an imposition because of her status as a slave.
So this is where the “new version” of said pact appears, the one that appears along with the changes created by Karl Fritz after his escape to Paradis. After abandoning the history of the Fritz and beginning the history of the Reiss, a book appears among the royalty's belongings. A book that appears to tell the same story that Grandfather Jaeger's book told, but with different characters. Chapters before, the name of the new protagonists to this new version of the pact had already been shown to us. And this time, the devil is replaced by a figure with a face similar to Eren's Attack Titan, wearing a hood such as the one that Eren has, and this one now has his hands full. In particular, he's holding a lamp. Consequently, it's understood that this time the apple is not delivered by him, this time the apple is being offered by the figure that replaces Ymir, whose name is changed to Krista. Something that adds to this comparison is to answer the following question: Why would Eren be represented with the Attack Titan and Historia simply with a woman? The answer to this could be found in a smartpass, specifically in the "Good Night, Dear and Sweet Dreams” (canon content), from Eren and Historia. The particular case of those mentioned are presented as nightmares in characters’ dreams from these smartpass. I leave the most important parts of each one, but I would still recommend that you read them if you have the opportunity.
Now, we must elucidate the question of what the lamp and the apple mean, specifically within this version of the pact, and expose how these objects are related to the history and development of the characters.
Let's start with the lamp, which is held by the character representing Eren Yeager. What does it symbolize? I interpret it as the "light" that comes into the characters' lives, that illuminates them, that one that allows them to see their own path and protects them from sinking back into darkness. The light is reflected on the story through a kind of acceptance, of recognition. Where through accepting another person for what she is, you can "rescue" her and illuminate her life. More explicit case of that is Eren and Ymir Fritz, who after he recognized her as a "simple human" without chains, and free, we could appreciate her eyes for the first time, very detailed and illuminated. Since the Apple has a quite strong sense of pregnancy in the first pact illustration, it's not possible to conclude that Ymir is the Krista we see in the new version of pact with Eren saving her. That said, if we go further back, we have to identify this “rescue” in the characters of Eren and Historia. More specifically, everything we see during chapter 54 so that later it's Historia that would do the same with Eren in chapters 65 and 66.
Historia identified herself as an abandoned, isolated girl. Both the first time she spoke to her mother and the last time, she received the idea that her life, her birth, was a mistake, a mistake that condemned her mother's life, which in turn had made her believe that her existence is what caused the disgrace of everyone where she lived. When Rod spared her life and gave her a new name, "Krista", Historia believed that she should act as another person to be accepted. We understand then that the fear of Historia is embodied in "being herself", and that's why in the nightmare we practically see a mirror of Historia which was effectively what we see throughout the manga until we see everything that happens in the Utgard Castle. In this particular arc, it was revealed that the real name of Krista was... Historia.
The key point that helps us understand that facet that we see in Historia in the beginning of the uprising arc, where she is shown to be this apathetic girl, is that Ymir decided to leave her and choose to go with Bertolt and Reiner, which left her lost. What we see in this apathetic attitude is not the true Historia... it's depression.
This is where Eren begins to have a bigger role in Historia's life as if it were a coincidence that he appeared at the moment when she needed him the most. We enter the moment when Eren brings the “bluff”, during chapter 54. Historia during her conversation with Eren tries to justify that he would also despise her for having stopped being “the good girl” with the idea that nobody really loved her. “But Historia Reiss… Historia's parents never loved her. Nobody did. Quite the opposite. No one wanted her to be born . . . So? They are all disappointed, aren't they? ”
Eren answers something directly opposite to what Historia was saying. For the first time, in her eyes, someone liked to see her being free, being her true self.
"No, that's not true. I don't know about the others... but I didn't really like the old you. It felt like you always had a forced expression on your face… It was unnatural. A little creepy, honestly. But... there is something I like about you now. You're just normal. Just a normal girl who is absurdly honest." Something that, if we think about it thoroughly, it's curious because it implies that Eren didn't hate what Historia was before, it's not that he hated the facet of "good girl". In fact, Ymir, to certain extent, heard of Krista’s story beforehand, while Eren figured out Krista was putting a facade on his own observations. Neither Armin (who is super perceptive), Jean nor Reiner, who had explicitly expressed interest in her. What Eren didn't like was the “little naturalness” that he saw in Historia. So, in Isayama's words "Eren was happy to be able to understand Historia."
It's not that Eren likes apathetic people (something that doesn't represent the true Historia either), but Eren could now identify behavior that expressed the true feeling of Historia, a transparent behavior. Regardless of what that behavior was, that was what Eren meant by "absurdly honest". Eren saw her free.
Those words meant a lot to her. She herself in chapter 65 says to Eren that when he told her that he liked something about her and that she was normal made her very happy at a time when she was surely sinking into darkness. Those words of Eren were what Historia wanted to hear.
