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Grisha... I... No matter what I become... Don't worry. I'll find you.
~ Dina's vow to Grisha Yeager as she is about to be transformed into a Titan

Dina Yeager, neé Fritz, also known as the Smiling Titan, is a minor but significant antagonist in the anime/manga series Attack on Titan. It is the Titan who killed Eren's mother, Carla, during the invasion of Wall Maria, driving Eren to take revenge against the Titans.

5 years after the events Eren witnessed, the Smiling Titan kills Hannes in front of Mikasa and Eren. Eren, who is by now a Titan Shifter, unknowingly uses the power of the Coordinate against the Smiling Titan, which works thanks to Dina's royal blood, who gets eaten by other Pure Titans. Eren, the rest of the Survey Corps witness this as they escape the Armored Titan. The life of this woman-turned-monster had been full of contradiction and tragedy that only ended with her death at the hands of Eren Yeager, who turns out to be her stepson. 

Appearance

The "Smiling Titan" is 46–50 feet tall and it is shown to lack intelligence like other Titans in its class. Its main distinguishing feature is its characteristic grinning smile; in which its lips are fixed wide open, exposing its teeth and gums within at all times. In the anime, the white part of its right eye is a luminescent yellow color, reminiscent of heterochromia.

The Smiling Titan has a thin emaciated frame with stocky proportions, in which its ribs are visibly apparent, and it possessed an unusually long neck. It has medium-length dark hair that only barely reaches down its head. Though it is not unlike many other Titans in terms of its instinct to seek out and eat humans, it's been shown to kill Carla before devouring her.

Background

The "Smiling Titan" is the unofficial name of the Titan that was notable for killing Eren's mother, Carla Yeager, the new wife of her former husband during the invasion of Wall Maria.

Dina Yeager was Dina Fritz, a direct bloodline of Fritz royal family. She, along with her husband Grisha Yeager, was a core member of Elida Restorationists, an underground organization comprised of discontented Eldians within Marley seeking to overthrow Marleyan regime. Eventually, Grisha and Dina fell in love and married, giving birth to Zeke Yeager aka Beast Titan, that makes Dina a distant relative of Historia Reiss of Reiss Family. Although she and Grisha attempted to raise Zeke as a loyal Eldian devoted to the restorationists' cause like they had, their teachings were too much for young Zeke who suffered identity crisis. Ultimately Zeke, to save the lives of his grandparents and his own, betrayed his parents and tipped them off to Marleyan authority. Grisha and Dina were arrested and Eldian restorationist was purged in a single day.

Grisha and Dina, along with their fellow restorationists, were condemned to transformation into Titans and to kill fellow Eldians living in Paradis Island. Before she was turned into a Titan, Dina promised that she would find Grisha, no matter how much time it would take.

Story

Fall of Shiganshina arc

When the Colossal Titan breached through the walls of the Shiganshina District, many Titans proceeded inside and among such Titans was the Smiling Titan: Dina came to where Grisha lived, just like she vowed to him that she would, and immediately went after the house of her husband, where her stepson Eren and Grisha's new wife lived. It embarked inside the town and was witnessed by Eren and Mikasa as they tried to free Carla Yeager under debris. Though Hannes initially came to their aid and decided to face the Smiling Titan, he stood catatonic in fear of its frightening appearance. After Hannes realized that he was too afraid to face it, he opted to take Eren and Mikasa to safety, leaving Eren's mother behind. Afterward, Eren witnessed the Smiling Titan pull Carla out of the debris, as it proceeded to violently incapacitate her and devouring her thereafter. This incident, along with the other horrors of the attack on Shiganshina, would instill a hatred of all Titans within Eren.

During Eren's days, while training to enlist into the military, this incident is shown to have left a traumatizing impact on Eren. This was evident when he was approached by his fellow classmates about his impressions regarding normal Titans, in which Eren experienced a flashback of the Smiling Titan devouring Carla; associating normal Titans to the trauma caused by the Smiling Titan. He remains silent and is visibly shaken by the thought, until maintaining his composure in front of his classmates and shrugging it off as if he were unaffected by their questions.

Clash of the Titans arc

5 years later, after Eren had already joined the Survey Corps, the Smiling Titan would appear again before Eren and Mikasa outside the Forest of Giant Trees during the military's pursuit of the Armored Titan. Her appearance had been caused by Erwin Smith's plan to draw the Titans against Reiner and Bertolt. After killing Hannes, who tried to save Eren and Mikasa before they were devoured, Eren "punched" the Titan's hand. Activating powers he did not know he had, Eren seemingly gained control over surrounding Titans. The ones that were under his control proceeded to finally kill the Smiling Titan.

Aftermath

During Eren's inherent memory due to him eating his father Grisha who had Titan powers, it was revealed that the Smiling Titan was titan form of Dina Yeager, who was Grisha Yeager's first spouse and Zeke Yeager's mother that killed his mother and his father's second wife, much to Eren's shock.

Born as royal bloodline of Ymir Fritz, she spent her life dedicated to freeing her people, also living her full life as a spouse and as a mother. However, all of her diligent life came to a tragic end the moment she turned into a Titan: as a Titan she left a deep, profound psychological scar on Grisha's new family, slaughtering the very people she was once dedicated to saving, she died violently as a mortal enemy of her own people. However, other than Titan eating Titan-shifters there was no way Dina could return to human ever again. To make matters even worse Grisha, the man whom she vowed to find no matter what was no longer among the living after the Shiganshina disaster struck. She could've been forever condemned to search for the man who was no longer alive. So her death was violent and tragic as it was; it was the only way to give the unfortunate monster a final peace.

Gallery

Trivia

  • The scene of Carla Yeager's death is depicted slightly different in the anime and manga. In the manga, the Smiling Titan squeezed her until her spine snaps, making her vomit blood and twitch in its hand before it ate her, whereas, in the anime, it simply breaks her spine off-screen with both hands, showing the Smiling Titan biting downwards with blood spraying afterward.
  • The Smiling Titan's death is quite similar to Tomoo and his partners' deaths in Elfen Lied. Both villains kill someone precious to the hero (Hannes and Lucy's puppy, respectively) which makes them so angry that they end up unleashing a power that kills the villain (Eren uses his Titan-controlling ability to make other Titans devour the Smiling Titan, while Lucy uses her vectors to tear the bullies limbs off). So, in a sense, they both cause their own deaths. However, in the case of Dina, her fate is entirely tragic as the Marley turned her into Titan in the first place. Eren eventually forgave her and turned in his wraith towards the Marley as she was a victim to begin with.