“Hotel Del Luna” might have concluded its run a week ago, but fans still can’t stop talking about it and its ending.
“Hotel Del Luna” became one of the most popular kdramas of 2019 and one of the highest rated tvN dramas of the year as well. However, its final episode left fans wanting for more, many were left not-so satisfied with the ending and some even called it a sad-ending.
Today, I’d like to discuss all the signs that pointed to the direction of this inevitable ending and why the ending was obvious.
[Note: serious spoilers ahead of the final episode.]
The core idea behind “Hotel Del Luna” was that it was a hotel for the dead, a place where they rest for a while before being guided to the final resting place; they usually get escorted after taking care of their business in a limousine and then cross a long bridge to the afterlife, a simple yet beautiful idea.
Throughout the drama runtime, it became pretty apparent that IU was a shell of what she used to be, a dead person with unfinished business and huge scars she’s held on for dear life, this is why she couldn’t leave, she had unfinished business to take care of.
Goo Chan Sung, with the help of Jang Man Wol, would help ghosts with unfinished business, usually trying their best to prevent them from becoming evil and ruining their chances of a happy ending.
During the second half of the drama, it became clear to Jang Man Wol that Goo Chan Sung was going to be the person who would eventually send her off, it was becoming so difficult on her because she fell in love with him. She didn’t want to start anything because she knew how they’d end.
Despite some differences she had with other ghosts who came to the hotel, she was also a dead person who needed to confront reality and learn about how everything actually happened to then be sent to the afterlife just like everybody else.
With the core idea of the drama in mind and the direction of it, it was pretty clear to me that Hong sisters (the drama writers) wouldn’t want any other ending besides a sad one that ultimately ends with the departure of Jang Man Wol to the afterlife. It wouldn’t have made sense for a ghost like her to stay on earth like that after all. It would defeat the idea of the hotel and the setup the Hong sisters worked so hard on all along.
While fans might believe the drama was a sad ending and some might’ve wanted a happier ending, to me, it was the perfect ending. They met each other and fell in love which made it even more difficult to part ways but it was their destiny and they couldn’t change it. They spent Jang Man Wol last days together enjoying whatever time they had left.
The Hong sisters also agree with me, they recently sat down for an interview where they spoke about the ending. One of the sisters, Hong Mi Ran, actually stated that the script ending came out a month prior because they needed CGI effects for the final episode, so the ending was already set in stone a while before the last episode even aired. This also confirms another theory I had in mind, watching the drama, it was clear to me that it was written a while ago, everything fit perfectly and everything seemed to fall in place, it was obvious the sisters have written the drama and finished it a while ago.
The other sister, Hong Jung Eun, also added,
“The goal of Del Luna is to be a space where ghosts can rest before they are sent off to the afterlife. Since the initial creation of this hotel, the end was always meant to be Jang Man Wol’s departure, in which she is seen off by Goo Chan Sung.”
Of course, since IU and Yeo Jin Goo’s chemistry was so good, viewers wanted them to end up together so badly, but the characters already knew in their hearts that she would eventually leave.
Hong Jung Eun also said,
“Since Jang Man Wol is dead and Goo Chan Sung is alive, it was impossible for them to be together in that lifetime, unless unnecessarily forced.”
I was personally scared of the ending because I wanted it to be that way, it was clear to me that this is what the writers were leading up to as the drama unraveled before our eyes. I was afraid they’d try to force a happy ending to give fans what they want but I am happy to learn that they didn’t feel the need to force it.
Often times, Kdrama writers fall into that trap and divert the course of the drama if they see good response, the goal in mind is to please the viewers who gave their attention to the drama. “SKY Castle” is a drama that comes to mind when I talk about this, despite its dark-humor style and tackling of heavy subjects, the last episode ended on a happy note, unrealistic compared to everything that happened throughout the drama run time. The writer was actually criticized for that.
While making viewers happy is important, viewers also appreciate writers sticking to their work and not steering clear because of comments here and there.
The sisters also explain the last scene of the drama that many thought was an open-ending. [The scene where Goo Chan Sung stares at the painting of the mountains]
“[The scene] shows that though [Chan Sung] may not know how much later it is, or what lifetime they are in, he hopes for all of the ghosts to be reborn so they can meet and love one another all over again.”
There you have it guys, an explanation from the women who wrote the beloved kdrama. To me, it was a beautiful grounded ending, something that I saw coming. It didn’t mean I enjoyed the drama any less; the writers gave us many clues about this throughout the episodes.
“Hotel Del Luna” is one of the best 2019 kdramas in my opinion. I hope you guys enjoyed it despite the ending some didn’t like.
What about you guys? Did you like the ending? Or would you have preferred the happier ending?