On Eren's side, we understand the level of reciprocity that exists in this bond when in chapter 130 he expresses that Historia was the girl who saved him, and that's why he was entrusting his plan to her... A plan that will leave him as the one who destroyed all of humanity outside the Walls. We know that the phrase "the worst girl in the world" is referring to what happened in the cave, more specifically, what happens in chapter 66. But just as we did with Eren, we must review how we got to that point where Eren needs to be rescued by Historia.
After Carla's death, Eren grew much more radical, since he lived firsthand what Hannes faced shortly after... his weakness. Still, he remained determined to achieve his goals. The character's greatest psychological blows begin when his facet as a Titan Shifter appears, the one that we would later see representing his fear in his nightmares. After they found out that Eren is a Titan, they begin to look at him with contempt, like a monster, and unfortunately, this is how he begins to see himself as he mentioned during his first trial. He begins to question basically everything about him. Alone with his thoughts, and outwardly he was practically acting as an object or as he was more widely known within the military as a weapon. A weapon that little by little began to feel more and more isolated, more lonely, and more feared by his companions. A 15 year-old child prone to making mistakes, and that it was being, as we see in the Female Titan arc, leaving him the responsibility of making decisions that put other people's lives on his shoulders. Eren blamed himself for the decision that led to deaths of all the other members of Levi's squad. As a weapon, as a titan, he was still useless. So we can interpret that the weight that Eren had as a Titan Shifter was the one that was consuming him. In 54, he apologizes to Historia for failing as a Titan by not being able to bring Ymir back. So curiously, at the moment when Historia was being rescued, Eren was inadvertently proving that he needed it too.
Later, during Chapter 65, having recovered some memories of his father's past and what happened with Frieda, we see Eren at his worst. Where all the points that were seen were damaging Eren, they reach their climax in a scene, a scene where Eren tearfully expresses his desire to die. "...Never needed to happen... Me... My dad . . . And so many more I don't know... I... could never atone for all of that... It never needed to happen... All of those days we spent training... All those dreams about what could be... past the Walls. I... never needed to happen. Do it... at the very least... I want you to end it all for me. Historia… eat me… and save humanity .” Historia connects so well with Eren's sentiment that she cries alongside him, and soon she frees him from his chains. This is where he, through stripping himself of the responsibility to save humanity, begins by saying one way or another that he's no more worthy of power than that of the Founder. When Eren asks for reasons for the actions of Historia, she responds that regardless of her being the enemy of humanity, she will keep being his ally. Breaking also the feeling of abandonment that he had. Eren was able to stand once again from Historia’s encouragement.
In fact, it's Historia that finishes explaining to everyone in Eren's presence that his existence and that he's the one who bears the Founding Titan has a radical reason for being. Eren's existence is the key to saving humanity from Karl Fritz's ideology. Historia gives Eren a reason to appreciate his own existence and to find his way. Historia now became Eren's light. We understand this resurgence of both characters as something that relates them intimately, also coincides with Isayama's own statements within one of the guidebooks.
Interviewer: So, was Historia really the reason why Eren was able to come out of the endless abyss?
Isayama: “My entire existence, from beginning to now, completely depended on my father’s decisions.” Within this despair, when Eren witnessed the very similar Historia releasing herself from the Reiss curse, he decided that he must do the same. Everything must be done for his own good - when you think about things this way, it’s easier to understand Eren.
With all this said, we understand Eren's words in 130 differently during his conversation with Historia. The Eren we see in that situation is no longer the same as before, but it's one that is once again sunk in an abyss, perhaps that's why he remembers so clearly what happened in the cave because it's a similar situation. And now that abyss has a more terrifying name than anything else, and it's the consciousness of predestination. This is the Eren we see there. The Eren who reveals his plan to Historia without any potentially necessary reason, and tells her that his only options to prevent the Military Police from getting their mission done are to face them or flee.
Having said that, we as readers already knew that Historia's forced pregnancy would not really happen because Yelena had already covered everything with the wine plan. Not for helping the queen, but for saving Zeke, which is her priority. So it's time to ask why Eren would look for Historia... and the answer is as simple as humanly irrational considering predestination, and is that Eren simply seeks to have Historia on his side.
Perhaps the Eren we see talking to Historia in 130 is Eren who knows that everything he will do because that's how it should happen, and that's how he saw it in his memories. But perhaps it's also an Eren that seeks in the person that he surely trusts the most to receive a reason for doing what he will do, a reason that once again turns his duty into a desire.
It's at this point that we leave behind the meaning of the lamp within the new pact and we begin to explain the meaning of the apple. Hoping to give context to three things: the phrase "make a family", the pregnancy of Historia, and the true meaning of Krista.
As we all already intuit, this pact must include pregnancy as the first because, although the first doesn't include a lamp, if we see a common object like an apple, which we have explained that symbolizes fertility and on the other way has a "sexual meaning". Now, this time the pact must have a different tint than the first, you can't continue making the same mistake that would end up condemning millennia of slavery to humanity. This difference is referenced in the chapter mentioned at the beginning of this analysis, chapter 122.
