|◄ Preceded by||Rod Reiss
|Followed by ►|
|There is meaning in every catastrophe. Whether humanity is fated to die, or survive...that decision is in God's hands. My mission is to summon God back into this world and offer my prayers to her.|
|— Rod urges Historia to take the Founding Titan|
Rod Reiss (ロッド・レイス Roddo Reisu?), often publicly referred to as Lord Reiss (レイス卿 Reisu Kyō?), was the true king of the Walls from 845 to 850. He sought to return the stolen Founding Titan to the Reiss family, by having his daughter Historia eat Eren Yeager.
Rod, like his daughter, was a rather short person. Though, unlike his daughter, he was a slightly overweight man with a round face, short black hair and a thin black mustache. He was typically seen wearing the clothes of a wealthy man, featuring a white button-front shirt with a black pullover vest, loose black pants and black dress shoes. However, when conducting the Titan rituals Rod wore a white shirt and pants with a long coat, as did the other Reiss males during family meetings.
Pure Titan form
In this form, Rod was an abnormal Titan. His appearance as a Titan retained practically nothing of his human form, except for still being male-like as most Titans are. He grew to the point of becoming one of the largest Titans ever known, reaching 120 m in total (40 m at the withers), twice as large as the Colossus Titan, which is 60 meters in height.
However, his body was quite disproportionate, having a large torso with a small head, and very thin limbs for his size, thus being unable to stand up and needing to crawl on all fours. He was also notably skeletal, with most of his bones clearly visible and lacking in muscles. He lacked a face due to the friction against the ground as it destroyed the front half of his head due to his constant dragging as he moved, exposing even his brains. However, if he were to remain off the ground and not dragging his head, he would regenerate a full face in time. His ribs covered only the sides of his body, and his frontal area lacked skin and muscles also due to him dragging his body as he moved which also exposed his internal organs when he sat up. Oddly enough his body displayed a certain design meant to move similar to a worm, with his torso able to stretch and contract like a worm (or an accordion), giving him the uncanny movement of first dragging his front half forward followed by his lower half coming later, inching his way through.
Like the Colossus Titan, his enormous size made him move slowly and generate lots of heat, always being covered by clouds of steam. The heat he produced was so high that it was impossible to go near him without getting burned, as the trees near him burst into flames instantly.
Rod often appeared to have a calm, yet slightly worried demeanor. He spoke with great certainty and intelligence about the events of his daughter, Frieda Reiss, and his brother Uri Reiss, when they obtained and lost the Founding Titan. Rod maintained a level head throughout most of his time with Historia, Eren Yeager, and Kenny Ackerman. He even gathered his composure after Kenny grabbed him and began shoving a knife down his throat. However, when Historia crushed the serum, threw him, and bashed his claims of godhood, he became erratic and panicked. After the syringe was shattered on the ground, he began lightly crying and desperately licked it off the floor so that he could become a Titan himself.
Rod was the eldest son of his and Uri's father, the inheritor of the Founding Titan and the true king of humanity. Some time later, he was joined by a younger brother, Uri. Uri and Rod constantly begged their father to free humanity from the Titans, but he always refused, never disclosing why. It apparently had been so many times that Rod was locked behind bars for his attempts, and it is implied to have happened more than once. When it came time for his father to pass his position to a son, Uri volunteered, asking Rod to pray. After Rod observed his father's presence in Uri the moment his brother had opened his eyes, he realized he had become an all-knowing being and protector of the world; God. On his brother's promise, Rod had devoted his time to protecting God and offering his prayers to it.
As a young man, Rod married an unnamed woman and had five children with her: Frieda, Urklyn, Dirk, Abel, and Florian. He also met Kenny Ackerman when he tried to kill his brother and former king, Uri Reiss. Despite Rod urging Uri to kill him, especially since he was an Ackerman, Uri refused and apologized to Kenny. This created a strong bond between the two and Kenny became a servant of the Royal Family.
Secretly, Rod Reiss conceived a sixth child, Historia, with Alma, one of his maids and confidant. In the year 842, Frieda devoured Uri and became queen of humanity. However, just like Uri, Frieda fell to the influence of the First King, despite promising not to fall victim to the ghosts of their ancestors.
