‘The Sound of Magic’: Who Is Ri-eul and Is He Really a Magician? Or Is There Something More?

Netflix’s newest K-drama, The Sound of Magic, enthralls fans in a world of wonder, music, and mystery. Focusing on a young high school student named Yoon Ah-yi (Choi Sung-eun), she is burdened with responsibilities and wants to become an adult. She soon meets Ri-eul (Ji Chang-wook), a magician living in an abandoned amusement park. While Ri-eul enchants with his magic in The Sound of Magic, there is a mystery behind who he is.

[Warning: This article contains spoilers for The Sound of Magic.]

Ri-eul in 'The Sound of Magic' K-drama playing with cards.
Ri-eul in ‘The Sound of Magic’ K-drama | via Netflix

Ri-eul promises to help Ah-yi regain her childlike whimsical nature in ‘The Sound of Magic’

In the May K-drama, Ah-yi lives a hard life after her mother abandoned her and her father also does after building up debt. She is left taking care of her younger sister and trying to make ends meet. Her happy memories are futile, and her dreams are absent. She only wishes to become an adult so she can provide.

After earning some money, it magically floats away and into the hands of Ri-eul. He introduces himself as a mysterious character and a magician. Ah-yi is initially scared and does not believes him. As time goes on, he shows her who he really is and can manifest illusions beyond reality.

Ri-eul makes Ah-yi realize that she needs to hold on to the childlike wonder she once had and dream of being a magician. She becomes his trainee and learns magic tricks. But behind Ri-eul is a secret in The Sound of Magic. Ah-yi has no idea who he really is.

When he becomes a suspect in the disappearance of another student, a mugging, and the police get evidence of him possibly committing murder, his life story is revealed.

‘The Sound of Magic’ reveals Ri-eul might or might not be a magician

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Who is Ri-eul in the K-drama? Audiences and Ah-yi know hardly anything about him except a young pregnant woman who visits him often with food. The Sound of Magic takes a dark turn when police investigate the disappearance of one of Ah-yi’s classmates. Video footage shows a man in a magician’s cape and hat, and they suspect Ri-eul.

He is soon connected to a mugging of an older woman. Ah-yi and audiences start to question his legibility when the man who almost assaulted Ah-yi returns. Early in the K-drama, Ah-yi got a part-time job at a convenience store. Low on money, she asks her boss for an advance and agrees, but Ah-yi realizes he wants something more in return.

Ri-eul came to her rescue and made him disappear before her eyes. The man is alive and tells Ah-yi’s dean that Ri-eul pushed him off the cliff. Ah-yi starts to question if Ri-eu’s magic were all tricks. The police suspect Ri-eul as the culprit and look to arrest him. Ah-yi also learns Ri-eul has been arrested in the past concerning other disappearances and escaped a psychiatric hospital. His real name is Ryu Min-hyuk.

Ri-eul came from a prestigious family that led him into a downward spiral

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Ri-eul’s painful past is revealed in the finale of The Sound of Magic. After his arrest, Ah-yi and Il-deung (Hwang In-youp) meet with the pregnant woman and learn she used to go to school with him. Ri-eul indeed drooped out of high school, but the reasoning is tragic.

She explains Ri-eul, or Min-hyuk was handsome, came from two wealthy teacher parents, and had well-off siblings. He was also at the top of his class. She describes him as “pure as a sheet of white paper.” But it all changed at the beginning of a new semester. Ri-eul became distant, and his grades started falling.

One day, he collapses, and despite being in the infirmary, he continues studying. The pressure put on Ri-eul has him walk off the school’s roof in an attempted suicide. Ri-eul survives and is sent to a psychiatric hospital for treatment.

Ah-yi and Il-deung now know the truth about Ri-eul and why he is determined to live with a whimsical mindset away from reality. But the question remains if he is really a magician? Or simply an illusionist. Audiences never know how he learned magic.

The Sound of Magic is available to stream on Netflix.

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