The mythical figure of Helos was brought up multiple times on Attack on Titan Season 4 Episode 4. But who exactly is Helos? Here’s everything we know so far from the anime. Please note that this article is free of any manga spoilers, and only contains theories and facts shared in the anime.
This article will have spoilers for Season 4 Episode 4, but the article itself is manga-spoiler-free. Please don’t add spoilers from the manga in the comments. Thanks. :)
Helos Was a Human Who ‘Slayed the Devil of All Earth’
Willy Tybur said at the beginning of Season 4 Episode 4: “A century ago, a mere human slayed the devil of all earth and became the renowned Marleyan hero who saved the world — Helos. How marvelous. So brave and beautiful, with not a scratch. Truly, the spirit of Marley.”
Earlier in the season, we were introduced to Helos via this screenshot:
This was shared under the “Current Publicly Available Information” screencap in Season 4 Episode 1 (Episode 60.) It read:
Following the great titan war where the hero Helos led them to victory Marley was revived as a formidable military power. Utilizing seven of the nine titans as ‘Warriors’, Marley conquers enemy nations with their overwhelming strength. In addition to their warriors, Marley’s army, navy and airborne forces assist in trampling their enemies.
According to the anime wiki and what we’ve learned in previous episodes, the Great Titan War devolved into what was essentially a civil war among the Eldian houses after the First Reiss King abandoned the Eldians and retreated to Paradis. This vacuum of power gave Marley the chance to rise up and defeat the remaining houses of Eldians. Working from within, they gained seven of the nine titans’ power, which shifted the balance of power in their favor.
As we know from previous episodes, after King Fritz and his people retreated and he built the walls, he then used the Founding Titan’s powers to make the people forget there was an outside world at all. Ever since the King retreated, everyone who inherits the Founding Titan’s power also inherits the First King’s desire to END war and not conquer anyone.
In summary, all we truly know about Helos so far is that the Tyburs (a branch of Eldians) worked with this hero to end the Great Titan War. Because they were the first to rebel against the Eldian King and because they maintain their War Hammer Titan, they’re noteworthy among other Eldians. In fact, as we learned in Season 4 Episode 4, they secretly run Marley, rather than being slaves of Marley like the other Eldians.
Who Was the Devil of the Earth that Helos Killed?
So what exactly did Helos do? It’s all a little unclear. We’re told that Helos saved the world by slaying “the devil of all earth.” And now there’s a statue in his honor. But who was the devil of the earth? And just who was Helos?
It couldn’t have been Ymir Fritz, the original Founding Titan. At least not according to the history shared by Dr. Jaeger in Season 3 Episode 20, when he spoke to his young son Grisha. He said:
One thousand, eight hundred and twenty years ago, our ancestor Ymir Fritz made a contract with the Devil of All Earth and obtained the Power of the Titans. Upon her death, Ymir’s spirit was split into the Nine Titans who formed the Eldian Empire. After defeating the great nation of Marley, they ruled over the continent. Thus began the Dark Ages. The Subjects of Ymir called other races inferior and began to oppress them. They stole lands and fortunes and forced other races to bear their children to increase their numbers. Their ethnic cleansing continued for some 1,700 more years. But the once great nation of Marley plotted to subvert Eldia and its arrogance from within. They brought seven of the Nine Titans under their control and were victorious in the Great Titan War 80 years ago. The Eldian King at the time erected three walls on the island of Paradis and fled there with many of his people. Our ancestors were abandoned and left behind on this continent, but the gracious people of Marley let us live and stay on their land.”
In Season 3 Episode 21, Kruger (aka The Owl) told an older Grisha about Ymir Fritz:
Under Marley authority, she’s a pawn of the devil. During the Eldian Empire era, she was a miracle of God. Some say she touched the source of all living matter. Who’s to say they’re wrong? The only truth in this world is that there is no truth. Anyone can become a god or a devil. All it takes is for people to believe it.
One theory is that the “devil” Helos killed was the Founding Titan of the time. By killing that titan, the titan’s power would be reborn in a baby Eldian, leaving the Eldian King particularly vulnerable for a time and perhaps the reason for his retreat. However, we’re told that the Eldian King (the First Reiss King/145th Fritz King of Eldia) was also the Founding Titan of that time period, which would leave that theory quite wrong. The First King later told his relatives that he made a vow “with the Founding Titan” to renounce war, which is why everyone who inherits the Founding Titan immediately loses all desire to wage war or conquer lands.
Perhaps the “devil” that Helos killed was a different, powerful titan, like the Colossal titan or the Armored titan. Or even the Beast titan.
The truth is probably hidden from us at this point or slightly distorted. We know the Eldian king wasn’t completely honest about what would happen when the walls were broken. And we’re not quite sure why King Fritz chose to make a vow against war with his titan. Is it possible that Helos somehow influenced this decision? (Of note, Eren did not inherit this “vow” because he’s not of royal blood. So he has the Founding Titan, but not its powers or its limitations.)
So who is Helos?
One theory among anime-only watchers is that Helos is an Ackerman. A mere human having the ability to slay a titan singlehandedly is pretty far-fetched, especially a titan revered as “the devil of all the earth.” Only someone with the Ackerman family’s power would have the ability to do that. We’re still not clear on just what the Ackermans’ power is — only that it comes on suddenly, as it did with Levi, Kenny, and Mikasa. We also know that the Ackermans are immune to the Founding Titan’s “Scream” power. (As are the people of Eastern lineage from which Mikasa’s mom originated. Others are immune too, but only the Eastern lineage and the Ackerman lineage refused to fall in line with the First King’s ideology, and thus were persecuted.)
All signs point to Helos being an Ackerman if the stories are true. But if the great “devil” was slain in some other fashion (perhaps by convincing the King to make a vow against future war), then Helos’ power might have been a different kind of power altogether. And Helos’ true nature could be a huge surprise.
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