For sure things are going to get messy when a manhwa character steps into the real world. My heart goes out to Kang-chul — he finally learns that all his achievements, his failures, even his existence, are merely someone else’s imagination. And add to that insult: that Someone’s imagination is also the root cause of his trauma.
It’s bad enough he had to endure the shame and horror of being accused as a mass murderer in his world. Now he revisits his pain by literally “seeing” (or reading) his family members shot down one by one by a masked man. A masked murderer who doesn’t even have an identity, or a face — since he is only part of “W“‘s plot and serves the simple function of creating tension in the narrative. (but…how did masked man get into the real world?!) I feel so sorry for Kang-chul. It’s a triple whammy for him. He knows he isn’t “real”, he sees his parents + siblings’ massacred again, then at the end of the day, he gets the answer that he will never catch the culprit behind it.
I admit I was on Kang-chul’s side — up to a point. During Kang-chul’s confrontation with Sung-moo, I actually felt afraid for “W“‘s author. It isn’t everyday that a character you create on paper pops up in flesh and blood in front of you. Yeah, it can be “romantic” (see Yeon-joo’s reactions to meeting Kang-chul in the flesh), but it is also horrific. Horrific cos the author has lost control of his creation. Imagine if a portrait you are drawing suddenly turns and winks at you — eeps. Thus, I can comprehend how on one hand, Sung-moo has a certain pride in his creation, and being the creator, he is “privy” to Kang-chul’s innermost thoughts (after all, he “birthed” him). On the other hand, having Kang-chul turn renegade and events running amok from what he planned is scary, to say the least.
However, I am glad that W took only 6eps to make the characters on both sides of the worlds realize that their universes are colliding. (tbh, such a major narrative event can be milked for lots more eps) Now that everyone (or almost everyone — at least the important characters) is on the same page and knows that “W“‘s world is juz as “real”, the two narratives can intertwine and create a different dynamic. Cos for sure, there are loose ends that need tidying up in both sides of the worlds. Kang-chul needs to deal with the pesky Prosecutor turned Politician Han, and Yeon-joo et al needs to figure out how to explain away the strange narrative direction “W” is taking, without revealing the big secret or implicating Sung-moo.
It also seems to me that Yeon-joo had answered her own (and our) burning question: do the characters in a story continue to live on after the “Happily Ever After”? Or are they freeze-framed in that moment? Well, it can be…both. Kang-chul’s suicide definitely froze “W“‘s narrative, but at the same time, his subconscious (plus Yeon-joo’s insistence to bring him back alive) will ensure that the story continues after the last full stop.