Attack on Titan's third season has already made a dramatic change in tone, and this shift to a more emotionally tragic atmosphere was the most noticeable with the latest episode exploring Historia's past.
After the previous episode led to the introduction of Historia's father, and the reveal that she has the true royal bloodline, fans certainly didn't expect to see how bleak of an upbringing she had.
Episode 39 "Pain" begins its exploration of Historia's past and fans were introduced to her mother. In her narration, fans learn that Historia's mother had been cold and distant throughout her entire life and it's only magnified when Historia seems happy that even a violent act against her was her mother showing her some kind of attention.
This is further compounded when Kenny shows up and threatens her family one night, and leading to death of her mother. Her mother's last words wondered why she had Historia in the first place, and this seems to indicate that the tie to the true royal family is more trouble than its worth.
Historia's an illegitimate child, and was about to be executed as well but then it's revealed that her father instead requested they move her away and change her name. This is all bubbling up to the surface now as Historia has been sought out because of that royal blood, but it's despairing to now she had such a terrible upbringing before even joining the Survey Corps.
It's just one of the many ways the third season is making other humans the antagonist this time around, and now Historia is caught in another struggle. Something she's been dealing with her whole life.
Attack on Titan was originally created by Hajime Isayama for Kodansha's Bessatsu Shonen Magazine in 2009. The series has since been collected into 23 volumes as of 2017, and it's set in a world where the last remnants of humanity live within a walled city in order to escape the danger of the Titans, a race of giants monsters that eats humans. The lead character, Eren Yeager, ends up joining the military with his two childhood friends Mikasa and Armin after the Titans break through the wall and attack his hometown. Now Eren, Mikasa, and Armin must survive in a world where they not only have the Titans to fear, but the very humans they are trying to save.