We are usually familiar with the protagonist — aka hero (or heroine) — of any narrative. Not surprising, as like Kang-chul, the entire story centers around the protagonist. Even though the protagonist may turn out to be the anti-hero type (such as the typical detective in noir films), the way the author creates them will inevitably make us empathise or identify with him/her.
As mentioned last week, the antagonist in a narrative has the unfortunate sad fate to be the opposite. If s/he is lucky, the antagonist may get some love from the author and obtain a background (or “flesh”) on his/her storyline. But in most cases, the antagonist’s narrative is skeletal thin as compared to the rich world which the protagonist is drawn from. Especially in stories which are deemed to be “straightforward” or “mass produced”. Take fairy tales for example, has anyone bothered to ask where the stepmum/ stepsisters in Cinderella or Snow White come from? What are their backgrounds? What made them so hateful? Or what were the reasons for them punishing the protagonist?
Interestingly though, recent years have seen a slew of anti-fairy tales which try to “answer” the above questions. The most popular being Wicked. Now we know the Wicked Witch of the West actually has a Name! Plus her relationship with the White Witch and how she ends up with a load of flying monkeys and a sad ending of being melted by Dorothy.
W — in a way — is trying to fill the gap like Wicked. Masked Murderer (ok, he is a Hoodie Murderer, but I prefer the alliteration) starts off as a nobody, a mindless “robot” who is invented to become the antagonist in order for the development of the protagonist’s storyline. But what Sung-moo fails to realize that an Antagonist is sometimes the opposite side of the same coin as the Protagonist. Their fates are more intertwined than he initially assumed. If Kang-chul dies, so does Masked Murderer, cos there will be no more world for Masked Murderer to operate in. However, if Kang-chul is able to break through the 4th wall to reach into the “real” world, why are we (and Sung-moo) stupidly assuming that Masked Murderer can’t?
And he did. Sung-moo does the second stupid thing by giving Masked Murderer himself. Of all people to create an identity for, Sung-moo has to give his own face and identity to Masked Murderer. In a way though, giving Masked Murderer Sung-moo’s face is pretty apt, since I believe that Sung-moo has unconsciously imbibe Masked Murderer with a little bit of himself during his attempts at erasing Kang-chul. Thus, it is pretty ironic that “Sung-moo” is now there physically to continue his previous failed assassinations.
“W”‘s world is now tilted in Masked Murderer’s favour, since he retains the memories of the crossing and remember, he has some super powers (no thanks to Sung-moo for making Masked Murderer impossible to track), being able to flit in and out at will. It is as though the protagonist, in trying to right the balance in “W“‘s world has given up the control of the narrative to the antagonist.