Attn: God Tower episode 72, SIU, from Season 3 is now available on the English webtoon.
The mega-hit Webtoon, God’s Tower, has always been very sound in politics. After all, for a class society led by Jahad and the Ten Families, followed by senior figures, ordinary classifiers and ordinary people and various minority groups, the entire tower represents an allegory. Moreover, the conspiracy encompasses several political groups fighting for or against Jahad’s rule. Each party has a set of objectives and opinions to achieve what it wants to do.
So there is no surprise that some background stories of character are also somewhat political, Cha and Dowon, for example, all about a failed revolutionary group that in ancient times only wanted to challenge Jahad to sacrifice to protect their populations.
But no background of side figure has ever been as deep, thorough or politically as Lo Po Bia Haratcha, the Fifth Army Corp’s Third Division Commander. Revealed in Chapter # 489, it could be signs of a more political turn of the Tower of God. Or it could be only a large background for a character of interest.The plot, however, should be analyzed for its consequences on the other characters and the construction of the series.
As part of a small yet proud Rashang minority group, Haratsha’s background might be summarized as such, and he was not born feline in his looks. The leading female, Lo Po Bia Yasratcha, used Haratcha to maintain the Rashangs in their battle with felines. Once he has become a classifier. But his people greededed and began asking too much of Haratcha—some even tried to substitute it. At first, the Rashangs met all of their demands, but became weak and only could ask for more without working with them. The Rashangs were greatly overloaded throughout the years Haratcha planned to destroy the whole race himself.
The story is not extremely complicated, but a wonderful way of building Haratcha’s character and of showing how his thoughts evolved as he grew older. In the end, we also know he felt always sorry about his genocidal conduct by moving his own people, but he continued to rationalize his actions. He realizes that before his moment of death, his love for his people was their actual doom. It ends as a truly poignant and disastrous narrative of misguided love and extravagant wealth. It’s almost Shakespearean, actually.
The story is still more problematic on a broader level. It is a criticism of laziness and avarice on the surface. The Rashings were gloomy when they had to quit and depended only on the hard-working Haratcha. In Korea, this type of thought is particularly common, where meritocracy is the key concept for the younger generation or its idea that it “earns the worth.” Haratcha sees in this chapter of the Tower of God that “they established their habit of demanding equality…but they made no effort to really make things equal.”
The Rashangs have reason to demand equality, however, because they were not treated as felines — even exterminated as a burden. Haratcha has only given them resources without really assisting them to become autonomous or self-sufficient, thus it is not fair to blame the Rashangs for their own death. Thinking about fatigue and avarice is often used as an explanation for the oppression of minority populations throughout history
That so, we shouldn’t hurry to dismiss this story as propagating the beliefs of oppression. What’s truly genius about this chapter of Tower of God is that Haratcha contrasts the background with the worldview of Yu Hansung. Yu was walking throughout the Tower to resist Jahad’s dictatorship, but never sticks to a nation long enough to assist them fight. He’s called by Haratcha a hypocrite.
Chapter #489 demonstrates that the SIU series is a delicate author, able to show the virtues and shortcomings of various different political convictions. In the middle of the Tower of God, SIU seeks to depict the sorrow of minorities from a variety of angles, both victims and oppressors. Haratcha shows in this scenario the feline perspective of the “weak races” of the leaders and Hansung’s opinion, while Yu is the opponent and is advantaged by the oppressors’ arrogance. And it is absolutely understandable from both perspectives why Jahad’s reign should be murdered.