The meaning of the moon in Encounter

From the start, the writer and drawer make sure that viewers can associate our heroine CSH to the moon. First, let us focus on the first drawing. Here, the princess appears in a dark and gloomy environment. It is not just night, the moon doesn’t seem to shine like it should.

Encounter drawing episode 1 introduction.png
Encounter drawing episode 1

Notice that it is not even full moon and the moon crescent is even hidden by the huge castle. All these points (moon crescent, hidden by the castle and lack of brilliance) underlines that CSH is not herself in the end. Since the castle embodies Y. Group and the pavilion Donghwa Hotel, we can better understand why CSH is still perceived as the ex-daughter in law of the chairman Kim. Now you might wonder why CSH is connected to the moon? First, it is quite simple. In the poetry, woman is often associated with the moon. This is no coincidence because the menstrual cycle lasts around 28 days which corresponds to the lunar cycle: 28 days. Another point is that in Europe, in many languages the moon is a feminine noun: la lune (French), la luna (Spanish, Italian) aso because they all have the same origin: luna from latin which was also a feminine noun because in the Roman mythology, Luna was a goddess. But now let us go back to our heroine. In the first episode, we witness her awakening which happens with the sunset. It was as if the sun would kiss the sea (another element embodying CSH) which would awaken our heroine. However, the beholder shouldn’t forget that the sunset announces the rise of the moon. And now you understand better why CSH acts so differently in Cuba. During this night, the moon shines just like CSH. During this fateful night, CSH reveals herself in front of KJH. She is far away from the castle and the gloomy environment. Striking is that many important events also happen during the night:

  • CSH visits KJH’s playground after work. Here she shows more her true personality as she is curious about this place.
Encounter episode 2 JH CSH playground.png
episode 2
  • In the episode 3, she plays happily, she can forget her worries and everything else. 
Encounter episode 3 JH and CSH the beach.png
  • The scene where KJH is drunk
  • in the episode 5, she cries after leaving KJH because she thinks, she has to cut ties with him. She can not bear the thought therefore she visits the place where there is this huge painting that she likes
Encounter episode 5 painting Whanki.png
episode 5/6
  • What caught my attention is this taking. This is shown, just before KJH meets her in front of the painting. KJH feels happy first, until he looks at these pictures. Look at the photo on the left. The moon is about to be hidden, the moon crescent is barely visible. As you can observe, this picture kind of sends a warning: CSH is about to hide herself again. 
Encounter JH photos moon and hands.png
episode 5
  • In the episode 11: she sits on the swing underlining that she is accepting KJH’s world. She feels comfortable. She is not hiding as she is also wearing a red coat. 
Encounter episode 11 JH and CSH playground.png
episode 11
  • And in the last episode, she meets KJH at his playground again. This scene mirrors the scene from the episode 2, however the role are here reversed. While KJH was the one who caught there, CSH is the one who surprises her loved one. And during this night, it not only snowed but also they kissed in that playground. It was as if the kiss sealed their relationship. The beholder can notice that as time passed on, KJH and CSH got closer each time, when they were at the playground. In the former picture, KJH was not equal to CSH. He is on his knees and barely touches her knee. Now, both are standing but KJH embraces without restraint. 
episode 16

All these mentioned scenes had something in common: CSH was herself, she never contained her true feelings. She couldn’t even hide her thoughts and even her happiness. That’s why CSH is like Cinderella. Cinderella is forced to only appear during the night due to the balls. Here, Cinderella shines. Yet, the writer changed one thing. In Cinderella, the protagonist hides her true identity behind her beautiful gown therefore no one can recognize her. In Encounter, it is different. CSH does the opposite: she reveals her true personality. Actually, the situation is reversed. She is not a princess, but a single woman longing for love and warmth. She becomes a normal woman, she drops her princess status. By associating CSH to the moon, we understand better why CSH was suffering from insomnia. The moon is only visible during the night… so CSH could only “live” during the night, as she was living like a corpse during the day. But even during the night, her actions were limited as she was monitored by the media and her ex-mother in law. Her insomnia was a symptom that CSH couldn’t live freely.

