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Since the show's debut fans across social media have discussed all the tiny details and clues others might have missed when they watched the emotional episodes.
Now, Korean-speaking fans are discussing a potential Easter egg in Sae Byeok’s accent. The North Korean defector escaped to South Korea, and now intends to help her mum travel to the South and to help her younger brother, who is in an orphanage.
On Twitter, one fan shared that when Sae Byeok speaks to her younger brother in an early scene, she switches her dialect when her brother becomes distressed.
“In the scene where Sae Byeok talks to her younger brother, she initially talks in the standard Seoul dialect, but immediately switches to the North Korean accent when her brother starts becoming distressed," they said.
Other viewers on Twitter and TikTok picked up on Sae Byeok changing her accent, with many mentioning that she actively tries to hide her North Korean accent when she’s around other South Korean players.
One Twitter user shared: “When everyone watching with me I was like ‘why doesn’t everyone know she’s North Korean?’ We can hear it.”
Another person on TikTok said: “I watched it with my bf who’s Korean and he pointed out Sae Byeok has a North Korean accent, but non-Korean viewers would have no clue!”
“That’s pretty awesome that the change of accent showed she was different in the show,” another Squid Game fan added.
The theory surrounding Sae Byeok’s accent was also addressed by Reddit user Soyfox, who suggests she may have changed her accent to avoid discrimination. “North Koreans mostly adapt the South Korean speech and mannerisms so they don't stick out like a sore thumb," they wrote. "This is particularly true among young people.”
They added: “I don't know how long Sae-byeok has lived in the South, but no doubt she would have quickly adapted along with her street smarts. Thus her flawless standard Korean accent throughout the series doesn't detract at all from the immersion.”
Journalist Grace Kim made a similar point in a Squid Game breakdown article for NextShark. “The accent becomes less pronounced as she speaks with other players in the game, which may portray the character’s attempt at assimilating into South Korean society,” she writes.
“North Korean defectors in most cases are protected as citizens in South Korea due to the countries’ shared origins, but 70 years of separation have made them almost entirely foreign to one another.”
Squid Game is available to watch on Netflix now.
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