MANHWA | Like Wind On A Dry Branch — A slow, but beautiful romance that’s also about growth and healing

MANHWA | Like Wind On A Dry Branch — A slow, but beautiful romance that’s also about growth and healing

Hihi BAYOG Fam~ It’s Minty, aka BAYOG’s manhwa reading queen~ So originally I planned on doing romance-themed posts for Valentine’s season and the season of love. But uh… again… it’s hard to find time LOL So I haven’t gotten around to doing all the things I wanted to do. I wanted to do at least one of them before the end of the month. But I’m just barely got it lol It just took me more time than I expected. Anyway, today I wanted to share a manhwa/webtoon series that I personally find to be one of the most romantic series I’ve come across. Y’all know I love my cutesy, happy, sweet, and fluffy series. Those are usually a bit more light-hearted and fun. Sometimes they’re a bit fast-paced. But sometimes, I do prefer to read a series that has a bit more of a mature and serious tone to it. And sometimes, I just want a pure and classic kind of romance that’s a bit of a slow burn. Plus, I appreciate a series that takes time for development rather than rushing through everything too. Well, I got that with Like Wind On A Dry Branch~ Actually, I’ve been meaning to post about this series for agesssssss haha. So I’m finally getting around to it~

마른 가지에 바람처럼

Alternatively Known As: 마른 가지에 바람처럼, Like Wind on a Dry Branch (Official), Like a Dry Branch in the Wind (Unofficial), Cursed Blessing (Unofficial)
[Content/Trigger Warnings: Violence, Depression — It can get a bit dark and sad at times]
Genre/Theme: Romance, Fantasy, Drama, Josei, Historical, Healing, Tragedy
Spicy Level: A bit? — It’s not full on spice, but Killian is hot, ok? Also the chemistry between Killian and Rieta~Woo~
Rage/Frustration Level: A bit Not full-on rage, but there are some things that are really upsetting.
Webtoon Status: [WEBTOON — Official English Version]
Original Novel: [YONDER app — Official English Version]

As plague and turmoil afflicts the empire, enchanting widow Rieta Tristi finds herself at the mercy of a malicious nobleman and his dying wish to have her buried alive beside his corpse. The plague has taken her husband, slave traders have taken her young child, and now her own life is at risk — until an unexpected visit from the empire’s outcast prince changes everything.

[WEBTOON — Official English Version]

Before we get started, I do want to point out that the series is an adaptation of a novel series under the same name by author Dalsaeowl (달새울). The novel is also now officially available in English under Yonder, Webtoon’s webnovel app! You can find more info about Yonder and where to download it, [here].

Alright, let’s get into it for real now. I remember when the manhwa first dropped, I wasn’t really sure I’d be all that into it. I remember the story did somewhat intrigue me. I was also impressed on some of the little details. However, I didn’t really see it as a series I’d truly love and be invested in yet. As shallow as it may seem, I think we can agree that art is a major factor in whether we read or like a series. I honestly wasn’t too keen on the art at first. It wasn’t bad, but it just wasn’t exactly my vibe. Although it has now grown on me. While it still isn’t my favorite art style, I do now appreciate that it’s pretty different from the typical manhwa art styles that we tend to see. It helps gives it a unique charm and helps it stand out from the other series. So if the art style is also keeping you from reading the series, I’d say to try and give it a chance anyway. Because the story itself is actually pretty good, especially if you don’t mind slow burn series. But we’ll get more into that in a bit. Also, in regards to the art, I also appreciate that the clothes have a distinct and more accurate kind of look compared to other series. Like I get it. It’s all fantasy. Most of the time, the clothing isn’t exactly “authentic” or “historically accurate” as they tend to be more modernized or just straight-up fantasy. However, I kind of appreciate that the clothing in Like Wind On A Dry Branch does seem to look more “authentic” or “historically accurate” to that kind of time period and setting. It might not have the glitz and glam we see in other series, but I actually appreciate this kind of detail. It definitely helps with realism and immersion.