But the moon can not live without the sun as the moon revolves around the sun. In another analysis I had pointed out that the sun symbolizes KJH. Without the sun, the moon can not shine at all and this applies to our heroine. That’s why at the end of this drama, the drawing put these two together. KJH as the sun helps CSH to shine, as she can smile and be happy. 

Encounter episode 16 drawing ending 1.png
drawing from the episode 16

Love in Sadness: the evolution of Yoon Ma Ri’s state of mind


In my former post, I had analyzed this painting. We could see a change in YMR’s state of mind compared to the painting with the cistus called a Self-portrait. First, there is light signifying that there is hope. Secondly, the bouquet is protected from the rain by a red umbrella. The umbrella is a metaphor for SJW, he is her protector. However, since the surrounding is quite dark (it is night) and it is raining, we can see that YMR is still under the influence of the fear. She seems to be still disoriented. I mean her trauma is huge as she has been living in hell for 5 years. It takes time, until YMR can get rid of PDST.  She has not found her own strength yet, as the flowers are relying on the umbrella. The petunias are also hiding under the umbrella which reflects YMR’s actual situation. She is hiding behind SJW and WHK’s face. Besides, the night and rain are linked to the fateful time, when YMR’s path crossed SJW’s. And this is no coincidence. As conclusion, this painting could be perceived as a metaphor for her fateful meeting with SJW that night. He gave her hope, protected her by taking her with his car and told her that he would do the surgery.  

Yet as time passes on, we see other pictures from our painter. These are the paintings SJW discovers, when he visits YMR’s place for the first time. 


Here we witness another evolution in YMR’s state of mind. What caught my attention is the contrast between these pictures and the painting with the umbrella. Little by little, nature is coming back to life. Notice that here the flowers are in the center of the pictures. The traces of darkness have disappeared. The flowers don’t need protection at all. They are not hiding behind an umbrella. No, the flowers show themselves as they are. Yet this observation must be put in perspective which I will explain further below.  

Striking is that we see the number of flowers increasing: we have two lilies, then three plumerias, 4 red flowers etc. Moreover the presence of a civilization is disappearing. Only the one third picture shows a table made of wood with a white cup of tea. The orange, blue and yellow paintings have all something in common: the background looks more artificial. So 4 pictures out of 5 don’t show nature as such. There are all still lives. The only elements associated to nature are the different flowers and that’s it. The green painting with the plumerias contrasts to the others because here we can observe a change in the background: YMR used a prairie of grass, more exactly of clovers as background. Clover is associated to luck which illustrates that YMR feels more positive. That’s why I said that nature is coming back to life. She thinks, she might be able to move on with her life. Yet there is no sky in it. The sky often symbolizes freedom. Here the plumerias are living among clovers… it was as if they were living freely, yet  also hiding among clovers so that people might not see them. So here again, YMR’s picture mirrors her own situation: she is living anonymously, among people so that KIW won’t be able to find her. Concerning the other paintings (artificial background or the table), we could say that the flowers hid themselves from the world as they were not put outdoors.

And here is her latest creation which reveals how much YMR has changed.


This time, the sky occupies a big part of the picture indicating that YMR feels more free. The flowers are also put in a meadow but here they can not hide behind the grass as the red bouquet is higher than the grass. Interesting is that this time, there is a butterfly. Actually, a butterfly needs flowers to live thanks to the pollen. Butterflies are fragile and yet beautiful. I would associate them with kindness, gentleness and usefulness. Don’t forget the expression “the butterfly effect” outlining the butterfly can have a huge impact on the environment and people. Thanks to butterflies (and bees), we can harvest fruits. Without these little insects, we wouldn’t be able to live in a healthy environment. To conclude, the butterfly is here not to protect the flowers, it is quite the opposite. The butterfly is actually relying on the flowers. And this painting is actually made just before YMR decides to help HR by acting as WHK. Therefore I come to the interpretation that this butterfly embodies SJW. And it does fit his personality: his love for flowers, his gentleness, his kindness… he doesn’t show any strength, yet thanks to him, people are coming back to life (YMR and his other patients). In my opinion, this painting mirrors the actual situation: YMR wants to help SJW in reality as she feels gratitude. She knows deep down that he needs her, even if he won’t say it. So here in YMR’s mind, the relationship between SJW and YMR has changed: in her eyes, SJW needs her as he is facing some financial problems. She becomes his support, while SJW is trying to keep acting as her umbrella.

