Wait, what? BTS storyline theories

Discussion in 'Fan Town' started by theprettiestboy, Nov 11, 2018.

  1. theprettiestboy

    theprettiestboy wombatman

    So I recently fell down the bts rabbit hole, and the storyline in particular has me captivated.

    So for anyone that's new to these guys, they have a story that they've been telling for years through music videos and teasers. It seems to me like a really good magical realism story, its full of callbacks to previous songs and literary references, and also it's making me lose my mind a little.

    I'm going to post the videos that are part of it in order, because not all of their mvs are and it can get a little confusing.

    Who wants to speculate with me?

    Edit: it's taking me longer to get through these than I thought (because its xmas season and I work in retail hell), so here's the list, including a couple I apparently missed:

    I need u (19+ version)
    On stage: prologue
    I need u (Japanese version)
    Run (Japanese version)
    Young forever
    WINGS short films 1-7
    Boy meets evil comeback trailer (eta: forgot this one the first time, sorry)
    Blood sweat and tears
    Spring day
    Blood sweat and tears (Japanese version)
    Love yourself: highlight reel
    Fake love
    Who are you/ fake love live melon 2018
    MAMA Japan 2018 performance

    Dramatis personae:

    Jin / Kim Seokjin
    Suga / Min Yoongi
    RM / Kim Namjoon
    J-Hope / Jung Hoseok
    Jimin / Park Jimin
    V / Kim Taehyung
    Jungkook / Jeon Jungkook
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2018
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  2. theprettiestboy

    theprettiestboy wombatman

    So they started it off way back in 2015 with "I need u"
    a quick note on this one, they cover a lot of serious issues here so tw for substance abuse, child abuse, violence, and implications of suicide

    There are subtitles but I'm not really sure how connected the lyrics are to the story. They've been pretty meticulous so I don't think they would pick a song at random, but they may also have gone with the one that would seem the most palatable to more conservative listeners in order to sneak more subversive stuff into the mv. Who knows? Not me that's for sure.

    (Edited for spelling)
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2018
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  3. theprettiestboy

    theprettiestboy wombatman

    A few things I know for sure:

    Jin (the one at the window) has 6 flower petals representing the other 6 members

    Jungkook (the one who was getting beaten up and also may have been hit by a car?) is playing a teenage runaway

    V (the one with the bottle at the end) is trying to protect his sister from their father
    • Like x 1
  4. theprettiestboy

    theprettiestboy wombatman

    Next is on stage: prologue which came out about the same time and picks up right where I need u left off

    Continuing tw on this one for implied (attempted?) suicide

    This one originally didn't come with subtitles, but it has dialogue so here's the subbed version

    And here's the original, slightly higher quality but no subs

    This one's super long, but stick around to the end because there's an after credits scene
    • Like x 1
  5. theprettiestboy

    theprettiestboy wombatman

    Run again picks up where the last one left off, with V going into the water

    More violence warnings in this one, and it's also got an after credits scene

    This one ties up some loose ends from I need u... kinda. The timeline isn't very clear on any of this. These are the three I'd consider the core of the story, that the rest expand on.

    So Jin disappearing from the photo at the end of this one, and the others disappearing from his photo at the end of prologue could mean a few things. My least favorite theory is that the others aren't real and this is all in Jin's head. My personal favorite theory is that he's somehow manipulating the timeline to try and save everybody and it's put him outside of the group in some way.

    I'm a homestuck, so I think the idea of multiple timelines and confusing loops appeal to me on a cellular level.

    So in I need u, we see J-Hope collapsed by the road, and Jimin sliding under the water. Here, J-Hope wakes up in the hospital to find Jimin already there. Instead of stepping in front of a random car and being hit, Jungkook is seen in front of Jin's car smiling at him, and V surfaces at the end of the video as well.

    So that just leaves Suga and RM, who as far as we I know at this point are still on fire? Or Suga is at least, what's going on with RM is somewhat less clear

    Eta: I missed a couple! I actually hadn't seen these at all, I'm putting them up here so that they'll be in the right order. They're both the Japanese versions, so there are no subtitles, but it's the same songs.

