BTS has stated many times that their Wings concept is based on youth/boys falling into temptation and losing their innocence. This is a good continuation of their overarching concept of youth; their previous era, The Most Beautiful Moment in Life, is centered around the idea of a reckless and carefree youth that leads to growing up and falling into temptation (you can see this in the I Need U and Run videos). So in TMBML( The most beautiful moment in life) we saw the boys at the prime of their free-spirited youth and hints of their downfall. Now, in Wings/Blood Sweat & Tears, we will witness their fall & one interpretation of the different ways adulthood tempts the freshly matured.
Most people have replied based on the concept’s connection to Hermann Hesse’s Demian. I’ve never read Demian so I can’t analyze the video for you from that angle, but I study art so I can provide some artistic analysis from that perspective. Blood Sweat & Tears has a lot of artistic symbols so I will focus on those instead. There are also a lot of mythological/Biblical references I explain and other observations that I make. Beware, this is really, reallllly long and super detailed. Enjoy!
RELATIONSHIP ESTABLISHMENTS & JIN WITH THE PAINTING
This may seem like a really minor detail and super irrelevant (“Ahh!! You’re reading too much into it!!”) but after watching the video several times you will see that this makes a connection later on. The video opens with everyone walking into the museum together, but everyone is paired up: J-Hope with V, Suga with Jimin, Rapmon with Jungkook. This is even exemplified in the Wings concept photoshoots:
There are 7 members in BTS so the odd one out is Jin, who is seen walking away from everyone and towards a painting.
Jin looks at the painting, titled The Fall of the Rebel Angels by Pieter Bruegel. We know that the angels of heaven fell because of direct rebellion against God by siding with Lucifer, who corrupted the angels by sinful temptations.
This is a foreshadowing of the future events to come. Jin is the center focus of the music video and is the key symbol of tempted youth (which is ironic because he’s the oldest in BTS!)
JUNGKOOK & RAP MONSTER: STORY OF ICARUS AND DAEDALUS
The next painting is seen behind Jungkook, who is dangling from a swing. It is The Lament of Icarus by Herbert James Draper. The story of Icarus is marked by its famous representation of a naïve boy whose innocent curiosity is his fatal flaw. He is given a pair of wax-held wings by his father Daedalus (an inventor/scientist) to fly, but he ignores his father’s warning to stay away from the Sun. He ultimately flies too close to the Sun and the wax holding his wings together melts, destroying his wings and leading to Icarus falling into the ocean below and drowning.
Rap Monster is the one who melts the candle from which Jungkook licks the melted wax from. In the myth, although it is Icarus’ own ignorance that leads to his death, it is his father Daedalus who gives him the option of flying in the first place. So Rapmon would represent Daedalus and Jungkook can be interpreted as Icarus. Remember, in the beginning, Rapmon is shown reading something to Jungkook, which would play into the Daedalus/Icarus relationship where the former educates and guides the latter. Rapmon is also the leader and Jungkook the maknae (Youngest member in group), which makes the relationship work.
The way Jungkook is positioned on the swing-set looks like he is falling (both physically and symbolically). The melting candle and him licking the wax can be tied to the myth of Icarus, who falls because of the melted wax on his wings. When he is licking the wax he is actually off the swing, which could symbolize his fall. Jungkook “falls” because he has consumed the melted candle wax, which represents temptation.
bonus: this is from a later scene that doesn’t really have any significance to this analysis except the fact that it shows Jungkook and Rapmon together again
J-HOPE & MICHELANGELO’S PIETA
Next, we see J-Hope in front of Michelangelo’s Pieta, which shows the Virgin Mary holding the dead body of Jesus Christ following his crucifixion and removal from the cross. If you’ve listened to the Wings album you know that J-Hope’s solo song is titled “Mama” and is about his mom (there are also ties here to Demian with correlations to the character of Frau Eva, Demian’s mother in the novel. But like I said before I didn’t read Demian so you’ll have to refer to the previous replies for clarifications there). This is yet another Biblical reference in the music video.
BTS, THE APPLE, AND JIN HEARING SOMETHING
Later on, all of the members are seen gathering at a table in what reminds me of The Last Supper by Leonardo da Vinci (The Last Supper tells the story of Jesus Christ and the distress amongst his Twelve Disciples after it was announced one of them would betray him). Anyways, they’re seen all with a single apple on their plate. The apple is a famous symbol of sin in the biblical story of Adam and Eve where Eve eats the forbidden fruit from the Garden of Eden. And the scenery of the set does look like some sort of garden. In the last of the three photos above, you can see that the boys are all raising their cups to pledge something, but what are they pledging to? Given that the apple is on their plate and they’re ready to eat, it is hinted that they’re all ready to commit to the sins of adulthood together by eating the apple together.
