The Attack on Titan manga concluded in 2021 and yet, readers of the manga and fans of Attack on Titan are still discussing its ending. With so many twists and turns, there is still so much to talk about. One of the most talked about topics is the fate of Eren Jaeger.
Eren Jaeger has been the protagonist from the start. Headstrong and loyal, his character took a sudden turn after the 4 year time-skip after Wall Maria was retaken and the truth beyond the Walls was revealed.
He had become more aloof and withdrawn from his friends like Armin and Mikasa. He became even more reckless and violent and eventually, revealed his true colors and turned against his friends.
After activating the Rumbling, Eren became a full-fledged villain and the final evil for the Survey Corps to take down.
So – do the Survey Corps succeed? And is Eren really dead by the end of Attack on Titan?
Here, we will be diving into the character of Eren Jaeger from Attack on Titan and discussing his fate in those final few chapters of the manga. There are spoilers ahead for the ongoing Attack on Titan anime so be warned – if you don’t want to know the ending of Attack on Titan before the anime’s finale, now is the time to turn back.
Then let’s jump into what happens to Eren in the ending of Attack on Titan.
Erin In Chapter 137
Chapter 137 of the Attack on Titan manga is what first spelled the ending for Eren Jaeger.
Armin Arlert had been transported to the titan realm after suffocating in the mouth of a previous incarnation of a Beast Titan, controlled by the founder Ymir. There, Armin found Zeke Jaeger – Eren’s half brother and a Titan Shifter of royal blood.
Eren had absorbed Zeke into his body after his first transformation at Shiganshina, and was using Zeke to carry out the Rumbling.
After convincing Zeke to help end the Rumbling, Armin also managed to ask for aid of the previous Titan Shifters of their past – his previous friends Ymir and Bertolt, as well as Grisha Yaeger and some previous Warriors from Zeke’s past – all agreed to help end Eren.
Back in the real world, Zeke managed to form his actual body and attracted Captain Levi’s attention. After Zeke was decapitated by Levi’s sword, Eren lost the ability to control the Colossal Titans and the Rumbling stopped.
With an opening made, Jean was able to go ahead and use the explosives earlier tied around Eren’s giant titan neck to blow off Eren’s head.
The cause of all titans – the parasite that had been living in the Founding Titan’s spine – burst free and desperately tried to reattach itself to Eren’s head in order to survive.
It was held back by Reiner in the Armored Titan and as the Warriors and Survey Corps fled, Armin was able to transform into the Colossal Titan and used its power to cause a nuke-like explosion to kill Eren and the parasite.
The Colossal Titans that Eren had used for the Rumbling began to disintegrate and die – but it was not over yet.
Eren In Chapter 138
Once Chapter 137 had been released, fans had assumed that Eren was dead. Armin’s explosion was so huge and powerful, it seemed that nothing could survive it other than Armin himself.
However, they were quickly proven wrong.
Reiner and the parasite both survived Armin’s explosion, although both were now weakened and gravelly injured. Armin, in his Colossal Titan form, climbed out of the crater he had created just as another titan appeared behind him – Eren had somehow survived Armin’s explosion and transformed himself once again into a Colossal Titan.
It was obvious that it would not end unless Eren was dead for he would do anything he could to reactivate the Rumbling. Eren advanced forward towards the parasite but was blocked by Armin.
The battle was not over, and as Armin and Eren began to fight each other, Mikasa and Levi closed in for the final strike.
After Levi used a thunder spear to blow open some of Eren’s titan teeth, Mikasa was able to slip into his mouth and find what was left of Eren’s human form. She beheaded Eren and killed him, ending the power of the titans.
Why Eren Had To Die
Eren always had to die in Attack on Titan as it was part of his own plan in order to help increase his friends’ chances of survival.
The rest of the world hated Eldians and wanted to wipe out everyone on the Isle of Paradis because they had the potential to turn into titans. However, the Eldians of Paradis did not stand a chance of fighting against the rest of the world. This was because they were so technologically behind due to a century of isolation and the Military Corps refusing to allow any technological advancement on the order of the King.
So, the Eldians on Paradis had no choice but to rely on the power of titans to keep them safe – but Eren had also vowed to end the titans.
So, Eren made a plan to help save his friends and end all titans in one go – he would make himself the enemy, activate the Rumbling to throw the world into chaos and give Paradis more time to catch up with the rest of the world in terms of technology. This would mean that they would not have to rely on titans any longer.
