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[New in Korean] Witches, ecofeminism, climate crisis: Tale of resilience and nature’s power

Oct. 15, 2023 - 09:01 By Hwang Dong-hee

"And the Witch Went into the Forest" by Sanho (Goble/Dulnyouk)

"And the Witch Went into the Forest"

By Sanho


In Sanho’s latest graphic novel, readers are transported into a world where witches grapple with the looming threats of an environmental crisis and climate change.

Once known as shamans or mystics, these witches wield powers that resonate with nature and wild animals. They can make plants grow on barren lands or even sleep underwater.

But with a loss of natural habitats and dying species, the witches are also suffering, their bodies gradually withering away like diseased leaves. They now live within a government-monitored sanctuary in a small village.

At the center of this bewitching tale is the resilient protagonist, San (meaning “mountain” in Korean), a young witch who lost her mother in a forest fire two decades ago. She has been living with Cho-won (meaning “meadow”), a fellow witch who saved her from the fire.

One day, Cho-won disappears, and the development plan for the witches’ sanctuary comes to an abrupt, suspicious halt.

Five years later, Song-joo, a journalist, arrives to investigate the sanctuary and San decides to join forces with her, embarking on a quest to find Cho-won.

The narrative is rooted in ecofeminism, which highlights the similarities between the exploitation of nature and violence against women.

The characters’ names, such as San and Cho-won, that are inspired by nature, as well as the witches and Mother Nature's interdependency on each other, underscore the story’s central themes on environment and sustainability.

Through the witches’ enduring bond with nature and their solidarity with one another, the story suggests solutions to the climate crisis.

New in Korean