a tale of the glass bead is a fictional universe by gfriend that serves as a vehicle for storytelling. the "worldview" is depicted through music videos, performances, songs, choreography and additional content such as teasers, reveal pictures and different media formats like short videos and illustrated books.
the narrative goes from a school series to a dark fairy tale. the main plot revolves around the friendship of a group of girls as they grow up surrounded by a mysterious universe and need to deal with loss, their friendship falling apart and a bittersweet feeling as they struggle to be together. all the content comes together to tell a story, making storytelling a strong signature of the group.
the story of the six girls is covered in all of their music videos, following them since the high school days in "glass bead", "me gustas tu" (original and japanese version) and "rough (running through time)", a trilogy completing a school cycle as freshmen year, school club festival, a vacation episode and graduation year, when they learn the pains of growing up and the desire to turn back time arises.
after the sorrowful graduation day, the story became non-linear, complicated and mysterious things start to happen. the girls meet in an ambiguous timeline in "navillera", which may or may not have ties to the high school timeline. they have a trophy room, which could be reminiscent of school days, and a romance between two of the girls starts.
"fingertip (the awakening)" is a space opera-esque story where the girls project themselves into another astral plane, dubbed as a "consciousness, awakening and lucid dream" journey, the conflict begins. the music video introduces many elements including the glass beads.
tying the universe together, "love whisper (parallel)" and "summer rain (rainbow)" continue the story connecting with the past and the future. showing different aspects of their friendship.
"sunrise (time for us)" is the continuation of "time for the moon night", and "sunny summer" closes the heavenly bodies trilogy as a minosode. the arc uses shakespeare's sonnet 18 and sonnet 43 as a way to introduce the ideas of day, night and dreams permeating the story arc. "memoria" and "fallin' light" from their japanese videography can be part of a loose canon tied with this celestial theme.
the hui series works around esotericism and work in the classic three acts format. the group elevate their female friendship narrative to female empowerment through the adoption of "witch" in an ambitious series where their personal stories and fictional narrative are intertwined.
A TALE OF THE GLASS BEAD
"PREVIOUS STORY" | "BUTTERFLY EFFECT" | COMEBACK SHOW VCR
we were born and raised here. together.
we lived ordinary lives, happy for being together.
the sun rose and set.
the tides ebbed and flowed.
and from a lake in the village
we were gifted small abilities.
each of us appreciated our own power
but couldn’t help being envious if the others.
envy is like a seed planted in our hearts,
growing in its own
without water or care, twisting its vines amongst us.
we were divided,
our backs turned on each other.
it’s strange being alone.
then it occurred to me,
"was the power a blessing or a curse?"
wishing we could turn back time.
we stand at a crossroads.
this is our story.
our story of when we ran, our hands clutched tightly together.
the unbroken road suddenly split into two, and there, darkness descended.
but we didn't hesitate.
we ran towards the blue light.
we knew we'd be together again
when we reached that light.
how far did we run?
where is everyone?
what if we'd taken the other path instead?
will we ever break free from this grim and shadowy forest?
and then, a song, floating through the darkness.
there was an apple.
sweet and succulent, one bite and rivulets of cold nectar would drip past your lips.
this is our story.
the story of our parting at the fork in the road,
now standing alone before a glimmering red apple.
we competed fiercely.
and after persevering finally we arrived at the place we wanted to be
and... in this moment everything feels perfect
the feeling of anxiety comes to mind
a moment's hesitation
we were shaken before too many options...
it wasn't that we were afraid of an uncertain future.
but back then we didn't know where we should go.
maybe we were just catching our breath.
the right choice came at a great cost
the voice of temptation pierced our hearts
and a red apple laid before us
from then on a different world was open to us
any reason to hesitate disappeared
we weren't confused in the face of desire
with honesty with confidence
without worrying what anyone would think
we chose to walk our path
even if that moment were to come again
we would take that bite.
BOOK 1 | BOOK 2 | BOOK 3
scans and translations by odetteswan_
a peaceful and quiet countryside village.
all the young girls of this village are born with a clear glass bead.
when the girls grow, they receive a special present at the island's lake. of the six girls that grew up together since young, one received a gift.
the present was a small and cute magic power.
as time passed, the other girls received their gifts, one by one.
