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*Spoilers ahead. If you don't mind being spoiled, we'll be touching on a few details from the prologue through the fourth chapter of BTS' "Save Me." If you would rather read the webtoon with fresh eyes, be sure to return to us after and let us know your theories!
Image Credit: Naver Webtoon, Big Hit Entertainment
Today, Naver Webtoon released BTS' "Save Me" in Korean, English, Japanese, Chinese, Thai, and Bahasa and if you haven't had a chance to read it this handy SMERALDO BOOKS tweet will point you in the right direction. Currently the prologue and the first two chapters are free, while the third and fourth chapters are available if you purchase coins via the Naver Webtoon site/app. New chapters will be available every Thursday.
If you've come to this point, you've most likely read at least until chapter two (or you don't mind spoilers!), so we'll just spend a moment recounting what has occurred plotwise. For many fans, the plot elements won't be a major departure from what you've seen across the years in the growing BTS universe from MV's like "Fake Love" to even all the way back to the Red Bullet Tour VCR. However, what the webtoon has done so far is bring together the story and begin to confirm and clarify theories about what it all means.
The story begins on April 11 with Jin having returned from America being awoken by light in his sparse room (decorated in the fashion of "Euphoria : Theme of LOVE YOURSELF 起 Wonder"). While driving he sees Jungkook en route to school and briefly encounters Namjoon at a fuel station, but decides not to engage him in a conversation. Time passes until we stop on May 22 (it's worth noting that these are significant dates in "LOVE YOURSELF Highlight Reel '起承轉結'") when Jin seeks out Namjoon and realizes that he's in prison. The conversation they have in the detention center allows Jin to discover the bleak situations the rest of his friends find themselves in--some dead, others hospitalized, others unknown. From there Jin asks the question, "If you could turn back time, do you believe you can straighten out the errors and mistakes, and...save everyone."
This question lies at the center of much of the BTS narrative universe and drives the plot of Jin's actions within the webtoon so far. Through chapter four, mistakenly believing it's a dream, Jin actually travels back in time to April 11 only to actually witness Jungkook's death--twice. Once the realization clicks (with some help from an unknown voice), Jin is able to stop Namjoon from going to prison, enabling Namjoon to save Jungkook. As chapter four closes, we end on the question of whether Jungkook will be able to save Yoongi from the flames that are just starting to spark.
There are brilliant fans out there who have spent years studying what is years of BTS material just to piece together the meaning of this journey of friendship, and it wouldn't honor that work for us to haphazardly paste up our theory of everything within a short article. This is a collaborative effort and we hope that you'll share your theories with us in the comments!
Overall, there are some really great motifs that have made their way over to the webtoon that we do want to take a moment to highlight, as well as some mysteries, and major imagery that hasn't showed up yet.
In reverse order, we'll start with an image that hasn't made an appearance--Calla Lilies. This particular flower is present alongside Jin across a wide array of BTS videos, particularly "Highlight Reel, "Euphoria," and "Epiphany." Calla Lilies have been symbolic of innocence, but have also been used as an Easter flower becoming symbolic of rebirth. Carrying forward that association with death, Calla Lilies have also become a common flower at funerals. That's a lot of symbolism but how does it relate to his webtoon?
Currently, there aren't any Calla Lilies present in the webtoon (although, eagle-eyed fans, please correct us if we're wrong), and there is a moment in the webtoon where they "should have been." In "Euphoria," (presumably) Jin's hands cradling Lily petals directly follow an image of (presumably) V's hands covered in blood--an image that is very much in the webtoon's prologue. So, the question is, where are Jin's Calla Lilies and what does it mean that they're not paired with bloody hand imagery we mentioned?
An interesting side-note, apparently in the past when people died "too young," Calla Lily petals could be etched into their grave stone--is that the reason for the Calla Lily petals?
Second, (just to go completely out of order) is one motif that we'd like to highlight--"Clair de Lune." Debussy's third movement from "Suite Bergamasque" forms part of "Euphoria" as well as the "Highlight Reel's" background music. The song was originally titled "Promenade Sentimentale" after a Paul Verlaine poem of the same name before it switched the name we know now. While we can't be sure of the reason why the song was included in the BTS videos (perhaps someone is just a fan of Debussy), the original poem that the song was based on speaks a lot to the loneliness of wandering alone carrying our own wounds--something which relates to the BTS story very deeply.
However, the connection of the song to the webtoon is more about its second meaning. Clair de Lune refers to a greyish-blue-green tint. This is something that figures into a lot of the color tones used in not only the videos, but also the webtoon as most of its action takes place under the green-blue, moonlit tones. Perhaps, in the course of the webtoon we'll find out a definite Debussy reason or we'll just enjoy theorizing on our own and enjoying the music.
Finally, mysteries. We're just going to quick fire write some mysterious things that stuck with us. Here it goes:
Is it a cat or a dog? If it's the "Serendipity" cat, then why is it not a Calico? Who is the voice telling Jin how the loop works and how to remember it? Is the petal on the school book a Smeraldo flower petal? For that matter, are Jungkook's "Fake Love" petals Smeraldo flower petals? In "Euphoria," when Jin opens his curtains, behind all of the flooding light, it actually seems dark--does that mean it's just moonlight? Do you think it will be the same in the webtoon? Is it all a dream? And, can Jin save everyone? Finally, what role will the Smeraldo flowers play?
Let us know your theories in the comments!
Thumbnail Credit: Naver Webtoon, Big Hit Entertainment