This explains why YMR is attracted to SJW in the end and she is even falling for him. Flowers and the butterfly have a deep connection which the cobra has not.

Love in Sadness: flowers and animals

For me, SJW is not obsessed with his wife because he is not confusing YMR with WHK. Like I had mentioned it before, SJW actually fell for YMR, when he met her for the first time. Back then, he already wanted to help her. The fact that YMR has the same face than SJW’s wife should be seen as a mirror to KIW’s relationship with YMR. The contrast is so telling.

  1. KIW was attracted by YMR because she resembled his mother, while it was not the same between YMR and SJW. He tried to protect her even before the surgery.
  2. Striking is that YMR was the one who asked him to give her the face of someone SJW liked which he did. So far, YMR is not bothered by this idea at all. Actually, she views it as a gift, while she saw her own face as a curse. The words contrast so much: KIW = curse /SJW: a gift. 
  3. The third difference is that YMR only discovered much later that she had his mother’s face, while YMR discovered quite quickly that she had now WHK’s face.
  4. Another distinction is how SJW and KIW acts because of the resemblance. SJW wants YMR to find her freedom and peace so that she can blossom, whereas the violent husband wants her to put her in a cage.

To me, the real obsessed one with WHK is actually YHR. During her confrontation with her “friend”, she showed her true colors. She showed no empathy for her supposed “best friend” WHK… she wished that SJW would have abandoned his wife. Secondly, she despises love “that darn love!”. She knew all along about the affair but she decided to remain silence as she thought that SJW would be hurt. She got enraged, when she saw with her own eyes that SJW knew all along and yet he had been taking care of WHK as a devoted husband. This made HR realize that she had no real chance with SJW. Now, she believes that SJW is falling for YMR because of her face and this is where she is definitely wrong. First, SJW uses YMR to feel better… he felt guilty towards his wife because if he had stopped her back then, she wouldn’t have been involved in that accident. By giving all the support YMR needs he has the impression that he is redeeming himself. I am sure, he blames himself for the affair, rather than blaming WHK. She ran away because he was somehow lacking in his mind. However, I doubt that he knows about the identity of the lover. It is definitely his best friend… because once he knows the whole truth, he will stop blaming himself.

Another interesting metaphor in this drama is the cobra.

WIK as cobra

The cobra embodies WIK perfectly as this underlines his dangerousness. He is deadly. Moreover, this explains why WIK said last week that he preferred moving targets. On the other we have our doctor and YMR symbolized by flowers. And what is YHR’s symbol? First, I had the spider in my mind but I changed my mind. YHR reminds me of a praying/preying mantis. A mantis is an animal which remains immobile for a while until the insect is sure to catch a prey. Usually, a praying mantis uses a flower or plant as concealment.

a praying mantis hidden in a flower

It looks a lot like the plant or flower itself (the color). And now you understand why YHR reminds me of that insect. SJW is associated to flowers in general. Secondly the close cohabitation between the plant and the insect mirrors SJW’s relationship with YHR. However, YHR is not a nice person… she has no problem to throw people under the bus which she revealed in her argument with SJW. Her lack of compassion and her selfishness were visible in that scene. Moreover the insect itself “Praying mantis” (in French “mante religieuse”/ in German “Gottesanbeterin”) is linked to religion, as in many different languages the name of the insect contains an element about God or religion. Therefore I came to the conclusion that for HR, SJW is her religion, her obsession. She worships SJW, she has no problem to stay by his side without becoming his girlfriend or wife but she won’t tolerate anyone else by his side. She is the only one who can be close to SJW that’s why she dislikes this closeness between YMR and SJW. That’s why YHR got scared of WIK. A praying mantis is weak compared to a cobra, the former is even used as food for the cobra. However, YHR as a mantis has an advantage: a preying mantis is patient and can remain immobile for a long time. So in my opinion, YHR will use YMR/WHK as a diversion thinking that WIK will realize YMR’s true identity. She will use YMR as the moving target which will attract the cobra’s attention. She wants to put YMR on the silver plate… but she will fail. First, WIK is definitely obsessed with YMR’s face which represents a huge hurdle. YHR has no idea of the resemblance with WIK’s mother. The other reason why I connect YHR to a praying mantis is that the female insect kills her male companion once the mating is done. YHR is dangerous to SJW and so far, since she has lived for so long by SJW’s side, the latter hasn’t become aware of her true personality. I also believe that she played a part by creating a riff between the real WHK and SJW which the latter has not realized yet too.