"wow, amazing. magic is exciting!"
the girls loved their own powers, but sometimes their friend's powers looked even cooler. "i'm jealous."
returning home alone at night, as the young girl looked behind her, she suddenly thought: "was this magic truly only a gift?"
if we gained magic, we thought we would be happy, but instead we
someone murmured to the girl who was trapped in sadness.
'find the blue butterfly, your magic will become stronger.'
the girl, in her search for the blue butterfly of legend, traveled through high mountains and dark forests and ended up at an old bookstore.
"i see that you searched for me because of these tragic events."
"i looked for a blue butterfly that could erase my friends' misfortunes."
the bookstore's owner took out a box from his deep drawers and started to tell a story.
a long time ago, they called this village the "blue butterfly village". through the mysterious power of the blue butterflies, the people of this village lived happily.
however, because of the people who used the butterflies for evil,
in the end, the blue butterflies disappeared.
however, they were not gone for good.
the blue butterflies were waiting for the special people who could handle their mystical powers.
"looking at your glass bead,
it seems that you can awaken the power of the blue butterflies.
you could even turn back time and save your friends."
the owner pushed the box with the blue butterflies to the girl.
"however, everything has a price.
every time you use a blue butterfly, your glass bead will turn darker.
if you use the final butterfly, something greater than you can handle could happen."
"if i can save my friends, i can pay any price."
the girl replied without hesitation.
after the girl had left, the owner stood up from his seat at the sound of another knock.
"i see that the next girl has arrived."
the girl turned back time over and over again.
however, misfortune was always one step ahead of the girl.
now, there was one blue butterfly left.
the last chance,
the girl ran with all her might.
"i won't give up."
"no matter what price i pay, i'll protect them."
now, when she had arrived almost at the end,
when she thought there was only one step left.
the girl picked up her friend's glass bead, which had turned black.
that's when she realized.
everyone was running for each other.
even though she reached out and held her friend,
there were no blue butterflies left now.
from somewhere, a voice could be heard.
"you know you have to pay the price?"
"now your souls will be dedicated to us, and you will become witches."
as if blood was draining from their veins, the girls felt their bodies grow cold.
numerous memories whirled painfully in their head and disappeared, one by one.
the girl screamed.
"who put us into these shackles that we couldn't escape from?!"
the girl yelled.
"i will never lose. i will never forgive them, whether they be gods or devils."
"no matter what, i'll find them and return the favor."
THEORY CRAFTING, ANALYSIS, RESOURCERS AND ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
• gfriendverse: crash course and theory crafting by meetgfriend
— a comprehensive article breaking down the main points of each music video and era and how it's connected with the overarching story.
• gfriend's tv tropes official page
— a fun site for analysis of storytelling devices (tropes) used in fiction. it has a subpage for characters and for theory crafting called wild mass guessing.
VIDEO GUIDES (youtube playlist)
• everything in the gfriendverse explained - the story until "apple"
— a 40 minutes video essay about the narrative
• detailed "time for the moon night" explanation and connections to past mvs
— the most popular video theory from the era
— fanmade expanded alphabet
note: the medium article above (first link) has all this information to the latest comeback.
RECAP | ANALYSIS AND THEORIES
the glass cycle
also known as school trilogy, it’s the beginning of the journey. like a school girl series meets slice of life, they create memories with each other until the imminent departure when their desire to change time arises. their friendship is comparable with a glass, pure but strong. however, when they start to running through time… will their friendship prevail? or will they lose their innocence along the way?
chapter i: glass bead (season of glass)
i may look like a clear glass bead, but i won't break that easily
< freshmen year: they are innocent like a clear glass bead >
• glass bead happens at school, the girls are training in a gym. "glass bead" is also the name of the artifact all girls are born with.
chapter ii: me gustas tu or starting from today, we’re us (flower bud)
< sophomore year: a summer vacation episode >
introducing the village and village tree.
chapter iii: me gustas tu (japanese version)
< sophomore year: school festival episode >
the girls are preparing for a school festival and they finally have a training room for themselves.