    So right off the bat we we see A Lot of flower imagery here. Most especially roses, sunflowers, hyacinth, and of course that white lily is back. It's hard to know what significance any of them has but here are some possible meanings:

    Rose- Usually love. Pink roses in particular are used for first love, and we see a lot of those here.

    Sunflowers- can mean abundance, loyalty, or thankfulness depending on who you ask. I'm leaning toward the loyalty/ constant love interpretation here, because in Greek mythology they're associated with a nymph who destroyed herself for the love of Apollo, which of course brings us to

    Hyacinth- sincerity, jealousy, sorrow, or an apology (or all of the above, bts does love a double meaning) and associated in Greek myth with a young man who was killed in jealousy because he and Apollo loved one another. Add in all the icarus stuff in bst and you've got a hell of a theme here.

    The white lily is trickier because it's practically it's own character at this point. It's almost always used for purity, innocence, and death, and we know that the 6 petals represent the group from Jin's perspective. This time we see several of the other boys with the flower for the first time. If we continue with the assumption that the petals are the rest of the group, does V throwing them aside mean that he's pushing the other boys away? I also think it's significant that when Jungkook lights his on fire, Suga's goes up also.

    I'm pretty sure that the writing in the mirror that RM blocks out is the same as in prologue, when he wrote "we have to survive"

    The bed that Jin's on looks very funeral ish at the end. This could signify that he's dead, or that he's in some kind of near death or liminal state, or that he's otherwise feeling separate and apart. Liminal state is my personal favorite here. At the end, we see one of the flower petals fly up toward the light. Is this his cue the his friends are in trouble and it's time to muck around with the timeline some more? Possible.

    Also, this lovely blog post has some more details that I missed

    Can I just take a moment to acknowledge Suga's mint green hair here? Fabulous.

    Anyway, there is a shit ton of writing in this one, I'm going to try and get as much of it as I can. We've also got the first sighting of RM's phone booth. In a parallel to the origin version of run, we've got someone in the water, only this time it's Jimin and not V. Could it be his flower petal at the end of the last one? It seems like he's trapped, even though the tank is only half full.

    Suga's shirt in the mirror scene matches the portrait in begin

    This beautiful person is again saving me from having to pause over and over by recording the words that show up throughout. Thank <3
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2018
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  6. theprettiestboy

    theprettiestboy wombatman

    Epilogue: young forever is next

    This one is interesting because it's got this odd dreamlike quality. I'm not sue how much it advances the story, but the concept is very cool. I also think it's interesting that V is the last one to make his way out of the maze, and when he does the others are upside down to him for a moment. Whatever is going on with Jin and the timeline, I think that V killing his dad and then jumping off that thing is what set the whole thing in motion.
    • Like x 1
  7. Elaienar

    Elaienar "sorta spooky"

    I've been curious about this but haven't actually looked into it much (knew there was an idea about a story being told through multiple MVs but that's pretty much it) so I'm gonna like ... lurk here and read your theories if that's cool.
    • Like x 1
  8. theprettiestboy

    theprettiestboy wombatman

    Next are the wings short films! This is where things get weird(er). I'm just going to stick these all in one place because they're interconnected.
    Leave the subtitles off for these, they've got subs embedded

    #1 Jungkook, Begin

    I'm told he's mouthing "hyung" here, which could refer to any of the other guys since he's the youngest. My money's on Suga, more on that in a minute. Also interesting that he's the only one shown with wings.

    #2 Jimin, Lie

    Still in this kind of hospital setting, and it looks like the empty bed is J-Hope's. The sound of the apple falling into the water was in the first one, and we have the second sighting of the burning piano

    #3 V, Stigma
    Tw for domestic violence on this one

    Oof, this one hurts to watch. No burning piano this time, but we do have some breaking glass. The police bit seems to be set at the gas station RM was working at. I'm sure the graffiti is relevant but I'm not sure how. The bit with the whale is a reference to their song whalien 52, about a whale that's lonely because it sings at a different frequency than the other whales

    #4 Suga, First Love

    This one blurs the lines a bit between character and performer possibly? Suga wrote the song first love about his love of music, and he was hit by a car when they were trainees. Alternately, the car scene could be a reference to Jungkook getting hit in I need u. This makes a certain amount of sense given that what he plays is the opening of begin and the whistling is from Jungkook's video. Jimin's tub makes an appearance. Also, we finally have the source of the burning piano!