On the day that Wall Maria falls to the Armored and Colossus Titan's attack, the entire Reiss family goes to a chapel to pray in a secret underground area. However, Grisha Yeager, a man from beyond the Walls, comes to talk to the family, asking Frieda to save the people inside the Walls from the Titans. Bound by the First King's will, Frieda refuses. Grisha transforms into a Titan to fight her and the pair engage in combat. Despite Frieda's immense power, she is defeated due to inexperience and eaten through the neck. Grisha then attempts to slaughter the entire royal family, with only Rod surviving, due to fleeing blindly. With his daughter's death, he becomes king of humanity.
Several days later, Rod goes to get Historia and inform her that she will be living with him from now on. Kenny Ackerman and the Military Police First Interior Squad intervenes and swarms around Historia and her mother. Kenny questions if Rod is familiar with the two women, which he denies. Rod watches as his mistress's throat is slit while she denies being Historia's mother. When the former serial killer moves in to kill Historia, Rod suddenly proposes having her enroll in the Survey Corps, hopefully, to die in battle. Seeing this as a fitting alternative, the First Interior Squad agrees to his suggestion. This is revealed later to have been a charade invented by him, as up until that point the Military Police making demands of the King seemed somewhat peculiar, and later on Kenny acknowledges having gone along with Rod's plan to get her into the corps.
After learning that Eren Yeager possesses the power of the Titans, Rod begins working discreetly to have the boy brought to him, along with Historia, so that he can reclaim the Founding Titan for the Reiss family.
After Kenny's squad manages to successfully kidnap the two, they are brought to Rod. Rod undoes Historia's restraints and embraces her, apologizing to her for everything that has happened.
Rod and Kenny's squad take Historia and Eren to the cavern underneath the Reiss chapel, where he has Eren restrained so that the boy will not be able to transform. He also explains his situation to Historia, convincing her that any actions he has taken have only been taken with humanity's best interests in mind.
After Eren awakes, Rod observes that he seems to recognize the cavern despite never having visited it. Historia asks him to explain what is going on to Eren and Rod has her place her hand on Eren along with his own, triggering Grisha Yeager's memories in Eren. After triggering the memories, Rod asks Eren if he has remembered his father's sin. He notices that Historia is also visibly shaken, and is surprised to learn that the contact also restored her memories of Frieda. He explains that Frieda was Historia's half-sister, and that Frieda likely erased Historia's memories of her to protect her. Historia asks to see Frieda so she can thank her, but Rod informs her that Frieda is dead, killed along with the rest of Rod's family by Eren's father.
They are interrupted by Kenny, who arrives to inform Rod that the military has successfully led a coup against the royal government, and that it is only a matter of time before they arrive at the chapel. Rod orders Kenny to take his squad and guard the entrance to the cavern, as he needs them absent for the ceremony.
After Kenny leaves, Rod retrieves a bag with a Titan injection in it and tells Historia that there is a way for her to see Frieda again. Eren tries frantically to communicate with her through his gag and Rod explains that Eren knows he intends to return the power Grisha stole to its rightful place. Rod explains the history of the Founding Titan, and the powers that it holds. He explains that Frieda would have been able to use the power to rid the world of the Titans, but that in the hands of a non-Reiss like Eren, the power is dormant.
Rod's monologue is interrupted by Kenny, who demands confirmation that the Founding Titan is useless to anyone who is not a Reiss. Rod confirms this, and Kenny grabs him and begins to threaten him, outraged that Rod has taken advantage of him. Rod is unfazed by Kenny's threats and simply muses that he is glad Uri employed a "stray dog" like Kenny. Kenny threatens to kill Rod if he continues to bad mouth Uri and Historia tries to stand up for her father. Kenny accuses Rod of only caring about Historia's royal blood, rather than Historia herself, and claims that Rod is a coward who is too afraid to become a Titan himself. Rod offers no argument, simply insisting that he cannot become a Titan himself.
Kenny finally releases Rod and Rod frees Kenny from his service, suggesting that the man leave and live a long life on his own. However, to Rod's horror, Kenny approaches Eren and cuts the boy's head open, intending to force Eren and Historia to fight in their Titan forms for the Founding Titan. Rod panics and forces the syringe into Historia's hands, explaining that the injection will turn her into a Titan powerful enough to defeat Eren.
