Theory: (Over)Analyzing the Opening Scene of the Manhwa
Updated: Jan 6
Rina gets out her conspiracy board and string and tries to figure out when the opening scene of the manhwa happens as well as a bunch of other unanswered questions.
**** POSSIBLE SPOILERS UP UNTIL AT LEAST CHAPTER 186 ****
Just try to be courteous in the comments since I won't be policing the spoilers. SPOILERS ARE ALLOWED. I hope this theory conversation will continue to expand as more chapters are released. Have fun!!
*cracks knuckles* Time to start overanalyzing....
For those not in the know, one of the great mysteries of ISTDF is when exactly the opening scene of the manhwa happens. Apparently the author of the novel, Munirang, asked the artist of the manhwa, NU, to put this opening scene in as foreshadowing without any context as to when it actually happens.
Even now, while the series stands at around 270+ korean chapters published the mystery still remains as to what the context of this scene is. So today I am going to do a panel by panel breakdown of the scene to establish what we do know and then, conspiracy hat firmly in place, make some guesses as to how it all goes down.
Skip to the bottom if you want to skip the panel breakdown and get to the tinfoil hat part of the post and please comment your predictions below!
Whenever we get an answer you bet I'll be going to go back to see who got it right!
Without further ado...
The scene opens on the Amure Imperial Palace, vaguely "sometime in the near future." At what appears to be some sort of important ball or party.
Kyle enters with much fanfare (the man knows how to work a room)
Note that he is still referred to as the "second in line to the throne" here - this indicates that he has not yet been confirmed as the Crown Prince.
(Also note - Kyle has visibly lean thighs here. This is not related to my theory at all, it's just an observation, clearly Tara cares about this deeply as well so it's not just me!)
Some panels of the nobles bowing, yada, yada. And then Kyle gestures for Tara to join him and she doesn't follow him into the spotlight at first.
Note that one of the text bubbles from the crowd asks, "Why isn't she coming down?" This implies the ball attendees had some prior indication Tara or some other woman was supposed to accompany the Prince tonight.
This leaves us with the question as to why the crowd is expecting a woman/Tara to accompany the Prince?
And why is this seemingly not going to plan?
We get some of Tara's hesitation and internal monologue...
But Kyle seems awfully eager to have her on his arm.
I wonder why Tara is so reluctant here? Is it just because she hates the spotlight? Or is it because this is an open display of a relationship between them?
And then the full brunt of the being in the public eye strikes Tara.
(This is rough girl, I hate being the centre of attention as well)
But Tara notes this is a, "very historic moment." Which implies this day is significant beyond just a date where they publicize their relationship in High Society.
Does this take place during the Crown Princess Selection process? Or during a ball announcing the next Crown Prince??
This is the main question of this theory post. So let's read further...
Then we get our Cinderella moment! (I see you grinning smugly Kyle). Where everyone fangirls at the glory of this couple, as they should. (Except for the ones who imply judgey things about Tara's weight, those people can buzz off!)
I also find this little bottom text bubble about Tara being the one to be with Kyle possibly indicative.
Does this support the hypothesis of this taking place at the Crown Princess Selection?
Tara gets understandably upset.
Kyle calls Tara the aide to the Prince, indicating that at this time Tara is working for him (which gets complicated in later, unedited chapters). However, it is unclear if she is still a 2nd rank aide or has finally achieved her objective of being the 1st aide right now.
And then Tara indicates this public appearance is some form of contract between them.
Is this a work related contract?
A personal one about their relationship?
Or, something she is doing on behalf of her family?
And then we get our finally narration panel where Tara laments that she ever got mixed up with this guy.
(Seriously, good thing for Kyle that he is handsome, an excellent kisser and that Tara is into the whole battle of wits thing.)
Summary of the Questions and Facts Established
Alright, now that we've gone on that little journey what are the main questions that are eating at our brains? Like in any good investigation we have to first identify what questions need answering to put this whole situation in context. (I am working hard to channel my inner Kyle here.)
Here are the questions that I brought up during the panel breakdown, paraphrased, and categorized. (click the collapsible arrow to reveal the text)
Situational Questions (What, Where and Why?)
Why is the crowd expecting someone (a woman or Tara specifically) to accompany the Prince before Tara reveals herself?
Was this grand entrance planned or known about by the crowd beforehand?
Does this take place during the Crown Princess Selection process? Or during a ball announcing the next Crown Prince?? Neither of those options?
