Welcome to the Open Thread, everyone! What an eventful set of episodes this turned out to be! I’ve got this screenshot headlining our post today, because this feels like a pivotal moment in our OTP relationship.
SOME IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENTS, before we begin:
ZERO SPOILER POLICY
1. We will be adopting a ZERO SPOILER POLICY for this Open Thread, except for events that have happened in the show, up to this point.
The spoiler tags don’t work in email notifications, therefore, please take note that WE WILL NOT BE USING SPOILER TAGS FOR THIS OPEN THREAD.
ANY AND ALL SPOILERS WILL BE REDACTED to protect first-time viewers in our midst (although, I’d appreciate it if you would save me the trouble of having to redact spoilers, heh 😅).
This includes, but is not limited to, how characters &/or relationships develop, later in the show.
We need to protect the innocent! 😉
2. HOWEVER!! If you’d like to discuss spoilers from a rewatcher’s point of view, I’ve created a SPOILER ZONE for you, where you can discuss all the spoilers you’d like, without the need for spoiler warnings. You can find it here!
Without further ado, here are my reactions to this set of episodes; have fun in the Open Thread, everyone! ❤️
So it’s not at all a surprise that Seung Yu and Se Ryeong survive the attack by the bandits, because, like I said, this is just the beginning of our show, and we absolutely can’t lose either of our leads this early! 😁
I am only a little bit surprised that Se Ryeong would throw herself in front of Seung Yu to protect him, with no thought to her own safety.
She does strike me as that kind of impulsive, brave personality, and we have seen her coming to care for Seung Yu more and more, over the various meetings that they’ve had.
What I am more surprised by, is that they are saved by the arrival of Seung Yu’s friend Myeon, who’s been after that group of bandits for some time.
Well, I suppose that works out ok, especially if Myeon says that he and his men have been keeping an eye on this group’s movements for some time. I can rationalize that that’s how they could have followed them to this remote forested location.
I must say that every time I see Myeon, I have mixed feelings, because of the flashforward on which we’d begun our story.
In the present timeline, I often watch Myeon and think that he’s a decent dude, and a good friend, and therefore someone whom Seung Yu and Se Ryeong can trust. I actually find myself wanting to like him.
But, knowing what we know from the opening flashforward – that Myeon ends up betraying Seung Yu, while in Prince Su Yang’s service – that lends a distinct layer of foreboding to everything on my screen that has to do with Myeon.
And even though we don’t yet know the details on how Myeon goes from being one of Seung Yu’s best friends, to being the person who betrays Seung Yu, it already makes me sad, that this friendship that we see now, will eventually be sacrificed in the name of ambition (or so I assume).
Because, in the present, Myeon really strikes me as a very decent person and friend.
When he “realizes” that the person with Seung Yu is “the Princess,” there’s no discernible judgment from him, even though the Princess shouldn’t be outside the palace, and Seung Yu certainly shouldn’t be spending time alone with her.
And, even though Myeon clearly feels awkward when Seung Yu and “Princess Gyeong Hye” start talking with each other in such familiar tones, with Seung Yu even raising his voice at her, for not thinking of her own safety, he refrains from saying anything.
I like that about him; he seems like the kind of person who isn’t into minding other people’s business.
I do smell the early whiffs of trouble brewing, though.
First, Myeon does seem suitably impressed by Se Ryeong, so much so that he half jokingly tells Seung Yu that he should have asked to be considered as a candidate for the King’s son-in-law.
And then, later in the episode, after Myeon has learned of Se Ryeong’s true identity, Prince Su Yang broaches the possibility of Myeon becoming his son-in-law – which would mean that Myeon now actually has a legit chance to marry the sparkling girl whom he’d been so impressed with.
It’s a strange position to find himself in, for sure, and I’m sure that Myeon’s at least somewhat tempted to accept Prince Su Yang’s proposal, because he’s found Se Ryeong to be so special.
As for Princess Gyeong Hye, I find that I don’t dislike her, even though she and Se Ryeong are now pretty much on opposite sides, over Seung Yu.
In fact, I feel quite sorry for Gyeong Hye, because she’s in a position where she realizes that she’s going to lose her father, and that she and her brother will be in danger.
There’s no luxury for her to consider whether or not she likes Seung Yu as a potential husband; it’s all about survival now, and she doesn’t even have time to really process the fact that her father is dying.
That’s tough, and difficult, and I really can’t blame Gyeong Hye for losing her smile, and becoming more cold and prickly, particularly towards Se Ryeong.
From where Gyeong Hye’s standing, Se Ryeong’s standing in the way of the safety of her family, after all.
And, credit to Gyeong Hye, for taking the trouble to check with Se Ryeong on how she feels about Seung Yu, and then actually expressing relief, when Se Ryeong says that she doesn’t love him – because she doesn’t want this to come between her and Se Ryeong.
I would say that Se Ryeong does try to do her duty and keep an appropriate distance from Seung Yu, once she finds out that the marriage talks for her and Seung Yu are no longer going on.
But.. she doesn’t actually try very hard?
I put that down to her youth, since she’s only a teenager, and doesn’t quite understand the ramifications of her actions.
Plus, she’s got all these growing feelings for Seung Yu, and the way I see it, when the opportunity presents itself, she likely thinks that it’s just one little detour, and that she’ll be seeing him “just one more time.”
I guess you could call it a result of the folly of youth? I don’t see it as her being purposefully rebellious.
I think she’s more impetuous and naive, at this point in our story.
And, when she’s faced with what she thinks will be her last chance to see Seung Yu and have a bit of fun before they get married to other people, I reckon it’s just hard for her to say no.
Plus, our Se Ryeong just has a thirst for life and adventure in general; she doesn’t want to live a cooped-up stuffy life, which is what she believes awaits her, after marriage.
