Killing Eve: What is Dalgyal Guishin? Are They Real?

The second season of ‘Killing Eve’ introduces another skilled female assassin into the narrative, momentarily halting Carolyn Martens’ MI6 team’s pursuit after Villanelle to focus on the newly surfaced “Ghost Assassin.” The storyline effectively introduces a fascinating angle into the central duo’s relationship, highlighting Eve’s inability to move on from Villanelle in any capacity while simultaneously showcasing the latter’s desperation to be noticed by Eve. However, the storyline revolving around the Ghost Assassin— later revealed to be Jin— also depicts the true cruelty of Villanelle’s character by providing the context of a non-psychopathic killer in the same line of work as her.

One particular instance, wherein Eve employs Villanelle’s help to interrogate Jin, brings the same into stark focus. While Eve has Jin as MI6’s prisoner, she learns about the assassin’s apparent fear of her colleague, Villanelle. In fact, Jin refers to the woman as a Dalgyal Guishin— an egg ghost. Consequently, fans must be curious to learn more about the term and its relation to Villanelle.

Dalgyal Guishin: The Egg Ghost From Korean Folklore

The comparison between Villanelle and Dalgyal Guishin is only a one-off instance. Yet, the unknown nature of the latter compels fans to wonder about the reality of such egg ghosts and their thematic connection to the Russian woman. Dalgyal Guishin is a unique type of Korean ghost, emerging from years and years of obscure folklore. The physical description of these entities often varies, with it appearing as a faceless being with a humanoid silhouette or an entirely smooth figure devoid of limbs or other bodily details. Likewise, depending on the culture, the common belief remains that these entities may haunt forests or shadowy areas of the city.

Dalgyal Guishin// Sell Your Haunted House (2021)

Furthermore, unlike many other folktales, the Egg Ghost possesses an unnerving disparity in lore— often credited to the belief that if one encounters a Dalgyal Guishin, one does not live to tell the tale. Their unknown, vacant disposition might also be a result of the same. While these creatures share a resemblance to the Japanese folklore of Noppera-bo, harmless spirits with a tendency to scare humans, the Dalgyal Guishin is specifically known to kill or possess their victims. However, it’s the spirit’s origins that particularly bring a fascinating perspective to Jin’s comparison of it to Villanelle.

Unlike most Korean spirits, Dalgyal Guishin has a less concrete explanation for its manifestation. Nevertheless, according to the most widespread legend, these ghosts are manifestations of a spirit that died without any loved ones present. Therefore, the spirit developed to be a faceless being as a result of its stark loneliness. In certain beliefs, a specific light is shed on the spirit’s childless nature, paving the path for the ghost’s close association with female spirits.

The Dalgyal Guishin folklore’s belief that the lack of love can develop a spirit’s potential for cruelty strikes a chord with Villanelle’s personality, whose lonely disposition is an inherent character trait. After being orphaned and abandoned at an early age, Villanelle’s pre-existing psychopathic tendencies were only fuelled by the exploitative and evil influences in her life, molding her into a perfect weapon. As such, Jin’s comparison of Villanelle to the dreadful “faceless egg ghost” seems to hold some relevance. Interestingly enough, Eve— who might have been familiar with such a prevalent Korean folktale— chooses a remote forest as Villanelle’s hunting ground for Jin, her apparent victim.

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