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  • Writer's pictureRina

Theory: (Over)Analyzing the Opening Scene of the Manhwa

Updated: Jul 18, 2023

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.


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...


Panel Breakdown

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?)

Character Related Questions (Character motivation, Emotion and Relationships)

Okay, now what can we speculate/ know as fact?

The Facts

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.


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.


Go for it. Change my mind...

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!

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Mar 16

Oh la la, I loved it! Thanks for your juicy analysis and theory, Rina!

As for my thoughts...

I doubt this is about the declaration of the Crown Prince. For that, I would expect a more serious ceremony and if this were to be a ball to celebrate that, then they wouldn't refer to Kyle as the second in line to the throne.

The look on Kyle's face tells me that he not only feels confident as he usually is but also victorious; this could be because of Tara being there with him (of course, hehe) but could also be because he might have one-upped House Toulouse. As it says, this is a historical moment, so something must have gone…


Apr 26, 2023


The statement, Second in line for the throne makes me wonder - does that mean Franz is still a candidate, or has he been removed, and Joseph has leap-frogged in front of Kyle or are all three sons still in the running?

Dating this event is tricky because Kyle with the faux baron that will become the real baron (Baron Fred Berg, cousin to the deceased real Baron Charles Berg) had a date for him to take the position Prince Franz is currently suspended from, and it was scheduled for the very near future. Franz would only be permanently removed from this position if he is punished for his involvement in the military secrets scandal. Since Prince Kyle rarely…


Jul 24, 2022

~ novel chap 290-308 spoilers ahead, read at your own discretion~


Ok so basically we all know now that Tara has basically given up on Kyle amiright Ladies? Ok, so here’s my opinion. Either

1) The opening scene in the manwha is not present in the novel. There are already major and minor changes in details here and there in the manwha and the novel so perhaps it may never happen in the novel. Munirang and NU will negotiate and create new possibilities for the opening scene in the manwha (with the exclusion of auror, I’m very inclined to believe this theory).


2) After the events of chapter 308, Kyle will *finally* conduct a proper and thorough…

Dec 21, 2023
Replying to

Ok, I want to know where I can read the spoilers, because I have no idea what happens after chapter 263 and your comment really intrigued me 🤣


May 23, 2022

So basically the prologue just lives in our minds rent-free


May 22, 2022

I loved reading your analysis.

The only comment I have is more focused on the manhwa translation, specifically the "Why isn't she coming down?" sentence. I think it's translators choice that possibly ended up wrong.

Now, I never studied korean but I did study japanese years ago and there are certain similarities - pronouns are often omitted. I checked the raw and from what I can tell the scene would be: Kyle comes strutting out and than stops and people start asking why did HE stop (google translate says "why don't you come down"but it's from people waiting to the one on the stairs). Kyle turns and pulls Tara out and the wondering surprised comments "No way" "really" start.


May 22, 2022
Replying to

That's a really good point! I tried not to second guess the translation too much because that would have been a whole new layer of added complications. But I am resigned to being completely wrong since we still know so little about it!

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