By activating the Rumbling, Eren would make himself a villain for the world to unite against. He knew his friends would try to stop him, showing the world that Paradis was not an island of Devils like they believed. Eren, by killing 80% of the world, would help pave the way for future peace between Eldians and the rest of the world.
So, Eren had to die for his friends – and all Eldians – to stand a chance of survival once he eradicated the titans.
Eren In Chapter 139
The last time we ever see Eren is in the final chapter of Attack on Titan.
We see a flashback of him explaining this plan to Armin before wiping his memories, explaining to him what Armin and the others had to do next once Eren was gone. When Armin wakes up, Mikasa appears carrying Eren’s decapitated head – and it is confirmed that Eren Jaeger is finally dead.
Mikasa then takes Eren’s remains and buries him under the same tree the Attack on Titan manga started at – where Eren had fallen asleep picking up sticks with Mikasa. Later, we see Mikasa at Eren’s grave, talking to it as if he were still alive, even though Eren is definitely dead.
Eren’s plan is then shown to have worked. The rest of the world is disorganized after the Rumbling and Paradis is able to militarize to protect itself against any foreign threats.
Armin, Jean, Connie and the rest of the previous Titan Shifters are shown working as peace delegates between Paradis and the rest of the world, sparking hope that the hatred against Eldians has finally ended now that the power of the titans is gone.
Titans no longer exist in the world thanks to Eren, and his friends have the chance to survive and live long and happy lives.
Theories – Is Eren Still Alive?
Once the Attack on Titan manga finished and confirmed that Eren died in the penultimate chapter, fans took to the internet to begin theorizing if Eren was actually dead.
Many fans began to believe that Eren was reincarnated as a bird. This is because in the last few pages, we see Mikasa sitting next to Eren’s grave and wishes out loud that she could see him again. As she says this, a bird flies down and pecks at her scarf before flying away. Mikasa then calls the bird Eren and thanks it.
The reason why many fans believe that Eren is the bird is because Eren has been closely linked to birds for the whole manga. Eren compared living inside the Walls to living inside a birdcage, making Eren the bird in that metaphor.
Eren always wanted to be a scout in the Survey Corps, and the symbol of the Survey Corps are two blue wings known as the ‘the wings of freedom’.
Another big clue is the bird pecking Mikasa’s scarf. The scarf was originally Erens and was given to Mikasa after Eren rescued her from her parent’s murderers.
Mikasa often associated the scarf with Eren, warmth, safety, and love. Eren also once promised to always wrap the scarf around Mikasa, in turn promising to always protect and love her.
So, the bird theory gained popularity and gave a lot of fans comfort and hope in knowing their protagonist managed to fulfill his dream and live completely free.
However, whether Eren did actually become a bird is still not confirmed as reincarnation is not something discussed in Attack on Titan. Although this is most likely a way to symbolize Eren achieving freedom in death, many fans like to think that the bird was actually Eren.
Another theory arose after the manga’s creator Hajime Isayama released a few extra pages to show the Attack on Titan world centuries after the end of the titans.
The tree under which Eren was buried grows and grows to become a ginormous titan tree – one that appears to be exactly like the tree the first titan Ymir found the parasitic centipede which was the origin of all titans.
The final panel shows a young child approaching the entrance inside the tree, suggesting that there is another centipede within that could potentially unleash the power of the titans once more.
Some fans theorize that the first centipede did not die after all.
The last time we saw the parasite was when it was being attacked by Reiner and the other Titan Shifters. Once Eren had died, the centipede simply disappeared – but was never shown disintegrating or dying like the other titans were.
This unanswered question about the centipede led fans to theorize that it survived and somehow managed to return to Eren. Although Eren was dead, the centipede remained with his body and was buried under the tree with him.
This would explain why the tree grew so big over many centuries – it now hosted the centipede, which was growing and regaining its strength.
If the centipede still lives, then there is a chance so does the titan realm and the paths. The paths hold the memories of all Eldians and Titan Shifters so if Eren is dead, a part of him remains in the titan realm. Should the centipede find a new host, then the new host could travel to the titan realm and come into contact with Eren.
This theory, however, is unconfirmed and is just speculation.
So, it’s true – Eren Jaeger dies at the end of Attack on Titan.
He is killed by Mikasa, who decapitates him and ends the power of the titans. Eren is later buried under the same tree from the start of the manga and although it is theorized that he lives on in other means, either through the titan realm or was reincarnated into a bird, Eren definitely died in chapter 138.