Sangwoo’s Feelings for Yoonbum
This is an analysis of Sangwoo’s feelings and thoughts throughout the chapters and how he developed feelings for Bum. This is basically Sangwoo’s POV of the story. It might answer some of the questions I’ve been seeing around about ‘Why did Sangwoo do this or that?’ and etc.
I think it’s very obvious that Sangwoo used to be really really lonely before Bum showed up. As a child he was abused and I think he was very attached to his mother so he lost the only person in his life that he truly loved.
Imagine how frustrating it is to always pretend to be someone else. Be happy, smile, laugh, joke and hang out with people you don’t even like. You think they’re flawed, shallow, stupid, ungrateful and have ugly personalities (Sangwoo’s words) but this is the only way he can be with people. He has to wear a mask 24/7 that hides his true personality and I don’t care if he’s horrible, he’s still human. He doesn’t whine about it but he’s been subconsciously suffering. He has so many ‘friends’ and yet he’s completely lonely because nobody accepts him for what he really is. He literally does not have anyone.
Now before you blame his behavior and tendencies, I want to point out that I think Sangwoo has Antisocial Personality Disorder (ASPD),
shows signs of BPD and also he’s a victim of abuse so with those in mind, let’s start:
1. ‘A perverted stalker?’
A guy broke into Sangwoo’s house and when he got caught, he confessed to him, telling him that he’s been in love with him. Sangwoo smiles because ‘people are full of shit’ and say anything to save themselves. Let’s trust his words here and say he didn’t kill Bum because he hadn’t kill a man in 3 years but I also think at that moment he feels like he should keep Bum around. Maybe out of curiosity? He’s not sure why yet. He just knows Bum is a different case. To do that, he breaks Bum’s legs to make sure he won’t leave.
2. ‘Can I be attracted to a man?’
He doesn’t know what to do with this guy. Bum is not loud or annoying, he doesn’t disobey him and is powerless. Sangwoo started to rationalize things for himself and figure out if he can be attracted to Bum, a man, in any way, basically he started exploring,
But still, he doesn’t trust this ‘perverted stalker’ so he is thinking, ‘I’ll provoke him and I’ll have a reason to end his life.’ BUT to his surprise, his plan backfires. Bum likes the abuse (or at least pretends to). Despite mocking Yoonbum, Sangwoo is surprised! He loves what he’s seeing. I believe he never got a reaction like that from anyone before when abusing them. And so he takes another step forward and kisses him, still experimenting.
He likes the kiss. He decides to keep Bum for now. He keeps him in the basement for a week. He hurts Bum by cutting him (punishing him) but still Yoonbum doesn’t push him away. Sangwoo realizes Yoonbum really is not a threat and is powerless which is why he took him upstairs and when Yoonbum begged him not to take him to the basement again, despite rejecting him, he considered it.
3. ‘You will hate me!’ First Test
Sangwoo believed Yoonbum will eventually want to leave him. Because I think he is aware of his own wrong actions to some point at least. Why would anyone want to stay with him after everything that happened, right? But the big improvement was that he wasn’t planning to kill him anymore. Why? I believe this is where the feelings started to develop. When he sees his mother (the only person he loved), in Yoonbum. Although he can separate these two people very well in reality.
Yoonbum said ‘I love you!’ AGAIN even after everything and Sangwoo is once again surprised! He slowly starts to trust this person’s feelings. He even gives him a knife but… not because he trusts Bum. That’s a test. I’m not sure if this translation is right but I believe that’s what he means by ‘I have something I want to confirm too’. He’s testing Yoonbum’s loyalty. He wants to know if Bum really means it when he says he loves him.
After that the real abuse starts and I believe he’s copying his father’s behavior while Yoonbum is ‘the mom’. He makes him do house chores, beats him up, etc… Meanwhile he enjoys abusing him and is waiting for an excuse to hurt him badly because he’s not emotionally attached to him yet. He doesn’t care. But Yoonbum is always obedient and finally… Sangwoo lets Yoonbum sit at the table with him because he wonders why Yoonbum is so nice to him, always smiling and listening to him and even made him a really nice dinner. He suspects him and it happens to be the same night Yoonbum uses the rat poison. For whatever reason, the poison doesn’t work on Sangwoo and Yoonbum passes the first test!
4. ‘He really loves me?’
When Yoonbum got sick, is where we can see Sangwoo’s emotions to some point. Sangwoo picked him up and took him to the basement but he looked at Bum and actually felt sorry for him (or maybe he just couldn’t see him as a threat. Either way) He went back up and laid him down on his own mattress. He took care of him and told him to rest. You can see him sitting beside him and staring at him in silence and I love this panel so much because you can see Sangwoo caring.
can’t help but feel like he’s worrying for his sick bunny xD His emotions aren’t strong but he doesn’t want to lose Bum.
