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Dreams and Curses

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Quote1 Historia... eat me... and save humanity. It's... up to you now. Quote2
— Eren wishes to die for humanity

Dreams and Curses (夢と呪い Yume to Noroi?) is the 3rd chapter of the 16th volume and the 65th chapter overall of the Attack on Titan manga, written and illustrated by Hajime Isayama.

Overview

Kenny tells his grandfather's story that the Ackerman family and Asian clan are minority bloodlines and cannot have their memories manipulated. He violently attacks Rod and harshly explains to Historia that Rod is a coward who never wanted her in the first place. Rod frees himself and releases Kenny from his service but the Military Captain decides that would not be very fun. Kenny frees Eren so that he and Historia can fight in Titan form. However, she is stopped when Eren refuses to transform and instead tearfully asks Historia to eat him and save humanity. Levi's squad realize they are running out of time.

Summary

Young Kenny speaking with grandpa

Kenny in his younger days speaks with his grandfather about why the Ackermans are hated

Kenny Ackerman begins to tell Eren, Rod, and Historia a story form his youth. It begins with him entering a small room and asking his grandfather to speak with him while asking if he is just about to die. Lying in bed, his grandfather asks Kenny if he has killed more Military Police members. Kenny sits down and replies that the ones who were snooping around are now fertilizing fields. Kenny tells his grandfather that he finally found his little sister, Kuchel. She is working at a brothel in the underground city and has become pregnant while also desiring to keep the baby, which Kenny advised her not to. He adds that another branch of his family moved near Shiganshina, but are being harassed so their business has failed and they remain poor. Kenny then asks why the Ackermans are now hated since they used to be a warrior family close to the crown. He goes on by saying that there are only a few Ackermans left and asks why the monarchy hates them. After nothing but a cold look from his grandfather, Kenny whines to be told, asking jokingly if he loves his grandson. His grandfather laughs and notes that this grandson is actually Kenny the Ripper, the capital's monster. Sitting up, his grandfather says that he planned to protect the Ackermans by never telling this story but that it has all been for naught. He begins by saying that the Ackermans are feared by the monarchy, not hated by it. He claims it is because the King can not control Ackermans before saying that he does not know the whole story since he was born inside the Walls.

A Younger Kenny Smiling

Kenny as a young man telling his grandfather that he will believe his story because it will lead to fun

However, he does know that the Ackermans were once closely affiliated with the monarchy and entrusted with the survival of humanity. The rest of humanity, aside from a few groups of people, came from a single blood-line, meaning that there is one majority race within the Walls. One of these smaller blood-lines is the Asian clan, who Kenny's grandfather notes are vastly different from Ackermans. The problem is that these bloodlines stood in the way of the King's desire to control humanity by manipulating memories and creating perfect order. Kenny is confused by this and asks his grandfather to clarify, and he responds with the power of the Titans. Generations of monarchs inherited this power and used it to not only build the Walls but also to erase the history of humanity outside of them, a practise they are still doing. Kenny's grandfather returns to the Ackermans by saying that they are immune to memory manipulation because they are not part of the majority blood-line. Two groups objected to the King's ideas and thus lost their status which is why they are now being repressed: the Ackerman family and the Asian clan. Kenny's grandfather ends by saying that his father's generation never told their children in order to protect them. Ultimately, he offered his own life to ensure the survival of the Ackerman family but due to the recent harassment it was likely pointless. Kenny acknowledges his grandfather's story and says that he will believe it because things will be more fun that way.

Kenny holding Rod hostage

Kenny turns on his former boss and threatens him for his lies and cowardice

Ending his story, Kenny says that those were his beliefs until now. He grabs Rod by the collar and lifts him into the air while pointing a pistol at his eye. As Historia yells for her father, he asks if Kenny thinks that he is lying and, Kenny responds that he does not think so. He adds that he has waited for this day to see if Rod would finally not lie. Kenny accuses Rod of this being the Reiss succession ritual while also claiming that Rod manipulated him. Rod responds that he is grateful and never knew why his brother took Kenny off the streets. Kenny interrupts and yells at him not to insult Uri or Rod will lose half his head. Historia rushes for the pistol and pushes it out of the way before she demands Kenny release her father. Kenny calls her a poor thing and says that she must understand by now that Rod is trying to turn her into a Titan so she can eat Eren. Historia answers with determination that this is the mission she has been given and that there is nothing sad about becoming a Titan and saving humanity. Kenny tells her that it is not her mission and she ignores him by saying that she will eat Eren, bring Frieda back, inherit the history of the world, and exterminate all of the Titans.

