Gu Won In ‘My Demon,’ Explained: Why Did He Become A Demon?


Gu Won, the titular character in My Demon, is representative of the difference between actual and necessary evil. Gu Won says that demons were initially thought of as the protectors of mankind before the definition changed with people’s religious beliefs and linguistic evolution. However, it is interesting to note that Gu Won himself is not clear on the definition. He doesn’t think of himself as a protector, but it is doubtful whether he considers himself evil. At best, before he met Do Hee, Gu Won just enjoyed toying with people’s weaknesses and seeing how far they would go in their desperation. Human desperation comes in all forms and shapes. Some are desperate for the well-being of their loved ones, while others are more concerned about their own selfish interests. Gu Won had to have been oscillating between the best and worst of humanity for the two hundred years he acted as a demon. Yet, in all this time, he had never developed any love for humans. He was completely detached, watching them from his lofty tower, considering himself to be above them while ignoring the loneliness in himself.

At the start of My Demon, Gu Won did not remember anything from his human life. That means that he did not know why he was a demon, yet he loved his job and was a natural at it, without any spite or anger as his driving force. The surprising thing is that Gu Won was not even devoted to God. He was just as disdainful of her as he was of humans. God even remarks that it was his ability to question and be objective that led him to the position of a demon, someone who would not even put God on a pedestal.

While watching My Demon, we have repeatedly questioned what the purpose of a demon is. He is not some mythical being who co-exists with humans, like goblins or gumihos (nine-tailed foxes). A demon’s existence is tied to humans, which is why he spontaneously combusts if he is not making deals. Looking at the nature of his job, maybe a demon is meant to be a second chance for humanity. God had previously said that she doesn’t determine everything in the world because people create multiple anomalies out of their own free will. In such a case, they deserve second chances to correct their mistakes or lapses of luck due to others’ actions. That is where a demon comes in.

Humans are usually desperate when they are in a situation they do not anticipate or that they are completely against. These situations generally hold the power to alter one’s life completely, and that is exactly what humans seek to avoid. If things were in their control, they wouldn’t be desperate, but since they aren’t, they need the demon’s help. Since a demon’s help is dished out by disturbing the natural course of human events, the cosmic balance is restored by the human giving up on his soul in ten years. Gu Won had seen people make all sorts of bargains. Some wanted wealth, some wanted to save the life of someone they loved, and some wanted someone to love them back. While a lot of these were motivated by greed, some of the deals showed the real depth of love and compassion that humans were capable of. Yet, these cases did not have an effect on Gu Won, and he simply declared that love was a useless emotion and a waste of time. This apathy may be connected to his past. Gu Won may not remember what had happened, but the emotions had certainly left their mark on him.

When Gu Won had still been living as Yi Sun (his human name), he had been pretty privileged and sheltered. That is why, when he witnessed Wolsim’s death, it was his first and most brutal introduction to the ugliness of human emotions. People had made a scapegoat out of Wolsim to protect themselves, and the excuse of faith rang hollow since no faith taught anyone to kill. It was just a horrific display of human greed and intolerance, and that closed all doors in Yi Sun’s heart to accepting the good of human beings. Erasing the memory did not erase its effect.

Many years later, when Gu Won fell in love with Do Hee, it was when she was scared but trying to protect him from a bunch of goons. Do Hee’s desperation to be brave out of decency and concern for another person made him fall in love. And just like that, with one gentle emotion, the dam was broken, and the rest followed. Gu Won changed and found that he was unable to take advantage of people who he deemed to be ‘good.’ He just wanted to help them, without terms or conditions. It is also fair to say that Gu Won liked the new person he had become more than when he was just a demon. It was at this time that he remembered his human life and what had initially turned him.

Perhaps Gu Won’s thoughts did not change, but his priorities had long changed to be centered around Do Hee. When Gu Won broke up with Do Hee, he told her to save herself. Essentially, he was telling her not to commit the crime of being with the person who had likely killed her parents. In his life as a human, his faith and actions led to Wolsim’s death. In this life, it was the same. Maybe Gu Won believed that his mere presence was harmful to her, and he left. It took time and a resurrection to understand that Gu Won was the reason Do Hee was alive then and now. Just like his name, he was Do Hee’s salvation and not her curse. In such a case, how could he disappear from her life? He had to come back, which he did, finally getting the happy ending that these two souls had waited for for over two hundred years. It was a match made in heaven, which, in the words of God, got delayed by centuries due to human anomalies and spiritual bureaucracy.

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Divya Malladi
Divya Malladi
Divya spends way more time on Netflix and regrets most of what she watches. Hence she has too many opinions that she tries to put to productive spin through her writings. Her New Year resolution is to know that her opinions are validated.

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