Why Did Grisha Kill The Reiss Family in Attack on Titan?


One of the most popular anime series over the last decade is Attack on Titan, which started off from a manga of the same name and has become a cultural icon. Nevertheless, one of the things that we know is that a good part of the conflict in the series stemmed from the fact that Grisha, Eren’s father, killed the Reiss family early in the chronological timeline of the story. But why did Grisha kill the Reiss family in Attack on Titan?

Grisha killed the Reiss family because of Eren, who possessed the powers of the Attack Titan and was able to send his consciousness back to the time when his father retrieved the Founding Titan from the Reiss family. He was supposed to spare the Riess children, but Eren told him to kill them out of revenge.

The entire timeline of Attack on Titan can get a bit confusing, especially after Eren gained control over the Founding Titan’s powers. Nevertheless, what we know is the fact that the Attack Titan is capable of sending its consciousness back in time to allow all of its possessors to communicate with each other through their memories. And to make this easier to understand, let’s go over it in greater detail.

Why Did Eren’s Father Kill The Reiss Family?

When it comes to some of the best anime we have seen in the past decade, there is no doubt that Attack On Titan sits somewhere at the very top, especially because of how it keeps blowing our minds every single time it reveals something new. Of course, the series originated from the manga, which is the source material that it follows faithfully. And while the manga is already over, the anime is still getting to some of the best parts of the story.

As the story of the anime/manga unfolded, one of the things that we learned was that Eren’s father originated from a larger country called Marley, which is more technologically advanced and was sending transformed titans to Paradis Island, where Eren and the rest of the “survivors” of the human race lived. That was when they learned that the human race was thriving outside of their island and that they were simply people that were forced to vacate to Paradis when their king wanted to end conflicts with Marley for good due to the atrocities that his people, the Eldians, committed in the past.

But one of the things that Eren learned before he even read his father’s memoirs was the fact that he actually killed the Reiss family when he was away from his home during the time when the Colossal Titan and the Armored Titan attacked Shiganshina District. He learned this from Rod Reiss, who was the true leader manipulating the nobles of Paradis Island behind the curtain. Reiss told Eren that his father stole the powers of the Founding Titan from Frieda Reiss.

However, as the series progressed, we learned that there was something deeper that happened. Eren, after he made contact with Zeke, who has royal blood, was able to make it to the Paths, which is a dimension that exists outside of time and space and is where the remnants of Ymir, the original holder of the Titan powers, remained. The Paths is also the place where the Subjects of Ymir are connected to one another.


While in the Paths, Zeke allowed Eren to see that he was the one in control of Ymir due to his royal blood. As such, Zeke used the powers of the Founding Titan to travel through Grisha’s memories so that he could convince his younger brother that he was merely a product of his father’s “brainwashing.”

That was when Zeke and Eren traveled all the way back to the time when Grisha attacked the Reiss family and stole the Founding Titan from Frieda by eating her. But Grisha hesitated to kill the remaining members of the Reiss family, as Zeke was in shock to see that his father was not willing to do what he was supposed to do according to the events in history.

But that was when Eren’s consciousness whispered to Grisha that he should kill the entire Reiss family for the sake of all of the things that the Marleyans did to him. He reminded Grisha of how the Marleyans fed his younger sister to dogs and how they turned his first wife, Dina, into a mindless titan. 

That was when Grisha, who was reminded of the bad things that happened in his life, was forced to slaughter all of the Reiss children. Eren wanted this to happen because this was one of the most important parts of the timeline that allowed things to happen the way they should have happened. Had Grisha not killed the Reiss family, the entire events involving Eren, Rod, and Historia might not have happened at all.

Why Did Grisha Steal The Founding Titan?

Of course, we all know that Grisha invaded the Ross family’s hidden base due to the fact that he wanted to steal the Founding Titan from Frieda Reiss, who had just inherited it from her uncle. But why did Grisha even steal the Founding Titan?

Grisha stole the Founding Titan because Eren Kruger left him that mission before he passed on the powers of the Attack Titan to him. He also understood that the people of Paradis Island were forced to live in such a way because the royal family was bound to the vow of non-retaliation that Karl Fritz made using the powers of the Founding Titan. Because of this vow, the people of Paradis were unable to live beyond the walls because the inheritor of the Founding Titan made sure that the powers of the Founder would never be used against Marley for as long as a member of the royal family possessed its powers.


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As such, the only way for Grisha to break the vow was to make sure that he stole the powers from the royal family. While he could not control the power of the Founding Titan because only a member of the royal family could do so, Grisha made sure that the royal family wouldn’t be able to keep the people of Paradis bounds to the one-sided vow that Karl Fritz made a century ago. And by also doing so, Grisha was able to acquire a power that would have allowed the Eldian restorationists to find a way to fight back against Marley and restore the lost Eldian Empire.

Did Eren Make His Dad Kill The Royal Family?

In what was one of the most memorable scenes in the history of the Attack on Titan anime, Eren told Grisha to kill the royal family of Paradis Island. And that was what forced Grisha to kill the entire Reiss family in cold blood, despite the fact that the children were defenseless and innocent. But why did Eren force his father to do such an act?

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After Grisha left the hidden hideout of the Reiss family, he was seen yelling, “Is this what you want, Eren.” Of course, he was referring to the plan that Eren revealed to him through their shared memories, considering that the Attack Titan allows its possessors to see the memories of their future inheritors.

In that regard, Eren made his father kill the royal family so that he could actually steer the course of history in the right direction. Eren didn’t want the Reiss family killed out of spite. Instead, he wanted it to happen because that was what was supposed to happen according to the correct flow of the timeline. 


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Had Grisha not killed the Reiss family, the course of history would have certainly changed because Historia would not have been queen. And if Historia didn’t become queen, the scene wherein Eren saw everything all at once when he touched her hand wouldn’t have happened.

How Did Eren Communicate With Grisha?

Going back to what we said about Eren telling his father to kill the Reiss family, the thing is that he wasn’t physically there. He and Zeke were only traveling through Grisha’s memories through the power of the Founding Titan, which Zeke thought he was controlling at that time.

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However, it is worth noting that Eren was able to communicate with Grisha during that moment due to the powers of the Attack Titan. Among all of the Nine Titans, it is the Attack Titan that is only capable of sharing the past and future memories of its inheritors with one another so that to ensure that the possessor of the powers of the Attack Titan would always keep on moving forward.

As such, Grisha was able to hear Eren talking to him at that moment because Eren’s Attack Titan powers allowed him to show his memories to his father. That is why Grisha was saying, “is this what you want?” after he killed the Reiss family as he saw the memories of Eren, who might have shared a part of his entire plan with Grisha. And because Grisha had already seen Eren’s plan, which included the Rumbling, he apologized to Zeke, who he knew was there because he could see him through Eren’s memories, and told him to find a way to stop Eren.

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