What caused Levi to let Erwin die and save Armin in Attack on Titan Season 3 Part 2? it was inevitable that a major event like this would occur based on the Survey Corps’ plan. Re-claiming Shiganshina District served as the catalyst for Season 4 – with the goal of accessing Eren’s basement. The basement holds the truth beyond the Walls, a secret kept by Grisha Yeager.
This is the story of why Levi chooses to save Armin’s life instead of Erwin’s. First, we must understand how Levi perceives both characters.
It was in this very basement wherein Survey Corps Commander Erwin Smith dreamt of understanding the state of the world. He wanted to know if there are human living beyond the Walls and the truth of Paradis’ circumstances. It started from when he was a child when he asked his father about it during history class.
His father also questioned the history of Paradis. He believed that the first king of Paradis altered the memories of the people. Unfortunately, it was this belief that resulted in his death by the hands of the government. Erwin also partly took the blame because when he was child, he shared this theory with others.
This incident drove Erwin to pursue the truth, which is why he joined the Survey Corps. It became his goal in life to justify his father’s theory. In a way, this would serve as a closure for him of his father’s death. It is to prove that his father did not deserve to die on getting closer to the truth.
Hence it is understandable that some fans wonder why Erwin was never chosen. A dissatisfied feeling is normal especially when Erwin is so close to achieving his goal, yet he died. Some fans also did not like Armin that much due to various reasons – the prevailing one is that he is perceived to be ‘weak’.
Erwin Smith and Armin Arlert
Interestingly enough, there are lot of similarities between Erwin and Armin. One can almost say that Armin is the younger version of Erwin.
First, they are both intelligent, hence they are strategists. People rely on them to create the most viable plan that can benefit the Survey Corps. Erwin even involved Armin in creating plans. This meant that Erwin believed in Armin’s capabilities ever since.
Second, they both have dreams. These dreams are what’s pushing them through life. These dreams are the reasons for their Survey Corps membership. Their dreams are also very similar, with only minimal differences. They both wanted to see the world beyond the Walls. In essence, they wanted to know the truth – to answer the question: what is there to see beyond the Walls?
Their only difference is that Erwin was more used to plans involving casualties. In a way, he adapts to plans that could be very risky easier than Armin. Armin would hesitate and lament on the risk a plan could pose. He would most likely try to think of a safer, alternative plan. If only left with no choice that Armin will agree to a very risky plan.
These risky plans, however, are not without its aftermath. It may serve as a win for Survey Corps, but the casualties cannot be avoided. Families and friends of Survey Corps soldiers were robbed of their loved ones. Survey Corps lost some of its extinguished members – leaving behind a gaping hole of grief and fear.
Both Erwin and Armin shoulder the aftermath. The grief will weigh heavily on them, regardless of if they express it or not. It will increase in the next plans they are going to have as more lives will be lost.
Erwin and Levi’s Last Conversation
This makes the scene between Erwin and Levi all the more significant. Erwin made the decision to sacrifice himself along with other recruits. Yet it was clear that his dream was holding him back.
His calm demeanor changed as he let out his frustration of not being able to reach Eren’s basement. The answers were almost at the tip of his fingers, yet they were on a losing fight against the Beast Titan.
He sat down and remembered his dead comrades. He carried their unfulfilled dreams and the weight of their sacrifices. This overrides his own dream of reaching the basement. He wanted to ensure that his comrades did not give their lives for nothing – now that the truth is finally within reach.
Levi supported this decision and said one of his famous quote, “Give up on your dreams and die.” It may seem harsh without context, but if one can analyze, Levi knew exactly what Erwin was grappling with.
Levi’s initial decision was to revive Erwin. Floch and Hange supported this too, as Erwin’s efforts were the steppingstones to know the truth.
But this was strongly opposed by Eren and Mikasa. They believed that without Armin, Survey Corps would not have gone this far. Essentially, the reasons to revive Erwin and Armin are the same – that it might as well have been the same person.
Floch left an impact on Levi as he said, “I thought to myself he ought to taste more of this hell. And then I understood… The only one who can laid waste to the Titans… is the devil!“
Erwin’s refusal of the Titan serum made Levi decide to choose Armin. He proceeded to say, “But I think… it’s time to let him rest.” after a moment’s bewilderment.
What Floch had said contributed to this resolve. Erwin had made hard decisions as the Survey Corps Commander. He shouldered the burden of his responsibility with blood in his hands for a long time. Levi decided to give him peace.
Levi also remembered Armin’s dream – wanting to see the ocean and how it stretches to the horizon. It is something simple, rooted from innocent, childlike curiosity. Since Levi himself did not have a good childhood, he do not wish to deprive others of childhood dreams. This alone is a testament to Levi’s character.
However, many fans will continue to think like Floch, which is understandable. Yet, Levi’s decision to choose Armin is still valid nonetheless. It came from a deeper understanding of suffering in life and how it connects with dreams.
Read More: Why Is Levi Obsessed With Cleaning?