Kenny goes on to remind her that her birth was a tragedy. He adds that she was only conceived because Rod wanted to have fun with a house servant, and the servant wanted power. He harshly tells her that everyone wished she never existed, especially Rod. Kenny sarcastically says that Rod lost all his children and then decided to come save Historia because he was a nice guy. The Interior Squad was ordered by the Assembly to kill Historia and her mother, but Rod saved her by concealing her birth and sending her into the military, under the watch of the Church of the Walls.
Kenny shoving knife Rod

Kenny shoving his knife down Rod's throat as he lectures Historia on how Rod only cares about protecting himself

Kenny rhetorically asks why Rod did this and says that perhaps Rod randomly decided to be a good father. He laughs off that explanation and yells that Rod only cared about her blood as he shoves a large knife down Rod's throat. Kenny continues his rant by saying Rod saddled his family with becoming Titans instead of himself, he covered up the loss of the Titan's power in order to remain influential, and he only started talking after Eren saved Trost which resulted in countless deaths. Kenny ends by shouting that Rod does not care about his family, humanity, and least of all Historia, he is just a coward who only cares about protecting himself.

Kenny asks what Historia thinks now and is shocked when Rod pulls the knife from his throat while saying that Kenny is wrong. Badly cutting his hands due to his grip on the knife, Rod claims there is a reason he can not become a Titan and that Historia can not trust others. Kenny releases Rod, who collapses to the ground, and asks if what Rod just said is true. Rod responds that Kenny has served him well all these years and that he is proud of Uri's decision. While admitting that Kenny's ambitions will go unfulfilled, he does believe humanity will see peace again. Rod tells Kenny that he is free and should find something to live for. Kenny, with a blank expression, ascends the stairs to Eren while remarking to himself that Rod's suggestion would not be very fun.

Kenny freeing Eren

Kenny removes Eren's gag

Rod and Historia, recovering from Kenny's rant, ask Kenny what he is doing and the captain ignores them by telling Eren that he should turn into a Titan. He removes his mouth restraint, allowing Eren the opportunity to wound himself and transform. Kenny announces that both Eren and Historia can become Titans and fight it out with peace returning if Historia wins, and nothing happening if Eren wins. Kenny slices Eren's forehead open to help the latter transform. With blood streaming down Eren's face, and Historia visibly worried, Kenny scoffs at Rod's suggestion and questions if one can even call that living. Rod ignores the question and immediately gives Historia the Titan serum, telling her that it will allow her to become a powerful Titan suited for battle. Rod again tells her to hurry but clarifies that she only needs to ingest his spinal fluid, not totally devour him. Kenny uses his equipment to get a safe distance away as Historia stares at her arm with needle in hand. She relaxes her grip as she notices that Eren has not transformed and she asks him why. Historia reminds Eren that he will certainly die if he does not transform before he lifts his head to reveal blood and tears. Rod urges her on from a distance and Eren quietly remarks that something never needed to happen.

Eren asking Historia to eat him

Eren, through blood and tears, asks Historia to eat him and save humanity.

Historia questions what he means, and Eren responds that Grisha stealing Frieda's power prevented her from saving humanity and resulted in countless deaths, including Armin's grandfather, Thomas Wagner, Mina Carolina, Mylius Zeramuski, Nac Tias, Marco Bott, Petra Ral, Oluo Bozado, Eld Jinn, Gunther Schultz, people in the Stohess District, the soldiers who rescued him from the Armored Titan, and Hannes as well. Eren says that he could never atone for that and painfully remembers training with those people and their dreams of what could be past the Walls. He then announces that he never needed to happen as Historia looks on with tears in her eyes and remembers her own mother. Eren asks Historia to save humanity by eating him. Eren then lowers his head and continues to cry as Kenny looks on from the ceiling. Historia responds by saying that the day Eren called her a normal person made her very happy. Tearfully, she puts the needle to her arm, preparing to inject herself with the serum.

Elsewhere in the cave, Levi, Mikasa, Connie, Sasha, Jean, and Kenny's second-in-command notice the bright light that indicates a Titan transformation. Levi observes that they are running out of time, Jean guesses that it is a Titan, and Mikasa softly says Eren's name with a look of considerable worry on her face. A massive Titan begins to form, pushing against the roof of the cavern.

Characters in Order of Appearance

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