The Attack on Titan franchise is massive, with so many different main characters to deal with throughout its pages and episodes. This is worsened when you see how convoluted the story becomes, especially in the final act of the manga and anime with its messy twists and turns.
One character that suffers a lot because of these twists is Grisha Yeager, one of the more complicated characters, as you’ll see in this Grisha Yeager guide.
Grisha is known by most fans as simply the father of Eren Yeager, the protagonist of the Attack on Titan series. However, there is a lot more to him than meets the eye. What Grisha has a part in before the start of the series and early on sets the path for every character in the entire series to follow.
It is a complex situation, but I hope to break down his story into a more digestible version in this Grisha Yeager guide.
Bottom Line Up Front
Grisha Yeager is the father of Eren Yeager, the protagonist of the Attack on Titan manga and anime series. He is also a well-known doctor in the town of Shiganshina, where Eren grows up, due to his help in ridding everyone of a plague in the area.
Spoiler alert, but he is also the person who grants Eren the Attack Titan powers early on in the series. But it turns out that he might not be as bad of a dad as he initially appears.
Grisha Yeager Overview
For the most part, Grisha Yeager looks like the typical deadbeat dad who left home one day to get some milk and never came home. But there is more to him than meets the eye. Grisha has a long history that exists before even the start of the Attack on Titan series that affects everything that comes after.
There is a reason he is the father of Eren, the protagonist of the series, and why everything progresses the way it does. As such, some may look at Grisha as one of the most hated characters in the series. That is understandable, given he certainly does some horrible things.
At the same time, though, that doesn’t paint the entire story accurately. Grisha is a deadbeat dad in the end, for sure, but he is also a victim in everything, as you’ll see further below. While I’m certainly no fan of the character, I can at least sympathize with what happens to him.
That said, it is hard to talk about Grisha Yeager without some massive spoilers on the way. Be aware that there are going to be spoilers throughout this guide, including one groundbreaking late-story twist that comes toward the end of Attack on Titan.
There is an argument to be made that Eren Yeager is a somewhat attractive young man when he becomes an adult in the final act of the Attack on Titan series. However, the same couldn’t be said for his father that he did not get his good looks from.
Grisha might have been blessed with some brains but not necessarily the looks. He has a somewhat depressing face that looks frustrated, angry, and sad constantly. This is even as a child and likely due to the horrible events that happen to him in his life.
His hair isn’t flattering, going straight down in the back, almost like a flatter mullet. His glasses aren’t the best-looking, and his facial hair is generally unmanaged. But the one positive is that he has an excellent sense of style, at least, with the brown suit that he commonly wears.
The other major appearance for Grisha is when he transforms into the Attack Titan that Eren later wields. His appearance here isn’t shown much, but it seems that he looks quite a lot like Eren does later on when he takes on the role with the signature naked titan body and long flowing hair. The only difference is his beard.
Key Moments in Attack on Titan
If you were confused by the timeline and what exactly happened with Grisha Yeager, you’re in the right place. I’ll even admit that I was a bit confused about what happened with him in the first few seasons and even more troubled by what happens in the final act of the manga.
That said, I rewatched it several times and dug deep to simplify the storyline of Grisha Yeager in a more digestible manner. Bear in mind that this will include a ton of spoilers for the entire series. These spoilers don’t just involve Grisha, either, but the overall setting and what is going on behind the scenes. If you are not caught up on the anime or manga, turn away now.
Growing Up Outside the Walls
Before the start of the Attack on Titan series and the massive invasion of the walls, Grisha Yeager has an entire lifetime to experience outside of the walls. As you hopefully already know by now (turn away now if you don’t!), there is an entire world that exists outside of the three core walls in the series.
No, the setting isn’t of the last humans on the planet, after all. Grisha Yeager grew up in Marley as one of the Eldian citizens there. We see later in the series, after this twist is revealed, his life story, growing up with his family and little sister.
