Book (Manhwa): The Remarried Empress by Alphatart, Sumpul

Cover art for The Remarried Empress by Alphatart and Sumpul
Cover art for The Remarried Empress by Alphatart and Sumpul

The Remarried Empress
by Alphatart, Sumpul
published by Webtoon (174 chapters, 3 seasons, ongoing)
2020 – present

While I am tired of reading about royalty, the fact that royalty are always at each others’ throats does make for light entertainment. [Sound] Oh, I meant in fiction. What? [Conversational sounds.] Yes, I suppose that’s also true in real life, but the characters are more compelling in fiction!

Navier grew up as the designated empress-to-be, and was childhood friends with emperor-to-be Sovieshu. They married, appeared to make a great couple, and Navier proved herself to be an effective empress, picking up Sovieshu’s slack. However, as the story opens, Sovieshu is demanding a divorce in favor of his childish mistress. Navier shocks everyone by not only accepting the divorce, but demanding remarriage to the emperor of a neighboring state, who makes an entrance and marries her on the spot!

How did we get here? That’s what the first two seasons set out to explain, while the third season proceeds once we’ve caught up.

This comic features: men who like their women childlike and dim; the stress of losing a not-great partner to a tantrum-throwing younger woman (I was going to joke that ‘we’ve all been there,’ but realized I have experienced this, and am unsure how to make it funny beyond assuring you that it is funny); blackmail; love potions that might work; pity; people who think power means being able to mutilate one’s own domestic staff; an empress who trained for one job her whole life, and isn’t sure how to pivot; divorce lawyers; love letters delivered by unusually clever birds — a reason not to EVER eat birds for dinner; secrets; regret; an attractive man with an improbably muscled torso standing in a fountain in a way that burns his likeness into Navier’s mind…

The art evolves over the course of the story in a way I like: the lines firm up in pleasing ways, so give it some time.

This is a story that teaches us to let go of partners who aren’t that nice to us, and let them reap what they sow; to accept flirty love letters from pretty birds, and flirt right back; to do right by people; not to harm the family members of journalists; to get to know friendly men who look amazing naked after you spy them in abandoned places; and to find a place that will appreciate your leadership.

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