Who won the original Squid Game?

Daisy Phillipson
Still from Squid Game on Netflix

As we wait for the anticipated finale of Squid Game: The Challenge, what about the original Netflix series? Here’s what you need to know about who won Squid Game.

Squid Game: The Challenge has proven a hit on Netflix so far, borrowing the childhood games from the original series and bringing together 456 real-life contestants as they battle it out in the hopes of bagging a $4.56 million prize. 

As per the synopsis: “As they compete through a series of games inspired by the original show – plus surprising new additions – their strategies, alliances, and character will be put to the test while competitors are eliminated around them.”

With the last episode just around the corner, let’s take a look back at who won the original Squid Game

Who won the original Squid Game?

In Episode 9 of Squid Game, the final game is played – and the protagonist Seong Gi-hun (Lee Jung-jae), player 456, wins after his childhood friend and player 218, Cho Sang-woo (Park Hae-soo), sacrifices himself. 

After the pair make it through the brutal games – from ‘Red Light, Green Light’ and ‘Dalgona’ to ‘Tug of War’ and ‘The Glass Bridge’ – they both emerge as finalists for the last challenge, ‘Squid Game’. 

The rules are as follows: 

  1. The attacker must enter the squid shape court, run past the defense, and then tap the area inside the squid’s head with his foot to secure the win
  2. The defender must block the attacker’s advance and force them outside of the court’s bounds in order to win
  3. If a situation arises in which either player is unable to continue playing the game, the last one standing will be the winner

“Unable to continue” essentially means a player’s death. There are no restrictions, and any kind of violence is allowed. In this instance, Gi-hun is the attacker, while Sang-woo is the defense. 

Still from Squid Game

As the game begins, rain starts to fall and Gi-hun confronts his childhood friend, who became increasingly ruthless as the games went on, having murdered player Player 017 on the bridge before killing Kang Sae-byeok after she became injured. 

Gi-hun confronts Sang-woo, to which he replies: “I put an end to her suffering. You know she would have died anyway.” But Gi-hun is having none of it, saying: “That’s bullsh*t. Stop lying.”

After an intense battle, it looks like Gi-hun is about to make it to the squid’s head to secure the win, but he stops just before and says, “I can’t,” knowing his friend will be killed. He reminds a staff member of clause three in the agreement, which states: “The players are able to end the game when the majority agrees.”

Gi-hun reaches out his hand to help Sang-woo up, forfeiting the 45.6 billion won ($38.5m), but just at the last moment, Sang-woo says he’s “sorry,” grabs the knife, and plunges it into his neck, allowing his friend to win the game and go home with the prize. 

Given all of the loss and suffering, the win is hollow. The series ends with Gi-hun fulfilling the requests of his deceased friends, before appearing to turn back and take the first step towards getting revenge on the evil organizers of Squid Game. 

You can read more about Squid Game Season 2 here, and check out our Squid Game: The Challenge coverage below:

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About The Author

Daisy is a Senior TV and Movies Writer at Dexerto. She's a lover of all things macabre, whether that be horror, crime, psychological thrillers or all of the above. After graduating with a Masters in Magazine Journalism, she's gone on to write for Digital Spy, LADbible and Little White Lies. You can contact her on daisy.phillipson@dexerto.com