    #5 RM, Reflection

    More and more elements coming together. Looks like he's in the train car they were all hanging out in, but all the party stuff is gone. He's got the bird picture that JK put in an envelope, a glimpse of Jimin's painting, and the breaking glass from V's video. It looks like V is trying to call from the police station but he's not able to get to the phone. I also just noticed the phone booth says war on it.
    RM is the one who wrote "we have to survive" on the mirror in prologue
  9. theprettiestboy

    theprettiestboy wombatman

    Last 2!

    #6 J-Hope, Mama

    Back in the hospital. The sheet that the doctor has makes me ??? a bit. It looks like he's been diagnosed with munchausen syndrome and is being given a placebo, but I wonder if there's more context for this someplace. It looks like this one connects the most to #2, but I think we get a flash of the graffiti from V's video as well

    #7 Jin, Awake

    Ok here we go! This is the one that ties the rest of them together the most. My pet theory is that this is where Jin makes the choice to start mucking around with the timeline. It seems like when he touches the mirror the mood changes, and I think he is putting himself outside the timeline so that he can manipulate it and try to save everyone.

    References to other videos in the order I notice them: the flower, and the flower petals from I need u, the apple from lie, the polaroids making another appearance, Suga's lighter and piano, the chains from the phone booth, the wallpaper has the figure from V's graffiti, the bird picture from 1 and 5, and of course the polaroids at the end. From left to right they represent J-Hope, V, Jimin, Suga, Jungkook, and RM.

    (Btw, me and my autocorrect are officially At War, so apologies for any weirdness)
  10. theprettiestboy

    theprettiestboy wombatman

    Hell yeah! I'm gonna try and get through the rest of them tomorrow, there's... a lot more than I thought somehow.
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  11. theprettiestboy

    theprettiestboy wombatman

    Something I forgot to mention yesterday: the opening bits from all the wings short films are from the book Damien by Hermann Hesse. I haven't read it, but here's the wikipedia page and the spark notes to give you an idea what that's about. Hilariously, apparently a lot of people are getting into this slightly obscure German novel because of this. BTS is giving us homework.

    After re watching the first couple after the wings shorts, it looks like all of Jin's solo scenes in I need u are in the same setting as awake.

    I've also been told that the painting in begin is of Suga, which makes sense since he set himself on fire in I need u, and the painting lights itself on fire in begin. In first love, it's Jungkook's whistle that draws Suga out of the store and keeps him from being hit by the car. What does this connection mean? I'm not sure yet but it sure is interesting.

    It also looks to me like Jungkook's bird painting is what enables RM to break out of the mirrored box and try and go to help V. Again I'm not sure exactly what's going on here, but it looks like Jin and Jungkook are both trying to reach out to the other boys and bring them back together/ save them. I keep coming back to the wings on Jungkook's shadow in begin.

    Eta: I forgot this one too! It belongs here. Subtitles on for this guy.

    Again the intro is from Demian. We get a similar vibe here in some ways to mama, with a feeling of alternate reality and the paint splatters. I do feel like the lyrics on this one are important. We also get the same wings we saw in begin on Jungkook

    I also want to include this live dance performance, because w o w

    I really wish I could watch this whole concert, because this is art
    It also has I think Jungkook? up in the air, and the start of Jimin's blindfold theme. I think it also cements the link between Jimin and J-Hope's characters.
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2018
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  12. theprettiestboy

    theprettiestboy wombatman

    The next videos are the MVs for blood sweat and tears. There's some confusion over whether to include the Japanese version, but I think it offers some interesting (if confusing) clues.

    Here's the original version, which has subtitles:

    The spoken part in the middle is again from Damien

    And the Japanese version, which has no subs and another violence warning:

    The dialogue at the end goes
    RM: Oh, Jin hyung
    Jin: Long time no see

    Gonna go through and actually analyze these tomorrow because I just noticed how late it is
    • Like x 1
  13. theprettiestboy

    theprettiestboy wombatman

    Ok, so blood sweat and tears! I'm just going to go through and note things down as I notice them, so this might get a little disjointed.