Her stint on the swing is so thrilling for her, and is such a great writing choice, in the sense that being on the swing also gives Se Ryeong a chance to have the wind in her face, which is exactly what she loves about horseback riding.
The joy, wonder and savor in Se Ryeong’s face, as she stands on that swing, is so precious; I can feel her just soaking up every last second of this experience, like it’s a spring in the desert.
And of course, this is where Seung Yu starts to appreciate her even more deeply, because how could he not, as he witnesses that pure wonder lighting up her face?
Of course, trust Prince Su Yang’s side to jump on the intel that Seung Yu’s been spending time with a girl, and then plot to use that against him, not knowing that it’s actually Se Ryeong who’s been spending time with him.
I did find it rather interesting, that Prince Su Yang’s camp, aside from coveting the throne for him, is also of the opinion that Prince Su Yang’s life would be in danger, if Princess Gyeong Hye were to really marry Seung Yu.
It’s essentially a political game of kill or be killed, once the current King vacates the throne.
Kim Jong Seo’s determined to protect the prince and help him to ascend the throne, and in order to do that, he would kill Prince Su Yang if necessary, because Prince Su Yang, as the King’s brother, would be an obvious candidate to stage a coup.
And Prince Su Yang, in turn, would kill anyone who stands in the way of his kingly ambitions.
..And that includes Park Su Cheon, who’s in charge of studying the marital compatibility between Princess Gyeong Hye and Seung Yu.
Because, if Park Su Cheon gives a favorable report of their marital compatibility, that would make it that much harder for Prince Su Yang to prevent the marriage from happening.
Seung Yu’s clearly falling for Se Ryeong, with the way he buys those rings, and then writes that letter, and passes it to Gyeong Hye’s maid, still believing Se Ryeong to be the Princess.
Given that Gyeong Hye now thinks of Seung Yu as her husband-to-be, it’s no wonder she’s livid when she sees the letter and those rings. This is almost like Seung Yu cheating on her – except that he doesn’t know that he’s cheating on her. 😅
I can see why Gyeong Hye would be angry, and why she wouldn’t be inclined to grant Se Ryeong’s request, to allow her to meet Seung Yu one last time, to confess her lie, and ask for forgiveness.
No.. Gyeong Hye’s taking things into her own hands, and doing the reveal herself – most likely out of anger, but also, quite likely, to ensure that nothing else goes wrong in the process of Seung Yu learning the truth.
What a shock for Seung Yu, though, to enter the room believing that Se Ryeong’s on the other side of that screen – only for a completely different Princess to be revealed.
Well, as can be expected, the truth bomb that Princess Gyeong Hye drops on Seung Yu leaves him in more than a bit of a daze.
After all, he’s just found out that the person whom he thought he was going to marry, isn’t that at all, and is allegedly a court maid who’s now been ordered out of the palace, and whom he is unlikely to ever see again.
There’s just so MUCH to process, from everything that Se Ryeong’s ever said to him, to what it all means now, in the light of this new version of events that he’s just been acquainted with.
On Se Ryeong’s side of things, there’s a lot for her to process as well, because this is the first time she’s hearing that her father covets the throne.
It’s a world-tilting piece of information, because that paints her father in a whole new light in her mind, doesn’t it? She’s only ever seen him as a loving, doting father, and she’s only ever seen Gyeong Hye as her cousin.
But now, if this is true, then her loving father is actually harboring traitorous thoughts, and Gyeong Hye is no longer simply her cousin; Gyeong Hye’s on the side of the throne that Prince Su Yang wants to clear for himself.
If this is true, Se Ryeong’s entire world has changed, hasn’t it?
It’s so poignant, the way Princess Gyeong Hye looks at Se Ryeong and says, “You and I were the only persons who didn’t know.” Oof. I felt that.
I can see why Se Ryeong would feel so overwhelmed that she’d feel the need for some time alone, and I would believe that she would wander aimlessly – and find that her feet had brought her to the place where she and Seung Yu had ridden and gotten attacked by those bandits.
And, it makes enough narrative sense, for me to buy that Myeon might just happen to go there too, because he’s still keeping an eye on the movements of those bandits.
This episode, I still find Myeon to be kind, decent and understanding.
Even though he knows that truth about Se Ryeong, he doesn’t speak any judgment towards her, and listens with patience and understanding, when she expresses that she couldn’t tell Seung Yu the truth, even though she’d wanted to.
My drama gut tells me that some of that softness is coming from a place where he’s starting to think of her as his potential wife, but I could be wrong.
But judging from our opening flash-forward where Myeon is aligned with Prince Su Yang, my guess could well be on the right track?
I do find it a bit of a stretch that the gisaengs at the gibang, where Seung Yu’s been a longtime customer, would be so cheesed off with him, that they’d sell him out to Prince Su Yang’s spies. That feels like quite the overreaction?
I’m trying to rationalize that hell hath no fury like a woman scorned, and that gisaeng had felt very scorned by Seung Yu, in favor of “the Princess,” but it’s still a stretch in my mind.
I can believe that Seung Yu would want to see Se Ryeong one last time, even while on his way to the final selection.
After all, she’s the one he has actual feelings for, and also, there’s the thing where she lied to him. Surely he wants to hear what she has to say about that, too, right?
But of course, everything that could go wrong, goes wrong, before the final selection can even begin – because Prince Su Yang’s camp is determined to not only prevent Seung Yu from marrying Gyeong Hye, they are determined to kill him too, so that he can’t be used against them, in marriage to someone else.
It’s admirable of Seung Yu, to refuse to mention Se Ryeong, even when his honor and his life are in danger; that’s just evidence of how much he cares about Se Ryeong, even after he’s realized her deceit.
I have to admit, my breath caught in my throat a bit, in that moment where Seung Yu’s being dragged to the interrogation, and his and Se Ryeong’s eyes meet.
