Paths in Attack on Titan explained

Attack on Titan, a manga and anime series written by Hajime Isayama, introduces a complex world filled with intrigue, mystery, and vicious man-eating giants known as Titans. 

Central to its lore is the concept of the Paths, an abstract, mystical connection between all members of the Eldian race. Let’s take a deeper look at what it is and how it is important to the narrative.

Definition of Paths

In the show, Paths are defined as a metaphysical realm with supernatural threads that connect all Eldians, the race of people capable of transforming into Titans. 

These Paths transcend time and space, meaning that they can connect Eldians from different periods and locations. They serve as lines, allowing the transfer of memories, wills, and the very essence of the Titans in any direction of time.

The Coordinate

At the heart of this place lies the Coordinate, the point where all Eldian existence intersects. This Coordinate is linked to the Founding Titan, one of the nine unique Titan shifters. 

Therefore, the possessor of the Founding Titan can manipulate the memories of Eldians and control Titans if they have Royal Blood. However, this power also comes with a significant catch.  

If an Eldian with Royal Blood inherits the Founding Titan, they are influenced by the will of King Fritz, the first king inside the Walls, which restricts them from using the Titan’s full capabilities.

Memories and Inheritance

One of the most profound qualities of the Paths is the transmission of memories. Titan shifters often inherit fragments or entire sets of memories from the previous possessors of their respective Titans. 

This allows them to gain insights, experiences, and knowledge from their predecessors. However, this can also lead to a merging of personalities or influence over the current shifter’s decisions.

The Nine Titans

Throughout the story, we learn of nine unique Titan forms that have special abilities: The Beast, Armored, Colossal, Attack, Founding, Female, Jaw, Cart, and War Hammer Titan. 

The Paths ensure that when a Titan shifter dies without being eaten, their power is sent to a random Eldian child being born at that moment. This cycle ensures the continuity of the Titan powers.

Ymir Paths AOT 1
Image Source: Mappa

Ymir Fritz

The concept of Paths, Titans, and the Eldian race traces back to Ymir Fritz, the ancestor of all Titans. According to the show, Ymir gained her Titan powers after encountering a mysterious, spine-like creature in a tree. 

For her entire life and even in death, she served the Eldian king, Fritz, forging the land, cultivating fields, and building bridges. 

After her death, her corpse was forcibly consumed by their daughters, Maria, Rose, and Sina (Also the names of the walls), dividing her power and establishing the inheritance of Titan abilities.

The paths are deeply intertwined with Ymir. She is shown to be perpetually crafting the organic material that makes up Titans in this realm. 

Significance in the Story

The concept of Paths plays a crucial role in advancing the plot and deepening character relationships in Attack on Titan

Zeke Jaeger wished to use the Paths to carry out his plans. He aimed to take away the ability of reproduction from Eldians, in hopes of wiping out the Titan powers peacefully within a century. 

Eren was also heavily influenced by the memories and wills he inherited from his father, shaping his actions and decisions. Furthermore, it is through the ethereal nature of the Paths that adult Eren manipulated his father into killing the Reiss family in the past. 

He did this to ensure his younger self got the Founding Titan power, which he eventually used to initiate the Rumbling. After beginning his assault on the world, Eren also used the Paths to warn all Eldians across the globe of his intentions.

Also Read: Attack on Titan: How did Levi Ackerman join the Scouts?

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