The chapter is introduced with that conversation between Historia and her older sister Frieda, the one we had originally seen in chapter 54. We are told that Krista is someone happy who always helps others and that she is also loved and receives help from the rest, she's said to represent “femininity”. But what really makes it such an imitable ideal? It's the contrast it makes as the introduction to Ymir's life, who supposedly precedes Krista. Ymir, as a character that seems to be the antithesis of Krista. If we see it that way, what most represents her story is the null freedom that she lives throughout her physical life, and also during the millennia in which she is within the Paths available to the following bearers of the Founding Titan.
"Krista"’s true meaning is more than being a stereotype of a good girl, what it really means is... an ideal of freedom. That if you want to be a good girl or a bad girl, you do it because you want to be. Although up to this point nothing confirms that Krista in the book was free, there is a key point that would confirm it, since during chapter 54, in the memory of Historia with Frieda, after the talk about being female, Historia links these words with what she sees in her older sister. Historia believes that Frieda is a "Krista", and tells her that then she wants to be like her sister, to which Frieda is surprised and says of course, that she can be. But after the laughter, we see how Frieda's gaze turns sad, to later erase the memories of Historia. This basically means that Frieda does not really fulfill what it is to be Krista, not because she isn't "a feminine woman", but because she is not free. And that means being Krista. It is revealed that Frieda had a dream that she could never fulfill having carried the power of the Founder and being dominated by Karl's ideology, which we also saw caused her depression and panic attacks. In chapter 70, without realizing it, Historia was being Krista more than ever, in terms of her freedom.
In fact, few consider that it's confirmed again that what made Eren reject Historia before was her lack of freedom, of the desire to do things. She didn't reject the idea of being a good girl because this Historia, the free Historia, is basically fulfilling the same characteristics that it previously repudiated from its previous facet. Live to help the rest. And it's one thing that Eren now recognizes, to the point of praising Historia for what she's doing. Because if she's doing it now, it's because she's like that... she wants it.
“One of the reasons Historia made the decision to become queen . . . she said he was going to find people in trouble, no matter where they were, and go save them. This is what Historia wanted to do..."
And I reiterate, Eren’s concern is in freedom, not in the actions she takes.
"If it means paying for our lives... with broken walls, trampled land, and children bred and killed like livestock... I will absolutely not accept Zeke Yeager's plan."
Eren is against a forced pregnancy and therefore this should be considered a way to violate her freedom. When we are really ignoring the fact that it's a response to Historia accepting a request/imposition of pregnancy.
“They want you to… give birth to a child whose only purpose in life is to become a sacrifice for this island. They want to keep forcing parent and child to eat one another. I won't let them. "
Going back to chapter 130, what does her pregnancy mean? It already coincides with the new pact because it is Historia herself that brings the topic of pregnancy to the conversation. Since Historia is offering the apple, much like Krista, she is now sovereign of her own body... she is acting in freedom. That, if we think about it realistically, Eren could only agree with those conditions. Let's say that believing that the farmer is the father interferes with the construction of the pact, which includes Eren with Historia doing it for freedom because it's known from the past and the way she currently looks at him that she doesn't love the farmer. Finally, there is no real strategic reason for it to occur.
Is it born out of love? It's risky to say it, but I dare to say yes. On the one hand, it's consistent with what they mean to each other, and with the intentions with which Eren talks with Historia, seeking to create a reason to want to do what he's doing. What would that reason be... basically the one that Krueger started with as a condition to prevent the same error from happening over and over again… “to form a family” to protect. The thing that has a lot of conceptual strength, about what it means to fulfill a mission being a Yeager. Bringing on his shoulders the sins of his family, both his grandfather and Grisha... who, in their eagerness to fulfill their role, ended up betraying their own children. Eren with the Rumbling, under the idea of family, is the first Yeager to fulfill his mission, not sacrificing, but protecting his family.
Certain things are explained from this point of view. Eren's change of mood from Paradis to Marley, with a much more melancholic facet, is explained. It’s explained why Eren becomes so sensitive with the family from the Middle East and why he gives them the last smile, explains why he sought to psychologically harm his grandfather by mentioning his regrets regarding his family, and also why Eren in his conversation with Zeke changes his expression from false apathy to sadness after remembering the subject of pregnancy and mentioning the few years he has left. In chapter 117 Reiner tells him that, because he has only four years left, he has nothing to keep fighting, and there is no real purpose in living a little longer. But now, Eren has a reason for wanting to do things because the intention of doing everything for the well-being of his friends falls on the duty, because Eren is not within the end of his actions... that's why it's Historia that once again changes his duty for a desire.
Consider the pact that will end everything in AoT. As one that represents freedom, one that occurs between characters whose development is closely linked to it. The enemies of humanity, ending it, giving them the opportunity of a new dawn, where now... they are free.