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|“||I'm Seong Gi-hun from Ssangmun-dong.||„|
|~ Seong Gi-hun every time he introduces himself.|
|“||Can't you hear me? This isn't right! We shouldn't be killing each other like this!||„|
|~ Gi-hun to the Squid Game staff.|
|“||Listen carefully. I'm not a horse. I'm a person. That's why I want to know... who you people are... and how you can commit such atrocities against people. That's why... I can't forgive you for everything you're doing.||„|
|~ Gi-hun to the Front Man and the Squid Game staff.|
Seong Gi-hun (Korean: 성기훈), also referred to as Player 456, is the main protagonist of the South Korean Netflix drama show Squid Game.
Gi-hun is a divorced and indebted chauffeur, former assembly worker, and an obsessed gambler. He is invited to play a series of children's games, the Squid Game, for a chance at a large cash prize. He accepts the offer to settle his debts without knowing about the horrors of the game.
During the 33rd Squid game, Gi-hun reunites with his childhood best friend Cho Sang-woo. The two friends form a team to survive the games, being joined by other players, including Ali Abdul, Oh Il-nam, Kang Sae-byeok, Ji-yeong and Han Mi-nyeo.
|“||You don't trust people because they are trustworthy. You do it because you have nothing else to rely on.||„|
|~ Seong Gi-hun to Kang Sae-byeok.|
Gi-hun is a very good-hearted, but struggling parent and son. He is also a good, caring and loyal friend, who values trust and companionship. Gi-hun is a sociable, charismatic and talkative person. He is very protective over his family and friends, and his kindness also brings out the good in others around him. Gi-hun is also quick to recognize and praise his friends' qualities. This is shown in the deep admiration he has for his childhood best friend Cho Sang-woo, causing Gi-hun to constantly brag about his friend's intelligence and accomplishments. Gi-hun also becomes impressed with Ali Abdul, who saves his life during the first game. Grateful, Gi-hun compliments Ali's strength and calls him a "savior".
Despite his qualities, Gi-hun often shows to be very naive and at times childish. His recklessness and gamble addiction also left him with a severe debt and got him into trouble with the Loan Sharks. It is probably also the reason why his wife divorced him. The addiction would make him even use his mother's money to bet in horse races, leaving not only him but also his mother with financial problems. Despite this, Gi-hun recognizes his faults and is willing to improve for his family. He joins the Squid Game thinking in use the money to be a better father for his ten-year-old daughter and to save the life of his sickly mother.
He is at his core a kind and sensitive individual that becomes scarred by the deaths in the competition. Gi-hun strongly protests when he sees a player being beaten to death by Jang Deok-su in between games. Gi-hun begs the masked staff to something about this murder and is horrified to realize that players killing each other is something allowed. Gi-hun's state of mind shows signs of crumbling after the Tug-of-War game, which is the first time in which players have to kill their opponents to survive a challenge. After this game, Gi-hun looks at his trembling hands feeling guilty for causing others' death to advance. During this same day, after his team set up a barricade to survive the night and defend themselves against Deok-su's gang, Gi-hun is startled when Sang-woo wakes him up and has flashbacks about the violent strike that happened a decade ago, in which he and his companions also had to set up a barricade and stay awake to defend themselves.
During the games, Gi-hun at times shows that he can be smart and resourceful, as when he is able to figure out a way to get out his shape by licking the honeycomb during the second game. Afterwards, Gi-hun remembers Sang-woo calling him and then hesitantly giving up on telling him something before the Dalgona game, causing him to correctly suspect that his friend had decided not to reveal that he guessed the game, although Gi-hun forgives Sang-woo and pretends not to have realized this. This shows that Gi-hun can be observant, or at least that he knows his childhood best friend very well. After the riot started by Deok-su's gang, Gi-hun is also the one who suggests his team to set up the barricade using the metal parts of the beds of the dormitory. Right after, Gi-hun is even able to convince Deok-su not to start another riot by inciting the gangster's distrust of his own teammates, reminding Deok-su that the members of his gang could betray him to take out the strongest on the team if there is another night fight. In the final game, Gi-hun grabs dirty from the ground before the game begins and then manages to cross to the other side of the squid's waist after distracting Sang-woo by throwing the dirt in his eyes.
Despite his intelligence, Gi-hun is very clumsy and often sees himself being helped and saved by others and/or by his own luck. Gi-hun survives the first and special games with Sang-woo and Ali's help; he survives the Tug-of-War thanks to Il-nam's and Sang-woo's strategies; he ultimately wins the Marbles game because Il-nam decides to give him the last marble and let him win; he survives the Glass Stepping Stones game because he luckily ends up with the last number and only has to follow the other players in front of him; he wins the last game but then wants to stop before claiming victory and could have died if Sang-woo decided to kill him instead of sacrificing himself. Because of this, Gi-hun values the help of others and teamwork as a way of surviving the games. He is also the first one among his group to suggest the formation of a team to play in the games. Despite his group not officially having a leader, Gi-hun and Sang-woo usually act together as co-leaders, making all the decisions and planning for their team.