I’d half imagined that they would miss seeing each other, since we do get a few moments prior, where they’d been so close to seeing each other, but ultimately had not.
It literally feels like time freezes for a moment, as they look at each other in shock, and try to process what’s going on.
At least, I’m sure Seung Yu’s processing the fact that Se Ryeong can’t be a court lady, since she’s dressed as a noble lady.
When Se Ryeong ducks away, I’d thought that it was because she was too embarrassed to face Seung Yu, but credit to Se Ryeong, it’s actually because she wants to ask Gyeong Hye for help, to get her to the interrogation, so that she can speak up for Seung Yu.
And it’s so like her, really, to say that it doesn’t matter to her, if she has to die in Seung Yu’s stead.
My gosh, our girl is just so steadfast, and pure, and wild, and courageous, all at the same time, isn’t she?
While Gyeong Hye says that Seung Yu is hers to save or to kill, I do think that part of the reason she refuses to help Se Ryeong get to the interrogation, is to protect Se Ryeong as well, because Se Ryeong could literally lose her life there.
Instead, Gyeong Hye goes there herself, and speaks up for Seung Yu herself, and I really do think that she does her best, in her capacity as Princess.
It’s just too bad that Prince Su Yang’s insidious plan is working too well, and all these petitions for Seung Yu’s execution keep coming in, for showing contempt to the royal family.
Thankfully, the King postpones making a decision till the following day, but Seung Yu’s life is still in danger.
..Which is why I’m not surprised that Se Ryeong would find a way to see Seung Yu, to urge him to tell the truth about her, in order to save himself.
This selfless streak in Se Ryeong, where she pays no heed to her own safety, once she sets her sights on the safety of someone she cares about, is really quite endearing to me. It’s reckless, sure, but it’s also very pure in how straightforward and guileless it is, isn’t it?
And, it also looks like Se Ryeong’s on the cusp of telling Seung Yu her real identity – but gets interrupted by the arrival of none other than her own father. Eep.
Given what we know about Prince Su Yang and his thoughts towards Seung Yu, it feels like things could get even more complicated, next episode.
Would his doting father side be strong enough to balance out his politically ambitious side, I wonder..?
Show gets major plot points from me for using oh so beautifully the fact that people of that era did not have photography or other means of knowing what anyone, much less famous princesses, might look like. I can readily imagine that any regular person of the time, confronted by a woman of above-average beauty, could just assume that she just might be a princess.
I really had to hold myself back from watching further. All the plot twists and turns! I love that the young women are no damsels in distress. They take action when it’s called for – or they feel like it. Both Se Ryong and Gyong Hye whose attempt to save Lecturer Kim is really admirable if probably socio-historically not accurate.
The arrow, like those unfortunate horses, I forgot about after briefly wondering. I guess factual accuracy is not why I’m watching. Which made me ponder how I would categorise this drama. I guess adventure story comes closest.
i also jumped ahead, could not even go to sleep. but i would call it romeo and juliet korean style – it will become more and more obvious as the drama goes on. (kfg, hope it’s not a spoiler). but i think it will even satisfy shakespeare himself.
this drama is really really really cracky. so all my hopes of a disciplined group watch is out the window.
sorry, fellow group watchers, kill me. (in the authentic korean way).
I wouldn’t think calling this Romeo and Juliet a spoiler since the trailers and the way this was promoted was the creators calling this Joseon Romeo and Juliet.
Which made me ponder how I would categorise this drama. I guess adventure story comes closest.
I agree with your categorization. Dumas and Cooper’s books like “Three musketeers” and “The last of the Mohicans” come to mind. It’s funny that these books were originally intended for an adult audience, but are considered children’s literature nowadays, appropriate for 12 year olds.
sorry for bringing up again the ugly, poisonous orange coat from episode one. i think this was our first introduction to the evilness of prince su yang (through the character of the color in this case) and as a symbol and prelude to the ugly in his heart and soul. watching him (and the other dirty pigs supporting him) hunting down seung yu and the “woman”, then the princess that is actually his daughter, – his slimy evil eyes and wicked smiles sends me almost into a “hissy fit”. hope that at some point this drama will find it necessary to punish him and fix this abomination of a man.
meantime the show’s moving incredibly fast, sucking in my interest, my sympathies as well as my hates, with the amazing music holding and leading me “by my hand”. so well done!
seung yu, discovering that the princess is not the girl he’s already developed a strong connection, – the change of his facial expression acted out just perfectly. although i was not that crazy about him at the beginning, now he completely won me over, as a character and as an actor.
and the playful, innocent joke is exploding into a threatening mess, spiraling into becoming a nightmarish murder of an innocent (seung yu) and the innocence of all three of them. that is so unsettling, i can hardly wait how it can all be resolved (can it?)
another thought comes to my mind (or may be hope), that if the “ugly pigs”, conniving and plotting make seung yu not fit to be king’s son-in-law, may be it’s for the better, opening the gate for the budding young love to take off truly, without the distraction of the royal bullshit. that is if seung yu and se ryeong can somehow get out of this situation.
the princess has guts, and tries to remedy the consequences of their joke, but meantime it does not seem to work. where can it go? how can it go?
i have a question and it is about all the korean historical dramas: those royals and court people have those ridiculous hats with rabbit ears – was there a reason for them, what does this represent? it makes the man, even the nice looking ones, looking gross. (are those ears to receive signals from aliens?
are those ears to receive signals from aliens
My understanding is these are stylized horns.
They were attached to hats worn by officials in Korea.
I have a question of my own:
Is it really that easy and painless to snap the shaft of an arrow stuck in your back and to continue fighting and running around with an arrow head left in your body?