But now let’s take a closer look to the flowers which are used in each episode:

episode 1: the cistus “I will die tomorrow”

episode 2: the daisy “You are my hope”

episode 3: Rosemary “You bring me back to life”

episode 4: Lavender “Tell me”

episode 5: Purple Lilac “Fear comes for me”

episode 6: Petunia “If you stay by my side”

Striking is that YMR is associated to different flowers. First she appeared in her painting

YMR holding a purple gladiolus/ sword lily

First, this is the only painting where YMR drew a person. Notice the contrast to her painting called A self-portray

Episode 2: the painting here is called A self-portray. The represented flower is a cistus

Secondly, the colors are bright and she is surrounded by a beautiful countryside. The green is associated to life, whereas the gloomy and dark colors in the second painting illustrates the dying nature. The cistus is living next to a dead wood which can only bring death to the flower. Moreover, the flower is burning indicating that its death is imminent. The two portraits represent YMR and the comparison outlines how YMR has not only lost her face but also her personality and identity. YMR is no longer a sword lily but she has become a cistus. A sword lily is linked to

  • Strength of character
  • Faithfulness, sincerity and integrity
  • Infatuation
  • Never giving up
  • Just like the name says it, the gladiolus shows a certain fighting spirit. This strength disappeared due to the constant abuse.

Then in the episode from this week, our heroine paints a red petunia.

Red petunias under an umbrella

This painting indicates the change in YMR’s mentality. The light outlines that she has hope now. The umbrella is protecting the flower from the rain. In this painting, the umbrella embodies SJW, while the red petunia is our female protagonist. YMR is very well aware that SJW has been protecting her. She is starting gathering some courage and strength. The choice of the color, red, seems to point out the return of life and passion. She paints with more enthusiasm than before.

But YMR is not only associated to flowers due the paintings, her name reminds SJW of Rosemary. Actually, WHK was associated to this plant. She liked the scent of Rosemary and the color (purple) and this explains why WHK and YMR’s fate are intertwined. Their path crossed 5 years ago… WHK made the decision to go to her lover, while YMR gave in and accepted WIK’s proposal. When both made that decision, they didn’t know that they would lose their life and identity. Finally, WIK associates YMR to the purple lilac, when he visits YHR at the gallery.

WIK’s hand at the end of the episode 5: purple lilac

With his bare hands, he takes a petal from the purple lilac and even crushes it, while saying that he will find her. So this scene is meaningful as it shows his determination to find her. Then even if she has changed, he will recognize her. YMR was never linked to the purple lilac before. Finally, this scene reveals what will happen, once he catches YMR. She will get beaten up. To conclude, the plastic surgery will only delay his discovery, he is already able to see YMR in a different form and shape.

To conclude, all the flowers (purple lilac, petunia, sword lily, cistus, daisy, lavender and Rosemary) were embodying our heroine which indicates that YMR is always changing. She could be perceived as nature itself. It was as if she was the queen of all the flowers which explains why SJW is fascinated by her. SJW loves flowers above anything hence he has a small garden in his house.   

Love in sadness: an introduction

episode one: Yoon Ma Ri

This k-drama which started airing on February 23rd is actually a remake of a Japanese drama

  • Title (romaji): Utsukushii Hito
  • Also known as: Le Bel Homme / Beauty

which I haven’t watched. Besides, this drama is also very similar to the American movie Sleeping with the enemy due to the main topic: domestic violence and how the wife tries to escape from the claws of her husband by changing her identity/faking her death. It seems that domestic violence is no longer a tabboo and has become a “trend” in South Korea as many k-dramas are using this topic to criticize the current situation. We have to imagine that 10 years ago, the actress Choi Jin-Sil committed suicide due to the scandal when she had reported that she was a victim of domestic violence. Back then, it was a taboo and her revelation caused her to lose everything. The reason I am writing about is that despite being a remake and the resemblances to the American movie, the writer and the director have been able to make this drama very intriguing and captivating.

