WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Tower of God Chapters 526-529, “A Dog and a Cat”, by SIU, now available on WEBTOON.
One of the best recent developments in tower of god is the attention to secondary characters and their stories. Each story not only provides more detail about the overall meaning of the fantasy world, but also gives readers wonderfully complex characters that truly make the manhwa an epic tale. That’s especially true for the latest mini-arc, “A Dog and a Cat,” which spans four chapters and tells the story of canine clan leader Baylord Wangwang and Lo Po Bia Yasratcha. Closely following the structure and characteristics of a Shakespearean tragedy, this is one of the best character stories to date. tower of god.
To simplify the story, Wangwang and Yasratcha are creations of the Workshop who wanted to experiment with human/beast hybrids, or beasts. They both survived gladiator-style experiments and tournaments and made it to the tower as regulars. During their journey in the Tower, they became partners and friends. Yasratcha’s freedom-loving nature stands in stark contrast to Wangwang’s obedient instincts, but they made a good pair, with Wangwang doing most of the work like a dog would, and Yasratcha doing whatever he wants, just like a cat.
After they both became Rankers, the head of the Lo Po Bia family, Traumerei, took them in as pets. Wangwang searched for a master all his life, so he was happy to be kept in a cage, but Yasratcha couldn’t understand why someone as powerful as Wangwang would ever settle for a life of captivity and slavery. He began plotting to find a way to free Wangwang from Lo Po Bia and return to adventure. Eventually, Wangwang met Yama’s mother, Nennen, fell in love, and had her children. Yasratcha used his family as bait to make it look like Wangwang was betraying Traumerei, who killed Nennen after admitting his escape plans. Wangwang, who was still loyal to Traumerei, heartbroken over the loss of his wife and his master’s trust, demanded to be killed in exchange for his children’s lives.
Wangwang and Yasratcha are both tragic characters. Wangwang is the classic tragic hero, fair, kind and charismatic, but suffers from the fatal flaw of having to follow a master who cares very little about him. While he was extremely loyal, almost mistakenly, he was also, ironically, blessed (or cursed) with the Fangs of the Wild Beast, which allowed him to be independent of all orders, including Traumerei, and to create his own clan. This irony ultimately led to his downfall, as he had grown strong enough to have his own clan, but he desperately wanted his master’s approval. But those are opposite wishes, and in the end, he can’t have it all.
Yasratcha is more complex, but equally tragic; his desire for freedom is innate, but he probably loves Wangwang as much as he loves freedom, if not more. Because he is willing to become Traumerei’s pet just to have the opportunity to take Wangwang away from him one day. Even though he says he cannot understand why Wangwang would submit to the master’s control, he too has submitted to a pet life for Wangwang. But he still lost Wangwang, not because of their master, but because of his own plans, even having to kill him with his own hands.
There is no doubt that Yasratcha is the villain of this story; his selfishness destroyed the Baylord family. But his tragedy is far more lasting and agonizing. There is nothing more painful for him than realizing that his actions took away his love and happiness, and having to live with that guilt for the rest of his life. It’s no wonder he kept manipulating others using their own selfishness and desires, because he has to prove himself right to convince Wangwang to leave. Because people can’t have it all, they always have to make the choice to give up something, and that’s exactly what he did to his lieutenants, Haratcha and Diel.
Wangwang summons a Shakespearean hero like Othello, who is incredibly gifted, but is easily deceived by people he trusts, partly due to his blind devotions. On the other hand, Yasratcha’s obsession is akin to someone like Hamlet, whose determination led to tragedies all around him, regardless of the consequences. They are both victims of fate or instinct, as Yasratcha commented, as their core traits directly caused their tragedies. Wangwang will eventually fail somehow because he follows a brutal and ruthless master. And Yasratcha can never have Wangwang because he can never fulfill Wangwang’s desire to follow a master.
This story also gives Lo Po Bia Traumerei some much-needed background and character complexity, though what we’ve uncovered is great news for our heroes down the line. Because Traumerei is clearly not a good person, he is cruel, selfish, and quite reckless. He sees everyone as his toy and doesn’t seem to care about anyone or anything. But he is easily angered by the thought of being betrayed, which caused him to lose his only truly loyal servant, Wangwang. While these traits befit a householder, it doesn’t bode well for Bam if and when he ends up confronting him.
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