@MariaF — ah, I’m glad you brought that up, I forgot to mention that point. Yeah, that was one of the most unrealistic bits… there’s no way our boy would still be ambulatory after getting shot with an arrow like that. And he seemingly shrugs it off with no lingering or noticeable effects at all. I think that’s a clear example of just being as injured as the plot needs you to be (see also — comas and temporary amnesia, the kdrama versions of which don’t seem to bear any relation to actual medical reality).
trent and maria,
i am surprised you are even pondering it. isn’t it common practice in most dramas, they get shot in the heart, they get cut into pieces, but they live on with no obvious problems, sometimes even right after those horrific injuries. i already accepted it as drama-magic. i used to think can’t they teach our medical professional how to do it?
I’m thinking about Queen In-Hyun’s Man and how some character had to transport himself to the future to be treated for a similar injury. Now THAT’s an interesting question: which situation is more realistic? 😆
which situation is more realistic?
and there are a gazillion in between situations (i mean in dramas) just like this. so are we going to do a quiz on the issue?
Having just written an exam (the least least least favorite part of my job!) I’ll pass on putting a quiz together. 😂 I think, as you have mentioned, characters get hurt to whatever degree the story requires it. Personally, I cry over paper cuts, but have grown to just go with the flow in whatever story I’m watching….
i didn’t mean to put you on the spot with the quiz, it was just my joke.
and if you cry over paper cuts, that means you forgot the experiences from previous reincarnations, where even a deep sword cuts would not stop you from continuing the fights.
btw, i do not cry over paper cuts, but i almost cry over needles.
@Eda @j3ffc @Trent
After researching the internet, I’ve realized that the scene with the arrow wasn’t that unrealistic after all.
Apparently, a lot depends on the type of the arrowhead.
Here is what I found:
“Although it hurt, removing a bodkin arrow was the simplest.
If this was short into a soldier, he could remove it by simply pulling it from the opposite direction it came in. This would not need much help unless the arrow were deep into the skin.
If the arrow does not hit a vital organ, it is not immediately disabling.
Even after getting shot with more than two bodkin arrows, most soldiers would continue fighting, but only if vital organs were spared.
With a barbed head, whether it is for hunting or war, victims would end up with severe wounds.
While the arrowhead easily goes into the victim’s flesh, you cannot pull it out without making a mess.
When pulled in the opposite direction, it comes out with a lot of flesh, which can easily cut through blood vessels or vital organs.
Additionally, pulling it out in the opposite direction means experiencing enormous pain.
For this reason, many soldiers would die from arrow wounds inflicted by the barbed head.”
Below is a link to the article, in case anyone is interested.
Thanks, MariaF; interesting and makes sense. The whole conversation brings to mind the assertion of another mighty warrior from a very different era: “It’s only a flesh wound.”
From a very different era, but probably as realistic.
Well, kdrama versions very often don’t seem to bear any relation to actual reality, period. Remember those horses?
At least he didn’t pull the whole arrow out (just snapped the shaft), which would’ve been absolutely crazy!
horns, like horns on a deer, or the devil??? ok, but why, what for? obviously, their fashion sense is a bit of, but still… i do not understand those horns. did they need to add some more macho-vibes? (to kill a few more people?)
Horned helmets were worn for ceremonial or ritual purposes, but also to intimidate the enemies. They existed in many cultures.
o, and they are called “wings” by the koreans, from what i saw.
never heard of it before, but thanks, as i appreciate it as educational. i tried to look into this issue a bit more today, and was really surprised to learn that it (called samo) originated in chinese tang dynasty. throughout all these chinese historical dramas that i watched, i never saw anything (so stupid looking – to me) on a chinese noble, or men from the court, other officials, or… did anybody see something like this, and if yes, where? did i miss something?
you also said they existed in other cultures. if it does not involve too much energy, could you please tell me which cultures and when? i am curious. of course, i can research it by myself, but i like cutting corners where i can.
Horned helmets were worn in Ancient Near East and other places.
I’m not an expert on this at all. It was my speculation. Those could’ve been stylized wings of some bird as well. But horns make more sense, because they were more common.
thanks. it helps. i’ll look into this more.
so i just looked at this site you just sent me. thanks. i am quite familiar with these kind of “horned helmets”, although i could not see any connection to those “rabbit ears” called “wings” by the koreans. i still do not. the horned helmets of the vikings for example, or any others that i saw, do instill a sense of fear, especially in a war situation, or very regal power in ceremonies, etc. so the intention is clear. i do not see it in the korean “wings”. that’s why i could not figure it out.
To be fair, these hats are not military helmets anymore. I imagine they went through transformation and became Korean officials’s headwear.
I wrote earlier that they could’ve been stylized birds’ wings. Either way, it’d make sense if the inspiration came from some animal or a bird.
By the way, I’ve read somewhere that Vikings didn’t actually wear horned helmets. It’s fiction.
easy and painless to snap the shaft of an arrow stuck in your back
they do it ALL THE TIME, in korean and chinese dramas. and i stopped questioning it.
i stopped questioning it
I can’t help it: things like that annoy me to no end.
I remember watching some movie, where there was a fight, and one guy was thrown at the wall of an old castle, made of huge stones. You’d think he’d bounce. But no. He was put through that wall, head first! And the fight continued on the other side of that wall!
you really made me laugh. but all these unrealities are part of the korean dramas we are in love with (may be not you, but you are still attracted to them).
but i do get you. it was like this for me at the beginning, but then i got over it. and can enjoy more. i guess that is what kfg calls lens adjustment.
of course, when it does not involve “a horse going supposedly over a cliff” . that’s a bit too much for me.
you really made me laugh.
I’m glad, but it’s not me, it’s the movie.
“a horse going supposedly over a cliff”
Apparently, the writer thinks that a horse behaves like an abandoned car: you jump out of it, and it continues going in the same direction, until it goes of the cliff or into a tree.
Meanwhile, you get up, dust off your hands and continue with your daily routine.