His heartbreaking life begins at an early age when he and his sister escape through the internment zone to go see the blimps take off. In the process, they are found out, and Grisha is beaten as punishment but gets to see what he wanted in the end.
While this feels like a slightly cheerful ending to the sad story, he returns home to find that his sister was murdered and left for dead by the river. His story continued from there as he began to hate his Marleyan overseers and learned to be a talented doctor in the Eldian area.
He eventually married Dina Fritz, of the founder’s descent, and had Zeke, who would become the Beast Titan villain later in the series.
Over time, Grisha’s expectations for his son would lead him to ostracize Zeke and resulting in the latter selling his father out. In the end, this resulted in Grisha and his wife being sent to Paradis Island, the setting for the main series.
Finding a Family
While Grisha had to watch his first wife turn into a titan and her horrible fate, he was spared in exchange for a mission. His mission was to head to the island as a human, infiltrate the three walls, and take control of the Founding Titan’s powers.
In exchange, he was offered the Attack Titan powers to use and transform at his own will. He entered the three walls, pretending to be an amnesiac doctor, and gained the trust of everyone in the town of Shiganshina when he helped them with a plague.
He married Eren’s mother, Carla, after helping her and her family. Soon, they gave birth to Grisha’s second child, Eren, who would become the main character in the series. All the while, Grisha was secretly plotting his attempt to take the Founding Titan’s powers and return to Marley with them in hand.
Gaslighted and Devoured
The major twist comes later on in Grisha’s life when he is haunted by visions of his son, Eren, as an older man. These visions, which we later learn to be true towards the end of the series, were Eren orchestrating his father’s movements in the latter portion of his life.
Gaslighted by his own son, Grisha is tormented until he carries out his various acts, like letting his son go innocent after murdering some men to save Mikasa, who would later live with the family. But the biggest one comes when Grisha finally attacks the royal family to obtain the Founding Titan.
Grisha, under the influence of the future Eren, murders everyone in the cave and takes the Founding Titan’s powers just like Eren wants. This torment continues until the fateful day when the walls are breached by the Colossal and Armored Titans.
At this point, Grisha becomes a coward and sacrifices his own second wife, this time on purpose, to pave the way for the future his son is trying to create. To this end, Grisha lives long enough to make it out of the town alive and find his son in the woods after leaving a note for his son to check the basement in the future.
There in the woods, he commits his final sin in injecting his son with the serum that lets him turn into a titan and then allowing the turned Eren to devour his own father. This lets Eren, without his own knowledge or permission, become the Attack Titan and have access to the Founding Titan’s powers, setting the stage for the rest of the Attack on Titan storyline.
Special Abilities Explained
There are a couple of main special abilities that Grisha Yeager has that put him above most humans in the world of Attack on Titan. They come down to these two main areas: the medicinal knowledge and expertise that he’s learned over the years of being a doctor and the titan powers he gains later in his life.
Both are instrumental in his survival and the eventual downward spiral into being controlled by another person from the future, who is the true villain of the series.
First off, there are the human powers that he has as a doctor. From early on in his life, Grisha Yeager trains to be a talented doctor who can work with many different illnesses and issues. In the process, he learns how to be an effective physician that can treat almost anything.
We see this in the flashbacks in Marley, where he is an acting doctor who is well-known and loved in the Eldian zone. This expertise and prowess are what allows him to sacrifice his own son, Zeke, to be the next Beast Titan out of the Eldians in the area.
But the medicinal expertise doesn’t stop there, either. When he arrives on Paradis Island, he is able to successfully stop a widespread sickness from overtaking all of the citizens in the town of Shiganshina. This allows him to be a renowned hero for the people and enact his later plans in the process.
Attack Titan Powers
Outside of Grisha’s human talents, there are also his titan ones. He is the previous Attack Titan user, but we don’t see him often using it in combat after acquiring the ability. It is presumed that there are few instances of him wielding power, with one of the few exceptions being when he takes control of the Founding Titan’s powers.
