Tuesday's public viewing of Kim Jong Il's body drove the point home. It's the end of an era for North Korea.
Or is it?
Korea Policy Institute's Christine Ahn says that a shift in figureheads doesn't necessarily signal any larger or corresponding shifts for North Korea.
In fact, what's coming to the fore more than anything else is how confident North Korea's political elite is in the continuation of the Kim dynasty, with the emergence of Kim Jong Un into the spotlight.