By the way, I was browsing Netflix and accidentally came across “Something in the rain”.
It’s was my first Korean drama, and I wasn’t just annoyed, I was offended by their portrayal of a woman.
I’ve watched quite a few Asian shows since then, so I decided to watch a few random scenes from this show to see how I feel about it now. And I felt just fine. Does this mean that a whimpering, acting “cute” woman is normal /acceptable to me now? I don’t think it’s a good thing.
o, maria, no,
Does this mean that a whimpering, acting “cute” woman is normal /acceptable to me now? I don’t think it’s a good thing.
i don’t think it means that. i think you are just more understanding of korean dramas, their customs and culture in general. it does not mean it fits your criteria, (it definitely does not fit mine), but your current acceptance is due to that you are over the initial shock that a woman can be treated like this, or a mother can behave like this and so on. it happened to me exactly like this. you are also more used to see it in korean drama. many times it is portrayed in order to nudge or push the korean society to change things, the time has come. so although it might be annoying, i see it as a beneficial move of progressive artists.
and i did like something in the rain.
not the FL’s inadequacies, but the general feel, tenderness of the ML and the acting of the ML. i was not thrilled about the ending, but, that happens to me more often than i would like to.
I think the romantic side of ML/FL relationship was done well. Also, agree about ML.
It’s the conflict resolution that I had a problem with. And of course, that terrible FL!
I guess the actress was good at portraying this kind of person. Maybe too good: I ended up hating both the character and the actress.
I ended up hating both the character and the actress.
so did i. till today it stayed with me, even in crash landing, which is a very good drama (of course, has it’s screw ups), but i could not warm up to her, even that the character she played begs for it, and she did do a good job. did you see this drama?
till today it stayed with me, even in crash landing,
Same here. I saw it. Good drama. But I would’ve enjoyed it much more, if that actress weren’t in it.
I had a similar aversion to Something/Pretty Noona but never transferred it to any of the actors, much less to Son Ye-jin (looooved her in CLOY). In fact, some of my dislike of the show was that I basically liked her character but hated how she was treated and how she responded. In contrast, I found myself annoyed that the ML, played well by Jung Hae-in (but terribly written), never really had a satisfactory answer to why he liked the FL, he only ever said “‘cause she’s pretty, dude”. So shallow, shallow, shallow.
But that show had a huge silver lining for me insofar as my need for Drama Therapy afterwards led me directly to The Verdict and my life has been improved ever since.
I suppose I was fortunate in that CLOY was one of the first kdramas I every watched, and I really liked Son Ye-jin in the role, so I have a generally positive impression of her (not really affected by 39, even though her character there was a bit emotive).
I have resolutely avoided Pretty Noona, just because the commentary about the ending and certain issues (mother-daughter dynamic, etc.) has been so negative. I did hear that the same writer/director team followed up with One Spring Night, which was better, so I recently watched that and loved it.
I’ve heard that too (I think that KFG in her review basically calls OSN the anti-SITR/PNWBMF) and that one is definitely on my list when I’m in the market for something moody.
@j3ffc Aw! I love that silver lining, and will now feel more grateful to Pretty Noona, for sending you to us! ❤️
You are too kind! I just feel lucky to be hanging around the coolest water fountain on the planet…
i have to say that i loved this drama, until the end that was disappointing. (kind of rushed and not worked out properly). but i can never discard a good drama because of just the ending. my most favorite drama till today is the rise of the phoenixes(i still didn’t decide whether TROP or nirvana should be my number one). but i rarely find the asian drama endings satisfactory, that does not mean i do not enjoy watching them.
another problem with this show is the FL’s character, in one of my comments back then i described her something like a floor rag, and you are right the problem was “how she responded”. but that is kind of the specialty of this director, ahn pan seok – he zeroes in on specific societal problems and magnifies them, in order to show the korean society how they really LOOK, and make a determination whether it’s right and may be what can be done about it. so far all his dramas (and he’s one of the most brilliant korean directors) deal with issues like this: secret love affair, something in the rain, one spring night, heard it through the grapevine. so far, none of them disappointing, if you look at the intention (but not only, they are just very good dramas).
in regards to the ML. i liked him a lot and even wrote in one of my comments that he can give lectures of how to be a good boyfriend. his remarks “she’s pretty”, i found it funny, as it was his sense of humor (in my opinion). on the other hand, many men find it difficult to dig within themselves, this is more a specialty of women, and so the men find it difficult to express themselves in this way and can resort to a joke. also, there are many men who simply find it difficult to open up and a joke is the easiest to get rid of the question he does not want to answer.
“shallow” you say. in my mind, far from it. it’s not the words that matter, but the actions. he’s is a smart, intelligent guy, (to top it off with amazing cuteness) and the way he treats her is love and nothing else. and the way HE responded to her, is what bought my affection for him and this show.
and the way the parents in soutn korea dominate and terrorize their grown up children is a huge problem, from what i see. it was necessary to shed light on this issue. i only hope that it wakes up at least a few koreans, not just us westerners. the world is changing, and societies should evolve.
Thanks for your perspective, @Eda! In my case, it wasn’t the ending that bothered me so much as the whole last act (1/3) of the show; I just couldn’t continue to root for that couple. And it is true enough that I didn’t give the ML the benefit of the doubt there.
But in the larger picture, I think we agree more than we don’t as I did enjoy Grapevine and SLA (still have One Spring Night on the Never-Ending List).
some thoughts jotted down in these eps:
curious about Princess’s reason for lying to Seung Yu about who Se Ryeong is — protecting Se Ryeong, or not drawing attention to Se Ryeong and Seung Yu’s past supposed to be engaged? leaning the latter because she took away SR’s chance to confess to him directly
is that allowed for him not to bow before the princess before leaving, even if he’s upset?
that scene with her opening the carriage window and the flashbacks to the swing scene as I’m half wanting him to look over and half not wanting him is the reason I watch these dramas. the anticipation!! the heartbreak!