I think the question Yoonbum asked (whether he really meant it or not) made Sangwoo happy a bit. Chapter 5 is where he finally feels attached to Yoonbum and shows him affection. They started exchanging stories. Sangwoo was actually interested to know about his story, although he was a bit disappointed, saying that it’s ‘boring’ and that he hates weak people like Yoonbum who self pity. “Stop going on about how lonely you are. I hate that shit.” Why? Because Sangwoo is not the type that stay sad and depressed over their misfortunes. He’s the type that wants to get stronger to beat whatever and whoever is in his way. But in a way he thinks Yoonbum is like him. He started comparing himself with Yoonbum which is a big improvement. He told him how Yoonbum made things easier for him. “Why? How? I looked for a reason. And then I saw you.” He told Bum he was glad they were together and Yoonbum’s love made him feel stronger which I believe means Yoonbum’s love and obedience gives him confidence. And by kissing Bum’s wrist he implied that the love can be mutual.
Although he still doesn’t fully trust him
(which is probably why he also refused the bj) but he was letting himself believe that Bum’s love for him was real. He’s happy to see someone is still in love with him even after everything that happened and after he saw Sangwoo’s true personality. He has someone now that knows his darkest secrets and still wants him for what he really is.
5. ‘Almost there…’ Second Test
Everything seems to be going well after that. Sangwoo was kind and affectionate towards Yoonbum. He took care of him and joked around. Although I’d like to think he was being too nice on purpose and not really himself and that’s because the second test was coming. He wanted Bum to feel he’d lowered his guards. He reminded Bum not to cross the line then left the house and Bum fails the second test.
6. ‘Don’t be pathetic.’ First Lesson
Even though he was hoping Yoonbum won’t come out, he expected it (considering he had the basement ready for him). He does not trust Bum at all and I think he was trying to kill Bum until he saw him calling his name even in his last moments so that changed his mind. It’s as if you want to let go of someone you like but they keep coming back to you so you can’t make the right decision. He wants Yoonbum. He wants someone to love him and he knows he probably won’t ever find anyone like that again. He was disappointed in Yoonbum SO he decided to make him better! Stronger! Like himself. So after punishing him, first he decided to show him how pathetic he is. He found a guy for Bum to kill (’for practice’), meanwhile insulting both of them to show Bum how 'bad’ it is to be weak.
Sangwoo still cares about him and makes sure Yoonbum knows that. The sick little mind games he played, were only because he enjoys seeing Bum relying on him and trusting him blindly. As I said before, it gives him confidence and makes him feel stronger.
This first murder happened. It was supposedly to make Bum stronger, show him how it feels to kill and… the most important part, help Yoonbum understand Sangwoo and be closer to him (spiritually!?) so they can be together.
7. ‘He left me too! I won’t forgive him!’ The Breakdown
Fear of abandonment. I already wrote a long post and talked about Sangwoo’s fear of abandonment here. The panic that happens after he thinks he’s been abandoned and the roller coaster of emotions. Rage, Fear, Worry, Sadness. He feels betrayed. He goes mad … and I have one thing to add to it all. I think that might’ve been how he felt when his mother ‘left him’ AKA died considering the flashbacks.
(I’m not sure if this person is his mother though. She might have been a replacement?) I don’t know if Sangwoo killed her or something else happened but we can be sure that he loves and wants Yoonbum equally.
When he finds Yoonbum… he realizes how valuable he is to him and so he finally decides, “Let’s stay together… forever…”
8. ‘See how disgusting people are’
I’m going to skip a bit to where Sangwoo introduces Yoonbum to his ‘friends’. I think this is all to let Yoonbum get bullied, emotionally hurt, to build up some anger in him and provoke him. To remind him this is how people will treat you if you let them. Sangwoo already knows Yoonbum has been bullied and hurt a lot in his life because in a way he can relate to him. They are the same people. They were both hurt and abused and they have the right to punish these disgusting people. And this is all for Yoonbum and for the both of them. Sangwoo is pulling him up to his level or at least close so that they can be together. Jieun was a gift to Yoonbum and Sangwoo was happy to see Yoonbum accepted that gift.
I tried to keep this as short as possible. I think I understand Sangwoo well and I believe this is also the reason why he kills… but still these are only my thoughts and how I see everything. So they might not be 100% true. Koogi might have more surprises for her readers. But still, I love this character a lot and I can’t wait to see and know more about him and his past.
Also I kind of fast forwarded the last chapter because there are so many posts about it already.