Speaking of realism and immersion, another detail I found interesting is how they actually do the tone and dialogue for the series. You know, usually, despite being in some kind of historical setting, they just use the same kind of speech as those in modern times. It’s just that they include certain vocabularies like ranks/titles and whatnot. But for the most part, it’s typical common everyday speech. Basically how we talk. However, the dialogue in Like Wind On A Dry Branch uses tone and speech that is more befitting of the historical setting that they’re in. Kind of similar to dialogue you’d hear for Shakespearean plays, I guess? It’s not like the entire thing though. It’s just at times, and just enough to give it charm and adds to the immersion. It also kind of adds this romantic and poetic vibe to the series. It’s actually quite beautiful, I think. But again, I was just impressed by the sense of realism and immersion for me. It’s tone done right~

Our female lead is Rieta Tristi. She’s a common widow. I believe she was originally an orphan who failed to become a cleric at the temple. She lost her good husband to the plague, supposedly. However, Rieta is known to be very beautiful. To the point people keep calling her a temptress…
(」°ロ°)」Poor woman isn’t at fault. It’s the damn trash that got dirty thoughts and keep wanting to get in her pants and won’t take “no” for an answer. (≖、≖╬) Anyway, it starts off with some creepy count trying to make her his mistress after her husband passed away. She obviously said no. The trash got pissed and then kidnapped and sold her freaking little daughter to a traveling slave trader! Like bruhhhhhh. The fuck??? She then gave into his demands and agreed to be his mistress if he’d get her daughter back. Karma got him though. Old piece of shit died of the plague (YAY!). But he made his dying wish to be having her buried in his grave with him. EW. Fuck that dude. Then it turns out the husband’s death was hella sus and that trash count might’ve been behind it. Yeah, that dude can go burn for sure.

As fate would have it, she ends up being saved by Archduke Killian of Axias. He seems to have the typical cold, cruel, and intimidating reputation most people expect from a male lead who is the Archduke of a harsh land. He also has this reputation of having a large harem of women. However, I’m telling you…the man is a good man and a total green flag. So spoiler, his harem isn’t actually a harem of women that he actually sleeps with or anything. They’re women who also have various skills and are actually knightmaidens. They’re actually badass too. Like I love them~ But yeah, Killian is also super intelligent. He’s purposely portraying a certain image of himself to outsiders to throw them off. Because of course, there be some political issues. Our antagonist here is basically the empress (Killian’s stepmom and the current crown prince’s mom) and Havitus Temple.

This bitch the empress. We don’t like her. She’s pure evil.
I didn’t love the art at first, but even I was like, “Dayum. Dude is hot.”

But despite the image he has of a man with a large harem, the man doesn’t take advantage of these women. Of course, he’s a strong, handsome, and powerful dude. So of course there are ladies who have actual feelings for him. However, he is strict about not getting involved with them at all. If one of them confesses or tries to cross that line, they are promptly rejected. Sometimes they’re kicked out if they’re still persistent. Honestly, I like a serious male lead who doesn’t play around. So yay~ Like, it’s not that male leads can’t have prior relationships. But like I don’t know about y’all, but I’m sick of playboy male leads. To me, this kind of serious male lead makes the romance feel sweeter and more genuine when you see he’s changed from someone disinterested in relationships to becoming someone devoted to one person. It shows that he’s just that serious about the relationship if that makes sense.

But yeah, he saves Rieta. The man has a sense of morals and isn’t an asshole. He does come off kind of as cold and intimidating, but he can sympathize with her. Like the people went along with that fucked up plan of trying to bury Rieta alive. The villagers were blaming Rieta for shit and saying they’d be cursed. Killian thinks that’s foolish bullshit. He finds the count and his family to be absolute trash. Honestly, one of the reasons I like Killian is because he’s pretty progressive considering the timeline and the people of that era. Again, this man believes in the capabilities of his knightmaidens. He sees when things are fucked up. He’s legit upset when some men where being vulgar and disrespectful towards Rieta. I love that he shows respect, especially considering how so many people in his world look down on and mistreat women. He also actually takes protecting and providing for his people very seriously. Like despite his reputation outside, the people of his land recognize him as a great lord. Despite the harsh reputation of the territory, it’s actually a really pleasant place with good people too. But anyway, he saved Rieta and allowed her safety and freedom to live a new life from that whole fucked up shit. He even gives her a house and was going to allow her to choose a profession.