Just as Jin is about to raise his cup/pledge it seems as if he heard something, like a voice calling to him. At this point, we are not really sure what it means but it adds on to the idea of Jin falling to tempta
tion because whatever it is that called to him has captured his attention.
J-HOPE & V: THE ARROW
So after some research, I came across this verse from Psalm 21:12 of the Bible:
“For You will make them turn their back; You will aim with Your bowstrings at their faces.”
I thought this was pretty interesting in relations to the video. I don’t know if BTS/production team went as far as basing this entire scene from this verse, but the connection is pretty clear. J-Hope shoots an arrow at V, which lands at his face and splatters the colored liquid everywhere (“You will aim with Your bowstrings at their faces”)
I will discuss the other part of the verse (“For You will make them turn their back”) in a bit to maintain things in a chronological order.
JIMIN & SUGA: BLINDFOLD AND THE APPLE
Here we see more of the relationship between Jimin and Suga. Again, the apple is used as a symbol of sin and I have some photos from the Wings photoshoot to illustrate this further (bonus: Jimin’s solo track “Lie” is also heavily influenced by the Adam and Eve story).
Suga has a blindfold, seemingly for Jimin. This will be discussed later.
V FALLING & LANDSCAPE WITH THE FALL OF ICARUS
Here is where things start to get really interesting. We have V sitting on the ledge of a balcony (where he was seen in the beginning sitting at and looking up and down) and he looks back at you, cracks a mischievous grin, and jumps willingly. And in front of him is a big painting: Landscape with the Fall of Icarus, also by Bruegel. The painting shows a spectacular scenery of the sea, but when you look closely, you can see that there is a pair of legs struggling in the sea on the bottom righthand corner. That’s supposed to be Icarus after he falls. So we have this reoccurring motif of Icarus. We saw his death earlier and now we are witnessing his fall. Since I already interpreted Jungkook as Icarus, I won’t also analyze V as Icarus. Just keep in mind that V willfully falling, even enjoying it, is a very important factor in the story of BST.
BLINDFOLDED JIMIN WITH JUNGKOOK & FEATHERS.
So now we see Suga blindfolding Jimin and he stumbles around the room. Since the apple is nowhere in sight we can assume that Jimin has eaten it, and after he ate it, he’s “lost his way” (wink reference) and has fallen into temptation. And I also have another photo of Jungkook floating without the swing (the swing = youth; his youth is also gone) now, and he’s got falling feathers all around him, adding to the idea that he represents Icarus.
JIN & THE BALLOON – GIVES INTO THE TEMPTATIONS
Throughout this video Jin has looked pretty conflicted; if you recall the beginning when he’s looking at the painting, he’s got a focused look that’s like “wow this is kind of cool??!” as well as confused. Like he doesn’t really know why he’s drawn to it but he is. And remember when he was at the dinner table with everyone but he gets distracted by something? My interpretation is that Jin is conflicted between wanting to stay blissful to the sweetness of youth, but he keeps getting distracted and enticed by “sinful callings.” This struggle is resolved with this scene of Jin and his balloon. The balloon represents his innocent youth; he’s quite literally holding on to it. He’s not sure if he wants to let go. Then, later on, during the cut with Rap Monster’s narration, we see that Jin has finally let go of the balloon. The balloon is already out of frame when he reaches up towards it, possibly regretting his choice. Remember, everyone else has already given in to the different forms of enticement (Jimin with the apple, V with falling, Jungkook with the wax, etc.) Jin is the last one to fall.
FINALE: JIN & V – V AS THE FALLEN ANGEL WHO SEDUCES JIN, THE KISS
Suga plays the organ and it is seen that all the boys in their respective pairs exit the museum, except Jin has stayed behind and V has noticed. Jin seems to be looking at/for something, and V shows up with yet another playful look and covers his eyes.
When V removes his hands and Jin opens his eyes, a mysterious statue with large, black wings has appeared and looks like it’s ready to take off.
So in the end, V, who’s been kind of elusive in the story, is revealed to have scars where wings are supposed to be. I believe this statue is V. The way the scenes cut to support this theory, because as the cloth covering V is revealed Jin is approaching the statue, and as he kisses the statue the figure under the cloth with the scars on his back is revealed to be V. A kiss often means the sealing of a contract; this means that Jin has officially fallen and “signed a contract” with V the fallen angel and has lost his innocence. The correlation is pretty strong here. Given all of the biblical references and the way V jumps off the ledge earlier supports the idea that V is, indeed, the fallen angel that tempts Jin. And this is where the verse from Psalm 21:12 comes into play: “For You (referring to J-Hope with his bow&arrow) will make them turn their back; You will aim with Your bowstrings at their faces.” V has turned his back quite literally and has also figuratively turned his back on Jin, who did not suspect V to be a tempter.