chapter iv: rough or running through time (snowflake)
we’re like parallel lines / even when we’re trapped in time and get lost, we will eventually meet
< graduation year: breaking the fellowship episode meets time travel >
the intro says "there is a place we need to go".the song is about time travel and regret.eunha holds a love letter saying that this love has been through their school days, then she throws it as a paper airplane from the bridge. read here.there is a time capsule that they open in the end.there are many letters for each other in the story, even a shared diary.sowon is leaving, we don’t know where. when she reads the letter, she runs from the platform to meet the other girls:
"sowon, if you’re going away too, live well! don’t forget our friendship. we miss you so much! contact us often."
yuju dreams of being a ballerina, there are ballet pictures over their dance practice.️ there are paintings as well (umji's?).the music video is inspired by the girl who leapt through time (2016).
the butterfly effect
after their wish to change time in “rough”, “navillera” is the next chapter introduced. a romance is born, but eunha went back to their hometown or is it a different timeline from what they met in high school?
chapter v: navillera (lots of love / laughing out loud)
let’s start fresh, you and me.
< a new timeline? short-haired eunha and butterfly first mention >
navillera stands for a neologism with butterfly (navi) to describe a fluttering action similar to the movement of a butterfly presented in the “the nun’s dance” poem.yerin is in love and confessed to eunha (confirmed). sinb gets closer to eunha throughout the music video and yerin gets light-hearted jealous.eunha is often seen with a butterfly in the overarching story, the butterfly myth is unveiled in the second mini book. the village they born was previously called blue butterfly village.they have a lot of trophies, can be related to the school series motif, whether it’s from sport or dance competitions.yuju is the one with a camera. she was the one who filmed the scenes as well. this is usually a popular trope for stories involving butterfly effect.the lyrics create a “reset” imagery:
back at the starting point / let’s speed things up a little.
before the chorus with its title name, the phrases that precede switch between “fly like a butterfly”, “bloom like the flowers” and “wake up from the dream”.surprisingly, the most popular theory between buddies when the music video was released was that yerin was a ghost, but she said in navillera’s showcase that she thought eunha was a ghost (a/n: yerin likes open endings and to confuse buddies, umji is the one who usually gives the most reliable hints).
analysis: why the dynamics between eunha and the girls seem different? the girl leaving in “rough” was sowon, this leaves little evidence if eunha is returning. we know that she’s acting different and the group dynamics changed and if they were childhood friends, then they knew each other before this episode.
theory time: eunha has short hair in “love whisper” and “crossroads”. “navillera” could be eunha trying to fix one of these timelines. “fingertip” could have happened during “navillera” as well. this way, “navillera” could be a new timeline, one of eunha’s travels or a missing piece in a non chronological story.
"a lucid dream is a type of dream where the dreamer becomes aware that they are dreaming. during a lucid dream, the dreamer may gain some amount of control over the dream characters, narrative, and environment." —wikipedia
they crossed the real world. we sense glitches. “fingertip” introduces the beads, objects protected by a shield, a layer like a magic glass and butterflies (symbols only mentioned or materialized in performances before).
“fingertip” is a space opera-esque story where the girls can astral project themselves. introduced as a “consciousness, awakening and lucid dream” story, it could be a metaphor for their conflict. they are chasing each other, foreshadowing their friendship crumbling, and they only stop when the butterfly bead is opened.