Gi-hun is shown to be optimistic even against terrible odds, which also often comes from his naive side. He encourages Sang-woo to start fresh and believes his childhood friend will be able to simply regain all the money to repay his debts because of his intelligence. Before the final game, Gi-hun is confident that he and Kang Sae-byeok will win and share the prize. Upon finding out that the girl is mortally wounded, Gi-hun believes she can be saved, despite her profuse blood loss and the masked staff showing no signs of be willing to help players throughout the entire competition. During the Squid Game, Gi-hun is willing to give up on the game to save Sang-woo and simply go home, despite that this will cause them both to return to their miserable lives without the money.
As a kind-hearted person, his determination to win and survive inside the cruel reality of the competition clashes with his morals. At times, despite being remorseful, Gi-hun is willing to cheat to survive. This is seen when he takes advantage of Il-nam's supposed dementia by tricking him to steal his marbles and win the fourth game. Also, despite being against killing, the games cause Gi-hun to be more willing to do it when angered. After arguing with his childhood best friend, he tries to kill Sang-woo in his sleep until he is stopped by Sae-byeok. When his friend kills a dying Sae-byeok, an infuriated Gi-hun tries to attack Sang-woo with a knife but is stopped by a soldier. Upon discovering that Il-nam is the true mastermind behind the games, Gi-hun threats the old man on his deathbed. They make a bet and Gi-hun promises to kill Il-nam if he loses, although Il-nam then dies from his brain tumor, causing Gi-hun to be unable to fulfill his word after winning. On the other hand, despite needing the money to solve his financial problems, Gi-hun is also often willing to give up on the games, especially for the sake of others. He votes in favor of the termination of the Squid Game after the first game and is willing to do the same to save Sae-byeok's and later Sang-woo's life. He is the type of person that is determined to accomplish his own goals but will stop everything if he can help a loved person in peril. Overall, Gi-hun acts more on his emotions than on logic, and thinking more about a present situation than in the future consequences of his actions.
Gi-hun's care and good heart also makes others sympathize and be willing to help him. Sae-byeok, who is really distrustful, solitary and reluctant to work with anyone, bonds with him upon recognizing his kindness. After Gi-hun invited Sae-byeok to join his team as a way of protecting herself against Deok-su's gang, she eventually accepts the offer and befriends him, to the point that she ends up entrusting her little brother to his care. Sang-woo, who is in the games putting his own goal and survival as priority, shows care for Gi-hun and helps him several times. Sang-woo is emotionally moved by Gi-hun's selfless attempt to save him in the final game, so he ultimately decides to sacrifice himself for his friend to win and trusts that Gi-hun will help his mother. Even Il-nam, who is the creator of these cruel games and seems to be desensitized by the death of others, recognizes Gi-hun's kind nature. Gi-hun takes care of Il-nam during the games and even chooses him as his game partner when he realizes no one else will team up with the old man in the fourth game. In turn, Il-nam enjoys Gi-hun's companionship and has fun playing with him. This results in Il-nam letting Gi-hun live by allowing him to win the Marbles game.
Because of his kind nature, Gi-hun also argues strongly against Sang-woo's more harsh methods to survive the games. After Gi-hun witnesses Sang-woo killing Player 017 to complete the Glass Stepping Stones game within time limit, the two friends argue because of their differences in approach to the games. Gi-hun values the others' help to survive and is not so willing to break alliances to advance, while Sang-woo values his own efforts and is willing to get his hands dirty to move forward. Gi-hun learned from experience that winners exist because of the losers while Sang-woo thinks that he can only win by turning others into losers. The two of them have different personal experiences throughout the games, so there is truth in both their points of view, but the disagreement leads them to fall out with each other.
After Sang-woo isolated himself, he eventually ends up killing a dying Sae-byeok, making Gi-hun enraged with him. Despite this, during their mortal confrontation in the Squid Game, Gi-hun ultimately cannot bring himself to kill Sang-woo when he has the chance to do it. This shows that even with his own rage at Sang-woo's betrayal, Gi-hun still sees him as a dear friend. Not wanting to lose Sang-woo to the games, Gi-hun even attempts to stop the final game to save him. This fails, as Sang-woo rejects the offer and sacrifices himself for Gi-hun to win. The death of his childhood best friend is the last straw that deeply traumatizes Gi-hun in the games, causing him to break down in tears while holding Sang-woo's lifeless body. Gi-hun is left alive but utterly heartbroken for not being able to save anyone. Upon finding his mother dead after returning home, Gi-hun is so emotionally drained that he is not even able to cry for her.
After losing so much in the games, Gi-hun is not only deeply traumatized but also feels that his victory is hollow, making him fall into depression. The money is a reminder of everyone who died in the competition, so Gi-hun does not even want to touch it, and he doesn't do it for an entire year before being confronted by Il-nam. Although completely infuriated upon finding out he was fooled by Il-nam and that the games were created for rich people's entertainment, learning the truth also fills Gi-hun with a new purpose. Despite not being able to go back as he was, Gi-hun knows that his friends died in the games for their goals to be accomplished, so he finally decides to fulfill the dying wishes of Sang-woo and Sae-byeok. Gi-hun also shows to be willing to fight against the Squid Games and its organization to prevent anyone else to go through the same that he and his friends did.
