Going my the headcanon that Thrawn uses Eli as
emotional support, Thrawn is only emotional around Eli. In fact he
learns how to be emotional, and that it’s okay to be emotional because of his
time with Eli.
Growing up and living on Csilla, with such a rigid society,
Thrawn isn’t used to being anything but “cold”, calculated Thrawn. but being
with Eli, and his family, he learns it’s okay to be himself. Though the sad
part is he’s only just finding himself because Csilla has never allowed him to
And of course, Eli helps him with that too.
Essentially, Eli helps Thrawn feel, and while initially it’s
uncomfortable, Thrawn enjoys being himself around Eli.