    Again we're in a kind of dreamy metaphorical space with this one. The painting Jin is looking at in the beginning is the fall of the rebel angels, by Peter Bruegel, which depicts the fall of Lucifer.

    I find it interesting that it's Suga who covers Jimin's eyes in the beginning, since he was apparently also supposed to cover Jin's eyes in the statue scene but couldn't keep a straight face while shooting it. More art in the background there, this time Herbert James Draper's the lament for icarus.

    We've also got another sighting of the bird painting from reflection and begin, and RM is drinking again.

    J-Hope (which my autocorrect thinks should be j- nope :/ ) gets shown with pieta imagery throughout, which mirrors the painting at the end of mama

    V being shown literally under a veil looks like a reference to him having died. I'm not sure what Jungkook is putting in his mouth here, probably not literally candle wax but tbqh who knows what that's a metaphor for. Sometimes i think I'm looking too deeply into these things and then i notice something they've snuck in and change my mind

    In the next scene we've got an eerie dinner party where they all seem to be eating the apple from lie, and Jin stands to... give a toast? It looks like they're inside a painting here, but if they're referencing a specific one they've lost me.

    V is the one behind the glass that gets splattered with paint, again visually separated from the group.

    The fact that Jungkook has a sucker is mostly interesting because he's in the room with RM, who was shown with that same style of sucker throughout the first videos. It's been theorized that it might represent a cigarette but I'm not sure I completely agree with that. Wtf is the green smoke about? Maybe we'll figure that out later.

    Jimin again has an apple, and Suga is again covering his eyes

    Now the painting that V jumps into is another icarus reference. This one is landscape with the fall of icarus, and the artist is unknown but it's believed to be a copy of an early bruegel painting.

    So the icarus imagery seems to be tied to both V and Jungkook's characters, as V literally falls into one and Jungkook is seen suspended in front of the other. This may tie into the wings on his shadow in begin.

    Was the choice to have Suga playing the organ a practical one (he's a classically trained pianist and actually knows how to play) or is it supposed to tell us something about his character? Given that he was supposed to be the one covering Jin's eyes, I think it's implying that he's the one that leads Jin to make the choice that he does

    Jin kissing the statue seems to be widely interpreted as making a "deal with the devil" to save V. If we interpret the veil as death, this seems to back up this idea as it lifts when he approaches it. V also appears to have had wings that were burned away, yet more icarus imagery.

    The statue seems to be both weeping and bleeding paint, and I think it's interesting that when Jimin gets the blindfold off he's crying the same paint on the other side.

    Now we've got a mirror with the same lily that's been hanging around Jin since I need u. As he approaches the mirror the reflection changes (to a hyacinth? Maybe? ), and we see his face crack like the statues that were destroyed. Possibly saying that he destroyed himself in order to save V?

    One of the things I found while researching Demian was that it's apparently full of homoerotic subtext, and honestly so is this video. There were a couple pieces of art i wasn't able to id, gonna keep trying to get those figured out.

    The Japanese version gets its own post because its a beautiful trippy mess, so this is going to be a long one.
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  14. theprettiestboy

    theprettiestboy wombatman

    Ok I haven't got to the Japanese version of bst yet but I just found out about this and we turn out to be at about the right point in the timeline, so check out this extra ass nonsense:

    Hey @bts? Literally what the fuck?
    I mean, it's incredible, but w h a t?

    Also, updated the first post with the full mv list and a list of everyone's stage and given names, since they use both
    • Informative x 1
  15. Elaienar

    Elaienar "sorta spooky"

    This is pretty much what was going through my head for that entire eight-minute video.
    • Agree x 1
  16. theprettiestboy

    theprettiestboy wombatman

    Right? I had to keep pausing it to stare at the screen with my mouth open because what kind of intricate, lovingly crafted bugfuckery...

    I guess RM is usually the main one behind these things, and he does have an iq of 148 apparently, but DAMN
    • Agree x 1
  17. theprettiestboy

    theprettiestboy wombatman

    I edited a couple earlier posts with mvs I missed so they'd be in the right order! Posts #5 and 11 now have videos and commentary
    • Like x 1
  18. theprettiestboy

    theprettiestboy wombatman

    So! Blood sweat and tears, Japanese version:

    Overall I think this shows a darker side of the relationships between the boys. The general vibe is trippy as hell, which can mean any number of things. If you were to make me choose between magic and drugs as explanations I would go with magic, but really I think there are elements of both.