First, the main protagonist is a painter hence her paintings add more depth to the story. Secondly, there are references to literature and classical music giving more chances to analyze this drama. In other words, the viewers have to pay attention to details so that they can better understand the characters and their issues.

In the beginning, we are shown this painting

episode 1

YMR is actually working on it, when her husband Kang In Wook enters her painting studio. He remarks that this painting and this flower resembles her a lot, hence she decides to title this picture “a self-portray”. Looking at the painting itself, the beholder observes two things:

  • the darkness of the picture: we see a dead wood, she even used a lot of black and brown
  • First, we have two flowers. Furthermore their white color contrast so much to the surrounding. Since the flowers are blossomed, they indicate that their withering is about to happen, especially due to the environment.

So since it is a self-portray, it actually symbolizes her actual situation: she is in a terrible situation. Her husband is embodied by the dead wood, he can not bring her happiness and life, actually he is the reason why she is perishing. Her world is cold and she feels lonely. There is no light, so there is no hope. If you look now at her painting studio, you’ll notice the disparity between this painting and the others hanging on the walls. All of them represent flowers but the choice of the color is totally different: a lot of green, red…. to conclude, she used bright colors in the past. So after being married for 5 years, this painting reveals her own mental state: she is depressed and desperate. But here is the question: why are there two flowers, if it is a self-portray?

Then in the same episode, shortly after, the director uses these takings

Yoon Ma Ri looking out the window

As you can notice, there are two Yoon Ma Ri, yet it looks like the second version is fading away, she is disappearing. And this is no coincidence. YMR is about to lose herself, her soul by remaining by her husband. She is not even allowed to choose her own clothes. She lives trapped in a cage hence the window with the bare reflects her actual position: she is a prisoner. She is not even allowed to paint outdoors which explains why her latest painting looks so gloomy and depressing. She can no longer paint as she has run out of energy and inspiration. So this explains why the second YMR is disappearing and why there are two flowers. The bigger one represents her own body, she is about to become a living corpse.

Striking is the finale version of her painting “a self-portray” is different.

In this scene, we learn that the meaning of the flower is “I will die tomorrow”.

So the first version wasn’t just depressing because of the dark colors and the environment. Even the choice of the flower was pessimistic. However, in the finale version, the beholder observes a huge difference: the flowers are burning. This indicates that not only her situation has even worsened but also her despair has increased. The moment she called it a self-portray, YMR revealed that she was actually waiting for her own death. In the finale version, the beholder is actually witnessing her death. Sure, she is announcing her death but it also shows that she even prefers burning than living in the dark for too long. This indicates that she is even willing to risk her life in order to escape from this misery. She will do anything, even if this means her death: the fire creates some light, it can even be seen by someone. So she is not giving up.      

As you can see, Love is Sadness is not different from Encounter as it uses a painting to give a message, illustrate a situation and the state of mind of a character.

Then in the same episode, we see the male protagonist, the plastic surgeon Seo Jung Woo, reading a page to his wife YH who is in a coma. The chosen book is Wuthering Height written by Emily Bronte in the 19th century, a tragic and painful love story. The protagonist Heathcliff loved Catherine, but the latter chose to marry someone else, Edgar Linton, as he came from a higher social status. Heathcliff had been raised in Catherine’s family. Due to her rejection, Heathcliff decided to get revenge on her and Edgar Linton. Interesting is that SJW chose to read the extract where Heathcliff is talking about the betrayal and the heartbreak. Catherine ripped off his heart and her own heart… So here again, this reveals that SJW is well aware that his comatose wife hurt him in the past by her betrayal. Later, we discover that she had an affair and lied to him. Due to this novel, we can already imagine what will happen to her: she will die, just like Catherine died before Heathcliff. The latter did torment her for marrying Edgar Linton but here, SJW married her hence he had no reason to torment her and she had no reason to betray him.