Rieta is basically broken, right? The woman suffered tragic loss and trauma. She lost everything. But she is grateful to Killian and wants to help him in some way. Cuz of course she feels like she’s gained more than what she deserves. Honestly, the poor woman rejects it at first. She wants to earn her keep as repayment. Whereas I’m sure Killian is confused and thinking this is what any decent human being deserves. It’s revealed that she’s a mage with the ability to cast blessings. Although her abilities had previously been deemed as insignificant and limited by the previous villagers. Blessings aren’t enough to fight off diseases and evil shit, but it’s helpful to those less fortunate. Killian ends up finding that Rieta’s ability is actually pretty helpful. It’s also seen that she has many useful skills. Killian also makes a deal to help Rieta find her daughter. So she is added to his harem to help him with his ruse against the empress and temple. She’s also made to seem as if she’s his prized mistress too. She’s initially shaken up when she meets the reality of the situation and the violence that comes with it. But she eventually adapts well. Rieta is shown to be of quick wit and determination. She’s unexpectedly a very strong woman who can be rather bold at times.

“…But do not deny yourself of joy for some fear of sin and guilt. Such sentiments will only harm you.”

Killian | [Like Wind On A Dry Branch]
The poor woman had no life left in her at first

The thing I love about this story is how, while there is romance, a major part of it is healing. Rieta has been through some serious shit. Like more than we realize at first. Again, she’s basically broken. Her will and spirit were all withered at first. Like at the beginning, she’s just seen as a weak woman. Once Killian realizes just how bad Rieta’s past has been, he honestly does help support her and tries to help her heal. It’s not even really due to any romantic feelings at first. Just that Killian sympathizes with her and understands the painful feeling of loss. But of course, his interest in her does seem to grow along the way. Still, he prioritizes Rieta and her heart and mind over his own feelings. I think the series’ approach to such traumas and topics is well portrayed too. But most of all I just love that portrayal of Killian supporting her. He doesn’t tell her to “Just get over it.” There are times Killian comes off as frustrated and upset, particularly at the beginning when he’s still just getting to know Rieta. But it’s not because of her trauma itself. Rather, he’s upset at how much she disregards herself. I just love his self-awareness and how he tries to look out for her. I think there’s a part in the beginning where she had been drugged with something that’s meant to relieve pain, but is also used as a sedative. She was heavily sedated with it at the beginning. Later on, Rieta has a wound and is in pain. Despite having taken meds, it’s not helping. So it was suggested she’d take that herb that she was previously sedated on. Killian remembered how she looked then and refused. Good on him to not want her to go through that again.

“Rieta. Grant me this prospect.
I wish to aid you in your healing. Adore me.
I will devote myself to your healing.”

Killian | [Like Wind On A Dry Branch]
Bruh, this quote tho! UGH, MY HEARTEUUUUU~

He understands she needs time and growth to heal. And he’s with her every step of the way. It’s a long and slow process. But he’s honestly very patient and understanding. The things he says to her are legit too. It’s true support and I love it~ The way he asked her to let him aid in her healing was just romantic AF too. But it’s beautiful because you do see her growth and healing. You can see such a huge difference in how she was from the beginning and how she is as the story progresses. I also love how she grows to love herself too. And honestly, Rieta is such a strong female lead. I really love her. Also, I appreciate how it’s not one of those stories where it’s just slapped with a male lead doing all the saving and blah blah. It’s a journey where Rieta has truly grown, and Killian is the support.

Now let’s talk about the romance! Again, this is a slow-burn romance. They take the time to gradually develop their feelings. While I can be impatient at times, I do love it for this series. It just makes the romance and feelings feel more natural and all the more genuine. It’s not like overly fluffy or saccharine. But it’s peppered with little moments that you can’t help but think, “Oh! My heart! That’s just so sweet and romantic!” I just also love how it isn’t just like, BAM, they’re in love now. Like I can’t stand romance series where I’m just like, “How? Why?? I don’t understand…” Not to mention a lot of those kinds of series seem to lack sincerity for me at times. Which in turn makes it seem forced and not really genuine…also just doesn’t seem to make sense at times. However, there is actual development here, as well as clear sincerity. Like many male leads, he first comes off as uninterested in relationships. His knights even say he’s the farthest one from being romantic. But BRUHHH. The man is actually pretty smooth and ends up being super romantic. He’s just very cool, yet very sweet. That’s the best way I can describe him. Like even though he kept denying his feelings for so long, he was even sweeter when he finally faced his feelings head-on.