Historia hesitates, asking her father why none of the previous Founding Titans used their powers to help humanity, and Rod explains that it was the wish of the first Reiss King that humanity be controlled by the Titans, believing that it was the only path to peace. Historia knocks away the syringe, smashing it on the floor. Horrified, Rod lunges at Historia but she flips him over her shoulder, slamming him into the ground. As she goes to free Eren, Rod pulls himself across the floor to the shattered syringe and laps up the contents of the syringe, transforming himself into a Pure Titan. He does this in a last-ditch effort to seize the Founding Titan from Eren.
Rod's Titan ignores the Survey Corps members underneath the Reiss Chapel and begins crawling towards Orvud District of Wall Sheena, drawn to it by the city's large populace. The soldiers try to intercept him and lead him away, but are unable to get close to him because of the enormous amount of heat emanating from his body. He arrives at Orvud at dawn, where a group of Garrison and Survey Corps members are waiting for him.
He arrives there at dawn, where the Survey Corps and the Garrison are waiting for him atop the wall. The Garrison fires an enormous barrage of cannon fire at Rod, both from the Walls and from the ground. The cannons cause great damage on his back, but he withstands all the attacks and scales the Wall. The intense heat of his body and the wind change forces the soldiers to cover themselves in water to prevent them from being burned. His hands are blown off by Squad Levi, which makes him lose balance and fall over the Wall. After this, Eren shoves barrels of gunpowder into Rod's mouth, making an enormous explosion and blowing off his head and nape.
To kill Rod's Titan once and for all, Squad Levi begins to cut up the flying pieces of its body in hopes of cutting the nape. Eventually, the piece of his nape is found and cut by Historia, who receives some of his memories in the process, one of which being Rod asking his father to release them from the Titans' rule.
- Historia Reiss - Rod was Historia's father, though she is an illegitimate child who is not accepted as a suitable heir to the Reiss family. Thus Kenny Ackerman was charged with her death and the death of Historia's mother. Rod came to get her to live with him, but the Military Police interfered and rather than take back his daughter, Rod was forced to propose an alternative where his daughter's chances of survival would be extremely low rather than see his daughter's death before his eyes. It was thus implied that Rod Reiss may have cared for his daughter. When Eren and Historia were captured, Rod Reiss embraced Historia with tears in his eyes, saying that he was sorry for what has happened, surprising Eren and Historia. The reason for this, may have been his intentions for one day giving Historia the power of her half-sister. However, Historia refused to comply with his wishes that she become a Titan and eat Eren, realizing that the power destroyed her sister's humanity and that Rod was only using her to get the Founding Titan and regain the power of the Reiss family.
- Frieda Reiss - It was implied that Rod loved his daughter over all things. When Historia rejected the serum, he became furious because of the loss of Frieda's memories and power, and when he licked the serum, he said that he will be reunited with his family and with her. In a memory, Frieda bravely told him to allow her to become the next inheritor, saying she would not give in to her ancestors' ghosts.
- Alma - At first she was Rod's servant but eventually she became his confidante and lover. When she got pregnant, she was taken away to her parent's farm. Rod thought that she was the only person that could understand what he was going through.
- Rod Reiss' Pure Titan is the largest Pure Titan in the series.
- Rod Reiss' Titan exposed its internal organs when it stood up, due to all the skin and muscles being worn off as it dragged itself across the ground. His Titan showed digestive organs, specifically the stomach and small intestines, which were speculated by the military to be features that Titans lacked. It is possible that Titans possess these features only as vestigial structures.
- When Rod's Titan was slain by Historia Reiss, she somehow saw some of his memories. It is unclear how that was possible without either of them having the power of the Titans.
- In an interview included in the guidebook Attack on Titan ANSWERS, Hajime Isayama revealed the reason why Rod said he did not inherit the Founding Titan himself: "He thought of himself as just an observer, and in order to preserve the Reiss bloodline, he may have thought that he needed to stay human and make more children. He would have to become the Founding Titan, and he was most likely afraid that he wouldn't be able to fight against the First King's ideology, just like his father and Uri weren't able to."