By: Peggy Sue Wood | @peggyseditorial
Many things stand out about The Wolf Lord’s Lady. Particularly in how it opens–with our main character’s life completely falling apart. Her family, dead. Her lover, a spy. Her only options are living a life of solitude in a monastery or death. She chooses death, embracing the burdening sins of her family. All while putting on a cruel persona as a means to make her death appear justified for the new Lord, Kaid, to remain unquestioned in his decisions. Had she remained alive, there would have been ongoing political unrest. Kaid knew this, yet still offered her life. She also knew this and made the decision he couldn’t by sacrificing herself, committing the most meaningful deed of her family’s reign.
It sets up a very solemn story, which stands out in our current rebirth-genre where the “villainess” main characters are given a second chance. Most reborn villainesses quickly find themselves in some sort of court-drama on the path to saving themselves while also finding love. Our leading lady, Shirley, however, is seeking neither of these things. Instead, she’s accepted her family’s crimes and feels that she has a duty to pay for them by pursuing a quiet life in the church. This is her seeking redemption for turning a blind eye to her family’s horrendous sins. It’s hard to swallow as we see how beloved she was by servants and others despite her family’s deep injustices against the people around them and those under their domain.
In her new life as Shirley, she is an orphan raised by the church. But through some series of events that happen before she reaches adulthood in their society, she’s been sent to work in the current Lord’s home. This is where she reunites with her former lover, Lord Kaid, formerly known as Helt.
While some may see this as the set-up for a romantical tale of reconnections, I see the story more as a redemption tale for both Lord Kaid and Shirley, who must face their past traumas lives to continue a renewed one, which can make the story difficult to read.
Both Shirley in her past life and Lord Kaid in his current life have done great deeds for the good of the people. They are virtuous people who struggle deeply with the darkness of the decisions they made in their past. They struggle to forgive themselves for their mistakes and choices–Shirley for not trying harder to work with her family to make them better nobles and people. Lord Kaid for not saving Shirley, who was his lover and, in his eyes and the eyes of many who once served her family, a good person undeserving of her fate.
They are haunted by these memories, and thereby awaken them as metaphorical ghosts.
For Shirley, this plays out in her reflections on the past as she is forced to re-live life in the place she once grew up now as a maid instead of a noble lady, all while serving the man she once loved. The very man who betrayed her and helped murder/execute her loved ones. The ghosts she sees are the memories of her family and their choices compared to his, such as when she reflects that they never invested into their people’s businesses, unlike what Kaid has done for them.
Kaid also sees some ghosts of their past as we see short moments from his perspective that always seem to focus on Shirley’s eyes. Even though the story points to moles being the identifying factor for a person who has been reborn, each time we see things even slightly from Kaid’s perspective, the focus is on Shirley’s eyes. Perhaps this is because “eyes are the window to the soul” that the focus is placed here as we get a lot of close-ups in this series to make one feel the truth and weight of that sentiment. In chapter 1, we see close-ups of the wreckages and horrors of Shirley’s past life in her eyes. We also see multiple close examinations of her face to show the range of different emotional expressions she’s experiencing.
In chapter 2, we get another close up of her face and eyes, showing similar shading:
Each time we get a real look at Shirley’s face from Kaid’s perspective, he stares at her intently and seemingly focuses on her eyes and into her soul, which leads his expressions to turn dark–not out of anger but out of guilt and possible despair at her loss in his life.
Once it is confirmed to Kaid that Shirley is the former lady he loved, Kaid tries to make amends by behaving like the servant Helt, but Shirley doesn’t accept that very well–after all, she is now a maid and he is the Lord.
Their relationship can never go back to what it was, ever, and she accepts that. She helps Kaid accept that too. For a moment, the story feels finalized at the end of Chapter 7, when the two find forgiveness for their respective counterparts in this tragic ordeal.
It’s a beautiful scene that I appreciate coming to a close before the dramatic events of other reincarnators entering the story.
I look forward to seeing how this story continues now that our two central characters have at least found each other’s forgiveness for what they view as their own mistakes. Now I hope to see them officially forgive themselves.
What do you all think?
Hey, y’all! This post has taken a long time to come back from drafting purgatory. As some of you may know, I had finished a post on this series a while ago under the same name and scheduled it only for the Tumblr queue to eat it. I then had to re-write the bloody thing, and my laziness got in the way. Sorry. With that, I hope you’ve enjoyed this updated review of the story thus far. I’ll see you all next Saturday with another post! Best, Peggy @peggyseditorial