That said, we know from when Eren uses the Attack Titan abilities what Grisha’s own abilities entail. He was likely a nimble fighter who benefitted from being flexible in combat, unlike the other bulky and slow titans. This speed allows him to utilize some expert-level martial arts and wrestling moves that help him to be an outstanding hand-to-hand fighter.
Anime Voice Actor
There are a couple of voice actors who play the role of Grisha Yeager. It mostly comes down to whether or not you watch the original Japanese dubbing of the series or the English dub version. If you have the option, I recommend the Japanese dub here. There are some solid English dubs out there, but the Attack on Titan one isn’t one of them.
Grisha Yeager in the English dub is voiced by Chris Hury. What’s interesting about Hury is that I’m not too familiar with this particular voice actor. He has few roles up until this point, but I will note that his role as Bacchus in Fairy Tail is of note. That was an intriguing side character that didn’t sound bad in that excellent English dub.
On the other hand, the Japanese voice actor for Grisha has quite a few roles under his belt. Like the English voice actor, though, they aren’t many, and most of them are for side characters. That said, some of the notable ones include Ganesha from Danmachi, Professor Sycamore from the X&Y anime adaptation (the best in the series!), and, hilariously enough, Lightning Mcqueen’s Japanese voice in the Cars series.
Grisha Yeager might be considered one of the “villains” of the Attack on Titan series, but he has significant relationships with several of the characters that are of note. For starters, there is a complicated and spoiler-filled relationship with his son, Eren.
It seems that Eren looks up to his father and sees him as a good man at the start of the series. Though his outlook might change over time as he realizes what’s going on, it does seem like they have a decent enough relationship at first. However, it is hard to say if Grisha is a good father or not, given how he handles everything.
Then there is Grisha’s other son, Zeke. Without a doubt, he is a terrible, deadbeat father of the highest extreme here. He manipulates the situation and forces his son to become a titan-wielder, literally cutting his lifetime to a small fraction in the process and causing him to be a soldier whether he wants to or not.
His two wives are intriguing as it seems that he loved his wives quite a bit, or at least with his first wife. On the other hand, he let his second wife, Carla, die so gruesomely without doing anything to save her, so it is hard to say that he cares about her that much.
The final relationship of note is with Keith, the man who would later, ironically, be the instructor for Grisha’s son at the training academy. Keith seems to be a friend of Grisha’s as the man who discovers him outside the walls in the first place. Unfortunately, their friendship isn’t explored as much as it could have been, so we don’t understand the full extent of how close they were.
Question: Is Grisha Eren’s dad?
Answer: Yes, Grisha Yeager is the father of Eren Yeager, the main protagonist of Attack on Titan.
Question: Why did Grisha make Eren a titan?
Answer: Grisha likely made Eren a titan for two reasons. The first is because Grisha’s life was only going to be so long anyways, so he needed a successor, and he chose his son. The second is because he was (spoiler alert for the entire series) under the influence of Eren the entire time.
Question: Who is Grisha Yeager’s first wife?
Answer: Grisha Yeager’s first wife back in Marley was Dina Fritz, one of the direct descendants of Ymir Fritz, the founder of the Eldia people.
Question: What titan is Grisha Yeager?
Answer: Grisha Yeager is, spoiler alert, the previous Attack Titan user before Eren devoured him and took over his powers. He also held the Founding Titan’s powers for a short time.
Who to Check Out Next in Attack on Titan
Grisha Yeager is one of the most disliked characters in the Attack on Titan series. He is unlikely to have many fans, given how much of a deadbeat and forceful father he is. That said, there is no denying the impact that Grisha had on every single character in the entire series. The events he orchestrated led to almost everything that happened, especially in the final act of the manga and anime.
If you want to see the rest of the cast of Attack on Titan characters that Grisha influenced, be sure to see the full list of everyone you need to know about. This is an excellent primer for beginners looking to enjoy the series and veteran fans who might not remember everything that happened, and everyone that is on the massive cast list.