Behind Squid Game

Hello, everyone! My name is Sierra and I’m 1/3rd of Writing Roses, and it’s very nice to meet you all. I realize this is my first blog post here, and I apologize for not posting before now. Most of the time I spend writing relates to my course work, so I don’t spend as much time writing outside of my assignments as I would like.

A few days ago, I finished watching a show on Netflix called Squid Game, which was recommended to me by many of my friends. For those unfamiliar, the premise of the show is that a large group of people play children’s games for money, but if they lose the game, they’re killed. Almost all the characters in the show have significant debt, making it easier for them to be lured into playing these deathly games. As you can imagine, after introducing the main cast and plot the show becomes very suspenseful. I was on the edge of my seat every episode, hoping for my favorite characters to make it through just one more game.

The show took me through a whirl of emotions, from fear to excitement, anger to disgust, and happiness to heartbreak. In the end, there aren’t many shows that can make me smile and cry the way this one did. It’s why I wanted my first blog post here to be about Squid Game, as it’s a story well worth watching. I could go on and on about the plot points in this show, but for the sake of avoiding spoilers, I want to take a deep dive into the show’s director instead.

According to CNN, Hwang Dong-hyuk took his inspiration from the games he played during his childhood. The games presented throughout the show are all staples of growing up in Korea, with the added twist of looming death of course. While the premise of the show is thrilling, Hwang put forth a ton of effort to get the show on our screens. Hwang lost six of his teeth during the show’s filming, a physical indicator of what stress he was bearing at the time. As shocking as this may be to read, it’s not as surprising when considering what Hwang had to go through before Squid Game reached the Netflix scene. As Yahoo! writes, the script for Squid Game was written in 2009 and took 10 years before it was accepted by any major studio. Like the characters in the show, Hwang also had his share of financial struggles, having needed to sell his laptop for $675 at one point to make ends meet. The cause of this stress and financial struggle likely comes from South Korea’s highly competitive nature in the media, as can be seen in Variety’s article on the topic.

I’m glad to know all this stress did turn into major success for Hwang, though I do hope he’s able to take time for his mental health in the future. I know a lot of people are hoping for a season two of Squid Game, but I also want to point out the importance of Hwang’s mental health and wellbeing. Hwang will likely take a break from the TV series to create a new feature movie, as mentioned by Variety. He’s created many feature films in the past, and it’s a format that he seems comfortable with based on what I’ve read about Hwang’s carrier. That being said, Hwang hasn’t thrown out the idea of Squid Game season two altogether. When talking with Variety about a second season, he’s stated that he’ll need the help of other experienced directors and writers’ room to make the dream work. Writing the original season was a true struggle for him, so it’s reasonable to take time for his mental health and create a team should he choose to continue with the show.

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