“I thought he would be fine as my husband for the first time” 🥺
Wow and when they locked eyes and he’s bounded by ropes to be interrogated?? ☠️
This is incredibly sloppy work by Prince Su Yang and his cronies to not gather more evidence, but I guess they were working on a tight timeline and were desperate.
I am so curious about Myeon too. I want to say he’s ultimately pushed by a sincere desire to protect the people he loves, and not his greed. He doesn’t seem the type to be swayed by ambition like that? Or I may be completely FOOLED 😂
curious about Princess’s reason for lying to Seung Yu about who Se Ryeong is — protecting Se Ryeong, or not drawing attention to Se Ryeong and Seung Yu’s past supposed to be engaged?
these are all legit questions. but i would add one more – may be it was just simple jealousy of a young woman who’s afraid that her man (supposedly) will actually be not hers, but her cousin’s, i mean in his love and affection.
I agree with Eda about jealousy. She is a beauty and the princess, but her husband to be is possibly in love with someone inferior to her? Not acceptable!
you’re right @edaharris and @MariaF, I was holding onto hope for that cousin love but I get how it’s hard when she sees the man she’s about to marry having feelings for someone else
From a somewhat sleepy start, for me, with the first two episodes, it feels as if we’re now on the back of one of our racing horses, holding on like crazy, with these two. As has been commented, so many developments, conundrums, and twists, all at a relentless pace.
I can’t predict how we’re going to get back to the opening scene of Ep. 1. My first few pathways have already been knocked out by events. My head feels like it’s on swivel, looking for clues. That’s fun, and good storytelling.
In fact, a big question right now is even the meaning behind the title “The Princess’s Man”. I thought I knew who the princess was. I thought I knew who her man was. But even those things feel up in the air.
There is a Korean-American actress, Moon Bloodgood, who reminds me enough of Moon Chae Won, that they could be sisters. Same kind of beauty and smile, and a similar kind of feminine strength.
P.S. I’m not sure Prince Su Yang is actually a doting father. He fakes warmth so convincingly when required, but I don’t get an authentic fatherly vibe from him. It seems like all of his decisions are calculated on whether the situation or person will further his ambitions. Guess I’ll find out soon enough…
i think he does love them. whether his interpretation of love is similar to ours, or even other humans, that’s a different question. i also think that he feels his family is part of him, his pride and his ambition. but we’ll see.
I agree with you, Eda, on how he sees his family as part of him and so there’s some idea of love there, but ultimately I’m in line with Leslie that it seems he’ll rationalize his choices to fit his ambition (as being for the good of the family aka him).
Quick cultural question though, why is the Crown Prince wearing red robes with gold embroidery, I thought those were reserved for the King? In The Crowned Clown and The Red Sleeve, the Crown Prince wore dark blue robes with silver embroidery and only donned the red robes after his coronation.
I’m not really sure but maybe because this was during early Joseon period? I remember watching 6 Flying Dragons and King of Tears Lee Bang Won kdramas (both set about 2 generations before The Princess Man) and the crown princes wore red robes too. The Crowned Clown in contrast is based on a fictionalized version of a king some 200 years after The Princess Man while The Red Sleeve’s was set just 100 years before Joseon dynasty ended.
this is quite a concise explanation, since i was wondering about the same issue. thank you for that.
Wow thank you!!! I had no idea of the different stages of Joseon history =)
Well, Elaine took the words right out of my mouth: That escalated quickly!
But these couple episodes were pretty compelling. I found myself wondering just how realistic it would be for fairly highly placed unmarried noble daughters to just go wandering around the countryside all free and easy like that, but whatever, we’ve got to expect some dramatic license here, right?
Another thing that I always find interesting in these historical shows, and this one is no different, is I always go look up at least the bare outline of the real historical characters and situation (the shows will often deviate, especially as to fine details of the narrative twists and turns), but it makes for some interesting contemplation: with the benefit of hindsight and historical reflection, certain characters are viewed as quite beneficial: statesmen; wise ministers; decent kings, etc. And yet, those very same characters that we see appearing as fictionalized versions in our dramas can be scheming, amoral, cutthroat, and other variations on not-so-nice figures. It’s a bit of an interesting/fun game to compare and contrast… (yes, I am subtweeting Grand Prince Suyang here, among others, in case you were wondering).
So far so awesome…looking forward to jumping into the next couple episodes. How will our couple escape this immediate peril?
I always go look up at least the bare outline of the real historical characters and situation
i do the same, but i never found a drama that follows the real historical characters and events real close. did you?
on the other hand, such facts were recorded by people of that time, from the perspective of that time (and probably included rumors). it seems that today we look at things differently. some of the korean queens and other characters depicted in history as cruel, domineering would show up in a drama with a totally different light shining on them and the events.
i looked up a bit about the characters involved in this drama, and what i found that prince su yang, a real historical character, did become king walking the most cruel bloody road on the way to the throne. i do not know how the drama will portray it, but i already have such an intense visceral dislike for this character (such reaction is truly rare for me), but i am praying that this drama will find a way to punish him and make him pay for, otherwise it is going to be a big disappointment for me.
every time he smiles (a lot) i feel my blood boiling.
Eda — I think that from what I have seen, many sageuk seem to follow the broad outlines of history fairly faithfully, while taking a fair amount of latitude and license to construct their narrative in the details, which may be either unknown in the historical record, or just made up or dramatic rewriting. To take a recent example, The Red Sleeve seemed to follow the broad strokes of the history (Sado’s son did become crown prince and then king, did have queen and concubine in basically the same position, certain people did die at basically those times and circumstances), but then the whole ebb and flow of the narrative, the theme of female agency in a stifling system, etc. etc., was created by the novelist and then the scriptwriter, certainly.
