If you’re an Attack on Titan fan, the name Eren is sure to mean something to you. But, unlike most of our Eren-related articles, this one is not going to talk about Eren Yeager, the show’s most important character and the simultaneous protagonist/antagonist of the show. Instead, this article is going to focus on the character of Eren Kruger, a likewise important, yet largely unknown character from Hajime Isayama’s Attack on Titan. The article is going to explain Eren Kruger’s “The Owl” disguise in Attack on Titan.
Eren Kruger was a resistance member who infiltrated Marley as a military man and is known under the code name “The Owl”. In the year 819, Eren Kruger gained the power of the Attack Titan. After witnessing his companions being transformed into Titans, Kruger revealed his identity to Grisha, thus saving him from the authorities, and entrusted him with his mission: to reclaim the power of the Founding Titan.
The rest of this article is going to focus on the character of Eren Kruger and his role as “The Owl” during the events that preceded the main narrative of Attack on Titan. You’re going to find out all the necessary details and facts that are relevant to understanding the role of “The Owl” in the plot, as well as Eren Kruger’s overall importance for the manga’s narrative.
Who was “The Owl” in Attack on Titan?
When he was just a boy, Eren Kruger’s father joined a revolutionary army, led by the remnants of the Fritz royal family who remained in Marley. However, the revolutionary army failed, and its members were discovered by the Public Security Authorities. Mr. Kruger and the rest of his family were burned alive, while Eren, hidden in a closet, watched their heinous deaths in terror.
Kruger was rescued by friends of his father’s shortly before his home burned to the ground. From that day on, Kruger swore to take revenge on Marley and return Eldia to its former glory. Years later, and with the help of an Eldian doctor who falsified his blood test, Kruger manages to pass himself off as a Marleyan and joins the Public Security Authorities.
To prevent his identity from being discovered, Kruger was forced to act as just another Marleyan military man, which involved the torture and subsequent forced Titan transformation of hundreds of his fellow Eldians. However, joining Marley’s army gives Kruger a privileged position to obtain information from the government.
Kruger gathers other Eldians with a thirst for revolution and forms the Restorers of Eldia. Without revealing his identity to his companions, Kruger dedicated himself to spying and passing information to the restorers, hiding under the alias “The Owl”. The years go by, and one day, the Marley government announces a recruitment program for child warriors who will gain the titan powers that Marley possesses to storm Paradis Island, in response to King Fritz’s supposed threat of war.
Initially baffled, the Eldian Restorationists are unaware of what would motivate King Fritz to declare war on Marley, until they receive a message from “The Owl”, who clarifies by means of a letter that the true intention of the Marleyan government is to take possession of the abundant natural resources of Paradis, especially fossil fuel, in addition to making themselves the power of the Founding Titan.
To avoid this, Grisha decides to infiltrate his son Zeke as one of the warrior children, but the plan fails when, at seven years old, Zeke betrays his parents and hands them over to the Marleyan government. The Eldian Restorationists are condemned to wander Paradis transformed into mindless Titans.
Because his identity was unknown even to the Eldian Restorationists, Kruger was not discovered. Through brutal torture, the Marley officers try to find out the Owl’s identity from Grisha, who is unable to answer because he did not know the person behind the alias. Kruger arrives and asks his subordinates if they found out anything, and upon his refusal, Kruger blindfolds Grisha, leading him across the sea to Paradis with the other Eldian Restorationists.
Upon arrival, Grisha and his companions are positioned along the border. Kruger explains to Grisha that he will be transformed into an unintelligent titan, who will only live to devour humans until the day he dies. Grisha finally recognizes Kruger, as the officer who beat him up the day his sister was killed.
The other restorers are quickly transformed into titans by Gross and his men, before the horrified Grisha looks on. Gross asks Kruger to transform Grisha as well, but Kruger clarifies that he still needs to question him further. Gross proceeds to transform Dina, and Grisha tries to defend her by saying that she is valuable to Marley due to her royal blood, but is silenced by Kruger, who did not want that information to be known.