chapter vi: fingertip (the awakening)
i’m drawn by the mysterious sensation
< inception / lucid dream episode >
eunha is trying to find the butterfly, she writes in her diary “where are you?”. the clock spins on and on.sinb is astral projected from eunha. she held a clock.yuju is also the one trapped inside the mirror in the room’s floor.umji stays in the same room with stuffed animals (she holds one in the first mini book).when umji hits sinb, she drops glass beads on the floor (it could be eunha’s beads but they are forgotten in the floor, sinb runs away).eunha crosses a portal searching for sinb. the door leads her to the room that appeared in the box (umji’s room) (note: this box eunha pulls to find sinb resembles the box with butterflies from “crossroads”).the lyrics are about taking the lead in love, but it could be used to understand the in-universe conflict, if heart is exchanged to soul / glass bead, the lyrics match very well with the story from the music video.the conflict can be confusing… sowon, yuju and umji are trying to prevent sinb from escaping. she seems like stealing something in this dimension / dream. we can see that eunha is searching for her, yerin is the one who helps sinb through it. yerin and sinb meet each other when sowon, yuju and umji are chasing sinb and escape. the guns clashing causes a glitch.there is a break scene in the middle of the conflict where eunha opens the bead and releases the butterfly and yuju is the one floating towards the butterfly inside eunha’s room.the most tense part is where sinb holds a gun but seems afraid when eunha finds them. yerin tries to approach eunha, both were afraid that eunha could fall. sinb ends up hitting yerin.yerin can create beads or her power is something related to hydrokinesis or dream weavering.sinb is holding a rose inside a bead, recalling the little prince (1943). there are a butterfly, a rose and a lock in “time for us” limited edition showing that somehow they are important symbols) — flower was also one of the sections (“season”) from their 2018 concert season of gfriend (glass, flower, solo, parallel and awake) and the back of all the photocards put together show a big flower with a moon inside it. the flower could symbolize sinb’s ability as related to fire as well (fire flower = flames).after falling from building, eunha falls into her bed. a single tear (similar with sinb in “sunrise”) appears in her face, hinting that everything was a dream. the girls appear in the end as nothing has happened.the most popular theory among buddies is that “fingertip” is a retelling of the orion myth.
theory time: the room could be the same from “crossroads” since its intro shows a sequence to what happens with her fall, she ends up in her bed, but emulating a time travel (running through time as we see a clock), not a lucid dream.
trivia: something similar with the creation of beads (a spell?) like in the music video are the intro for the mma 2018 performance and yuju’s kbs gayo 2019 solo intro. the famous mma 2016 performance could give hints since yuju is surrounded by butterflies and sinb is the one with clock motifs in the dance solo.
bsides: “please save my earth” can play a role in the story since songs written by mio (“mermaid”, “flower garden” etc), noh joo hwan (“time for the moon night”, “sunrise”, “crossroads” etc) and iggy youngbae (all title tracks until “summer rain”) could have a link with the storyline and the manga story is similar with the planetarium scenery in “fingertip”.
"[…] as the six teenagers and one child start to piece together the chronology and content of their dreams, they began to realize that their “dreams” are not simply dreams, but rather suppressed memories of their past incarnations that ended tragically. and now, as their “game” begins to unravel, the kids must strive to come to terms with what happened in their past lives, as they struggle to prevent their past incarnations’ rivalries, jealousies, and dubious actions from taking over their new ones."—wikipedia
"from a lake in the village we were gifted small abilities, each of us appreciated our own power but couldn’t help being envious of each other […] It’s strange being alone."
“love whisper” has the imagery from previous music videos. the tree, the bridge, the train station… but in a different context. a parallel. the past (as unveiled in the “a tale of the glass bead: previous story”). the butterfly leaves a message.
chapter vii: love whisper (parallel)
i can hear anywhere, if i listen carefully, i know you believe me, i’ll tell you my precious story, listen to me, i won’t ever forget
< reminiscent village days episode >
the cassette tape first appearance.the lyrics constantly ask to not forget about them, please listen to this story.tree: me gustas tu; train: rough; butterfly: fingertip. the bridge is theorized to be a symbol of their youth, a bridge appears in “rough” and “navillera” as well, but non-metaphorically, the bridge from “navillera” and tree from “me gustas tu” show it’s happening in the village.later “love whisper” was revealed as the origins story that can be seen in the a tale of the glass bead: previous story (2020).the train tracks seem important as well (crossroads concept photos from labyrinth era).“holding hands in the flower road” appears again in their music.the intro for the music video shows yerin with a recorder / detector (?). they go out in an adventure to find something, sowon has also an antenna.they find a tape recorder under a tree in a swing and says goodbye to the butterfly that left the message.the album name meaning two bodies travelling the same path but never meeting is a theme from “rough”.
the butterfly’s message tape go directly to the tune from “summer rain”. from parallel to rainbow. the future. what happened after the end of their high school? the letters, the time capsule. gone wrong? they lost each other. it’s the first music video where they don’t meet each other, even as a wishful thinking, even only in the end or in memories. ”summer rain” is the painful reality, a consequence or the aftermath.
chapter viii: summer rain (rainbow)
at a crossroad hiding the moon in the night sky, i’m waiting for you, will there be a miracle?
