What Is ‘The Rumbling’ In Attack on Titan?

If Paradis feared titans, then the rest of the world; the rumbling.

“Rumbling” is mentioned by both sides frequently in the story, one time as a calamity and the other as a possible solution. It is now obvious that the “rumbling” is an event that can change the course of the world. Therefore, it is important to understand it and everything related to it to fully comprehend the direction in which Attack on Titan is going.

What is the rumbling?

The rumbling is a process in which the colossal titans in the walls start moving forwards, flattening everything in their path, leaving death and destruction in their wake. This means that the walls of Paradis subsequently fall, giving these stationary titans the ability to start moving.

On the command of the Founding Titan, they can be used to destroy the world. The term “rumbling” is a nod to the possible sounds of millions of titans walking; shaking the Earth to its core.

The consequences of the rumbling

During his speech, Willy Tybur stresses upon why Paradis remains a threat to the world, and his main argument is the possibility of the rumbling. He then further explains why it is no mere counterattack, but an instrument to end the world.

A full blown rumbling would mean all three walls- Maria, Rose and Shina, unharden; exposing the “tens of millions” colossal titans in them. When commanded, these titans will flatten everything in their way, from buildings to ecosystems.

With no countermeasure to stop the titans from moving unless the Founding Titan retracts the orders, the rumbling is an unstoppable event.

Willy Tybur explains the threat of rumbling.

Hence, it can actually make the world extinct, and finish all life on it. It makes sense that the whole world was so scared of the “island devils”; potential destroyers the world.

How did the rumbling came to be as a concept?

After the Great Titan War, King Karl Fritz chose to move as many Eldians he could to Paradis. Subsequently, he would seal it off from the rest of the world. As the Founding Titan, he willed the formation of 3 walls made out of the hardening of titans who resemble the colossal titan. These walls were the ultimate defence and offence.

The rest of the world believed that the King would use these walls to flatten the Earth if threatened. This is what they called the “rumbling” Paradis’ tool of destruction. This frightened the world from taking any extreme action against the island. In reality, this was just propaganda spread to tarnish the reputation of the island.

The truth about the King’s intentions

Actually, Karl Fritz had no plans to ever use the “rumbling”. He wanted to bring an end to the violence inflicted by the Eldian Empire, specially on Marley.

Therefore, he took a vow- to never use the Founding Titan’s powers to fight. This is why if Marley were to attack, the Founding Titan would not do anything to defend Paradis from its fate.

Karl was actually a “peacemaker”.

This means that the “rumbling” could never be used by anyone. Since the Founding Titan always remained in the hands of the royal family, no one believed the rumbling could happen. Afterall, they were influenced by the vow.

Furthermore, a commoner could never fully yield the powers of the Founding Titan. It all made sense until Eren Jeager hypothesized that coming in contact with a royal blooded titan may allow him to use the powers of the Founding Titan, as in the case with Dina Fritz.

Can Eren activate the rumbling? If so, how?

To activate the rumbling currently, two titan shifters would be needed. The current holder of the Founding Titan, Eren, and a titan of royal blood, Zeke. Zeke is the key to Eren activating the rumbling. If Eren were to come in contact with his half-brother, he could very easily will the walls to unharden and allow the colossal titans to walk over the world, quite literally.

Will Eren activate the rumbling?

Season 4 has shown us that to gain freedom, Eren is ready to take brutal actions. The raid on Liberio was the prime example. Therefore, it is a possibility that Eren would rather destroy the world to eradicate hate. For Eren, diplomacy was not an option and they were running out of time.

We know so because of his argument with Hange, which confirmed that Eren has no plans on appeasing the world. The only option left is to fight for Eren. While we can’t say for sure he would opt for a full-blown rumbling, the option of a partial rumbling had been considered before.

The Partial Rumbling

When Zeke decided to team up with the Survey Corps, he used the help of Lady Kiyoomi from Hizuru to communicate his plan for Paradis. In this plan, with the help of Hizuru, Paradis could avoid a global attack for 50 years which would be used for the development of the island.

The focus of this plan was on partial rumbling. Paradis would unleash a few wall titans to show the power of rumbling, effectively using it as a deterrent to attacks. This would give Paradis enough time to focus more resources on economic and technological development than keeping the island safe.

While Hizuru would also provide military support so that Paradis doesn’t have to only rely on the rumbling to show dominance, the highlight of Zeke’s suggestion largely focused on the success of the rumbling.

Kiyoomi explains the plan in short.

However, due to Eren’s moral arguments, this plan fell through. This plan not only involved partial rumbling, but having Historia give birth to as many children as she could to become successors of the Beast Titan. In Eren’s eyes, a plan that would involve such heavy consequences of breaking walls and doing something so destructive for short team peace was not the right choice to make.

Since the current Eren is very different from his younger self, it would make sense if Eren tried to use the wall titans when needed. To know if he ever does so, go read the manga.

TL;DR

The rumbling is a term given to a catastrophic event which would include the wall titans flattening the world. Though assumed Karl Fritz would use it, Willy Tybur revealed that no Founding Titan could ever ask for the rumbling due to the vow. However, since Eren, a Subject of Ymir with no royal blood has the Founding Titan, can activate the rumbling if he comes into contact with a royal blooded titan (Zeke).

A partial rumbling was adviced by Zeke to show the world the power that Paradis holds. With this, the world can leave the island alone for atleast 50 years. Paradis could develop itself in this duration. However, the plan fell through and Eren later went rogue which now has brought upon a possible large-scale attack from Marley.

All in all, the rumbling is a very crucial concept in Attack on Titan. With the Survey Corps rendered powerless, no one (except manga readers) know if the Jeager brothers would get together to activate the rumbling or not.

So, should Eren get ready to rumble (I’m sorry, I had to) and destroy the world that got him so much suffering? Or is there another more possible way for him to protect Paradis forever?

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