After an argument, Gross decides not to transform Grisha, but to throw him over the border and let him be eaten by a titan. After slaying the last Marleyan soldier, Kruger emerges from his Titan, bleeding from the nose from the transformation, for Ymir’s curse has reached its final stage after thirteen years and Kruger has little time left to live.
Kruger unties Grisha and explains that he is one of the nine Titan Shifters and an Eldian in disguise. Kruger congratulates Grisha for leading the Eldian Restorationists, even though things didn’t turn out as expected in the end. Grisha demands to know why she didn’t save Dina instead of him, and why she didn’t transform into a titan sooner to save the other Eldian Restorationists. Kruger momentarily collapses from exhaustion, explaining to Grisha that he will give her one last mission.
Sitting on the edge of the wall, they talk about the day Faye died, and Kruger explains that she chose him as part of the Eldian Restorationists due to the hatred she could feel emanating from him at that moment. Grisha asks about the mission that will be entrusted to him, and Kruger tells him that he must enter the walls to recover the power of the Founding Titan.
To do this, Grisha will have to devour Kruger and obtain his powers, since he was on the verge of death for having obtained his thirteen years ago. Kruger tells her that he didn’t explain any of this to her earlier to boost the Restorationists’ morale, and because if he had known, he wouldn’t have given Zeke to the warrior program. Grisha refuses to accept his mission, claiming consecutive failures since joining the restorers. Kruger asks her to get up and fight, and to do so to restore Eldia’s dignity.
Grisha continues to refuse, and Kruger hands her a family photograph that he brought from his home. When he refuses to look at her, Kruger insults his cowardice and tells him that the reason he was chosen was not his hatred of Marley, but the desire for freedom that led him to cross the Liberio wall the day his sister of him died.
Kruger claims that the only way to repay those they both sacrificed on their way to freedom is to continue fighting. Encouraged by his words, Grisha finally accepts the mission from him. In order for him to understand the implications of his mission, Kruger explains to Grisha that if Marley obtains the Founder Titan, they will have no further use for the Eldians, and it will be the end of them all.
In the past, Eldia used the Pure Titans as weapons of destruction, capable of following orders as long as the Founding Titan directs them; but now, her presence prevents the Eldians on the walls from leaving their prison without running the risk of being devoured. In order for Marley to get their hands on the resources of Paradis, they need to get rid of the pure titans they’ve been creating over the years, and if they get the Founding Titan, they’ll use the Eldians as weapons or exterminate them all.
Grisha doesn’t think the King of the Walls would allow such a thing, but Kruger clarifies that ever since he fled to Paradis, the 145th King Fritz made a pact with the Founding Titan, an oath of renunciation of battle. Grisha remembers that the king threatened to free the Titans from the Wall if anyone threatened the peace of his new kingdom, but Kruger explains that it was just an unfounded threat, since the king longed for Eldia’s downfall and was never willing to struggle.
Kruger clarifies that the king modified the memories of the inhabitants of the walls, and has made them believe that all humanity has become extinct. Although he doesn’t know what the “pact” is about, Kruger tells Grisha that they must retrieve the Founding Titan from the cowardly king at any cost. While preparing the serum to transform Grisha, Kruger asks him to have a family once he starts residing in the walls.
Grisha disagrees, wondering if his memories of him will disappear after he gains titan powers. Kruger makes it clear that in the future, someone might see his memories, so he must love someone within the walls, or he will repeat the same mistakes over and over again. Kruger tells Grisha that in order to save Mikasa and Armin, he must complete his mission.
Grisha is puzzled, and asks who these people are, Kruger denies knowing and wonders whose memories they are. Before Grisha devours Kruger and manages to get to the walls, where he meets Keith Shadis, he gives Grisha one last bit of information: each and every one of the nine titans has a name, including the one Grisha will inherit from him. That titan always advances no matter what, seeking and fighting for freedom. His name is the Attack Titan.
Attack on Titan‘s “The Owl” episode
Eren Kruger, a.k.a. “The Owl” was heavily featured in two episodes of the third season of the Attack on Titan anime. The first one was Episode 57, titled “That Day”, while the second one was, naturally, Episode 58, titled “Attack Titan”. The two episodes premiered on June 17, 2019 and June 24, 2019 respectively.