< the pains of growing up episode >
umji drew a rainbow and as we know, after the rain comes the rainbow (also the bside and album title). ️here, umji’s paper motif is a paper boat.the lyrics give a hint about the next story, they are waiting for a miracle to be together.the girls constantly try to write letters, but it never reaches each other.sowon’s phone booth (yerin uses one in “sunrise”).sinb has the red diary (the same that umji was holding in “rough” and sowon in “sunrise”?). it represents their friendship as it was part of sowon's dilemma in song of the sirens concept photos, tilted version.yuju’s wrote a letter, but then destroys it. yerin drops her letter in the rainy streets.in the beginning eunha drops her umbrella in the rain, it could be part of the sequence near the end, where she drops a package and a letter. she looks like someone or something appeared for her, but it wasn’t what she was expecting, she seems sad and is (left?) alone in the rain.get to know more about schumann’s dichterliebe a poet’s love, the piece sampled in the song.different from the letters that appeared in “rough”, yuju and yerin’s letters aren’t deciphered yet (if you know what’s written, please let us know).
theory time: iris, the greek goddess who is personification of rainbow, could be a bridge between the parallel arc, the sun and moon arc and the japanese music videos (wings and heaven motifs).
her name contains a double meaning, being connected with both the greek word iris “the rainbow” and eiris “messenger.” ¹
note: from now on it’s good to keep in mind that the music videos don’t follow a linearity and can display moments from different timelines (place and time). the biggest hint we have is the constant use of the duality lightness and darkness, day and night.
popular theory during release time: based on some of the images we see in the music video, it seems like the music videos for “sunrise” and “time for the moon night” are connected. to quickly recap, we found out that eunha had died at the end of the latter’s music video and that she could only be seen during the night [same in “sunny summer”]. in sunrise, we see a lot more scenes during the start of the day. prior to the sunrise, the members could see eunha freely but once sunrise occurs, she disappears. this barrier upsets the members and it seems like they all end up dying to be with eunha (i.e. they all reunite during the day at the piano which eunha is playing at) — kpopreviewed
chapter ix: time for the moon night
< "i will meet you in my dream" >
gfriend themselves talking about theories.a door can be seen standing in the field, curiously, only in the first teaser.yerin is sad and reaches a box (belongings?) and listens to a cassette tape with a cassette player (there is a tape recorder in “love whisper”).the cassette tape is named 2006.03 가죽여행 (family trip) (source)a theory about it being a childhood tape (tweet) related with the solar eclipse that happened in that same date.there are some beads with eunha in the fish scene.umji’s in a playground, similar to “summer rain”. paper motif: paper airplanes (eunha threw one in “rough” from the bridge).umji has bruises in her knees. one of umji’s paper airplanes has “i love mommy” written. we also can see an apple tree and other doodles.yuju drops balloons in the sky. she’s also going to a grave, she’s carrying flowers and a pack with a box (eunha’s box from fingertip/crossroads?)the choreography can be analyzed alone, but it’s important to highlight the moon phases / cycles in the intro and outro for “time for the moon night”.the era brought its own runic alphabet. then extended by fans.the illustration teaser from the era is a lantern with the western zodiac constellations (gemini, leo, libra and sagittarius).
day: the girls are entering a place (probably after meeting eunha in the field), it seems like the place they are together during the music video scenes.
night: sinb is searching eunha. eunha is alone in a dark room. this is the place she’s staying as we see in the beginning when she closes the curtains. sinb calls the other girls (?) to meet eunha there, she seems emotionless. (off-screen: umji said the “frozen” frames in the ending are actualy the time freezing.)
trivia: some performances can carry symbolism, especially the intro for kbs song festival 2018 performance, where a kid takes place in eunha’s role. there are others like the western zodiac and an instant rune esque set at gda 2019, after they performed an intro with chants and gears. also summer rain!eunha in the background of mbc festival 2018.
theory: a twitter thread analysis (window of life, youth, despair, occultism and wish granter butterfly).
despite the hardships each member experiences, they always turn back to the memories either through reminiscing and no matter how much they miss it, the bond between each member is strong and resilient. — unitedkpop
chapter x: sunny summer
•️️️️️ reddit post with a theory about the shakespeare’s sonnets.