I absolutely love when Killian finally acknowledged his own feelings and confessed to Rieta too. Like honestly, you’ll just have to read the whole chapter for it cuz I almost ended up with screenshots for the whole thing: [Killian’s confession]. It’s simple, but also just everything he says is very touching and romantic. I also love that he says he wishes Rieta feels the same, but he doesn’t push Rieta to accept his feelings. He acknowledges that he doesn’t wish to force his feelings on her. Killian even tells her that she may deny him if she wants to. He just simply wanted to tell her how he felt. Of course, eventually, he realizes his feelings are stronger than he had anticipated and tells her that he will just simply wait.

Another nifty observation I made is how the series starts off with this kinda dark tone and vibe but progresses to feel more warm and colorful as our characters develop and grow their feelings. We talked about Rieta’s trauma and past. But Killian has his own too. Particularly in regard to the reason why he and the empress are enemies. The summarized version is that Killian’s mother suffered from something that basically made her be considered no longer human. Of course, the empress is shady though. The empress had two other sons. Dudes killed Killian’s mom under the pretense of killing a monster. But clearly, the real reason was to make Killian suffer. So Killian returned the favor by beheading them and bringing their heads to the empress. Anyway, Killian’s mother’s death and situation had been a huge blow to him. He basically sees his mom in Rieta, which initially drove him to have this soft spot for her. But obviously, the man develops actual romantic feelings and sees Rieta for herself. While helping Rieta, Rieta is also comforting him and helping him grow and heal from his trauma as well. You can also just see the pure joy he has with Rieta. I know it’s typical male lead being hella warm and soft towards his special lady. Still, it’s just all super sweet. It’s just a beautiful thing where the characters are there for all aspects of the other person. The idea of “Although you think so, I think it not a burden. No matter what, I will gladly help share that pain and burden with you” kinda thing gives me the feels and just makes my heart flutter. Again, I think the big factor is that there’s this huge sense of sincerity that makes it feel so genuine.

It’s legit one of the most beautiful romances I’ve read

I’ll just end it around here now. Again, even though this is a slow-burn kind of romance, I do highly recommend it. Give it a shot. Like even I almost gave up on it at first, but I was so drawn into it as I continued the series. It honestly has so much going on in it too. But most of all, I think it’s a great series on healing and support, and it carries some legit truths and advice at times. I also feel like, so many series these days have hella toxic and red-flag types of male leads. Like the ones I personally find irredeemable trash that don’t deserve the title of being a male lead, or even being the end game male lead. So I’m honestly really happy that we have a green flag like Killian. I also just love how sweet and romantic this series is. Honestly, hands down, this is probably one of the most romantic series that I’ve read. Not to mention I think it’s great how they show how progressive Killian’s side is, and how they show that women are strong and capable badasses. Of course, the series also has some good politics going on as well. It’s enough where it’s not too overwhelming but does provide a sense of drama and suspense. Overall, it’s a romantic and charming read that also focuses on healing. So I definitely recommend it~ I haven’t read the novel yet, but definitely plan to when I have time~ Probably gonna save that for my long ass plane ride to Thailand in the fall~

My BTS gif tax

Sorry, I know I kinda rushed through this. Still kinda trying to get used to doing blog posts again. So forgive me. It had been while since I read through it. So I had to try to reread it to refresh my brain. However, it took a hella long time lolol But I did want to share this series with y’all~ Usually when I post about things, it’s either because there’s something I find intriguing about it (though I don’t necessarily like or love it), or simply because I really enjoyed it. This is definitely one of a case where I actually did love and enjoy the series. Anyway, let me know if you got a chance to read this and what your thoughts were~ Let me know in the comments, socials, or Discord~ Anyway, take care, stay safe, and I hope you have a lovely day y’all~

LET’S BE FRIENDS!~ (つ✧ω✧)つ

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Fangirl all the things!~

Hihi! I’m Minty! I’m Thai-American~ เป็นคนไทยค่ะ~ ยินดีที่ได้รู้จักนะคะ~
I’m BAYOG’s Real People Stuffs expert, K-Novel and Manhwa trash queen, and boba addict. I’ve been a part of the BAYOG Crew since 2017~ I fangirl and like to rant blog about music, live-action movies/dramas, manga/manhwa/webtoons, novels, and anything else I’m interested in~ When I’m not blogging, I’m usually writing/singing Thai-English covers~ When I’m not doing that, I’m usually translating/subbing a Thai drama on Viki~

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One Reply to “MANHWA | Like Wind On A Dry Branch — A slow, but beautiful romance that’s also about growth and healing”

  1. Great blog. Honestly when I was reading like wind on a dry branch confession I was like… Is that you Mr. Darcy

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