I have been trying to avoid referring to much to the historical record here, because it could be seen as spoilerish for stuff that could happen in our drama, even though they will certainly alter many of the details (just for one example: Prince Suyang had apparently had two daughters with his principal wife, although neither was named Se-ryeong, and there is very little recorded about them in the historical record. Which our scriptwriters are exploiting to create the story around her).
But yes, I know that he will end up eventually as King Sejo, and that’s precisely the point of my original comment. You allude to your intense dislike of the Prince Suyang we are getting so far in our show. And I get it, he is presented as something of a smiling assassin. I don’t dislike him as intensely just yet, but I can understand the impulse. But from what I gather, Sejo is considered to be a successful king, one of the better ones in Joseon history. He apparently did various decent things for the people, etc. etc. And yes, he got there by…well, let’s say some fairly ruthless maneuvering.
That’s the issue that I’m pointing to, the dichotomy between public and private morality. To attain, hold, and wield power in an environment and milieu that is as intensely factionalized as the Joseon court (to judge by every sageuk ever, which are uniformly all about the deadly politics, even when there’s a romance shoehorned into the foreground), you have to be smart and at least somewhat ruthless (cue Cersei Lannister: “In the game of thrones, you win or you die”). Does this leave room for anyone who is just a “nice guy”? Well, that’s the interesting question, isn’t it?
I mean, just another example: Yi Bang-won, Grand Prince Suyang’s grandfather, essentially founded the Joseon dynasty, put his father on the throne as the first king, ended up ruling himself as the third king, King Taejong, fathered and served as regent/power behind the throne to his son, Sejong the Great… and by all accounts I’ve read, was a right bastard. He killed off most of his allies that helped him overthrow the previous dynasty just as soon as he could, to consolidate his family’s position. And yet, he did start a dynasty that lasted in some for another for 500 years.
Anyway, all of this is a long winded way of saying I am holding my judgment and incipient distaste for Prince Suyang at least somewhat in abeyance, and trying to cast a bit more dispassionate eye on these maneuvers which yes, may look (and be!) distasteful, but may have at least something of a defensible point. Maybe. We’ll see. (You are free to continue disliking him, intensely, of course. Have at it)
i read with interest what you had to say.
the dichotomy between public and private morality.
but… isn’t morality just MORALITY? can there be different standards and different perceptions of morality for different situations?
and i see the dual nature of this question, as everything in life is. and yet… can we consider it GOOD when there is a leader that achieved beneficial for the country or the people things, but on the way to obtain the throne killed thousands of innocent people? like in the case of prince su yang (from the historical perspective, and i did read that he was considered one of the best kings in korea, with lots of achievements). i also understand how difficult for a king is to achieve his objectives if half of his ministers are from the opposite faction and object to everything he wants to do. so does that mean the ruler can just kill all the opposition? kind of like stalin did, and what putin is now doing in russia?
another kind of example popped in my mind, from recent history. (people are people, so i am just talking about it like this). let’s say hitler would have succeeded in the world war 2, (it was not far from happening), germany would have become an empire, with all eastern europe and all of russia in it’s pocket, and may be even more. hitler would have been considered the greatest ruler who achieved greatness for germany. so where does the question of morality come in in here?
in case of prince su yang, may be if the young legitimate king would have been given a chance, may be he would have become a great ruler too. there are many fish in the pond, it does not have to be the biggest and the fattest one who swallows all the others.
Does this leave room for anyone who is just a “nice guy”?
actually i think it does. in tree with deep roots, the king was that nice guy, and achieved great things for the nation, which is valued till today.
and may be true history does kind of spoil a drama, but i am still curious and can not leave out, and see what a drama could do with a character or events. sometimes i like, and sometimes i just think why did they have to name a character by the historical name when they completely change the image and the events. i would have liked such a drama the same, even if they would have given it a simple fictional name.
Eda — in a word, no, morality is not just morality, which is why I think it is useful to distinguish between public morality and private morality.
To break that down a bit further, private morality is what I assume you are referring to when you say “morality is just morality,” and imply that it is the same for everyone. And I think (hope!) we can all agree that murder is wrong for everyone, and that people generally should not lie, cheat, steal, etc.
What I am referring to as public morality is the standards that are followed by people who are charged with maintaining or further the public weal; leaders, politicians, and so forth. And the appropriate standards by which they act and by which we judge them is going to inevitably be shaped by the systems and institutions in which they live and act.
For instance, a leader within a modern, pluralistic democracy, in carrying out their duties and furthering their agenda, would not have recourse to actions that might be taken as unobjectionable or par for the course for a prince of the blood or the Left State Councilor in the semi-autocratic, staunchly Confucian Joseon court.
Which is why I circle back, yet again, to my initial question/observation: it is interesting to contemplate the dichotomy between the ruthless plotting of the various factional actors (of which our Prince Suyang is one example) and the historical results–did they generally act in ways that achieved net positive results for the nation and advanced the overall interests of the people (of course, we can take it as inevitable that the yangban class will benefit the most, regardless)? Or did they act in ways that brought indiscriminate, gratuitous pain to many, while achieving no benefit, or even actual harm? (contrast, for example, our future King Sejo with his grand-nephew Yeonsangun, generally considered to be probably the worst tyrant of the dynasty, and ultimately deposed by his ministers).
You posit an interesting counterfactual: maybe the current king’s young son would have himself eventually become a decent and effective ruler. And you may be right; it’s impossible to say. Set that against Prince Suyang’s estimation (probably) that that imposes unacceptable opportunity cost of muddling through an unstable regency to an uncertain outcome, while he is ready and able to go now. And of course his own self-interest and ambition can’t be separated out. And also take into account the deadly nature of factional disputes of the time, he may not have been wrong to believe that it was “them or us”. All that said, yes, the more proper, moral thing to do would probably have been to support his brother’s heir and get behind him as the king. But I think Prince Suyang’s position is possibly more nuanced than the cackling (or smiling, at least) villain that the show is leading us to perceive him as.