•️️️️️️ the quotes that appear in the music video are from shakespeare’s sonnet 18 and sonnet 43 talking about day, night and dreams.
•️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️ ️you can reach the conclusion that being separated from each other during the day becomes easier at night when they can dream of [her].
•️️️️️️️️️️️ they are waiting for the night and everything happens indoors.
•️️️️️️ the music video is most a spin-off, relying more on the sonnets to move the lore, but there are little references / easter eggs: eunha’s fish tank rather than a small bottle from “time for the moon night”. yerin gun fingers (“fingertip”). umji’s paper airplane. yuju’s mirror motif.
•️️️️️️️️️️️ read the sonnets in modern english below:
shall i compare you to a summer’s day? you are more lovely and more moderate: harsh winds disturb the delicate buds of may, and summer doesn’t last long enough. sometimes the sun is too hot, and its golden face is often dimmed by clouds. all beautiful things eventually become less beautiful, either by the experiences of life or by the passing of time. but your eternal beauty won’t fade, nor lose any of its quality. and you will never die, as you will live on in my enduring poetry. as long as there are people still alive to read poems this sonnet will live, and you will live in it. —sonnet 18
it’s when I’m most soundly asleep that my eyes best see because all day long they are looking at things that aren’t significant; but when i’m asleep they see you in dreams and glitter brightly, directed to your bright image in the dark. so how would you, whose very shadow brightens the dark, appear in daylight with your even brighter light, when your shadow shines so brightly to unseeing eyes? how would my eyes be blessed by seeing you in the full daylight when they already look at your beautiful image when sleep lies heavy upon them? every day is a dark night until i’m able to see you and the nights are bright days when i see you in my dreams. —sonnet 43
chapter xi: sunrise (time for us)
i had a dream last night, the moment we could be together was just short, we were not far away from each other
— umji, “sunrise”
there is a change in ratio and atmosphere when it changes to the foggy forest scenes towards the end.the foggy forest is heavily inspired by the “arcadian utopia” imagery with the mysterious mist.a popular twitter thread intertwining all the stories until sunrise (outdated now).sowon keep looking at photobooks of the girls.yerin’s in a phone booth in “eunha’s forest” (like sowon in "summer rain"?), there is also a phone at their house.yerin’s ladder motif.it’s eunha’s birthday (spring, may, 30).️️️️ the celebration ends at five-thirty (like her real birthday) in the afternoon, then the lights go out and the girls are sulking without eunha.umji completes the puzzle with the last piece, the puzzle is a music sheet that she plays in the piano called sunrise (the song that inspired this one).eunha is playing the song in the piano. umji also is playing piano in a room full of origami papers.sinb’s single tear in the ending (similar to eunha in “fingertip”), when she’s sleeping.there is a sundial in the music video. can be related to the clockwise / sunwise and widdershins motions about circle casting (read about casting circles and it will be elaborated in the theory section).
headscratchers: is eunha being erased from their memories? time for us (2019) has three versions: daybreak, daytime and midnight. they could meet with her in a liminal time (the witching hour) or a liminal place (crossroads)? they are also in a forest in a tale of the glass bead: butterfly effect.
three realms theory: a way to connect ariadne’s myth, witchcraft and the wheel of the year (elements part of the next story arc “回 (hui)” inspired by esotericism).
aforementioned, the heavenly bodies arc has a magic circle imagery in live performances. there is a moment if the "sunrise" where there is an “against the flow” (widdershins) urgent tone reflected in the scenes (something similar happens in “crossroads”), but it could means just a rewind motion emulating time travel common in the music videos.
