Analysis - Hamburg

Hamburg is symbolic to both Marta and Johann in many ways: -For both of them, it is a fresh start. -For Marta, it is truly assimilating with “commoners.” -For Johann, it is leaving behind the countryside and an opportunity to rebuild his life.

Analysis - Hedwig

Hedwig symbolises loyalty to Marta ─ something Johann lacks ─ and her death, Marta’s newfound vulnerability.

Analysis - Bitterness

Johann’s seemingly eternal bitterness is from losing the love of his life: Lerna Schumacher. This is also why he is abrasive towards the Adlers (Leon in particular).

Analysis - Newspaper

The newspaper is a symbol for Karl’s lingering influence on and significance to his younger brother, who secretly harboured a passion for reading.

Analysis - Fitz

Fitz is a symbol for how Marta still yearns for her old life, despite not wanting to.

Analysis - Miscarriages / Fitz

The miscarriages represent Johann and Marta’s failed relationship, while Fitz (again) represents Max and Marta’s true love for one another.

Analysis - Lerna

Lerna represents Marta trying to come to terms with her past life ─ especially her reaction to her daughter’s pregnancy, out of protection.

Analysis - Fritz

The giveaway of Fritz represents how quickly Marta lost her old life after Max’s ‘death.’

Analysis - Nursing

Marta nursing Johann back to health serves as a paradox to his mistreatment of her, not to mention that he chooses to end her life.

Analysis - Max

The reappearance of Max symbolises how the life of nobility never left Marta.

Analysis - Gas and Influenza

Johann’s time spent being treated for gas and influenza represents the terrors he faced in the war.

Analysis - Secret Group / Mission for Revenge

Johann’s secret group is a symbol for his post-war anger at losing friends and brother. His mission for revenge reveals his loss of humanity.



Theme - Loss

Some holes can never be patched over.

Theme - Forgiveness

It is one of the most difficult and painful things that one can do.

Theme - Revenge

It is a poison one cannot ever get enough of.

Theme - Renewal / Revival

Everything rises from ashes, even when we don't want it to.

Theme - Courage

Overcoming your fears is just as much an act of bravery as putting others first.

Theme - The Past

No matter how hard one tries, the elements that weathered skin never disappear.

Theme - Fear

It causes good people to do terrible things.

Theme - Truth

Sometimes, it's better to be living a lie, no matter how damaging it may be.

Theme - Patriotism

More often than not, it is used as an excuse.

Theme - Humanity

It is the strength of one's will that determines how much remains after a trauma.

Theme - Secrets

Hiding things from your significant other creates a toxic relationship.

Theme - Class

Even with drastic changes within society, airs of prejudice (from both directions) cannot be cleared.

Theme - Innocence

The loss of it proves unsettling, but it lives on in unexpected ways.

Theme - Love

It motivates us to put others first and survive.


Character - Marta Schultz / von Wolfensohn / Haffner

Born into nobility, Marta was engaged to her childhood friend Maximilian. They married before he went off to war in 1916, and she learned that she was with child the day she received a telegram saying that he was dead. Devastated, Marta gave up her child to a noble couple unable to have children and ran away to become a nurse and save soldiers. At the hospital in Munich, she met August Bluecher, a mysterious young soldier suffering from a gas attack and later on, influenza. The two decided to get married and move to Hamburg, where she decided to begin searching for her lost child after the birth of her daughter Lerna. One day, she began to suspect her husband (who was actually named Johannes Haffner) of being a murderer. In 1924, Marta saw Max on the street. They had a brief affair, resulting in the birth of their second child, and she urged him never to come again because of Johann's temper. He followed her instructions until 1943, when Johann lost control and murdered both him and Marta, concealing his crimes with the Bombing of Hamburg on 28 July, 1943.