Oh, one more thing: your citation of Tree with Deep Roots is just what I mean about the split between fiction and history. Yes, Sejong was “the Great” for a reason, and maybe he was overall a decent guy. But we don’t necessarily know that from the drama, or at least the drama is inconclusive proof; the drama has a vested in interest in portraying him that way, and a fantastic performance by Han Suk-kyu to breathe life into him. Of course we’re going to end up thinking he’s a great guy. And even then, a fundamental part of that show is the deep ideological conflict between the king, who is at the end of the day looking to increase the power of the monarchy, and the secret society that wants to strengthen the scholars and ministers to provide a check and a counterbalance on the king. And I have to tell you, even though I root for the king (and Jang Hyuk and Shin Sekyung as his minions) because that is the way the show is constructed, I am not completely unsympathetic to the opposing argument…
that is a complicated discussion, and i do not believe we can resolve here, but we can express our opinions. it made me think and reevaluate.
i can definitely see your points. and your approach is to a great degree intellectual. i want to address the issue of morality, whether public or private in a very simple way – “thou shalt not kill”. point. done. no need for further explanation. can a politician from any era be excluded? i think not.
i understand the difficulties of the different factions in ancient korea, but there were kings that followed the “moral” code, sometimes more, sometimes less.
and unlike you, i saw in tree with deep roots, the king was actually portrayed like a “good” guy. we learn that his father was a brutal murderer, but sejong did not want to follow his path and did not kill. to me, that is a good guy by their times criteria.
any one striving to get the throne, can not predict the future, can not know how and in what way he will turn out to be beneficial. therefore, his desire, his determination is due to his ambition. ego and greed. that is the case with our prince su yang, and i am talking about the drama, not history. same goes for the king from tree with deep roots, his good guy impression is based on the drama, although it is more historically accurate than many other dramas.
so i have to confess, i am almost at the end of our drama, and i am really curious what will be your perception of prince su yang as we go on. i’d love to hear.
All I can say is, that escalated really quickly! (a comment echoed by the real princess’s loyal maid). I thought the switched identity hijinks would go on for a while more, but here we are with real feelings developing by episode 3 and by episode 4 a threatened torture and possible execution of a main character?! Also enjoying the narrative twists, I didn’t expect daddy Su Yang to find out about their connection thus early in the story!
Wowza. Enjoying the ride, maybe ML matured a bit unrealistically fast compared to the playboy we saw in episode 1, but the actor is selling it. Moon Chae Won is a delight! I first saw her in Flower of Evil where I was very impressed, how delightful to see her more youthful carefree self here!
@Elaine — yes, me too! I first saw Moon Chae-won in Flower of Evil, and I loved her there! She was good in War of the Arrows (exciting movie), which is roughly contemporaneous with this show, although she has less to do there. I just find her very full of life and enjoyable to watch.
The moment where she turned her head around on the horse (episode 2?) to very boldly yet winsomely ask ML to meet her on the 15th in front of the gibang so they could hang out together again, I was a goner, and I knew the ML was gone too! Haha. Somehow she just made that moment awesome and appealing, and not act-cute in a saccharine or revolting way at all!
Trent, MCW is also in Painter Of The Wind, another good sageuk based on real historical people. The plotline, although fictitious, is exciting. The artwork and its meaning are part of the story and that alone makes the show worth watching.
elaine and trent,
same here. i mean i first saw moon chae won in flower of evil pretty recently (totally intriguing and captivating drama, where the acting is pure delight and actually carries the whole drama) that’s where i discovered lee joon gi and must say, desperately fell head over heels for his acting and especially his eyes, and the way he plays with them. he’s now on top of my list of my most favorite and appreciated korean actors. btw, i followed up by again my life, just to see lee joon gi. he’s good, of course, but it is not the flower of evil.
actually elaine, i remember you liked a lot the stranger, (if i am not mistaken) so you might really like again my life, since it is something along this line.
but back to our current drama the princess… i was pleasantly surprised and also curious to see moon chae won being the FL in this one. so far i really enjoy her acting, may be even more than in flower. but it’s just the beginning, so we’ll see. i do not expect to be disappointed, she’s actually one of the few korean actresses that i happen to connect with.
also, the real princess in this drama is hong soo hyun, whom i saw in jang ok jung, where she played a very similar to this role, the deposed queen in hyun. and she looks kind of the same and acts almost identical to the other role. but here she’s a bit better, i think. but we’ll see.
This drama Princess Man eas before Jang Ok Jung, I’m willing to bet Hong Soo Hyun was cast in Jang Ok Jung because she was phenomenal here.
agree. i was not aware that princess was before jang ok jung. so far i like her in princess, but it seems, when she got cast in jang ok jung, she kind of repeated herself, and lost the emotional appeal she has in princess, that’s my impression. i mean she’s not bad in jang ok jung, but at the same time her acting is nothing to write home about, if you know what i mean.
I’ve binged ahead a couple episodes, and the twists and turns definitely pick up speed from here on out. I’m wondering how they’ll keep it up for so many episodes.
Seung Yu’s expression in the cliffhanger at the end of episode 3 is the best. I would be so pissed!
I saw the actress who is playing the princess in Mad Dog a couple months ago, and she played a similar character even though the settings are completely different. She’s definitely good at the haughty glare.
Indeed, her haughty glare is da bomb! I’ve continued watching too and totallg agree with you on the twists and turns! In the middle of episode 7 now.
i saw mad dog, but did not even realize that it was her, as i did not recognize her. but went back and checked it out. sure enough, it’s her, but so different.