[…] the act of circle casting was originally based on the direction of the sun’s apparent movement across the sky: circle casting mimics the sun. (s)
these magic circles could go up or down, spinning (see figures below). the three realms myth (2) (3) works with the spiral castle, which is close to the ariadne myth in nordic mythology. the myth centered around the spiral castle it’s related to the wheel of the year as well.
for purposes of spiritual travel (or “witch flight”), we use the image of the spiral castle (caer sidhe) spinning around to open its gate to the different points of the wheel of the year. (more about caer sidhe)
summing up, in this magic ritual, the place of power has three circles. 1) the first call the three realms 2) the second call all the paths and its respective castles from the spiral castle (the center of the three realms) and the wheel of the year are reflected on it 3) the third circle consists of the gates, all the elements, lightness and darkness (like a pentacle), the airts. this way, they can travel along all the realms and places in between.
there are three ways we can understand it: earthly, celestial and otherworldly so 1) earthly fortress, 2) a celestial caer in the stars (fortress in the night sky) and 3) the otherworld caer arianrhod realm also known as annwn (a place of death and rebirth, where the soul resides between lifetimes). (source)
umji is painting a pink moon: “time for the moon night” was released / happened in a pink moon. in another scene she’s climbing up and trying to reach the moon.sowon and the paper cranes: can symbolize the myth of “one thousand origami paper cranes held together by strings will be granted a wish by the gods” (read here), meaningful since sowon’s name is literally “wish” in korean.yerin and glitter: it was theorized that she could be a mermaid since she has glitter in her knees and hands, at least they have a song by mio with this name, based in the little mermaid (yerin and siren can be anagrams as well).yuju and the constellation “tattoo”: (is it lyra?. read more about the constellation related to orpheu’s myth). she tries to draw the pattern in her notebook. it was drawn by umji while she was sleeping.
without orpheus and his music, the argonauts would not have been able to make it past the sirens, whose song enticed sailors to come to them, which usually resulted in sailors crashing their ships into the islands on which the sirens lived. when the argonauts approached the islands, orpheus drew his lyre and played music that drowned out the sirens’ calls.
eunha’s odd eye: different colored eyes can symbolize a link between two worlds, there are many myths involving this, one of them is that a person with heterochromia iridis “can see both heaven and hell, known as ‘ghost eyes’.” (read here)sinb and her wings: it could be related to icarus, since the new comeback is labyrinth and the song says “we’re gonna fly in the blue sky”. also “fallin’ light (angel’s ladder)”. her fire motif could link her to seraphs (a six-winged angel meaning "the burning / fiery one").
theory: another interpretation shows a parallel where everything that seems like something (symbols), then turns real through the music video. could it be umji’s power? + a twitter thread analysis.
source: according to an ancient mystical tradition, known as orphism, if you drank from the river of memory, (mnemosyne), you would retain all your worldly memories, thus ending the transmigration of your soul. (transmigration of your soul also known as reincarnation)
this chapter can elaborate better their individual motifs and the biblical motifs. angel’s ladder can have a connection with the biblical jacob’s ladder — in his dream angels were ascending and descending, always representing a connection between worlds. the existence on earth; the existence in the celestial / heavenly spheres.
he had a dream; a ladder was set on the ground and its top reached the sky, and angels of god were going up and down on it. and the lord was standing beside him [or ‘upon it’] — book of genesis
chapter fallin' light (angel's ladder):
< our shadows overlapped / our fluttering hearts illuminated / by the light of the moon […] we parted after a chance encounter / but even if i were to pray to god / i can’t see you even if i wanted to / will you hear the wishes of a lost child? ¹>
sinb has wings in “memoria”, here she burns the “angel’s ladder” (rays from heaven) photos to ashes.umji has a paper motif in all music videos, whether it’s paper airplanes or paper boats, here is no different.yerin is trying to climb the angel’s ladder with a rope. she’s in a ladder in “sunrise” too. it can be a connection to ariadne’s thread myth and twisted concept photo from labyrinth.yuju and her mirror motif appears again (“fingertip”, “sunny summer”) and her reflection moves (in “fingertip”, she was trapped in a mirror-world).sowon is surrounded by precious stones, eunha is surrounded by globes, looking like little moons (beads?).