    Right out of the gate we have more wings imagery on Jungkook, and that painting again. I'm not sure why that fisheye lens makes me think V is drunk, but that's definitely the impression I get.

    Remember when I wasn't sure what Jungkook was putting in his mouth? Definitely RM 's drink. Now the question becomes what that is a metaphor for, because I'm convinced nothing they do has only one meaning. The placement of the "kiss me" line there is extremely suggestive imo. Also, I can't tell if it's Jungkook in the back of Jin's truck. I think so? But it may actually be Jin, their hair is similar and I can't see the face. More back and forth between him and Suga.

    Jimin again with the apple, and J-Hope mirroring the scene in I need u where he throws the pills in the fire

    Now we have Jin beating up V??? What is going on here? When the music pauses for a second he says "I'm sorry". Did V come at Jin with a knife? It was too fast for me to see but he definitely has one in the next scene.

    Echoes of the boy meets evil and lie choreo here.

    Again we have the smoke that was around Jungkook and RM in the last one, but Jungkook is by himself this time.

    Now this is one of the most interesting parts to me. Jimin comes in and sees himself on the couch. The version on the couch turns to look, but Suga covers his eyes and the version at the door gets pulled out into a psychedelic dreamscape. Is Suga trying to protect him from something he shouldn't know? Or keeping him from knowing his true self? Or something else?

    Why are RM's hands all chewed up? Is it related to V's knife?

    At the end, the mirror showing Jin shatters, which brings to mind the mirror in awake, then we have the dialogue. It seems like Jin showing up physically and and the mirror breaking together show him trying to break the spell and find his way back.
    • Like x 1
  19. theprettiestboy

    theprettiestboy wombatman

    Spring day is technically between the two versions of blood sweat and tears, but it's in a bit of a different category because it has a strong and specific political message related to the sewol ferry disaster that killed over 300 people, mostly high school students. Artists that spoke too openly about the disaster, including bts, were seen as criticizing the government and blacklisted.

    Subtitles on for this one again, and warning for implied suicide in the first few seconds

    If you haven't read the ones who walk away from omelas, here's a link to the pdf. It's very short, and well worth the read. Here's a great video with an interpretation related to the disaster and survivors:

    But since this is bts, who once used the same word to mean 6 different things in a single song, there's no reason it can't do double duty in advancing the story as well, so I'm gonna go through it and make notes when I get back from the tdor vigil.
    • Like x 1
  20. theprettiestboy

    theprettiestboy wombatman

    I am back! I'll try not to ramble too badly, this one makes me have feelings, especially today.

    The theme of children being made/ allowed to suffer for the sake of the good of society comes up often in the storyline, so the omelas reference is still applicable. In the story, all the adults in omelas must choose to accept the injustice or walk away, but children and teens who haven't come of age are not complicit. These are characters that are on the cusp of adulthood, facing the choice of whether to support this system.

    This one seems to focus largely on Jungkook as the driving force of the action. Him being the first to leave omelas is significant to me in part because he's the youngest. It's suggestive of the suffering child standing up and saying "enough" and walking away himself from the society he's being sacrificed for.

    The rusted carousel he's frozen in front of says "you never walk alone" and when he turns and sees the words it's like the spell is broken, and he immediately runs to try and gather the rest of the group. When they're all together they run to the train tracks, and the scene here mirrors Jimin's scene in the Japanese version of bst where he sees his other self (past self? future? dream? alternate timeline?) but unlike Jimin Jungkook's eyes are wide open. Train Jungkook is alone here, but when we see him again he's surrounded by everyone else. It's almost as though in seeing himself by the tracks he was able to summon the rest of the group, and only then could they escape the train and choose their own course.

    In this case we see Jungkook with fire again and not Suga, much like in the Japanese version of run. I think this motif links them together through the series.

    We also have Jin physically apart again in the stairs scene, but when Jungkook gathers the group he's shown with them. This seems to work with the Japanese bst which I think shows him trying to come back to the group.
    • Like x 1
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