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.