theory: does this mean sinb is cutting her connections / ties to this portal while yerin tries to reach heaven through it? then it would be two different motivations.
wheel of the year
note: it’s good to keep in mind that we don’t know if the story told in the mini books released simultaneously with the series is directly or literally the stories told through the songs and music videos from the era. the series also has its own unique narrative interlaced with the fictional universe.
the first era spoiler was during sbs music festival stage, called “une journée au jardin”. there is a door and when it opens a garden with a mansion appears as well as a moon near a gate. they had a “rough” comeback stage in a maze-like garden before as well.
유리구슬 marchen (spoilers ahead)
note: two trailers and a vcr for a comeback show were released during this series, and the "유리구슬 (glass bead) märchen" mini books came with the physical albums. both with their own sections in the carrd.
gfriend’s magical abilities theory (twitter thread). what we know about their powers so far?yerin seems related to water, sinb related to fire ("fallin' ligh", "apple", the flower in "fingertip" could be flower = red flames), sowon related to shadow, eunha related to time, umji related to paper, and yuju relared to mirrors.sinb is holding the arm of umji’s teddy bear. there is something shattered in yuju’s feet. sowon’s shadow is crying. there are just five girls inside the glass bead.the butterfly is a wish granter and symbolizes death/rebirth. all the myth behind them was unveiled in the marchën book ii.all the girls were traveling through time to save each other. the conflict that led to destruction isn't told in details.all their glass beads turn dark and someone cursed them into becoming witches.
chapter xiii: labyrinth
the song starts the series, here's the translation.
chapter xiv: crossroads
chapter xv: apple
chapter xvi: mago
chapter xvii: wheel of the year
the song closes the series, here's the translation
a tale of the glass bead:
i. previous story
ii. butterfly effect
iii. comeback show recap
book i. (read here: #, # or #)
book 2: (read here #)
book 3: (read here #)
compilation: (read here #)
fanmade expanded alphabet
GFRIEND (여자친구) is a South Korean girl group under Source Music that debuted in January 16, 2015 and consists of Sowon, Yerin, Eunha, Yuju, Sinb and Umji.
"GFRIEND's 'School Trilogy' is the most popular and successful example of girl group's worldview. It leads to more groups to create solid and expandable worldviews." (1). Their continuous storyline goes from a school series to a magical narrative. The main plot revolves around the friendship of a group of girls while they grow up surrounded by a mysterious universe and need to deal with loss, their friendship falling apart and a bittersweet feeling as they struggle to be together. Melodies, lyrics, choreography and music videos all come together to tell a story, making storytelling a strong signature of the group.
The story of the six girls is covered in all of their music videos, following them since the high school days in "Glass Bead", "Me Gustas Tu" (original and Japanese version) and "Running Through Time (Rough)", a trilogy completing a school cycle as freshmen year, school club festival, vacation and graduation year. After the sorrowful graduation day, the story became non-linear, complicated and mysterious things start to happen. The girls meet in an ambiguous timeline in "Navillera", which may or may not have ties to the high school timeline. They have a trophy room, which could be remnant of school days, and a romance between two of the girls starts. "Fingertip: The Awakening" is a space opera-esque story where the girls project themselves into an astral plane, dubbed as a "consciousness, awakening and lucid dream" journey, the conflict begins. The story also introduces a door (whether it is a portal through time or space) and glass beads. Tying the universe together, "Love Whisper: Parallel" and "Summer Rain: Rainbow" continues the story, connecting with the past and the future.
"They were born and raised together in a village where all the girls born with a glass bead. When the girls grow, the lake in their island give them small abilities one by one." (A Tale of the Glass Bead)
"Sunrise: Time for Us" is the continuation of "Time for the Moon Night", even if "Sunny Summer" is like a spin-off, it gives hints about the story with Shakespeare's Sonnet 18 and Sonnet 48 talking about day, night and dreams. "Memoria" and "Fallin' Light" shows the struggles they face to be together and glimpses from their powers.