- Oh Mal-soon † - Mother
- Kang Eun-ji - Ex-Wife
- Seong Ga-yeong – Daughter
- 6 Childhood Friends
- Dragon Motors Assembly Team One Workers - Former Co-Workers
- Co-Worker †
- His & Sang-woo's Team - Teammates
- Player 017/Do Jung-soo † - Situational Ally
- Pub Owner - Friend
- Cho Sang-woo's Mother - Friend
- Kang Cheol
- Dragon Motors Bosses - Former Employers turned Temporary Situational Enemies
- Korean Police - Temporary Situational Enemies
- Loan Sharks
- Seong Ga-yeong's Stepfather
- Deok-su's Gang - Rival Team
- Player 413 † - Attempted Killer
- Player 113 † - Attempted Killer
- 10 Players of Team 5 † – Situational Enemies, Attempted Killers and Victims
- Squid Games Staff - Kidnappers
Squid Game Result
|Event||Participated ?||Opponent||Time Finished (time left on the clock)||Survived ?||Notes|
Red Light, Green Light
(Time Limit: 5 minutes)
|Yes||-||Around 1 second left||Yes||Hid behind other players following Cho Sang-woo's advice; saved by Ali Abdul near the end|
|Players' Vote||Yes||-||-||-||Voted for the games to stop|
Dalgona (Sugar Honeycombs)
(Time Limit: 10 minutes)
|Yes||-||Around 1 second left||Yes||Picked the umbrella shape; licked his honeycomb to win|
|Special Game||Yes||Any attackers; Jang Deok-su's gang||-||Yes||Protected by Sang-woo and Ali; helped to protect Kang Sae-byeok|
|Yes||Team 5||-||Yes||Played with Team 4; placed at the front of the team|
(Time Limit: 30 minutes)
|Yes||Oh Il-nam||Around 1 second left||Yes||Played a guessing game and tried to trick Il-nam; later Il-nam gave him his last marble|
Glass Stepping Stones
(Time Limit: 16 minutes)
|Yes||-||Around 1 second left||Yes||Picked number 16|
|Yes||Cho Sang-woo||-||Yes||Played offense and beat Sang-woo; refused to claim victory and tried a vote, so Sang-woo committed suicide for Gi-hun to win|
|Final Result: 1st Place in the 33rd Squid Game|
- In the series, it is stated that his age is 47 in 2020, despite Gi-hun saying that his birthday is in October 31, 1974. This is because one year is added after birth in the Korean age, making him 47 in 2020 and 48 in 2021.
- Hwang Dong-hyuk (the director of the series) explained that Sang-woo and Gi-hun were named after two of his friends in real life and are two sides of himself: Similar to Gi-hun, he was raised in Ssangmun-dong by a single mother in a financially troubled environment; similar to Sang-woo, he went to Seoul National University and his entire neighbourhood praised him and had high expectations of him.
- Part of the casting of Gi-hun and Sang-woo in the series was to make the two characters look like fraternal twins because Hwang Dong-hyuk wanted them to emulate this relationship. Dong-hyuk said that this relationship expresses the journey of the two characters, explaining that fraternal twins are from the same mother, but look different just like Gi-hun and Sang-woo. They share memories, play and grow up together, but they eventually go on different paths; Sang-woo was on the track of success and Gi-hun was on the track of failure, however, they later meet in the games because in an extremely competitive society anyone can end up with the same outcome in life.
- Lee Jung-jae (Gi-hun's actor) also describes Gi-hun and Sang-woo's relationship as "not [biologically] related but still close."
- Hwang Dong-hyuk explained that he picked number 456 for Gi-hun in the games, because he wanted the character to be the very last as a way to portray someone who is at the very rock bottom. He also chose this number to have him as the one who starts the vote in the second episode.
- Hwang Dong-hyuk joked about Ali Abdul helping Gi-hun in the first game, because if Ali didn't do anything, Gi-hun would have simply fallen to the ground, which seems to be safer than trying to stand still while Ali holds him.
- Hwang Dong-hyuk explains that Gi-hun's attempt to save Kang Sae-byeok is ultimately what gets her killed. Gi-hun banging on the doors and screaming for help ends up waking Sang-woo up. Seeing Gi-hun's desperation, Sang-woo thinks he might give up on the games, causing Sang-woo to kill Sae-byeok to stop it from happening.
- Similarly, Dong-hyuk explained that Sae-byeok's decision to stop Gi-hun from killing Sang-woo in his sleep contributed to her final fate. He says that Sae-byeok saved Sang-woo's life by stopping Gi-hun, but this ironically resulted in her being betrayed and killed by Sang-woo right after.
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