Bonus Question : When does this take place in relation to the resolution of Kyle/Tara's relationship and the end of the series?
Character Related Questions (Character motivation, Emotion and Relationships)
What is Kyle and Tara's relationship?
Are they dating? Engaged? Currently fighting?
Why Tara is so reluctant here?
Is it just because she hates the spotlight? Or is it because this is a declaration of their relationship status?
What's the deal with the contract?
Is it work related? About their personal relationship? Or on behalf of the Elias family?
Okay, now what can we speculate/ know as fact?
This occurs "sometime in the near future" past chapter 270 of the novel and in unknown relation to the end
Kyle is still only the Second Prince and has not been officially announced as the Crown Prince
The Crowd appears to be expecting Kyle and *someone* to make a grand entrance
Tara is hesitant to appear
This event/day is a very historic occasion (whatever that means)
People are astonished to see Tara (perhaps for more than one reason?), and Tara being with Kyle is making some kind of statement
Tara is pissed (at Kyle? or the obnoxious crowd? Maybe both?)
Tara is currently Kyle's aide (unknown rank)
Tara and Kyle have a "contract" that specifies Tara needs to appear with Kyle at this event
Kyle has yet to fulfil his side of the contract
Comment below if I missed anything!
Tinfoil Hat Summary - My Full Theory
So here's where I attempt to answer all of these questions with my theory. Honestly I am on the fence about a lot of these things, but I am going to try and commit to my points here. After all, being wrong and disagreeing with people is half the fun.
My theory is that this scene takes place at a Grand Ball being held by the emperor a month to a few weeks before the predicted execution date of Tara's family, and about 9 months after chapter 186 (which is set in mid-late January, 1816). So to be precise I think this happens in September 1816. I assume this is the time and place where the Crown Prince will be officially declared.
Story-wise I would guess this takes place shortly after Kyle has dealt away with the Crown Princess Selection through some unknown means since he has chosen to openly appear with Tara in public despite her not being an approved Crown Princess Candidate. Appearing with her before the Crown Princess Selection could become a political stumbling block for them both and I don't think Kyle would be willing to risk that.
I also predict this takes place before he and Tara have completely neutralized all of the competitors to the throne and Toulouse/the architects of the Elias family's execution are still at large. Tara and Kyle's public maneuverings must also be a part of some greater strategy to solidify Kyle's power base and emphasize the Elias's alliance with Kyle.
I assume this takes place in the buildup to the grand climax of the plot where everything gets paid off. Right before things get really crazy and the series begins to wrap up.
THE GRAND ENTRANCE
I am guessing that Prince Kyle or a news source hinted or leaked that Kyle would appear at this event with a woman he was courting. This is why the crowd is anticipating this entrance. Knowing this, Kyle made a personal contract with Tara requiring her to attend this banquet in exchange for elevating her status to First Rank Aide. Knowing Kyle, he was going to promote her anyway based on merit but talked her into some sort of friendly competition/bet, which Tara lost that required her to be his official date for the ball.
At this point Tara is highly motivated to get her hands on those top secret documents because her family's doomsday is weeks away. My guess is that Tara is willing to go along with it because she can't tell Kyle how vital this favour is (due to it coming from her transmigration knowledge) and she is already resigned to making their relationship public. Tara is embarrassed and trying to play it off as though she is only doing this for the contract, but is also genuinely in love with Kyle.
I am willing to guess that Tara and Kyle are in a committed private relationship and marriage has been put on the table. Tara has not accepted Kyle's proposal because she isn't yet sure she wants to be Crown Princess/Empress and her family's fate is still undetermined. I am of the opinion that Tara is angry here because she hates being in public and being under scrutiny, not because Kyle is pushing her into a level of commitment she isn't comfortable with. Kyle wants to flaunt their relationship but Tara isn't keen on the attention this will generate. She is also probably a bit irritated at him because she lost a bet and is trying to nudge her towards agreeing to his proposal, hehe.
So that ended up being an entire essay... Now that you've seen my absurdly detailed breakdown what do you think of my theory? Do you think I'm onto something or wildly off-base?
Comment your disagreements/own theories below! I'd love to see how your thoughts differ!
Also if you enjoyed this what do you want us to discuss/analyze next or see in the community section?
Do you want an interactive timeline of Kyle and Tara's thigh related interactions? Plot predictions? Memes? Let us know!